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 Post subject: Ultimate High Tech Steam, what would you build?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2013 2:07 pm 

Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2004 9:42 pm
Posts: 2423
Another post talked about "souping up" an existing steam loco, say a Mike, by adding things like roller bearings, better super heaters etc.

I think this has been covered before, and if it has, and you don't want to talk about it again, fine, just ignore this thread, but don't bother whining about it.

If you had an unlimited budget, and no design parameters whatsoever, what would you build as the ultimate high tech steam? No, not a Streamlined Hudson, or some other lost and sorely missed historic loco, I'm talking brand new, start of the art, no holds barred modern day steam.

Anything is fair game. Turbine. Water Tube Boiler, Fire Tube Boiler. As many or few cylinders as you'd like. Control systems can be whatever you want, including non-existent but logical things like computer controlled firing. But make them plausible, no nuclear or cold fusion drives please.

As I mentioned, there are no restrictions, so we won't talk service or speed either. Whether you'd like to build a high speed mainline loco or a slow but powerful freight hog is up to your imagination.


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 Post subject: Re: Ultimate High Tech Steam, what would you build?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2013 2:53 pm 

Joined: Tue Jan 25, 2011 2:07 am
Posts: 328
I would be tempted to design a steam turbine electric drive. Or possibly a steam turbine that drives a hydraulic transmission of some kind.


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 Post subject: Re: Ultimate High Tech Steam, what would you build?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2013 5:10 pm 

Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2004 9:42 pm
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Flo,

Interesting concept. It would be cool to take some of the aspects of the C&O's turbine and maybe the ACE 3000 ideas of powdered coal that is loaded via drop in containers. Given today's computer tech, control systems should be far more advanced.


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 Post subject: Re: Ultimate High Tech Steam, what would you build?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2013 5:29 pm 

Joined: Tue Jan 25, 2011 2:07 am
Posts: 328
Hadn't even thought of the combustion process, but something like a modern automobile's computer-controlled fuel injection & ignition would be interesting. Wish I was a mechanical engineering student, then I could learn how to do some engineering analysis on it. Too busy now -- maybe next lifetime. :)

Will give the podium to someone else now.
F.L.O.


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 Post subject: Re: Ultimate High Tech Steam, what would you build?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2013 5:45 pm 

Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2004 9:42 pm
Posts: 2423
FLO wrote:
Wish I was a mechanical engineering student, then I could learn how to do some engineering analysis on it. Too busy now -- maybe next lifetime. :)

Will give the podium to someone else now.
F.L.O.


This is purely "what if" and "pie in the sky" design work, so "sounds plausible enough" is all the engineering design work needed on this one.


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 Post subject: Re: Ultimate High Tech Steam, what would you build?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2013 7:50 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:26 am
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Location: Maine
Probably a NYC Niagara, and add any modern technology regarding microprocessors for firing and water management. Staufer's NYC book says they out performed the Diesels of their day, with the single disadvantage of requiring all of steam's servicing. Scrapping all of these was a real loss.

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 Post subject: Re: Ultimate High Tech Steam, what would you build?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 02, 2013 1:14 pm 

Joined: Thu Jun 13, 2013 11:27 am
Posts: 28
if a steam engine would be built and sold in today's market it would have to have at least the following.

-"glass cockpit" basically touch screen controls and HUD (heads up display)
-fully enclosed cab, most likely built in a Cab-forward configuration.
-DMU, though it means Diesel Multiple Unit it would have to include steam as well. this means being able to hook up multiple steam locomotives together with only the one crew.
-greater safety features, self explanatory


we have the technology right now to make new and better steam engines, though why small companies or wealthy hobbyist haven't tried such a thing yet is beyond me.


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 Post subject: Re: Ultimate High Tech Steam, what would you build?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 02, 2013 10:08 pm 

Joined: Fri Jul 20, 2007 7:31 pm
Posts: 138
Location: Elizabethtown,PA
As a Navy Submarine Nuke, my vote is for an Atomic Locomotive.
The US patent has been awarded; http://www.google.com/patents?id=4CxFAAAAEBAJ&pg=PA1962&dq=steam+locomotive+-toy+-sound&as_drrb_ap=b&as_minm_ap=1&as_miny_ap=1948&as_maxm_ap=1&as_maxy_ap=2008#v=onepage&q=steam%20locomotive%20-toy%20-sound&f=false

Ivan is also working on this: http://barentsobserver.com/en/sections/society/russia-designs-nuclear-train

To support the fuel, shielding and power generation equipment, the obvious choice is
to go 14 coupled drivers. http://www.aqpl43.dsl.pipex.com/MUSEUM/LOCOLOCO/russ/russrefr.htm


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 Post subject: Re: Ultimate High Tech Steam, what would you build?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 02, 2013 11:03 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 10:56 am
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Location: Roanoke Va.
This might be a good start.....

http://www.nwhs.org/archivesdb/detail.php?ID=19658

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 Post subject: Re: Ultimate High Tech Steam, what would you build?
PostPosted: Wed Jul 03, 2013 11:49 am 

Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2004 9:42 pm
Posts: 2423
060 Hogger wrote:


OK, I'll play along... Let's ignore the fact the public would never allow Nuclear Powered trains. Heck, they're all bent out of shape about hauling COAL, let alone Nukes...

Can you build a nuclear power plant small enough to fit the clearance envelope?

(PS - In my opinion, the only "right" way to do nuclear powered trains involves electricity and stationary nuclear generators trackside, but then this isn't about reality...)


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 Post subject: Re: Ultimate High Tech Steam, what would you build?
PostPosted: Wed Jul 03, 2013 12:03 pm 
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Location: San Diego, Ca
Gary Gray wrote:


Gary wasn't there an idea of a "Y7" being built?

It would have been interesting to see just how far N&W would have pushed steam locomotive design.

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 Post subject: Re: Ultimate High Tech Steam, what would you build?
PostPosted: Wed Jul 03, 2013 4:30 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 8:31 am
Posts: 1097
Location: South Carolina
Bobharbison wrote:
Flo,

Interesting concept. It would be cool to take some of the aspects of the C&O's turbine and maybe the ACE 3000 ideas of powdered coal that is loaded via drop in containers. Given today's computer tech, control systems should be far more advanced.


Bob- the ACE 3000 wouldn't have used powdered coal- it was to use run-of-mine coal so that the containers could be placed on flatcars and loaded directly at the mine, right next to the hopper cars ACE's would have hauled.

The ACE patent includes turbine-electric and reciprocating-electric variations, so they were at least looking at locomotives along those lines.

If I won the lottery and had bazillions at my disposal, I'd try to build "a really useful engine", and make it something along the lines of the 5AT project proposed in the UK, except based on a U.S. design. The 5AT is based on the British Rail Class 5 4-6-0. My U.S. version would be more for tourist/short line service rather than mainline steam excursions and I'd base it on something like a typical short line 2-6-2 (remembering that article from Trains years ago that said U.S. tourist railroads generally agreed that 6 drivers was the right amount- big enough, but not too big).

It'd have a welded boiler AND welded frames (all the benefits of a cast bed frame but much easier to fabricate). The boiler would be along the lines of L.D. Porta's most recent thinking (Belpaire firebox, GPCS combustion, lots of steam space, preheater section, big superheater, etc.). It'd have an Elesco type feedwater heater (allows higher temperatures than a Worthington type). The cylinders would also be fabricated weldments (again, much easier to do today than big castings). The steam passages would all be AMPLE and a Lempor exhaust would be used for maximum draft with minimal backpressure. These items would also ensure the engine was free-running so decent speeds could be attained when required. Pistons and valves would have multiple, narrow rings similar to modern diesel engines (materials and dimensions) for long life and maximum steam tightness. I'd think the all the axles would run in roller bearings, but some consideration would be given to using conventional bearings for the drivers for ease of future service (no need to press the wheels off to change the bearings). As far as possible, all bearings would be sealed. Wherever "open" bearings are necessary self-lubricating materials would be used as much as possible (frame jaws, crossheads, etc.). The rods and reciprocating parts would be made as light as possible and the drivers would be properly balanced, including cross counterbalancing, to allow for ~60 MPH running for the occasional mainline trip.

The boiler, especially the backhead, would be insulated out the wazoo. Cab controls would be designed and laid out for maximum ease of operation (including placement of the firedoors). The cab would be well enclosed and insulated and/or well ventilated depending on the region of the country the engine is intended for. Damper(s) would be provided for the ashpan and smokestack so that the engine could be laid up at night with minimal loss of pressure and quick recovery the next morning.

Hopefully all that gives you an efficient, powerful, low-maintenance, easy to fire, easy to operate, and easy to maintain steam locomotive for your tourist line. Thanks to free-breathing and good balance, it would be able to haul a decent sized mainline excursion on occasion.

My two cents....

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 Post subject: Re: Ultimate High Tech Steam, what would you build?
PostPosted: Wed Jul 03, 2013 6:10 pm 

Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2004 9:42 pm
Posts: 2423
whodom wrote:
Bobharbison wrote:
Bob- the ACE 3000 wouldn't have used powdered coal- it was to use run-of-mine coal so that the containers could be placed on flatcars and loaded directly at the mine, right next to the hopper cars ACE's would have hauled.


I thought I'd read it was going to use powdered or pulverized coal so it could be fed through a long stoker without any concern over stoker jams, but maybe that was some other design or concept. It's been a long time since I read the details on it.


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 Post subject: Re: Ultimate High Tech Steam, what would you build?
PostPosted: Wed Jul 03, 2013 6:20 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 8:31 am
Posts: 1097
Location: South Carolina
Bobharbison wrote:
I thought I'd read it was going to use powdered or pulverized coal so it could be fed through a long stoker without any concern over stoker jams, but maybe that was some other design or concept. It's been a long time since I read the details on it.

I think a lot of people expected pulverized fuel would be required, but ACE was planning to just use run-of-mine coal. It would have been interesting to see how well that worked out.

The complete ACE patent is available for viewing and/or download here:

http://www.google.com/patents?id=FAU3AA ... nterprises

It describes and shows a lot of details that weren't covered in the railfan press.

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 Post subject: Re: Ultimate High Tech Steam, what would you build?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2013 2:02 am 

Joined: Thu Nov 22, 2007 5:46 am
Posts: 2440
Location: S.F. Bay Area
I'd use a combined cycle. The jet turbine would make electricity used for HEP or the traction motors on leading/trailing/tender trucks. The exhaust heat would make steam through the most modern and efficient boiler possible. It could also be fired directly without the turbine. You could mix-and-match modes depending on need. The unit would be unbelievably efficient at cruise.

Nuclear, sure. The thing to remember is that any reactor, large or small, creates the exact same size radioactive plume and exclusion zone. You can see where those little SMRs don't work, the only smart play is to build enormous reactors. Probably GE ESBWRs, because they are the largest reactor offered, and pretty darn safe. As far as disaster planning and insurance, it's real simple: Own all the land in the would-be exclusion zone. It's even better if the site is already laid out to be a nuclear plant - with cooling ponds, security perimeter, switchyard and power lines, auxiliary facilities, etc. ready to rock and roll. Where do we find all that, wrapped up in a bow? Chernobyl. The site was laid out for 8 reactors. Build the other four. How do we get the power to our steam engine? Real simple, turn the steam into electricity, sell that to Eastern Europe and use the proceeds to buy fuel oil.


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