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Steam & Excursion > FireBrick and the Santa Fe Hudson

Date: 05/23/23 19:37
FireBrick and the Santa Fe Hudson
Author: ApproachCircuit

Well one fine morning many years ago, the Santa Fe decided to run the Fast Mail and Express from Chicago to Los Angeles with their newly acquired 84 inch  3460 class Hudson,
with NO engine change. Thats right, 2200 + miles behind the same steamer! I think that class of engine was good for 4500 HP; ( 3 covered wagons)
The train made it without any hic-cups. But once the engine got to the RH, it was discovered that the pounding that Hudson took for all that miles caused a lot of the
fire brick to become dislodged!! Did they use mortar back then?

Don't forget to order your PBR (two case minimum) for the holidays.

Date: 05/24/23 02:16
Re: FireBrick and the Santa Fe Hudson
Author: wcamp1472

I have no official knowledge of mortar being used
to secure locomotive uses of firebrick.

It was common for oil-fueled loco fireboxes to have the fire-pan
lined with several layers of neatly applied firebricks.  The lower 
10% of the 4 walls of the firebox and down to the bricks of the firepan 
would be lined with stacked, fitted brickwork.

The burner flame path was from the oil burner mounted low-down
front of the firepan aiming it's burner's steam flame-support pattern rearward,
towards  the firedoor.  When underway, the combustion air is admitted
with damper-equipped air inlets into the fire space.

The intense flame temps can melt and erode-away the firebricks 
used to confine the flame path.  Under normal drafting conditions
while hauling a decent-weight train, the flame path is upward, and 
diverted forward, towards the fireboxe's front tube-sheet.

That path directs the hottest part of the oil flames right at the crown sheet
( flat, 'roof' of the firebox) --- the area where the most active steam is produced.

With very intense flames, the firebricks in the path of the burner flames
get melted, broken and misshapen when is service.  It was common for
firebrick crews in the roundhouse to replace the outer, affected layers of refractory 
bricks.  Obviously that job was completed with a cold engine.

Typically the damaged and deformed bricks would be renewed as one 
of the last steps following the monthly 'boiler-wash' and other light loco repairs
and maintenance, as well as the boiler firebox water-space surfaces 
flushed clean of accumulated, hardened boiler mud.

Mortar would not be used to cement the refractory bricks becsuse it
would make replacement much more difficult, and waste too much
time ---- compared the task of breaking-up and removing the disfigured
brickwork.  Only as many bricks as were necessary were replaced to restore
the even walls of the  firepan.and the lower firebox sheets.

The areas of the firebox sheets would have firebricks removed to gain access
to all the firebox staybolts that are covered by the protective layers of refractory 

Loosened, broken firebricks can have pieces land on the firepan, 
creating a hazard to the flame path from the burner.  If too much
broken, burnt firebricks accumulate on the firepan floor, it can csuse
flame path obstruction and result in slowed air-flow, flame drag,
smokey burning and related firing problems.

So, in this case, such a long trip meant no time for removing the 
damaged fire bricks and using mortar to secure the bricks woul
mske brick replacement difficult and time consuming.  The firebrick
crews were skillfull at removal and rebuilding the interior surfaces of
the firebrick 'tub' and surrounding walls.

The entire Installlation of the bricks in the firepan was accomplished at 
the major 'shoppings', like annual boiler inspections, etc. 

Again, using mortar would have made renewals much more complicated.
That's my best guess.


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/24/23 07:55 by wcamp1472.

Date: 05/24/23 10:14
Re: FireBrick and the Santa Fe Hudson
Author: PHall

Santa Fe ran the modernized 3751 and 2900 class Northerns without change between LA and KC.

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