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Steam vs Diesel


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  #21  
Old 06-28-2019, 10:18:55 PM
David Hoover David Hoover is offline
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Default Re: Steam vs Diesel

Ya but there’s no steam whistle in the distance. I’d take the inefficient, endless labour of steam any day. People have forgotten how to appreciate labour intensive, hard working steam power.
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Old 06-28-2019, 10:39:54 PM
Railroads Railroads is offline
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Default Re: Steam vs Diesel

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Originally Posted by David Hoover View Post
Ya but there’s no steam whistle in the distance. I’d take the inefficient, endless labour of steam any day. People have forgotten how to appreciate labour intensive, hard working steam power.
David, I am nostalgic for steam myself. But diesels are here to stay. If the cost was not prohibitive, I'd say the railroads would be looking at electrification with 50KV AC power. The issue would be old tunnels, bridges, and double stack container trains.

Robert
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Old 06-28-2019, 11:41:16 PM
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ulgydog56 ulgydog56 is offline
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Default Re: Steam vs Diesel

I love steam but less mantaince, watering, moving parts, yard crews, boiler reworks, on and on. money always wins in businesses bottom line or they would not have switched, o ya and soot on passingers. to me steam is way cooler (mechanical). but it is what it is or it would still be....
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Old 06-29-2019, 12:32:42 PM
Railroads Railroads is offline
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Default Re: Steam vs Diesel

The closest thing to a return to steam would be steam turbine electric locomotives. The two GE built in 1939 were the most complicated locomotives of their type and the only steam condensing locomotives in North America. Despite what UPRR claimed, The two GE turbines were not complete failures. They did go on to work for GN for a while before being returned to GE. GN found them to be good locomotives. When they returned to GE the wheels were in need of replacing. Because of the start of WW2, GE scrapped them since there was no further work for the two turbines at that time. A real shame one didn't make it to preservation.

Rare color video of the pair. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K9mo9Ald6EI

The problem though is the whole steam cycle is still inefficient. You're burning fuel to boil water to generate electricity to turn the wheels. The transfer of heat from the burning fuel to the water is the weak spot in the efficiency cycle. Fewer steps in the energy conversion process the more efficient the locomotive would be.

Robert
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Old 06-29-2019, 05:38:04 PM
sftyvlv1 sftyvlv1 is offline
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Default Re: Steam vs Diesel

Uranium reactor would solve the fuel problem, 🤔 but then it would possibly cause another.
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Old 06-29-2019, 07:06:36 PM
Railroads Railroads is offline
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Default Re: Steam vs Diesel

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Uranium reactor would solve the fuel problem, �� but then it would possibly cause another.
https://www.smokstak.com/forum/showt...ic+Locomotives

The best way to have atomic locomotives is by generating AC power with uranium and transmitting the power to the locomotive through overhead catenary wires.

Robert
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Old 06-30-2019, 05:52:49 PM
sftyvlv1 sftyvlv1 is offline
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Default Re: Steam vs Diesel

I think they do that now Robert. I was thinking of the reciprocating steam loco we all know and love.
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Old 06-30-2019, 06:43:36 PM
Odin Odin is offline
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Default Re: Steam vs Diesel

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Originally Posted by sftyvlv1 View Post
I think they do that now Robert. I was thinking of the reciprocating steam loco we all know and love.
Somewhere in WWII Europe, I think it was Switzerland, they couldn't get coal for their steam locomotives due to the war.

So they installed electric heating elements in the boiler and pantographs on the roof of the cab, such that when travelling on a track with an overhead wire the locomotives could connect to it to heat up their boilers. They could then steam short distances without power on just the energy already stored in the boiler, allowing them to deal with dead spots in the system or sidings that weren't electrified.

Of course I don't think anyone would go this route today. A steam locomotive is still 5% efficient at best from steam in the boiler to torque at the wheels and has all sorts of maintenance issues. Today they'd use the overhead wires to charge up a battery bank and then normal electric traction sets.

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Originally Posted by Railroads View Post
Steam vs today's AC traction diesels are really no comparison. Might have been a different story back in the days of the early diesel locomotives. Today though it would be very hard to beat the AC induction traction motor and it's VFD/inverter drive. They also have far superior wheel slip control to what was available in the early years.
If the goal was to design a modernized steam locomotive with the goal of optimizing efficiency, traction, and operating costs, I would actually be looking towards the concepts of the Shay.

Instead of frame-rigid drivers as traditional power, you instead mount a smaller engine designed for high RPM operation onto the standard 6 wheel truck and gear the engine's output to the driver axles. Like so you have a much more compact power assembly running at 2-3x the RPM. This makes it much easier to maintain, as it can be fully enclosed with oil bath lubrication and roller bearing everything. Then instead of the traditional Walscheart or Baker valve links, the entire valve line is replaced by electronically timed poppet valves. With the result that the most complex part of the motion is now reduced to a black box, and able to adjust the engine's timing on the fly for cutoff-based speed control and the possibility for compression brakes. And since this would all be done on truck sets no larger than the normal 6 wheel diesel trucks, two per locomotive, you would have no problems with rigidity causing derailments as well as greatly reduced hammerblow from the elimination of the long heavy siderods. And the electronic controls would make it fairly easy to implement automatic wheelslip avoidance, taken straight from a diesel and connected by throttling just that truck while lengthening the cutoff to reduce the tendency of the torque to surge.

It wouldn't solve the maintenance problems of the boiler, but the proper application of automated controls in a modernized design would produce a steam locomotive with physical characteristics very similar to a typical diesel unit, offering far higher efficiencies as such. Such as condensing the exhaust back into the water tank and using an electric draft fan as part of precise control of the combustion conditions.
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Old 06-30-2019, 07:32:46 PM
Railroads Railroads is offline
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Default Re: Steam vs Diesel

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Originally Posted by sftyvlv1 View Post
I think they do that now Robert. I was thinking of the reciprocating steam loco we all know and love.
The D&RGW spent quite a bit of money on researching just how such a thing could be done. The end result was advances in diesel engine servicing through nuclear science. Most of what the D&RGW learned about putting a reactor in a old steam locomotive has never been published publically even today.

Robert
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Old 07-02-2019, 02:05:12 PM
Railroads Railroads is offline
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Default Re: Steam vs Diesel

Odin, Here you go, http://www.douglas-self.com/MUSEUM/L...c/swisselc.htm

I love his site and have spent many hours reading through the pages.

Robert
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