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Old 10-30-2007, 08:28 PM   #46
Hughlysses
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GTomic
Could it instead have been the fact that steam locomotives converted approx. 5% of their fuel energy to motive force and even early diesels converted approx. 30%?

Steam powered marine shipping faced the same economics. Some modern marine diesels convert almost 50%.
While efficiency was certainly a factor, it doesn't take into account the huge price difference ($/BTU) between the fuels typically used. Coal was and remains much cheaper than oil per BTU.

In the U.S. on the Norfolk & Western Railway for instance (which had a fleet of relatively modern steam locomotives) their fuel costs were less for steam than with diesel when compared in the early 1950's.

Of course there were many other factors, including higher maintenance requirements for steam, higher track maintenance requirements for steam, lack of flexibility for steam (no multiple-unit capability like diesels). There were external economic factors too (especially in the U.S.) with things such as General Motors "suggesting" to certain railroads that they might find other ways to ship their automobiles if these railways didn't buy new EMD (a GM subsidiary) diesel locomotives....


The Ultimate Steam Page
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Old 10-30-2007, 08:31 PM   #47
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The Gambrinus clan has been on a few trains.. I grew up right by some NYC / PennCentral / Contrail tracks and have been a bit of a train geek my whole life.

The Pennsylvania Railroad Museum in Strausburg, PA is great as is the Strausburg Railroad just on the other side of the street. Many rail sites here in CO that I still have to check out...


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Old 10-30-2007, 08:58 PM   #48
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G Man. Those pics are suuuweet. But little one looks just like Dad. Same expression.

Priceless.






They used to wave at me when they went by.

I wanted to go with them.
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Old 10-30-2007, 10:23 PM   #49
curbjumper
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Canadian Pacific #2317
Owners: Canadian Pacific Railway, #2317
Builder: Montreal Locomotive Works, June, 1923
The Canadian Pacific #2317 was built in 1923 as a heavy passenger locomotive. It was built as the eighteenth locomotive of the G-3-c series. (On the Canadian Pacific, "G" stood for the 4-6-2 "Pacific"-type locomotive. The "3" means it was the third design of this wheel arrangement, and the "c" means it was the third production run.) Ultimately, it proved a good design and CPR eventually acquired 173 G-3 4-6-2 steam locomotives. (Only two survive.) It remained in operation until 1959, when after 36 years of service, it was placed in storage.
F. Nelson Blount acquired the locomotive for his Steamtown Foundation. After Blount's death, the Foundation did bring the 2317 back to operation in 1978. It moved -- with the Steamtown collection -- to Scranton, PA, in 1984, and was donated to the National Park Service in 1987.

















Canadian Pacific Railway bridge
Mountain Creek, British Columbia, ca. 1880-1890
Photographer: Norman Denley
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Old 10-30-2007, 10:59 PM   #50
JAB
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Been a lurking railfan since I was a kid. SoCal has alot of great opportunities. Cajon Pass, Tehachapi, San Timeteo canyon and more. Only costs a tank of gas and some can be accessed on a bike for even more fun.
Nothing like standing track side at the Tehachapi loop with a set of diesels pulling against the hill, cowls rattling, wheels slipping, smoke and flame coming out of the exhaust, "magic fingers" noise level. I love the smell of
locomotive smoke in the morning.
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Old 10-30-2007, 11:00 PM   #51
GTomic
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hughlysses
While efficiency was certainly a factor, it doesn't take into account the huge price difference ($/BTU) between the fuels typically used. Coal was and remains much cheaper than oil per BTU.

In the U.S. on the Norfolk & Western Railway for instance (which had a fleet of relatively modern steam locomotives) their fuel costs were less for steam than with diesel when compared in the early 1950's.

Of course there were many other factors, including higher maintenance requirements for steam, higher track maintenance requirements for steam, lack of flexibility for steam (no multiple-unit capability like diesels). There were external economic factors too (especially in the U.S.) with things such as General Motors "suggesting" to certain railroads that they might find other ways to ship their automobiles if these railways didn't buy new EMD (a GM subsidiary) diesel locomotives....


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No argument here. It seems about 1957 was the tipping point for steam locomotive use in the USA. (Year pulled out of ass.)

A very early memory of mine was a comment by my father that the last of the steam engines, in our area at least, had been retired. IIRC, at about the same time the infernal airlines were ringing the death knell for passenger ocean liners.

Ocean liners started using steam turbine/recip combination engines as early as 1887. Ironic that the liberty ships were fitted with coal and then oil fired steam engines during WWII.

I've not researched your web page but I would imagine you have references to steam turbine attempts in locomotives, or was that gas turbine, OR BOTH. Jeez bail me out here.

And of course with coal being so plentiful, China has only very recently retired most (all?) their steam locos.
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Old 10-30-2007, 11:12 PM   #52
Uncle Pollo
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Fu NWGS and the train you rode on



2 days ago
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Old 10-31-2007, 01:41 AM   #53
spagthorpe
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Favorite song about trains....

Porcupine Tree - Trains



enjoy
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Old 10-31-2007, 04:02 AM   #54
larryboy
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I love trains. They have always been part of my life. I used to run outside to watch the train when I was a tot at my Grandparents house in Talent,Or.

My step-dad(mean SOB) worked for a feller(mean bastard) whose Dad(nice old man) had an entire scale railroad on his property in southern Oregon..It was sooper kewl, I'm not sure of the scale, but it was about 2 adults wide when you were sitting in the cars..steam fired, the most fun I've ever had. A trip around his place took about 30 minutes if I remember right. He even had a roundhouse with mechanics working on trains..they would build them from scratch..the last time I saw the place they were trying to get a diesel one going..I don't even know the location of this place..I dream of it often.

Only for a short time in my entire life have I lived out of earshot of the train. I can see the trains go by from my house now. When I see the Amtrack I think...

I bet there's rich folks eatin',
In a fancy dining car,
They're probably drinkin' coffee,
And smokin' big cigars.

Trains seek me out:



Everywhere I go:



Or do I seek them?:

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Old 10-31-2007, 04:18 AM   #55
Hughlysses
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GTomic
No argument here. It seems about 1957 was the tipping point for steam locomotive use in the USA. (Year pulled out of ass.)

A very early memory of mine was a comment by my father that the last of the steam engines, in our area at least, had been retired. IIRC, at about the same time the infernal airlines were ringing the death knell for passenger ocean liners.

Ocean liners started using steam turbine/recip combination engines as early as 1887. Ironic that the liberty ships were fitted with coal and then oil fired steam engines during WWII.

I've not researched your web page but I would imagine you have references to steam turbine attempts in locomotives, or was that gas turbine, OR BOTH. Jeez bail me out here.

And of course with coal being so plentiful, China has only very recently retired most (all?) their steam locos.
Yea, steam was pretty much gone from mainline use in the U.S. by the mid-1950's, with notable exceptions like the Norfolk & Western, but by 1960 it had pretty much disappeared.

Turbines were tried infrequently on steam locomotives with mostly dismal results. The Pennsylvania RR built a monster (6-8-6 wheel arrangement) turbine in the 40's with geared mechanical drive to the wheels. The problem with turbines in rail service is that a turbine can only be designed for optimal efficiency at one speed (RPM); at slower or faster speeds the efficiency is lousy. Turbines were also found to not hold up too well to the shocks normally encountered in rail service. The Brits built a similar 4-6-2 steam turbine locomotive; it was OK but wasn't repeated. After a crash, it was rebuilt as a conventional engine.

The C&O later tried three steam turbine electric locomotives, but they were incredibly complicated and suffered from a myriad of problems and were scrapped before they even entered regular service.

About the most successful steam turbine locomotive was the N&W's "Jawn Henry" no. 2300. It was built in the mid-50's using a high pressure (600 PSIG) water tube boiler built by Babcock & Wilcox and a steam turbine and electric drive equipment by Westinghouse. It suffered from many teething problems but showed promise. A lot of the problems it suffered as a one-off locomotive could have been engineered out of the production engines. Unfortunately, due in large part to a change in railway management they lost interest in the project and Jawn was scrapped along with the railway's fleet of excellent conventional steamers. Here's a scan from a book on the N&W:



and a photo:



China continued building new steam into the 1980's (in fact, 3 engines were imported to the U.S. for use on tourist railways) and some significant efforts were made by modern steam proponents to convince them to design and build improved engines without success (even their 1980's engines were pretty much copies of ~1920's era U.S. steam apart from things like welded boilers). Steam use is all but gone there too now with only a few industrial users remaining.
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Old 10-31-2007, 04:27 AM   #56
bosco
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nwgs
Yup I love trains. All kinds. I have my reasons.

You aint had a tough night till you've spent it in a wheat car waiting for a hookup.

Listen to ole George Strait spin a train song and share with us what you love about trains.

I order you.


Please......











Dude! Is there anything you don't love?









frak'n "share-the-love" hippy frakers anyway. All hanging-out on the west coast and hoarding the kind.
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Old 10-31-2007, 05:37 AM   #57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gravity's Dog
The most recent of many rides. G-Tribe does trains.
G-Dog,

Was that the Durango to Silverton narrow gauge?

We were on that recently:




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Old 10-31-2007, 05:45 AM   #58
Spode
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I love trains. I recommend everyone take at least one nice long train trip before they fade away.

Our personal favorite, the Coast Starlight:



We've also ridden the Texas Eagle, the Southwest Chief, the Empire Builder, the Sunset Limited, and the California Zephyr.

There's nothing as relaxing as rail travel. I love the feeling of miles slipping away while relaxing with a good book. If time isn't an issue, I'd choose rail travel every time.
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Old 10-31-2007, 06:25 AM   #59
Bert
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I've had the privilege of riding on the Great Northern railroad's Empire Builder between St. Paul, Minnesota and Seattle in both summer and winter, maybe the last of the great American trains.
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Old 10-31-2007, 06:51 AM   #60
nwgs OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bosco
Dude! Is there anything you don't love?









frak'n "share-the-love" hippy frakers anyway. All hanging-out on the west coast and hoarding the kind.



Busted.


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