Selection of Papers by L.D. Porta – Volume 3

Boilers, Fireboxes and

The Argentinean engineer Livio Dante Porta (1922 – 2003) remains an unsung hero in the long history of steam locomotive development. Following in the footsteps of Chapelon, he rebuilt numerous locomotives in Argentina and elsewhere, and designed several revolutionary locomotives, both large and small. Like Chapelon, none of his designs were built and most of his rebuilds have been lost to the scrap market. He has however left a rich legacy in the form of over two hundred technical papers covering a wide range of subjects and written in at least three languages, the majority in English. A few of his papers were published in conference proceedings; some were typed, but the majority were left as hand-written manuscripts. Many were written for specific purposes such as “Application of the Gas Producer Combustion System to the 141R” and “On the Hudson-Orrok Heat Transfer Equation” which were written to guide David Wardale in his South African and/or his China endeavours. Others would have been written for the purpose of guiding present and future engineers and designers towards the further development of steam locomotive engineering.

This third volume subtitled “Boilers, Fireboxes and Combustion” includes 19 papers as follows:


  • Notes on responsiveness to quick load changes of a boiler when burning wood;
  • On the Hudson-Orrok heat transfer equation as applied to locomotive boilers;
  • A new superheater-economizer element for advanced steam loco technology;
  • Improvements to superheater element joints for advanced steam locos;
  • What steam pressure for old locomotive boilers?


  • Notes on firebox construction for loco boilers working at 30 and 60 atm. pressure;
  • Note on burnout heat transfer;
  • Thermo-mechanical behaviour of the steam locomotive firebox – an overall view;
  • The worm grate and ash disposal system;
  • Note on the present status of the grate design in connection with the GPCS;
  • An essay on steam locomotive boiler tubeplate birdnesting (ash fouling);


  • Combustion calculations – the Heat Balance – a criticism of the Lawford Fry method;
  • Hand firing in connection with the Gas Producer Combustion System;
  • Note on combustion efficiency of the Gas Producer Combustion System;
  • The GPCS as an answer to coal-derived pollution from steam locomotives;
  • Locomotive type boiler for bagasse, peat and wood refuse burning;
  • Application of the Gas Producer Combustion System to the 141R;
  • A note on the Gas Producer Combustion System with fluidized bed conditions;
  • Comments on a paper by G.G. Thurlow on fluidised bed combustion.

A brief description of each of the 19 papers can be downloaded here.

Covering 290 A4 pages including numerous diagrams in black in white, this volume is priced at £27 including postage within Europe and £30 including postage outside Europe. (See below for members’ discount.)

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PDF copies of Porta’s original handwritten manuscripts will be made available to buyers who would like to be able to check the accuracy of the transcriptions.
Please note:  Other than a 10% royalty payable to the Porta Foundation, all proceeds from the sale of the book will accrue to Advanced Steam Traction Services Ltd. (ASTS), and will be used to fund its work of fostering improvements to the performance, reliability and/or economy of steam locomotives.