Some had a narrow gauge track in the bottom with tippler wagons into which the ash was discharged. Although I remember this clearly at one or two sheds in the early 60s I can't for the life of me recall how they got the tipplers out of the pit.
Some depots had a small steam crane with a grab-bucket - Plate 24 in Vic Mitchell & Keith Berry's "Reading to Basingstoke" (Middleton press) Shows such a device on a 4-wheel chassis used for coaling and ash disposal on shed at Reading 1950. The photo was taken from the Wessex Collection
On pages 44-49 of this Febuarys Model Rail, there is an article on modelling steam depots and has a drawing of an ashpit with mimi-hoppers underneath. It says "these were then hauled up to the surface" but doesn't say how.
To the best of my knowledge no-one makes in OO or HO a model of a little four-wheeled steam crane that could be used for ash and coal handling in a loco depot. But, it should not be too difficult to scratch-build a non working model of such a device. A working model, at least one that could at least move about under its own power, would be more of a challenge.However, a long while ago I did convert one of Triangs little 0-4-0 tank engines into a reasonably respectable model of a crane locomotive, which could be used for such duties. It's in a box somewhere buried under other boxes. Regards, Bill.
"Uncle Wobbly" wrote in message news:421058a3$0$32602$ email@example.com...
I think on a small siding with a pit for loco maintenance it would be frowned upon to put ash into the pit. I think the pit was primarily for the crew to use for inspecting, oiling round etc. Any ash would be emptied from the smokebox or firebox by the crew into a wheelbarrow or similar then to an ash storage facility with any hot ash first being damped down (at small places kick it about 'till you lose it!).
At the sheds themselves, the methods were varied, I think if there was a mechanical coal loader provided there was usually a mechanical ash plant of some sort. At the largest depots you would see the huge concrete coaling towers accompanied by a smaller concrete tower which was the ash handling plant. Like other posters have said these involved the use of narrow gauge tubs filled in pits under the loco then winched up to the top of the tower to be emptied into a bunker where it was stored until discharged through a chute into standard gauge wagons.
The methods were many and varied but usually somebody with a shovel had to do the tidying up.
A variation on this that I've seen in US photos made it a two man operation. One in the pit filling a large bucket and one using a manual crane to lift the bucket and swing it around into a gondola or hopper on an adjacent track.
I think E. L. Moore had the plans for one in an old MR magazine ('60s?).