MANAGEMENT OF LOCOMOTIVES.
745. Q.—What are the chief duties of the engine driver of a locomotive?
A.—His first duties are those which concern the safety of the train; his next those which concern the safety and right management of the engine and
boiler. The engine driver’s first solicitude should be relative to the observation and right interpretation of the signals; and it is only after these demands upon his attention have been satisfied, that he can look to the state of his engine.
746. Q.—As regards the engine and boiler, what should his main duties be?
A.—The engineer of a locomotive should constantly be upon the foot board of the engine, so that the regulator, the whistle or the reversing handle may be used instantly, if necessary; he must see that the level of the water in the boiler is duly maintained, and that the steam is kept at a uniform pressure. In feeding the boilers with water, and the furnaces with fuel, a good deal of care and some tact are necessary, as irregularity in the production of steam will often occasion priming, even though the water be maintained at a uniform level; and an excess of water will of itself occasion priming, while a deficiency is a source of obvious danger. The engine is generally furnished with three gauge cocks, and water should always come out of the second gauge cock, and steam out of the top one when the engine is running: but when the engine is at rest, the water in the boiler is lower than when in motion, so that when the engine is at rest, the water will be high enough if it just reaches to the middle gauge cock. In all boilers which generate steam rapidly, the volume of the water is increased by the mingled steam, and in feeding with cold water the level at first falls; but it rises on opening the safety valve, which causes the steam in the water to swell to a larger volume. In locomotive boilers, the rise of the water level due to the rapid generation of steam is termed “false water.” To economize fuel, the variable expansion gear, if the engine has one, should be adjusted to the load, and the blast pipe should be worked with the least possible contraction; and at stations the damper should be closed to prevent the dissipation of heat.