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 Post subject: Re: Durango & Silverton to Experiment with Oil Firing
PostPosted: Sat Jul 07, 2018 2:42 pm 

Joined: Wed Aug 25, 2004 11:16 am
Posts: 623
The SP firing manual calls for a light haze. Why did the SP not call for a steam locomotive to be fired "properly"? That's because with a clear stack you may have complete combustion or you may do other damage to the boiler with cool air. By having a light haze you cover the firebox with even heat and do not form ozone.
I know of someone firing in Cuba where the only way to get steam was with black stack. And this person was on the initial GCOR rules committee and fired 786. The locomotives at GCR and worked on several other locomotives including 261. A picture may be worth a 1000 words but do those words tell you the story of what is going on?

Robby Peartree


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 Post subject: Re: Durango & Silverton to Experiment with Oil Firing
PostPosted: Sat Jul 07, 2018 6:29 pm 

Joined: Fri Jul 24, 2009 5:51 pm
Posts: 93
WVNorthern wrote:
"Burns clean" isn't exactly what most railfans are seeking. Oil burners still produce a nice smoke trail for those foamer photos.


I don't consider myself a "railfan", but I am a serious enthusiast photographer who shoots steam locomotives frequently, mostly on expensive charters (which make money for the RR.) At least in the camp of folks I hang with, we're not typically looking for the burning of Rome. In fact, asking for such can backfire big-time, depending on the wind conditions. No, generally we're just looking for some visible exhaust, for two reasons:

1. Some of us shoot landscapes that include a steam engine, and a visible exhaust helps lead the viewer's eyes to the main subject matter.

2. Believe it or don't, most of the folks who purchase photos of steam locomotives don't know anything about proper firing technique. They just assume that steam engines smoke and therefore, they expect visible exhaust. I've seen beautiful, clean stack images taken by good friends that were considered for calendars and such, and then rejected by the publisher for a lack of visible exhaust.....in other words, the publisher believed the image wouldn't sell because the steam engine didn't look like it was working hard enough.

Honestly, when my charter is en route between stops, I'd prefer a completely clean stack. I wear contact lenses and have had to visit an ophthalmologist to have a very irritating locomotive cinder removed from one of my eyes. I'm fast becoming a fan of oil firing. :o)

/Kevin Madore


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 Post subject: Re: Durango & Silverton to Experiment with Oil Firing
PostPosted: Sat Jul 07, 2018 6:42 pm 

Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2005 9:34 pm
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Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Photoshop?

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 Post subject: Re: Durango & Silverton to Experiment with Oil Firing
PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2018 3:38 pm 

Joined: Sat Sep 04, 2004 10:54 am
Posts: 789
Location: Tucson, Arizona
When I was living in Chattanooga and working for TVRM, our engine crews were required to maintain a clean stack when operating the steam locomotives. Chattanooga has very strict air quality regulations. TVRM had to obtain a special variance from the local air pollution control board to operate the steam locomotives and, to my knowledge, is still required to maintain that variance to run steam. The only time you could emit black smoke was when it was unavoidable-ie. building up your fire before departure. Once the fire was built up, the fireman was to adjust the blower to clean the stack.

The reason that Chattanooga has such strict air quality regs is that at one time, it had the worst air quality in the South and some of the worst air quality in the country. Our air pollution control board had regulatory authority to deal with polluters and had legal authority to fine offenders or shut them down.

Funniest smoke related thing I ever saw on the railroad was the smoke rings that one of our RSD-1s would blow when you started it up. I forget which one it was-8677 or 8669. If it was a cold day, it would ALWAYS blow smoke rings when you first started it.

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 Post subject: Re: Durango & Silverton to Experiment with Oil Firing
PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2018 5:07 pm 

Joined: Sun Sep 05, 2004 9:48 am
Posts: 542
Location: Byers, Colorado
The SP called for a light grey haze because that represents your hottest fire, which gives the best fuel economy. A little more atomizer will give a clear stack, but it cools your fire because you're adding water (in the form of steam) to the fire. It means you're actually wasting fuel, but most of us do it that way unless we get behind on steam or water.

The engines in Cuba were mostly suffering from old age, I wouldn't judge oil firing technique on that basis. Leaky tubes, for instance will require checking the box on the trip report "La maquina hace Demasaido humo" (The engine makes too much smoke).

Smoke can be made deliberately by cutting back on the atomizer. I usually ask the fireman to make just enough smoke to be seen when I'm taking pictures. The fashion of taking steam fotos with the nastiest looking smoke has spread the idea that steam power is dirty world wide. That has resulted in many needless problems for steam operators world wide, and resulted in less steam operations.

I'll just say this (even though nobody listens to me anyway): More technical and more interesting doesn't mean it's better. The Germans have an oil firing system (not the Sulzer type Dave mentioned) that is way more complicated than ours, with 4 or 5 times the number of gadgets and gauges that we typically use. Now, I LOVE German steam, but in fact, their system does the same thing that ours does, with perhaps a marginal improvement in fuel economy under ideal conditions. When operated by inexperienced men, it screws up the same way our system does.

You have successful oil burning installations on engines of very similar design and size to the D&S power. If you copy it, you'll get a very satisfactory result, quickly. (But don't copy it on an engine with a long, keyhole firebox. THOSE DO BETTER ON COAL.)

Please note, you can still start fires with oil fired steam power, all it takes is a little misadjustment, and some fresh pine needles on the track.

Please note, DIESELS can also start fires, it happened at Royal Gorge a few years ago.

I'd suggest compressed air, or maybe put a heating element in the firebox, and a storage battery in the tender...

That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

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 Post subject: Re: Durango & Silverton to Experiment with Oil Firing
PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2018 12:52 am 

Joined: Wed Aug 25, 2004 11:16 am
Posts: 623
https://books.google.com/books?id=Fxc9A ... al&f=false

Please scroll up for the start of the article,

Robby Peartree


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 Post subject: Re: Durango & Silverton to Experiment with Oil Firing
PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2018 4:47 am 
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Location: Alberta, Canada
QJdriver wrote:
maybe put a heating element in the firebox

Switzerland tried that during WWII, when coal was hard to obtain:

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_IPZX1n_gnIM/S ... elec5a.jpg

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 Post subject: Re: Durango & Silverton to Experiment with Oil Firing
PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2018 9:04 am 

Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2005 9:34 pm
Posts: 2159
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
SD70dude wrote:
QJdriver wrote:
maybe put a heating element in the firebox

Switzerland tried that during WWII, when coal was hard to obtain:

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_IPZX1n_gnIM/S ... elec5a.jpg


He's not kidding. It's really true. They had lots of hydro power and no fossil fuels, so this allowed a fireless type operation on industrial tracks.

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 Post subject: Re: Durango & Silverton to Experiment with Oil Firing
PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2018 12:00 pm 

Joined: Fri Jul 24, 2009 5:51 pm
Posts: 93
Alan Walker wrote:
When I was living in Chattanooga and working for TVRM, our engine crews were required to maintain a clean stack when operating the steam locomotives. Chattanooga has very strict air quality regulations. TVRM had to obtain a special variance from the local air pollution control board to operate the steam locomotives and, to my knowledge, is still required to maintain that variance to run steam. The only time you could emit black smoke was when it was unavoidable-ie. building up your fire before departure. Once the fire was built up, the fireman was to adjust the blower to clean the stack.


Interesting comment. I've been down there twice in the last year. Once last fall to observe one of the Summerville double-headers and again this spring for a special photo charter, in which I was a participant. If that sort of limitation had been in effect, I can't imagine that the charter organizer and the museum crews would have deliberately violated procedure. Nobody mentioned any sort of limitation like this and we did get smoke on most of the runbys. On last fall's Summerville trip, dark smoke was observed most of the time, and big-time on the climb at Missionary Ridge.

This image was taken on a residential street during the Summerville trip in Rossville, just south of the TN line. Perhaps there are no restrictions there??

http://www.railpictures.net/photo/644249/

/Kevin Madore


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 Post subject: Re: Durango & Silverton to Experiment with Oil Firing
PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2018 12:43 pm 

Joined: Fri Jun 20, 2014 6:26 am
Posts: 45
In the event of wreck a large quantity of propane is a great hazard.
Here is link to one case where a train collided with a propane truck:

https://www.upi.com/Archives/1986/07/02 ... 520660800/

I saw the results of a similar wreck as a youth, it left very big smoldering mess.


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 Post subject: Re: Durango & Silverton to Experiment with Oil Firing
PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2018 5:10 pm 

Joined: Sun Sep 05, 2004 9:48 am
Posts: 542
Location: Byers, Colorado
Thanks for posting the SP firing article. (By the way, if you read all the articles, you will find a discussion of college trained railroaders. Veeery interesting.)

I'd say it's all good, but I debate the bit about losses from too much air being three times greater than losses from too much fuel. I guess it depends on how much is too much of either, BUT in my experience the guys who make the most smoke use the most fuel.

At Texas State RR (not exactly the end all and be all of the railroad world, granted) we used a combination of the horizontal and vertical drafting. Burning off road diesel, and keeping a clear stack as much as possible, we had no leaking flues or staybolts from "too much air".

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 Post subject: Re: Durango & Silverton to Experiment with Oil Firing
PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2018 8:57 pm 

Joined: Sun Sep 05, 2004 9:48 am
Posts: 542
Location: Byers, Colorado
OK, All you expert oil firemen out there, TELL ME.

So, the cause of a clear stack is "too much air" according to SP. How many times have you had your fire all set, making a light grey haze. Then, you decide to clean it up, which you do by turning up the atomizer maybe a quarter turn (of course it depends on the engine). Bingo, you got a clear stack --- what I don't get is how that suddenly makes "too much air" in your fire. You haven't changed the amount of air being admitted to the fire, only added a little water (in the form of steam) to it.

At any rate, maybe we averaged 5 gallons of fuel per mile. Keeping a clear stack didn't seem to result in high consumption, but firing with a lot of BLACK SMOKE did. Generally, if you can't make steam without making BLACK SMOKE, you're either going about it all wrong, or the engine is set up wrong or not being maintained well.

Most of these old books are mostly pretty good, but there ARE some misconceptions in some of them. One that has gotten a lot of mileage is the bit about starting your fire by opening the firing valve, when it is far better to do it with the atomizer. My books from CB&Q and IGN (MP) both say to use the firing valve. I think that SP got it right (seems like I saw it in a T&NO book) on this one --- they say to set everything up, open your firing valve until fuel begins to drip from the burner, then shut the door and open the atomizer.

Another good one is: Never light your fire off hot brickwork. Ain't so, the best way to relight a fire that was going fine, but suddenly goes out, is to cut off your atomizer for a few seconds and then turn it back on. Who out there does it this way ???

"The rules weren't made to work by, they were made to fire you by" --- Don Smith, former Local Representative of the D&RGW switchman's local

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