Repairing a steam locomotive

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Repairing a steam locomotive

Postby philipmartin » Tue Apr 04, 2017 4:53 am

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Re: Repairing a steam locomotive

Postby george matthews » Tue Apr 04, 2017 6:57 am

Cut them up.
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Re: Repairing a steam locomotive

Postby johnthefireman » Tue Apr 04, 2017 9:31 am

They have been cut up, except for a very small number of steam locomotives which remain for heritage, historical, tourist and educational purposes. Had you not noticed?
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Re: Repairing a steam locomotive

Postby george matthews » Tue Apr 04, 2017 10:46 am

johnthefireman wrote:They have been cut up, except for a very small number of steam locomotives which remain for heritage, historical, tourist and educational purposes. Had you not noticed?

Some people seem to be obsessed with this highly damaging technology. We are better off now that they have been phased out. They caused 150 years - more or less - of serious climate damage, unhealthy living for millions in cities and dirty transport.

I am old enough to remember steam on the Great Western as I travelled behind steam daily for over a year between Slough and Paddington, with my clothes getting dirty and with the need to get out of Paddington's smoke as quick as possible. Probably I didn't suffer too much from the bad health - at least once I had to have grit removed from an eye at the A&E - but people who used the steam trains for many years were affected. I used to meet some of the sufferers in the London Chest Hospital as bronchitis patients. It was not a pleasure to have to endure the steam. I do not have the slightest nostalgia for that mode of transport. Good riddance. We must tackle urgently the oil powered road transport now, for similar reasons. The Mayor of London has just announced some useful preliminary measures to make it more expensive to use diesel vehicles within the London area. Petrol will have its doom soon also.

If it hadn't been for the war steam would have been gone much earlier than it did. It was only present in the 1950s because there had been no investment in the war years. The adoption of coal powered steam at the end of the 18th century was an unfortunate development. But the advocates generally didn't suffer the effects. The housing near the main stations in London was always for the poor. They died younger than the toffs, who lived further away from the smoke. Now the electric power stations powered by coal have been closed in London. Domestic coal fires have been replaced by electricity and gas.

I suppose we can tolerate a few steam engines, running away from the cities, such as my local line at Swanage. But no more than that, and not in the cities. New York city government had the right idea in prohibiting steam in the inner city.
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Re: Repairing a steam locomotive

Postby philipmartin » Tue Apr 04, 2017 11:28 am

The" highly damaging technology" has had a lot to do with our present standard of living. If you are looking for people "obsessed" with steam locomotives, a rail fan forum is a good place to find them.
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Re: Repairing a steam locomotive

Postby george matthews » Tue Apr 04, 2017 11:51 am

philipmartin wrote:The" highly damaging technology" has had a lot to do with our present standard of living. If you are looking for people "obsessed" with steam locomotives, a rail fan forum is a good place to find them.

But there were costs. Early deaths; chronic bronchitis and other lung diseases; dirty cities; climate change. All of these we ought to be diligent in trying to eliminate. There were benefits from an increase in transport but much contingent harm.

And a rail forum ought to be about modern railways, not history.
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Re: Repairing a steam locomotive

Postby johnthefireman » Tue Apr 04, 2017 12:05 pm

I am old enough to remember steam on the Great Western


George, I'm also old enough to remember steam in Britain, as we have discussed in other threads on this forum, and I agree with you 100% on the unpleasant aspects of it, but to be honest I don't see what your post has to do with the earlier part of this conversation where you said "cut them up" and I pointed out to you that they have in fact already been cut up, apart from a handful which remain for specific purposes.

I couldn't find global figures, but I believe the UK built around 85,000 steam locos, the USA 170,000, and presumably matching fugures from some of the other huge railway nations such as Russia, China, Germany, India, etc. So there were literally hundreds of thousands of steam locomotives, and they have all been cut up apart from probably no more than a few hundred, perhaps a thousand or so at most, all over the world. Of those which remain, many are museum exhibits or fixed on public plinths for display purposes only. Of those which are theoretically in operational condition, only a limited percentage, perhaps no more than one third, are actually available for traffic at any one point in time (due to repairs and maintenance, boiler certificates, etc - the railway club I belong to in South Africa has five theoretically operational locos of which currently only one is actually available for traffic (20%); Kenya Railways has three, of which none could actually be steamed without some repairs (0%); Thai state railways seems to have five, or which two appear to be actually operational five days per year (40%); I Googled your Swanage Railway and they appear to have ten steam locomotives on site of which only three are available for traffic (30%)). And of those which are available for traffic, only a handful actually operate on any given day of the year.

So what exactly is it that we should cut up following the rallying cry of "cut them up"?
Last edited by johnthefireman on Tue Apr 04, 2017 12:18 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Repairing a steam locomotive

Postby johnthefireman » Tue Apr 04, 2017 12:13 pm

george matthews wrote:But there were costs


Yes, of course, as there are with most technologies. That's why we got rid of steam locomotives and, to use your words, cut them up. With all due respect, you're living in the past, George. What you are recommending was done decades ago. And Philip posting historical videos will not bring them back, just as videos of biplanes, clipper ships, horse-drawn canal boats, Wild West stagecoaches, the pony express, the Battle of Britain memorial flight, muskets, or any other parts of history will bring those back as part of daily life in the 21st century.

And a rail forum ought to be about modern railways, not history.


Why? A rail forum ought to be about whatever its members want it to be about, as long as it is rail-related. If you notice, Railroad.Net is predominantly about modern railways, and forum-wide the number of posts on rail history is minimal - but much appreciated by those of us interested in rail history.
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