Coal fired Riverdale Elke (Furzelke) with slomo.


I'm New, Please Be Gentle
24 Feb 2015
This is my first post on this forum and on a subject which I think may be of interest.
I am in the process of experimenting with my coal fired Riverdale Elke, which I finished building last year, having fitted a Small Steam Performance Slomo. I Have had great pleasure in building the Elke and found no real problems, in fact it was much easier than I expected. The workmanship of the boiler is exceptional, and the back up from Joep fantastic.
I have run Furzelke for a number of hours on my railway with great success and have managed a best time of 23 minutes non stop before stopping for water and coal. The railway has some tight curves and gradients of at least 1 in 30.
Having seen the Slomo working with gas fired locos, and Matthew Foster's coal fired version, I decided to fit one to my loco. Joep at Riverdale is now producing a smaller nozle for the blast pipe, so I have also fitted one of these.
I have been trying out running with different numbers of wagons and have no problem in keeping up pressure even at the slowest speeds.
I have made a poorish video with my mobile phone in one hand and the remote in the other, but intend to produce a better one soon. It can be seen on You tube: VID 20150810 203446.
The exhaust beat is really loud and can be heard from some distance. I intend to carry on experimenting with different numbers of wagons and see how long I can keep pressure up whilst shunting.


A gentleman, a scholar, and a railway modeller....
26 Oct 2009
Country flag
Welcome to the forum Tony....


Member of the Wellington Garden Railway Group
25 Oct 2009
And a welcome from me also Tony.

Here is the link to Tony's video

It sure runs sweet and does sound good indeed. Nice railway too. :)

John Morgan

Steam Traction
23 Jun 2011
What a great video. It's good to see more coal fired locos running.
I have also been experimenting with the diameter of the blast pipe.
I use the same size pipe as the blower. It gives great slow running, a bright fire and constant high boiler pressure. Ideal for tight radii on a small layout. To avoid over steam production a seperate door which I can vary the opening on has been added to the firebox door. This acts as the damper on the Riverdale locos. My coal fired locos are all manual. Well done the loco looks great.


I'm New, Please Be Gentle
24 Feb 2015
Many thanks for the welcomes.
I have watched this forum for some time and have been a bit disappointed by the number of coal fired posts, as being a fairly recent member of the garden railway fraternity I am always looking out for new information.
Having driven full size traction engines I find my coal fired loco much more interesting and enjoyable than my gas fired one.
I decided that anything I have done with my Furzelke may be of interest to others considering coal firing, hence the posting.
The loco name came about from my Railway being named the Furzeham Light Railway and the Elke from Riverdale.
Thank you John, the video was off the cuff. Having seen so many adverse comments on coal firing and keeping up pressure, I decided to do a continuous video, following the loco, to show how we were not losing steam. I did not use the damper so that it could be seen how often the safety valves were lifting.
I have ordered an even smaller blast nozzle from Riverdale, which should allow me to run with less wagons for shunting.
I am always looking out for help and hope I will learn more from these pages.


24 Oct 2009
South Wales
What difference does the smaller nozzle make? I assume it makes the blast sharper but does it also act as a restrictor to the exhaust gases? I have a riverdale elke which I am very pleased with and have been considering getting a slomo for it, you're video has encouraged me even more!


G Scale, 7/8th's, Electronics
5 Jun 2013
Tamworth, Staffs.
Country flag
Keep up the coal-fired info Chaps..
Something I doubt I will ever own, but am interested.

The thread title makes me think of something a little 'Middle Earth'. ;) - Did hobbits ever develop steam locomotion?

The technical stuff goes way over my head. - My steam knowledge tends to peter-out at the 'Peters' Railway' level. I am afraid.


I'm New, Please Be Gentle
24 Feb 2015
Hello James,
The smaller nozzle definitely increases the chuff, and from my understanding does not restrict the blast but increases it. Otherwise it would lose the draw on the fire when slow running, it has the opposite effect as you can see from the video. Despite not using the damper and allowing the safety valves to lift, you can see at the end of the video there was still around 60 lbs pressure and over half a glass of water, a total running time of around 7 minutes.
As regards the slomo, I ran my loco for around 80 hours before fitting it, and although it was great fun to run with a 23 minute maximum run before rewatering, the slomo has completely changed it's character. The best way I can describe it is, it feels like driving has changed from a jerky miniature to a full size loco with gradual acceleration and deceleration and far more control. Joep at Riverdale can give you more professional help with the nozzle.