The basic principles of steam engines are quite simple. Water is heated in the boiler to produce steam, and the pressure of this steam acts on pistons in cylinders to provide motion. However, the more that you look into the workings of steam locomotives, such as Clan Line, the more complex they become. This complexity is added to by the need to make them compatible with the modern railway.

This section of the website is intended to give a brief introduction to some of the important parts of our engine, and the way that they work. It is designed for the layman who has an interest in the technicalities of steam locomotives, but it does not pretend to be an authoritative treatise on the subject.

Oliver Vaughan Snell Bulleid included lots of innovations when he designed the Merchant Navy class of steam locomotives. He also carried these forward into his light pacifics - the West Country and Battle Of Britain classes.

  • Air Brakes

    How we added air braking

  • The Basics

    A brief introduction to the way Clan Line works

  • Boiler Washout

    Why and how we washout Clan Line's boiler

  • Safety Valves

    How our safety valves work, and how we set them

  • Tyres

    How tyres are fitted to the wheels

  • Wheels

    Why our wheels are different to most locos