• Fireless steam Locomotives

  • Discussion of steam locomotives from all manufacturers and railroads
Discussion of steam locomotives from all manufacturers and railroads

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  by BobLI
I ran across an article about fireless steam locomotives and how they were able to run over 2 or mor hours on one charge of steam/water.
How rare were these speciality locomotives?
  by v8interceptor
They were fairly common in industrial switching applications particularly in industries that generated a lot of excess steam in their processes and especially in plants that made highly flammable products like chemicals and explosives.
The last standard gauge steam locomotives in service on a Class 1 carrier in the U.S were C&O fireless switchers that worked a chemical complex in West Virginia all the way into the mid 1960's.
Even more interesting is that there are still a few fireless "cookers" working industrial operations in the former East Germany;the East German locomotive industry was still building them all the way up to the fall of the Berlin Wall..
http://www.dlm-ag.ch/en/news/175-vorfue ... haffhausen
  by Aa3rt
A previous thread with a good discussion of fireless locomotives: viewtopic.php?t=10030
  by Steffen
Well, here in Germany fireless steam locomotives are not that rare.
Usually papermills, chemistry yards and oil refinery yards operated fireless steam locomotives, as some power plants used fireless steam locomotives. All have comparable services to do, which was shunting trains and carriage in the yard, as well as the had local steam plants and thus steam in abundance.
Also fireless steam locomotives exhibit a zero danger for setting things on fire, as have no sparks or carry a fire-supporting agent, like any fuel.

So even in areas with highest explosion protection, the fireless locomotive exhibits the lowest possible danger, like dealing with ammonia and methane gases...

Usually the fireless steamer will get a load of very hot, pressurized water. Water unter pressure will have a high heat accumulation, so with 16 bar or pressure the water has a temperature of over 200° C. So you fill the locomotive with this and the first amounts will evaporate into the container as steam, and because of more and more entering the tank, it will get more and more water pressed into the tank, making it to at least 1/3 steam of the given pressure of the filling line, and 2/3 will be pressurized water from the filling line.
Usually about 3 to 5 Cubic meters of water will be filled, making the locomotive able to run between 2 and 5 hours, depending on the load and task to do.

If the engineer will open the throttle, steam will be taken from the tank/container, and the pressure will drop a little, this will cause evaporation from the water, till the pressure of steam and water is level again.
So usually the locomotives can often have a water level of only 1/8 of the glass left and usually 2 bar pressure left, which is enough to go to the next filling station. Here a blowdown valve is opened, to drain the tank of the leftover, but cool pressurized water, which will flush out by itself. And because it's only water, there is no harm for the environment, so you can flush it nearly anywhere.
Next a steam filling line is connected to the locomotive, these were hoses or pipes with joints, having a quick mount flange to couple the tank to the line.
Next the boiler will be flushed and preheated with a little steam, then the flush valve at the locomotive will be closed. Now the filling valve is opened completely and the tank is filled by a filling control system, which will fill the tank automatically.
This will take 15 minutes to 45 minutes - and as long as the locomotive is not need, the locomotive will be stay at the steam line, just keeping the pressure and heat inside the insulated tank - allways ready for task when ever need.

The locomotive is driven like any other steam locomotive, except, there is no fireman, no safety valves, no firedoors... and the locomotive is usually cooler and misses the smell of burning fuel...

Fireless locomotives are very powerful at low speed and a 0-2-0 can easy pull 200 tons at level at slow speeds. They run very silent, because usually have no need for exhaust blast systems, because need no draught ... So they miss the typical sound and usually drive nearly noiseless, which makes them likely to get overheared in operation, so some get a marching bell, ringing as the gears move or by a striker at a wheel, just to make acoustic noise on moves...
In Germany, usually two persons operated: The shunter, which coupled, do the switches and called the engineer distances and directions - and the engineer, who operated the locomotive.
So because of the shunter, who overviewed the actions also was a person of safety, warning people of the moving train, or striking an air horn to warn people on the way... the locomotives itself were often equipped wth air driven bells and steam whistles.