Firing Steam Locomotives

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Mark D
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Firing Steam Locomotives

Postby Mark D » Fri Nov 03, 2006 5:34 pm

I just had this idea.
I am starting what I hope will turn out to be a continuing thread on firing steam locomotives.
Having just enough experience myself to be able to talk about it, I think it might be interesting to hear from those who regularly hand bomb smaller coal engines, and from those who fire oil engines.
I wouldn't have a clue how to fire an oil engine. I make jokes about them, but in truth, without some training, I'd probably fall flat on my face trying to actually make steam in one of those things.

For starters I'll say a little bit about firing with a stoker on a medium sized engine, because that's where 99% of my limited experience lies.
Essentially, it's just a matter (as always) of keeping the fire hot enough to make enough steam to keep the pressure at the desired level, and to be able to add water without losing pressure. That is, other than the slight drop that can be expected when adding water.
But therein is another question. I have never experienced a feedwater heater and pump. All my experience is with a non lifting injector. The injector does warm the water somewhat, but the boiler still sees it as cold water. The pressure will drop pretty noticably when adding water with an injector. I haven't a clue what sort of pressure change takes place when adding water with a feedwater heater and a pump.
When adding water with an injector, I limit the amount of water I add at one time to whatever amount of water it takes to cool the boiler to a five pound pressure drop. If that amount of water is not sufficient for what I'm trying to do, I'll stop the injector for a short time to allow the boiler temp to stabilize and then start the injector again. I'll continue to do that until the desired result is attained.
Usuall, if One is only trying to maintain level on the water glass, it only requires intermittant use of the injector.
Unless the engine is running hard.
Sometimes the injector can be operated almost continuously. At this time, the fire is being fed fuel enough and is also drafting at a point where the fire is hot enough to keep the pressure from dropping with continuous injector operation.
The rest seems to be all about finding that balance where all things are set, and it sort of runs itself for a while. Sometimes as long as a minute or two.

Curious to how that compares with the experiences of others.
Mark D.
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Mark D
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Re: Firing Steam Locomotives

Postby Mark D » Tue Nov 07, 2006 2:08 pm

Ooooook
I sort of thought this might be an interesting topic, but never in my wildest dreams did I imagine it would generate so much response.
Never mind.
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Re: Firing Steam Locomotives

Postby Fitz » Tue Nov 07, 2006 6:13 pm

Mark, I can't reply because I've never fired one. Did get a cab ride in NH&I 40, a hand bombed coal burner, and I know the reason they sold cab rides is because the fireman can never sit in his seat. He's too busy. Man, did those young guys work and we weren't going that fast. Let me clarify the "guys" as the engineer and fireman alternated on trips then, back in 1995. Hey that was back in the last century wasn't it? 8)
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Re: Firing Steam Locomotives

Postby Adam Mizer » Thu Nov 09, 2006 3:28 pm

well, I bet there are not a great number of people around that have had firing experiance. Then how many of those who have had subscribe or read any of the internet boards? Not a criticism, just a thought.

I planned on telling of my firing experiance on an oil burning locomotive but have not had the time to sit down and pen a reply. More later.

BK
Last edited by Adam Mizer on Sat Nov 11, 2006 9:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Mark D
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Re: Firing Steam Locomotives

Postby Mark D » Thu Nov 09, 2006 11:57 pm

Thanks for the thoughts, Adam Mizer
Point well taken, and was considered. I sort of thought that probably more than one person reads this board who has at least a few minutes of experience. But then, too, I would hope that some without experience might post a question or two that they may have.

I have just been reading an account of an incident that happened back in May of 1948 that indicates that even the pro's weren't infallable.
Some others may have seen this same article. It's based on newspaper reports of the incident that happened. I get my information from the Chesapeake and Ohio Historical Magazine of September 1991. Borrowed from a friend.
The engine involved was a C&O T-1 class (2-10-4) No. 3020
The incident was a massive boiler rupture, apparently due to crown sheet failure.
Three crew killed.
Hauling coal to Columbus from Russel KY.
The train was 156 cars and 12,884 tons
Running about 20 mph.
Track was a .18% grade.
Nearby residents thought the explosion was just thunder, as there was a good rain storm going at the time.
The explosion blew out the superheater tubes out the smokebox. I have here a picture that shows a tangled mass of superheaters.
There was no time for the crew to do anything, so the throttle was still wide open, brake valves in the running positions, and reverser was full in the corner.
This locomotive was working very hard.
The engineer, fireman and front, or head end, brakeman were all killed, but not instantly.
The engineer was lifted out of the cab later, the fireman was found trackside nearby, and the front brakeman was found walking back down the grade.
About 100 yards away a fence was partially destroyed by the force of the explosion.
The front brakeman survived long enough to tell something about the incident.
In the ICC report, it's stated that the force of the explosion tore the rear of the boiler from the slides, and the right guide yoke waist sheet. The rear of the cab was twisted upward and the front of the cab rearward.
The cab deck was bulged upward and the ash pan was blown out.
Smoke box front was blown outthrottle box and superheater header were broken from the dry pipe connection in the smoke box and the superheater units were blown forward into a fan shaped exit from the now open smoke box.
The feewater heater was fount about 345 feet ahead of the engine, and other parts were found in a 150 foot radius.

Also in the ICC report is a statement that the injured brakeman said several times that he "knew it was going to happen" and "the water was too low."
Also, very telling, is "I told him (the engineer) that he had water and to put some in the boiler." And, "The water was gone!"
The brakeman then stated to his parents at his side in the hospital that "He (the engineer) ran for ten miles on low water."

The engine was later repaired and put back into service.
These were some big, powerful engines.
With over 108,000 lbs TE, they were quite powerful.
It was normal for them to haul trains of over 13,000 tons without help.
All were gone by 1953

In reading this, I get the feeling that the operating crew had run this route before, and perhaps had a habit of trading water for steam to keep up speed on the grade.
Only, this time the fireman didn't start with as much water as he should have.
That's the only reason I can come up with, since apparently the fireman and engineer were in agreement to not add water.
It would be my best guess that not adding water to keep the pressure at or above mawp might not be the best idea. Or, at least not when your'e on an up grade and still can't find water in the glass.
I seriously doubt they were trying to see how low they could run the water before it'd blow up.

I thought this might be interesting in that it shows what can happen when one becomes apathetic to the dangers of running these beasts.
I have, in the past, traded steam for water. Yeah, I got my butt kicked for letting the pressure drop, and I shouldn't have let it drop. Truthfully, my fire wasn't any good when we left. I had inherited a bad fire from the night hostler. I didn't have time to fix it, and instead of saying anything to the engineer, I just figured I'd get things right within the first mile or two.
Well, before I had the fire fixed, I still had to add water to replace what was being evaporated into steam. So, I let the pressure drop over 20 lbs.
But the water didn't get low, and I learned something. Tell the engineer if there's no fire.
I'd still trade steam for water, though.
But I wouldn't ever trade water for steam.
What I mean by trading water for steam is that if one adds water to the boiler, it will generally cause a considerable cooling of the water in the boiler. This results in a temporary loss of pressure in the boiler. If you're crawling on your hands and knees up a grade with too much train behind you, that loss of pressure can be very problematic.
It's till better to add water than to blow it up.
Mark D.
Last edited by Mark D on Mon Dec 14, 2009 11:48 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Mr. Daugherty
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Re: Firing Steam Locomotives

Postby Mr. Daugherty » Sun Nov 12, 2006 11:30 pm

Mark, I have some experience firing an oil burner and can tell you that aside from your usual tasks of firing a coal burner that you have to watch and anticipate the engineer for his throttle applications. Any change in the throtttle will greatly affect how the fire will draft and the resulting smoke from the stack. Should the engine be ran with with a smokey exhaust, the flues will soot very rapidly and the heat transfer to the water will greatly be reduced.

The real trick is to learn how to put the oil valve in the station notch without dropping the fire because as the atomizer is adjusted it can blow the flame out as you lower the oil flow, the same learning curve applies when coming off of the station notch when getting ready to pull out. Always, always, maintain the water glass and for good measure, try the cocks every so often to verify your water level.

I have fired with coal and prefer it over oil even though there is more work involved in the handeling of the coal and the emptying of the ashpan. The smell of coal is one of those things that can never be forgotten, nature's finer aroma.
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Re: Firing Steam Locomotives

Postby Rick F. » Mon Nov 13, 2006 6:32 am

Several years ago MRHF (ex-GTW) USRA Light Mikado # 4070 was often hand fired when in operation.

Also, several of the Ohio Central's Steam locomotives are hand fired. Maybe someone could comment on their operation.

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Re: Firing Steam Locomotives

Postby nathansixchime » Mon Nov 13, 2006 9:35 am

Rick F. wrote:Several years ago MRHF (ex-GTW) USRA Light Mikado # 4070 was often hand fired when in operation.

Also, several of the Ohio Central's Steam locomotives are hand fired. Maybe someone could comment on their operation.

Rick F.


Funny you should mention, Rick.

After learning the ins-and-outs of firing on the road with the 1293 and getting some summer tutoring by Mark, I went to try my hand again with the 765 earlier in the fall.

261 and 1293 both have rather cozy, enclosed cabs, whereas the 765 could probably fit a jacuzzi between the firebox door and coal pile.

On one of my initial throws to the very back of the firebox, my heel slipped from the pedal in the cab floor and the butterflies came crashing down on my knuckle with the scoop still inside the door! (The pedal is built into the footplate, where as 1293 and others have the distinctive arm that you step on, which in my mind, is much easier to hit.)

Needless to say, that's one of the intriciacies of firing different locomotives of all shapes and sizes, and it's only a physical difference, not a true firing or operating difference. I've been told when firing that I often loose a lot of momentum when I hit the pedal because I place my foot very defiantly down on the pedal to make sure I hit it....but that's probably because the 765's is easy to slip off if you're not use to it. It's like being a baseball player going to hit home and you've got to bunt instead.

Mark and I could relate some horror stories...

Battered and bruised and loving it all the while,

Kelly Lynch
Kelly Lynch
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kelly@765.org
www.765.org

Mark D
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Re: Firing Steam Locomotives

Postby Mark D » Mon Nov 13, 2006 11:02 am

Mr. Daugherty wrote:Mark, I have some experience firing an oil burner and can tell you that aside from your usual tasks of firing a coal burner that you have to watch and anticipate the engineer for his throttle applications. Any change in the throtttle will greatly affect how the fire will draft and the resulting smoke from the stack. Should the engine be ran with with a smokey exhaust, the flues will soot very rapidly and the heat transfer to the water will greatly be reduced.

The real trick is to learn how to put the oil valve in the station notch without dropping the fire because as the atomizer is adjusted it can blow the flame out as you lower the oil flow, the same learning curve applies when coming off of the station notch when getting ready to pull out. Always, always, maintain the water glass and for good measure, try the cocks every so often to verify your water level.

I have fired with coal and prefer it over oil even though there is more work involved in the handeling of the coal and the emptying of the ashpan. The smell of coal is one of those things that can never be forgotten, nature's finer aroma.


Interesting information, Mr. Daugherty. It instantly raises the question, in my mind anyway, of; So, let's say I got behind the firing lever of an oil burner. Naturally, the first thing I'd do, probably, is manage to put the flame out on starting out.
So, what would I then do in order to get things going again? Is it an involved process to relight?
Once that is accomplished, the next mistake I'd likely make is to run the oil too rich. The flues, as you say, would then plug with an oily black crud. Is it possible to then sand the flues to clean them, or does it get too thick for sanding to work? If not, does one then try his best to get through the run and wait 'till the thing can be cooled down enough to go in there and physically clean the flues?

Of course, the thing I'd do after that would be to again put the fire out when putting the valve back into the "station notch" when we stop.
I assume relight is about the same as when I blow it out on starting.

One other question about oil firing.
When I watch a video of just about any oil burner I can think of I note that in the area of where there really should be an ash pan I see intermittent blasts of fire. Sort of like mini explosions. It'll flash with yellow flame, and then go dark. Then another big flash.
Can you tell me what's up with that? Isn't the flame in an oil burner a continuous flame once things are set?
What causes these visible flashes?
Thanks,
Mark D.
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Mark D
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Re: Firing Steam Locomotives

Postby Mark D » Mon Nov 13, 2006 11:57 am

Here is a shamelessly copied image of the boiler explosion in the post above. It's from the C&O Historical magazine, which they got from old newspaper files, as I understand it.
Just posted here to show why it isn't in ones best interest to let the water get low.
Those are superheater elements sticking out the front, not boiler tubes.
That means that in a sense, the blast of steam turned the insides of the boiler inside out. Most appear to still be connected to the header, but blown out of their respective flues, unless the entire flue sheet and flues were also blown out. A distinct probability, but I don't see evidence of that in the photo.
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Mr. Daugherty
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Re: Firing Steam Locomotives

Postby Mr. Daugherty » Mon Nov 13, 2006 11:04 pm

Some answers to your questions Mark. The flash from the pan area is a combination of the draft cycles in the firebox and the oil and atomizer valve settings, the engine takes a big gulp hot air and flame and then a slight pause for the next big gulp on the next stroke. This pause lets the fire kinda flicker about due to atomizer setting and how much oil is being fed into the burner. I was instructed that when the fire is licking out the peep hole in the fire door that you were spot on in having the right combination of atomizer and oil valve positioning. Some cab riders would get kinda nervous when a 4-6 inch lick of fire would jump in and out of the peep hole.

Should the fire be dropped while pulling out or when stopping the proper procedure would be to close the oil valve and turn the blower on to clear the firebox of grey smoke (this will explode), then close the blower and open the firedoor and toss a burning rag down by the burner, close the door, crack the oil valve a tad past the station notch and it should light in a controlled manner, a little blower to clear the black smoke and you are on your way. Once the engineer starts hooking up I would close the blower completely and usually setle on about 20 psi. on the atomizer gauge. A quick way to relight the fire is to give the oil valve a little flick adding more oil into the red hot firebox and it will relight with very little effort, this can be done with very little fanfare and hardly noticeble to anyone else. But there was a gentleman that added way too much oil and a resulting bang was heard from the oil flash into fire.

Sanding the flues was no real problem, we would take one of those big metal coffee cans that was full of sand and pour it through a special made funnel inot the peep hole in the firedoor, while this was happening the engineer would pull the throttle open while leaving the reverser in the corner so the engine would draft extra hard, and as soon as the stack cleared from all the soot and smoke from coming from the flues the steam pressure would really start climbing. As soon as the engineer starts cutting the throttle the fire has to be trimmed to keep the stack clean or the soot will start accumilating prematurely. Also from time to time while doing maintenance we would open the smoke box and run a flue brush on long push rods to give the engine an extra good cleaning inside, this would have been a good job for Mike Rowe on the show Dirty Jobs.

I am no expert by any means but will answer your questions to the best of my ability. Mark I saw all of you at Beureau Junction and was going to try and introduce myself but there were throngs of people around enjoying the sights, smells and sounds.
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Re: Firing Steam Locomotives

Postby Mark D » Tue Nov 14, 2006 1:42 pm

Thanks, Mr. Daugherty. I appreciate the information. As far as being no expert, that's good. Neither am I. That means we can both learn more, and I can learn from you.
I had always thought of an oil fire in a locomotive as being somewhat akin to that in an oil fired stationary boiler where there is just a big yellow roaring inferno that one can see just behind the viewing port.
So, in an oil burner locomotive, if one were to look at the fire while under way, one would see a more pulsing flame. Or, burning fire one instant, and nearly nothing the next, and then big burning flame again. Or, at least that's the way I read it at this point. Seems strange to me.
I'm used to a roaring stable fire that fills the firebox at all times.

I need to try to get a chance to ruin some oil fireman's fire sometime.

I find myself wondering why those things aren't harder on staybolts and flues than a coal burner, but from what I've heard they don't seem to be much different in that regard. One would think that with the rapid heating and cooling they go through, like at night when the fire is just shut off, that they'd pop stay bolts like popcorn. And work flues loose at the sheets, too.

I wish you had been able to introduce yourself to any of the crew while we were at Bureau jct. But things were pretty busy. Generally on an out-and-back trip like that there is little time anywhere for visiting with people.
Better, if you'd been able to come over to Rock Island. Once the engine, like a hard ridden horse, has been watered, fed and rubbed down, things are usually pretty relaxed. People come visit from time to time and there's nearly always time to make new friends.
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John Bohon
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Re: Firing Steam Locomotives

Postby John Bohon » Sun Nov 19, 2006 2:46 pm

You do have an interesting subject Mark. Unfortunately you covered things pretty well in your opening remarks. About the only difference in hand firing is you are using a shoulder stoker instead of a Hanna or Standard. The basics are still the same. Keep the fire as level and clean as possible, watching the stack to see how the fire is doing, and trying to maintain stable water and presure levels. Those things don't change regardless of the method of firing. When things get dicy are when you are assigned to clean up the fire of a greenhorn who has lost nearly all of the fire, is 100 pounds behind on steam on a 175 pound boiler, has about 2 drops of water showing in the bottom of the glass, and departure time is 10 minutes away. You have to know your engineer can handle the short 4 percent grade both up and down just out of the station with very little steam to keep the brakes off. Your work is really cut out for you in these situations.

As for using feedwater heaters the biggest noticable difference is the use of a globe valve to turn on the pumps instead of a handle to start the injector and the added heat in the water going into the boiler. Other than not having as much of a cooling effect on the boiler there is really little difference in firing with a heater and an injector. Most heaters do not heat when drifting because they use exhaust steam from the cylinders to heat the water so you use the injector going down grade or when stopped. Elesco claimed the exhaust from the air pumps, dynamo, and any other appliances on the boiler would preheat their water more than the injector and recomended using their heaters even when going downgrade. I have tried this and the effects seemed to be just about the same as using the injector so I guess their claims may be close to the truth.

The biggest difference in firing comes from the engines themselves. Engines like Southern 4501 really need a stoker because they are hungry and can really go through a pile of coal in a hurry. The 4501 is not impossible to hand fire but a bear for sure. The Canadian Pacific G-5 pacifics are good steamers and fire well with a stoker or by hand. The only problem I have with them is when hand firing the all weather cab is so close to your butt for a tall man like myself. I can never get far enough back to get a good shot at the right front corner. At least one person I know solved this problem by firing right handed to reach that corner. TVRM 610 is without doubt the easiest engine I have ever had the pleasure of hand fireing. Much like a shay, 610 will pop off if you shake the shovel at her. On the other hand PRR 643 is the most difficult engine I have ever tried to fire, especially with bad coal. She does not draft quite right, seems to have a firebox that is a little to small, and you must be very precise in placement of the coal if you do not want to start having clinkers. Good coal certainly reduces the problems and very good coal cures most of them but still this little pot can be a beast. She will make a fool out of you in a hurry if you are not paying attention and I have seen very experinced fireman loose their fires on that 0-6-0.


As for the boiler explosions on the C&O the oldtimers tell me the C&O was well known as a low water road. Their crews often thought running with low water allowed for better steaming by allowing more steam space in the boiler and having to heat less water. They were known for running with low water and paid little attention to the low water alarm because they had enough experience to know where the water was above the crown sheet, usually. As your photo proves when they were wrong they were really wrong. It is hard to believe anyone could have lived even for a short time when the boiler had spit its superheater units out the smokebox along with the header like this one has.

John Bohon

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Re: Firing Steam Locomotives

Postby Mark D » Mon Nov 20, 2006 8:15 pm

John
Very interesting post. I often wondered about the feedwater heater/feed pump vs injector, but have really only used injectors. I'm supposing that in normal running situations the feedwater heater allows one to charge more water into the boiler without dropping the pressure much as compared to an injector.
I sort of understand what you mean when you mention the enclosed cab and not quite enough room for a good swing to reach the right front of the firebox.
That right front is always the hardest place to reach anyway. I tried that idea of scooping "backward" to get it there. I decided that I could probably learn to do that, but found it was easier for me to just learn to get it there scooping the same way as all other sections of the grate.
In September, I found that in hand firing a Chinese QJ engine that these engines were apparently built for guys about four foot five. I had my head at about knee level to see into the firebox. The door was nearly right on the deck. I got used to it in little time, but the slightly smaller firebox from what I'm used to helped more than any skill I picked up. I learned that on those engines you want a thick fire. The fire on those was normally almost a foot thick. I don't think I'm exaggerating more than an inch or two.
But it really was not a problem to hit the right front on those engines.
With one of those 96 square foot grates, though, it takes a pretty good aim and throw, both, to get it there. I get sort of ticked off at myself when I miss. And it does happen.

I am amazed that experienced railroaders would actually think they got better steam by running low on water.
I s'pose I can see what they were thinking, but it's a good way to be cooked, too.
My thinking on the matter leans more toward not wanting to add water while on a grade where stalling is a distinct possibility. You'd want your water way up before hitting that grade so that you don't lose steam pressure from adding water.
I have learned (no, have not done it myself but have heard of it being done) that with many steam locomotives it is possible to "overfire" to the point where all four pops can be blowing, yet the pressure will continue to climb. I've heard of getting an extra ten or more psi out of it for better power. Whether it makes much difference in the end I don't really know, but I suspect the difference is usually negligable. This, however, would be a safer way to try to make more power than running on low water. One would think.



[quote="nathansixchime

After learning the ins-and-outs of firing on the road with the 1293 and getting some summer tutoring by Mark, I went to try my hand again with the 765 earlier in the fall.

261 and 1293 both have rather cozy, enclosed cabs, whereas the 765 could probably fit a jacuzzi between the firebox door and coal pile.

On one of my initial throws to the very back of the firebox, my heel slipped from the pedal in the cab floor and the butterflies came crashing down on my knuckle with the scoop still inside the door! (The pedal is built into the footplate, where as 1293 and others have the distinctive arm that you step on, which in my mind, is much easier to hit.)

Needless to say, that's one of the intriciacies of firing different locomotives of all shapes and sizes, and it's only a physical difference, not a true firing or operating difference. I've been told when firing that I often loose a lot of momentum when I hit the pedal because I place my foot very defiantly down on the pedal to make sure I hit it....but that's probably because the 765's is easy to slip off if you're not use to it. It's like being a baseball player going to hit home and you've got to bunt instead.

Mark and I could relate some horror stories...

Battered and bruised and loving it all the while,

Kelly Lynch
[/quote]

Kelly;
Is that pedal sort of a round button built into the floor?
If so, that would be similar to what those Chinese QJ's use.
I used those buttons the same way I normally use that more typical pedal that hangs from the backhead.
I just hate it when my foot slips, or worse, I miss the pedal. I've worked out a way of minimizing the amount of misses. I've never had the butterfly doors shut on my hand, but I have hit them with a scoop a few too many times when they didn't open as I'd expected. WHAAaaaannnggggggg! Coal from here to there, and I feel a little like Wile E. Coyote after he doesn't get the Road Runner again.

What works well for me, and you might want to try, is this;
Not knowing the amount of reach to the coal pile, I don't know for sure if you can do this, but it's worth a try.
Keep your left heel on the deck. Don't use it to step on the button in the floor.
Use the ball of your foot for that, and lift off to let the doors shut, keeping our heel planted in place.
Twist back to get a scoop of coal. You don't need a full scoop anyway, so you can get that coal with only your right hand on the scoop. Let go with the left hand, and just shove the scoop into the coal that's right on the deck. You might even have to lean a little, but that's ok. When you drag the scoop back toward you from the coal pile, it should have about the right amount of coal to throw at the fire. Now reach with your left hand to grab the shank of the scoop as you're drawing it back from the coal pile. Pick up on the scoop, turning it some so the coal is facing a little toward the backhead. This keeps the coal on the scoop as you rapicly accelerate the scoop in its arc as you swing it toward the door. At this point you also let your left foot down on the button. If all works as planned (yeah, right) the door opens just before the scoop gets there. You presumably already know where the coal is going to go, so you've positioned your aim accordingly.
With practice, this'll work almost every time. Almost every time, and that's why they keep a broom in the cab.
The point is that you seldom miss the button ( I used the same techinque in the QJ as I do in the 261 and it worked just as well) and you can start accelerating the scoop from way back so you get a good throw into the firebox. This has the added benefit of eliminating the need to get the handle so far into the firebox that you hand is in the door.
I've also learned to hold the handle of the scoop with my thumb wrapped around the handle rather than my entire hand. This allows me to pivot the scoop better and also locks it onto my hand better. The point of that is so I don't accidentally let go and lose the scoop into the firebox.
I did that once. Once. I don't want to do it again. I actually did crawl into the firebox to where I was laying on top of the stoker pot so I could reach the handle of the scoop and retrieve it. I have no plans to do that twice.
The locked thumb trick seems to work well for me. I've seen other people firing the same way, so I guess I'm not the only person to do this, although in my case I had not seen it before I invented it for myself. I've held it this way for so long now that it just seems the natural way to do it.

Next time you get into the cab of that 765, try out what I said above and see if it'll work in your case.
You do have to stretch a little to reach the coal, but it really should work much more easily if you can keep that left foot planted at the pedal.

Mark D.
Mark D. - The bottom of the information curve

John Bohon
Conductor
Posts: 434
Joined: Sat Jul 23, 2005 9:30 pm
Location: North Carolina

Re: Firing Steam Locomotives

Postby John Bohon » Fri Nov 24, 2006 10:59 am

When we put 610 in service at TVRM we did not have the foot petal so a button in the floor was fabricated. We simply cut the cab floor tread plate in a square pattern and sprung it to a button mounted under the plate. It works great but people never see it and step on the button all the time causing the doors to open. Even those use to working with the button are regularly stepping on it. A little inconvenient but no real problem.

I also understand the low mounted firedoor. The Heisler at Cass has the firedoor mounted right on the floor. You nearly have to stand on your head to look in the box. On top of that instead of butterflies it is a clamshell door making hitting the hole even more interesting. Another quirk of the Heisler is that the hook is the same length as the floor to the cab roof and I have gotten it caught a few times when the cab dipped on the rough track they had years ago. All in all the Heisler is a pretty good engine but I prefer shays.

John Bohon


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