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 Post subject: Re: Could modern steam compete?
PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2020 8:17 am 

Joined: Tue Sep 14, 2004 7:52 am
Posts: 1878
Location: Strasburg, PA
484Mike wrote:
If your dictator has turned your african country into a hellhole and the resulting embargo means you won't get any more piston rings for your GM products, you have a second look at what is rusting behind your shed.


[sarcasm]In that case, perhaps I should vote for Trump, assuming that piston rings for EMD's are no longer made in the USA. He did say that he was going to bring back coal...[/sarcasm]

Dear moderators, feel free to delete this post, but it was just too good of an opportunity to pass up.

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 Post subject: Re: Could modern steam compete?
PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2020 1:55 pm 

Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 1:37 pm
Posts: 1351
But Kelly, where's he going to get the diesel-style rings to fit his articulated steam-cooled valve heads???

/sarc

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 Post subject: Re: Could modern steam compete?
PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2020 4:08 pm 

Joined: Wed Mar 27, 2013 3:55 am
Posts: 121
Kelly Anderson wrote:

[sarcasm]In that case, perhaps I should vote for Trump, assuming that piston rings for EMD's are no longer made in the USA. He did say that he was going to bring back coal...[/sarcasm]

Well, at least he has no plans to abolish the source of your income...

And BTW, he lately preferred steam powered catapult systems over electric when he visited the new aircraft carrier ;-)

https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/trump-promises-return-steam-powered-catapult-system-aircraft/story?id=63320648


Mike


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 Post subject: Re: Could modern steam compete?
PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2020 9:24 pm 

Joined: Tue Oct 09, 2018 4:36 pm
Posts: 24
The low thermal efficiency of steam is what makes it interesting, as over 90% of the power is "wasted" on the sound and fury we love to see! That's why we should keep them around, not for some misguided attempt at actual technical viability.


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 Post subject: Re: Could modern steam compete?
PostPosted: Sat Oct 17, 2020 3:09 am 

Joined: Sat May 26, 2018 12:35 am
Posts: 4
In response to the original post, it's interesting to me that this topic is brought up, as I was just reading some things this week about "modern" steam technology that were new to me and I found very fascinating:

https://csrail.org/modern-steam

I at least can't help but wonder if it can be too easy sometimes for us to let what we think about steam technology in general be based too much on the past—"tradition" and what has existed—instead of giving at least some consideration to innovation and the possibilities of "What If?"? Not necessarily saying that steam could become economically viable on a wide scale as it once was, but at least some of these things could still have applications for the future, whether in assisting preservation, implemented in "new builds" (which there seems to be several of nowadays), or even in other ways.

That group also has a very interesting assortment of specific articles here:

https://csrail.org/whitepapers


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 Post subject: Re: Could modern steam compete?
PostPosted: Sat Oct 17, 2020 5:39 am 

Joined: Sun Apr 05, 2015 1:28 am
Posts: 427
Location: Ipswich, UK
There were plan to construct an advanced 4-6-0 here in the UK several years back, but the project seems to have been suspended in 2012.
The group seem to have reformed as this organisation...
https://www.advanced-steam.org/

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Last edited by 70000 on Sat Oct 17, 2020 8:02 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Could modern steam compete?
PostPosted: Sat Oct 17, 2020 7:55 am 

Joined: Fri Apr 26, 2013 5:56 pm
Posts: 143
Location: Ontario, Canada.
"[sarcasm]In that case, perhaps I should vote for Trump, assuming that piston rings for EMD's are no longer made in the USA. He did say that he was going to bring back coal...[/sarcasm]"

[not sarcasm]
Or, you could look to Canada where the present socialist (similar policies to Democrats in the US) government yearns for a "carbon free Canada". Can you say carbon taxes up the ying yang? We are seeing those policies here -- NOW.
That clearly means for here, whether coal, oil, or solyent green, museum and tourist train operations are not likely to persist.
Humans are carbon based, so I guess we are going to be taxed out of existence too.
Politics does matter, and is a valid area of conversation in the preservation community. This board needs to be aware of what is coming down the pike from their politicians and debate these issues. Your previous leftist government decimated coal. The present leftist Canadian government has decimated petroleum. Ideology knows no bounds.
[not sarcasm]


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 Post subject: Re: Could modern steam compete?
PostPosted: Sat Oct 17, 2020 10:52 am 

Joined: Wed Jun 29, 2016 11:58 am
Posts: 93
Quote:
[not sarcasm]
Your previous leftist government decimated coal.
[not sarcasm]


The cheap price of fracked natural gas decimated coal.

Even cheap fracked natural gas is under pricing stress from the continued reduction in costs of renewable energy and storage technology.

Brian


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 Post subject: Re: Could modern steam compete?
PostPosted: Sat Oct 17, 2020 1:56 pm 

Joined: Sun May 15, 2005 2:22 pm
Posts: 1463
The price of coal and gas follow market conditions. The threat to destroy the coal market by increasing regulations contributes to the high cost of coal.


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 Post subject: Re: Could modern steam compete?
PostPosted: Sat Oct 17, 2020 3:50 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 5:19 pm
Posts: 1935
Location: Sackets Harbor, NY
Short answer is no. Longer answer is with today's ever stricter emissions regs. ( Tier 5 a real probability if the D's take the WH & Senate in Nov.) there's no way to build a coal fired locomotive system that could pass EPA muster.

Coal's obviously headed towards zero use with ultra cheap natural gas providing the bridge to an all renewable energy future. The price of installed solar is now in many cases cheaper than an equal sized ng plant, and wind is not far behind. My WAG is that by 2050 or thereabouts we'll be nearly 100% renewables.

Also, if the D's win big in November IMHO there's a strong chance that Cap & Trade will become law and were that to happen the free market incentives will only vastly accelerate the change over to renewables.

My guess is that the class 1's will need to go to natural gas as a bridge fuel ( to achieve Tier 5 emissions) for 15-25 years until battery technology progresses to where it will be economically possible to build a road haul battery locomotive???

In any event, the answer to the topic of this thread is no, steam can't come close to competing.

Ross Rowland


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 Post subject: Re: Could modern steam compete?
PostPosted: Sat Oct 17, 2020 4:37 pm 
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Posts: 879
Location: MA
Shouldn't this be in railfanning? As for the EPA there other way to build a zero emissions steam locomotive. Best part you will only need to add water to run it and it should run for 25 or more years. Just don't ask how the water is heated and don't crash it if you catch my drift.


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 Post subject: Re: Could modern steam compete?
PostPosted: Sun Oct 18, 2020 11:28 am 

Joined: Sat Apr 21, 2012 7:52 pm
Posts: 87
No, I don't think this needs to be in railfanning. I think it brings about a very itelligent discussion about how modern technology can certainly be utilized to improve, maintain, and operate our historic equipment. The overall question of could a modern steam locomotive with reciprocating gearing be built today that could compete with a diesel unit to unit can still be a part of that discussion. It's not a pipe dream that I'm hoping to fund some day, it's just an intellectual conversation with other railroad preservation proffesionals.

My original post was to see if those far more knowledgable than I, and far more familiar with the iron horse thought it might be possible. I see a lot of "nos". Which is fine.

I would like to ask though if all aspects have been considered? Such as condensing water, other fuel sources like diesel or natural gas, or if there is a modern alloy for the pressure vessel that might be lighter and could transfer more heat with a lower fire?

Thanks for the great discussion so far. I'm learning a lot.

MS

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 Post subject: Re: Could modern steam compete?
PostPosted: Sun Oct 18, 2020 11:52 am 

Joined: Wed Aug 25, 2004 11:16 am
Posts: 704
All

This is mindless speculation of a reality that will never need to be preserved. It has everything to do with phantasy and speculation. This is Railfan material, but lately you find more history and preservation on the Railfan section due to poor decision making

Robby Peartree


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 Post subject: Re: Could modern steam compete?
PostPosted: Sun Oct 18, 2020 12:35 pm 

Joined: Sat Aug 28, 2004 5:52 pm
Posts: 539
Location: Apple Valley, Minnesota
I totally agree with Robbie. Of course, availability of coal for excursion/tourist ops could become problematic, and the cost of said coal being a potential major factor.

Other than the issue of cost & availability of coal, which would be a preservation issue, the whole topic is so speculative that it's likely not worth any more electrons to beat a dead horse. I also vote to move it to the railfaning section so it can die a slow death.

Thanks!

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 Post subject: Re: Could modern steam compete?
PostPosted: Sun Oct 18, 2020 1:28 pm 

Joined: Thu Aug 05, 2010 2:06 am
Posts: 229
DuesyJ29 wrote:
...I would like to ask though if all aspects have been considered? ..., or if there is a modern alloy for the pressure vessel that might be lighter and could transfer more heat with a lower fire?

Thanks for the great discussion so far. I'm learning a lot.

MS

I'll offer this on this particular point. If you're thinking of an alloy that would significantly lighten the whole engine you have a large bore firearm pointed at the prime digit of your right foot[trying to keep things light-hearted]. The weight becomes a necessity to keep the drivers pasted to the rail so they can transfer the energy from the pistons to the railhead in the form of a moving train.

Yes, my opinion is worth what you've paid for it........mld


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