I’m a steam train fan. One of the reasons I moved here was the train. In our unusually dry early summer, the train was reported to have started a fire on June 1. But the reports did not say whether that fire was put out, or continued to become the 416 Fire. Other reports say that the origin point of the 416 Fire was miles away from that incident. We can’t know at this point if the train was responsible for the 416 Fire, but coal-fired steam engines do start fires because of hot cinders being emitted from the smokestack. Our railroad has been very good at putting these fires out in the past. Did one get away from them? We don’t know. Here’s what we do know:
Oil-fired steam engines don’t emit hot cinders that can cause fires. Locals and tourists alike are drawn to our steam locomotive trains. But only steam locomotive mechanics can tell if a loco is fired with coal or oil. Almost nobody can tell the difference. Conversion of our locos from coal to oil would be a great solution to keep our steam locos running with no fire danger. Or perhaps there is some way to continue to run on coal at times, and better arrest the hot coal cinders emitted from the smoke stack.
Nobody should be calling for the elimination of our train. Tourists and locals alike want a steam train, which an oil-fired steam train would give them.
Richard H. Ruth