Development of Modern Steam 4: Advanced Internal Boiler Water Treatment

A continual problem since the development of the first steam locomotive has been treatment of the boiler water. Water contains impurities (minerals, metals, etc.) which can lead to problems in boilers. This paper is aimed at providing a background on the technology and an exemplary test case of the application of an advanced boiler water treatment to the steam locomotive. The application of that treatment to historic and first generation steam locomotives is a crucial step in keeping historic equipment operating safely and efficiently, and it is a must for any future development of second and third generation steam. As a matter of course, attention is focused on application of the treatment in countries such as Argentina and the developing world.

Throughout the paper, the reader will discover that considerable progress in this particular field has been made by the simple application of lessons learned from practical experience as well as horse-sense engineering. The reader will see that a step by step approach to the application of the treatment is essential for its success, and accepting that early trials have to be seen as a ‘step in the right direction approach’ until the whole system is up and running on an internal basis.

The treatment was so successful in reducing boiler maintenance costs that three locomotives, numbers 1156, 1158 and 1159, were able to operate a cumulative 5,500,000 miles with fewer than 900 man hours of maintenance attributable to the boiler, or an equivalent of approximately 0.2 man hours per 1000 miles of operation.
— White Paper Page 5