Following the pioneering work of Trevithick, Stephenson, and many others, steam locomotives continued to evolve and be refined until overtaken by diesel and electric traction technology. Although the last main-line steam service was operated by British Rail in 1968, there is still immense interest in steam traction, as demonstrated by the increasing numbers of privately renovated and preserved locomotives and heritage railways around the world. In How Steam Locomotives Really Work, the authors, both railway experts, cover the design of locomotives, the many processes in the conversion of fuel to tractive effort, the dynamic characteristics of the locomotive as a vehicle, the braking equipment, and a host of other systems, major and minor, that make up a working locomotive. They also explain the reasons for running and maintenance practices. Their explanations will fascinate enthusiasts, whether practical or armchair. Steam locomotive design may have started in the United Kingdom, but it quickly developed parallel and sometimes diverging techniques in other countries, leading to many distinct developments that contribute to the national characteristics of some locomotives. The authors embrace this diversity, and railway enthusiasts from around the world will find this book engrossing and enlightening.