Reply To: Water Treatment

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Chris Newman

    Hi Chris – as mentioned in a recent email to you, I would have thought Porta’s water treatment system would be a more appropriate solution for locomotive use than systems requiring fixed plant. By my understanding, the advantages of Porta’s system are along the following lines:

    • It requires no investment in fixed plant (beyond simple lab testing equipment);
    • It requires no skills to implement – just some simple rules for the enginemen to follow;
    • A locomotive carries its own treatment system with it, and can operate in areas with the hardest water supplies provided dosages are adjusted to keep the TDS in boiler water at a high level;
    • It not only prevents scale build-up, but prevents corrosion and sludge formation and can extend the period between washouts to six months or more once confidence in it is gained.

    The main problem with it is that the very high TDS levels it requires can result in heavy foam formation with the consequence of priming if a heavy-duty antifoam isn’t used.

    Adaptations of Porta’s system are currently being used with success in the UK in 6024’s boiler and by Ian Screeton on the Kirklees Light Railway, and perhaps elsewhere. Of course, it’s long been used in Porta’s homeland, Argentina, most notably by the FCAF in Ushuaia where its success been long established.

    A lot of hot air tends to cloud discussions about water treatment on heritage railways, many of which use systems that are claimed to be better than all others. It would therefore be interesting and potentially valuable if an independent study were to be undertaken that compared all the various water treatment options that are now available to the industry.

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 8 months ago by Chris Newman.