The Thermo-Mechanical Behavior of the Steam Locomotive Firebox

This never-before-published report on the fundamental principles of steam locomotive fireboxes is a unique glimpse into the mind of modern steam engineer Livio Dante Porta. The source paper has been emailed around among a few modern steam proponents for years, but it was a grainy, hand-written and hand-illustrated version of the digitized text presented here in this CSR White Paper.

The piece is an interesting look into the design process and, at times, struggles encountered in the pursuit of advanced steam locomotion. Porta wrote the paper at the time of preparing and testing former Chesapeake & Ohio Railway 4-8-4 number 614 as part of the ACE 3000 project. The way in which Porta organizes this paper provides a systematic, point-by-point analysis of firebox sheets, staybolts, tubes and water treatment, is of interest, in that it dispels a variety of the commonly-quoted shortcomings of steam locomotives with compelling facts. 

This paper has been transcribed from the original, hand written text and has been edited only slightly to allow clarity in reading. The diagrams have been redrawn digitally to also further aid in clarity of understanding. This White Paper also features images of C&O 614 provided by the Center for Railroad Photography and Art, a not-for-profit that has worked with CSR in the past in providing education and outreach.