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Electric steam

Discussion in 'Steam Traction' started by ssk2400, Jan 25, 2018.

  1. ssk2400

    ssk2400 New Member

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    Just a hyperthetical question how much energy would be required to heat and mantain a average steam locomotive ie black 5 size in operation and would it be possible to intall electric heating ie replace the boiler tubes with heaters and use a generator coach to power it all
    Thanks in advance

    .
     
  2. LesterBrown

    LesterBrown Active Member

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    As there would be no need for a smokebox vacuum to draw the fire the blast pipe could be dispensed with in the interests of efficiency. So it would huff rather than puff. The diesel generator might well be louder, so it begs the question; what's the point? :)
     
  3. 30854

    30854 Well-Known Member

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    Switzerland used OHLE to "fire" steam locos as a WWII emergency measure. Received wisdom is that such conversions weren't a terribly economical means of producing steam, which is hardly surpsurprising given the locos were otherwise bog standard.
    th.jpg
     
  4. Jimc

    Jimc Well-Known Member

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    The steam transmission is enormously less efficient than a conventional electric transmission. I haven't got figures handy but you would probably need **several times** the engine power of an equivalent diesel. I do wonder that if electricity becomes universal on the network whether it would be practical to have a support vehicle at the end of the train with electric pickup to provide light and heat for train and catering and a bit of extra power for banking, getaways and shunting. A refurbished EMU driving unit perhaps.
     
  5. clinker

    clinker New Member

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    On the assumption that Switzerland had the necessary Hydro Electric infrastructure at this time the efficiency, in the sense of 'ability to produce sufficent steam' would be the overiding factor rather that efficency in an economic sense.
     
  6. Johann Marsbar

    Johann Marsbar New Member

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    You could always do what they have done at the National Railroad Museum in Green Bay, Wisconsin to a 2-8-2 that they have there..........

    11-962.jpg

    Looks OK from a distance, doesn't it, and it was engaged in doing some shunting when I visited the Museum back in 2011. However, it didn't seem to be making much noise and there was a distinct lack of steam eminating from anywhere.

    Soon found out why, when I took a closer look at the "tender".........

    11-969.jpg

    The connecting rods on the bogies tend to give it away!!!!

    Presumably they have built a suitable tender body over the chassis frame of a small diesel switcher and installed the controls in the steam loco cab.
    It certainly fooled me when I saw it from a distance.

    Wonder if they could do something similar with "Dwight D Eisenhower"...........:eek:
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2018
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  7. RalphW

    RalphW Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Administrator Friend

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    Since most of the lakes and rivers freeze during the winter, a reliable water supply is not available when needed hence Switzerland has very little hydro power.
     
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  8. Allegheny

    Allegheny New Member

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    A traction motor is considerably more efficient (say 85-90%) compared with a steam locomotive at probably less than 10%.
    There is also the capacity of the cabling and substations to consider. These are only sized to cope with the predicted maximum demand from the scheduled electric service. Typical 25kV overhead conductors are rated at about 200A which gives 5MW. If this was converted to tractive power by an electric steam locomotive at 10% efficiency it would give 500kW, (670 HP) which would only be adequate for low speed operation, and also restrict the use of other trains on the same supply.
     
  9. Enterprise

    Enterprise Part of the furniture

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    Utterly wrong!

    In the 1970s hydro power provided up to 90% of electricity in Switzerland. Now reduced to just under 60% because of substitution by nuclear power.

    http://www.bfe.admin.ch/themen/00490/00491/index.html?lang=en
     
  10. Reading General

    Reading General Part of the furniture

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    seems like it would be finding a way to raise steam just for the sake of it. More effiecnt to use the generaotr (or OHLE) to power traction motors.
     
  11. Hermod

    Hermod Member

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    The max, simple, Stephenson cylinder efficiency is ca 15%.Means that ca 7 times the electric power or energy is needed if boiler is no loss.It is not.
    If this shall be generated on train ,a dieselgenerator of 10 MW is needed within UK loading gauge.Aint no such animal.
    Smarter is to have tractio motors on each tender wheelset and just heat some water to say 110 degree to make the rigth smell,noise and common well being.
     
  12. 30854

    30854 Well-Known Member

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    Sort of. The underlying reason was that coal prices demanded by the neighbouring Herrenvolk went through the roof at the outbreak of war. With juice provided by hydo-electric schemes, yes ... the power was 'there to be used', which didn't alter the inescapable conclusion that there are better ways for railways to utilise OHLE, assuming a little local difficulty hadn't played merry hell with your electric loco construction programme.

    The likewise neutral Republic if Ireland had coal supply issues at the same time, but with zero miles of electrified railway and only a handful of battery powered trains, services away from the cross border GNRI during 'The Emergency' (you've just got to love Irish understatement!) became scarcer and less reliable, leading to large scale dieselisation rather earlier than east of the Irish Sea.

    The Swiss locos thus altered reverted to coal firing by (as late as) 1951. One has survived, though - hardly surprisingly - it's no longer electrically fired! The jolly useful website of Douglas Self (a superb resource for the wierd and wonderful of steam traction) has a fair amount of detail.
    http://www.douglas-self.com/MUSEUM/LOCOLOCO/swisselec/swisselc.htm
     
  13. simon

    simon Resident of Nat Pres

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    It actually has quite a lot of hydro power.
     
  14. Allegheny

    Allegheny New Member

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    In other words you would need to tow four Deltics (or equivalent) behind your steam loco to generate the juice.
     
  15. 30854

    30854 Well-Known Member

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    I'm sure with a bit of effort you could find a less efficient diesel electric and get that number up to at least six!
     
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  16. ssk2400

    ssk2400 New Member

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    So how much power in kw would a black 5 generate that's if it's possible to equate max power of a steam loco in kw ?

    Sent from my SM-N910F using Tapatalk
     
  17. clinker

    clinker New Member

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    A good article, which makes it clear that this was a temporary solution using the technology of the time, and within a (relatively) low budget. Had there been a more 'Permanent' solution needed then the boilers should have been replaced with much larger industrial type electrode units,(probably unavailable at the time) which would produce steam more efficiently, but would still leave the less than efficient chassis and motionwork, the result would look something like a fireless industrial with a pantograph and probably give the same performance. This would only really be practcal in a country using Hydro Electricity.
     
  18. Allegheny

    Allegheny New Member

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    I make it 38.3 x class 08 shunters.
     
  19. Hermod

    Hermod Member

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    Less than 1000kW and not for long time.
     
  20. Allegheny

    Allegheny New Member

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    1000kW is equivalent to 1340 HP. You would possibly get a bit more out of a black 5.
     

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