Railway spark trap


Thread Starter
Nov 25, 2000

Could anyone tell me how the spark trap works on the
funnel of a train steam engine ?

Cheers, John :)

Anne Troy

Feb 14, 1999
Hubby believes...

First of all, we call it a stack, not a funnel.
We call the spark trap, a spark arrestor.

Basically, the spark trap screens sparks from exiting the stack/funnel, to avoid fires being started in nearby brush, etc.


Thread Starter
Nov 25, 2000
Hi Dreamboat,
Your hubby may well be right .... :)

Hi RSM123,
i had a look through those links, and the second one had this
brief description of the operation of the 'spark arrestor'...

The spark arrestor.

This is fitted to the smokebox to prevent the emission of live
ashes from the fire being ejected from the chimney when the
engine is working hard. On some locomotives it is simply a mesh
wire basket fitted between the blast nozzle and the base of the
chimney known as the petticoat pipe, the larger particles being
arrested and remaining in the smokebox to be removed by hand at
the end of the day.

A more complex type of spark arrestor has been fitted to some
locomotives that are used on Railtrack lines due to the more
stringent spark emission regulations. This has a vertical
diaphragm plate at the back of the smokebox that breaks up the
larger pieces and then deflects them towards the front of the
smokebox were the flow of air is much less , the ashes are then
drawn through the wire net screen before being ejected through
the chimney, by which time they are small, dead and harmless.

What i am looking for is a way to reduce, or even eliminate
any sparks or glowing embers from leaving the chimney of a
fireplace which i intend to fit into my garden shed.

From reading the above description, two items present
themselves to me, firstly a wire mesh screen, and secondly to
slow the flow presumably so as particles would not be carried
so easily.

I propose therefore to fit some sort of choking device at the
chimney near the start so as to slow the flow, consistent with
still operating ok, and also to fit a removeable fine mesh
screen somewhere up in the slower moving flow.

Thanks for the links, any comments ?

Cheers, John :)

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