The Water Tower (continued)
The tower's operation is simple. The locomotive stops next to the tower with the spout lining up with the water hatch on top of the tender. The fireman climbs up on the tender and pulls the spout into the tender's hatch. He then pulls on a chain attached to the water valve in the bottom of the tower. Water flows out through the spout into the tender. The fireman must be careful not to open the valve too quickly or the force of the water can push the spout out of the tender's hatch. When the tender is full, the water tower's valve is closed by releasing the chain. The spout is then pushed back to its upright position and the locomotive can continue on its way. The entire process takes about five minutes. The water tower holds enough water to fill two tenders on the average. While it may only take several minutes to empty the tower, it may take hours to fill back up with the small river pump. During Mid-Continent's Snow Train every February, the water tower must be thawed out with a steam hose before it can be used.

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