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ATSF 3463 Rebuild Project

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ATSF 3463 Rebuild Project
Posted by LDPorta on Tuesday, May 22, 2012 10:47 AM

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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Posted by LNER4472 on Tuesday, May 22, 2012 1:27 PM

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?

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Posted by samfp1943 on Tuesday, May 22, 2012 5:19 PM

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

 

 


 

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Posted by MikeF90 on Tuesday, May 22, 2012 9:40 PM

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.

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Posted by MidlandMike on Tuesday, May 22, 2012 9:46 PM

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.

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Posted by Thomas 9011 on Wednesday, May 23, 2012 2:46 AM

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.

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Posted by Dakguy201 on Wednesday, May 23, 2012 6:13 AM

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!

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Posted by nwo4rf on Wednesday, May 23, 2012 8:05 AM

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

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Posted by nwo4rf on Wednesday, May 23, 2012 8:05 AM

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

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Posted by CAZEPHYR on Wednesday, May 23, 2012 9:46 AM

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

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Posted by vsmith on Wednesday, May 23, 2012 9:50 AM

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

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Wednesday, May 23, 2012 10:06 AM

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.
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Posted by nwo4rf on Wednesday, May 23, 2012 10:20 AM

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.

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Posted by CAZEPHYR on Wednesday, May 23, 2012 10:55 AM

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

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Posted by Mntrain on Wednesday, May 23, 2012 12:06 PM

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.

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Posted by samfp1943 on Wednesday, May 23, 2012 1:02 PM

Seems like the skepticism about this 'Project' has a number of valid areas of concern.

In my mind, "funding" is a major hill to climb.

  Seems as if any project involving the restoration of a steam locomotive, crashes first into the reality of never enough initial funding for completion of the project, it always exceeds the first estimates. I think the 'Tornado Project' in England came in somewhere around (US)  million Dollars(?). Maybe, if that was in English Pounds(?) which would be considerably more,I think.

  Burning 'Biomass' was a tried method prior to early 1900's. When locomotive fuel was cut, and stacked for locomotive fuel along the ROW from whatever the available wood species were.  In the early engines, its' efficiency was questionable at best, but speed was not an option, not nearly as much as simply getting to the destination.

  Coal burning where it was readily available was the next step to improve efficiency, but even then; the best locomotive fuel was the cheapest  grades a railroad could buy, in  buy. In anthracite areas, it was 'colm' and the coal used in SE Kansas by the MKT  RR was a grade so low it had a lot of mud in it, mined in railroad owned mines. Creation of smoke was a noticeable by product of the burning of those grades.  Would be very problematic in today's ecologically aware environment.

 As mentioned by another Poster. You would have to wonder how much study has been done by the academics who are trying to reinvent a 'new' steam locomotive. AS was suggested Ross Rowland& his company's work would be the first place to start, ans well as to examine closely the ACE 3000 Project.  My My 2 Cents

Sam

 

 


 

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Posted by nwo4rf on Wednesday, May 23, 2012 2:49 PM

I looked at their web sight again and it seems that most of the people that was in on the designing of the ACE 3000 project are involved in this one. So maybe it might succesd where the ACE failed. All we need now is the Fed's to give the railroads a tax break or subscide to bring back the steam locomotive. Then watch how many re-builds take place Wink



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Posted by mudchicken on Wednesday, May 23, 2012 5:54 PM

Poor 3463 is gonna get butchered as a plaything for a gaggle of envirogeeks playing with other peoples money. What did it do to deserve this? Maybe BNSF ought to claim breach of donation agreement and reclaim the big fella.

Mudchicken Nothing is worth taking the risk of losing a life over. Come home tonight in the same condition that you left home this morning in. Safety begins with ME.... cinscocom-west
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Posted by Firelock76 on Wednesday, May 23, 2012 7:22 PM

Hey, ya know what?  I just got home from an Italian restaurant and have a half-carafe of vino in me and I feel goooooooood!  So as far as I'm concerned if the guys and gals working on 3463 have the money in hand and want to go for a steam speed record I say GO FOR IT!  STEAM RULES!   Steam was king when diesel was a pup and steam will be king when diesels time is up!   

Mind you, I wish Juniatha would weigh in on this one!   She's got the best steam brain on this Forum! And how!

Semper Fi!  Carry on!

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Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, May 23, 2012 8:29 PM

mudchicken

Poor 3463 is gonna get butchered as a plaything for a gaggle of envirogeeks playing with other peoples money. What did it do to deserve this? Maybe BNSF ought to claim breach of donation agreement and reclaim the big fella.

Yes, absolutely.  I think you have summed this up very well. 

This proposal seems incredibly long on platitudinous rhetoric and short on substance.  The stated mission coupled with the implications suggest that this ATSF 4-6-4 will be very extensively modified.  My interpretation is that it will require a new boiler, piping, jacketing, cylinders, valves, drivers, rods, and exhaust nozzle.  I suspect it will require a new throttle and extensive revision to the backhead controls.  It will require a new firing system for the pellets, and possibly a new feed water system.  And with all this cutting, welding, machining, and re-designing, there will be bound to be limitations and compromises imposed by the fact that this is a remodel rather than starting with a clean sheet of paper.  In fact, I find it hard to believe that it would not be cheaper to start with a clean sheet of paper than to hack up this antique locomotive and convert it. 

 

Reply to some other comments about carbon neutral:  Burning wood is considered to be carbon neutral whereas burning coal or oil, is not.  Coal and oil are considered to have their CO2 sequestered.  In other words, the CO2 is permanently locked up as long as you don’t burn them.  The CO2 in wood is not considered to be sequestered because the wood will rot in a small number of years and release all of its CO2 just as it will if you burn it. 

 

However, the objective of being carbon neutral assumes a belief that CO2 is destroying the planet, and not everyone believes that. 

 

The torrefied biomass pellets that will be used to fire this carbon neutral locomotive must be manufactured in a plant.  I would like to see a cost analysis for this process.  However, since the objective is to be carbon neutral, I am not sure if there is an expectation that the fuel be less costly that coal or oil.  Carbon neutral can be a objective that requires a higher cost.  I wonder if they will use bamboo flooring in the cab.  

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Posted by seppburgh2 on Wednesday, May 23, 2012 10:17 PM

I do agree with you Bucyrus on starting from a clean sheet. Look what was done in the UK with the Tornado.  New everything with a welded frame to boot.  As you suggested, the amount of modifications is going to leave what, just the frame, cylinders, pony wheels, cab and tender original? 

 

Ross Rowland’s proposed steam design from the 90’s(?), the ACE 3000 would be a recommended starting point their to expand on their design goal.  Maybe go back to Porta's first project engine Argentina and work up the design from there (I believe the Argentina my even still exist.)

If anything, I hope they are reading these post and would welcome guidance and education on the history of steam from the vast knowledge found here.  Has anyone suggest to them a reproduction of a Pennsy S2, John Henry (N&W steam turbine), or maybe a NYC J3 Hudson might bring a few green dollars in fan support?

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Posted by Stourbridge Lion on Wednesday, May 23, 2012 11:01 PM

Mntrain - Welcome to trains.com! Cowboy

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Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, May 24, 2012 9:54 AM

This proposal is about wedding a special fuel with an ultra-modern steam locomotive.  In a way, I would postulate that this is far more ambitious than the ACE-3000 project was.  That locomotive was intended to burn coal.  The SRI locomotive will burn a highly specialized manufactured fuel pellet that might be described as ultra dense charcoal. 

 

The first question these pellets raise is this:  Using the most efficient biomass feedstock possible, how many acres would it take to produce enough on a sustainable basis to power all rail transport in the U.S.?  Or to ask it in another way, what percentage of the U.S. land mass would be required to produce the trees, switch grass, or whatever biomass was the most productive?  Would 1/3 of the U.S. land mass be enough?  Surely these developers have calculated the answer to this question. 

 

I am sure there will be enough trees and logging waste to produce enough pellets to demonstrate the SRI prototype locomotive, but the prototype is intended to usher in widespread use of this torrefied wood pellet technology.  So, it raises the question of how to produce the feedstock.  There are many ways to make synthetic fuel, and you always hear claims such as the ability to power our cars on algae for example.  But how much algae, and how much cost to produce it?

 

So, I believe the issue of producing the torrefied pellets has not been resolved to a practical level.  The developers of the process speak of a crudely made, prototype boiler for burning the pellets.  Crudely made?  A crudely made prototype suggests that the focus is on the theory, and not on the practical execution.  Will the prototype SRI locomotive be crudely made as well?  If not, it will surely require an enormous amount of engineering and design. 

 

This locomotive will have a lot of new technology including a new exhaust nozzle system, a gas producer firebox, and superinsulated piping.  Will it have a high pressure, watertube boiler, or will they stay with a firetube boiler?  Will it have fluidized bed combustion, or is that not combinable with a gas producer firebox?  How much computer technology will go into the control systems?  I am guessing that a lot will.

 

A proper engineering and design phase for this project might cost as much or more than the machine shop work, materials, and assembly.  I would think that if you had ten engineers and cad designers working on the development, it might take them at least five years.  So the free locomotive that they have acquired as a basic foundation is just a token in the total scope of work and cost of the project. 

 

The real key to convincing me whether this is serious will be to watch what they do next.  They should carefully measure and cad model the entire ATSF locomotive as a starting basis for their design.  Then they should begin the long process of engineering and development for the new locomotive.  When that development work is complete, they would finally begin disassembly of the ATSF locomotive, begin the fabrication of the new parts, and the modification of existing parts.  That is the proper, professional course of action. 

 

But I wonder if they will instead immediately begin tearing down the ATSF locomotive and start making modifications on the fly without any logical sequence, doing some design work concomitantly.  I will be watching to see if that is their approach.  That is the amateur way of product development.  It is often referred to as “Cut and try.”  

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Posted by daveklepper on Thursday, May 24, 2012 10:03 AM

I would like to put my two sence worth in on what a modern steam locomotive could be to use today's technoglogy and compete with diesels.

First, I would use electric transmission, with ac motors, an alternators for motive power, like modern diesels, possibly using iderntacle equipment.

I would use modern power-plant technology, possibly natural gas fired, since that seems to be the future low pollution nearly infinite resource fuel available in North America.

There is a somewhat new development in power plant turbines.  Use of partial circumference power.   Imagine that at each quarter point around the circumference there is an exhaust port immediately followed by the injection port.  The turbine can operate at full speed with only the two opposite quarters working, two on each side or top and bottom (keeping rotational balance) for half power or with all quarters working for full power at the same speed.  From what I have read, efficiency can be high in both modes.

So here is a 3750HP locomotive, with two turbines, one 3000, one 750HP, each also efficient at half power, same RPM, each with its own AC alternater.   The smart electroncis for control, rectification, combination, and frequency control for driving the motors.  Trottle positions:

0, idle, Run 1 375HP, 2 750. 3 1500. 4 1875 5 2250, 6 3000, 7 3375 8 3750

Sort of a mineature power plant on wheels, with high pressure boiler. and possibly, as others suggested, the reuse of old diesel frames and trucks.  

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Posted by carnej1 on Thursday, May 24, 2012 11:29 AM

daveklepper

I would like to put my two sence worth in on what a modern steam locomotive could be to use today's technoglogy and compete with diesels.

First, I would use electric transmission, with ac motors, an alternators for motive power, like modern diesels, possibly using iderntacle equipment.

I would use modern power-plant technology, possibly natural gas fired, since that seems to be the future low pollution nearly infinite resource fuel available in North America.

There is a somewhat new development in power plant turbines.  Use of partial circumference power.   Imagine that at each quarter point around the circumference there is an exhaust port immediately followed by the injection port.  The turbine can operate at full speed with only the two opposite quarters working, two on each side or top and bottom (keeping rotational balance) for half power or with all quarters working for full power at the same speed.  From what I have read, efficiency can be high in both modes.

So here is a 3750HP locomotive, with two turbines, one 3000, one 750HP, each also efficient at half power, same RPM, each with its own AC alternater.   The smart electroncis for control, rectification, combination, and frequency control for driving the motors.  Trottle positions:

0, idle, Run 1 375HP, 2 750. 3 1500. 4 1875 5 2250, 6 3000, 7 3375 8 3750

Sort of a mineature power plant on wheels, with high pressure boiler. and possibly, as others suggested, the reuse of old diesel frames and trucks.  

 Seems like a mighty complicated machine if the fuel is going to be Natural Gas. There are a number of LNG and CNG fueled locomotives operating around the world, most have diesel powerplants converted to burn gas (either spark initiated like the engines used in the MK1200G or dual fuel where a small "pilot charge" of diesel is injected along with the NG). there are also several gas turbine locomotives running in Russia on LNG....

 There have been several of recent proposals to build new biomass powered steam engines so this is one more for the list...

"I Often Dream of Trains"-From the Album of the Same Name by Robyn Hitchcock

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Posted by MidlandMike on Thursday, May 24, 2012 1:04 PM

carnej1

 

 

 

 ... there are also several gas turbine locomotives running in Russia on LNG....

 

This would also eliminate the need for supply water or a condenser.

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Posted by Thomas 9011 on Thursday, May 24, 2012 10:04 PM

I will tell you one thing. It will take balls of steel to ride that big 4-8-4 doing 130 mph! That locomotive will be bouncing around like a jack rabbit at that speed.

One thing people must remember is that back when steam locomotives were in freight service they were running all the time pulling trains at near their limits. It took a lot of maintenance and manpower to keep them running. Steam locomotives like the 3751 and the 4449 only come out a few times a year and pull a dozen or so cars. This does not put a significant strain on the locomotive or does it require a lot of maintenance. That is why both the 3751 and the 4449 run their programs with really no funding, a minimal workforce, and a sparse repair facility.

I am a little more skeptical about this 3463 project after looking at the sponsors. Most of the sponsors were two bit no names. Add to the fact he is depending on donations. Good Lord! Sounds like a University student wants to restore a steam locomotive, run it to 130 and is using alternative energy as the pitch.

 

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Posted by GP40-2 on Thursday, May 24, 2012 10:08 PM

...If I were the cynical type, I would say this sounds like a bunch of steam fans, with no actual railroad operating experience, trying to jump on the taxpayer grant funded "green energy" gravy train. Just so they can play with a Choo-Choo. A Solyndra type venture, just on wheels! LOL.

...Oh, wait a minute, I am a cynical type. I guess that what happens when you actually have worked in the industry since 1977, and have seen this trainwreck come screeching down the track before in the mid-1980's...

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Posted by Thomas 9011 on Thursday, May 24, 2012 10:11 PM

Anyone else keep thinking about how they put those special logs into the steam locomotive in back to the future 3? Every time one of those logs was put in there the boiler pressure went up hundreds of pounds.

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Posted by daveklepper on Friday, May 25, 2012 4:47 AM

I guess natural gas should be used in a direct gas turbine rather than boiling water.  YOu are right.

But even if it is coal burned to boil water, I still think today and electric transmission makes sense.

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