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Another Steam Heating System Question

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This is an equalizer device for a two pipe steam boiler. I know the purpose of an equalizer, but how does this device work?

There seems to be an endless variety of different and interesting steam heat devices that I run into every once in awhile. Steam heat never ceases to amaze me. I even keep a copy of The Lost Art of Steam Heating on my coffee table...

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An equalizer is just the section of piping connecting the steam header to the condensate return. Some have check valves.

I'm not sure what the device is in the picture. When I see really odd contraptions and configurations it's usually a vapor/vacuum system or there is a need to flood the return.

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Does it precede a vaccum pump system or other return mechanisms?

Reason I ask is it looks like a drip leg to collect sediments or contaminants. That one section has recently been opened (taped threads), and there's a union to allow disassembly. Maybe it's some kind of clean out....(?)

I've never seen any pipe section like that.

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