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 Post subject: Re: Trash in Firebox
PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2015 8:38 pm 

Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2005 2:24 pm
Posts: 70
Did GCRY burn diesel or #2 or heavier? They did convert to biodiesel for a period no?

Qjdriver - I am not sure if you refer to my edits. But I disagreed respectfully with RMacDowell and what he posted regarding the EPA and law. I posted info and then found new info, edited my post to reflect what I found and to not leave mis-information.

Kelly, please take this as just a fun jab, while you may not think lump oils spills are a concern... In NC, Duke energy may differ, as a certain river and former lump oil fuel (ash) spill is a pretty big deal!

Respectfully submitted.


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 Post subject: Re: Trash in Firebox
PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2015 9:05 pm 

Joined: Tue Sep 14, 2004 7:52 am
Posts: 1241
Location: Strasburg, PA
Sully wrote:
Did GCRY burn diesel or #2 or heavier? They did convert to biodiesel for a period no?

Kelly, please take this as just a fun jab, while you may not think lump oils spills are a concern... In NC, Duke energy may differ, as a certain river and former lump oil fuel (ash) spill is a pretty big deal!

IIRC, GCRY uses cooking grease (whatever the official name of it is) with great success. It must be heated or it will turn into white sludge. Again, IIRC, they added a small second tank for diesel to shut down on (to purge the fuel line), and to light off with until they can heat the cooking grease. Sam told me that they had to switch to diesel fuel mid day for some filming where smoke was requested, since they are unable to make the cooking grease smoke. I don't know how you fire by the stack with that stuff.

I remember seeing the ash slurry dam break on the news, what a mess. When we start running enough steam locomotives to produce that much ash, I will be in hog heaven. As an aside (I've mentioned it before) a ways up the Susquehanna, PP&L operates a power plant that burns 1,000 tons of coal every four hours. We burn 900 tons of coal per year.

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 Post subject: Re: Trash in Firebox
PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2015 10:41 pm 

Joined: Tue May 21, 2013 3:20 pm
Posts: 70
Location: Vancouver Island
Dave: Regarding your earlier comments about the Ffestiniog oil burners, I thought you might be interested to know they have since gone back entirely to "lump oil". About ten years ago they began converting the FR and Welsh Highland power back to coal, all loco's now have master mechanics front ends and closely fitted sealed ashpans for fire prevention. The conversion was done for economic reasons, with the spiking price of "gas oil" (diesel) in the late 2000's, interestingly the same reason they went away from coal to "free" waste oil in the sixties.


On the subject of unusual substances in the firebox apparently one fellow arranged to have his cremated remains "sanded out" through the Royal Hudson on BC Rail, I'm not sure if it ever actually happened as the crew were a bit uneasy with the whole thing. In any event I would imagine it must have happened somewhere at some time....


Pat


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 Post subject: Re: Trash in Firebox
PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2015 11:01 pm 

Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2011 9:40 pm
Posts: 712
QJdriver wrote:
I swore I'd sign off, and it's a very good idea.

In the first place, when I offered my assistance, I was talking about the dozens of steam engines in this state of Colorado, and all but maybe two are of a size I've worked on. I WASN'T SETTING MYSELF UP AS AN EXAMPLE TO UP. This had nothing to do with UP. I've always looked up to those guys.

I've seen fire just inside the mouth of the burner, too, when the fire wasn't fixed right. As far as hot spots go, I don't understand the fireball on the burner unless it's an idle fire. When I have to dump in lots of low BTU diesel, I have to bump erverything up, lots of times we get fire back in the cab, it spreads real good. It also acts a lot like heavy oil does when you warm it up enough to feed and atomize right.

But, I've never fired an engine big enough to park an SUV in the firebox. I called around a bit, just to make sure I'm not crazy, and I have it on good authority that not everybody agrees with you, however, not to mention any names.

Also, I was paying attention enough to finally figure out that it is possible to go back in the thread and edit your posts, too, to try and change the course of a "discussion" after one has already had his moment of everybody's time here, and make it look like you said something else after the fact. This is getting just too damn childish for me.

I am interested if anybody in my area can introduce me to this great recycled fuel. I might learn something. I am also happy to help if anybody needs help to fire diesel. Lots of folks report a little bit of bad experiences. I've had a lot of good experiences. Maybe I can help. (303) 822-8802

SIGNING OFF, and I really mean it this time. My apologies for wasting anybody's time. Everybody take care and WORK SAFE, whatever fuel you're burning..


Let me say at the outset you were doing fine until you got away from the size of
locomotive and demand cycle you are familiar with. I must admit I've hardly ever dealt with any locomotives as small and as slow as the ones you have. That is NOT
a snarky comment. It is the basis for what I say.

My 30+ years of experience have nearly all been on locomotives that can, under heavy load conditions, go through 75+ gallons of fuel PER MILE or even more, while under lighter demand conditions it's more like 18 gpm. Having used #2 diesel in emergency conditions a couple of times, I can say for a fact it might eventually get you to the next place where you can get the proper fuel, but it won't be pretty and it won't be fun. Expect to stop every so often to regain steam pressure. Expect lots of smoke and atrocious fuel consumption numbers. Been there, done that, have the numbers and experiences to prove it. As do other guys on this board. Get to the location where you have a truckload of #5 waiting, and as soon as that hits the burner, all your problems go away.

BUT, why would I want to pay about a 25% premium, then have to use twice as much, just to be able to say I used diesel?

As I said, one guy tried that recently, though he denies it now, as it caused corrugations in the side sheets. And those sheets were only 7 years old at the time. A great deal of repair work had to be done over the next winter.


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 Post subject: Re: Trash in Firebox
PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2015 11:33 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:19 am
Posts: 5254
Location: southeastern USA
Of course, either 3985 or 844 could be equipped to burn diesel effectively, but not with the burner and firepan setup it uses at present. Our friends at Sulzer could fix either right up. So, I think there's room to be open minded about it under the right circumstances. It just doesn't seem economical to do so at present given the fuel cost differential.

dave

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 Post subject: Re: Trash in Firebox
PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2015 12:43 am 

Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2011 9:40 pm
Posts: 712
Dave wrote:
Of course, either 3985 or 844 could be equipped to burn diesel effectively, but not with the burner and firepan setup it uses at present. Our friends at Sulzer could fix either right up. So, I think there's room to be open minded about it under the right circumstances. It just doesn't seem economical to do so at present given the fuel cost differential.

dave



I wouldn't be so sure.

The highly vaunted Lempor exhaust system was a flop. If you want to do stuff ike that,
you basically have to design the thing from the ashpan to the stack to do it.

There is zero return on investment for that.


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 Post subject: Re: Trash in Firebox
PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2015 1:07 am 
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Location: Henderson Nevada
Dave said... "Of course, either 3985 or 844 could be equipped to burn diesel effectively, but not with the burner and firepan setup it uses at present. "

At the end of steam operations, just after WWII Western Pacific was using its remaining steam for seasonal rushes and relief... As the steam fleet dwindled they stopped supporting heavy fuel for steam in some locations and started to use diesel... with diesel specific burners installed.

Mikado 334 at Rio Vista had one of the diesel burners in it when preserved. It was moved over to 4-6-0 No 94 for operations at Rio Vista, when we were using "expired" jet fuel from Travis AFB...

I don't pretend to have enough experience firing to say whether burning No 4 jet fuel (kerosine) using a diesel burner would have been successful for anything which looked like real work, but it worked for the back and forth at the museum, and was the railroad's solution to the situation...

Plus, the big UP engines are an order of magnitude larger... I once climbed into the firebox of the Big Boy at Pomona... it was the size of a one car garage... That would be a big fire...

Randy

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 Post subject: Re: Trash in Firebox
PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2015 9:33 am 

Joined: Sun Sep 05, 2004 9:48 am
Posts: 448
Location: Byers, Colorado
Why am I not surprised ??? WP had 4-8-2s and 4-8-4s, too....

Signing Off, Again

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 Post subject: Re: Trash in Firebox
PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2015 11:40 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:19 am
Posts: 5254
Location: southeastern USA
Well Linc, I don't know what a failure of an exhaust system experiment has to do with the prospects of successfully retrofitting a light oil combustion system proven in Switzerland and Austria on a larger scale. And, yes, you do need to make sure the whole system is tuned for optimum performance, but that's something you want to do with any fuel in any system anyhow. I also did say it wasn't likely economically feasible at this time, just technically possible. I suggest you learn about these things before you discard them as impractical.

dave

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 Post subject: Re: Trash in Firebox
PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2015 2:14 pm 

Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2011 9:40 pm
Posts: 712
Dave wrote:
Well Linc, I don't know what a failure of an exhaust system experiment has to do with the prospects of successfully retrofitting a light oil combustion system proven in Switzerland and Austria on a larger scale. And, yes, you do need to make sure the whole system is tuned for optimum performance, but that's something you want to do with any fuel in any system anyhow. I also did say it wasn't likely economically feasible at this time, just technically possible. I suggest you learn about these things before you discard them as impractical.

dave


It was an example of something that has apparently worked pretty well on smaller engines, and is ballyhooed to improve virtually any locomotive. It had never before been tried on real big workhorse, and it was tried it didn't improve anything at all, and made some things worse, even after tweaking. So, a lesson was learned.

IOW, just because you can do something doesn't always mean you should.

Almost anything is technically feasible, but as you noted, is it going to have any kind
of tangible payoff? From a strictly common sense and dollars and cents perspective,
not likely. Once you've paid for the engineering, there is material and fab work, then comes installation, testing, and tweaking followed by more testing.

If you are going to run it virtually every day, like a TSRR or a GCRY, that allows much more opportunity to do all that and keep massaging the thing until it works, IF it works. But when you go into budget sessions, how to you justify it? Does it reduce fuel costs? Does it reduce maintenance costs? If either is true, how much? How long do you have to run the thing for the savings to pay back the costs of the change?
Until that happens, IF it happens, you have zero return on the investment. Not every operation has the luxury of enough funding to do that.

Now, lets' take a locomotive like 3751 or 4449 and apply the same thing. Only
here, you have locomotives that operate a couple times a year, tops. It will take years just to get the system working and tested and tweaked. And you hope it doesn't flake out on one of the trips where you are still trying to get it right. These groups don't have money or time to take those risks.

Let's say I do this to a big 4-8-4, and someone gives me the money to do it, test it, and tweak it, and it actually works. Now what have I accomplished?

I already know I will need twice as much fuel to do the same amount of work. So I have doubled my fuel costs. But, wait! There's more! The fuel is also about 25% more expensive to buy in the first place. So, even though I was able to do the work essentially for free because someone else footed the bill, I have now put myself in the position of paying well over twice as much to run a given distance than I was paying before.

Again, not only is there no return on the investment of my donor, I've made my own situation much worse from a cost standpoint.

If this was 1950 and my railroad had a lot of money, maybe it would be worth a try.
But I doubt it. Even then, Bunker C was around 9-10 cents a gallon at the refinery or even less, as it was considered a waste product, while diesel was around 20 cents a gallon.

From the standpoint that in most operations, cost is more important than convenience, it is just impractical to try to fix something that isn't really broken.


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 Post subject: Re: Trash in Firebox
PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2015 5:38 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:19 am
Posts: 5254
Location: southeastern USA
Not arguing, that's why I said it wasn't economically feasible. But, not due to scaling which can be technologically overcome. There may be situations in which a good diesel conversion scheme would make sense - environmental considerations, for one. Supply logistics for another. Unlikely for the UP right now. Not impossible to consider a situation in which it could be sensible for somebody sometime on their 4-8-4.

Check out the Sulzer / DLM rack engines built within the past 20 years, there's a lot they have accomplished in efficient and cost effective light oil firing under the circumstances for which they were designed. Their web site explains a lot about them.

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 Post subject: Re: Trash in Firebox
PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2015 6:25 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 8:31 am
Posts: 1102
Location: South Carolina
Dave wrote:
Check out the Sulzer / DLM rack engines built within the past 20 years, there's a lot they have accomplished in efficient and cost effective light oil firing under the circumstances for which they were designed. Their web site explains a lot about them.


DLM's also done some other recent light oil firing conversions on historical locomotives.

Their website is http://www.dlm-ag.ch

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 Post subject: Re: Trash in Firebox
PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2015 6:53 pm 

Joined: Thu Nov 22, 2007 5:46 am
Posts: 2447
Location: S.F. Bay Area
Lincoln Penn wrote:
It burns just inside the edge of the burner. Been there, seen that.

You get hot spots from diesel fuel because it is a concentrated fire; it's not spread out like atomized #5 or #6.

And that would be caused by a burner that's wrong for the fuel.

Atomization is serious business. I just sent my car's fuel injectors out for bench ultrasound flushing. The tech said they already had good spray pattern and balanced flow before flushing... Yet now, my car drives like new, doesn't struggle at 70 mph and MPG is greatly improved.

QJdriver wrote:
When I have to dump in lots of low BTU diesel, I have to bump erverything up...

Diesel is within 10% of the BTU of bunker - lower by volume, higher by weight. But quite close either way. Far closer than "gasoline vs. E85". If there is a dramatic difference in fuel consumption, something is not working right.

Quote:
Also, I was paying attention enough to finally figure out that it is possible to go back in the thread and edit your posts, too, to try and change the course of a "discussion" after one has already had his moment of everybody's time here, and make it look like you said something else after the fact.

If someone edits a post after it's been replied to, it will say "edited by (username) on (date/time)". Users can't get around that. If in doubt, quote the relevant language using the quote feature as I do here.

Quote:
I am interested if anybody in my area can introduce me to this great recycled fuel. I might learn something. I am also happy to help if anybody needs help to fire diesel.

That's a good way to look at it. Thing about experts is, they're always learning. That way of thinking is what makes them experts lol.

I never learned so much as when I started talking about paint.


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 Post subject: Re: Trash in Firebox
PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2015 7:22 pm 

Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2005 2:24 pm
Posts: 70
Please don't dismiss the BTU so quickly. My limited experience is the BTU does make a difference for easier steaming. BTU link here:
http://www.nchh.org/Portals/0/Contents/ ... rking1.pdf

Much like good coal helps; BTU per pound of coal:
http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/coal- ... _1675.html

I will admit that burner/atomizer limitations, firebox design, and draft have a strong effect.
But as both mention, when running you burn a lot of gallons per mile. I think Linc and QJ are both being a bit extreme, but they both have good points.

Edit: by my calculations the differences between the coal types is roughly 5%, much like the oil types is roughly 5%. 5% may not sound like much but in terms of thousands of BTU it is, IMHO.


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 Post subject: Re: Trash in Firebox
PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2015 9:57 am 

Joined: Sun Sep 05, 2004 9:48 am
Posts: 448
Location: Byers, Colorado
Thanks so much to the experienced firemen who have contacted me privately in the last few days. You guys have sure cheered me up, as I WAS getting rather irritated by this thread. This morning I am thankful for the entertainment, this is about the most fun I've had since they took Jerry Springer off the air.

Before I start broadcasting again, I would like to apologize to a couple RyPNers that I know I've irritated during this thread. It's nothing personal, and in the case of 1522, I obviously got a couple of messages scrambled and asked the wrong person the wrong question. In all sincerity, please excuse me, no harm intended.

Mr Mac Dowell, If I may put in my 2 cents worth (or worthless ???), a Van Boden burner can handle about any kind of oil, you adjust the viscosity until it works. If you have fire so close to your burner that it's about to melt, I submit that it doesn't mean you're using the wrong burner. Usually it means that you just need to fix your fire. (Think of it like adjusting a rosebud so that the flame doesn't melt your tip.) By variations in blower/atomizer settings you should actually be able to change the distance between the flame and burner. On some engines at lower fuel settings you can actually see this happening while you tweak the adjustments, BUT ALWAYS STAND TO THE SIDE OF THE FIREDOOR.

If you still have problems with your burner overheating, you can try cleaning it, diesel eventually forms a kind of slimy scum, and I bet that wonderful waste oil does, too. The way this works is that after shutting down, working the fuel out of the line and blowing back, (with damper open and blower/atomizer on) you shut the supply valve on the tender, THEN crack the firing valve and GENTLY do the old in/out with the blowback. Once the smoke and awe stops, go ahead and open the firing valve and blowback and blast that sucker out. (Make sure that you always have either the firing valve or the fuel supply valve open when blowing back, or you'll pop the fuel line off.)

The comment that drasticly different or increased fuel consumption when using a given fuel would mean something is wrong, is on target. But when I said that you had to bump everything up when dumping in lots of fuel, that's nothing abnormal, only that diesel requires more and bigger atomizer/blower adjustments to keep up with more and bigger changes in fuel feed.

A wise old machinist once told me that "An ex is something that was, and a spurt is a drip under pressure."

I also appreciate your advice regarding editing a post, but I decided not to get involved playing games with somebody who misuses that feature. Life is just too short.

Both you and Mr Sully are pretty much right, once you heat heavy oil, it acts a lot like diesel does. Fuel quality sure DOES make a difference though, and heavy oil is much less ticklish to fire than diesel because it burns hotter.

I also plead guilty to being extreme. My reason is safety, if I see something wrong, and I don't speak up, I am at fault if somebody gets hurt later. If I said something, (especially if nobody was willing to listen), then I'm not at fault. In the case of oil firing (my favorite soapbox speech subject) consequences of even a small screwup can be deadly, and diesel is a lot more ticklish than heavy oil. Somebody has to have the balls to tell the truth...

It's an inconvenient truth that if you know how to fire correctly and you pay attention when you park your ass on that seatbox, you should be able to get good results firing diesel through a conventional setup with a Van Boden burner. (There ARE some engines that are a real pain, like TSRR 201, but I think she was set up funny.) Not only that, but the expense isn't near so horrific as people think provided that you use your fuel effeciently. (But if diesel goes for $2/gallon and oily scum sells for a fourth as much, that might have some effect on fuel costs.)

I'm going to just come out and say it: This business that diesel isn't good steam locomotive fuel, and that it does all this terrible boiler damage is just plain old made up BULLSHIT.

Now, With all due respect, I'd like to ask Mr. Lincoln Penn a few things, me and some of the other fellas have been wondering about:

1) Could you tell us please, which railroad or railroads you work for, and which big, fast, engines you worked on to gain all your vast wealth of experience and knowlege ??? And thanks for sharing this with us.

2) We're especially curious which locomotive you fired at the rate of 75 gallons a mile. and when, and where. If you've done it too many times to count, we'll be happy with a single, specific, concrete example. I admit I've never fired our ATSF Pacific going more than 25 mph with 7 heavyweights, and we maybe used 7 gallons of diesel a mile. I just can't imagine how heavy and fast those trains you pulled must have been, and how huge the locomotive must be !!!

3) Also, if you could please be good enough to tell us your real name, I'd like to say hello to the UP steam crew for you, next time I see them. Or does your FRA card say Lincoln Penn on it ???

Thanks once more to everybody for the entertainment. Keep it coming !!!

Take Care, & WORK SAFE,

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Sammy KIng


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