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Heritage Park of North Iowa Iowa Steam School

The annual Steam School at Heritage Park will be held May 18-19, 2024. Heritage Park’s Steam Engineer School is held to help promote and encourage the hobby of steam engineering. Two levels of classes are provided, a Beginners class and an Advanced class.

The Beginners Class requires no prior experience. Attendees of the class will be instructed in the safe operation and care of steam boilers and engines. Topics on boilers will include types of boilers, basic boiler operation, safety devices, proper boiler start up and shut down procedures, use of injectors and pumps, forced draft induction, firing a boiler under load, holding constant steam pressure and how to handle emergency situations. Steam engine topics will include basic operation of the steam engine, starting and stopping the engine, introductory levels of how the valve gear works, how a steam engine governor works and how to lubricate the engine and drive train. For the beginners class the following demonstration are planned:

1. Sight glass break
2. Hydro-testing

The Advanced Class is for those students who have prior operator experience and have already attended a steam school somewhere and would like to get into more detailed aspects of boiler work and engine maintenance. Topics and hands-on experience include boiler testing calculations, safety valve sizing, in depth engine timing, injector internal operation, horsepower calculations, and tube installation and removal. The topics covered in detail in the Advanced class change each year. Materials are provided for all topics listed. Demonstration are also changed each year. for 2023 the following demonstrations are planned.

1. Tube installation
2. Riveting
3. Engine timing

As part of the course, all attendees will help prepare one or more steam traction engines for steam up. This will include washing the boiler, visually inspecting the boiler, ultrasonically testing the boiler, installing hand hole plates, checking for leaks as the boiler is filled with water, cleaning the flues, and lubricating the engine and drive train. Students, under the supervision of experienced engineers, will steam-up one or more steam traction engines. They will have hands-on experience operating the steam traction engine including proper firing techniques, ways to check boiler water level, starting and stopping the injector and/or pump, starting and stopping the engine, maneuver the engine through a prearranged course and help trouble shoot problems.

You will get dirty both days of class. The following attire is recommended:

1. Leather Palmed Gloves
2. Long Sleeved Shirt
3. Boots (not tennis shoes)
4. Pants
5. Cap
6. Safety Glasses

Although Iowa does not require a license to operate steam boilers, Heritage Park of North Iowa has instituted their own operator licensing requirements. To that end, a test that is like the test required by the States of Minnesota and Ohio for their Hobby Steam Engineers License will be administered at the conclusion of the seminar for attendees wishing to become a licensed Heritage Park Engineer. All attendees successfully completing the seminar and test will be provided a certificate of completion. In addition to passing the Heritage Park Engineer’s written test, 50 hours of hands-on experience is required, and the student demonstrate their competence by performing several steam traction engineering operating tasks. Each task must be signed off by a Heritage Park licensed engineer.

Heritage Park’s Steam Engineering School is accredited by the State of Minnesota and the State of Ohio. Those students who successfully complete the course will be given credit for 16 hours of experience toward the 50 required hours to get a Minnesota Hobby Engineer License.

The course is held the third weekend in May at Heritage Park’s show grounds located on the south edge of Forest City, Iowa. Tuition is $100 and includes the student handout, continental breakfast, lunch, and break refreshments. Due to the fact that we have had so many last minute cancelations resulting in lower attendance, we are requiring that the tuition fee be paid when you register. The registration page provides a PayPal payment option. Any cancelations after December 31, 2023 will not receive any type of refund. If you cannot do PayPal payment, contact us via the Contact Us page and we will work with you. No registrations will be accepted without payment.

The school is limited to 50 Beginners and 25 Advanced.

For more information visit:

Saturday, May 18

8:00am - 5:00pm

Heritage Park of North Iowa
1225 Highway 69 South
Forest City, IA 50436