The Craft of the Fireman (Silver Link)

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The driver of a steam locomotive is a highly-skilled position, but no matter how good a driver may be, he cannot produce a top performance without an equally skilled fireman. Drivers often receive much of the credit, but they recognise that it is essentially a team effort. Experienced locomotive fireman, Trevor Matthews, takes a look at the role of the fireman and describes exactly what is required to achieve the elusive goal of perfect boiler management.

How to avoid black smoke, how to avoid running short of steam and how to avoid the wasteful blowing off of excess steam are just some of the essential skills covered in depth in The Craft of The Fireman. The book also looks at subjects from types of coal, shovels and firehole doors, to the perfect firing bed, firing technique and efficient use of injectors. It reveals how the fireman must constantly monitor steam pressure, boiler water level and the chimney top in order to make adjustments to damper opening, firebed depth, secondary air and use of the injector.

The author’s intention is to motivate experienced firemen to endeavour to improve their performance on each successive firing turn, to inspire and educate newcomers to the craft, and to enlighten the casual observer or enthusiast who might be misled into thinking that firing a steam locomotive simply involves shovelling coal into a firebox. 96 pages. Illustrated in colour.

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