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 Post subject: Use of Fireless Locomotives in Museum Service
PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2017 4:09 pm 

Joined: Mon Sep 12, 2011 11:27 pm
Posts: 114
Location: Flat Rock, MI
So, here's a question that I have been mulling over for sometime. I know that there is atleast 1 museum, the Lake Shore Railway Museum, in Northeast, PA that can run their fireless steam locomotive on compressed air and there had been videos of said unit operational.

My question is (as there is still quite a few fireless steam locomotives out there and a couple looking for homes) would it be beneficial for a group that either cannot operate a full size steam locomotive, do to overhead costs, etc., to try and restore a fireless steam locomotive to run on air pressure and use it in excursion service, if is it just better to just bite the bullet and really do a full up restoration of a coal, oil, wood etc., fired steam locomotive?

Also, are they liable to the same regulations as fired steam locomotives, as far as federal regulations go?

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 Post subject: Re: Use of Fireless Locomotives in Museum Service
PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2017 4:23 pm 

Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2007 12:47 pm
Posts: 134
Location: Arizona
Iowa Pacific owns a fireless cooker and it is stored in Alamosa. The idea at one time was to fix it up and use it on a section of the Chicago Terminal had had an online industry with a large boiler plant. They could fill it up and charge the "pressure vessel".

This was back when IPH was going to have a steam locomotive at every operation to run on special occasions.

As expected, nothing came of that either.

I've always wondered how the FRA would deal with the......."pressure vessel" in a fireless locomotive as none of the boiler regs would apply. Now that I think about it, I wonder if any roads had a fireless gizmo under ICC/FRA jurisdiction.

Filling a fireless with compressed air would be pretty pointless, as it would run out of pressure pretty fast. You'd be no better off than pumping a conventional locomotive up with compressed air.


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 Post subject: Re: Use of Fireless Locomotives in Museum Service
PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2017 4:26 pm 

Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2011 12:07 pm
Posts: 1092
Location: Leicester, MA.
TrainWatcher wrote:
So, here's a question that I have been mulling over for sometime. I know that there is atleast 1 museum, the Lake Shore Railway Museum, in Northeast, PA that can run their fireless steam locomotive on compressed air and there had been videos of said unit operational.

My question is (as there is still quite a few fireless steam locomotives out there and a couple looking for homes) would it be beneficial for a group that either cannot operate a full size steam locomotive, do to overhead costs, etc., to try and restore a fireless steam locomotive to run on air pressure and use it in excursion service, if is it just better to just bite the bullet and really do a full up restoration of a coal, oil, wood etc., fired steam locomotive?

Also, are they liable to the same regulations as fired steam locomotives, as far as federal regulations go?


I don't know much on the regulation front, although you may have to still do a form 4 inspection because you're dealing with a pressure vessel (It's just a lot less complicated then a straight boiler). That being said I'd question the range that a fireless or CA locomotive could go before you need to refill it. It would be good for a yard hop, but I'd hate to be on the train when you ran out of pressure somewhere down the line away from the equipment to charge the storage vessel back up...

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 Post subject: Re: Use of Fireless Locomotives in Museum Service
PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2017 4:58 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 5:10 pm
Posts: 1088
Well, gee whiz. If a trolley museum can haul a generator along to provide power for the trolley when there is no trolley wire, why couldn't a compressor be loaded onto a flatcar to keep the air supply up on the fireless locomotive? (Ducks and runs away)


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 Post subject: Re: Use of Fireless Locomotives in Museum Service
PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2017 5:10 pm 

Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2011 12:07 pm
Posts: 1092
Location: Leicester, MA.
G. W. Laepple wrote:
Well, gee whiz. If a trolley museum can haul a generator along to provide power for the trolley when there is no trolley wire, why couldn't a compressor be loaded onto a flatcar to keep the air supply up on the fireless locomotive?

Image

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 Post subject: Re: Use of Fireless Locomotives in Museum Service
PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2017 5:31 pm 

Joined: Mon Jan 17, 2005 9:06 pm
Posts: 2363
Location: Thomaston & White Plains
C&O had some (3?) fireless 0-6-0s for use around the chemical plants near Charleston, WVa. They were probably in ICC jurisdiction.

Howard P.

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 Post subject: Re: Use of Fireless Locomotives in Museum Service
PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2017 6:13 pm 

Joined: Mon May 24, 2010 10:22 am
Posts: 540
Quote:
G. W. Laepple wrote:
Well, gee whiz. If a trolley museum can haul a generator along to provide power for the trolley when there is no trolley wire, why couldn't a compressor be loaded onto a flatcar to keep the air supply up on the fireless locomotive?


No, that's what the tender deck is for:

http://www.nprha.org/Stevenson%20Photo% ... 0-1405.jpg

-Hudson


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 Post subject: Re: Use of Fireless Locomotives in Museum Service
PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2017 6:33 pm 

Joined: Sat Aug 21, 2004 10:52 pm
Posts: 914
Hi,

Comments:

1) I seem to recall reading someplace that a fireless cooker could switch cars for about 5-6 hours. Can anyone confirm or alter this vague memory?

2) Running fireless cookers on compressed air might work for the loco itself but you would not be able to get a lot of work out of it. Steam can hold lot more energy while compressed air can not for the same volume. Basically the water molecules can vibrate faster and the density of the steam is higher (store more energy) than compressed air.

Instead of running a steamer on compressed air, I think it would be better to add a traction motor and use electricity. The Clinchfield used their 4-6-0 steamer with a diesel control stand to control the B unit(s) for their Santa Clause specials.

FWIW.

Doug vV


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 Post subject: Re: Use of Fireless Locomotives in Museum Service
PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2017 7:15 pm 

Joined: Fri Aug 20, 2010 8:25 pm
Posts: 376
We looked into this for an insular RR museum that had a fireless cooker from an electric utility power plant.

We did not look into FRA regs. Most fireless cookers were used in industrial situations and not interstate "common carrier" use. I would be interested if there are any FRA regs at all.

A fireless locomotive is an "Unfired Pressure Vessel" it gets a different stamp when built than a "Fired Pressure Vessel".

In New York State the PV law is some what ambiguous about unfired pressure vessels. In the beginning of the code it states something like "all PVs must be inspected as outlined in this code". Then there are specifics about required inspections for fired pressure vessels, but no specifics about unfired PVs.

My interpretation of the NY law was that an unfired PV gets inspected and stamped when built and that is all that is required.

They could work for many hours on a single charge. And as you use up the steam the pressure drops slowly so you have lots of warning about when to recharge.

The Germans had some crazy 1200 psi fireless cookers.

Cheers, Kevin.


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 Post subject: Re: Use of Fireless Locomotives in Museum Service
PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2017 8:17 pm 

Joined: Thu Nov 22, 2007 5:46 am
Posts: 2573
Location: S.F. Bay Area
G. W. Laepple wrote:
Well, gee whiz. If a trolley museum can haul a generator along to provide power for the trolley when there is no trolley wire, why couldn't a compressor be loaded onto a flatcar to keep the air supply up on the fireless locomotive? (Ducks and runs away)

Works for me. Power the compressor off the trolley wire.


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 Post subject: Re: Use of Fireless Locomotives in Museum Service
PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2017 8:25 pm 

Joined: Fri Jan 10, 2014 5:00 pm
Posts: 71
You need to understand that the pressure tank on a fireless steam locomotive is filled almost to the top with extremely hot water, not steam. As it runs, the water boils off as steam is used.

As far as an air compressor driven steam locomotive, there is a 1/8 scale 4-8-4 over on the "Discover Live Steam" website right now... The gasoline compressor rides on its own car.


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 Post subject: Re: Use of Fireless Locomotives in Museum Service
PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2017 8:45 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:41 am
Posts: 3725
Location: Inwood, W.Va.
Howard P. wrote:
C&O had some (3?) fireless 0-6-0s for use around the chemical plants near Charleston, WVa. They were probably in ICC jurisdiction.

Howard P.


C&O indeed did have three engines, all postwar 0-6-0s by Porter; this photograph of one of them on trackage near the bridge over the Kanawha River would suggest they were indeed under ICC jurisdiction.

http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/showPi ... ?id=801615

Santa Fe had one, built by Baldwin in 1924 and used in the Dallas area until 1948:

http://donsdepot.donrossgroup.net/dr488.htm

http://donsdepot.donrossgroup.net/dr0001/misc196.jpg

What may be the only "main line" fireless engine to survive would be the S2, originally built for a tie treating plant on the Great Northern, and surviving in service into Burlington Northern days.

http://trn.trains.com/news/news-wire/20 ... ve-shelter


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 Post subject: Re: Use of Fireless Locomotives in Museum Service
PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2017 9:13 pm 

Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2011 4:29 pm
Posts: 1519
Location: Youngstown, OH
Another option to consider would be using a stationary package boiler as the steam source to charge a fireless locomotive. Package boilers are usually nat gas or oil fired and have automatic controls. Conceivably one could start the package boiler on a Friday, couple steam line into the fireless tank that is already 2/3 filled with water then go home. When starting cold as the steam passes into the cold water of the fireless, it condenses and creates a demand for more steam. But once the vessel full of water reaches about 366 degrees, the demand for steam stops and the package boiler just maintains that temperature. The next morning you shut off the package boiler, disconnect the steam line and you are good to go.

The advantages of this are many. Package boilers are relatively cheap to purchase. They are very common, require no constant human attention and do not require 1472 day inspections. The fireless could chuff around the museum grounds for hours on a charge, giving the impression of a steam locomotive but not requiring as much work to operate it. These locomotives were not designed to operate for long distances as that would deplete the steam supply rapidly. There is a big difference between shuffling a few cars here and there and a headlong run down a branch line for 5 or 10 miles at 15 mph.

Many fireless locos were designed to run on a charge from a 150 psi boiler. I just sold a package boiler that I had for years but never used. It would have been large enough to charge a small fireless over a period of several hours. With all the fireless locos out there, I am surprised that nobody has tried this yet.

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 Post subject: Re: Use of Fireless Locomotives in Museum Service
PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2017 10:07 pm 

Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2014 5:05 pm
Posts: 1096
To charge a fireless loco you first fill the tank with water. The you bubble steam through the water to get the temp and pressure up to the desired level. Check your steam charts for the temps. The pressure was reduced between the tank and the cylinders so power did not drop with the tank pressure.


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 Post subject: Re: Use of Fireless Locomotives in Museum Service
PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2017 10:28 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 9:18 am
Posts: 622
Location: Wall, NJ
Having owned and operated a fireless on air I can add a few comments. Our little 1930 Porter 7 tonner could reportedly run for upwards of 4 hours on a 150psi charge which, as has been pointed out, was mostly hot water. From the documentation I had, water was added first, then steam applied from the bottom of the tank, or receiver as some would call it. Ours had a long pipe that ran the length of the tank, on the inside, which allowed the steam to rise through the water along the length of the tank. Best described as a giant farting sound which went on for 20-30 minutes. Advertising literature during WWII indicated that even a woman could operate it, really referring to the idea that while men were off to war, an untrained person could run the fireless – no fire to maintain, no water to manage.

You will notice that a fireless will have a Johnson bar quadrant with 50 or so notches, versus the usual dozen or so found on a conventional locomotive of similar size. Careful management of the valve gear extended the run time.

So, on steam, our 7 tonner was expected to run about 4 hours. We ran it on air on a regular basis, on a private line so no pesky inspectors, and it would last perhaps 30 minutes max. Interestingly, it was volume that made it move, not so much the pressure. Even at 5psi, it would move along, up grade, and you could hear the air move through the pipe work.

Could it tow an air compressor? The beauty of any steam locomotive is the sound, and a fireless is no exception. Ours was fairly quiet, having a neat chuff rather than a chug. Drifting in particular I found interesting as the drifting valves were built into the top of the slide valve, allowing the cylinders to breath back in through the exhaust pipes. Keep in mind there is no soot, so not a big deal to breath on down the exhaust pipes. Those valves would make a very cool chattering sound. Hauling a noisy compressor would ruin the experience in my mind.

Where a fireless would be useful, assuming the regs and such allow for it, would be on a short demonstration run, again in a yard environment perhaps, where after a couple of runs the tank could be charged off a track side compressor. One would have to consider brakes. Ours had only a hand brake. Many rely on steam or even air brakes. Throwing the Johnson bar into reverse works poorly if there is no air in the tank.

Here’s a shot of our engine in operation back in 2010. Its now at the fledgling Arizona State RR Museum. The video was taken in NJ.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1eksTQLF19c

Hope this helps a little.
J.R. May


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