5637 STEAM


Footplate Crews’ Duties and Responsibilities



No person may undertake footplate duties on the footplate of 5637 until they have been properly trained as either a Driver or Fireman. Both the Driver and Fireman must have successfully passed theoretical and practical examinations on the locomotive and all its systems. The level of these examinations will be determined by the 5637SLG, their advisors and the host railway’s Locomotive Superintendent or a person of similar authority.


The rostered Duty Driver is the responsible person in charge of the locomotive.


The Driver


Shall satisfy himself that all safety precautions are being observed at all times during his period of duty and that before entering the motion or going under the engine, the HANDBRAKE is ON, the cylinder drain cocks are in the open position, the Regulator is closed and the Reversing Lever is in mid-gear.


Shall read and observe all current notices, obtain any working instructions and any special instructions affecting 5637 or the running of the train.


Shall ensure that the Fireman is correctly attending to his duties.


Shall test the boiler water level for correct and safe levels and safe operation of the water gauge glass cocks.


Shall satisfy himself that within the firebox, the fusible plugs, tubes and stays are not leaking steam/water and that all the firebars and brickarch are in good order.


Shall satisfy himself that the injectors, the sanding gear, the steam heating system, whistles and the vacuum brake system are all in good working order.


Shall ensure that the locomotive and all its working parts are properly lubricated with the correct lubricant. Only superheater oil is to be used as cylinder lubricant. Refer to the Lubrication Procedure.


Shall, whilst carrying out the lubrication of the locomotive also inspect the working parts for any defects.


Shall report any defects found during his acceptance, lubrication and inspection of the engine. All defects must be entered in the LOCOMOTIVE  MAINTENANCE LOG. If considered urgent a defect must be reported to the 5637SLG or the Locomotive Superintendent immediately.


Shall ensure that the locomotive has enough coal and water for the duty ahead.


Shall have with him, a full set of locomotive lamps, a set of tools, red and green flags and detonators (if the latter are deemed necessary).


Shall ensure that the locomotive displays the correct lamps at all times.


Shall ensure that the locomotive is correctly coupled to the train with the screw coupling, vacuum pipes and steam heating pipes.


Shall observe and obey all signals.


Shall keep a good lookout at all times, be fully aware of his and the locomotive’s circumstances. Ensure that the Fireman also keeps a good lookout.


Shall stop and start the locomotive and train safely with due regard to the weather, speed, size of train, day/night and rail condition.


Shall endeavour at all times to operate the locomotive in the most efficient and economical manner consistent with the work being performed, by good use of the Regulator and Reversing Gear.


Photo: Paul Lockley
The Water Level Gauge Glass


The Fireman


Shall on arriving at the engine ensure that the HANDBRAKE is ON.


Shall ensure that there is sufficient water showing in the boiler water level gauge glass. A minimum of one inch (1”) is required to be on show in the glass tube. The level is to be tested for accuracy by operating the water level gauge glass cocks.


Shall observe and obey all safety precautions and the Driver’s instructions.


Shall report any defects or problems to the Driver.


Prior to laying a fire on the grate, the Fireman must examine the firebox stays, tubes ends, firebars, brickarch  and fusible plugs ensuring that they are all in good condition and showing no signs of leakage.


Before lighting the fire, the Fireman will ensure that the firebox is empty and the firebars are clean.


Whilst examining the smokebox, check for any signs of leaks or other defects. Ensure that the smokebox door is tightly secured shut.


Shall prepare and light the fire.


Shall ensure that the firebox air deflector plate is in good condition, is out of the firebox whilst the fire is being lit and prepared. To be refitted when there is sufficient steam pressure to operate the blower.


Once the blower is operating the Fireman shall clean out the smokebox.


Shall ensure that the lower firehole protection ring is serviceable and in position.


Shall ensure that the firebox ashpan dampers are fully operational and in good condition.


After any use of the blowdown vale and before moving off the Fireman shall clean out the ashpan.


Ensure that there is sufficient coal and water on the locomotive to enable steam to be raised to a working pressure.


Shall ensure that at all times, a full complement of fireman’s equipment is on the locomotive. This must include a firing shovel, a brush, a clinker shovel, a poker, and a dart, all to be in good condition.


Shall keep the footplate clean and tidy at all times.


Shall maintain a fire commensurate with the type of work expected from the engine. The fire is to be kept in good condition, with efficient burning of the coal, no black smoke.


Shall maintain the boiler pressure between 160 and 190 psi. It is permissible to lift the safety valves once during the working day to check they work at the correct pressure (200psi). To be confirmed by the boiler pressure gauge.


Shall in the absence of a shunter, couple/uncouple the locomotive to/from the train, ensuring that the screw coupling and vacuum pipes are correctly fitted. Fit the steam heating pipes as required in inclement weather (if instructed by the driver)


Shall, when the engine is working, assist the driver in keeping a good lookout, being aware of both the locomotive’s and his circumstances at all times.


Shall be prepared, in a case of emergency and in the absence of the driver take control of the locomotive and bring it to a safe halt in a safe place.

Photo: Jim Cobb
Fireman Linda Cowen on the footplate




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