How Steam Locomotives Really Work

How Steam Locomotives Really Work

3.97 (37 ratings by Goodreads)
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Following the pioneering work of Trevithick, Stephenson, and many others, steam locomotives continued to evolve and be refined until overtaken by diesel and electric traction technology. Although the last main-line steam service was operated by British Rail in 1968, there is still immense interest in steam traction, as demonstrated by the increasing numbers of privately renovated and preserved locomotives and heritage railways around the world. In How Steam Locomotives Really Work, the authors, both railway experts, cover the design of locomotives, the many processes in the conversion of fuel to tractive effort, the dynamic characteristics of the locomotive as a vehicle, the braking equipment, and a host of other systems, major and minor, that make up a working locomotive. They also explain the reasons for running and maintenance practices. Their explanations will fascinate enthusiasts, whether practical or armchair. Steam locomotive design may have started in the United Kingdom, but it quickly developed parallel and sometimes diverging techniques in other countries, leading to many distinct developments that contribute to the national characteristics of some locomotives.
The authors embrace this diversity, and railway enthusiasts from around the world will find this book engrossing and enlightening.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 368 pages
  • 127 x 190.5 x 20.32mm | 249.47g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • numerous halftones and line drawings
  • 0198607822
  • 9780198607823
  • 95,079

Table of contents

Introduction ; 1. Why use steam? ; 2. Burning the fuel ; 3. Raising steam ; 4. Using the steam ; 5. Transmitting the power ; 6. The locomotive as a vehicle ; 7. The steam locomotive at work ; 8. Brakes ; 9. Designing a steam locomotive ; Index
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Review quote

To enable train enthusiasts to understand the workings of the various types of engines in use, this book describes the anatomy and physiology of the steam train. It covers the design of the engine, the process of converting fuel into mechanical tractive effort to haul passenger and freight trains, the function and design of the various components of the engine, and the safe and efficient operation and maintenance of steam locomotives. Although the steam locomotive
originated in the United Kingdom, there were parallel lines of development in North America and Europe, and the individual features of these are also covered. * Mechanical Engineering * Excellent value for money. * Railnews * . . . a most worthy book at an attractive price for anyone interested in steam locomotive technology. * The Newcomen Society * Enthusiasts will be riveted. * Yorkshire Evening Press * . . . an excellent treatment of theory, practice and history . . . It will fascinate engineers and railway enthusiasts, as well as prove a source of interesting historical and technical teaching material. * New Scientist * This book is essential reading for anyone interested in the realities of steam traction. * Transport Digest * Review from previous edition ...if you are only buying one book for a steam railway enthusiast this Christmas, it has to be this one. * National Railway Museum Review *
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About A. J. Goldfinch

Peter Semmens was formerly Deputy Head of the highly popular National Railway Museum in York from 1974, and has been active for many years in the popularization of science and technology. He has written 33 books on trains and railways, and in 1990 he was appointed Chief Correspondent of The Railway Magazine, having written the monthly 'Railway Practice and Performance' for many years.

Alan Goldfinch was Chief Mechanical and Electrical Engineer, British Rail Eastern Region, until he retired in 1989.
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Rating details

37 ratings
3.97 out of 5 stars
5 27% (10)
4 46% (17)
3 24% (9)
2 3% (1)
1 0% (0)
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