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Lighting Fires

Discussion in 'Locomotive M.I.C.' started by lil Bear, Jul 23, 2010.

  1. RalphW

    RalphW Part of the furniture Staff Member Administrator Friend

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    Night before if possible!!! :shocked: you mean that you might raise steam in less than 12 hours, one answer I got on another forum was 36hrs, with no significant pressure appearing in the first 12 hours.
     
  2. stan the man

    stan the man New Member

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    Not only is it important to warm the boiler slowly but it should also be allowed to cool down as slowly as possible. The old fire should be left in, boiler filled and chimney top covered.

    I can never understand why people throw out the old fire, leave the dampers open and chimney uncovered especially when the ambient outside temperature is cold.

    Stan
     
  3. ADB968008

    ADB968008 Member Account Suspended

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    It may have changed now, but I recall one place where the crews would turn up 7am saturday morning, rapidly produce a fire ready for the 12pm train from cold.
     
  4. stan the man

    stan the man New Member

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    I pity their boilersmith!

    Stan
     
  5. ADB968008

    ADB968008 Member Account Suspended

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    I know an exBR man who used to do it.. to his own loco.. which now has a poor quality boiler and not much chance of restoration for sometime as a result... but he wasnt alone in this approach and they definitely fired several locomotives on several lines.

    I think it's one of them "life time experience" things where exBR crews always did it that way in the BR days when no one cared and steam was a plenty and no one saw who paid the bill... then in preservation they treated the locomotives in the exact same way they did on BR.. just from cold on a weekend as early as anyone dares get up.

    Now when the damage of weekend running is apparent and the cost is there for all to see... people are learning the better way of doing it.

    I'd imagine this happens on several preserved lines, though I'd like to believe the practice is dying out... i'd imagine it's not everywhere.


    I cant remember where I read it, but someone mentioned in Germany that steam locomotives even out of steam for service were fed with warm water to the boiler just to ensure the metal didnt contract and resettle badly... maybe thats something lines with only weekend running should consider as a possibility.. inconvienient to set up as it may be.
     
  6. jtx

    jtx Member

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    Friday morning, Ralph. I would be looking to have steam on it by the afternoon and to keep 60-80lbs on all night with a decent back end.
     
  7. baldric

    baldric New Member

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    Allowing for a FTR exam on the Friday I would suggest Thursday night is not uncommon.
     
  8. jtx

    jtx Member

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    Agreed, baldric. I forgot the FTR. Mind you, I'm not used to lighting up engines for mainline duties, which was, of course, what Ralph asked.
     
  9. RalphW

    RalphW Part of the furniture Staff Member Administrator Friend

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    OK so now just a bit more, he FTR, I would guess that this needs to be done at a reasonable pressure or does it actually invove a safety valve test?
     
  10. 46203

    46203 Member

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    After having checked that everything is okay with the firebox - have a space of about an inch at the top of the glass, and light up Thursday lunch-time with a warmer, (as it implies, a warmer is just to warm the box) On an LMS pacific there are three rows of firebars, the back row only offering a flat surface - front two are on a slope. Light up on the rear bars then when the fire has got a hold, use the rake to push the pile into the centre of the box - not easily done as it is now on the sloping section. Positioning the fire there ensures that the box warms evenly. Build that pile up and maintain as a warmer only. First thing Friday morning, (obviously no steam on guage) light again and manage fire by build and spread, to raise steam slowly, but to have about 200 - 210 on the guage by about 3 -4pm in order that everything will work ok for the FTR exam. After the exam, let the fire burn through and by Friday evening resort to maintaining a back on, and last thing Friday night, put a big back on (right up to firehole door). Between 4 and 5am (Sat) spread what is left of the fire and resort to build and spread again, up to a full grate, for the 7am start. That's how I did it for years with a 50 square ft box anyway.
     
  11. RalphW

    RalphW Part of the furniture Staff Member Administrator Friend

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    Thanks 46203, it's very interesting to note how some do seem to rush the job, but your method makes a real slow warm up, which would seem to be the best way with all that cold water and metal to bring round to working temp without causing undue stresses.
     
  12. aldfort

    aldfort Part of the furniture

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    Even today you don't always have the luxury of warming an loco as slowly as you might like. Gala's are notable for this. However the general rule is fill the boiler ASAP and get a warming fire in under the brick arch. Then heat through as slowly as possible so that you just hit the mark when you want to use the loco.

    My golden rules
    1) check for leaks in the firebox around stays and fusible plugs
    2) thin layer of coal where you want the fire to be
    3) thin layer of wood on the coal with some paraffin soaked rag mixed in (rags - only if loco is cold if warm better to omit)
    4) very thin layer of coal on the wood ( perhaps only a shovel full)
    5) wrap paraffin soaked rag around a length of wood, light the rag and place in the centre of the prepared fire.
    6) tend the fire depending on what you want it to do once it is well alight.
     
  13. 34007

    34007 New Member

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    As Aldfort has said! Pretty much that!

    Plus i'd like to add to check the Smokebox for any leaks.

    Layer the whole firebox with a layer of coal. Lay some wood around the box, with some lightly soaked in parafin. Light a rag or 2 with parafin and throw that in the middle of the firebox. (Get an even spread eventually)
    Put a shovelfull or a few on top of the area that is alight - Not to go OTT. Let that burn through and add coal as required.
     
  14. olly5764

    olly5764 Member

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    If it is fitted, don't forget to give the spark arrester a good rattle too, to ensure that it isn't blocked or about to fall off
     
  15. 1472

    1472 Well-Known Member

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    The FTR involves testing that everything, including the safety valves, functions correctly as well as checking that there are no loose bolts, broken springs etc.

    For the FTR exam to be properly carried out the loco needs to be in full steam as if ready to go.
     

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