Sunday, January 9, 2022


 It's Steamy Sunday here on the Blog!  This is the Porter tank style locomotive that I got to have a shift on this past year at the Western Minnesota Steam Thresher's Reunion.  It's a great small locomotive that they got running again after some issues and were hauling a train around the grounds in addition to 353.  Here it was loading passengers at the stop by the water tank.


  1. Looks like a good crowd waiting to get on board.
    Is the smoke a function of the type of coal used in the firebox? Soft coal gives blacker smoke?

    1. It is. The crowds can get huge for the event. Yes, usually it's that black when someone is throwing coal in due to the dust on the coal. Yes, softer will have more dust and blacker smoke than harder.

    2. The black is primarily unburned carbon coming off of the cold coal getting dumped on the hot fire. So like Shelly said, when you first put some fresh coal in, it will give off that carbon until it is all up to temperature and burn that carbon. Usually you want to limit that black smoke because it is inefficient. However it is also photogenic so you sometimes see it done on purpose for photo run by's. A good fireman will fire in such a way to keep that down as much as possible but it is inevitable when you first add coal.

    3. I had no idea about what causes the smoke to be darker at times. Excellent photograph, and excellent information!