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Steam Improvements of the Last ~40 Years

updated 12 March 2014

Despite the apparent deterioration of steam fleets around the world, there have been many projects to improve or modernize existing steam locomotives in the last 40 years. The following table provides a listing of these modernization projects, which continue through the present day.

Note- some links to photographs lead off-site (indicated by *)

Notable Steam Locomotive Modernization Projects of the Last 30 Years

Year Location Locomotive Type No. of Loco.s Work performed by Summary of work
1969 Britain National Coal Board Hunslet 0-6-0ST's 50 ? L. D. Porta Underfeed stoker, Gas Producer Combustion System (GPCS), Lempor exhaust
1969 Argentina Belgrano Railway
4-8-2 No. 1802
1 L. D. Porta Improved water treatment, exhaust, and valve events
1979 South Africa Class 19D
No. 2644
1 David Wardale GPCS, double Lempor exhaust, detail improvements
Zimbabwe NRZ Class 14, Class 15, Class 16, & Class 20 Beyer-Garratts ~90 RESCCO Roller bearings on all axles, increased coal & water capacity, mechanical lubrication, improved exhaust on some engines
1981 South Africa Class 25NC
(changed to Class 26)
No. 3450
1 David Wardale GPCS, double Lempor exhaust, increased superheat, improved valves, feedwater heater, detail improvements
1982 South Africa Class 25NC
1 Dr. P.
Le Seur
improved exhaust
(double transverse arrangement)
1983 Wales Mountaineer
1 Boughey, Gibbard, Girdlestone, Walker Piston valve cylinders, superheat, etc.
1985? Southern Pacific Railway,
United States
Daylight 4-8-4 No. 4449 1   Improved boiler insulation, firebox circulator tubes
1985? Wales Linda
1 Phil Girdlestone GPCS, Lempor exhaust, superheat, improved valves
1985 Sudan Class 310
10 Hugh Phillips Eng. Lmtd.

Phil Girdlestone

Lempor exhaust, detail improvements
1986 Poland Ty 2 2-10-0 1 (?) INTERLOK GPCS, stoker, improved exhaust. More information on this project is available at: (in French & German).
Snowdon Mountain Railway, Wales 0-4-2RT No. 7 1 Nigel Day Kylpor exhaust, lubrication modifications
1987 China QJ 2-10-2’s 2 David Wardale GPCS (one cyclonic)
1987 (?) China QJ 2-10-2
1 China Rail (?) Combustion air pre-heating system
1990? Paraguay Ferrocaril Presidente Carlos Antonio Lopez
No. 286
1 L. D. Porta GPCS (wood burning), Lempor exhaust, detail improvements
1991 South Africa NGG16
2 Phil Girdlestone GPCS, Lempor exhaust, improved valves, mechanical lubricators
1991 Vale of Rheidol Railway, Wales 2-6-2T No. 8 1 Shaun McMahon, Nigel Day Kylchap mixing cowl added to existing exhaust
1991 Brazil Teresa Christina Railway 2-8-2's, 2-10-2's 3 ? L. D. Porta, Phil Girdlestone GPCS, Lempor exhaust
1991 Snowdon Mountain Railway, Wales 0-4-2RT No. 4 1 Nigel Day Kylpor exhaust (photo shows locomotive in current condition with Lempor exhaust)
1992 Snowdon Mountain Railway, Wales 0-4-2RT No.'s 2, 5, & 6 3 Nigel Day Lempor exhausts
Switzerland, Austria 0-4-2RT 8 SLM (New construction) Lempor exhaust, improved valves, improved insulation, all sealed roller bearings, light-oil firing
Welshpool & Llanfair
Light Railway
"The Countess" (No. 2), "Sir Drefaldwyn", (No. 14) 3 Day & McMahon Steam Technical Services Lempor exhaust
1995 Britain
Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway
0-4-0ST Peckett "Annie" 1 Nigel Day Lempor exhaust
1997 Grand Canyon Railway,
Arizona, USA
No. 4960
1 Robert Franzen Welded staybolts, improved exhaust, firebox circulators, oil firing, enlarged tender, improved lubrication, remote bearing monitors.

See update July 5, 2005 below.

1997 Cuba Ferrocarriles de Cuba
No. 1816
1 L. D. Porta Lempor exhaust, increased boiler pressure, increased superheat, supplementary air compressors
1997 Isle of Man, Dubbs 0-6-0 "Caladonia" 1 Nigel Day Lempor exhaust
1998 DLM, Switzerland Kriegslokomotiv NG 52 2-10-0 #8055 1 SLM Originally modified for the Eisenbahnfreunde Zollernbahn in Switzerland, now owned by DLM.  Lempor exhaust, lightweight motion work, improved valves, improved insulation, sealed roller bearings, increased superheat
1998 Great Smokey Mountains Railway, Dillsboro, NC, USA U.S. Army S-160
1 Great Smokey Mountains Railway Roller bearings on all axles. Read here for more info.

Update Feb. 9, 2004- Unfortunately, the bearings suffered drastically premature failure and were replaced with conventional friction bearings in 2003.

1998 West Coast Railway, Australia R711 4-6-4 1 Phil Girdlestone/
Dual Lempor exhaust, "swirl" oil burners, improved valves, detail improvements.  Lempor exhaust has since been removed and the original "waffle iron" single exhaust restored.
1999? Blonay-Chamby Museum Railway, Switzerland 0-4-4-0 Mallet tank engine
No. 105*
1 ? Kylchap exhaust, flexible accordian-type S.S. steam lines to front cylinders
1999 Snowdon Mountain Railway, Wales 0-4-0RT No. 4 1 Nigel Day Lempor exhaust, efficient light oil burner system
1999 Ferrocarril Austral Fueguino,
Ushuaia, Argentina
1 Shaun McMahon Lempor exhaust, enlarged steam passages, improved oil burner
1999 Welshpool and Llanfair Railway, Wales "The Earl" 1 Nigel Day Lempor exhaust
1999 The Netherlands RTM56 1 Jos Koopmans Mutiple-nozzle system
2000 Britain "Duke of Gloucester" 4-6-2 1 71000 Trust Double Kylchap exhaust, improved exhaust cams, and numerous small improvements
2000 New Zealand former SAR Class 24 2-8-4 1 Mainline Steam Trust Modifications to cab and tender to suit Queensland loading gauge, conversion to heavy oil firing, addition of air brakes, sanders, and drain cocks. Installation of train control system and radio. Instrumentation has been fitted to allow evaluation of multiple-jet exhaust nozzle.
2000 Britain Large Pecket 0-4-4ST 1 Nigel Day Lempor exhaust
2000 Welshpool and Llanfair Railway, Wales Tubize 2-6-2 1 Day & McMahon Technical Services Lempor exhaust
2000 Yorkshire Britain 0-6-0 Hudswell Clark Tank 1 Nigel Day Lempor exhaust
2001 West Coast Railway, Australia R766 4-6-4 1 Phil Girdlestone/
Dual Lempor exhaust, oil burner, detail improvements (see R711 listing above for photo of nearly identical R711).  Lempor exhausts evidently have since been removed.  Engine currently under overhaul and being converted from broad to standard gauge.
2001 Bodmin, Cornwall, UK 0-6-0T Austerity
1 Nigel Day Modified Kylpor exhaust
2001 Ferrocarril Austral Fueguino,
Ushuaia, Argentina
0-4-0+0-4-0 Garratt No. 2 "L. D. Porta" 1 Shaun McMahon Lempor Exhaust, enlarged steam passages, improved insulation, improved valves, numerous mechanical and thermodynamic detail improvements
Puffing Billy Railway, Australia 2-6-2T NA 6A 1 Nigel Day Modified Lempor exhaust
October 2003, Nov. 2004 (continuing) The Mount Washington Cog Railway, New Hampshire, USA 0-2-2-0 (rack)
No.9 Waumbek
1 Nigel Day Lempor exhaust. Very notable for being the first Lempor installation in the USA. Feedwater heater, steam circuit improvements, and other modifications also installed.  Oil firing successfully trialed.  However, it was later removed.
November 2003 The Talyllyn Railway, Wales 0-4-0T No. 6 1 John Scott,
Julian Stow
Peter Mintoft
3 nozzle exhaust stand designed according to Jos Koopmans' exhaust research.
~2003? Bure Valley Railway No. 10 2-6-4T
"Mark Timothy"
1 Alan Keef Ltd Winson-built "ZB" (similar to Camila on the FCAF) heavily rebuilt by Alan Keef ; Lempor exhaust installed
Winter 2003/2004 Cleethorpes Coast Light Railway Sandy River No. 24
1   15" gauge 2-6-2; Lemport exhaust installed
May 2004 Trans-Siberian Express
GW Travel Limited
4-8-4 P36.0032 1 Phil Girdlestone Russian P36 4-8-4. Fitted with dual Lempor exhaust.
July 2005, November 2005 Grand Canyon Railway,
Arizona, USA
2-8-2 No. 4960

2-8-0 No. 29

2 Nigel Day Lempor exhausts, improved oil burners, and feedwater heaters fitted. Unfortunately, these locomotives were taken out of regular service in 2008 due to a change in railway management. 4960 has since returned to operation on a limited basis.
January 2006 Strasburg Railroad, Strasburg, Pennsylvania, USA 2-10-0 No. 90 1   All-welded 304 stainless steel tender tank.
May 2006 Ferrocarril Austral Fueguino,
Ushuaia, Argentina
0-4-0+0-4-0 No. 5
'Ing H. R. Zubieta'
1 Phil Girdlestone New Garratt for FCAF. Combination of Argentinan-fabricated parts intended for a duplicate of No. 2 and new parts fabricated by Girdlestone & Associates in South Africa.  Features all the improvements previously fitted to No. 2, "L. D. Porta", plus superheating and others.
Welshpool & Lllanfair Light Railway, Powys, Wales
0-6-2 Joan
Nigel Day
Lempor Exhaust
Welshpool & Lllanfair Light Railway, Powys, Wales 0-8-0 Resita
Nigel Day
Lempor Exhaust

Monticello Railway Museum

Monticello, IL, USA

2-8-0 No. 401 1

Jos Koopmans

(design of exhaust system)

Sweney/Armstrong Exhaust Nozzle with modern tapered stack liner and mixing chamber, all-welded boiler, welded tender, oil firing.
November 2008 Perrygrove Railway,
Coleford, Gloucestershire, UK
2-6-2T Lydia 1 Steam Loco Design New 15" gauge 2-6-2T for tourist railway.  Designed by Steam Loco Design and fabricated by Alan Keef.  Features Lempor exhaust and roller bearings.
Welsh Highland Railway, Wales
2-6-2+2-6-2 No. 87
Lempor Exhaust (installation is not mentioned on the WHR's webpages, but photo here shows the Lempor). 
West Coast Wilderness Railway, Australia
0-4-2RT* No.s 3 and 5
*(Abt rack and conventional adhesion drive on locomotives; 2 sets of cylinders)
Nigel Day
Lempor exhaust.  Details of installations available on Martyn Bane's page at:
Scottish Railway Preservation Society
0-6-0T No. 7
Lempor exhaust- curiously, a photograph showed this appears to be sort of a cross between a Kylpor and a Lempor featuring a Lempor 4-nozzle arrangement, but with a separate intermediate petticoat pipe like a Kylchap (making this a Lemporchap?). This photo shows the intermediate peticoat.
2-10-0 44 225
Dampflokwerk Meiningen
Former Deutsche Reichsbahn Class 44 2-10-0.  In the process of being rebuilt; improvements will include bio-fuel firing, sealed roller bearings and a Lempor exhaust.  Work is being done by Meiningen in Germany.  Intent is to rebuild the locomotive and offer it for rental, primarily to the Danish market.
West Coast Wilderness Railway, Australia 0-4-2RT* No. 1
*(Abt rack and conventional adhesion drive on locomotives; 2 sets of cylinders)
Nigel Day
Lempor exhaust.
2013 Keighley & Worth Valley Railway 2-8-0 No. 5820 "Big Jim" 1 5AT Group USATC S160 WWII design locomotive. Lempor exhaust added. More info here:

There are many other steam modernization projects which aren't included above. Some of these include Giesl installations on several locomotives in Britain and Giesl "copy" exhausts on locomotives in China. Several U.S. steam locomotives which were restored have been fitted with modern air brake control equipment (26-L brakestands). At least three small scale "live steam" locomotives have been fitted with the Gas Producer Combustion System, including one in Great Britain, one in South Africa and one in the United States.  Numerous live steam locomotives have been fitted with Lempor exhausts in recent years.

If you know of other steam locomotive modernization projects that I have omitted, please write me at