The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 9, Issue 12 (March 1, 1935)
Equipment at Locomotive Depots
Equipment at Locomotive Depots.
Locomotive shed improvements have been undertaken on an extensive scale at Home. Recent betterments include, at many sheds, the installation of mechanical aids to coaling, improved methods of ash disposal, and the provision of scientific washing-out plant. At the larger sheds increased attention is being paid to the turntable equipment, and at the L. and N.E. King's Cross locomotive depot there has just been installed the first turntable in Britain to be worked by the brake apparatus of the locomotive itself. At most depots, engines are carefully run on to the table, so that the weight is equally balanced about the central pivot, and the table is then pushed round by hand—an arduous task at any time, and becoming almost impossible with the heavy “Pacific” and “Baltic” locomotives of to-day. This has all been revolutionised at King's Cross.
The new appliance consists of a small vacuum engine with two double-acting oscillating cylinders geared to a tractor fixed to the turntable. When an engine is run on to the table, the driver connects the vacuum pipe of his locomotive to a corresponding pipe on the tractor and applies the vacuum ejector apparatus. This suction through the brake pipe causes the tractor to work and supplies ample power to turn the largest engine. If a locomotive is not in steam, its vacuum ejector will not, of course, supply the necessary suction. To allow for this, a vacuum accumulator is fixed beneath the table and supplies sufficient power to turn a dead engine; in addition, the apparatus can be thrown out of gear, and the turntable worked by hand, if desired.