The Hutt Valley Model Engineering Society Inc

Marine Parade, Petone, Wellington, New Zealand


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Driver Training

The Hutt Valley Model Engineering Society maintains a realistic stance on certification of drivers. While anyone, within reason, may learn to drive the club diesel or steam locomotive, only certified drivers may carry fare-paying passengers.

Members of the club without driving experience are encouraged to use the opportunity offered by working on rostered running days to gain experience in train handling and safe working. When the crowd thins, quite often special trains are run to familiarise new members with the very simple controls of the club diesel loco.

Diesel certificates may be awarded after a brief Q&A session with the Driving Examiner, covering safety and running issues, and a practical test. A diesel "ticket" is normally obtained before gaining a steam certification. Both are formally presented during a monthly club meeting.

This page shows some of the questions which may be asked by the Driving Examiner of the Hutt Valley MES when orally testing applicants for a steam locomotive driver's licence. When the oral test is completed, applicants spend a couple of hours on the formal practical test, which involves removing a cold locomotive from the shed, all the preparatory work, raising steam, driving to a suitable standard and then putting the locomotive away properly after its run.

It sounds a lot fiercer than it actually is. Nobody is expected to take the test without first gaining practical experience by running the club's 5" gauge 0-6-0 tank loco "Speedy" alongside more experienced members. By the time you have driven the club loco a few times, and assisted others on running days, you should have learned enough to pass this test. Most of the answers are to be found in H.E. White's book, "Maintenance and Management of Model Steam Locomotives," a copy of which is available from the Club library.

Driving Examiner: Mike Coghlan



  1. When taking over a cold locomotive, what is the first essential procedure before lighting the fire?
  2. While steam is being raised, what duties would you perform?
  3. With a full head of steam and train made up, what is the procedure to put your train in motion?
  4. With a full head of steam would you:
    a) Move out and pick up passengers (yes/no)?
    b) Take a trial run of track to check train (yes/no)?
  5. a) If the engine is equipped with a mechanical water pump, how do you know if this is functioning?
    b) If the engine is equipped with an injector, how do you check if this is functioning?
  6. In the event of both the injector and water pump failing and the water nearly out of sight in the gauge glass, what would you do?
  7. When is the correct time to fire the loco?
  8. How do you know if the cylinders are receiving oil?
  9. How is the train stopped?
  10. Why is it advisable to notch up the valve gear while the engine is working?
  11. When the engine is stationary why is it necessary to have the blower in operation?
  12. What is the main reason for always using clean boiler feed water?
  13. a) What is meant by "priming" of a boiler?
    b) In the event of priming, what would you do?
  14. What would you do if the water gauge glass broke?
  15. a) What would you deduce if the fire suddenly blew out of the firehole door while the engine was working?
    b) What would you do?
  16. What procedure would you follow when taking over an engine in steam from another driver?
  17. When you have finished using the engine for the day, what is the procedure for putting it away?

This page is maintained by HVMES.
Last updated: Oct 2011.
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