Reader comment puts dampener on fire risk

GRANT BRYANT IN QUEENSTOWN
Last updated 05:00 04/02/2013
Kingston Flyer alterations
GRANT BRYANT/Fairfax NZ

SET TO STEAM: Fitting a dampener system to the Kingston Flyer locomotive’s exhaust smokestack yesterday are, from left, Josh Zajowskowski, obscured, Davey Bryce and Cameron Persson. The idea for the steam condensation bypass valve to dampen live embers came from a comment left by a reader of a Southland Times web article about a fire that had been sparked by the locomotive.

kingston flyer
Supplied
Kingston Flyer

Related Links

Kingston Flyer sparks damage, angers farmer

Relevant offers

A Southland Times website reader's comment and DIY engineering have put the Kingston Flyer steam train back on its tracks since sparking a scrub fire in tinder-dry conditions stopped it a week.

Kingston Flyer managing director David Bryce temporarily suspended train runs from January 27 because Kingston Station owner Tim Taylor claimed he would lose $14,000 in revenue from the fire.

Mr Bryce said 6 hectares of scrub he had already sprayed by helicopter were burnt, making the land useless for winter grazing.

However, after testing and fitting an apparatus that bypasses steam from the engine to the smokestack thus dampenening any live cinders left in the steamtrain's exhaust, Mr Bryce has opened operations again. "We've basically rigged up a copper pipe to funnel the steam that the locomotive produces in its firebox to inject into the smokestack," he said.

"That steam then condenses ... and that water will eliminate any live sparks coming out of the smokestack."

Smokestack-triggered fires are nothing new to steam trains, and in 2012 and 2011 major fires were sparked in Europe from vintage locomotives running through dry regions in summer months.

The idea of using a steam condensation bypass valve to dampen live embers came from a comment left on The Southland Times website last week.

The comment referred to fires started by locomotives in America. As soon as Mr Bryce saw the comment in the middle of last week he enlisted the help of his son Davey, and the duo swung into action at the locomotive yard workshop.

"It's great that the person who left the comment was so generous with their knowledge, which was obviously sparked by their own experience - excuse the pun," he said.

There were already bookings for today's first run of the train at 10am, and on any given day people would invariably turn up to look at the train, which would often lead to them becoming passengers, Mr Bryce said.

While the system was being trialled a staff member would still be on fire-spotting duty, Mr Bryce said.

Ad Feedback

- The Southland Times

Comments

Special offers
Opinion poll

What impact would Labour's proposal to reduce class sizes have on student achievement?

Major

Moderate

Minimal

None

Vote Result

Related story: Cuts only half the story - educators

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content

Social Media
The Southland Times on Facebook

Subscribe to a digital replica of The Southland Times.

Digital edition

Subscribe to a digital replica of The Southland Times.

Click here to read our free community newspapers from around the region.

Community newspapers

Click here to read our free community newspapers from around the region online.

Southland Times subscriber news and information.

Subscriber services

Southland Times subscriber news and information.

Click here for information about advertising with The Southland Times.

Advertise

Click here for information about advertising with The Southland Times.