Continuing with the new iteration of Wildfire trials, on Sunday 26th February, the Foden 5 ton Wagon was steamed to be taken on a 20 mile trip and a more challenging route. This included steady climbs and “ordinary hills” as well as one significant hill. The wagon steamed faultlessly on the outbound trip, clean burning, easy to regulate the fire and pressure using the damper, firing at a depth circa 5-7″ deep. On occasion when pressure fell, it was easily recovered simply by adding more fuel and opening the damper as needed. In this application, the fuel is a pleasure to use.
2.25 x 25kg bags of Wildfire were used to steam up and complete 10 miles to the midway stop, which was felt to be a good result, equating to an anticipated 1/5th more than the same undertaking with Ffos-y-Fran. As before, further learning of the fuel and firing may see this improve still.
The wagon idled for an hour and then was taken on short “pleasure rides” up and down the lane to allow others to have a go at driving/steering, before sitting idle again; this period totalled 3 hours.
The pressure had fallen somewhat but the fire still appeared bright, so fresh fuel was added whilst oiling round took place. The beginning of the return route is straight into a long steady climb and it was quickly realised that the fire was not recovering. A stop was made to gain more pressure and clean the bars from underneath. Pressure recovered but steaming was not nearly as free as it had been on the way out. On reflection, the long idle period warranted cleaning the fire before setting off and the fire depth, now deeper than the outgoing fire, was hindering air flow and thus steaming.
On the next section of the journey a conscious effort was made to run the depth of the fire down and another stop was made to clean the fire, where a nice bright span across the bars, viewed from the ashpan was achieved. Steadily the fire recovered to a healthy state and was back on top of the pressure. The next section is a steady rise for 1.5 miles and then 0.75 mile of a climb into a sharp hill. By the time this climb was reached, full pressure was easily back and the wagon took the hill feathering all the way up, with the pump on. The remainder of the run was trouble-free and pressure maintained.
On cleaning the fire out on Monday morning, no clinker whatsoever was present and the dead fire simply pushed through the firebars. No clinker was observed during cleaning the fire mentioned above.
The purpose of trialling fuel is to learn what works and what doesn’t and this in turn – by giving valuable feedback to the manufacturer – helps with potential further development of the fuel.
The observation here would be a little more consideration for a fire that has idled for a long time may be needed to ensure it is clean, much like with coal. This is shared with you all openly in the hope it helps others learn from this, should you wish to purchase and try Wildfire (resin bound) for yourself.
No further trials are planned with this Foden. However, further trials extending to a road train in hilly terrain with a traction engine are planned and a single cylinder engine. Others are also trying on a Foden C type and Burrell Road Locomotive. Further updates will follow as these trials take place.