NHRR Firing Manual

John Wallace had told me some years ago that the New Haven actually produced a manual for firing steam locomotives and that he'd been given a copy by either Dave Corsair or Ted Michalicki (both firemen on the Valley Line). Alas, over the years, the manual's gone missing and the only copy I ever knew about was located at the New Haven Railroad archive at UCONN. I'd always meant to get there to at least make a photocopy - one for me and one for John - but never got around to it. I'd certainly given up any hope of ever owning an original.

Well, long story short, I saved a search of it on eBay and - after getting dozens if not hundreds of hits for a Reading RR manual (and a repro at that) - the New Haven one finally popped up!

Of course, I had to get it. And get it I did. I thought I'd at least posted a pic of it when I first got it last year, but couldn't find it so here it is again? for the first time:

It's a fairly fragile, spiral-bound book with cardstock covers. All in all though, it's in remarkable condition for its age, with only one loose page (a miracle itself, considering the binding).

It was produced for the railroad by the CT State Dept of Education and (very) interestingly it's much newer than I'd expected, with a publication date of 1946. As long-time readers of this blog know, steam power on the New Haven faded very quickly over the next 3 years (click here for that story) so I think it's pretty unusual that the railroad bothered to produce a steam locomotive firing manual at such a late date.

But I'm glad they did. The information is, of course, especially interesting to anybody that's lucky enough to still be firing a steam locomotive in the 21st century and the illustrations are really cool too (in case you just want to flip through and look at the pictures). I've only casually thumbed through the book so far, so will be sure to post about any particularly notable items when I go through it more thoroughly.

In the meantime, along with the scoop I got for Christmas, it looks like I haven't any excuse left at all not to be(come) as authentic a New Haven RR fireman as is possible almost 65 years after the end of the steam era.