The ash pan serves two functions on our models. First it does catch ashes and embers that would fall on the ties or leaves between the rails, in dry areas this has been known to start fires in fact some live steam clubs won't let an engine run without them. The other function is to hold the grates which the coal rests on, air must get to the coal from below the bed so the grates are held in place above the ash pan by the rods shown with the cotter pins in them. You can also see the long slot in the side of the pan for air, too small a space between grates and pan and the fire will starve for air. In an emergency where we need to stop boiling water fast, (such as a pipe break) the cotter pins can be pulled, the rods removed which drops the grates and coal onto the ash pan, the pan in turn can then slide out, removing the fire from the boiler. This is only done in an emergency as all of the above are very hot! The yellow valve on the left is the blow down valve. After running the pressure is allowed to drop to 40psi at which time the valve is opened on both side of the engine, this gets the remaining water out but more important helps blow the scale formed when boiling water out of the engine so it does not build up, causing boiler failure. These valves are located at the lowest part of the boiler.

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