How does a steam-powered train work? Need explanation and/or diagram.?

I need to know how a train that was used in the late 1800s works. I think that was the steam-powered train. I need like an explanation or a diagram or a website.

4 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Ahhhhh, OK.

    The first steam engine that qualifies to be defined as such was built and ran more than 2,000 years ago, with all due respect to Watt, Fulton, the French, the English, etc. The man that conceived of it was known as Heron of Alexandria. A simple device, incorporating tubing, a sphere and two "thrusters" for a lack of better terms. It merely rotated on an horizontal axis. It was looked upon as a curiosity, entertainment for the upper crust. No one realized the potential, otherwise the industrial revolution would have happened some 18 centuries before it did occur.

    Locomotives have been fueled by wood, coal or oil. The steamers of the east ran primarily on coal by the late 1800s, since it was in plentiful supply in that area of the US. So, lets assume we have a coal fired steam engine. It was back breaking work for the fireman to keep the black diamonds pouring in to the fire box. On passenger trains and express freight, there were not one but two firemen continuously feeding the hungry flames behind the butterfly doors. Sometime much later was a steam powered stoker incorporated.

    These are external combustion engines, that convert energy stored in the fuel to heat. That heat turns water into steam which is fed into the steam chest and then to the cylinders. The piston moves back and forth along a horizontal plane operating the valve gear inside the steam chest that injects live steam into the cylinders then exhausts the expanded steam. It also powers the side rods which transmit the energy into tractive effort where wheel meets rail. The exhaust from the expanded steam is routed to the smoke box, which is at the front of the boiler, and helps create draft.

    Above the firebox is the crown sheet, on which the water lies as it is heated. The water is fed into the fire tubes where it is further heated by the flues as the unburned fuel is exhausted through the smoke box, along with the exhausted steam. If you see a steamer operating in excursion service and it’s belching smoke, then the fireman isn’t keeping the fire hot enough.

    All of the above creates draft which ensures a hot fire and maximum use of the fuel. In situations where the engine is called upon to perform from a dead start, where there is little draft to get the fire hot enough quick enough, since they use the steam as fast as they can make it, engines in your time frame of the late 1800s began to be improved with the addition of a blower, which fanned the flames at slow speeds.

    Steam, in terms of power available, is second only to gasoline and neuclear energy. It exoands at the rate of 80 : 1. One cubic foot of water yields 80 cubice feet of expanded steam. Since the steam is carried at pressure, then the immediate expansion that occurs in the cylinder is extremely powerful. It was only the cost of maintenance that did them in.

    If I was a betting man, I'd be willing to wager our grandchildren will see the return of live steam in a hybrid arrangement, much the same as we see being injected into the marketplace by auto makers.

  • 1 decade ago

    A steam locomotive has a boiler in which the fuel (usually coal, but may also be oil or wood) is burnt in a firebox to heat the water to produce the steam. Pressure builds up in the boiler to between 150 and 250 pounds per square inch (psi) depending on the size of the engine and it is the controlled release of this pressure which powers the engine. A safety valve ensures that the pressure does not rise above the engine's working pressure.

    The steam collects at the top of the boiler, usually in a dome, although some engines do not have this, and is let into the cylinders by a valve known as a regulator (or throttle in the US and Canada).

    The cylinders contain pistons which are pushed back and forth by alternate admission of steam to one end then the other, the exhaust steam passing into the blast pipe in a hollow chamber at the front of the boiler known as the smokebox, and out through the chimney, producing the familiar 'chuff-chuff' sound.

    The force of the steam going out of the chimney sucks the air out of the smokebox causing a partial vacuum: air rushes in through the grate in the firebox and is drawn through tubes which run the length of the boiler from the firebox to the smokebox, drawing with it the fire and thus the heat through the boiler for maximum efficiency in producing steam. Some engines have internal steam pipes which pass the steam back through the firebox to heat it a second time to evaporate droplets of water in the steam and this is called superheating.

    The back-and-forth motion of the piston (the stroke) is converted to circular motion to a big end on one of the driving wheels of the engine by the connectiong rod and the circular motion is transmitted to the other driving wheels by coupling rods.

    A locomotive has typically two, three or four cylinders and may be of the 'simple' type (in which the steam is only used once in the cylinders) or 'compound' (in which steam passes from a high-pressure to a low-pressure cylinder on each side and is thus used twice).

    The inlet and exhaust of the steam to and from the cylinders is regulated by a system of return cranks, rods and links known as the valve gear which can be controlled by the driver (engineer in US and Canada); the valve gear can be used to vary the amount of steam going into the cylinder by altering the point at which the steam supply is cut off along the stroke, hence the name cut off, and the timing of the valves can also be varied so the loco can run forward or in reverse.

    The very first steam locomotive was the 'Pen-y-Darren' built in 1804 by Richard Trevithick and the first to have fire tubes was the 'Rocket' built by George Stephenson in 1829. The first steam locomotive (reputedly) to travel at 100 miles an hour was the British 'City of Truro' in 1904, although the Americans claim that their New York Central 'Atlantic' of c.1899 holds the record.

    The fastest steam locomotive ever is the 'Mallard' which on 3rd July 1938 set a world record of 126mph, still the record for a steam locomotive.

    Source(s): or type 'steam locomotive how does it work' into search engine and see what you get
  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    Yes I was 3 or 4 when I went on it

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