Author Topic: Whither coal?  (Read 996 times)

Wayne Laepple

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Whither coal?
« on: January 07, 2022, 12:23:34 PM »

John Kokas

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Re: Whither coal?
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2022, 01:12:41 PM »
The unintended consequences of "good intentions".
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Benjamin Richards

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Re: Whither coal?
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2022, 04:38:41 PM »
"How can we make bricks without straw?"

Nothing exists in a vacuum. Everything affects everything else. Hopefully we will see the result of this experiment before we become entangled in our own similar experiment.

Fortunately I don't predict the US moving in this direction quite this rapidly. But it bears noting, as you say.

John McNamara

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Re: Whither coal?
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2022, 07:03:54 PM »
Do a search on "Electric steam locomotive Switzerland" to see how Switzerland dealt with a shortage of coal during WW2.

Gordon Cook

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Re: Whither coal?
« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2022, 10:40:55 AM »
Some more information on this subject. I'm surprised that there isn't more support for keeping at least one or two mines open, given the size of the heritage train business in the UK.
https://www.railadvent.co.uk/2020/12/newcastle-coal-mine-council-refuses-application-steam-locomotive-coal-supplies-in-britain-to-run-out-in-2022.html
Gawdon

Stephen Greif

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Re: Whither coal?
« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2022, 11:49:54 PM »
The more I hear groups tell me they need to stay Apolitical and discussion of political topics need be avoided, I merely wish to point out having ones head in the sand will not prevent those of the persuasion that your hobby, museum, industry, Etc is detrimental to their cause & will work diligently to end your organization through politics said group so diligently avoided. Heritage groups in the UK waited until the number of coal sources could be counted on hands before thinking they should stop being apolitical and attempt to beg people of differing political persuasion on environmental issues to please show mercy.....
 

ALAIN DELASSUS

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Re: Whither coal?
« Reply #6 on: January 14, 2022, 10:49:46 AM »
In France the last coalmine closed down in 2004 but in many years already tourist railways had burnt foreign coal in their locomotives. Nowadays the coal comes from all over the world, the choice depends mostly on the price so the quality is never the same. At each new delivery the firemen have to get used to the new coal  it is really challenging, maybe a bit too much ever and again. Even if the coal comes from the same country it does not come often from the same coalmine. The British coal was known as one of the best in the world when it came to stoking up steam locomotives , now finding the same quality abroad will be a bit tricky. I think  imported coal will do the trick as long as it will be burnt on the grate of narrow gauge locomotives but it will be a whole another animal for the many heritage standart gauge locomotives that runs at full speed on the British main lines. British people are resourceful and resilient I'm sure they'll find a solution to preserve their wonderful  and huge industrial heritage especially their steam locomotives at least until the eco freaks convince the public authorities of the Western World to put an absolute ban on the coal eventually. Time will tell.

Carl G. Soderstrom

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Re: Whither coal?
« Reply #7 on: January 15, 2022, 02:45:35 AM »
Don't know about lately, but Mount Washington Cog RR was down to
one steam trip a day. Diesel  for the rest because of the environmentalists.

I did see that awhile back they were experimenting with used French fry oil
to make steam. Suspect that came to naught. Or are they still trying?

Be very weary of "I'm from the government I have come to help."  :D

Graham Buxton

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Re: Whither coal?
« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2022, 10:08:42 AM »
I don't have any specific knowledge of vegetable oil use at The Cog, but vegetable oil can be successfully used as steam locomotive fuel.  The Grand Canyon Railway does that, by all reports with no issues. The railway is owned by Xanterra, which is a big hotel/resort operator so using waste cooking oil as locomotive fuel solves a disposal problem for Xanterra.

And they even use that topic as "fuel" for the corporate marketing blog, linked below!  ;D
https://www.xanterra.com/stories/family/recycled-waste-vegetable-oil-powers-historic-steam-train/


That blog  article reads "OK" with one exception:  :o
Quote
So, there’s very little dark colored smoke belching from Locomotive No. 4960, the French fry train. But engine operators can throw some sand into the boiler to give photographers the iconic picture of smoke streaming from the stack.
Of course, sand would get tossed into the firebox, not the boiler::)
« Last Edit: January 15, 2022, 10:26:16 AM by Graham Buxton »
Graham

Bill Piche

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Re: Whither coal?
« Reply #9 on: January 15, 2022, 10:09:42 AM »
Don't know about lately, but Mount Washington Cog RR was down to
one steam trip a day. Diesel  for the rest because of the environmentalists.

I did see that awhile back they were experimenting with used French fry oil
to make steam. Suspect that came to naught. Or are they still trying?


The cog runs 1 steam trip a day primarily because it's cheaper and faster to run the diesel. A trip on the steam engine used to take 3 hours. When the diesels came along they cut that to 2 hours. They can also run larger cars with the diesel so more buts in the seats.

I had heard that running all steam they were at worst breaking even. Switching to diesel they started making money consistently. The environmentalists being happier was a side benefit.

They've been working on running 2 steam trips a day, but they usually have to be the first (which is the normal trip of the day) and one of the last so that they don't block too many of the much faster diesel trains.

The oil fired experiment happened on one of the engines they are still running today. They were having issues with the focused fire from the burner design that was being tried scorching the crown sheet from how hot it needed to burn to keep up steam. It got converted back to coal after a short while. It's an interesting engine, though, it has a lot of improvements that have been tried all over the years like a feedwater heater.
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"Any day with steam is a good day." - me

John Kokas

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Re: Whither coal?
« Reply #10 on: January 15, 2022, 09:07:27 PM »
With a little simple chemistry used vegetable oil can be converted into Biodiesel relatively cheaply.  The best part is that diesel engines running on biodiesel have much better lubrication and there is no need for extra DEF fluids or injection systems.  I ran my last truck with about a 10-15% biodiesel blend for many years.  The 5.9 L Cummins engine had over 400K miles on it when I sold it and the only thing I ever had to replace on the engine was the starter.  That truck is still in use with no engine rebuild according to the new owner.
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