NW-Mailing-List Digest, Vol 149, Issue 29
NW Mailing List
nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Wed Jul 26 13:30:03 EDT 2017
Thanks for the clarification re the Big Boy. That is re-assuring.
The problem of ash disposal was an Achilles heel for steam traction. Some of the steam sheds where steam hung here on in the mid-1960s were just awful places. Staff recruitment and retention was a major issue. There was an abortive attempt to move to oil firing here in the immediate post war period but it was badly conceived and implemented. The case for traction not dogged with this sort of issue was thereby obviously reinforced.
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Sent: Wednesday, July 26, 2017 2:23 PM
To: nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Subject: Re: NW-Mailing-List Digest, Vol 149, Issue 29
Per your note you state and ask:
I think the UP tried oil firing on one of the Big Boys but this created problems with leakages inside the firebox as a result of the intensity of the fire. It seems to be less of a problem with the Challenger and 844/8444. I?m not sure what the firing intentions are with the Big Boy which is being re-commissioned.
Regards Phil Mortimer
As of late 2016 the UP stated that Big Boy #4014 is going to use oil. The stoker and the large grate will be removed and replaced with an oil conversion apparatus. The fireman will use control valves to precisely regulate oil. I imagine they will remove the stoker control valves.
Obviously the tender will need to be converted to hold oil and tubing/piping installed between engine and tender.
I cannot find any later info but would imagine that plan would hold.
Big Boys burned 28 tons of coal in a matter of hours. That produces a lot of ash and cinder. With an oil burner, the locomotive doesn’t produce that kind of debris. Also, eliminates having to have coal and ash facilities where it runs. That would be very expensive and burdensome.
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