Re: Steam engine question

David Pressley

One of the highlights of my 'railfan life' was in July 2005 when I made a 'donation' to the locomotive preservation fund at the Nevada Northern Railway Museum in Ely, NV and got to run locomotive #93, a 1909 Alco 2-8-0 on a 14-mile roundtrip to Keystone, NV and back. Of course this was with a brief training before getting into the cab and everything I did was under the watchful eyes of Al, a veteran engineer who stood over my left shoulder for the entire 90 minutes or so the trip took. Al also took the throttle to run the locomotive through the wye at Keystone while I stood and watched.
The outbound trip was all upgrade and the locomotive had a GPS device in the cab to indicate speed. I had been instructed not to exceed 18 mph so aside from blowing the whistle wherever neccessary, I fell into a pattern of constantly making slight adjustments with my left hand on the throttle trying to keep that sucker pegged right at 16 or 17 mph.
About halfway up the hill I became aware that every time I moved the throttle, the fireman (a 20-something year old young man) hopped up and twisted some knobs above the firebox. About 10 seconds after I had processed this for myself, Al says "Have you noticed that your fireman has to react and adjust the water pressure every time you touch the throttle? You should only touch that throttle to back off when you hit 18 mph going uphill. Going 15 is OK. Going 12 is OK. The locomotive will do most of the work for you without you having to keep making your fireman hop around so much."
Lesson noted.
By comparison downgrade was boring. I notched the throttle once to start the locomotive and then had to tap the airbrake about once every 45 seconds to keep it under control.
Man.....what a day. I'm gonna do that again sometime.

Sent: Sunday, February 5, 2012 10:14 PM
Subject: Re: [Tweetsie] Steam engine question

Water delivered from tender to boiler by steam injector. Fireman is
usually responsible for that as well overseen by engineer. On coal burners
if fireman is busy shoveling, head brakeman might operate the injector as
directed and finally engineeer would depending on situation. Under all
circumstances, the engineer is the final responsible party.
Richard Benton
Locomotive Engineer-Retired

On Sun, Feb 5, 2012 at 6:48 PM, dick merrill <> wrote:


I know the fireman gets the coal from the tender to the firebox but how
the water in the tender get to the engine and who is in charge of it.

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