Building a T-1 Duplex

Discussion of steam locomotives from all manufacturers and railroads

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Re: Building a T-1 Duplex

Postby Allen Hazen » Sun Mar 13, 2011 3:10 am

Kiddnormal--
Yes, i was thinking of the butterfly valves. Your description of the problem sounds as if it may have stemmed form the mechanical features of the actual valves rather than the electronic controls, alas.
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Re: Building a T-1 Duplex

Postby jgallaway81 » Sun Mar 13, 2011 3:58 am

Okay first re my first post... GPS.. global positioning system. UP lets people track their heritage fleet via their website. PTC... Positive Train Control. A huge multi-billion dollar unfunded mandate from congress, expected to generate only 17cents of benefits for every dollar spent. Has to be implimented by 2015 on any line carrying hazmat and passengers. LSL... locomotive speed limiter. A technology employed by Amtrak following the deadly wreck at Chase, Maryland in 1987 when a conrail power move violated a stop signal and crashed into the Train 94. Needed only if you want to run on the North East Corridor. C&O 614 IS equipped. MU... multiple unit. The 27-pin jumper transmits electrical command information from the controlling unit to the trailing engines. three additional hoses control the engine air-brake and link the main reservoirs of all engines. There are several engines which can control diesel in trail mode.

New tracks: In the mid/late 1980's it was estimated that rebuilding an abandoned line would cost 1mil/mile. This was including buying back the property, but had laying track at the FRA Class 1 standard for max 20mph NO hazmat standard. Today, in order to make things safe, and to help eleviate the pounding concern, you would need absolute top of the line engineering, and I would be surprised if it didn't run 3-4 mil a mile.

A joint line... NS would bare most of the cost of installation, since they would benefit the most. What little the steam venture provided would be based on a) the amount the line was intended to be used b) the more provided in initial investment, the less in recurring maintenance charges

Your idea of building a steam only line from Harrisburg west simply isn't possible. At Denholm (west of Mifflintown), NS maintains a controlled siding that has the scale where coal trains are weighed before being forwarded across Amtrak. There is also the industrial/interchange yard at Lewistown. And the sand plant industry at mp196. That takes out putting the track on the north side (there are MANY more things as well). On the south side you have Port Royal yard/industrial, mountains at Mifflin, a very much used repair track at Ryde, and of course the controlled siding between Gray and Antis interlockings before getting to Altoona's Rose yard itself. No matter how you look at it, NS is going to need to cros over the tracks to do its own work. They are NOT going to accept crossing someone elses tracks while still on NS property. As for cost, depending on the agreement hammered out between SteamProg & NS lawyers... anywhere from.... 25-100mil.

Okay, on to the engine... Fuel: Why oil? You keep mentioning locomotive sized coal... thats for when the firebox is fed manually. Most mines can still provide stoker sized coal. Its only marginally larger than flycoal for powerplants. And if you really want to make a point of it, I can't think of a reason we couldn't design a firebox for the purpose of burning coke. That DOES come in hand-fire sized chunks. Oil is really only profitable where lack of coal supplies makes coal expensive, or the danger of sparks is too great for wooded areas to risk. A GPCS negates almost all fire risk since the coal is only partially burned producing a gas above the coal bed. It is this gas which provides the actual firing heat. Because steam is injected into the coal bed to catalyst the reaction, the temp there always remains below that of fusion and clinker will not form.

If you really want to avoid coal, then consider natural gas, propane, or even hydrogen gas (my preferred fuel of choice).

Another thing to consider... why limit yourself to only 8-9 cars?
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Re: Building a T-1 Duplex

Postby Eliphaz » Sun Mar 13, 2011 9:38 am

the British new-steam initiatives have opted for oil fuel simply because its so much easier to handle than coal, from the supply chain to the stoker to the ashpit. For what is essentially an excursion train, the relative cost of the fuels is dwarfed by the relative cost of maintaining both the stationary infrastructure and the boiler. I used to be into the whole macho thing about real-men-burn-coal, but Im telling you, cleaning coal fired boilers just sucks. Deslagging and repairing damaged grates and punching tubes is brutal hard work, any volunteers? I'll say it would cost $20k to clean the fireside after every run. the coal elevators screens and stages have to be cleaned constantly too. no glory there.

Air quality regulation has to be considered also, there is a good chance that coal firing may simply not be allowed. I find it highly unlikely that an air permit would be granted for burning large amounts of coal with no particulate control. sparks, wha ?! cinders, hah ?!?!
Ash disposal is no joke either, looking at $100/ton.
- Burning coal has to be the primary mission of a fuel using facility in order to justify doing it, and then all kinds of concessions have to made to do it right. if for example, it became imperative to replace diesel locomotives with coal burning ones en masse the new engines wont look like your T-1 precisely because they will have modern emissions controls. Thats a different thread.

The primary mission of this thread is not to burn coal, but to run a steam train. to hell with coal. keep your eye on the ball.

burning gas is even better than burning oil ! Gas is fairly cheap (and locally produced !) these days, cheaper than diesel by a good bit. Id look into LNG/CNG. you'd NEVER have to clean the boiler ! no grates, no ash pits, no particulate emissions, you could make a case better-than-diesel emissions. you could run with one man in the cab.
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Re: Building a T-1 Duplex

Postby kiddnormal » Sun Mar 13, 2011 12:19 pm

Believe me, when I started this thread I did give serious thought as to the fuel before I started typing. If I had chosen coal for this "project" it would have been easier (theoretically) to lift the blueprints right off the page and make our locomotive instead of adapting the design for a different fuel source. My reasons for choosing oil are three-fold: 1. Oil (in this case we're talking used motor oil) is more nationally accessible than coal. I say this simply because should our "project" get continued funding and interest there could be the possibility of her getting out west on the U.P. lines and the coal we might get out there wouldn't be as good a quality as the stuff in PA if any at all. 2. Running with oil is cleaner than coal. From what I understand, the Pennsy men had one hell of a time with keeping coal dust down in the tender as well as fine grit and ash particles (small ones) lining the sides of our streamlined beauty. (Eliphaz raises a good point about cleaning out the ash pan & boiler and costs associated with those) 3. There is live, physical experience with running T-1-sized steam engines on oil with the U.P. steam team. I say this purely on my own knowledge (so correct me if I'm wrong) but I don't think there are many people out there with working knowledge of firing a 92 sq. ft. grate with a coal stoker.

Firing the boiler with gas is a reasonable alternative (but one I'd like to save for a different thread) when considering drumming up publicity for the train's continued funding and "green" interests. I agree that it would draw a HUGE crowd for multiple reasons but taking out things like the grates and ash pits, & pumps etc. would start messing around with weight and tractive effort and that's more time spent in the office and less on the rails. But I have to admit something would be lost in watching our T-1 coming up the Allegheny ridge, working like hell, and having stack talk that would make Beethoven cover his ears and not see any black smoke pouring out the top. (But again, that's just me)

The cars I had mentioned in the original post (8 of them) would be rebuilt (modern weight) replicas of the Pennsy liners. The reason for only 8 is because I wanted to keep the consist at a reasonable length for weight purposes but also in a business sense of filling 8 cars with railfans for excursions would be enough to keep demand very high for trips and continued operation. If we were to get longer runs, there's no reason to add a few superliners (or private cars) for overnight trips etc.
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Re: Building a T-1 Duplex

Postby Eliphaz » Sun Mar 13, 2011 1:44 pm

ok good, no coal. sorry for getting worked up there. Used oil is fine.

I wanted to say a few things that might relate to wheel slip detection and control. Machine speed detection and fast valving has improved ALOT in the 50 years since the last steam locomotives were built. So much so that modern power turbine speed control is done entirely electronically, though Electro Hydraulic Control systems. A toothed wheel is mounted on the shaft, a proximity probe generates a pulse each time a tooth passes it. A "pulse train", in fact is transmitted. the governor measures the distance between pulses. on high speed machines these are operating in the kiloHertz range. if the toothed wheel has 90 teeth, a change in speed can be detected in 8 degrees or say 2% of one rotation.
the electrohydraulic valves that control modern steam turbine throttles are capable of very rapid load shifting, and very precise movement.
This equipment has been around for a good many years and is provided with even quite small machines. diesel engine speed control governors are also amazingly precise. the power industry invested alot in developing EHC governors for the purposes of system reliability, and its everywhere now. think of ABS brakes on cars.

Im only suggesting this as an add on for wheelslip control, but you could also use it to control cylinder valve events. That would eliminate the rod driven valve gear entirely. I know aesthetically that would be a big change, but it would be alot easier to maintain.
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Re: Building a T-1 Duplex

Postby Desertdweller » Sun Mar 13, 2011 5:04 pm

I think the biggest advantage to oil fuel (even that currently in use) is that all railroads are set up to fuel locomotives with it.
There would be nothing extra to buy. Just pull up to the fuel rack and fill'er up.

At major shop facilities, there would be drain oil probably available, but maybe not accessible for use as fuel.

Fuel oil is a "legitimate" steam loco fuel, and not as dangerous as propane or hydrogen. As has been pointed out here, it is also more user-friendly than coal.

I am a locomotive engineer. I have never run a steam locomotive, but have been on a couple steam cab rides. I can honestly say I would want nothing to do with running one of those things on a daily basis. The cabs are hot, cramped, poor visibility, and all kinds of things to constantly monitor. Not to mention noisy and drafty.

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Re: Building a T-1 Duplex

Postby Allen Hazen » Thu Aug 30, 2012 4:04 pm

Bounce.
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Re: Building a T-1 Duplex

Postby Colonel32 » Fri Aug 31, 2012 8:20 am

Well, it is nice to see that I am not the only dreamer.

So, there were a few possible questions raised, so let me express my opinion:

1) Why the T1? Why not the Dreyfuss Hudson? Why should a Hudson fan support a T1?

Because it's a Duplex. It's not just because of the unique streamlining, they all had it. It's because unique wheel arrangement, that you cannot see anywhere now. But mostly, it's about cooperation. Railroad fans must understand, that once you get into train nostalgia, you are not fighting against each other - you are fighting together against laziness, against people lying on their couches, watching tv with beer in their hands. People, who could have visited a railroad museum or event instead. And, if one day the T1 was under steam again, it would mean that there is a realistic chance for a Hudson or Hiawatha as well.

2) Coal or oil? Original or improved?

As far as I am concerned, the T1 should be a part of the history, not a part of the future. Not an inspiration how steam engines should be build (if we lose the electricity itself for any reason), but a peek into the history. To give the people a realistic impression not only how this things looked, but also how they operated. On the other hand, everything must be done to prevent the destruction of this locomotive. Accidents happen to normal trains, not often, but they do. But no accidents may happen to this one. So install all electronic measuring and informing devices that fit - not only on the locomotive, but on the designated traincars as well. And don't run it above something like 75 mph. (although it's designed for a hundred). This is not consumable goods to be thrown away after few years. Once built, this engine must last... forever. And the question of heating? they were designed for coal. Why not keep it that way? The main difference between coal burners and oil burners is, that oil burners are no risk for starting fires. But if this engine is not going to run full throttle, most of the risk is gone anyway.

3) The question of funding.

It has to be understood, that running this engine will pretty much make money only for the runs themselves, maybe minor maintenance. But there is no chance that it could repay the money invested into it's construction, so it must be viewed from the beginning as a solely non-profit, donation based, projects. Now, who should be the donators? Obviously, railroad fans in the first place. Wealthy ones most appreciated, there is no place for jealousy here. The second should be the state of Pennsylvania, but it is part of their history. And then, all the regular people of the united states. Why? Because there is a high probability, that the T1 will be able to beat the world speed record of a steam engine. So for many of them, it might be just a matter of patriotism. And the money should be gathered not only from direct donations, but also the sales of T1 merchandise - coloring books, postcards, magnets for fridges, possibly even from bigger train manufactures - (like $5 from every $300 engine sold would go to T1 restoration funds). Because they main thing needed is to raise awareness among ordinary people. There are many people who might be willing to donate something. But just not knowing about the project sooner than after it is finished and running.
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Re: Building a T-1 Duplex

Postby Desertdweller » Thu Sep 13, 2012 7:18 pm

I think it may be too much to expect to build a locomotive to last forever, even in limited service. These things are just machines with service lifetimes. The only way to make it last forever would be to never use it and keep it indoors in a temperature and humidity-controlled environment.

If there is enough public support for excursion steam, perhaps the answer would be to purchase railroad right-of-way so excursions could be run independently of railroad control. This is the pattern with tourist short lines. Maybe several private groups who now own steam locomotives could together buy a place to run them, and maybe store and maintain them. This would have to be done on a regional basis. Maybe arrangements could be made with existing tourist short lines to operate the preserved locomotives there.

Big locomotives are a poor fit with lightly-built short lines. But there are a few heavy-rail operations out there that would be a good fit.

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