Steam-Powered Blog

RFIRT Rebuild Photos 3 - Cleaning and Machining

Hard work continues at Cromwell Marine on behalf of G&G Metalmatica on RFIRT 2-10-2 steam locomotive 119 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. CSR Director of Engineering Shaun McMahon is serving as a quality assurance engineer on the rebuild, and he took the following photographs March 17 as part of his inspections.

Below is an embedded version of the CSR Photostream on Flickr.



Watch HSB Steam Engines Battle to the Brocken

The Harzer Schmalspurbahnen (HSB) hauls more than one million passengers a year, and to do so it utilizes its equipment to the fullest potential. The following video shows unmodernized HSB 2-10-2T steam locomotives lugging trains up the 3.3% grade between Schierke and the Brocken in July 2009.

Harzer Schmalspurbahnen 2-10-2Ts Battle to the Brocken from CSR on Vimeo.

Steam Power - Rolling Along | August, 1945

Fortune ArticleOn this #throwbackthursday, read all about the battle between steam and diesel on U.S. railroads in the 1940's. The cover story of the August 1945 Fortune Magazine addresses experimental advances in steam technology that locomotive manufacturers were pursuing.

While there is some discussion of the ATSF 2900 class towards the end, this article addresses primarily the experiments the Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) was undertaking in advancing steam. From the T1 to the S2, this article has detail and perspective from the era on advances the steam engineers were pursuing.

Download and read the entire piece by clicking on this link (4.37 MB) or the image above.

RFIRT Rebuild Photos 2 - Disassembly and Sand Blasting

Work continues on the heavy overhaul of the RFIRT locomotives 107 and 119 in Buenos Aires. A decision has been taken this week to complete No. 119 before starting work on 107. This is mainly due to available workshop space which is relatively limited taking into account the storage of locomotive 107 as well as stripping 119 into several component parts. However the two tenders are being worked in parallel. Sand blasting of 119's boiler is taking place this week as well as a full strip down of the rolling chassis and then a full sandblast prior to a thorough inspection. The boiler will be inspected once fully stripped and cleaned. Work has now started on the Sentinel S6 steam waggon and a full strip down is taking place at this point in time.

The following photographs were taken by CSR Director of Engineering, Shaun T. McMahon, on his visit to the rebuilding facility on Tuesday, February 24. Below is an embedded version of the CSR Photostream on Flickr.


Stay Up-To-Date on Work in Germany

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CSR announced today that it has been retained to assist the Harzer Schmalspurbahnen, GmbH (HSB), known as the Harz Narrow Gauge Railways in English, to re-engineer the front-end of a 1918-built steam locomotive, including the addition of a moden, "Lempor" exhaust system. The test locomotive, shown above, is an 0-4-4-0T Mallet-type steam engine that is in need of a replacement smokestack. Management at HSB saw the impending replacement as an opportunity to improve operational efficiency and safety.

Images of testing performed on the locomotive and an account of the on-site visit of our Technical Advisor Wolf Fengler, MSME, can be found on our site at

Presidents Day - Teddy Roosevelt an ATSF Man?

Roosevelt in the cab of an ATSF steam locomotive in 1903

On this Presidents Day (a.k.a. President's Day, Presidents' Day, or Washington's Birthday), CSR reflects on the work of so many great presidents in American history. In terms of conservation, Theodore ("Teddy") Roosevelt is nearly unmatched. A rugged outdoorsman and bold leader, Roosevelt worked diligently during his years in office (1901-1909) to set aside lands for conservation. All told, Roosevelt set aside 230 million acres (930,000 square kilometers) into conservation spaces. This included formation of 5 national parks, 18 national monuments and 150 national forests.

What, then, of this image of T.R. on the fireman's side of an ATSF steam locomotive?

During 1903, Roosevelt went on a multi-state, multi-month whistle stop tour, traveling through many western states, including Kansas, Wyoming, Colorado, California and Nebraska. The multi-month journey employed trains on many rail lines, including the Union Pacific Railroad, Southern Pacific Railroad and, as evidenced through this picture, the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway.

Full ImageThis image depicts Roosevelt in Redlands, California, sometime around May 1903, in the cab of an ATSF steam locomotive with a crew member behind him. The locomotive is most likely an early 4-6-0 type steam locomotive built with Vauclain Compound pistons.

Roosevelt was quite popular with train crews, having been inducted as an Honorary Member of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Fireman in November 1902. That said, it is certain that railroad management had a different view of the President, as one of his lasting legacies upon the industry was strengthening the ability of the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) to regulate tariffs the railroads could set.

This was achieved through the Hepburn Act of 1906, which gave the ICC right to set maximum railroad rates, among other items. Not only applicable to the railroads, it had jurisdiction over bridges, ferries, sleeping cars, express companies (e.g. Railway Express Agency), oil pipelines and shared terminals. In the end, the Hepburn Act, and predecessor Elkins Act of 1903, may be the most important legislative actions the railroads faced in the first 50 years of the 20th Century, and both were championed by Roosevelt. This regulation too may have contributed somewhat to the increased and unregulated growth in the trucking industry, something which took off post Second World War.

It was this trucking competition and overbearing regulation which contributed significantly to the downfall of freight railroads, but following passage of the Staggers Act in 1980, which effectively "deregulating" freight railroads, the industry has never done better.