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INDIAN STEAM RELICS

A FIREMAN'S PERSPECTIVE

By   Hal  Hughes

Former Fireman  Grade A  Northern  Railway  Delhi  Division  Saharanpur

 

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16 Apr.1853 - 16 Apr.2002

 

FOUR  DAYS  AND  THREE  NIGHTS  IN  THE  LIFE  OF  A  FIREMAN  GRADE A

Dehradun  Express  from Saharanpur to Delhi [<<Page-1] [Page-2] [Page-3>>] [Page-4>>]

Flying Mail  from Delhi to Amritsar [Page-1 >>] [Page-2>>]

STAY TUNED FOR THE FOLLOWING UPCOMING SECTIONS:

Flying Mail from Amritsar to Delhi

Dehradun Express from Delhi to Saharanpur and sign off 

[Click here for more STEAM LINKS]


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A side view of the beloved EM locomotive. (Photo courtesy John Lacey, source not disclosed.)

 

Dehradun  Express  from Saharanpur to Delhi  with overnight rest in Delhi:-PAGE-2

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Time 16:50 Standing in Siding near Dumbola Nadi Bridge Dehradun Express just passing by on it’s way into Saharanpur Station Platform 5.

Time 16:55 Points man gives the signal to reverse locomotive through the yard backing on to the train time 17:00. Locomotive now connected  to Dehradun Express I turn the blower on open the firebox and put on a good fire about 15 shovel’s of coal,  4 in each back corner of the firebox and 5 spread over the rest of the firebox. After closing the firebox I put on the Injector and fill the boiler up to an inch from the bottom of the top nut on the gauge glass, injector off  pull leaver to open cylinder cocks ready for departure, close blower.  17:14 man arrives from Saharanpur Junction Signal box with token ring Driver Collis signs for it, no caution orders so far this evening.

17:15. Starter signal goes down I say to the Driver “Right signal is down” he answers “OK”, gives a long blast on the whistle I look towards the rear of the Train and see the Guard waving his green flag I shout to the driver  “All ok ready to roll”.  Mr Collis gives a short toot on the whistle and opens the regulator just enough to take up the slack then a bit more and we take the first chuff and by golly these drivers knew how to get the locomotive underway without  slipping; we pull away nice and slowly gathering speed with every chuff.  I exchange green flag signals with the Guard and once again shout to the Driver “All ok, ” by the time we pass under the road bridge  just getting to the end of the Saharanpur station yard I shout to the Driver “Advanced Starter ok. ”  I close the cylinder cocks. Mr Collis opens the regulator some more and cuts off  by 10% on the reversing gear , by this time we are rolling over the Dumbola Nadi Bridge ( The old N.W.R. bridge. )  I open the firebox and put on a fire about 10 shovels spread all over the firebox the last 3  sprayed through the fire hole from outside the door,  this is a knack one learns on a EM because the fire grate slopes down towards the tube plate and also due to the draught the coal gets pulled down evenly towards the tube plate so one does not put too much coal towards the front of the box.  I close the firebox door;    by this time we are passing the old E.I.R. Shed at  K.W.T on the left of the locomotive we are now doing about 45 MPH the cut off is about 20%. 

The 2nd fireman  Gurbux Singh has made us all a nice mug of tea,  the coal chute is full I am looking out towards the front of the locomotive enjoying the cool evening breeze. I tell Gurbux Singh , “ you take over firing for a bit and I’ll smash some of the big lumps of coal in the chute.”  Before leaving to do so I put the injector on again , look out as we as we are about to cross the Hindun River Bridge, and turn the injector off,  after crossing the bridge I go over to the coal chute and pull a heap of coal closer to the front of the chute breaking any big lumps up.  I move over to the left hand side of the locomotive and stand near to the steam lubricator and look through every sighting glass and make sure that the right amount of lubrication is flowing through in drops per minute, having done this I look out of the window as we  are getting close to Tapri  I see the Outer signal in down position; shout “alright” to Driver who shouts “alright” back.  Gurbux Singh opens the firebox door and puts on a fire, by now the driver Mr Collis has cut off by 30% and we are knocking along at about 50MPH.  The Queen of Locomotives on the Northern Railway the good old EM is moving along nicely: the driver has chained the regulator up with a dog chain hung from a hook in the cab roof,  just as we pass the outer signal Gurbux the 2nd fireman shuts the firebox door. We pick up the token on the driver’s  side of the cab on a retrieval apparatus.  I throw the other token ring that we got in Saharanpur into a net near the signal box at Tapri,  no caution orders as yet.  I see that Starter and Advance Starter is down shout “alright”  Driver Collis answers the same back to me and opens  the regulator up a further two links and cuts back to 35% on the reversing gear.  The old Queen EM No 927 has settled down to a steady 55MPH,  now we seem to be flying the rat a tat tat of us going over the joints in the track do not seem to be as loud, though the din on the footplate is very loud one does not seem to notice it.  I look at the Steam Pressure on the gauge holding at 175psi  water level in gauge glass’s 1 in  from bottom of  the top nut. I put on the injector and bring level up to an in from bottom of  top nut again.  The 2nd fireman  puts on a fire about 5 shovel’s of coal spread over the firebox,closes firebox door.   I pull some coal forward to the front of the chute break a few lumps  and move over to the left window glance at the steam Pressure gauge, it has fallen to 165psi.  I go over and open the firebox door and put on a fire 2 shovel’s full in each back corner of the firebox , 4 spread over the rest of the firebox (2 just near the door 2 sprayed from outside the door), close door move back to the left hand side of the footplate.

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Saharanpur, a WG has just taken over from a WP on a Kalka to Delhi train. 31-12-93.(Photo by Terry Case)

It is  now getting dusk  we are approaching Nagal,  see outer signal is green shout “alright” to Driver  who shouts “alright” back, I nod to Gurbux Singh who opens the firebox door and puts on a fire, 4 shovel’s spread over the firebox shuts door . We pass the outer signal,  pick up the token on driver’s side.  I take the token ring that we picked up at Tupri and throw it into the net near signal box at Nagal. We carry on in the same way putting on injector, filling up boiler bringing level up to an inch from bottom of top nut of gage glass putting on fire’s between Gurbux and myself keeping steam pressure up to 175psi if possible. We are approaching Deoband look out for the outer signal, it is green shout “alright to Driver who reply’s “alright” pass outer signal see all other signals are green shout “alright” again Driver reply’s the same, pick up token on driver’s side of cab.  Gurbux Singh, the 2nd fireman throws the token that we picked up in Nagal in to the net near Deoband signal box.  I open firebox put in small hook one of the fire irons and give the fire a good hooking to let in more air put hook back in tube in  the tender,  pick up the shovel and put on a fire of 8 shovel’s  2 in each back corner of the fire box 4 sprayed through the door from outside shut door and put on water for tea on shelf above firebox door . Gurbux the 2nd fireman is pulling coal to the front of the chute I put on the injector and fill up the boiler turn off injector make tea in pot and  leave it to brew. I   open the firebox door to put on a fire app, 5 shovel’s one in each back corner of   the firebox,  three sprayed through the door from outside.  Shut  the door,  move over to left side of cab look out of window now approaching Muzaffarnagar,  outer is green  shout “alright” to Driver who reply’s “alright”; open blower  Driver shuts regulator.  We pass  the outer and the train is slowing down the Driver starts to apply the vacuum brake  bringing EM No 927 with the Dehradun Express in tow to a halt. The locomotive is now at the end of the Platform not to far away from the starter signal that is at red.

We have a 8 minute halt at Muzaffarnagar,  Gurbux Singh  gets up on the tender and pulls  the water column over the  water intake and turns the water on. I take  the oil can and go around all the oil boxes and top them up.  Driver Collis  goes around  the locomotive and checks all axle boxes to see that they are not excessively hot, including the big ends.  By the time I get back on the foot plate Gurbux has turned the water off and moved the water column away from the locomotive.  I open the firebox door and put on a good fire app. 10 shovel’s of coal, shut the door.  Driver Collis is back on the footplate and the token arrives with a man from the signal box at Muzaffarnagar.  We have a caution order on approaching  the outer signal at Khatauli slow down to 10 MPH Driver signs for caution order  we are waiting for starter to turn green.

 

Dehradun  Express  from Saharanpur to Delhi [<<Page-1] [Page-2] [Page-3>>] [Page-4>>]

Flying Mail  from Delhi to Amritsar [Page-1 >>] [Page-2>>]

STAY TUNED FOR THE FOLLOWING UPCOMING SECTIONS:

Flying Mail from Amritsar to Delhi

Dehradun Express from Delhi to Saharanpur and sign off 

[Click here for more STEAM LINKS]

Comments? Questions? E-mail me at:     hal.hughes1@tiscali.co.uk


Last Updated: 30/05/02 Page spun by S.Shankar with Microsoft FrontPage 98