Sand Dryer

Sand was brought to the sand house in bulk. There it was dried and stored to be distributed to the locomotives as needed. At times the drying process was very involved and elaborate. This is the earlier method and quite simple in concept. You took a iron stove and surrounded it with a wrapper of some kind. Wet sand was poured into the space between the stove and the wrapper where it dried. The bottom of the contraption had screen on it. As the sand dried and dropped through the screen it would be shoveled and stored in a sand bin.

This photo is one I used to model my version in Sketchup. What we are looking at is some brick supporting the oven off the ground. These versions seem to be simple sheet-metal barrels (the wrapper). The ovens have a fire door and below that the ash gate. The oven on the right we can just see some metal tabs .. the sheet-metal wrapper was just slid down on these. We can’t see it but there would have been screen on the bottom between the wrapper and oven.

I imagine the workers would beat on the sides of the wrapper to make the sand drop through. That seems reasonable looking at the battered condition of the dryers.

Based on that photo and taking “Guess-ta-mations” off of the bricks I came up with this design. Since the stoves evidently varied immensely .. this is “good nuff” for me.
The same construct .. with the wrapper pulled off and set aside. I put in the young lady for a size comparison.
More sand dryers. The first one has a pipe running around it. Not sure what that’s for unless it moves the dried sand? The second is more like the old beat up sand dryers except that the wrapper is itself a screen. Finally the third version uses steam as the heat source. Like I said .. the design varies greatly.


Sand Dryer — 1 Comment

  1. There is a great pic on Shorpy titled Needles: 1943 where among other things it shows two guys shoveling wet sand out of a hopper. What is pertinent to this thread was one of the comments from a prrvet –

    When I worked on the railroad, we had a large gas fired stove with a hopper on the top. Men hand shoveled sand 24 hours per day from a bin into the top of the stove. As the sand dried it dropped by gravity into a bin below the floor. Then the dried sand was blown by compressed air into hoppers high above the locomotives, where it fell by gravity into the locomotive.

    The intense sand blasting that the stove received every day meant that the life expectancy of a stove was only a few months before it had to be replaced. That was about an eight hour job, as I recall.

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