Fireless Steamers Keep Germany’s Industry Thriving!
Railfans can find quite the surprise if visiting Herne, Germany. There amidst the cities rails, fireless steam locomotives can still be found working!
These fireless steamers use reciprocating engines powered by steam, as a conventional steam locomotive would, however the steam they use is not generated by the engine itself, but merely stored in what is known as a steam accumulator!
Steam accumulators can be recharged in 15 minutes or less!
The engines were initially used as street trams as they were a much safer alternative to their fire fueled locomotive cousins, who if not properly attended to could suffer a boiler explosion! This however was not meant to last, as they were eventually replaced by diesel and battery electric locomotives.
Accumulators can be charged tens of thousands of times without any capacity degradation!
These steamers however refused to go down without a fight, and proved themselves incredibly useful as shunting locomotives (engines that move rolling stock cars into complete train sets). They produced no noxious fumes, and could often be powered by the excess steam byproduct that factories and power plants were creating already!
Have you had the opportunity to see one of these fireless locomotives in action? We’d love to hear about it!