The National Traction Engine Trust

With the news currently full of pictures of moorland ablaze in the Northwest of England, and the subsequent search for the source of the flames, be it natural, accident or deliberate – it does bring into focus one of the downsides to this thus far glorious summers we are all enjoying.

It is these pictures that possibly prompted an email from a non-enthusiastic member of the public, who was quite rightly enquiring what the dangers were in driving an engine adjacent to a field that had been exposed to more than its fair share of sunlight, and no real water for several weeks now. She had apparently been told that back in 1976, there was a case of a fire engine chasing down an engine putting out various fires as it went. Be this story fact or fiction, it’s irrelevant to this blog post, but the perception is important. After a few email exchanges, and what was described as a fish bowl coming out of the top of the chimney, she was reassured enough to understand that sensible and time tested measures were in place on engines to prevent ‘sparks’ flying skyward, catching in the breeze and destroying next month’s supply of corn flakes.

It is also worth noting that in these conditions, if you see an engine without a ‘fish bowl’ or ‘balloon’ emanating from its front end. Many have internal ones fitted of were originally build with one. It is after all, not a new problem.

Here at the NTET, we do not tell people how to drive their engines or what to attach to them, but the vast majority understand the implications of a carelessness display of power in these conditions and use their common sense and time served understanding of driving steam engines on the road in taking suitable precautions and planning the route to avoid any precarious situations.

With the weather looking to continue its glorious state for a few more weeks to come, the ‘Spark Arrester’ really is the crown on many an engine.

02 Jul 2018