ATSF 3463 Rebuild Project

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ATSF 3463 Rebuild Project

  • http://www1.umn.edu/news/news-releases/2012/UR_CONTENT_389949.html

    Sustainable Rail International, University of Minnesota
    Announce Coalition to Develop the World’s Cleanest Passenger Locomotive

    New steam engine has the potential to change both 
    the rail industry and clean energy research

    MINNEAPOLIS - Plans to create the world's first carbon-neutral higher-speed locomotive were announced today by the Coalition for Sustainable Rail (CSR), a collaboration of the University of Minnesota's Institute on the Environment (IonE) and the nonprofit Sustainable Rail International (SRI). CSR draws on the carbon-neutral solid biofuel research expertise of the University of Minnesota and the modern steam mechanical engineering capabilities of SRI to develop the most powerful carbon-neutral locomotive to date.

    CSR Project 130 has a simple goal: create the world's cleanest, most powerful passenger locomotive, proving the viability of solid biofuel and modern steam locomotive technology. The Coalition will put its technology to the test by planning to break the world record for steam locomotive speed, reaching 130 miles per hour and demonstrating the viability of this revolutionary, clean transportation technology.

    The locomotive will run on torrefied biomass (biocoal), a biofuel created through an energy-efficient processing of cellulosic biomass. Biocoal exhibits the same energy density and material handling properties as coal, but unlike coal, it is carbon neutral, contains no heavy metals, and produces less ash, smoke and volatile off-gases. Since it exhibits such similar characteristics to coal, biocoal has the potential to revolutionize the way the United States generates clean electricity.

    "Participation in the Coalition for Sustainable Rail has enabled our team to pursue one of the more exciting and potentially groundbreaking research projects in the history of IonE," said Rod Larkins, Special Projects Director of IonE's Initiative for Renewable Energy and the Environment. "Once perfected, creating the world's first carbon-neutral locomotive will be just the beginning for this technology which, we hope, will later be used for combined heat and power energy in the developing world as well as reducing the United States' dependence on fossil fuels."

    Preliminary research shows that CSR's test locomotive will cost less to maintain and less to fuel, and will exhibit greater train handling performance than any diesel-electric locomotives available today. The modern steam locomotive has relied on technology that has been neglected for decades. This is about to change. With the ability to burn biocoal efficiently and without negative impact on the environment, CSR's modern steam locomotive will also exhibit significantly better horsepower output at higher speeds than the current diesel-electric locomotives that pull the majority of passenger trains in the United States.

    "This project presents a novel approach to U.S. locomotive development, looking to technologies of the past to inspire solutions for today's sustainability challenges," said SRI president Davidson Ward. "I'm confident that the leading energy researchers we're working with at the University of Minnesota, along with our team of engineers, will be able to bring this technology to the forefront of America's energy and transportation conversations."

    In November 2011, SRI acquired a large test bed steam locomotive through a no-cost transfer of ownership from the Great Overland Station museum and education center in Topeka, Kan. This locomotive, built in 1937 for the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad as number 3463, will be reconfigured by SRI's locomotive modernization experts, then tested as part of CSR Project 130.

    The success of CSR Project 130 has implications that extend beyond the railroad industry, proving the viability of biocoal for use in the developing world. Locomotive engineering on combustion and boiler technologies allows CSR to design power boilers and electric generators on scales from 5 to 5,000 kilowatts. This technology is adaptable for homes in villages of the developing world as well as for use in the U.S. Every dollar spent on engineering support of CSR Project 130 can generate up to three times the benefit in outgrowth technologies to solve energy problems in the United States and around the world.

    "When I think of the University of Minnesota's motto, 'Driven to Discover,™' it is precisely the kind of research-based innovation present in CSR Project 130 that sets our school apart," said Don Fosnacht, Ph.D., Director of the University's Center for Applied Research and Technology Development. "The idea of integrating cutting-edge materials science and engineering into a technology base that has not been touched since the 1960s is quite unique, and entering into an industry with as much potential for growth as the U.S. railroad market just adds to CSR Project 130's impact."

    In May, SRI completed a cosmetic restoration and stabilization of Locomotive 3463 in Topeka. Plans are to move the locomotive to Minneapolis within the next 12 months. Once moved, CSR will complete the detailed engineering needed to modernize and reconfigure the locomotive.

    For more information on the Coalition for Sustainable Rail and CSR Project 130 visit www.csrail.org.

    ###

    Sustainable Rail International:

    Sustainable Rail International (SRI), an IRS approved 501(c)(3) and Minnesota nonprofit corporation, is a scientific and educational organization whose mission is to advance biofuel research and production; to research and develop sustainable railroad locomotives; to promulgate associated sustainable technologies; and to support and conduct nonpartisan educational and informational activities to increase awareness of sustainable railroad locomotives. Founded by Rob Mangels, Shaun McMahon, John Rhodes and Davidson Ward, SRI maintains internationally renowned steam locomotive mechanical engineers and U.S. industry professionals among its diverse members.

    Institute on the Environment:

    The University of Minnesota's Institute on the Environment discovers solutions to Earth's most pressing environmental problems by conducting transformative research, developing the next generation of global leaders and building world-changing partnerships. Learn more online at www.environment.umn.edu.

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  • Some hard questions:

    1) In what manner is breaking an arbitrary, 60+ year old speed record for steam traction supposed to "demonstratEmail the viability of this revolutionary, clean transportation technology"? It demonstrates the physical possibility, but not the commercial viability.

    2) Can we see an estimated cost comparison of this proposed biomass fuel per BTU or horsepower or pound of tractive effort versus known quantifiers such as coal or fuel oil?

    3) Does this project plan to subsequently focus its efforts on horsepower and tractive effort production rather than pure speed? If not, is the ultimate, or only, market for this proposed effort passenger operation? What is the target market for commercial production, if any has been identified?

    4) The several principals named in this effort, including possibly the poster of the above, bring expertise to this project. Unless some or all of them are, as the saying goes, "independently wealthy," they will warrant payment for their consulting and efforts. Has a source of funding for their efforts been located, or are they agreeing to donate their expertise to the cause?

    5) The costs for physical reconstruction of the locomotive alone--not even any redesign or conversion, simply restoration to operation--under current CFR regulations will probably exceed, even as a most generously conservative guess, several hundred thousand dollars. Has a source for this funding, or the donation of professional services, been identified?

    6) "Preliminary research shows that CSR’s test locomotive will cost less to maintain and less to fuel, and will exhibit greater train handling performance than any diesel-electric locomotives available today." Is this research available for peer review? May we recommend other "peers" to review this?

    7) Has the U. of Minnesota's IonE identified any funding sources thus far for start-up and research? Is the underwriting proposed to be private, corporate, government, charitable, or some mix of the above?

    8) Has either the Transportation Technology Center in Pueblo or Amtrak officials in the Northeast Corridor given any form of tentative agreement to let the resulting locomotive be tested to reach the intended speed? If not, where will the proposed speed test occur?

    9) The statement by Rod Larkins says “Once perfected, creating the world’s first carbon-neutral locomotive will be just the beginning for this technology which, we hope, will later be used for combined heat and power energy in the developing world as well as reducing the United States’ dependence on fossil fuels.” Is there a railroad goal above and beyond the production of one speed-record-setting locomotive? Or can this be construed strictly as a "publicity stunt" for the research team, university, and biofuels concept?

  • LNER4472

    Some hard questions:

    1) In what manner is breaking an arbitrary, 60+ year old speed record for steam traction supposed to "demonstratEmail the viability of this revolutionary, clean transportation technology"? It demonstrates the physical possibility, but not the commercial viability.

    2) Can we see an estimated cost comparison of this proposed biomass fuel per BTU or horsepower or pound of tractive effort versus known quantifiers such as coal or fuel oil?

    3) Does this project plan to subsequently focus its efforts on horsepower and tractive effort production rather than pure speed? If not, is the ultimate, or only, market for this proposed effort passenger operation? What is the target market for commercial production, if any has been identified?

    4) The several principals named in this effort, including possibly the poster of the above, bring expertise to this project. Unless some or all of them are, as the saying goes, "independently wealthy," they will warrant payment for their consulting and efforts. Has a source of funding for their efforts been located, or are they agreeing to donate their expertise to the cause?

    5) The costs for physical reconstruction of the locomotive alone--not even any redesign or conversion, simply restoration to operation--under current CFR regulations will probably exceed, even as a most generously conservative guess, several hundred thousand dollars. Has a source for this funding, or the donation of professional services, been identified?

    6) "Preliminary research shows that CSR’s test locomotive will cost less to maintain and less to fuel, and will exhibit greater train handling performance than any diesel-electric locomotives available today." Is this research available for peer review? May we recommend other "peers" to review this?

    7) Has the U. of Minnesota's IonE identified any funding sources thus far for start-up and research? Is the underwriting proposed to be private, corporate, government, charitable, or some mix of the above?

    8) Has either the Transportation Technology Center in Pueblo or Amtrak officials in the Northeast Corridor given any form of tentative agreement to let the resulting locomotive be tested to reach the intended speed? If not, where will the proposed speed test occur?

    9) The statement by Rod Larkins says “Once perfected, creating the world’s first carbon-neutral locomotive will be just the beginning for this technology which, we hope, will later be used for combined heat and power energy in the developing world as well as reducing the United States’ dependence on fossil fuels.” Is there a railroad goal above and beyond the production of one speed-record-setting locomotive? Or can this be construed strictly as a "publicity stunt" for the research team, university, and biofuels concept?

    PHEEEEWWWW!  Where do I start? 

    "LNER4472 wrote the following [in Part:]

    "7) Has the U. of Minnesota's IonE identified any funding sources thus far for start-up and research? Is the underwriting proposed to be private, corporate, government, charitable, or some mix of the above?

    8) Has either the Transportation Technology Center in Pueblo or Amtrak officials in the Northeast Corridor given any form of tentative agreement to let the resulting locomotive be tested to reach the intended speed? If not, where will the proposed speed test occur?

    9) The statement by Rod Larkins says “Once perfected, creating the world’s first carbon-neutral locomotive will be just the beginning for this technology which, we hope, will later be used for combined heat and power energy in the developing world as well as reducing the United States’ dependence on fossil fuels.” Is there a railroad goal above and beyond the production of one speed-record-setting locomotive? Or can this be construed strictly as a "publicity stunt" for the research team, university, and biofuels concept?" (emphasis is added: samfp1943)

    To address the last statement first;  IS This just a STUNT? 

      A  locomotive that burns anything could hardly be called 'carbon neutral', particularly if the fuel is in part carbon and whatever else could be combined with it to give off heat to boil water to make steam.   Don't get me wrong, I love to watch real steam locomotives run in any capacity.  But there is something about this project that screams  article from 'The Onion'.  Even just the term 'carbon neutral' sounds like an oxymoronic term.My 2 Cents

      I wish them well, but this project possibly should have a Chupacabra for a mascot. I have a feeling that vast sums of money will disappear like blood before vampires.  Sigh

     

    Sam

    "...THE PROBLEM IS NOT THAT WE HAVE TOO MANY FOOLS, IT IS THAT THE LIGHTENING IS NOT DISTRIBUTED RIGHT..."

    MARK TWAIN

     


     

  • LDPorta

    http://www1.umn.edu/news/news-releases/2012/UR_CONTENT_389949.html   .... snip ....

    In November 2011, SRI acquired a large test bed steam locomotive through a no-cost transfer of ownership from the Great Overland Station museum and education center in Topeka, Kan. This locomotive, built in 1937 for the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad as number 3463, will be reconfigured by SRI's locomotive modernization experts, then tested as part of CSR Project 130.

    Stunt, indeed! 

    Seems like they could have proposed a more modern concept using a efficient modern boiler on a recycled diesel frame, rather than mangle up a old steam loco.

    Just the idea of using reciprocating, high maintenance mechanicals is totally ludicrous!  Even more than many academics, these people really don't get out much. Bang Head

    Sounds like a tragedy for steam preservation enthusiasts. What kind of so-called museum would give up a rare artifact for mutilation?  What's the back story?

    Better to burn the biomass fuel in a fixed power plant generating electricity  ....

    Sig ----> Sunset Route overview, SoCal metro, Yuma sub, Gila sub links.

  • The steam engine did not fall out of use because of environmental reasons.  They don't indicate that the test bed loco will be other than a reciprocating steam loco.  They have not explained how they will get by the well known problems that made the railroads switch to diesels.  The csrail.org site says that the biofuel still costs more than coal.  If the fuel becomes popular with RRs and power plants (TVA is testing it) then like any other fuel the price will go up.

  • Sounds like pretty exciting news to me! Not only because the 3463 has the potential to be restored to running condition but also because people are looking into developing steam power again.

    Like most people I will have my fingers crossed but I think they will learn what we already know. Steam locomotives are terribly inefficient typically having only a 6%-10% efficacy. The ACE 3000 project with all of their expensive and extensive testing with C & O, 4-8-4, #614 along with it's modifications was only averaging a efficiently of 3%. The ACE 3000 project was also started for similar reasons. It would probably be a good idea to have Ross rowland on their project team as he is probably one of the best experts in steam locomotive logistics.

    In any case I hope funding holds out and the 3463 is returned to steam once again. Regardless if the project is a success or a failure at least the 3463 is getting it's legs stretched and a new coat of paint.

  • I thought this could be interesting until I got to the second paragraph regarding beating a 130 mph speed record.  Sure, there are lots of railroads around with suitable Class 8 track.  Moreover, they are eagerly awaiting the chance to have their well maintained track structure beaten to death by a heavy steamer. 

    NOT!

  • After reading their web sight info. I think they have in mind converting that hudson into a small version of the pennsy turbin. (Lionel start retooling the 671!) Surprise

  • After reading their web sight info. I think they have in mind converting that hudson into a small version of the pennsy turbin. (Lionel start retooling the 671!) Surprise

  • Thomas 9011

    Sounds like pretty exciting news to me! Not only because the 3463 has the potential to be restored to running condition but also because people are looking into developing steam power again.

    Like most people I will have my fingers crossed but I think they will learn what we already know. Steam locomotives are terribly inefficient typically having only a 6%-10% efficacy. The ACE 3000 project with all of their expensive and extensive testing with C & O, 4-8-4, #614 along with it's modifications was only averaging a efficiently of 3%. The ACE 3000 project was also started for similar reasons. It would probably be a good idea to have Ross rowland on their project team as he is probably one of the best experts in steam locomotive logistics.

    In any case I hope funding holds out and the 3463 is returned to steam once again. Regardless if the project is a success or a failure at least the 3463 is getting it's legs stretched and a new coat of paint.

    The project almost sounds like a bunch of steam guys that are using technology to rebuild the 3463 and watch it run again.   It is only a test bed since that locomotive would require ten times the personnel to maintain and run it compared to any diesel. They do seem to be trying some cutting edge improvements but in the end, the project might pave the way for use of the fuel in new power plants in the future. 

    This is a great project for all of us if the 3463 actually gets to run again even in some modified fashion. 

    CZ

  • Ahhh, excuse me but....didnt Diesels replace Steam simply because the maintanence labor costs for steam was far in excess of that of Diesels, not to mention that diesels have grown in power far beyond their steam predecessors?

    Steam locomotion is a very inefficient conversion of energy into power, it always has been. Its just that from the 1830's till the 1950's it was the best form of locomotive power available until the rise of the diesel/electric traction motor was widely introduced.

    If they want a "carbon neutral" steam engine they had better to investigate placing a small nuclear reactor on board to heat the water because anything that burns fuel will create CO2.

      Have fun with your trains

  • To me, the research angle seems more like a cover for an attempt to exceed Mallard's speed record for steam.  Besides the damage to the track from dynamic augment, the damage to the running gear at that speed could be considerable.  Mallard did not escape unscathed when it set the record.

    Paul The commute to work may be part of the daily grind, but I get two train rides a day out of it.
  • Remember this is 2011 not 1937 there has been great advances in making lighter/stonger metals that could be used for the rods and linkage that would greatly reduce the dyamic argument.

  • CSSHEGEWISCH

    To me, the research angle seems more like a cover for an attempt to exceed Mallard's speed record for steam.  Besides the damage to the track from dynamic augment, the damage to the running gear at that speed could be considerable.  Mallard did not escape unscathed when it set the record.

    The 3463 has 84" drivers and that is probably the reason it was choosen for this task.  Too bad it did not have the light weight roller bearing side rods like the 2900 series 4-8-4's.  CZ

  • When I heard about this project, I expected to see people overjoyed for this project to move ahead. But the first response was to tear down this idea.Will this project work out? Maybe,maybe not, but let some of us enjoy the thought of a modern upgraded steam locomotive and wait for more information before tearing the project apart .Even if this does not move ahead it may get railroad in the news in a positive light,this is a good thing.