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Author Topic: Coal fired steam locomotives?  (Read 12109 times)
Atlantic Central

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« Reply #15 on: July 28, 2013, 06:11:54 PM »

One more point of interest about this topic.

The Strasburg Railroad, runs 6, 8, or even more coal fired steam powered trains EVERY DAY, all day long, about 10 months out of the year.

AND, they are not just  a "tourist line" that might get some special exception - they are a common carrier railroad and move freight with steam as well.

Coal fired steam locos are just as "legal" as any other railroad locomotive. And they are subject to inspections and safety standards - that has nothing to do with what kind of fuel they burn.

Sheldon
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jward


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« Reply #16 on: July 28, 2013, 06:52:31 PM »

come to Pittsburgh, I'll show you the western Maryland, and throw in horseshoe curve and the east broad top for good measure.
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Jeffery S Ward Sr
Pittsburgh, PA
Doneldon

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« Reply #17 on: July 29, 2013, 12:57:09 AM »

I may love diesel but I sure do enjoy watching the steamers run. I have only been able to see Southern Pacifics Spirit of Louisiana run on occasion around here.

Jerry-

If you aren't doing this already, check Trains magazine for a list of excursion trips, steam and others. Kalmbach (I think) publishes an annual book with information about tourist railroads all over the US and Canada, including schedules and the nature of the equipment. (Mine was a few years old so I tossed it last year when we moved, so your post reminded me I need to get a current edition. Thanx!) I haven't tried it but you should be able to learn about both excursions and tourist railroads on the Inet. And AAA lists tourist railroads in its Where to stay/Where to eat/What to do books.

                                                                                                                                       -- D
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Jerrys HO
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« Reply #18 on: July 29, 2013, 06:21:13 AM »

D
Thanks for the info. I do try and ride most tourist rails when on vacation. I have rode the  Skunk Train in California (I was young and I believe then it was coal fired), the Grand Canyon Railroad (beautiful ride), and my favorite of all, Disneys steamers ( yea they go roundy round) when the kids are with the wife I go riding for hours. Did you know they have a behind the scenes tour of the trains and you can even fire one up, or at least help. My big plan is, after I get these kids through college, is to go with Jeff W. and let him show me around the area I admire. If we are still alive when that time comes.

Jerry
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WTierce1


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« Reply #19 on: July 29, 2013, 08:11:01 AM »

I don't know where your friend got his information, but I got to ride in the cab of Southern 630 twice on the Tennessee Valley Railroad not to long ago and I am pretty sure that I saw the Fireman shoveling coal. I don't know, maybe I am crazy and the video I have is just my imagination. Tongue I just don't know.  Grin
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A fan of the Tennessee Valley Railroad
Johnson Bar Jeff

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« Reply #20 on: July 29, 2013, 11:47:23 AM »

Besides the lines in the East like Steamtown, Strasburg, and Cass, out West the Durango & Silverton and the Cumbres & Toltec are also coal-fired. In fact, on the day last October when my buddies and I road the C&T, a coal-fired locomotive pulling a train of loaded coal hoppers bound for Chama passed us while we were at our lunch stop.

Whoever is saying that coal-fired locomotives are illegal in the U.S. is just trying to make trouble.
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StanAmes


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« Reply #21 on: July 29, 2013, 01:15:17 PM »

Hello dear community

I have a question in regards to coal fired steam locomotives.

My buddy told me a couple of days ago that coal fired steam locomotives aren't legal to operate in the US.  Now I have searched the web and I can't find any info in regards to this statement that my buddy put forward.

So naturally I turn to you guys to see if there is anyone here who could help me with this.  Is my buddy right or is he wrong?

Thank you and best regards

DaKaiser

ps. If possible please provide a link or links to where I can find out more about this.

I can assure you that there is a lot of coal fired steam locomotives running across the US.



This double header is in Chama and I have the sore back to prove it is coal fired. These locomotives do not have a stoker and the fireman has a lot of coal to shovel to make it up the 4% grade..  The choice of fuel is basicall chosen on what was locally available and easy to get.  Chama uses coal because there are coal mines nearby, others use oil which today is easier to get across the US then coal.  One even used dried milk for a time.

A complete listing of surviving steam in the US can be found at

http://www.steamlocomotive.com/lists/

Stan
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WTierce1


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« Reply #22 on: July 29, 2013, 04:18:44 PM »

What do you mean that one burned dried milk?
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A fan of the Tennessee Valley Railroad
Jhanecker2

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« Reply #23 on: July 29, 2013, 06:19:07 PM »

 If a substance is flammable it can be used as fuel .  The amount of material available and it's price are usually the primary constraints .  Most early engines were wood burners because that fuel was readily available & cheap  . Most modern coal fired power plants  use pulverized coal injected as a fine spray almost like oil and consequently  don't leave cinders to deal with . It is truly amazing what can be utilized for fuel with the right engineering applied. J2.
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jward


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« Reply #24 on: July 29, 2013, 09:33:28 PM »

almost any fine powder can ignite if the powder to air ratio is right. this is how grain elevators explode from grain dust.

btw, in the 11980s, GE modified a diesel  locomotive to run on a coal and water mix. combustion was not a problem, scouring of the cylinder linings was, and the project was quietly discontinued without the locomotive entering mainline service.
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Jeffery S Ward Sr
Pittsburgh, PA
StanAmes


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« Reply #25 on: July 30, 2013, 09:50:08 AM »

What do you mean that one burned dried milk?

Indeed dried milk was used several times.  In the 20s it was shown to have reduced smoke over coal with a similar heating property.

Here is a link to a demo done in the 30s.

http://blog.modernmechanix.com/locomotive-tries-milk-fuel/


Note today the Grand Canyon RR fires its steam using vegetable oil allegedly to make it greener.

Stan
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WTierce1


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« Reply #26 on: July 30, 2013, 11:54:04 AM »

Wow.
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A fan of the Tennessee Valley Railroad
Johnson Bar Jeff

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« Reply #27 on: July 30, 2013, 12:01:05 PM »

Most early engines were wood burners because that fuel was readily available & cheap.

I seem to remember seeing an article in a history journal a long time ago that explained that there was a need for some technological developments--something about the grates--before coal could be used cheaply and efficiently in U.S. locomotives, but I can't swear to it. It might have had something specific to do with anthracite coal.  Huh?

And if I remember correctly, one of George Abdill's books includes a photo taken after 1900 of a Southern Pacific locomotive in Oregon with wood piled on the tender as high as the cab roof; I guess at that time wood was still cheap in the Pacific Northwest.
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ebtnut

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« Reply #28 on: July 30, 2013, 12:55:43 PM »

A lot of stuff has been thrown into steam engine fireboxes over the decades.  Wood was very common in the very early years when it was cheap and easily available.  As the coal resources were opened up in the first half of the 19th Century the synergy of having an abundant resource with the railroads expanding to haul the resource, coal became the dominant fuel east of the Mississippi.  In northeastern Pennsylvania, the anthracite fields produced hard coal, which burned hotter and cleaner than soft coal, but the fire bed had to be broad and thin for proper combustion.  This resulted in the invention of the Wootton firebox so common to the "anthracite roads" such as the Reading, Lehigh Valley, DL&W, etc. with their camelback designs.

With the oil booms out west, oil became the dominant loco fuel west of the Rockies (with some substantive incursions further east).  Generally, the oil was what was once termed "Bunker C".  This was the residual material left after refining, and was about one step above road tar.  If often had to be heated to flow properly.  To do this, many locos had pipe coils in the bottom of the tender fed with boiler steam to keep the oil hot. 


In the Pacific northwest, the big logging era from about 1900 to the Depression was characterized by getting out the "big stuff" - virgin timber that could be 8 feet in diameter.  Trees we would consider substantial today were considered slash back then and became loco fuel..
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Mdaskalos

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« Reply #29 on: July 30, 2013, 01:38:28 PM »

btw, in the 11980s, GE modified a diesel  locomotive to run on a coal and water mix. combustion was not a problem, scouring of the cylinder linings was, and the project was quietly discontinued without the locomotive entering mainline service.

Pretty precient 10,000-year peek into the future there, jward!  Wink
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