Behind a well organized special train, and the working of a steam locomotive there are a few precautions necessaries, most unique to this kind of rolling stock.
This page will show you some of the current operations during the run of a train, that in old days was daily, and now are quite rare.
Again as in all other pages of this serie if you click on an image you
could get the same image at an higher resolution.
This page is self optimizing for resolution, if you want to see the image at optimal resolution right click on them
All pictures, unless otherwise noted have been shot during the special
trains on 9-10 january 1999 in the station of Borgo S. Lorenzo.
These are first components of a steam train: The engineers ....
Along the trip engineers at every stop went down to care their locomotive.
Steam Engineer Have a different tool box than the other ones ...
Their tool box is actually a large one, with heavy instruments, hammers , oiler, wrenches.
The box on a 740, as the one above is about 60x60x120 cm ...
By comparision, -althougth not officially- some one told that standard tool kit for a modern electric locomotive (other told that apply also to diesel on some railways) is composed of a phone (To call help in case of any problem) and a pocket calculator (to compute the minutes one have to remain "on the road" to get extra time paid). Troubleshooting manual is facoltative.
Of course since engineer driving such special trains are all volunteers, they make also a question of honour to take home their locomotive, and before asking a reserve, expecially on line. Once an engineer of such special trains hang out the locomotive continuously oiling a faulty bearing, just to carry back home the locomotive.
In our train we had two locomotive, one coming from Firenze, and another from Bologna.
I noticed that the maintenance by the team from Bologna, that had the 740.143, the most powerful locomotive in the consist, was done mostly on intermediate stops, while the team of Firenze did it mostly during the stops at end of line, while watering.
It could have however to do with the fact the the 625.142 locomotive
from Firenze was a bit "low on boiler" ( It will receive a major
overhaul at beginning of 2000 after the completion of works on the 685
Job for engineers do not end when the train is arrived, fire must be kept running (movie avilable) and current maintenance have to be done.
Of course the fact that they are running on machines 88 and 86 years old does not help a lot ... But also an hammer help a lot (Siderods on these loomotives are fixed to wheels by wedges and not by screws, so a periodic adjustment is necessary.
Can someone tell us why this is done ? the reply come to me by Roger Samuels:
The rod brasses take a lot of pounding. If the wedges were fixed byscrews then once they reach there limit of wear they would need to bereplaced. If they are adjustable, they can be adjusted up to proper fitand last a lot longer.
Locomotives are decoupled from the train and carried under the water
columns. Usually these apparates were at end of Platform, so a throught
train could be refilled without removing locomotive. Eventually there devices
began to "fail".
I wondered how a water column could fail, if not leaking water, but was explaind me that could be severe losses in the pipes of adduction, and since changing such pipe is not a very simple works, given the limited use, just few times a year, if not unusead at all, these devices are left in their bad state.
The day we were at Borgo S.Lorenzo only one of the two column looked to be in working state so it was necessary to move the locomotive back.
In picture abore right you see the "Trow" of the water arm to the engineer above the tender.
In the case of the train of 9/1 that hat to continue to Rimorelli a different approach was done (Picture below), since one of the locomotives had to be put on back of the train, while the band played was refilled. (Click to download an image at a greater resolution)
According the engineers however even this column did not worked, since gave too little water (I am not an expert: what they would expect ?) ... In fact on second trip of 10/1 they did a different thing .. (click on this link to see).
When the train come back from Rimorelli both locomotives were detached and carried to platform for turning.
This was the move to the platform, with firemen standing on the tender while train was moving ....
And also public moved too toward the Platform.
Move toward the platform of locomotive at first was fast ... but then
Putting the locomotive on the platform, a 18 m platform built in 1883
(placed here in 1993 for the hundredth anniversary of the line) , was another
thing ..... Look at the picture below on right how much space is available.
Consider also the flanges thickness ...
(sidenote: a modeler could not reproduce in exact scale this platform since the largest locomotive that could be turned on original (The 740) could not be turned on the model due the larger flange on models ...).
This platform use a a pneumatic engine. As you can see on picture on right a pipe is coupled to brake line on the locomotive, so it is the locomotive itself that power the platform. The engineer have an hand on a brake to lock the platform exactly on the track. In the large picture above you can see the pneumatic motor
It is interesting to hear the duet between the compressor on the locomotive,
and the motor on the platform
Click here to download the movie. I recommend to keep the volume high.
(740.142 on Borgo s. Lorenzo platofrm, click on image for a copy at higher resolution) below is a particular of the compressor.
While one of the locomotive were turned the other was serviced. You cn click on any of the images below to get one at higher resolution.
The first image is for the 740, the other for the 625.
Beside watering and turning the locomotive also were cleaned ashes.Nest shot is just the first ash thrown out of the locomotive while is watered and oiled at the same time.
People looked astonished at that smoking ashes, thown between the rails ... while the locomotive went to the head of the train
During these operations of course smoke continue to burn, nursed by a fireaman
Train is almost ready .. Oiling also the most recessed part
Locomiteves head to head ...
Particular of the 625, that have been a little in shadow in these images
Also two particular of the much easier turning of the 625. In The first image you can see the engineer coupling the pipe to the locomotive.
During the last trip some problems arose, apart for the not fully satisfactory
working of water pipes in station.
Firenze team choose to fix it on open air, Observe also the level of coal, if you compare against the image at right, 2.5 trips before.
Team of Bologn instead choose to do their maintenance (Click on picture
to see the panoramic view) inside the shed.
This is the original one of 1890, still retaining the detached roof to allow smoke to exit out of the building.
Apart the new platform on track 3, built 3 years ago, and signls the station retain most of the aspect it had when the lne was opened more than 100 years ago.
This was the last trip for the event.
Nice to see you again ...
Page ©1999 by Leonardo Boselli - firstname.lastname@example.org