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Chama Coal Tipple
Chama Depot
Chama Oil House
Chama Round House
Chama Sand House
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Sand House at Chama, NM

chama sand house west 1995 tlhprn.jpg (98498 bytes)

In the Chama yard, just south of the coal tipple  a sand house holds facilities for screening and drying the sand. The sand tank on top of the sand house hooks up to the engine and fills the engines sand reservoir.

At south end of the Sand House there is an outdoor storage bin made of heavy timber railroad ties stacked 7 feet high. Fresh sand is shoveled from the storage bin to the covered sand house.

chama sand house southeast bin 1995 tlhprn.jpg (74751 bytes) chama sand house tank 1995 tlhprn.jpg (38778 bytes)

Inside the sand house there is a large coal stove with a screening skirt. The stove heats the sand to dry it thoroughly. Once the sand dries the fine particles fall through the screen on the stove and onto the concrete floor. Large stones and trash are trapped in the screen. From the floor the fine screened sand is hand shoveled through a second screen to the holding bin at the north end of the sand house. When a train takes sand, compressed air from the engine is used to blow the sand up into the tank on the wooden tower outside of the sand house. Gravity then feeds the dry sand into the sand dome of the engine. Processing the sand is a complex operation that requires the sand to be shoveled three times before it can be used.

Trains use a great deal of sand. Where? At the Wheels! Steam locomotives and diesel engines have a mechanism to drop sand in front of the wheels where they meet the track rails. The wheels can slip on the rails when the locomotive is pulling hard, if the track is wet or frozen and when the track is oily. A little sand between the steel rail and the steel wheels improves traction. The C&TS uses tons and tons of sand each season!

 

 

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