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How to Improve an Adelaide Loco Performance
This  information has been kindly supplied by Murray Wilson on how he improved the performance of his Adelaide Loco.
Hopefully this may help other Adelaide owners

Improving the Adelaide 0-4-0  live steam locomotive.

The Adelaide 0-4-0 locomotive was I understand made in two versions quite similar in appearance. I do not know whether I have the first or second  version, I hope it is the first and that the second was an altogether superior runner.

My engine came from a friend in Australia and was bought knowing it to be almost useless as a runner. It didn’t take long to see why. Although the engine is well made Adelaide apparently did not understand the Smithies boiler. The exhaust blast nozzle must be centred on the axis of the chimney so that it can create a partial vacuum and induce the hot gases to flow through the boiler casing. The Adelaide’s was much too far forward and completely ineffective. The easy solution would have been to move the chimney forward, but that would have spoiled the appearance of the engine. So the exhaust was offset rearwards by means of suitably drilled brass block that was fitted in place of the original nozzle. Unfortunately this was not photographed and is now not visible as it is between the top of the cylinder block and the underside of the smokebox. it is simply a block with drilled passages that bring the exhaust steam back horizontally and then discharge it vertically through an exhaust nozzle up the centre of the chimney. The smokebox must be well sealed to prevent air leaks around the nozzle and the hole where it was originally positioned.

This modification improved the running considerably, but it now was obvious there was too much wick and much too much air being drawn in at the burner. Apparently Adelaide had tried to compensate for the poor performance by adding more wick to the burner, but this had been the wrong thing to do.

So a new burner with only two wicks was made and the opening in the casing where the third wick had been was blanked off. The new and old burners can be seen in the photos, the one with three wick holders is the original. Note that the replacement burner has lower wick tubes and so a level plug has been fitted in the side of the new tank. To avoid having to remove the burner to refill the tank there is now a 1/8” tube fitted with a short piece of silicone tubing on the top of the tank and the tank is refilled via a squirt bottle. Note also the row of small holes just below the top of the wick tubes. Flames will issue from these and improve combustion.

This new burner gave good running, but the run was  short because there was no way of adding water to the boiler under pressure. So a boiler filling valve was installed in place of the safety valve and the safety valve transferred to the cab. The safety valve thread is ¼”x 32tpi and I had to borrow taps and a die for this obsolescent thread from a fellow old timer in order to do the job.

On the boiler backhead there is a steam manifold for the regulator and blower valves, which is fixed to the backhead by a hollow bolt, like a banjo bolt. A longer bolt was made and a banjo added between the bolt head and the manifold. The photos show this clearly. The pipe from the banjo terminates with the safety valve, which is positioned at the LHS spectacle window.

The Adelaide is now a very nice little engine to run and can be kept in steam for extended periods, yet its original appearance is essentially preserved.

©2007 Tony Muir unless stated otherwise. Should you wish to use any photos though just ask and permission will most likely be given