Steam Locomotives, will they ever make a comeback?

Re: Steam Locomotives, will they ever make a comeback?

PostBy: Beeman On: Tue Mar 18, 2014 5:51 am

Posting this photo from Strasburg Railroad, where I worked as a college student in the summer. Baldwin #90 blowing out condensed water and soot from smokebox early in morning before connecting to train for routine operations throughout the day. A lot of fun to make this run each morning after shaking ashes, building up fire and boiler pressure, and lubricating the locomotive. Enjoy.
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Re: Steam Locomotives, will they ever make a comeback?

PostBy: lzaharis On: Thu Mar 20, 2014 10:09 am

lsayre wrote:A different thread has drifted to where it is discussing the history of trains. This has me thinking that with the astronomical cost of diesel fuel these days, will there come a time (or perhaps is now the time) when it will make economical sense for coal powered steam locomotives to stage a comeback?



++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The above is the first G scale mile(287 feet) of my garden railroad (I hope).


Having read the white papers about the re introduction of steam for rail traffic
it can be done.

But saying that, the simpler solution would be to electrifiy the main lines and
use smaller steam co generation plants which would use a coal fired or nuclear
plant at the half way points to efficiently transmit the power generated 350 miles
one way and 350 miles the other direction.

The Milwaukee road was electrified but they stopped stringing wire at the base of the
mountains on the routes they traveled and then never extended them over the mountain routes.

The current models of electic locomotives would be a huge asset for the class one
railroads if they converted to electic power for thier locomotive fleets and they could also
afford to have excellent crew living qaurters on the long distance trains with several
crews living on the trains as is done on the australian railroad operators(the government owns the
railroad routes there and the railroad operating companies own the trains in thier operating model)...
.
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Re: Steam Locomotives, will they ever make a comeback?

PostBy: Sting On: Fri Mar 21, 2014 7:43 am

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Re: Steam Locomotives, will they ever make a comeback?

PostBy: wsherrick On: Fri Mar 21, 2014 4:35 pm

lzaharis wrote:
lsayre wrote:A different thread has drifted to where it is discussing the history of trains. This has me thinking that with the astronomical cost of diesel fuel these days, will there come a time (or perhaps is now the time) when it will make economical sense for coal powered steam locomotives to stage a comeback?



++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The above is the first G scale mile(287 feet) of my garden railroad (I hope).


Having read the white papers about the re introduction of steam for rail traffic
it can be done.

But saying that, the simpler solution would be to electrifiy the main lines and
use smaller steam co generation plants which would use a coal fired or nuclear
plant at the half way points to efficiently transmit the power generated 350 miles
one way and 350 miles the other direction.

The Milwaukee road was electrified but they stopped stringing wire at the base of the
mountains on the routes they traveled and then never extended them over the mountain routes.

The current models of electic locomotives would be a huge asset for the class one
railroads if they converted to electic power for thier locomotive fleets and they could also
afford to have excellent crew living qaurters on the long distance trains with several
crews living on the trains as is done on the australian railroad operators(the government owns the
railroad routes there and the railroad operating companies own the trains in thier operating model)...
.


I work for a railroad that has extensive electrified lines. The maintenance of the catenary and infrastructure required for electrification is astronomical at today's prices. It can only be even remotely considered where there is extreme high density of traffic. The fixed costs are the same whether you run one train or a hundred. With the traffic densities of modern railroads there is no where near the amount generated to create the economy of scale to justify electrification.
There is also the problem of reliability. On my railroad, every time there is any kind of weather the whole system gets shut down because a tree limb or something gets in the wire and shorts out miles of track between phase gaps. All the trains grind to halt until the power is restored.
It's much cheaper and more reliable to burn the coal where it is needed, i.e. right in the locomotive fire box. There is no extensive transmission system needed.
If you saw the study I put up here in the first part of the thread it shows that the railroads could save in excess of 12 BILLION dollars a year in fuel costs alone if they went back to coal burning steam power.
Plus I have been in railroad management where I personally have had to budget fuel and maintenance costs for steam and diesel locomotives doing identical service. In my experience it was 6 times cheaper to run the steam locomotive than the diesel.
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Re: Steam Locomotives, will they ever make a comeback?

PostBy: samhill On: Fri Mar 21, 2014 4:58 pm

I don't know what you were comparing costs too but if it had to do with the old engines you could just imagine how much better (both cleaner & more efficient) a steam driven train could be harnessing new technology even if using the steam for electrical generation rather than diesel.
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Re: Steam Locomotives, will they ever make a comeback?

PostBy: wsherrick On: Fri Mar 21, 2014 5:14 pm

samhill wrote:I don't know what you were comparing costs too but if it had to do with the old engines you could just imagine how much better (both cleaner & more efficient) a steam driven train could be harnessing new technology even if using the steam for electrical generation rather than diesel.


In case you missed it, here is the recent study reposted here for you. And yes the same modern control systems that are placed in a power plant can be put on a locomotive. The same improvements in bearings, lubrication and metallurgy, etc. can be applied to a new design. Why can it not?
But even if you used the 1950 version the fuel cost savings are phenomenal.

http://www.internationalsteam.co.uk/trains/newsteam/modern50.htm
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Re: Steam Locomotives, will they ever make a comeback?

PostBy: Duengeon master On: Sun Mar 23, 2014 10:15 pm

Union Pacific 4014 Big Boy is in the process of being restored to operating condition!!! Unfortunately, it is being converted to oil!!!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MmTr22r ... vIoq_wGTVe

There is a whole series from Union Pacific Railroad's official site on You Tube to show the progress of the preparation to move 4014 to Cheyenne, Wyoming from Pomona, Commiefornia. The restoration should take about 5 years. It started last summer. I have been following the progress. It is like steam train *censored*!!! :drool:

My wife doesn't know it yet, but we will be vacationing in Wyoming when it goes out for it's first run. :bop:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sOFD8FDaDI4
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Re: Steam Locomotives, will they ever make a comeback?

PostBy: DePippo79 On: Mon Mar 24, 2014 3:26 am

Union Pacific is the only class 1 railroad that actually has a steam program. Matt
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Re: Steam Locomotives, will they ever make a comeback?

PostBy: Sting On: Mon Mar 24, 2014 7:06 am

If I recall my history correctly -- and that isn't always possible
Big Boy had two boilers and both were oil fired
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Re: Steam Locomotives, will they ever make a comeback?

PostBy: Duengeon master On: Mon Mar 24, 2014 6:49 pm

Sting wrote:If I recall my history correctly -- and that isn't always possible
Big Boy had two boilers and both were oil fired

The Big Boys have a single boiler. I've never heard of any locomotive that had two boilers before. All Big Boys were coal fired. In

late '40's they tried to convert one into oil fired, ( I think 4005 ) but it didn't get hot enough to

keep up 300 psi on the boiler so they changed it back to coal.
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Re: Steam Locomotives, will they ever make a comeback?

PostBy: Sunny Boy On: Mon Mar 24, 2014 7:19 pm

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Re: Steam Locomotives, will they ever make a comeback?

PostBy: Cap On: Mon Mar 24, 2014 7:42 pm

This steam locomotive #425 departing Jim Thorpe within the last few months. I know the photographer. This picture made the rear cover of the April 2014 Railpace Magazine.

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Re: Steam Locomotives, will they ever make a comeback?

PostBy: wsherrick On: Tue Mar 25, 2014 12:26 am

If you are not stirred by a sight like that, even a little bit, you're just dead inside.
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Re: Steam Locomotives, will they ever make a comeback?

PostBy: Sunny Boy On: Tue Mar 25, 2014 12:55 pm

wsherrick wrote:If you are not stirred by a sight like that, even a little bit, you're just dead inside.



Or, the sound of a steam whistle in the distance, coming up the valley !

Up until a few years ago we had a steam engine come through town couple of times a year in prep for tours up into the Adirondacks. They'd often stop here to water.

The kid who worked for me at the time, and I would bolt out of the shop and run over to the tracks just to see it. It was a new Chinese built, but looked very much like the American-built steam engines of the early 1900's. The engine and the line though here were owned by a guy named Walsh from Cooperstown. He passed away a few years ago and the line is now abandoned.

I miss hearing that whistle.

Paul
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Re: Steam Locomotives, will they ever make a comeback?

PostBy: coalnewbie On: Thu Mar 27, 2014 10:50 am

That reminds me, where is steamup, I miss his wisdom. Ahhh, The Golden Arrow, Mallard, The Flying Scotsman, the sooty washing hung up to dry..... reminders from my youth. The Crimean war changed all of that.... nah, not the last one, the one our idiot POTUS is about to start.





Trouble is only William knows how to service them

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