The final make-up of the 5AT design team has still to be determined. However it is probable that the key roles will be played by any or all of the following steam engineering specialists. The list includes the name of Ing. L.D. Porta who died in 2003 and whose anticipated involvement in the 5AT project will be sorely missed. Wardale's first experiment SAR Class 19D No 2644

David Wardale B.Sc. (Mech. Eng.).

Wardale joined British Rail in 1967 as a mechanical engineering sandwich course student, graduating from Portsmouth Polytechnic with First Class Honours in 1971. He then worked for BR until leaving in 1973 for the South African Railways to follow his vocation of steam locomotive engineering. Working in the steam locomotive section of the SAR's CME's department from 1974 to 1983, he constantly promoted proposals for making improvements to the existing steam fleet to enhance its performance and efficiency. The oil price increases of 1978 provided the impetus to put these proposals into practice, and for the next five years he worked almost exclusively on all aspects of steam locomotive development, including design, inspection, tuning-up, testing, and putting modified locomotives into regular service. A number of projects involving a variety of classes, from branch line engines to large mainline 4-8-4's and 4-8-2 + 2-8-4 Garratts, was completed, the most notable being the extensive rebu

ilding of 25NC Class 4-8-4 No. 3450, the famous "Red Devil", so named because of its bright red livery after rebuilding.

David Wardale's magnificent Class 26 No 3450 'The Red Devil'This locomotive in particular demonstrated significant advances in performance and efficiency compared to standard SAR steam practice, but the work came at a time when the phasing out of steam traction had already reached an advanced stage, and was too late to stop it continuing. Wardale therefore left the SAR to join the American Coal Enterprises' (ACE) team in the USA in 1984, charged with developing classical Stephensonian steam traction for export to developing railways. Unfortunately ACE failed to secure its start-up capital, but in 1985 Wardale was part of a small delegation from the UK invited to China by the Chinese National Railways to discuss improving its QJ Class heavy freight 2-10-2's, which were then still being manufactured. As a result of this he became the Technical Consultant to the Datong Locomotive Factory in 1986, and produced the full design for the necessary modifications to this class. However this work also came too late, for during the course of the 3-year contract at Datong the Chinese Railways' policy changed from one of continued reliance on steam traction to one of phasing it out as quickly as possible. Although the design work was completed it was therefore not possible to put it into practice, practical work being limited to a certain amount of component testing.Wardale (left) with the late Ing. L.D. Porta.  Behind is Porta's Cuban

Wardale left Datong in 1989 and has since, amongst other pursuits, written a critically acclaimed book, The Red Devil and Other Tales from the Age of Steam, describing his work on steam locomotives in South Africa, America and China. He is now a consulting engineer.

David will undertake the "Fundamental Design Calculations" for the locomotive for which funding has already been secured. These calculations, which are expected to take two years to complete, will form a complete foundation for detailed design of the 5AT locomotive. They will be prepared in such a way that they will have universal application to any other design of steam locomotive and will therefore serve to preserve a complete record of steam locomotive design technology in its current "state of the art", for the benefit of future generations of engineers.

See http://www.trainweb.org/tusp/wardale.html for more information on Wardale and his work.

Alfred County Railway 2-6-2 + 2-6-2 Garratt rebuilt by Girdlestone with GPCS, Lempor exhaust, low draught

loss spark arrestor, improved piston valves and valve eventsPhil Girdlestone

Girdlestone commenced his railway career in 1978 on the Ffestiniog Railway (FR), reaching the post of Works Manager at the line's Boston Lodge works, where in addition to maintenance work he started to make modifications to improve locomotive performance and efficiency, most notably the rebuilding of Hunslet 2-4-0 'Linda' in 1985 which incorporated the GPCS, Lempor exhaust and improved superheater. At the fuel prices then current this locomotive cost 73% less to run than when oil fired and was used in the same rosters as oil burners.

In 1985 he joined Hugh Phillips Engineering in Wales as Project Engineer for the contract to refurbish and improve steam locomotives of the Sudan Railway Corporation, then urgently required for famine relief traffic. This included the designing of a Lempor exhaust for these locomotives which reduced fuel consumption by 12% in comparative trials. At the end of this work Girdlestone moved to South Africa to take up the position of Mechanical EngineerGirdlestone's modified R711 owned by West Coast Railways, Victoria, Australia on the Alfred County Railway (ACR), a privatized former-SAR 2-foot gauge common carrier line. His responsibilities included locomotive improvements, and two of the line's 2-6-2+2-6-2 Garratts (the largest 2-foot gauge locomotives ever built) were rebuilt by him, including GPCS, Lempor exhaust, low draught loss spark arrestor, improved piston valves and valve events. These gave a very creditable overall coal saving of 20% in normal service.

Girdlestone standing in front of Russian P36 June 2002, St PetersburgBORDER=After the ACR later mostly dieselized, Girdlestone left to set up his own company, Girdlestone & Associates, specializing in all aspects of steam locomotive development work. His experience with oil fired locomotives on the FR and in Sudan enabled him to act as a consultant to the successors to the SAR and to the West Coast Railway in Australia, for the conversion of large locomotives from coal to oil firing.

The Australian R Class 4-6-4 No. 711 modernized to his design now substitutes for diesel traction on regular passenger services at weekends, keeping to the diesel schedules. His firm has also supplied designs and components to customers in the UK and Argentina. A recent project is the design of a modern 2' gauge locomotive for tourist line service, incorporating many refinements to reduce maintenance and improve efficiency, the prototype of which is nearing completion.

See http://www.pgrail.co.za/ for more information on Girdlestone and his work. Phil can be contacted at pgrail@venturenet.co.za.


Dipl. Ing. Roger Waller

One of several rack steam locomotives built by SLM to Roger Waller's design for the Brienz Rothorn Railway, the Montreux - Glion - Rochers-de-Naye and the Austrian Federal Railways for their Schneeberg- and Schafberg-linesAfter graduating in Switzerland, Waller was employed by the Swiss Locomotive Machine Works (SLM) at Winterthur. In 1982 he joined the South African Railways and worked as an assistant to Wardale during the latter stages of the tuning-up and testing work on the Red Devil. He returned to SLM in 1984 and was responsible for the development of the Class H2/3 rack locomotives, first built in 1992 and now in service in Switzerland (on the Brienz Rothorn Bahn) and in Austria (on the Schneeberg Schafberg railway). These engines embody a number of advanced features, including light oil firing giving very low exhaust emissions and allowing one-man operation on the low-speed mountain railways on which the locomotives are used. By comparison with the 1933 design from which they were developed, the new locomotives are 25% lighter and develop 36% more power, this resulting in 61% less fuel being consumed per passenger trip, with a top speed 56% higher. They are thus operationally equivalent to diesel locomotives yet retain the commercially important appeal of steam traction.52 8055 of the Eisenbahnfreunde Zollernbahn as extensively modernized by Roger Waller

Following on the success of these locomotives, Waller and his team at SLM extensively rebuilt ex-Deutsche Reichsbahn 52 Class 2-10-0 No. 8055, which incorporates some of the features of the rack tanks, such as light oil firing and ultra-thick thermal insulation. This rebuild was first tested in 1999 and after a period of inactivity in Germany (caused by regulatory authorities), the locomotive returned to Switzerland in 2003 under the ownership of DLM where it is expected to operate regularly on Orient Express and other special services.

In 2000 the steam group at SLM (by that time re-named Sulzer Winpro Ltd.) was separated from the main company by a management buy-out, the new company, Steam Locomotive & Machine Works DLM Ltd., concentrating entirely on steam technology, with Waller as its Vice President and CEO. In addition to work on steam locomotives, this company has inherited Sulzer Winpro's contracts for steam power units for several paddle ships operating on Swiss lakes, the first of these having recently been installed on the S/S Montreux.

In Feb 2003 Waller presented a paper titled "Modern Steam - An Economic and Environmental Alternative to Diesel Traction" to the Institution of Mechanical Engineers Railway Division under the auspice of the "Sir Seymour Biscoe Tritton Lecture".


McMahon also began his railway career on the Ffestiniog Railway, joining the permanent staff there as a trainee technician engineer in 1984 when Girdlestone was Works Manager, this being the start of a working relationship Shaun McMahon and Chris Parrott discuss discussing the design and fitting of the air pump design (Talylly Railway) as fitted to Camila, 2004 (photo by Martyn Bane)between the two men which continues to this day. He moved from the FR to the Vale of Rheidol Railway in 1989, becoming heavily involved in boiler water treatment schemes on various UK preserved lines. At this time he formed "Day McMahon Steam Technical Services" with Nigel Day. A number of successful locomotive redraughtings were carried out by the partnership. In 1994 he became Assistant Mechanical Engineer to Girdlestone on the Alfred County Railway in South Africa. He continued on the ACR until 1999 when he moved to Argentina as Technical Manager for the Argentine railway development company Tranex Turismo S.A. He is currently employed by Tranex as Technical and Technical Projects Manager at the Ferrocarril Austral Fueguino on Tierra del Fuego. This small railway is committed to an innovative program of steam locomotive development especially aimed at tourist train operations, under the guidance of Ing. Porta with McMahon charged with getting Porta's ideas translated into hardware.

The photos shown below show two of Shaun's "demonstrator" locomotives which show what can be achieved with minimum investment to improve the performance of poorly designed locomotives. Further modifications are planned for both locomotives when funds become available.

See also Shaun McMahon's page on http://www.martynbane.co.uk/.

FCAF Garratt No 2, Jan 2003. Click on photo for further information about loco   FCAT No 3 'Camilla' in modified form, December 2001

Click on the left-hand photo for further information about modifications to FACF Garratt No 2

Nigel DaySnowdon Mountain Railway No 4 'Snowdon' converted to oil-burning by Nigel Day

Day has spent his working life on the Snowdon Mountain Railway (SMR), an organisation where the motive power staff have responsibility for all aspects of operating and maintaining the locomotives. He first started to modify one of the line's 0-4-2 rack tanks, No.7 Ralph, in 1986. This being successful all the SMR's operational steam locomotives have now been fitted with improved exhausts (Lempors) and other modifications to his designs. He has carried out important work on oil firing, SMR locomotive No. 4 Snowdon being fitted with his own design of oil burner for burning gas oil. Whereas previous attempts to oil fire SMR locomotives had failed, No. 4 is an excellent performer, and gives fuel savings of 25-30% compared to the coal fired engines. More development work is planned on this system as circumstances permit.Puffing Billy Railway (Victoria, Australia) No 6A modified by Nigel Day - photo by Martyn Bane

In parallel with his work on the SMR Day went into business with Shaun McMahon forming "Day McMahon Steam Technical Services". This partnership was responsible for the first stages of development on the SMR oil firing system. In addition the partnership specialised in redraughting locomotives beginning with the Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway (WLLR) in Wales which has now fitted all its locomotives with Lempor exhausts which are hidden within the outline of the original chimney. Typically the WLLR locomotives achieved a reduction in coal consumption of 10% with a 16% increase in power with no change to their external appearance.

When McMahon departed for South Africa in 1994 Day formed Modern Steam Technical Railway Services and has undertaken redraughting work on railways across the world including the Ffestiniog Railway in Wales, the Isle of Man Steam Railway and Puffing Billy Railway in Victoria, Australia. In addition to redraughting, Modern Steam Technical Railway Services offers advice on modern boiler water treatment regimes.

Day is an accomplished craftsman, especially in brasswork and in the production of brass whistles. These have been fitted to locomotives on SMR, to BR 4-6-2 71000 Duke of Gloucester, locomotives of the Llanberis Lake Railway and 15 gauge locomotive Northern Rock II. This locomotive was build to order by the Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway for export to Japan. All his whistles are fabricated rather than cast.

For more information on his services click here for his information sheet. He can be contacted by e-mail at Nigelsteamday@aol.com. See also http://www.martynbane.co.uk/modernsteam/nday/nigeldayhome.htm.

Ian Gaylor : Ian Gaylor is a consultant design engineer with a lifetime of experience in both mechanical engineering design and steam locomotive operation. One-time Head of Mechanical Engineering at Cranfield Institute of Technology's Product Engineering Centre he is currently, in addition to his work with Steam Loco Design, a Senior Consultant with a leading European technology and management consultancy.

Ian has more than thirty-five years experience of working as a volunteer engineman on many lines including the Festiniog, West Somerset, Leighton Buzzard and Bure Valley Railways. Over the years he has been involved in many locomotive restoration projects, volunteering his engineering design expertise and skills as a fitter. He also has extensive experience of training footplate staff and has produced training materials which are in use at several lines.

Steam Railway Magazine recently published a two-part article written by Ian Gaylor that described some of his work on the BVR. The combined article is is reproduced in unabridged form on Ian's website at http://www.steam-loco-design.co.uk/pages/zb_article.html.

Ian Screeton : Ian Screeton is the Engineering Manager of the Kirklees Light Railway who has masterminded the upgrading of the entire KLR locomotive fleet to incorporate "modern steam" features such as GPSC fireboxes, improved Lempor-based exhausts, roller bearings, steam sanding and Porta water treatment. Modification of the locomotives is an ongoing task that Ian undertakes as time and loco availability allow him.

The KLR currently runs four locomotives two of which (Badger and Fox) are pictured below. Ian describes the improvements that he has made to locomotive fleet in a report titled "Modifications to improve the reliability and operability of steam locomotives on the Kirklees Light Railway".


KLR's 0-6-4 saddle tank "BADGER" (top left); 2-6-2 side tank "FOX" (top right); Heisler geared 0-4-4-0 "OWL" (bottom left) and 0-4-4-0 Kitson Meyer "HAWK" (bottom right)
Note: Ian Screeton can be seen standing between Dominic Wells and Alan Fozard in the photo of "OWL" (bottom left)

Ingeniero Livio Dante Porta (1922-2003).

Ing. Livio Dante Porta, the inspirational force behind the 5AT and most of all other steam locomotive developments, including those mentioned on this page, passed away on 10th June 2003 at the age of 81.

Ing. Porta graduated as an engineer in Argentina in 1946, and became first a disciple and then a great friend of André Chapelon. He was a strong believer in Chapelon's locomotive design philosophy, to which he added his own considerable input. His first locomotive, a four cylinder compound 4-8-0 that he designed and built at the age of 27, still ranks as thermally the most efficient Stephensonian locomotive ever constructed. This was the start ofPorta's first locomotive: 4 cylinder compound 4-8-0 what became a working life dedicated to the advancement of steam traction.

Coming on the scene rather late to influence the designs of new locomotives, he became instead a master of locomotive rebuilding schemes, which resulted in the power, efficiency and reliability of existing locomotives being transformed. He was directly involved in such rebuildings in Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and in Britain, where 74 0-6-0 tank locomotives of the National Coal Board were fitted with Porta improvements as part of modifications by the Hunslet Engine Company in the 1960's to reduce pollution.

From 1957 to 1960 he was manager of the coal-carrying Rio Turbio Railway in Patagonia, improving its fleet of 2-10-2's to the point where they became one of the most effective steam designs of all time, hauling trains of up to 2 000 tons unaided on this 750 mm gauge line. Amongst the developments made there was the Gas Producer Combustion System, an improved method of coal combustion that is particularly associated with Porta's name. In 1980 he joined the ACE team in America, beTwo of Porta's modified and super-efficient Rio Turbio 2-10-2scoming Vice President of Research & Development, and being heavily involved in the specification for the proposed ACE 3000 locomotive, a project to build an automated steam locomotive to directly challenge diesel traction under North American conditions. This ambitious proposal eventually folded due to failure to attract the necessary funding, after which Porta was employed by the Cuban Ministry of Transport with a view to producing an entirely new steam locomotive design for shunting and branch line service on the Cuban State Railways.

Porta always shared his knowledge freely with others involved in steam locomotive development. The work of Wardale and Girdlestone is greatly indebted to his assistance, and he acted as a consultant to Waller in Switzerland. It is fair to say that prior to his death, Porta enjoyed the status of 'Grand Master' amongst today's steam locomotive engineers.

It is deeply regretted that Porta did not live to see the 5AT completed. In one of his last letters he wrote: "May I venture to say that after the first 5AT loco runs, there will be an avalanche of steam loco buildings." It is to be hoped that the 5AT project will bring truth to those words, and provide a fitting and lasting memorial to this great man's life's work.

See http://www.trainweb.org/tusp/porta.html for more information on Porta and his work. See also obituary titled "The Engineer who transformed Steam Technology" as published in the Guardian on 2nd August 2003.

Last updated: 18 Dec 2006: Link added to Ian Gaylor's website.
22 Sept 2006: Paragraph added for Ian Screeton.