Monday, May 21, 2007

response to gerben Wulf from Netizen kevikens

Sent: Monday, May 21, 2007 1:09 PM
To: "" <>
Subject: response to gerben Wulf from Netizen kevikens

Actually the question of building brand new coal fired steam locomotives did come up at the conference. Steam turbine technology apparently is very efficient and if run using coal would supposedly be able to replace diesel on most lines. The problem appears to be with American industry. There no longer exist any factories capable of making such locomotives. China was the last country to make coal fired steam locomotives and they stopped about ten years ago. To make such locomotives the US would have to retool what few steel mills still operate to fabricate the parts and then build erection shops to put them together. There may be a few abandoned erection shops on presently existing railroads but we may not have any trained personnel who know what to do with steam technology. Our dependence on petroleum fuels may have killed the knowledge of how to produce energy using other technologies. The ATC pretty much dismissed the proposal as impractical in the short term and questioned whether either industry or the federal government had the will to commit to a long term solution. Perhaps if the bottom drops out of the economy with soaring oil costs this will necessitate a domestic Marshall Plan that would mobilize the resources required to adapt to other fuel sources and energy producing technologies.

Netizen kevikens


gerben_wulff said...

First of all there are plenty of people who know plenty of steam engines. Also in the US. Many steam engines are still operational for mostly tourists. These engines are maintained by skilled engineers (often with decades of experience) and spare parts can still be made, using modern tools. Hundreds of people are building their own little steam engines as a hobby. Their experiences and designs can be found all over the internet.
I would not look at old erection shops for assembling new steam engines. A metal workshop that can build heavy machinery, using modern cranes to put the parts together can also be used to build a steam locomotive.

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