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 Post subject: Re: Steam trains could die out because of government crackdo
PostPosted: Sat Aug 10, 2019 5:06 pm 

Joined: Sat Jan 21, 2017 11:43 am
Posts: 10
Note that coal is used by at least some cement manufacturers in the production of cement. And that same coal can also be used to fire coal burning steam locomotives.

For instance, the coal that Durango & Silverton RR and the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic RR uses comes from the King Coal II mine near Hesperus, CO. That mine is owned by GCC Energy, which is related to GCC (Grupo Cementos de Chihuahua), a cement manufacturer with operations in the US and Mexico. Newspaper articles state that the bulk of the King Coal II output goes to cement production.

http://www.gccenergy.net/


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 Post subject: Re: Steam trains could die out because of government crackdo
PostPosted: Sat Aug 10, 2019 6:25 pm 

Joined: Tue Aug 31, 2004 3:04 pm
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Location: San Jose, CA
Alternative sources of coal or fuel will be available. The question is cost.

A more imperative long range concern for the steam locomotive preservation industry is retaining the knowledge and equipment to maintain and operate these machines.


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 Post subject: Re: Steam trains could die out because of government crackdo
PostPosted: Sat Aug 10, 2019 6:36 pm 

Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2016 1:15 pm
Posts: 450
We’re already past the last generation of steam locomotive engineers and mechanics. It seems the knowledge has been and is being passed on.

It’s sad to think coal burning locomotives will become extinct. When a railroad chooses to convert to oil for their own operational reasons, I’m like yeah that makes sense. But thinking that Durango, Cumbres, and even Strasburg will one day be forced to convert... certainly something special will be lost history wise.


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 Post subject: Re: Steam trains could die out because of government crackdo
PostPosted: Sun Aug 11, 2019 12:11 am 

Joined: Thu Dec 12, 2013 1:26 pm
Posts: 94
What is the status of torrefied biomass project of the group, Coalition for Sustainable Rail?


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 Post subject: Re: Steam trains could die out because of government crackdo
PostPosted: Sun Aug 11, 2019 12:33 am 

Joined: Wed Dec 24, 2014 3:15 pm
Posts: 176
Stationary Engineer wrote:
What is the status of torrefied biomass project of the group, Coalition for Sustainable Rail?


Last I heard, they weren’t planning to convert the Santa Fe Hudson (3463) to the biomass fuel like their original intent, but instead were planning to restore it as a historic artifact. I did see they had done tests on miniature steamers, and while I’m not an expert on how well they steamed, it looked as if the tests were successful. I just found them again on social media and I don’t know the results of their testing, but they did test on Everett Railroad 11.

https://m.facebook.com/csrail/

Only problem is that they seem to go inactive for months at a time.


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 Post subject: Re: Steam trains could die out because of government crackdo
PostPosted: Sun Aug 11, 2019 9:43 am 

Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2005 9:34 pm
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Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Here in Denmark, and also in Norway and Sweden, there is zero commercial use of coal for power generation, and very little other use (there is a small steel mill north of me). We source our coal from Poland, and have no difficulty. It is shipped in these giant bags (half ton?) that we lift with a crane. If Poland stopped mining coal (maybe 10-20 years from now?), the next source would be Russia, and then after that China. Transport would be more expensive, but it would be available.

The real problem, is if coal consumption drops below the minimum to keep a mine functioning. But, there are quite a few mines that operate with very low volumes. Isn't King Coal mine in Colorado a relatively small mine? Even if power generation stops entirely with coal, there will still be a demand for coal for metal smelting and steel. There may be other needs such as cement production.

Anthracite coal is still available retail, and that is a very low volume product.

So, if you want it, and are willing to pay the transport, coal will be available long into the future.

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 Post subject: Re: Steam trains could die out because of government crackdo
PostPosted: Sun Aug 11, 2019 9:55 am 

Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2005 9:34 pm
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Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
p.s. I just looked at our 2017 budget. Coal represents about 15% of our ticket revenue, so it is a significant expense. In general, fuel and energy are taxed very highly here in Denmark, so that is also part of the cost.

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 Post subject: Re: Steam trains could die out because of government crackdo
PostPosted: Sun Aug 11, 2019 1:56 pm 

Joined: Sun May 15, 2005 2:22 pm
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I think the problem goes beyond just the dwindling supply of coal raising its price. The problem will be the regulations that are causing the dwindling supply.

The heavy black smoke has traditionally been celebrated by photographers as the dramatic symbol that completes the image of steam locomotives. So, a lot of excess smoke has been made for the picture. That is an artifact left over from the days when there was no negative issue associated with heavy smoke except for poor firing in some cases. The attitude associated with that has changed with the more recent focus on cleaning up coal emissions from power plants.

Then just what that job was close to completion, a new pollution component of CO2 has been added to the list, thus raising the bar for cleaning up coal. In fact it makes the task so difficult as to be practically unobtainable. Coal has been so stigmatized that nothing can save it from extinction. And it is not just coal, but also all combustion that emits CO2. This is the position of the Green Movement, and it requires all energy to be obtained from renewable resources instead of fossil fuels.

This is a radical change from the days when we decided to clean up actual toxic emissions from coal combustion. Coal is now simply the low hanging fruit in this new mission of transformation. At the same time, the mission has found a new purpose. In the past with toxicity from coal being only based on emissions other than CO2, the purpose was to eliminate the health effects of those emissions. Now, with the addition of CO2, the purpose is to eliminate the complete destruction of the planet along with all life on it.

Therefore, in light of this new sensitivity, consider an antique steam locomotive with its flagrant show of black coal smoke belching with impunity for the sole purpose of recreation. This will be an easy call for the regulatory community. They will not be amused by the suggestion that this is proper recreation. And the public will not make a distinction between exhaust as steam and exhaust from coal combustion. Anything visible from the stack will be cited as the problem. So I don’t think the argument that recreational steam locomotives use only a small amount of coal relative to other users will save the day with an exemption, even if coal is obtainable.


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 Post subject: Re: Steam trains could die out because of government crackdo
PostPosted: Sun Aug 11, 2019 3:57 pm 

Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2005 9:34 pm
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Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Ron Travis wrote:
I think the problem goes beyond just the dwindling supply of coal raising its price. The problem will be the regulations that are causing the dwindling supply.

The heavy black smoke has traditionally been celebrated by photographers as the dramatic symbol that completes the image of steam locomotives. So, a lot of excess smoke has been made for the picture. That is an artifact left over from the days when there was no negative issue associated with heavy smoke except for poor firing in some cases. The attitude associated with that has changed with the more recent focus on cleaning up coal emissions from power plants.

Then just what that job was close to completion, a new pollution component of CO2 has been added to the list, thus raising the bar for cleaning up coal. In fact it makes the task so difficult as to be practically unobtainable. Coal has been so stigmatized that nothing can save it from extinction. And it is not just coal, but also all combustion that emits CO2. This is the position of the Green Movement, and it requires all energy to be obtained from renewable resources instead of fossil fuels.

This is a radical change from the days when we decided to clean up actual toxic emissions from coal combustion. Coal is now simply the low hanging fruit in this new mission of transformation. At the same time, the mission has found a new purpose. In the past with toxicity from coal being only based on emissions other than CO2, the purpose was to eliminate the health effects of those emissions. Now, with the addition of CO2, the purpose is to eliminate the complete destruction of the planet along with all life on it.

Therefore, in light of this new sensitivity, consider an antique steam locomotive with its flagrant show of black coal smoke belching with impunity for the sole purpose of recreation. This will be an easy call for the regulatory community. They will not be amused by the suggestion that this is proper recreation. And the public will not make a distinction between exhaust as steam and exhaust from coal combustion. Anything visible from the stack will be cited as the problem. So I don’t think the argument that recreational steam locomotives use only a small amount of coal relative to other users will save the day with an exemption, even if coal is obtainable.


That seems to be an American thing. Here in Denmark and northern Europe, we are very aggressive on climate concerns and sustainable energy. Nobody complains about our antique steam trains. Everybody understands it is a historic artifact, and not a significant emitter. We don't get any nasty notes about the smoke from our trains (except from neighbors who have their laundry out to dry - which is very common here).

My personal guess is that the reaction in America is more a desperate reaction to the failure of real progress against the industrial emitters.

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 Post subject: Re: Steam trains could die out because of government crackdo
PostPosted: Sun Aug 11, 2019 4:08 pm 

Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2004 4:02 pm
Posts: 1183
Location: Back in NE Ohio
I want to second Mr. Travis' assertion that the problem is not going to be the availability of coal, or ameliorating the downsides of burning it by simply ceasing to make black smoke for photo runbys. Anyone who has been following climate news even casually for the past several years realizes the dire crisis we are in, and the fact that we have passed the point where painless solutions are going to be enough to solve our problems. There are entire island chains on this planet that are going to cease to be above water by the end of this century, probably much sooner than that, as may be places such as most of Florida or all of New Orleans. Get ahead of the curve, or be swallowed up by the rising tide of change if railway preservation isn't to be reduced to a few traction museums powered by wind turbines and/or solar panels.


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 Post subject: Re: Steam trains could die out because of government crackdo
PostPosted: Sun Aug 11, 2019 6:43 pm 

Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2005 9:34 pm
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Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
PaulWWoodring wrote:
I want to second Mr. Travis' assertion that the problem is not going to be the availability of coal, or ameliorating the downsides of burning it by simply ceasing to make black smoke for photo runbys. Anyone who has been following climate news even casually for the past several years realizes the dire crisis we are in, and the fact that we have passed the point where painless solutions are going to be enough to solve our problems. There are entire island chains on this planet that are going to cease to be above water by the end of this century, probably much sooner than that, as may be places such as most of Florida or all of New Orleans. Get ahead of the curve, or be swallowed up by the rising tide of change if railway preservation isn't to be reduced to a few traction museums powered by wind turbines and/or solar panels.


Yep, we've got an app for that.


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 Post subject: Re: Steam trains could die out because of government crackdo
PostPosted: Sun Aug 11, 2019 6:49 pm 

Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2018 8:04 pm
Posts: 119
This is hardly a new topic and one that has been addressed many times. I remember this being a issue in the 90's with the steam locomotives. Steam locomotives have and will be exempt from pollution emissions as there is no practical way to capture and contain the smoke coming out of the smoke stack. Even if there was, it was drastically change the appearance of the locomotive. I saw several drawings of locomotives with a long tube coming out the smoke stack and going to a trailing scrubber car. The clean smoke would then go out the stack of this long tender looking scrubber car with out any chug, chug, sound. It looked similar to the ACE 3000 project with out the streamlined locomotive.

Coal burning steam locomotives may produce black smoke but it dissipates quickly, and they are usually run in rural areas. Just recently I was following a coal burning 2-10-2 Iowa Interstate locomotive though Iowa. I had a very hard time locating the locomotive on the move even though it was only a mile or two away. I am personally not a fan of coal burning locomotives especially when riding behind them on the main line. Cinders are constant, they get in your eyes, and chip your camera lens if you are going fast enough.

I am not going to even bring up the global warming nonsense. Everything Al Gore said in his documentary was not only wrong but so wrong it is laughable now. None of his predictions came true and neither did the so called thousands of experts. It is and will always be nothing but a money grab with scientist saying anything to get a grant. The #1 reason coal is dead is because natural gas became dirt cheap due to fracking. Power plant coal to gas conversions were quick and inexpensive. Anyone that could convert did. However natural gas prices will eventually rise and become more expensive then coal. When that happens I expect the plants to convert back to coal. I wouldn't expect that to happen for quite a while unless there is a huge spike in natural gas.


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 Post subject: Re: Steam trains could die out because of government crackdo
PostPosted: Sun Aug 11, 2019 10:36 pm 

Joined: Fri Jul 07, 2017 2:37 pm
Posts: 55
Very, well said, Tom.

exprail


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 Post subject: Re: Steam trains could die out because of government crackdo
PostPosted: Sun Aug 11, 2019 11:00 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 9254
Location: Somewhere north of Prescott, AZ on the Santa Fe "Peavine"
There's another issue that I haven't seen addressed here: The right KIND of coal.

Just as the oil coming out of the Bakken formation in North Dakota is dramatically different from what comes from the North Sea or Saudi Arabia, there's "burnable dirt" and there's super-premium coal. The people who have to know this stuff know about this. I have seen numerous anecdotes of 1) main line steam operators buying carloads of a specific output from one specific mine, and paying as much as ten times the "normal" rate to have that premium coal delivered; and 2) running out of coal and having to "rob" coal from a nearby coal train, only to have extraordinary trouble firing with it.

Eventually, those veins will run out. Or, just as bad, they will be the only customer for it as they're digging deeper and deeper in the mine.

I can attest that the Pennsylvania anthracite regions are still full of veins where there just isn't the money in it to go and get it out. The old stereotype was of hundreds of men entering a mine entrance; now we're talking a couple guys running a front-end loader at a strip face (I've been to "mines" where only one man was on hand!). I had also heard a rumor that part of the reason for the shutdown of the East Broad Top was that the mines that formerly supplied the line's coal had also been depleted or shut down. (Any of us who remember the spectacle of "mine run" coal being dumped in the tenders, ranging from huge slabs to dust, will know what I'm referencing.)

The highly-prized "Welsh coal" of British steam railroading is also fast disappearing, for all the same factors.


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 Post subject: Re: Steam trains could die out because of government crackdo
PostPosted: Mon Aug 12, 2019 9:10 am 

Joined: Tue Sep 14, 2004 7:52 am
Posts: 1676
Location: Strasburg, PA
softwerkslex wrote:
p.s. I just looked at our 2017 budget. Coal represents about 15% of our ticket revenue, so it is a significant expense. In general, fuel and energy are taxed very highly here in Denmark, so that is also part of the cost.
Holy smokes! In 2018, our coal cost 1.6% of our ticket revenue.

Ron Travis wrote:
Coal has been so stigmatized that nothing can save it from extinction.
Agree.

Tom F wrote:
Steam locomotives have and will be exempt from pollution emissions as there is no practical way to capture and contain the smoke coming out of the smoke stack.
Regulations won’t be an issue, but public perception will be. There is nothing bored soccer moms love to do more than to drive their V8 Conquistador SUV’s four blocks to the town hall to complain about those dirty polluting steam trains. Because it’s visible is what makes it an easy target, and being on our high horse about it being historic and not enough to matter won’t be of any help if people stop coming to ride our trains.

Alexander D. Mitchell IV wrote:
There's another issue that I haven't seen addressed here: The right KIND of coal.
That’s true too. In many cases, home heating coal won’t get us too far.

Alexander D. Mitchell IV wrote:
I had also heard a rumor that part of the reason for the shutdown of the East Broad Top was that the mines that formerly supplied the line's coal had also been depleted or shut down.
I heard that too. As a tourist line, they continued to burn the remnants of their Broad Top coal, but it ran out a few years prior to their last run. You may have noticed that their engines were producing a lot more smoke those last few years, running on imported coal for the first time in their lives.

I received my email blast from HRA today, and G. Mark Ray raises some of the same questions.
G. Mark Ray of HRA wrote:
Finally, how stable is your coal supply and how good is the coal you can get?

With the increasing dependence on natural gas fueled power plants and transition to renewable energy resources, the demand for coal in the USA is quickly shrinking. Only mines that have sufficient volume to remain profitable are remaining open. This is challenging our ability to obtain high, quality coal. This may be the time to consider one of the Alliances Strategic Plan goals: Pool Purchasing. We’ll be gauging the interest of the membership in such an arrangement. I can offer this as an incentive, our friends in the UK are looking to ship 30,000 tons of coal per year from the USA to the UK annually. That’s a good start.
That's something. The UK was the coal supplier to the world for a hundred years or more. Now they are looking to import it.

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