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David,

Well said. There is no substitute for gaining practical experience with a locomotive. Regardless of how many driver aids an engine does or does not have, basic fundamentals of operation and situational awareness are paramount!

With gained experience any driver should be able to anticipate what the engine is going to do within the next couple of feet, yards or (most likely) laps on the track.
 

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Not trying to scare anyone, but I vividly remember what my boss told me before he started teaching me to fire the Crown Metal Products 2 foot gauge locomotive at Hershey Park (I was 19): "You will only make one mistake with a steam engine. It will be the last mistake you ever make in your life!" That impressed me enough to stay with me over 50 years. Of course, THAT locomotive weighed 4.5 tons and carried 155psi on the gage, but the warning should still be taken for our little dragons.

Yours,
David Meashey
 

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I run my Berk as if it has no water gauge, due to the fact it is only operational when the boiler is cold. Once under pressure the level looks always full. But thanks to the Jeff Runge modified axle pump, I can close the bypass and wait a few moments until the exhaust becomes VERY wet. I am assured at that time the boiler in nearly full.

(I have not, as of yet, run the engine with the bypass closed until the boiler is COMPLETLY full (as in no space for steam). I wonder what would happen? I'm sure it would quit running in some spectacularly odd manner!) I'm not planning on trying that!
 

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Dave,
You will find that the safety valve will just start to spit more and more water, at which point it is telling you to open the bypass.
I have never bothered to wait any longer than that to see what might happen, as why would you!
Regards,
David Leech, Delta, Canada
 

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i almost ran ruby dry when i used goodal for the first time. my ruby is a heavy drinker and i have to put in 2-3 times more pumps of water in boiler than i was told. now i can fill rubys gas up multiple times without letting her cool down as i now have a "feel" for how much water she drinks.:)
 
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