Reference Material

This page lists various resources including documents, presentations, audio-visuals and software that is downloadable from this website.

Please click on the red arrows to open the text under each subject heading.



Technical Papers

A large number of paper covering a whole spectrum of topics about Modern Steam were written by Ing L.D. Porta, however most remain in hand-written manuscript form. The few that have been published include “Porta L.D., Advanced Steam Locomotive Development – Three Technical Papers” published by Camden Miniature Steam.  The papers included in this publication are:

  • Steam Locomotive Developments in Argentina – its Contribution to the Future of Railway Technology in the Under-developed Countries“, presented to the Manchester Centre of the Institution of Locomotive Engineers in March 1969 – commonly known as “The Manchester Paper”; (Note – the publication does not include the large number of questions and answers that were recorded at the meeting.)
  • “Fundamentals of the Porta Compound System for Steam Locomotives”;
  • “Some Steam Leakage Tests of Locomotive Nora on the Ferrocarril Austral Fuegino” Oct 1999.

Two other papers by Porta were published in the Proceedings of a Fedecrail conference held in Barcelona in May/June 1998 titled “Lectures on Steam Locomotive Operation in the 21st Century“.  The papers included in the Proceedings are as follows:

Photocopies of several of Porta’s papers are circulated within the modern steam community, only a few of which have been made publicly available in digital format.  The list includes:

  • Adhesion in Advanced Steam Locomotive Engineering – or Adhesion in the Kingdom of Railway Stupidity”, 1984 (type-written).
  • Boiler Combustion Calculations – The Heat Balance – A Criticism of the Lawford Fry Method 1976  (handwritten).
  • The Cooling of Piston Valve and Liner Rubbing Surfaces, 1976 (handwritten).
  • The Fischer Knuckle Pin in Advanced Steam Locomotive Engineering (handwritten).
  • Fundamentals of the Porta Compounding System for Steam Locomotives (handwritten).
  • Hand Firing in connection with GPCS (handwritten).
  • On the Hudson-Orrok Heat Transfer Eqn as applied to Locomotive Boilers (handwritten).
  • Improvements to the Mechanical Design of Piston Valves and Pistons (handwritten).
  • Improvements to Superheater Element Joints (handwritten).
  • A New Superheater-Economizer Element for Advanced Steam Locomotive Technolog – gives details of an approach using Type ‘E’ elements (handwritten).
  • A Note on the Optimum Value of Lead in Steam Locomotives (handwritten).
  • Notes on the Flat Plate Stayed Firebox Construction for Locomotive Boilers working at 30 and 60 ate. Steam Pressure (handwritten).
  • A Proposal for the Tornado Project, 1992, (handwritten).
  • Running with Closed Regulator (handwritten).
  • Steam Locomotive Boiler Water Treatment (type-written).
  • Steam Engine Cylinder Tribology 1975 – Parts 1 and 2 (handwritten).
  • Steam Engine Cylinder Tribology 1975 – Sections 6 to 14 (type-written).
  • Advanced Steam Engine Cylinder Tribology 1995, (handwritten).
  • The Thermo-mechanical behaviour of the Steam Locomotive Boiler Firebox – An Overall View (handwritten).

Chris Newman is currently in the process of transcribing these papers into MS Word and PDF format so that ASTT can publish them.  Since the total number of pages exceeds 650 (A4 size) the papers will probably be published in three volumes, however proof-reading of the transcriptions has to be completed before any such decision is made.

Porta’s 1987 paper “The Contribution of a New Steam Motive Power to an Oil-less World” has been transcribed into PDF format (by Chris Newman) from photocopied type-script, and is available for download from this website.

A bibliography of Porta’s papers (totalling 188 in number) was compiled by Geoff Lambert with additions by Hugh Odom and additional info from Shaun McMahon. An updated version compiled by John Wright in February 2004 is downloadable here.

Two other excellent sources of information about Porta and his work (and some of his papers) can be found on:




The following is a list of some downloadable papers and broadcasts relating to the subject of Modern Steam.

Six other papers on Modern Steam can be found in the Proceedings of a Fedecrail conference held in Barcelona in May/June 1998 titled “Lectures on Steam Locomotive Operation in the 21st Century“.  The papers are as follows:

Note – in Aug 1977, Wardale presented a paper titled “The Steam Locomotive – Motive Power for the Future” to the South African Railways Engineering Society.  Most of the content of this paper is covered in his later work “The Red Devil and Other Tales from the Age of Steam“, however, having been written so much earlier, the author’s mood is refreshingly upbeat in comparison.  Furthermore, Wardale warns anyone reading the paper that it contains some fundamental errors which he only later became aware of.

The paper is in typescript form and covers 217 pages, and is not currently available on this website.


See also the Fuels and Combustion section on the FAQ page for discussion of locomotive fuels and emissions.


Landau D., “Two Point Four Pounds per Ton – A Ramble through the History of Railway Mechanics“, 2003.

Landau D., “Boiler Statistics – British Railways Maintenance Costs 1953-57“, published in SLS Journal Sept Oct 2004.

Landau D., “From Shovels to CTs – Measuring the Energy of Trains“, published by the Railway Performance Society (date unknown).



The following three English translations from the German of engineering papers by Von Dr. Ing. Arnold Tross, are available for download.

Sincere thanks to Matt Janssen of the Vapor Locomotive Company, who commissioned the translations, for making them available to ASTT:

Note: Descriptions and notations of diagrams remain in the original German. Readers may find some words used in the translated text difficult to interpret.


Numerous presentations have been made relating to the 5AT Project.  Indeed, they continue to be made even after the project’s suspension, since the project is still of interest and significance to anyone interested in steam traction.  Presentations about the 5AT may be found on a separate page in this section.

This page provides access to presentations relating to modern steam traction that are not specifically 5AT-related.

  • A presentation titled “Predicting Steam Performance” that was presented by Dr David Pawson at a meeting of the 5AT Group in October 2012.  The paper discusses his predicts of steam locomotive performance based on Prof Hall’s “perform” loco simulation software and on Dr Pawson’s analysis of test plant data from Rugby, Swindon (UK), Vitry(France)  and Altoona (USA).  A copy of Dr Pawson’s discussion paper on the subject is also available for download.
  • A presentation titled “STEAM” by Jamie Keyte, also given at the Oct 2012 meeting of the 5AT Group. The paper describes Jamie’s spreadsheet model (called called “STEAM”, meaning Steam Traction Engineering Analysis Method) for predicting steam locomotive performance.
  • A presentation titled “Steam Locomotive Dynamics” by Owen Evans, a specialist in rail vehicle dynamics from Delta Rail.




Too many presentations on the 5AT Project have been made to record them all here.  A small selection is therefore offered as follows:




The AST Trust is grateful to Mrs Mary Hall, the widow of the late Bill Hall for granting permission to make available for download copies of her husband’s steam locomotive simulation software suites Perform and Perwal. The group is also grateful to his daughter Janet for providing us with photos of her father and some of his files, some of which have been made available for download.

Professor (Bill) Hall F. R. Eng., F.I.Mech.E. was Professor of Nuclear Engineering at the University of Manchester (England), and took a leading role in the early development of nuclear power in the UK. He was also a devotee of the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway for the benefit of whose members he developed his software packages.

Bill died in 2003 at the age of 80 before he was able to complete a new program with which he intended to simulate locomotive combustion systems. He discovered the task to be profoundly difficult and declared the steam locomotive’s firebox more complex to model than a nuclear reactor.

An obituary to Bill Hall was published in the Guardian Newspaper on 8th Oct 2003 – see [A PDF copy of the text is available here.]

Bill developed two software packages – a simpler one called “Perform” and a supplementary one called “Perwal“. “Perform” uses a simplified “generic” simulation of valve events whilst “Perwal” incorporates an algorithm that more accurately predicts valve events based on the use of Walschaerts valve gear (the valve gear’s geometry being defined by the user).

In addition to programs themselves, some of Bill’s papers are also available for download, two of which present the mathematical derivations used in his Perform program.

Software downloads are offered in Zipped format as follows:

Guidance on use of the software is offered on a separate page of this website.

Bill Hall’s paper are offered in PDF format as follows:

Note: Dr Allan Wallace has proof-read “Predicting Locomotive Performance” and has found a few minor typographical errors in some of its equations. Based on Allan’s advice, Chris Newman has prepared a corrected version of the paper which can be obtained by writing to and requesting a copy.

Allan Wallace’s own valve gear simulation software can be downloaded from his own website at

Other simulations programs include:

  • Two spreadsheets (one for Walschaerts simulation, the other for Stephensons) have been created by Don Ashton and downloadable from his website.
  • Several programs covering a variety of valve gears has also been created by Charles Dockstader of the USA and are downloadable from his website.
  • Jamie Keyte of the 5AT Group is in the process of developing a new steam loco performance simulation package which he has appropriately named “STEAM” (see separate page of this website).



Dr Allan Wallace (PhD in mechanical engineering and fluid mechanics) runs his own engineering consulting company Avocet Consulting Pty Ltd in Adelaide, South Australia, that specialises in solving unusual and difficult engineering problems. Allan has undertaken several railway-related projects including the design of specialized rail freight wagons.

Like Richard Coleby, Allan is an enthusiastic builder of miniature (3½” and 5″ gauge) steam locomotives which he regularly runs in his spare time. He has also built a 5″ gauge dynamometer car fitted with electronic load-cells and lap-top computer, for monitoring and comparing the performance of his and other builders’ locomotives.

In association with his locomotive modelling, Allan has developed several valve gear simulation software suites that he makes available from his website at

Allan has given valuable assistance to David Wardale in the preparation of his Fundamental Design Calculations FDC 5 covering the valve-gear for the 5AT by adapting his own Walschaerts valve gear program to accommodate the 5AT’s unusual suspended combination lever (required to activate the twin valves above each of its cylinders).

Allan lives in Adelaide, Australia.



5AT Group member Jamie Keyte is in the process of developing a new steam loco performance simulation package which he has named “STEAM“, standing for “Steam Traction Engineering Analysis Method”.

The software is being developed as an MS Excel spreadsheet model which offers the significant advantage over other packages in that it can be interrogated (and if necessary, modified) by its users.

Whilst the package is still under development, it is already producing results that closely match those produced by Bill Hall’s software.

Jamie presented a paper on his new software package to the 5AT Group meeting on 6th Oct 2012. A copy of his paper may be downloaded here.


Charles Dockstader’s website offers several (approx 14) downloadable software packages for simulating Walschaerts, Stephenson, Baker, Joy, Allan, Gooch, Hackworth, Caprotti, Gresley, Bulleid, and several other valve gears.




Don Ashton’s website offers downloadable simulation software for several types of valve gear plus useful information, articles and links to other sites of interest.




Broadcasts about the 5AT and Modern Steam have not been frequent, and the only two that are known are listed here:

  • 19th July 2006 – BBC Radio 4 broadcast a program called “Steam Driven” that can still available on the BBC’s website.  The broadcast features the voices of David Wardale, Roger Waller, Shaun McMahon and others expressing their views on the possibilities for Modern Steam development.
  • 14th October 2003 – BBC Radio 4 broadcast an interview with Alan Fozard on the 06:20 Business Report of their “Today” program in the aftermath of Alan’s presentation about the 5AT Project at the First International Conference on Steam and Tourist Railways at Brienz in Switzerland.


15 audio tracks recorded in South Africa in the early 1980s by David Wardale and Nick Bartlett are available on this website.  They include several recordings of The Red Devil, including one during which it develops an equivalent drawbar power of around 2,460 kW (3,300 h.p.) while accelerating up a 1% gradient with 1200 tonnes behind the drawbar.


A DVD focussing on “modern steam” developments is available from John Slater in Australia titled “Super Steam”.  The 72 minute video is available through for $AUD 39.95 (approx £20).



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