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The Chinese coal fired steam engine from hell. Holy Volcano Train!

While Elon is charging up the EV to save the world, in China somewhere coal-fired steam trains live on, burning coal, hauling coal, spewing coal up in the air.

Get a load of this industrial marvel. This is the Fossil Fuel Nightmare Express. Raining live climate destruction at 6pm.

Surely the ultimate Iowahawk Grand Champion Carbonator of all time.

  h/t co2isnotevil

Chinese coal train, burning coal in glorious display of fossil fuels.

This is one way to illuminate fields and warn oncoming traffic.

This apparently is a working steam locomotive running to and from the Sandaoling Coal Mine Railway China Dec 2016.

The video starts slow but builds. Even in the first daylight pass the embers are obvious (around 1 minute). Then there are the nightime sweeps…

Commenters underneath are both impressed and aghast:

what are they feeding that thing! the souls of the damned?

Scott M Stolz

That looks perfectly safe, with the open rail cars of coal, and all.
Only one of these wagons is actual ‘load’. The rest is used to get the train up the hill.

This display, while incredible, shows how desperately ill-maintained these steamers are. The coal burning steamers tend to build up ash, especially with the kind of coal that’s dug up in Sandaoling. These ashes get collected in the ash pan underneath the firebox and also tend to get caught in the flues, especially when the locomotive is working hard. Standard procedure dictates that the ashes get dumped every 12-24 hrs. and the flues get cleaned about every year or so. With these locomotives sparking the way they are, I’d venture to guess that they almost never get their ash pans dumped as evidenced by the way these “eruptions” occur only when the engineer throws the throttle open and the flues get cleaned very rarely.

The ‘Fossil Fuel Nightmare Express’,
Must cause warmists unbearable stress,
A fire spitting dragon,
Full of coal in each wagon,
But all lovers of steam trains impress.

–Ruairi

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.9/10 (69 votes cast)
The Chinese coal fired steam engine from hell. Holy Volcano Train!, 9.9 out of 10 based on 69 ratings

130 comments to The Chinese coal fired steam engine from hell. Holy Volcano Train!

  • #
    Roy Hogue

    This is a spectacular display of 2 things, fireworks and negligence. Just go full bore ahead, damn the consequences and hope you don’t get burned — pun intentional.

    Knowing what I do about steam locomotives I’d say there isn’t even any kind of screening on the smoke stack.

    I think Steven Parry is correct. Coal burning locomotives moved America’s goods and passengers right up to the mid 1950s without spewing fire that way and such negligence would not have been tolerated by railroad management even in those days of more relaxed attitudes about smoke and fire danger. And the reason is simple, it costs more to keep a locomotive running if you allow it to be or get that bad.

    This coal mine operator must have something going for him, like high demand and tight supply so he has a high profit margin and an incentive to treat one of his basic business tools this way.

    I’m surprised this thing doesn’t set fires everywhere it goes.

    But it seems China is full of such examples of negligence.

    191

    • #

      Maintenance hurts the bottom line. Actually, I think it’s running on coal scraps and this is the equivalent of unburned hydrocarbons.

      It reminds me of how the 19′th century industrialists operated which is what Bernie’s brand of socialism ignorantly considers as defining capitalism.

      61

      • #
        Chad

        No.
        Maintenance saves money in the longer term.
        It prevents major damage , expensive repairs , and lost operating time.
        Only fools and idiots ignor proper preventitive maintenance.

        40

      • #
        • #

          Sounds like putting lipstick on a pig. These power interruptions shouldn’t be happening in the first place. The only reason so much money had to be spent on a short term solution (batteries fail faster than power plants) is because of self destructive government policies driven by fake science that fails to honor the most basic tenets of physics. The only reason this fake science persists is because per its charter, the IPCC requires the broken science to justify it’s existence and that of the UNFCCC whose goal is ‘fairness’ between the developing world to the developed world by dragging the developed world down. Unfortunately, the IPCC maneuvered itself to be the arbiter of what is and what is not climate science and crafted a self serving consensus around the reports it generates leading to a conflict of interest that has driven climate science into a very dark place over the last 3 decades.

          30

        • #
          Chad

          Hmm ?
          I wonder if they ever considered how grids managed before the Big battery existed ?
          …or should i say , before high % of wind and solar began to interfere with grid stability by taking “spinning” capacity offline. !

          00

    • #
      amortiser

      Roy:
      They are probably getting paid for the back burning they can do at the same time!!

      10

    • #
      OriginalSteve

      I think its great to just see a steam loco running right now. We need to keep that sort of technology knowledge alive.

      Back up until the take over by diesel locos, a cup of coal could move a ton of freight a mile. In terms of energy for its time, it was very efficient.

      The steam loco needs proper spark filters….

      21

      • #
        Roy Hogue

        Steve,

        Steam locomotives need prodigious amount of water as well as fuel, more if climbing a grade. And that’s a more and more problematic thing in many places, the water isn’t as available as it was when so many big cities were not around to suck up every drop for, in the case of Los Angeles, hundreds of miles around. It’s a minor requirement compared to a big city but it would be harder to provide today.

        But it’s true, it sure is good to know a few are still running around. When I was a little kid I wanted nothing more than I wanted to drive one of those big beautiful locomotives.

        40

    • #
      Ted O'Brien.

      We call it negligence. But do not underestimate their capacity to catch up.

      This is spectacular footage in 2018. Worth travelling to see. The photo in the snow and the dark especially.

      One very interesting thing is the sound of the loss of traction with a steam loco.

      And, what would the crew do if the sparks set fire to the load behind? I once saw smoke rising from a wagon coming from a new mine. Apparently the surface of the load did not ignite, because I heard no more of it. But I’ll bet words were exchanged over the matter.

      10

  • #
    tom0mason

    Surely yearly global CO2 levels rise just by running this train.

    Looks pretty though — July 4, or in the UK, 5th November, traveling firework display.

    101

    • #

      China is preparing for the next major solar storm that takes out all electrics/electronics around the world. While most of the western world lies in darkness, China will steam ahead.

      130

      • #
        Dennis

        And Russia will keep goods and people moving using their fleet of nuclear powered ice breaker ships.

        70

        • #

          When I was in Finland, I was told a story about how the Finnish army got their field radios. After WWII, Finland had to pay reparation to the Soviet Union and that meant buying goods from them that no one wanted (lots of stuff was left to rust). Anyway, a shipment of sewing machines came over and when the consignment was opened, inside the crates were military radios. Someone had made a major blunder.

          On examination of these radios it was found that they were all tube units and seemingly somewhat primitive, but on further analysis it was found that these radios were impervious to EMP. Nuclear war was a real threat at the time and clearly the Soviet Union was producing military gear that would survive such a war.

          I’d also heard a another story about a Mig that landed in Korea or Japan when a pilot defected. It was similarly nuclear, or EMP, hardened.

          Just imagine the utter mental destruction that such a solar storm would create for our mobile phone addicted populace.

          100

          • #
            Hanrahan

            The Cerano radar on our Mirages was valve drivenMainly triodes I think and soldered leads. I nearly ended up in the time tunnel servicing them but the squadron was disbanded and I was discharged.

            40

            • #

              That should read ‘Cyrano’ radar, a very cleverly named radar system used on French Mirages. It was named for Cyrano de Bergerac who famously had a big nose, hence the big black ‘nose’ on the Mirage out the front, covering the Radar.

              Tony.

              90

              • #
                Hanrahan

                Thanks Tony, I doubted I had the spelling right. “It was named for Cyrano de Bergerac who famously had a big nose”. Bigger than de Gaulle’s?

                I did the week introduction and it was, technically, a wondrous piece of kit, all it lacked was redundancy.

                40

    • #

      Rather than CO2 levels, consider the real pollution being endured by the local people and the local environment.
      What is more, why would anyone run a steam train commercially in modern times? The fuel might be virtually free, but the labour costs are huge to heat up, to fuel and to maintain. Diesel trains quickly took over from steam as they are much more viable.

      10

  • #
    Greg

    Too bad Thomas The Tank Engine has gone all politically correct. These trains would be great for the kids to watch. What is the Chinese equivalent for Thomas?

    110

    • #
      Dennis

      I have seen pictures of Thomas as a Dragon.

      60

    • #
      Yonniestone

      Rumour has it the writers have Thomas Train-sitioning into a Boxcar complete with a new undercarriage two whistles and a firebox.

      The first episode has him contracting a kissing disease from a Mono-rail during Mardi Gras.

      90

    • #
      beowulf

      When I was a kid walking (GASP!) to school we had to cross a footbridge over the main northern railway line where the little coal trains of the day passed underneath. They would have 3 little puffing billies hooked together pumping out smoke and cinders. If you wanted to be tough you stood directly over the line as the engines passed underneath, copping a momentary blast of superheated air and soot.

      Somehow I don’t think even the toughest kid would perform that feat with the train above unless they were intent on self-immolation at the first attempt. At least 50% of the coal shovelled in must be going straight back out the funnel as glowing cinders. The inefficiency must be phenomenal. Pity the poor bloody fireman (firemen???) that has to keep that baby fed with coal.

      60

      • #
        Lonny Eachus

        This is the first thing that struck me as well. Tossing away all that energy is grossly inefficient, and even an 1800s coal-fired steam train in the US would never have been so wasteful. It costs too much.

        It is pretty clearly just an attempt to get something done at any cost and damn the environment. Because even though I am not big on CAGW theory, I still do believe we can be responsible about protecting our environment in many other ways.

        60

      • #
        Latus Dextro

        As kids we were taken to the road over-bridge at a station sitting at the end of the longest cutting in the British Isles, courtesy of the Rothschild family. Over a mile long, in the far distance the train would round the corner and head down the straight towards us, gradually growing larger, smoke billowing from its stack, sparks ‘n all, steam from the thrashing pistons and wheels on either side. What a sight. We were enthralled and drank in the noise and smells of the thundering and clattering monster.
        The route of the flying Scotsman and 100mph steam trains, in general no less as fast as trains today in the UK but my, a damn sight more romantic and a helluva lot more exotic. Replaced by diesels, decades of romance and excitement evaporated in the clouds of diesel exhaust. It wasn’t too many years more before electrification and the pantographs came along.

        It is Illuminating to observe inefficient relics thundering about the Chinese countryside. It may tell us something about a ‘make-do, can-do, must-do’ attitude, but I suspect it says more about a moribund Party apparatus, riddled with corruption and the sort of economic inefficiency that only ensues when funds slide through a sieve of paybacks, backhanders and bribes.

        Still, the images were captivating.
        The Communist Party on the other hand is not, was not, and never has been.

        30

        • #
          Mark A

          Latus, steam engines are alive! (close to anyway)

          10

          • #
            Roy Hogue

            Mark,

            I agree. A steam locomotive has character. Each type, like each different person, has its unique character.

            A diesel may be economically and technically superior but it will never have enough character to notice.

            10

  • #
    Reed Coray

    As I understand it, steam engines in the early to mid 1800s were not very efficient; and the field of thermodynamics sprouted in large part to address this situation. Apparently, aside from not getting the memo that “coal is dead,” the Chinese never got the papers on how to build efficient steam engines.

    130

    • #
      Roy Hogue

      Steam engines of any kind were never very efficient compared with internal combustion. Why have an entire locomotive down for a month or more to do what was always heavy duty maintenance when you could swap major parts of the diesel in a day or two and repair the engine or the traction motors on the workbench at your leisure?

      Those big beautiful steam locomotive I watched go by as a kid were relegated to the scrap heap by something better unless someone would devote the time and money to keep them running. And there are quite a few still going but they now escort tourists around through scenic valleys and mountains.

      Maybe that’s a better end for them anyway, still seen and appreciated. We owe them a lot. They built America quite literally, running on their rails of steel to deliver the goods and the passengers before anything else was available to do it.

      60

      • #
        Jonesy

        Best explanation why steam as a power source is dead. Arrive at work up to eight hours before start of service to fire up the boiler and build up steam…diesel, fire up an hour before service to ensure engine is up to temps..electric, hop in the cab and flick the switch.

        20

        • #
          Roy Hogue

          Actually the boiler was never shut down unless they were going to do maintenance or it was not going to run again for a while. And that required someone 24/7 to attend to a locomotive doing regular daily service.

          The usual thing was to service the loco at the end of a run, inspect it then put it on another train as soon as you could. It’s a business asset that you want to keep working for you and you run trains 24/7.

          For a steam locomotive doing tourist duty it probably runs one or more trips during the day and then sits overnight with someone around to keep an eye on the boiler because by the time you do what it takes to shut it down then fire it back up again someone has been there nearly as long anyway.

          00

    • #
      Tel

      Most of the Chinese steam locomotives were imported, with the JF5 and JF6 2-8-2 design coming from Kawasaki Japan.

      Later Chinese JS class was a local modification to the JF6; and the SY class was a copy of the Japanese JF6 design. There’s a photo here for comparison…

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/China_Railways_JS#/media/File:China_Railways_JS_8284_20160503_01.jpg

      The Japanese heavy industries were very well aware of Western designs and knew all about thermodynamics. Chinese doing rework and copies in the 1980′s very likely also studied thermodynamics, although they were relearning much of the industrial knowledge that Mao had destroyed with the Cultural Revolution, but they would have been using foreign textbooks.

      Thing is, steam engines are pretty good machines for situations where you have a lot of coal available and a low-tech infrastructure to work with.

      90

  • #
  • #
    Gordon

    YYYEEEAAAAAHHHHHAAAAAAA! We need fossil fuels!! :)

    80

    • #
      PeterS

      Yes indeed we need fossil fuels. The argument put forward by the left that we should reduce our dependence on them and move more and more to renewables would only increase our power prices to the point of wrecking our economy and sending us into a depression for no net impact on the climate. Most non-Western countries know this and is the reason why they are building or planning to build collectively around 1600 coal fired power stations. Yet we are stupid enough to keep closing down our 22 or so one at a time over the next couple or so decades as though that would make a difference either way by the time the rest of the world have built their 1000+ coal fired power stations. The left (including some in the LNP) need to go back to school and learn simple arithmetic.

      100

      • #
        Dennis

        Our politicians know the truth, but they are more interested in globalism and cooperating with their UN based and associates who want to control the world of no borders and central control. The EU on steroids.

        The politicians ask for our votes and then work against us bypassing the Australian Constitution referring to UN Treaties instead. But never ever ask us.

        And then there is the crony capitalism of RET and other government approved ways of stealing our monies.

        120

        • #
          el gordo

          ‘Our politicians know the truth …’

          Maybe a few politicians know what we know, but the great majority are ignorant.

          130

          • #
            Dennis

            I recently read an article that described the three leaders including the now departed PM as;

            Green Leader – Communist

            Labor Leader – Socialist

            Liberal Leader – Globalist

            100

          • #
            PeterS

            Yes some do know the truth but are afraid to blow the whistle on the whole scam being perpetrated by the elites such as Al Gore and Turnbull for fear of ridicule by the public. The rest who don’t know the truth and are blinded by the CAGW story may be converted over if it was explained to them properly. Others will never change for a number of reasons but it all boils down to being evil to the core. In time of course the truth will be impossible to hide any more and only the last lot who are evil will continue the fight against the truth, and lose. How long that will take is anyone’s guess.

            40

  • #
    Sambar

    Call me old fashioned but…… Like a little kid, when I am forced into going to Melbourne I love seeing Puffing Billy. I am still enthralled by the sheer genius of engineering.
    Puffing Billy, on the climb from Belgrave to Emerald, just does that. Puffing, hauling and belching plumes of black smoke. I love the sight, I love the sounds and strangely, I love the smell. It sort of all fits into a long ago childhood when mum would bake all day every Friday for the weekends repast. ( I can still smell those smells of baked items of every description.) Dad’s old drop back 1947 Vanguard, no heater, no radio, and his hand out the window helping the windscreen wipers take the snow off the windscreen as we climbed the big hill. Stop at the bottom for a cup of tea from the flask to warm up, curdelled milk and all. Still don’t drink tea to this day.

    130

    • #
      Dennis

      A couple of years ago I travelled on the Pichi Richi Railway in South Australia that uses part of the old Ghan Railway line to Port Augusta.

      The carriages we were in were used to transport Australian soldiers to Alice Springs where they were taken to Darwin and on the carriage walls are their dog tag numbers carved into the timber. The guide explained that during restoration the walls were being sanded to get rid of the “graffiti” until the historical significance was realised.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pichi_Richi_Railway

      90

      • #
        Sambar

        Worked on that railway line for a few months in “69. Job was as a fettler replacing sleepers. The camp was at an old telegraph station called “Duffield” 160 miles south of Alice Springs. The daily quota was ten sleepers per man per day. Not much you say, until you realise that the line had to be ripped up, all old sleepers removed, all sleeper beds dug out to take the new sleepers then line replaced and straighted then ballasted with crushed rock. All done by hand pick, shovel, crow bar, fish plate spanners, sledge hammer driven dog spikes and coinsidentially as hot as hell. Touch nothing with bare hands, even shovel handles were to hot to touch! Interesting times, the original sleepers were often worn down from a thickness of 6 inches to thin veneers. Long sections of line were speed restricted to10 to 15 miles an hour, the ganger used to put a long pole with a “T” section on top, through the bare telephone wires which ran beside the track then pull down to make contact. Ring stations hundreds of miles away to get estimates of when the Ghan would be on our section as all lines had to be replaced and operational so the train wasn’t held up. Got paid a full $38.00 per week, $8.00 immediately deducted for mess fees. Pay train used to come through once a fortnight, nothing to spend your money on in the middle of Sturts Stoney Desert except toiletries, soap, razor blades and the like, a block of chocolate that immediately melted and that ubiquitous magazine Playboy. Good times and lots of stories. For another time perhaps

        180

    • #
      Dennis

      Your story reminded me of my childhood in the 1950s and many steam train journeys from Sydney to Goulburn (Southern Highlands Express) during school holidays, my grandmother was a school teacher and was born in the Goulburn District at her family’s Sheep property. I also remember the original house of rough timber planks with mud and straw to fill the cracks, wood shingles for roofing and kitchen in a seperate building.

      The steam train journey was exciting for a young bloke, even when sticking my head out the window and catching a cinder in my eye. The smell of steam and smoke, the sounds of the engine puffing along and the wheels squealing on the rails when cornering. And cups of tea from a flask with a sandwich, usually curried egg or corned beef and pickles.

      On arrival at Goulburn Railway Station my grandmother’s sister would meet us in her MG 4-door sedan with four hydraulic jacks for changing wheels if necessary and nice leather and timber ambience. I usually spent 5-days on another relative’s Sheep property where Horses were the only transport apart from a Willys car with rear seats removed to carry goods when the boot with lid down was full, Dogs tied to the transmission tunnel on the floor. I mentioned this because there was a narrow gauge steam railway passing through the property that travelled from Goulburn to Crookwell via the Kenmore Mental Hospital. It was fun to watch and listen to the train puffing by once a day in each direction.

      The olden days.

      110

    • #
      Graeme#4

      In the 60s I travelled for about 10 hours in the cab of a steam loco, taking a load of coal down from Collie to Brunswick Junction, then back again with a load of empty wagons, slipping on the wet tracks. 20 mph felt like 100 in the rocking, swaying cab. The driver and the fireman worked hard that night and knew what they were doing. Very impressive.

      80

  • #
    Dennis

    Many years ago a story was published about an steam engine train journey on the Southern Highlands Express that serviced NSW Railways southern line route.

    It was approaching Christmas and the engine crew had been eying off a pig enclosure not far from the railway line south of Goulburn for weeks, I understand this was during the between wars years in the 1900s when times were tough. A week before Christmas Day they stopped the train and captured a pig which was tied up and placed in the coal bin.

    The train stopped at Goulburn Station and then moved on towards Sydney. The next stop was Mittagong Station and as the engine pulled alongside the station platform the crew noticed a group of police officers waiting. Apparently prisoners had escaped from Goulburn Gaol and the police were preparing to search the train carriages. The crew however worried that the police were after the pig, so they threw the poor animal into the fire box.

    The story ended that as the steam engine proceeded through the Sydney suburban area people could smell roast pork as it passed by.

    110

  • #
    GD

    I guess no-one told Sandaoling that Guy Fawkes Night was outlawed. Interesting video. I’d like to see the final one when the locomotive explodes.

    60

  • #
    robert rosicka

    Awesome just awesome and where can I buy a ticket .

    70

  • #
    Timo Soren

    I am not sure this is actually crazy bad. The smoke box may have simply rusted away and has not have been replaced.
    Hence ash and sparks can fly out the stack. The smoke box’s was created to simply stop the grounds around the train from
    catching fire. It is very possible that this train has been running along forever on this route and any scrub/shrub/grass/tree
    fires have happened and noone really cares about them.

    80

  • #
    Yonniestone

    Elon Musk takes a break from saving the world https://www.theverge.com/2018/9/29/17918252/elon-musk-tesla-sec-securities-fraud-lawsuit-settlement-fine-penalty

    From Link:
    Elon Musk has reached a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission on the charges filed earlier this week over his abandoned attempt to take Tesla private. Musk will have to step down as the chairman of Tesla within 45 days, and will not be able to take that role with the company again for three years. He will be able to remain Tesla’s CEO during that time.

    60

  • #
  • #
    TdeF

    On return from India, I was struck by the advertisements at the airport warning of 50C days coming to Melbourne, obviously a product of carbon dioxide. We are told that we have to DO something.

    This is how it all this scare works. No actual scientific explanation, just repetition of an outlandish claim.
    However says that we can do something about it.

    So the carbon dioxide pollution scam works on the incredible idea that the gas carbon dioxide is a very local problem. So if the Chinese output lots of CO2, that’s their problem. South Australia must now have the lowest CO2 in the world.

    It does explain how you can heat the Great Barrier Reef water with CO2. Coal mining is doing that.

    There are a lot of these illogical even ridiculous ideas used by the anti Western democracy groups. Almost entirely science free and now on advertising.

    - Carbon dioxide is a local problem. You can fix it. Put a windmill in your backyard.
    - China is belching vast quantities of carbon dioxide, so they have a problem, not us.
    - Cars are new and Carbon dioxide is going up so obviously cars are the problem.
    - Electric cars do not output carbon dioxide, so obviously they solve the problem, at least for the owners.
    - Diesel cars go further on a tank, so diesel is obviously green . No mention of the higher energy content per litre or the NO2 acid rain.
    - Carbon is black. Coal is black. So obviously they must be pollution, despite the fact that carbon dioxide is invisible.
    - If all the sea ice melts in the Arctic, obviously the water will rise. It’s just not true.
    - Brown coal has twice as much CO2 per ton, so obviously it is the most polluting. Howver 1/2 to 2/3 of brown coal is just water and it is not much different to black coal.
    - If we get rid of all the CO2, the world will cooler and everyone will be saved. In fact all life on earth would be extinguished.

    How else do you explain that no one actually cares that the CO2 levels are not going down anywhere? After all, isn’t that the entire point? It must be the first massive world project where no one cares about the result. The Treaty of Paris is not about lowering CO2 but about lowering the temperature. How do they plan to do that?

    100

  • #
    Ruairi

    The ‘Fossil Fuel Nightmare Express’,
    Must cause warmists unbearable stress,
    A fire spitting dragon,
    Full of coal in each wagon,
    But all lovers of steam trains impress.

    160

    • #
      ivan

      Ruairi, I believe you have hit the nail on the head. That film clip has all the hallmarks of a spectacular publicity promotion. It is only the lead engine that is producing the dramatic smoke, steam and sparks filmed from the best position for dramatic effect. It will certainly get all the warmists hot under the collar.

      20

  • #
    Gaz

    Very wet, very high ash coal being fed to a loco which is at its limits, hauling a heavy train uphill in conditions where it is losing traction. The crew must be terrified that it will slip and stall, because they won’t get it moving again. There is probably another train not far behind and minimal signalling, knowing Chinese rail. Thus, the crew are probably feeding it rather more coal than it needs, just in case.

    150

  • #
    Hanrahan

    We should ensure that all our MPs get that video under the heading “Get out of Paris!”

    90

    • #
      beowulf

      I know what you mean, but you would have to take them by the hand and in very simple words explain its implications to them about China, or the Plibersecs and the SHYs and the di Natales would simply use it as a club to batter coal even more. Look at that dirty coal. That’s what a lot of people imagine Hazelwood looked like before it was shut.

      60

  • #
    frederik wisse

    Maintenance is the Achilles-heel of a communist economy . Take for instance Venezuela , should be one of the richest countries in the world , but after a couple of decades of communist rule from their 3 large oil refineries only 1 is still operating at the use of approx 50% of its potential capacity , the rest of their fully operable infrastructure was cannibalized in order to keep half a refinery operating after they stole ( nationalised) the local oil-industry .

    120

    • #
      Greebo

      Maintenance is the Achilles-heel of a communist economy .

      It is also a weapon, as I believe you, better than most of us, can attest. IIRC, the famous “Berliner Luft” was a direct result of the East Berlin use of poor coal and poor maintenance to power the socialist ideal having severe health implications for those west of The Wall due to particulates. Rather like the also famous London “pea soupers”. Neither phenomenon exists today.

      00

  • #
    a happy little debunker

    This display, while incredible, shows how desperately ill-maintained these steamers are

    Nah, they are just trying to get up to 88mph so they can use their flux capacitor.

    80

  • #

    Speaking of trains, have you ever thought of this?

    (This is a classic case of do as I say, not as I do, where politicians of every ilk tell us we need to make efficiencies, and reduce our consumption of electricity to, umm, save the World, and then ‘waste’ electricity as part of Government policy.)

    Think of the Capital cities, and their vast networks of electrified rail. Think of peak times when that network is operating at its maximum, early morning commuters packed into as many trains as can be on the network, school days from 2.30PM, and then the evening commute back home.

    Now think of the down times every day, from 7PM onwards when the trains ease back and there are nowhere near as many trains needed to be in operation, and on weekends and public holidays.

    Where do those trains all go to, umm, have their rest until they are needed again for the next morning peak?

    Never thought of that eh!

    We have moved here to Beenleigh, and we live near the main Brisbane to Gold Coast line, in fact close to Beenleigh railway station. The electric trains run regularly, one up and one down, every twenty minutes or so.

    Just the other side of the two tracks, and close to Beenleigh station is a ‘parking lot’ for trains when they are not in service. There are four tracks, so they can fit four trains in there. Two of those tracks are extended, so they can park two trains on those extended tracks, nose to tail. So, there are anything up to six electric trains parked in that bay. Each night around 7PM or so, trains gently ease into those holding bays, and park for the night, and for the weekends. Each weekday morning, they are gone again. Each train has a driving car at each end with four carriages in between, so six cars in all.

    They are left there in that parking bay, with all lights in every car left on, all night, and all weekend.

    Now, I could possibly understand it might be a security thing, but the whole ‘bay’ is floodlit as well, and on each side is a large security fence.

    I might imagine these ‘parking bays’ are here and there all across Brisbane, and in other State Capitals as well, so that’s a lot of parked trains, all lit up, and ready to move first thing in the mornings.

    Even I can see that is a lot of trains, and a lot of electricity, but hey, the government owns the trains, owns the rail network, and the electricity wholesalers, and the coal fired power plants, and the rail system to get the coal to those plants, and the coal mines supplying them as well…… and the taxpayer pays the bill for all that electricity would be my guess.

    We are told that we need to make efficiencies and use less electricity, and they waste it on a huge scale, but you can bet that there’s a good excuse, eh!

    For those of you with Google Earth, type in Beenleigh railway station. That parking bay is just on the ‘South’ side of that railway station.

    Tony.

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      …..but hey, the government owns the trains, owns the rail network, and the electricity wholesalers, and the coal fired power plants…..

      So then, that effectively makes the Queensland State Government the biggest emitter of CO2 in Australia.

      Hmm! Labor will be pleased.

      Tony.

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      Sambar

      Arrrg Tony, The definition of government is to take anything that remotely works and, by the application huge amounts of public money, make it as inefficient and as expensive to maintain as possible.
      A different but just as compelling subject is Victorias’ ever expanding national parks. All supposed to attract huge numbers of international visitors and generate massive amounts of jobs and boost local economies. To promote this greeness and win city votes, vast areas of land are locked up and normal outdoor activities severly curtailed. No regard to fire or animal management, just lock it up. My point. People used to hunt deer in many of these parks but have been effectively pushed out. Deer in Victoria are now in plague proportions. The government solution is to hire profesional hunters and attempt to control deer numbers by helicpoter shooting.
      Now economics is not my strong point, but how is employing helicopters and profesional hunters a better or more cost effective way than giving victorian hunters more access.
      These hunters buy fuel and food, sporting goods and many are that keen they hunt most weekends every year. Cost to the public purse zero . Cost of helicopter at least $2000.00 per HOUR

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        OriginalSteve

        They should allow SSAA members to carefully cull the deer for free….stupid is as stupid does, but what do you expect from a govt run by a communist….? Efficiency?

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      AndyG55

      Sydney network has quite a few “train parking” areas, usually with maintenance and cleaning facilities etc etc

      Up my way we have Adamstown, the new Newcastle Interchange, Gosford, Wyong, Hornsby.

      Then the inner city ones, quite few, can’t remember where they all are

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      Greebo

      One thing Vitoriastan got right many years ago, when we had real government. The trains used to run all day, with the last train finishing at some far flung station, then running empty back to the Jolimont rail yards for the night.( You really need to look at a map of Melbourne’s rail network to understand this. ) Then, in the morning, they would all be driven back out to those far flung stations, once again empty, for the morning peak. These days they all park after their las run at the outskirts, pantos down and locked up. What cleaning that occurs does so during the day.

      Metro Trains still run at huge losses….. But now it’s the operator’s fault…. Heaven knows what the losses were under VicRail.

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    el gordo

    I took this from the previous thread, where Timo Soren accidentally dropped it.

    ‘I am not sure this is actually crazy bad. The smoke box may have simply rusted away and has not have been replaced.
    Hence ash and sparks can fly out the stack. The smoke box’s was created to simply stop the grounds around the train from catching fire. It is very possible that this train has been running along forever on this route and any scrub/shrub/grass/tree fires have happened and no one really cares about them.’

    Thanks El Gordo. I’ve moved that comment to this thread now. Your instincts are good. – J

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    TedM

    Imagine trains like that in the Aussie bush. No more need for hazard reduction burning.

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    The vid shows up a couple of things:
    1 – the consist behind the loco is very close to the maximum it can handle: there are several instances where the loco slips (generally just after the bends, where the friction of the consist really bites hard). So it is most likely to be working at zero steam cut-off (full steam, all the time, no cutting off halfway through the stroke and letting expansion carry it through). This will cause the absolute maximum stack draw back through the fire tubes.
    2 – The boiler is already venting (at maximum pressure) in most cases where there is a clear shot. So the stoker(s? mechanical?) has already gotten as much fuel on the grate is is needed. That draw is pulling live coals straight through the fire tubes and straight up the stack. I would not go for the low-maintenance aspect: hot ash is less likely to cause that spectacular display than small, light, easily rafted burning coal. It might even have mechanical blower assist on the draught….

    Wonderful video and sound….

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      See, I knew among readers here that there would be expertise worth sharing. Thank you Waymad and all the other informed comments. Interesting thread.

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    David Maddison

    For those that are interested in watching some properly maintained steam engines (not locomotives) and other antique internal and external combustion engines at at work you might wish to visit the Lake Goldsmith Steam Rally, 3rd and 4th November, 2 hrs drive from Melbourne.

    One feature is the world’s largest operating steam shovel. The 90 tonne 1924 No.4 Ruston face shovel. See my video at: https://youtu.be/krP5d7_Y810

    Note that due to high taxes imposed on coal in Victoriastan, the steam engines burn wood, not coal. But it’s OK to cut down trees…

    http://www.lakegoldsmithsteamrally.org.au/

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    David Maddison

    Here is my video of a properly maintained steam locomotive, the Puffing Billy tourist train in Victoriastan, early 1900′s, 2ft 6in gauge track.

    https://youtu.be/NCPeQH48V-w

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      Greebo

      Ahh, Puffo. That little train, with it’s various locos, is a part of where I live. At least you caught a brief hoot of his whistle. All the do gooders that have moved up here in recent times campaigned to have him silenced, and only use his whistle at mandated points such as level crossings. Such a shame, as long term “Hills” residents love the sound, as do all the kids. Such a cheerful thing was killed off by the usual suspects.

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        OriginalSteve

        One consoling thought is that in the coming inevitable grid-down situation that will come as communist govts keep killing off coal plants, is that the sneering inner city useless leftists will die first, as they are completely useless and have no concept of campcraft or survival skills, and will likely die from a simple infected cut…..

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    pat

    no pic or video as yet, but you can take a “joy ride”:

    30 Sept: The Hindu: Trial run of coal-fired heritage locomoted conducted
    by staff reporter
    The last coal-powered steam locomotive still operational along the Nilgiri Mountain Railway line, had a trial run from Coonoor to Ketti railway station on Saturday.
    Officials from the Salem division of the Southern Railway, said that train number X37384, was manufactured in the Swiss Locomotive and Machine Works Factory in Switzerland in 1914, and was commissioned into service in 1918.
    The locomotive was fully restored last year, and there had been plans to run it during the peak tourist season…

    Officials added that the locomotive had tremendous “historical value” and said that it would be used during the tourist season, mostly for the “joy ride” journey, which will ferry passengers between Udhagamandalam town and Ketti railway stations.
    https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Coimbatore/trial-run-of-coal-fired-heritage-locomotive-conducted/article25085281.ece

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    Greebo

    Perhaps if we gave China a ‘modern’ diesel/electric loco to pull that consist we could meet our Paris commitments with no further action needed.

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    pat

    comment in moderation re: 30 Sept: The Hindu: Trial run of coal-fired heritage locomotive conducted

    29 Sept: San Francisco Chronicle: Bloomberg: Germany’s coal habit proves hard to kick
    by Brian Parkin and William Wilkes; Arne Delfs contributed
    The conflict represents another challenge for Germany’s political establishment as it pits the country’s economic interests against goals of becoming an environmental leader in a 500 billion-euro ($590 billion) shift to renewable power. Those competing agendas are now colliding in and around Hambach – a district known as Rhein-Erft-Kreis – where concerns range from lost jobs and soaring electricity prices to the incessant hum of wind turbines and “electrosmog” from new power lines…
    Germany relies on lignite for 23 percent of its electricity…

    Those grand, feel-good aspirations were further complicated in 2011 when Merkel decided to phase out nuclear power. That made coal and lignite, which still account for nearly 40 percent of German electricity, all but indispensable, even though the country wants to exit the fuel. The messy overhaul is now turning into painful reality for many.
    “It’s been very costly, but there’s not much to show for it,” said Colin Vance, an energy economist at the RWI research institute in Essen, Germany. “Frustration’s growing among the public, coming to a boil where consumers feel the pinch of rising power prices and their neighborhoods being ripped up for new transmission lines.”…

    If the government doesn’t show it can carefully balance climate protection with affordable and secure power, “it’s going to be a big challenge keeping voters on board,” said (CDU’s Georg) Kippels, 58, during a tour of his district where he’s increasingly struggling to defend the Merkel’s energy policy…
    Upcoming state elections will be the next test, with Bavaria and Hesse voting in October and the lignite centers of Saxony, Brandenburg and Saxony-Anhalt holding ballots in 2019.

    In North Rhine-Westphalia, where Rhein-Erft-Kreis is located, the AfD’s Christian Loose says he’s watching developments in Hambach very closely and expects voters to become “more and more disillusioned” with climate-linked policy.
    “Investors are benefiting, but what does it mean for industry and the ordinary man on the street? Nothing but higher energy costs and less security,” said Loose, the far-right party’s local energy expert, adding that the AfD wants to scrap support programs for clean energy…

    Still, winding down lignite too quickly could lead to acute electricity shortages, according to the Essen-based company.
    There is no immediate alternative to the cheap power from coal and lignite. Wind and solar energy can be expensive and need to be augmented by other sources when weather conditions aren’t favorable. Meanwhile, electricity generated from gas turbines risks increasing Germany’s dependence on supplies from Russia…

    “We need lignite,” said Kippels. “As long as we’re years away from a clean-power economy, it’s hard to see how we can do without it – not without causing unrest.”
    https://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Germany-s-coal-habit-proves-hard-to-kick-13268100.php

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    What a glorious sight, a powerful steam-driven coal-fired locomotive screaming at the head of a coal train. It takes me back to my childhood waving at engineers on the Dandenong Line. Notice that the Chinese sensibly drive their trains on the left-hand side of the double track. It is not as big a string of cars as the 100 car, 10,000-tonne coal trains on the Hunter Line heading for Newcastle coal terminal but impressive, still, with its cloud of steam and shower of burning ash. It a sight guaranteed to char the soul of a true Alarmist.

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      Roy Hogue

      It a sight guaranteed to char the soul of a true Alarmist.

      And don’t you love every second of it?

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    TdeF

    Why argue? Why not use the same logic?

    The steady growth of CO2 has not changed any but the temperature growth stopped about 20 years ago, so you could argue convincingly that the 350,000+ giant windmills stopped Climate Change.

    Given that correlation is causation in the whole argument man made Global Warming story, we can now stop building windmills. No need for Paris. No need for the RET Ripoff. The work is done.

    It makes just as much sense. Let the Greens argue otherwise. Credit where credit is due. The world has been saved.

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    J.H.

    Yes well… a little bit of maintenance would go a long way.

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    pat

    29 Sept: SunderlandEcho: Sir John Major admits Tories ‘got it wrong’ with coal mine closures at North East talk
    by Lisa Nightingale
    The man who was leading the country at the time the gates closed on the remaining mines in the North East, devastating workers and their families, has admitted in retrospect “he would have done things differently”.
    Sir John Major spoke out on what was a dark time for the Conservatives as the country turned against them during his visit to the region on Friday…

    He said: “I remember that time very vividly as we misjudged the situation.”…
    “In retrospect I would go back and would have done things differently. I think it was the biggest single misjudgement. “That was public opinion, not just the miners. People were angry with us. And in retrospect you can see why.
    “You think you are doing something good and it’ll turn out right but you just get it wrong.”
    https://www.sunderlandecho.com/news/politics/sir-john-major-admits-tories-got-it-wrong-with-coal-mine-closures-at-north-east-talk-1-9373138

    29 Sept: Motley Fool: Coal Just Won’t Die, and Neither Will This High-Yield Coal Stock
    The world is moving away from coal, but slower than you might expect, and that’s a boon for this dividend-paying coal stock.
    by Reuben Gregg Brewer
    Although coal is among the most unloved energy sources in the world today, we are still using a huge amount of it to support the electric grid. In fact, coal remains the largest source of electricity in 18 U.S. states, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). The death of coal has been just a little exaggerated, and that’s great news for the over-10%-yielding Alliance Resource Partners, L.P. Here’s some of the good news in the coal space…

    For example, the EIA currently expects nearly 100 gigawatts of coal capacity to be shut between 2017 and 2050. But it also projects that the remaining coal plants will run at a higher capacity, with average capacity across the industry rising from 56% in 2017 to 70% in 2030. That will help to support demand. Foreign exports will remain a key source of demand, as well, with emerging markets still building coal plants because of the low cost of the fuel…

    The bigger picture here, though, is that coal will still be a notable fuel source in 2050 even in the worst-case scenario. And if natural gas prices rise, then coal’s future could be brighter than the base case…
    https://www.fool.com/investing/2018/09/29/coal-just-wont-die-and-neither-will-this-high-yiel.aspx

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      pat

      John Major: “You think you are doing something good and it’ll turn out right but you just get it wrong.”

      and he gets it wrong again on Brexit. what a jerk:

      28 Sept: Chronicle: Sir John Major admits coal was ‘his single biggest misjudgement’ – as David Miliband talks Brexit
      The pair visit South Shields as they shun the party divide and call for a second public vote on the terms of Brexit
      by Ian Johnson
      Both veteran politicians threw their weight behind growing calls for a ‘second referendum’ on Britain’s leaving terms from the EU.
      Sir John told a packed crowd that the vote should this time centre on “facts not fantasy”.
      “I can’t see an intellectual argument against (another vote),” he added…

      South Shields overwhelmingly voted to leave the EU back in June 2016. Mr Major speculated that may have been down to people losing “hope”…
      https://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/north-east-news/sir-john-major-admits-coal-15215431

      anti-democratic pair.

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        OriginalSteve

        Another globalist puppet, trying to force the public to keep voting until they get the answer the globalists wanted…

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    pat

    some of the figures below confuse me, but others will probably understand them. the writer, N.S.Venkataraman, is a Chemical Engineer from Annamalai University in Tamil Nadu (India) and Director of Nandini Consultancy Centre.
    The ***”low capacity” figures for RE are worth noting:

    30 Sept: Sri Lanka Guardian: For India’s Impending Fossil Fuel Crisis, Wind and Solar Power Alone Give No Relief
    by N.S.Venkataraman
    In the last four and half years, after Mr. Modi became the Prime Minister of India, installed capacity of solar power in the country has increased from 1500 MW to around 25,000 MW. In the same way, the wind power capacity has also been increased which have now reached the capacity of around 32,500 MW. The power generation capacity from other renewable sources such as biomass, small hydro power have also been stepped up to around 15,000 MW…

    However, the question is whether such rapid build up of power capacity based on renewable resources such as solar and wind would provide any significant relief for India to the level of requirement, in tackling the impending fossil fuel crisis. It appears that it would not happen.

    India’s present installed capacity for power is around 3,45,000 MW from all sources and the requirement of power (peak demand) is around 1,71,000 MW. More than 80% of India’s power requirement is now generated based on coal, natural gas and liquid fuel.
    The requirement of power in India is steadily going up at the rate of around 6.5% per year due to the economic and industrial developments in a growing economy…

    Given the heavy dependence on import of fossil fuel, around 70% of Indian foreign exchange earnings is now going towards the cost of imported fossil fuel…
    Obviously, there is a very urgent need to reduce the consumption of fossil fuel in India and replace it by alternate energy source appropriate to Indian conditions…
    The question is whether solar and wind power can give relief for India from the impending fossil fuel crisis.

    ***Low capacity utilization of solar and wind power installations
    The problem with solar and wind power is that the capacity utilization of solar power projects in India is only 15% of installed capacity. In the case of wind power, the capacity utilization is only around 30% of the installed capacity.

    In other words, with solar power capacity of 25000 MW, the actual generation of power would be only around 3750 MW. In the case of wind power, the present installed capacity of around 32,500 MW, would actually generate power only to the extent of around 9750 MW. Against this, the capacity utilization of coal power projects in India is around 60% and that of hydro power is around 50%
    Even if India would build 1,75000 MW of power based on renewable sources as targeted by Mr. Modi, the actual power generated would be only around 35,000 MW…

    Need for alternate option – algae bio fuel…ETC
    https://www.slguardian.org/for-indias-impending-fossil-fuel-crisis-wind-and-solar-power-alone-give-no-relief/

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      Geoffrey Williams

      Modi would like to reduce India’s dependence on imported fossil fuels but he us finding out that renewables are not the way to go.
      GeoffW

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    markx

    Marvellous video!

    And wonderful illustration of why we should continue exporting all of our manufacturing capacity to China as rapidly as possible. It is clearly the only way to save the world. If Australia can reduce it’s ‘per capita’ emissions and tack them onto the highly energy efficient Chinese economy where they will be barely noticeable when diluted across the gigantic Chinese population, the world will benefit immeasurably.

    ‘Immeasurably’ being the key word here.

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    Geoffrey Williams

    Nice way to keep warm on a cold night !
    And a great fireworks display !
    GeoffW

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    Old44

    Obviously bushfires are not a problem in China.

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    PeterPetrum

    Sorry! As a keen loco spotter in my youth who travelled all over central Scotland to get that elusive loco number and who stood on innumerable bridges, getting covered in soot and cinders, this stirs my blood and brings back wonderful memories, some of which I have now recreated on my 6m x 4m model railway. Wonderful, but any driver and fireman from that era would be shocked at the obvious lack of firebox cleaning which Jo has clearly described.

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      Roy Hogue

      What would happen if that thing had to make its way through a tunnel of any length?

      Both lines going north out of Los Angeles face a mountain range and they go through the places where grades would be too steep in tunnels over a mile long.

      Hint: engine crews need to breathe.

      The western United States had no readily available coal so fuel oil was adopted early and eased the problem for crews in tunnels. But I wouldn’t want to try it. A Southern Pacific crew managed to stall a long freight train in one of those tunnels during WWII and both men were killed before they could get out of the tunnel. Heat and exhaust confined in one spot were too much for them.

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    [...] the sound of this loco! Share this:TwitterFacebookGoogleRedditLinkedIn This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark [...]

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    DB

    Back in the 1860s when they were building a transcontinental railroad, the Union Pacific guys made a cut in eastern Wyoming that turned out to ooze oil. Sparks from the coal burners would occasionally set the cut on fire….

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    David E. Slee

    This is my first foray into commenting at Jo Nova so please forgive any lapses in protocol. I have been somewhat nonplussed by some of the comments regarding the working steam locomotives on this thread so far.
    Looking at these runs indicates the trains were travelling at perhaps 18 to 20 mph, and it is most unlikely that they were being worked in Full Gear (i.e. with no expansion of the steam in each stroke). I would expect they were being worked at about 50% cut-off i.e. steam at boiler pressure for about half the stroke and then the balance by expansion. The boiler seems OK at keeping up with the cylinder steam usage, albeit with the generation of a vast plume of sparks passing from the fire through the smokebox and out the stack to the air above. Other than this spark plume, the working of the locomotive seems to be exemplary with the Drivers in full control of the slippages on some of the runs. The exhaust beat sounds pretty even and timed well, which indicates maintenance is up to scratch, and not deficient.

    The only unusual feature of these runs was those spark plumes in the exhaust from the stack. There are only two factors which I can see as being in play here.

    Firstly, the quality of the cool being fired, and secondly whether the smokebox spark arrestor grids were being used or not. On these I would observe:-
    1. On very large steam locos like these QJs (I think that is what they are?) the coal was not shovelled like on smaller locos, but used a mechanical driven screw in a tube to transfer coal from the tender into the firebox where it was spread over the whole grate area by a series of steam jets. To make such mechanisms work required coal to be kept within a fairly small size range which was often accompanied by smaller fragments being broken off lumps during the sizing process. Further mining generally produced a smallish percentage of poorer quality coal often of a more friable nature. Such coal was not so easily sold and was generally kept aside for use in ancillary steam generation at the mine and for use in steam locos owned by the mine itself. It seems to me that this is the regime here at Sandaoling, still.
    In summary there are many factors involved which would see the generation of a large spark production.
    Having said all that it must be realised that this tendency to pass sparks through the boiler is common to all steam locos when working hard. However usually though because of the possible fire hazard along the track to surrounding countryside steps were generally taken to minimise this problem by using fairly fine mesh grids through which the gases of combustion must pass through in the smokebox. Any fine particles of burning coal would pass straight through but would have a surface area to volume ratio that they could not sustain combustion and were ejected out in the exhaust via the stack. Larger particles would strike the wires of the mesh and fall down into a “fluidised soup” of such particles which were picked up again in the draught and forced to strike the mesh again and again eventually they were reduced to small enough size to pass through and out the stack – generally all as “dead” coal cinders. This was the unseen but real grit that got into all boys eyes in those far-off days, as recalled by Dennis at 7.2 above. In this Sandaoling case however we see huge amounts of glowing sparks falling out of the large plume of exhaust steam and water vapour from the stack and often reaching the ground around. This leads me to the second matter – the spark arrestor.

    2. The imposition of spark arresting mesh into the flow of the gases of combustion does increase drag and reduces the efficiency of the locomotive. At the same time it is clear that in northern China winter is a time of cold, snow and ice i.e. not a great fire hazard environment, but one where ice on the rails reduces traction between wheel and rail and therefore reduces tonnage able to be hauled. I imagine that these two factors would be a significant inducement to take out the spark arrestor grids for the duration of winter conditions. The consequence would most certainly be the production of these massive spark plumes and these would be made more severe if using poor friable coal. For Australian readers I would also observe that the Victorian Railways (and others ???? I don’t know of) prior to about the middle 1930′s always removed their spark arrestor meshes for winter operations. Only when they started to fit a quite different system were they able to leave the new ones in place all year round.

    Finally may I be allowed to suggest that there are a few too many commenters here who seem to be somewhat paranoid about wanting to tar poor Chinese railwaymen with the same failings as their government seems to exhibit. Wherever I experienced steam loco operations in the past I found steam men to be resourceful and hard working with high standards placed on themselves as much as anyone.

    Kind regards to all the contributers, and especially to what seems to be a quite large contingent from Newcastle, my home town!

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      Roy Hogue

      David,

      You obviously know your way around a steam locomotive. Not many could describe management of the Walschaerts valve gear used almost exclusivly on locomotives of practical hauling power since its invention.

      Your estimate of about 50% (steam admitted to the calendar for half its stroke) is something I wouldn’t try to make. But then you have experience I lack. By the time I could have had any railroad job my only incentive for wanting one was long gone. But that didn’t dampen my love for them. And having been in the cab of one with a full head of steam on a hot day I suddenly realized just how bad the working conditions could be and was glad from there on that I never had the chance to fulfill my childhood dream.

      I read your comment several times and only differ with you on one thing. I think any negligence asserted or implied has to be attributed to management, not operating crew. The engineer and fireman don’t make company policy. Having a good idea of the consequences of negligent operation I think the crew on that example above is paying close attention to a lot of things at once, including boiler feed water which, if mismanaged even on a cold snowy day, can result in a boiler explosion or in an extreme case in the other direction, water reaching a cylinder with catastrophic results. These are the same things that need constant attention in any steam locomotive as you know.

      For everyone’s benefit: you cannot sit back in air conditioned comfort and watch just a few things and succeed as you can in the modern diesel-electric locomotive. When the grade suddenly changes the water level in the boiler suddenly changes and they need to anticipate how to add or not add water to keep a safe level. And feed water was always manually controlled. My grandfather worked the railroads from about age 15 on until after my father was born and he had pictures of several real boiler explosions. It’s instantly fatal to the crew in the cab. When water at a boiling point as high as 400 °F is suddenly at ambient pressure it’s superheated and all turns to steam within milliseconds. It’s an instant bomb going off. I found one account of a small town nearly destroyed by a locomotive boiler explosion. An equivalent boiler full of compressed air at the same pressure suddenly rupturing would be nothing compared to steam. So, yes, I think this crew is paying attention to their job.

      This is basic physics to most of us. But it’s the penalty for carelessness to a steam locomotive crew.

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      PeterPetrum

      Wow! Great comment, Davis E. Slee. You obviously know what you are talking about and have an appreciation of the steam of old. I would hazard a guess that at least 30% of Jo’s contributors would remember working steam locomotives with fondness. The sense of power from these giants when flat out on the level or powering up up an incline like Shap Fell has to be experienced to be understood.

      Thanks for your input and welcome.

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      observa

      And here was me thinking they were just giving the loco an Italian tune-up David.

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    michael hart

    Real purdy. It looks quite Christmassy, actually. In a Harry-Potter kind of way.

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    theRealUniverse

    Some notes.1. Looks like most of the emission is steam. With some sparks. 2. 2016..it may have been replaced. If not then probably soon.

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    ATheoK

    “what are they feeding that thing! the souls of the damned?”

    Well then, the supply of them globally will keep that train running centuries!

    American democrats alone could fuel the train for the next century.
    We recommend keeping them in cattle cars at the end of the train. Less messy that way.

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    sophocles

    That engine in China is a bloody disgrace, not to mention a total menace.

    In NZ, we still run steam locos for tourist and enthusiasts trips https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LSrVY1dp-8M such as this K class loco.

    Pay particular attention to the forest alongside both sides of the track. The loco iis correctly and properly maintained—and the forest isn’t burning.

    We don’t have firetraps like that on our rails. That loco would have been built over 70 years ago. If one like the Chinese arsonist was ever used, there would be A Commission of Enquiry to find out how, why and who to blame!

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      sophocles

      … mind you, the K class started life as a coal burner but was converted to oil in and around 1950, so it’s not really a fair comparison to those poorly maintained and run Chinese locomotives.

      The Ja-class locos built from 1946 onwards, are coal fired, however.

      Here is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lNjFNANkAw4 Joanne an immaculate Ja-class loco, fueled with best black New Zealand coal, preserved by Mainline Steam in Central Auckland (in Parnell, just up the line from the main port). She runs through my area of Auckland, every time she is taken out for a run and Sounds Wonderful.

      There is this Ja Class http://www.gvr.co.nz/GVR+Steam+Train+Experience/Our+Railway/Locomotives++Rolling+Stock/Locomotives/Ja+ also in active service at the Glenbrook Vintage Railway in South Auckland also a coal burners

      You will notice the clean exhausts. Not like those Chinese rolling arson machines.

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        sophocles

        Unlike Dr Pachauri, I’m not a Railway Engineer.
        So I’m sitting here wearing my big fluffy green hat (it’s fresh from the wash because it hasn’t been worn for a lo-o-ong time), the one with the big yellow I (for Ignorant) embroidered on the front. . :-)

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          sophocles

          Speaking about my fluffy green hat with the big yellow I on its front, I’ve just discovered that Joanne, JA1236, is no longer a coal burner, but was converted to oil in 2001.

          Not my day. I’ll just polish my FGH a bit more … :-)

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      Roy Hogue

      Sophocles,

      In the video in your comment #44, is it my imagination or did the fireman pour on the smoke just before the curve takes the locomotive out of sight?

      It wouldn’t be the first time. Just close off some air to the fire and you have an instant impressive scene for the camera.

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        sophocles

        I don’t know. It’s somewhere on the Main Trunk Line (MTL) possibly in one of the central north island forests, from the telegraph lines (Railway signalling) and the height of the foliage, but I don’t recognise it: the “No public Access” sign on the left hand side is just for the vehicle gate. I think maybe the driver was both slowing for the bend and saving steam for the whistle :-) (There are signs: Whistle which are mandatory to obey.)

        I looked carefully for all the speed limit signs, our tracks are littered with them because it’s a narrow-gauge railway and overall, very windy and up and down. But I couldn’t spot any. They are small and square but readable by the driver telling him what speed to come down to. Couldn’t spot any of those, either.

        It was a promo video for NZRail so it may well have been done for camera effect. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t know.

        Here’s a YAV (Yet anuvver video :-) ): two steam engines climbing the Raurimu Spiral at night. No sign of any sparks. Full Smoke and Noise The video was made at night and it’s two engines ascending the The Raurimu Spiral. They are having to work and there are no sparks. (about 8.42 minutes in, JA1271 and KA942) The Spiral was considered a feat of Victorian railway engineering when it was built and is in the centre of the North Island. I haven’t been over the Spiral in my life, yet, but it’s on my list of important things to do sometime this summer, and I’m not even a Steam enthusiast let alone a railway one! I hope to do it in both directions. It has its own Wikipedia page. (Searching Google for “Raurimu Spiral” brings up a heap of information pages but a huge and nastily complexlink. :-( )

        The Raurimu Spiral has its own page in Wikipedia.

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          sophocles

          Nope, it’s in the South Island. Those carriages are carrying the “Tranz Scenic” name, so it’s somewhere between Christchurch on the east coast of the South Island and Greymouth on the west coast. The foliage could be in Arthur’s Pass (in the middle). That route crosses the Southern Alps so there will be tunnels galore and some fabulous views.

          The “Tranz Scenic” name is solely South Island.

          It’s advertised as New Zealand’s most scenic rail journey, across the South Island and back, and it’s on my list immediately after the Raurimu Spiral (North Island). I’m gonna be busy :-)

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          Roy Hogue

          This is my all time favorite steam locomotive, former Southern Pacific Railroad GS2 number 4449. It’s probably the most famous single operating steam locomotive in the United States and the only surviving example of its kind. It’s now operated by a trust that keeps it going with, of course, all volunteer labor and money. No one else cares about them anymore.

          As a kid I watched many of these go by and had some good opportunities to stand next to one as it sat at the Glendale California station to pick up passengers. And standing there, listening to the hiss of escaping steam somewhere, the chug, chug, chug of the air compressor and the visceral roar of the firebox as it came back to life when the conductor gave the highball and yelled, “All aboard,”…well, to a young boy they were the most glamorous thing in the world — they almost seemed alive.

          Video of her pulling an excursion train through Bend, Oregon.

          Longer video in better quality.

          There are a couple of peculiar things about the GS2. It had both a forward facing air horn you can see at the top left and a steam whistle you can’t see. The air horn was used in regular service, not the steam whistle. But to a steam fan an air horn is anathema so on any trip these days 4449 sounds that gorgeous mournful low pitched steam whistle. Ain’t no personality in no air horn, nohow.

          It also has a funny looking headlight just above the standard one. It pointed upward and swept back and forth in a pattern like an infinity sign. At night you cold see that from miles away as it approached. They were called a Mars Headlight after the name of their manufacturer.

          By the way, NZ has some great stuff still running and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed what you’ve posted about it.

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            Roy Hogue

            A search on “SP 4449″ will get you more than you ever wanted to find about any one locomotive.

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              sophocles

              Thanks for that Roy. I reiterate: I’m neither a steam nor railway enthusiast but I have to admit I admire and enjoy the machinery! (I guess that makes me a closet enthusiast! :-) ). But I can clearly see what you mean: it’s a lovely loco. And thank you for the links, too. (That’s today gone! ). Yes, I did search and I’ve basically blown away the day. It’s all your fault! :-)

              It and others like it make our ones look like branch line shunters. But, they’se the biggest ‘n best we’ve got. Compared with the diesel (Blaaaaat) they’ve got soul.

              Back in the early days of the Internet (last century) I came across a quantity of articles (or it was one huge article, I forget which,) which went into huge detail on the Baldwin 60000 experimental engine. That wowed me than, and still does—sheer brute power and size.

              Our piddly little engines (you gotta remember, when the NZ Railways were born, the NZ government would have made Ebenezer Scrooge proud) run on a 3ft 6inch gauge track. So we can’t run monsters nor can they do any high speeds. 50mph (80kph) are about the highest (safe) speeds permitted (although the JAs are reputed to have touched 150kph (c. 90mph) and to have routinely done over 100kph (c. 62mph) in spite of posted speed limits of 80kph, (50mph) along the Canterbury plains, at times, during their heyday).

              There are two major advantages to the 4ft 8″ gauge the US runs: huge engines towing monster trains (1) at high speeds (2).

              NZ has continental scenery squeezed into 212,000 sq kms. That’s not a lot of space and in many places, it was a quite a squeeze putting in a 3′ 6″ gauge line (the South Island Alpine railway is a good example) and the scenery is in three dimensions, not two, so it goes up and down a lot—the Raurimu Spiral lifts trains from the Waikato plains to the Central Plateau. We get very few derailments but they do occur and are usually caused by a train hitting a landslide or volcanic action washing out a bridge (the Tangiwai disaster of 1953). The MTL (Main Trunk Line) in the northern part of the South Island (Blenheim to Christchurch) and the main road, re-opened only a few months ago after being buried by the Kaikoura earthquake.

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                Roy Hogue

                Sophocles,

                My fault? Who forced you to look? ;-)

                Actually some of the best railroading in America was in the Colorado Sangre de Cristo Mountains on narrow gauge (3 ft) between Durango (6,000 ft elevation) and Silverton (9,000 ft elevation). The line was part of a longer narrow gauge line that brought silver ore from the mines around Silverton to where it could be processed.

                That line is now the Durango & Silverton and it’s still running, snow permitting and is so popular that they run multiple trains a day during the summer. You needed reservations as much as 2 years in advance last I looked or you stood in the standby line hoping for a cancellation. And as you can see, they’re not exactly running stuff like 4449 because it needs standard track gauge (5 ft 8 1/2 inches) and even if there was standard gauge track it would not handle the curves and would be hanging off the edge of a cliff in some places.

                So good railroading is where you find it, including NZ.

                The round trip is 45 miles, takes all day and includes a lunch and shopping break in Silverton.

                I rode that line while it was still an operating division of the Denver & Rio Grande Western back in 1961. We were a large fan club group and we pretty much took over the train. I spent much of the trip sitting on the railing of the platform between cars and being very careful to hang on. You could not get away with that today with the courts being so much stricter about liability.

                If you “waste your time” looking around you will probably find some good pictures like this one. Note the top of the smokestack. They take great care not to start a fire The locomotives are coal burning and hand fired — interesting relics from our railroading past. I was up early in the morning and soon found the loco that was about to back up to pick up our train and the fireman,as you might expect was in the cab. He was a college student doing that job during the summer. He told me that on the run to Silverton he would not get to sit down because he was either shoveling coal into the firebox or bringing it forward from the tender so he could shovel it into the firebox. It’s intense physical labor. But then he said on the return trip he could sit down and not work so hard because it’s almost all downhill instead of up.

                Have fun!

                Roy

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                Roy Hogue

                So face it my friend. You were interested enough to post on this thread and I think that eliminates, “closet enthusiast.”

                For more interesting research look up the Union Pacific “Challenger” and then “Big Boy”. Those put 4449 to shame for size and capability.

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                Roy Hogue

                Sorry, the one way trip is 45 miles, round trip 90 miles. Need more coffee this early in the morning — or a brain transplant.

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                Roy Hogue

                And a final note: The movie version of Lord of the Rings was made in New Zealand and if the scenery I saw in the movie is any guide then now more than ever I regret never getting there to see it in person.

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    sophocles

    The second link above is broken. But it was to Diana, Ja 1250, based at the Glenbrook Vintage Railway in South Auckland. I guess she’s a little shy so I’ll try again: Introducing Diana, Sorry about that.

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      sophocles

      That’s the second link in #44.1, it brings up a 404 error page, All of my others in this collection work.

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    dp

    What a beautiful machine! It changed absolutely everything in the world in a very short time. Now we have jets flying far overhead spewing spent fuels where they can’t be seen or experienced, but the locomotive chuffed it’s way across a world where people lived, driven by mortals who would wave from the driver’s seat, sound the horn at a child’s behest, and deliver tons of goods, food, mail, and people at a time when rail-less people walked or were hauled by beasts over weeks and months.

    What I don’t like is the derision of the exhaust of these uncommon machines in a world criss-crossed by filthy jet turbines, automobiles, and trucks that haul a fraction of what these grand old machines did. If these trains and the carbon they produce is a problem then the entire condemnation of the “CO2 is Evil” effort is a sham, and the complaints of coal fired power plants justified. And that’s just so much bullshit. There is this problem of consistency. Carbon is or is not a problem – take a stand. Which is it?

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    Paul Miskelly

    Hi Jo,
    Thank you for posting this great story, and a big “thank you” for the detailed contributions from those who are so knowlegeable about the operation of steam locomotives. What a treat! Without wishing to detract from Dennis’ (#7.2) wonderful story about boyhood times spent in Goulburn, I feel I ought to correct an error there before the likes of expert rail historians such as The Hon. Tim Fischer or Goulburn rail historian Leon Oberg discover it. The line that Dennis mentions as going through Kenmore and out to Crookwell, with a branch to Taralga at Roslyn, was/is Standard Gauge. (I say “is” because, although these lines are long since closed down, much of the track is still in place, including that section near the (also now closed) Kenmore Hospital where the line crosses the present Goulburn-Taralga Road). It was a lighter gauge rail than that of the main Southern Line, but was never a narrow gauge line. From my reading of the historical records available to me, NSW Classes 30 and 33 steam locomotives were used for goods trains and a railmotor was used for passenger trains on these branch lines. These days there is strong support in the local community to re-open sections of the lines, one proposal being to run a historic train and others for regional cycle paths. These lines pass through very scenic country, (except where spoiled by wind “farms”), and such proposals would keep alive the memory of the critical importance of steam railways (and now-demonised coal!) to our forebears. Re forebears: Dennis may recognise my surname as being that of one of the pioneering families of the Taralga/Goulburn region. His story has me tantalised, because no doubt his Goulburn relatives would have known some of my Miskelly ancestors from the region! Thanks again to all for making such an interesting thread.

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    Sean McHugh

    Cool!

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    Paul B

    OMG!! Trump pulled out of the Paris agreement!!! The world is doomed from USA induced climate-change/disruption/adjustment/variations….

    https://www.cnbc.com/2017/06/02/trump-withdraws-from-paris-agreement-its-not-just-china-who-could-benefit-from-the-move.html

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      sophocles

      Steady on there lad, Stiff Upper Lip and all that stuff.

      Trump has only served Notice of the USA’s departure. It hasn’t happened yet and won’t happen for another two years.

      The climate hasn’t noticed yet and won’t. It can’t, because it’s only talk. But from the way some idiots—and idiots they are—are behaving, you would think it’s a done deal and Hurricane Florence was all his fault.

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    Sean McHugh

    In this thread I’m noticing higher than expected knowledge on steam trains. Are there train buffs visiting or do global-warming questioners have a higher than average interest in steam trains? I’m genuinely curious.

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    David E. Slee

    At the risk of wearing out my welcome here, may I make a few observations counter to some of the views already given by others.

    First to Greebo’s remarks at 20.4 His contention that, in days of old the VR arranged for the last train to each outer suburban terminus was brought back to Jolimont Yard each night for stabling, I did not believe. I therefore checked my copy of the VR 1965 Metropolitan District Working Timetable book to see what the score was. I have to say that what I found surprised me. At that time (chosen as representative of the wide period from the 1930′s through to the the 1970s/1980s at least) the VR had enough cars to make up a little over 150 seven car sets, and probably need about eight to ten less to maintain all their Melbourne suburban services. Examination of the actual schedules of trains to run Monday to Friday showed some 81 sets were in fact stabled overnight at 31 suburban stations. This was a rather different arrangement to that in Sydney where there were four major car-set stabling sites i.e. at Hornsby, Flemington, Punchbowl and Mortdale, spread over the whole system. Nonetheless it does not bear out Grebe’s idea.

    Secondly, the Real Universe observed that it looked like most of the emission was steam. I agree it looks like that, however each pound of coal would in this case probably only generating about 6-7 lb. of steam (almost all of which would be being exhausted through the stack, but would also be generating about 8 lb. of combustion gas productions which must also be passed out through the stack. The spark component would be perhaps be only about an ounce out of the pound of coal.

    Thirdly, Sean McHugh, yes I think you are probably right in suggesting that Rail Fans (especially steam fans) are more skeptical of AGW than most. I think age is the key in that. Steam people are generally much older and experienced the real deal in their youth. They also haven’t been brainwashed at school like our younger ones, have learned to think more for themselves, and understand the “what goes around comes around again”. In saying that perhaps I am selling the younger ones short, as I have come across many youngsters who love their trains but are still at least ambivalent about AGW.

    (Moderator: I tried without success to amend what I see is the preview copy but can’t. Would you please add 1965 between VR and Metropolitan…. in the second sentence of the second Para. DES)

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