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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 4, Issue 3 (July 1, 1929)

Modern Methods in Our Workshops — Firing of Locomotives

page 46

Modern Methods in Our Workshops
Firing of Locomotives

Now that the Department is, to a large extent, using fuel oil as a substitute for coal, in locomotive workshops, much of the old trouble associated, hitherto, with a smoke-laden atmosphere within the shops, has been eliminated.

Under the original conditions of working it was practically impossible to fire up locomotives, which had undergone repairs, without causing a great deal of inconvenience to the men working in the shop at the time.

This problem received particular attention, therefore, in the reorganisation of the workshops throughout New Zealand.

At Hillside workshops the installation of a device known as a “Smoke Jack,” now renders it possible to light up and steam locomotives and boilers within the shops without the creation of any smoke nuisance.

The “Smoke Jack” consists of two moveable jib-flues, each fitted with a telescopic hood to extend over the locomotive funnel. At the other end of the flue a motor-driven fan exhausts the smoke through the fluming, discharging it completely outside the shop. The jibs are so placed that they can reach the funnel of an engine or boiler placed on any one of the three roads set aside for testing locomotives.

Locomotive Ab 723 being steamed by means of the “Smoke Jack” during weighing operations at Hillside Workshops.

Locomotive Ab 723 being steamed by means of the “Smoke Jack” during weighing operations at Hillside Workshops.

Installed in one of these roads is the locomotive weighing machine (as described in the January, 1929, issue of the New Zealand Railways Magazine).

While an engine is being weighed, or is awaiting final adjustments, the jib is lowered on to the funnel and steam is raised in the boiler without any smoke interference.

Boilers requiring heating for testing purposes are also brought to one of these roads and fired up.

Due to the exhaust fan creating a vacuum in the smoke-box and thereby increasing the draft and shortening the time required for steaming purposes, the “Smoke Jack” proves a splendid time saver. The absence of the objectionable smoke allows the staff to proceed unhindered with the final stages of the repairing.

It is considered that, by the use of the “Smoke Jack,” in conjunction with the modern appliances installed for weighing and testing locomotives, a saving in time of fully 75 per cent. has been gained.

The above brief article gives an example of how, in the matter of economy of time in repairing locomotives, it is not only the major operations, but the details, that must be considered.