Discussion in 'Steam Traction' started by Orion, Nov 14, 2011.
I'm surprised 80064 doesn't appear to feature in (foreseeable) future plans.
The plans I outlined are really only what was considered for this year and the next couple - bear in mind that (Coronavirus aside) we will be quite well off for large locos in the next few years. (34059, 32424, 80151 at the beginning of tickets; 73082, 541 mid to late ticket).
As for 80064 - it is privately owned so the future depends on the owners.
Did I read somewhere that the 9F is being lined up for an overhaul sometime soon?
A member the loco department has set up an appeal to raise money for an overhaul, but it isn't planned to go into the works any time soon to my knowledge. (The idea of the appeal is to get some money raised ready for when it does).
Realistically, I struggle with the need for more than one very large loco at any one time: Sir Archie should fill that role through most of the 2020s, and if Blackmore Vale replaces it towards the back end of the decade, that takes you well into the 2030s with any luck before you need another big loco; I can't see the benefit of the 9F before then. But I'm not in charge of loco strategy and others may have a different view. The post-COVID, and post-Brexit, world may also be very different, in unpredictable ways. Will we be busier, or less busy? How does that affect the service, and the need for different types of locos? It is very difficult to say at this remove.
Personal view, as always.
The COVID virus seems to be killing a lot people from a certain age group and unfortunately there may be a few old chuffers amongst them.
All sorts of archive gems appearing at the moment on the Bluebell's Youtube channel in connection with the 60th anniversary.
Here's early footage of 9017, including shots of the arrival at Kensington Olympia and onward travel to the Bluebell, with parallel-running down the Brighton Mainline:
I didn't see any credits. Were those the dulcet tones of Bob Symes-Schutzmann by any chance?
Yes, I believe so. The film comes from 16mm film shot by Tom Martin, a founder member of the Bluebell, who was quite active filming in the earlier years of the railway. For a while, the films were available for sale as a DVD through the Bluebell Railway Shop, but appear not to be at the moment.
Sounds like medium chufferitis to me ;-)
I would also include Stowe as a large loco. As and when that appears. It makes sense to have 2 larger locos available but any more would be being greedy and a bit unnecessary.
I would have thought future coal availability would be more of a concern, having coal a munchers running would be a bigger concern.
There are three potential scenarios. 1: Coal continues to be available. 2: Coal becomes hard or impossible to obtain but by then an adqeuate substitute, most likely torrefied biomass, has become available in sufficient quantity at an acceptable price. 3: No suitable fuel is available at an acceptable price. In cases 1 and 2 some locos may be a bit more economical than others but it doesn't make a lot of difference to running costs. (Tom has commented on this before.) In case 3 you can't run anything, regardless of size.
When a small prairie or pannier tank engine uses the same amount of coal to operate all day, compared to using the same amount of coal just to light up a merchant navy or 9f the operating costs soon mount up, of course you get the idiot drivers coming back on shed half way though the day having emptied the bunker by throwing everything out the chimney, not counting the unnecessary wear and tear.
If the only option is to use coal substitutes I would be very apprehensive given the experience of coal merchants adding accelerants to coal, bringing whole locomotive fleets to its knees.
If I were a locomotive owner that may be the time to stuff and mount the engine given the damage that fake coal could cause to a boiler.
A heavy handed driver can wreck havoc with the coal bill but so can having a timetable that requires rapid acceleration to keep to time and let's face it your in the leisure industry so what's the rush you can't keep pandering to that small percentage of 'enthusiasts' that likes to hear a bit of grunt all the time. There is not much you can do about the lighting up fuel bill on a large locomotive compared to a small loco but if driven/fired well a class 4 tank can get very similar coal consumptions to the humble Austerity* (got the t shirt) so the comparisons some like to apply are not as simple as some make out.
I'm interested in the corrosive properties of this fake coal - got any examples, and how does the cost of a fake coal compare to say oil firing?
*similar to your pannier example.
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The "fuel thing" has been raised over in the "Greta" thread, but for those who haven't seen that one ......
Over the pond, The Coalition for Sustainable Rail (www.csrail.org) have been looking at alternative fuels for some time. The most promising is 'torrified biomass', which is a carbon-neutral product (made from timber), in the form of pellets. Pretty extensive testing has been conducted on a 15" gauge loco (at Milwaukee Zoo) and their website contains a fair bit of info.
Whether or not torrified pellets ever come into play depends on what happens to coal and/or the form any future legislation takes. There is a school of thought whose mantra is "stop burning stuff", regardless of it's source, which, if carried across into national / international policy, would effectively be "game over" (except for fireless locos .... Bob help us!), given a nuclear fired "King" ain't about to happen anytime soon!
What brought matters home to me was a trip to the Bluebell, a couple of years ago, when an ankle biter (about 7-8 years old and precocious with it) commented adversely on the smoke. Similar observations are commonplace at Hove Park .... a 5" gauge operation!
I've had a bee in my bonnet for yonks over the tendency of certain photographic types to prefer volcanic levels of smoke on charters, but it seems I'm far from alone in this. Perception is as important as owt else and .... gentlemen .... billowing smoke, however historically accurate, ain't doing our movement any favours whatsoever.
Interesting to note that Ratcliffe-on-Soar coal fired power station, in the East Midlands, had to be fired up yesterday. Many wind turbines were brought to a standstill by the weather (heat) and there were problems at some gas fired power stations.
That's interesting. I don't profess to be an expert in "sustainable" power generation, but can somebody, anybody, explain to me how much power solar panels produce at night, and how much wind turbines produce when there's either not enough, or too much, wind?.
30 years from now when everybody is complaining that they can't get enough electricity to re-charge their electric cars and the vastly increased population is suffering power cuts, some brainbox will suddenly get a brainwave-the light-bulb moment will go something like this " wait a bit, does anybody remember what that hard black stuff was that they used to dig up and burn back in the olden days in those things they called power stations to generate lots of electricity cheaply?. Sounds like just what we need", and said brain box will go on to be awarded a Nobel prize .
The problem will be that there will be nobody left who knows how to get the stuff out of the ground!
They're lucky the Chinese haven't gotten on the vintage rail train (sorry, couldn't resist) yet; given that the Chinese are currently building a whole fleet of new coal-burning power stations, any one of which will probably put more CO2 into the atmosphere (which of course we all share) than all the vintage steam engines world-wide combined, I doubt restrictions on coal-burning vintage steam engines would ever happen in China (unless of course they wanted to distract easily-confused Western 'greens' from thinking about said power stations).
It might interest those who are worried about the lights going out to see just how quietly coal has already been largely eliminated from our power supply.
Still not entirely gone, but getting very insignificant, and with plans in place to phase out the remaining ones.
Quite impressive, really.
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Trouble is, a lot of that capacity has been replaced by natural gas, which is still a carbon-based fuel. There's no joined up thinking in this country. We're still building big housing estates are over the place without putting in place local combined heat & power schemes, we don't insist on all new houses having solar heating or electric panels and so on. We could do so much more.
If the Covid crisis has shown anything it is that the planet could heal itself given a chance.
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