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 Post subject: British Steam Railways About To Run Out of Coal
PostPosted: Sat Dec 19, 2020 9:33 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
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Location: Somewhere east of Prescott, AZ along the old Santa Fe "Prescott & Eastern"
https://www.railadvent.co.uk/2020/12/ne ... -2022.html

Quote:
The Heritage Rail Association has released a statement after Newcastle City Council refused the planning permission application for a new coal mine at Dewley Hill, near Newcastle.

The decision means that coal production in the UK has come to an end and has slashed the hopes of Britain’s heritage railways, who need affordable coal to continue running steam trains.

Heritage railways in Britain will now have to find ways to import, store and handle the coal it needs.

The HRA has said that English steam coal supplies will run out in 2021, whilst coal supplies in Wales will run out in 2022.

We reported earlier this week that the HRA had said this coal mine was a last shout for heritage railways.


More at the link.


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 Post subject: Re: British Steam Railways About To Run Out of Coal
PostPosted: Sat Dec 19, 2020 9:57 pm 

Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2016 1:15 pm
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Sad to see this. I’m all for moving towards clean energy worldwide but it’s still sad to see this part of history fade away.

If 2021 is even close to a normal year, I’ll try to get over to the UK and out to Colorado for a last hurrah!


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 Post subject: Re: British Steam Railways About To Run Out of Coal
PostPosted: Sat Dec 19, 2020 11:51 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:19 am
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Location: southeastern USA
Meanwhile, Australia is eager to sell coal to anybody as China is reducing their orders and consumption. Here's a source, although a bit remote, and part of the same empire.

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 Post subject: Re: British Steam Railways About To Run Out of Coal
PostPosted: Sun Dec 20, 2020 7:40 am 

Joined: Sun Apr 05, 2015 1:28 am
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Location: Ipswich, UK
The last edition of Steam Railway magazine here in the UK had a piece commenting that West Coast Railways have been sourcing their coal supplies from Russia for some time. It rather helps that the owner of said company in also involved in the buying/selling of coal on a general basis, as you have to source your supplies very carefully.
Many years ago, some lines tried Polish coal which was fairly dire and produced an awful lot of smoke.
The problem with importing the stuff is that it is a prime target for having some form of "climate taxation" added to it when brought into the Country, and with the current goings on, they are going to be desperate to get extra revenue in from somewhere in the near future.....

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 Post subject: Re: British Steam Railways About To Run Out of Coal
PostPosted: Sun Dec 20, 2020 8:40 am 

Joined: Sat Oct 22, 2011 5:07 am
Posts: 82
Imho they do not deserve anything better since thinking about a coal/water consumption reduction of about 15% by applying a 4-orifice blastcap is not fashionable.
Kind regards


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 Post subject: Re: British Steam Railways About To Run Out of Coal
PostPosted: Sun Dec 20, 2020 9:46 am 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 5:10 pm
Posts: 1088
I cannot imagine there is much in the way of bootleg coal production in Great Britain, unlike some parts of the US. I've even seen people stopped along Interstate 81 here in Pennsylvania digging coal out of an exposed vein.


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 Post subject: Re: British Steam Railways About To Run Out of Coal
PostPosted: Sun Dec 20, 2020 9:54 am 

Joined: Sun Apr 05, 2015 1:28 am
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Location: Ipswich, UK
G. W. Laepple wrote:
I cannot imagine there is much in the way of bootleg coal production in Great Britain, unlike some parts of the US. I've even seen people stopped along Interstate 81 here in Pennsylvania digging coal out of an exposed vein.


Not "Bootleg" but different rules certainly apply to mineral extraction in the Forest of Dean area...
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freeminer

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 Post subject: Re: British Steam Railways About To Run Out of Coal
PostPosted: Sun Dec 20, 2020 10:14 am 

Joined: Sun May 20, 2007 10:27 am
Posts: 184
Location: New Haven Ct area
Fred Dibinah had an episode where he drove his steam tractor to a small family owned mine where he picked up some coal fresh from the source. Did the environmentalists manage to kill off even the little mom and pop producers in the UK?


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 Post subject: Re: British Steam Railways About To Run Out of Coal
PostPosted: Sun Dec 20, 2020 10:48 am 

Joined: Tue Sep 14, 2004 7:52 am
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Location: Strasburg, PA
adammil1 wrote:
Did the environmentalists manage to kill off even the little mom and pop producers in the UK?
I don't believe that mines were forced to close directly. More directly, it's a case of demand drying up, with the last coal fired power plant closing, etc.

IIRC from what I have read, the total of heritage and hobbyist coal consumption is 26K tons per year, which I gather isn't enough for economical mining to continue.

Heritage coal consumers in the UK have seen this day coming for several years, and anti-coal environmental feeling seems higher there than it is here (to date). I read an article by a steamboater of heading down a canal one day when he saw a woman on the tow path gesturing at him and in obvious distress. He pulled up to see if he could help her, and as he got into earshot was able to hear what she was upset about. "You are killing the planet!" This regarding a grate area of about two square feet.

Anyone who thinks that the same thing isn't on its way to the US is living in denial. Being upset with the political opposition isn't going to stop people from voting with their wallets and spending their vacation dollars elsewhere.

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 Post subject: Re: British Steam Railways About To Run Out of Coal
PostPosted: Sun Dec 20, 2020 1:05 pm 

Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2004 4:02 pm
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Location: Back in NE Ohio
I really don't know why this comes as a surprise to anyone here. I have been strongly suggesting for more than a few years that any group planning to restore or overhaul a steam locomotive strongly consider a conversion to burning some kind of bio-fuel, because environmental rules were going to get nothing but stricter as time goes on. And all I get back are accusations of being "unpatriotic" because - "American coal!" Is an "I told you so" really necessary?


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 Post subject: Re: British Steam Railways About To Run Out of Coal
PostPosted: Sun Dec 20, 2020 1:19 pm 

Joined: Wed Dec 24, 2014 3:15 pm
Posts: 353
This would probably be a tougher transition for Britain than it would be for the US. Mostly because Britain isn’t exactly a country known for producing a lot of oil. Fuel sources outside of coal for most British steam locomotives (especially the ones for the main companies) was basically only coal. I believe oil has been tested on multiple locomotives there during the days of steam but I can’t think of any dedicated conversion from coal to oil or biofuel for a British standard gauge steam locomotive


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 Post subject: Re: British Steam Railways About To Run Out of Coal
PostPosted: Sun Dec 20, 2020 2:58 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
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Location: Somewhere east of Prescott, AZ along the old Santa Fe "Prescott & Eastern"
Kelly Anderson wrote:
adammil1 wrote:
Did the environmentalists manage to kill off even the little mom and pop producers in the UK?
I don't believe that mines were forced to close directly. More directly, it's a case of demand drying up, with the last coal fired power plant closing, etc.


There's another factor at play in the UK, however: In addition to the decline of accessible/usable/cost-effective coal to mine, environmental issues, and the like, another thing that drove down the demand for coal long-term was the formation of the National Coal Board, a product of the post-WW2 nationalisation craze of Clement Attlee's Labour Party administration--along with the electric utilities, the railways, the steel industry, and the automakers, big consumers of coal directly and indirectly. After an initial burst of investment in the mines that actually increased national production, nationwide strikes by the National Union of Mineworkers in 1972 and 1984-85 had the effect of spearheading mass defection away from coal use, and in 1987 the remaining coal industry (down to only 15 open pits and no mines at the time) was privatised. In effect the NUM strikes did to their union what the air traffic controllers' strike did to the PATCO union in the 1980s in the USA--destroyed public sympathy.

In a sense, it could be said that nationalisation of the industry helped to do to British coal what it did to BR, British Leyland, BP, British Steel, British Airways, etc. Note that none are serious players in the world stage any more.

In response to Laepple's query about "bootleggers," there used to be a different form of "bootlegging"--"seacoalers" that hand harvested washed-up coal on the northeastern English /southeastern Scottish coasts that came from both ocean-dumped mine spoils and underwater seams. Some of that was destroyed by sheer economics (fewer houses heated by coal = fewer customers for your coal), and the rest of that by even minor mechanisation of the laborious harvest "cleaning out" available sea "stocks" quickly.


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 Post subject: Re: British Steam Railways About To Run Out of Coal
PostPosted: Sun Dec 20, 2020 3:01 pm 

Joined: Thu Feb 27, 2014 10:08 am
Posts: 551
Kelly Anderson wrote:
IIRC from what I have read, the total of heritage and hobbyist coal consumption is 26K tons per year, which I gather isn't enough for economical mining to continue.

So, approximately what would that be in volume in terms of typically utilized ocean-going shipment methods?
PaulWWoodring wrote:
And all I get back are accusations of being "unpatriotic" because - "American coal!" Is an "I told you so" really necessary?

Not as much unpatriotic as lacking in scientific understanding of the magnitude of the problem and indicating an inclination for short-term feel-good band aids for long-term complex challenges. If one accepts the premise that human activity is adversely impacting the livability of the earth, then it is a lot easier and emotionally appealing to ignore science and math and shut down the immaterial production of greenhouse gases emitted by heritage railways worldwide than to deal with global overpopulation, the globalization of our consumption-based US economy that has occurred since the seventies without any long-term strategic vision, the consequences of tariff-free trade with countries having little or no environmental protection laws, and the mass destruction of nature's greenhouse gas processing system, the forests.


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 Post subject: Re: British Steam Railways About To Run Out of Coal
PostPosted: Sun Dec 20, 2020 3:58 pm 
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Location: Alberta, Canada
Using the current North American standard of 286,000 lbs maximum gross weight for freight cars, and considering that a empty aluminum bathtub gondola weighs about 21-23 tons, the annual coal supply for all the British heritage railways works out to just under one modern North American trainload (we're running 220 car trains on a daily basis in my area).

I'm not a ship expert, but I suspect that amount of coal wouldn't completely fill a modern bulk carrier.

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 Post subject: Re: British Steam Railways About To Run Out of Coal
PostPosted: Sun Dec 20, 2020 4:09 pm 

Joined: Mon Sep 28, 2015 12:30 am
Posts: 240
If my math and conversions are correct, that would be very close to a full load for a Seawaymax bulker like those in the Fednav fleet.

Problem is that the salties going into the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway system usually bring a load back out with them such as grain. So such a fleet isn't going to be offering a very attractive rate for a backhaul like they may if they're facing a 1,500 mile trip empty to their next load.


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