Porta 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: