East Somerset Railway's
Operating Instructions

5637 STEAM


Filling or Topping Up the Boiler

5637 is equipped with a firehose attachment on the driver’s side injector overflow pipe. To top up the boiler, simply attach a firehose and turn on. Water should enter the boiler via the top feed. You may need to open the regulator to let the displaced air out of the boiler. There should be no need to remove any boiler plugs or mudhole doors.

Warming the Boiler 

If the loco has not been in use, a small warming fire must be lit under the brickarch the day before it is to be lit up, with the aim of bringing the temperature up over the course of approximately 3 hours to a point where it is just too hot to hold your hand on a boiler plug on the backhead.

 Lighting Up 

The boiler should be hot from either the running or the warming fire the day before. Steam should be raised in a steady manner. The blower should be used sparingly i.e. just sufficient to stop the fire blowing back into the cab. The blower should be regularly reduced as the pressure increases to avoid steam being raised too quickly.

The ashpan should be checked and cleaned if required. Note that the rear half of the ashpan slopes up under the grate. This needs to be kept clear of ash daily otherwise the firebars will be damaged and the fire will not burn correctly. When emptying the ashpan, a hose should be used to dampen down the ash to stop it flying up and sticking to the motion. Great care should be taken not to spray any firebars or any part of the boiler with cold water.


The paintwork should be cleaned with an oil / paraffin mix. Copper pipes, the chimney cap and the brasswork can be cleaned with metal polish.

 Driver’s Preparation

The loco should be subjected to a routine fitness to run examination at the start of every day.

Most oil points are in the obvious places but there are some hidden ones! See Lubrication Systems and Their Requirments.

The best position for oiling up is with the coupling rods at the bottom centre on the drivers side. Most oil pots can be reached in this position and there is room to climb up over the bigends. The loco will need to be moved into other positions to gain access to the axleboxes though.

Leading and trailing axleboxes should have any water drained daily via the drain plugs and topped up via the cork in the underkeeps from under the loco.

The centre driving axleboxes have the underkeeps filled via a cork which can be found from the outside, to the rear of the axlebox, between the wheels and the frames. As this feeds the underkeep via a relatively small hole, it can appear full of oil when it is not. Allow the oil to run through and the level will drop. You should expect to put around 1 pint of oil in each per day. There are also spring loaded drains below the filling points on these two boxes but it is rare that water is found in these. To drain, lift spring loaded plunger adjacent to the cork.

Also on the centre driving boxes is a small pipe rising up out of the top of the box between the wheel and the frame. This feeds the top well in the axlebox which in turn feeds the horn faces. Remove the cork and top up with oil. It is likely that the loco will need to be moved to gain access to some of these.

The radial truck has two corks on the top of the casting just inside the wheels each side. These feed directly onto the crown of the bearings and from there, any oil simply runs into the underkeeps, so it is not possible to fill them completely. Aim to put approximately ˝ pint into each and then top up the underkeep via the cork at the lower rear edge. Also run oil down behind the wheel between the wheel and the thrust faces.

Any oil pots found to be full already should be checked for water and the condition of the trimmings inspected to find the cause. Any water found in any oil pots should be removed.

On the top of the crossheads are 5 corks – 2 on one side and 3 on the other. Note that each side is a common oil chamber and so as long as one filling point is filled each side of the crosshead, that should be sufficient.

The lubricator in the cab should remain turned off until it has been drained of water and filled with oil. To do this, first check that the steam / water supply from the condenser coils is turned off. This is with the main valve pointing straight out towards you. Open the drain valve at the bottom of the unit. A small amount of water should trickle out but not under pressure. If water is coming out under pressure, do not remove filling plug until it has stopped. Remove the filling plug and the oil level should then fall as the water runs out of the drain valve. Continue draining until only oil is coming out and then close drain valve. Top up to the top with steam oil suitable for superheated locos. Refit the filling plug and turn on the lubricator by turning the handle 45 degrees either to the left or the right. Normally the feeds in the three sight glasses remain set and just the common rail isolator is turned off when not in use. However, adjust the feeds if required so that they are feeding at a rate of 2-3 drops per minute in all three glasses – this is usually just 1/8 to1/4 of a turn from the closed position.

If it is a particularly cold day, there is a heater valve for the lubricator which can be used. This should only be used if the oil will not feed.

The vacuum pump oil pot can be filled with normal lubricating oil or a 50/50 mix of lub oil and paraffin in colder weather.


Allowing holes to form over any portion of the grate is to be avoided. The boiler pressure should be regulated by correct use of the dampers and good management of the fire.

The injectors are very reliable and easy to operate. With the water turned on, steam on, regulate the water valve until the injector picks up and runs dry.

The deflector plate should be in place at all times the loco is in use.


Vacuum Brakes – the driver should initially create the vacuum using the ejector. The loco should not be moved until the reservoir side of the vac gauge has reached its maximum 23”. On the move, the ejector can be turned off and the vac pump used to maintain the vacuum.

Many drivers used to steam braked locos have been caught out with vacuum only braked locos. Although the brakes are powerful, they are slower to come on and off compared to a steam brake so when approaching stock to buffer up, it is good practice to aim to stop 6 foot short and make the final approach at very low speed.

The regulator should only ever be opened gradually to reduce the tendency for the loco to slip or carry over water. Although it might sound nice pulling away with the regulator ‘in the roof’ the risk of damage is severe.

The loco must not be driven faster than the 25mph speed limit on heritage lines.

When coasting, the reverser should be positioned at 45% and the regulator in the position where the jockey valve has opened.

Application of sanders – both the leading and trailing sanders operate well but should never be applied whilst the loco is slipping with the regulator still open.


The loco should return ‘on shed’ with the water already well up in the glass, boiler pressure still up above 170 and the grate covered with a well burnt through fire. Having stopped, the first stage of disposal should be to fill the boiler to the point at which only water goes through the gauge frame when blown down (swirling). i.e. water level is just above the top cock. The boiler pressure should not be allowed to fall significantly whilst filling with water – ideally, the pressure should still be above 150psi. On no account should the boiler be left to fill until the injector knocks off due to low boiler pressure.

Once the boiler has been filled with water, the fire can be cleaned. All clinker should be broken up and lifted off the bars. The dampers should remain shut and the blower kept on the absolute minimum to keep the smoke from the cab. Once the fire is cleaned, it should be levelled out so that the entire grate is covered with a thin well burnt through fire. Again, no holes. The firehole protector ring should not be removed for disposal, it is there to protect the copper.

At this stage, the blower can be turned off and dampers opened to clear the ashpan. See the earlier description on clearing the ashpan.

The smokebox can then be cleaned unless it is the railway’s policy to do it as part of the steam raising duties (as long as it gets done daily).


Routine running repairs may be carried out by qualified staff and recorded on the locos defect sheets. Any more significant defects including any work on the boiler which may require removal of a plug or a mudhole door or rectification of a leak must be reported to Steve Masters at the ESR before any work is undertaken. 


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