Author Topic: Wood you Believe it  (Read 652 times)

John Kokas

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Wood you Believe it
« on: May 05, 2019, 06:03:42 PM »
Just thinking out of box, can #10 be easily converted to wood?  I think we can use the same grates.
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Mike the Choochoo Nix

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Re: Wood you Believe it
« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2019, 11:47:12 PM »
Just thinking out of box, can #10 be easily converted to wood?  I think we can use the same grates.
In my experience firing a much smaller locomotive it is best to use the fuel it was designed for. Yes you could fit in "dead" plates to reduce the grate area but it would take a lot of wood to keep up steam, from what I see in the pictures there is only enough for two of three weeks if you fired with straight wood. If kept off the ground hardwood lasts several years for use as firewood. I don't think it would be worth the effort.
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Gordon Cook

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Re: Wood you Believe it
« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2019, 03:45:41 PM »
Just thinking out of box, can #10 be easily converted to wood?  I think we can use the same grates.
Interesting question!
A quick search shows that wood has about 2/3 the energy density of coal (which was actually more than I would have guessed). I would assume that would be for perfectly dry hardwood, not pine or poplar.
This would require a 50% larger firebox and changes to the front end. Not to mention finding, cutting, splitting and drying enough hardwood each year, lack of space on top of the tank, and other logistical issues.
In short, it would not appear to be practical.
Too bad, it sure would smell better.  ;)
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Wayne Laepple

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Re: Wood you Believe it
« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2019, 07:12:52 PM »
You'd just need a wooding up platform at each station. What's the problem there?

Philip Marshall

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Re: Wood you Believe it
« Reply #4 on: May 07, 2019, 07:46:10 PM »
Not to mention finding, cutting, splitting and drying enough hardwood each year, lack of space on top of the tank, and other logistical issues.
In short, it would not appear to be practical.
Too bad, it sure would smell better.  ;)

I think it's easy to underestimate how much wood would really be required. The Maine Railroad Commissioners' Reports include data on fuel consumption, and in 1894 (to choose a year at random) the Monson RR reported it was burning 300 cords per year. That's a lot of wood for just two engines on a 6-mile railroad (okay, 8 miles if you include the quarry branch). Similarly, the Franklin & Megantic said it was burning 550 cords a year.

(Question: I believe the Sumpter Valley runs their Heisler on wood, so how  do they manage their wood supply?)
« Last Edit: May 07, 2019, 07:59:35 PM by Philip Marshall »

Terry Harper

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Re: Wood you Believe it
« Reply #5 on: May 07, 2019, 10:34:27 PM »
We fire our Lombard Log Hauler at the Maine Forest & Logging Museum with wood. The boiler
is a fairly close approximation of the size used on a 2 foot gauge locomotive.

Its cylinders are 9"x10" and rated at 100 hp @250 rpm which equals about 5 miles per hour.

Under normal operating conditions a cord of wood is good for about 7 miles.



Wayne Laepple

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Re: Wood you Believe it
« Reply #6 on: May 07, 2019, 10:52:09 PM »
From what I have seen and heard about the Sumpter Valley's Heisler, they burn pine slabs and cutoffs from local sawmills. I don't know how much they consume in a trip. The Climax at the Puffing Billy Railway in Australia also burns wood, but they use eucalyptus, which they refer to as "atomic wood." It apparently has a lot of residual oils in it so it burns very hot. Even so, they have been known to run out of wood before completing a trip.

It would not just be a a change of fuel, either. The netting in the firebox would need to be changed, some sort of balloon stack with additional screening would be necessary, and a whole new method of firing developed. Referring again to the Puffing Billy Climax, they have learned to stuff as much wood into the firebox as possible, leaving the logs long so they almost hit the flue sheet, and keep stuffing the wood in as it burns down. As Gordon notes above, there probably isn't enough space on top of No. 10's tender to carry enough fuel. I've seen photos of woodburners with the wood stacked higher than the cab roof!

John Kokas

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Re: Wood you Believe it
« Reply #7 on: May 07, 2019, 11:14:28 PM »
I love the Aussie wood choice - if you have a cold when you arrive, just spend some time next to the engine and your sinuses will clear.  Think Vicks Vapo-Rub!
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Steve Smith

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Re: Wood you Believe it
« Reply #8 on: May 08, 2019, 02:19:21 AM »
Quote
Too bad, it sure would smell better.

Not to me, Gordon. One of my fond memories of hanging out at the New York Central commuter station during my teens: enjoying the smell of soft coal smoke. 

Roger Cole

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Re: Wood you Believe it
« Reply #9 on: May 08, 2019, 04:19:13 PM »
A couple of houses along our rural road in WV still burn coal for heat in the winter.  When traveling by their homes, I immediately go back to memories of steam engines from my youth.

Bill Piche

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Re: Wood you Believe it
« Reply #10 on: May 08, 2019, 05:47:36 PM »
Warning: Long (winded) post below. Proceed at your own risk!

A few years back we at the MNG were behind on getting our coal delivery for the upcoming winter season. We only had enough coal for about 4-5 trips and I was asked if I could fire on wood to stretch out the coal supply that day. Having previously taken lessons from my colleagues that work at Clark's I accepted the challenge and fired the first two trips with #3 completely on wood.

The runs are obviously different but I'd say between fireup (from cold) to the end of the 2nd trip I went through a modest amount of wood. Right before we left the yard I filled up the space under the fireman's window up to the height of the injector, the space right behind the fire door, and all across the coal piled up in the pocket with hardwood chunks. That got me a good 2+ hours of material to fire with and I actually managed to set the safety more than once (accidentally).



Now all of this was cut to length for fireup and not running. If it were meant for running it would probably be cut to two lengths: one to lay forwards in the box and the other to be able to be put sideways in the back of the box to cover the holes there. As it was I was able to place two rows across the frone\middle of 3's box and lay a bunch sideways in the back. I'd say I was up to within an inch of the bottom of the tube sheet (which is about 2-3 pieces high once they settle). Firing on the road was almost non-existent since the run is so short, but care would need to be taken to avoid having too many big holes in the fire from a miss-throw. The fire was actually pretty controllable with the damper. Shutting it calmed the fire down but still retained a lot of heat with a low amount of oxygen to keep a little bit of combustion. Opening it up brought a lot more oxygen and perked it right up (think like when a house is on fire but not so explosively).

All of this being said. You're still looking at burning through probably at least half a cord a day every day that 10 would be running. That's a sizable pile of wood (probably at least 15-20 cords) just for running. Plus it's not going to come seasoned if you were getting that much, so you're going to have even more in the pile to have on hand early in the year while the other stuff dries.

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"Any day with steam is a good day." - me

Mike Fox

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Re: Wood you Believe it
« Reply #11 on: May 08, 2019, 07:26:10 PM »
We had a guy that lived on the corner of the road my parents live on. He was a firewood dealer after retirement. My favorite saying of his that I used to hear is this. When folks would ask if his wood was seasoned, he would reply, "Yes, it's in season". Now add a deep voice and a little Maine accent to that, and it would always make them crack a smile..
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Bill Piche

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Re: Wood you Believe it
« Reply #12 on: May 08, 2019, 08:11:42 PM »
We had a guy that lived on the corner of the road my parents live on. He was a firewood dealer after retirement. My favorite saying of his that I used to hear is this. When folks would ask if his wood was seasoned, he would reply, "Yes, it's in season". Now add a deep voice and a little Maine accent to that, and it would always make them crack a smile..

That's right up there with "The railroad don't go nowhere, stays right there in front of the station. Ain't seen it move in 30 years"
Engineer/Fireman, MNGRR
"Any day with steam is a good day." - me