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Room 101 - Steam, Diesel or Electric trains?

If you had to put either steam, diesel or electric trains into ‘room 101’, which would it be and why?  ? 

???

  • A bit of a random question, but…

    I would say diesel.  Steam trains make great tourist attractions, and there will never be enough of them to cause any major pollution or climate change problems.

    We've had electric trains for well over a century now, so there's really no good reason why lines haven't been electrified yet.  Why do we still need diesels?

  • That would be my choice too Simon ? They're smelly and dirty and noisy too although some may say that Steam trains are just as, if not more noisy! BUT are steam trains really that  environmentally friendly or more efficient than a diesel train? 

  • Electrification is costly. They only recently (5 years?) electrified the Manchester - Liverpool line, and, to accommodate the overhead wires, they had to lower the track bed to get under each of the bridges - creating a flooding issue. And, of course, it depends on how the electricity is produced.


    From a purely emotional angle, I'd revert to steam :)
  • Hmm ? if we'd never had steam trains, I wonder if we would have invented the internal combustion engine and therefore wouldn't have either diesel or electric trains? I'd banish diesel trains to room 101.

    Interesting fact about lowering the track David ?

  • ohhh tricky one , heritage locomotives are nice to see and in the larger scheme of things dont do much harm , on the few days they run , probably electric ,so you can get a nice view out of the window as you are carried on your journey .

  • Former Community Member
    0 Former Community Member

    Electric traction is highly capital intensive, steam traction is highly labour intensive and requires [say] three hours to get a head of steam.  Diesel traction is lowish capital cost and available at the throw of a switch.  You choose.

  • Now lets be serious here. R&D stopped in 1937 when Fury blew up. Ok there was an attempt by Bullid to buck the trend, which was largely successful. The Rugby testing plant was really getting somewhere then it was closed.

    There is no doubt in many enthusiast minds that the oil lobby won, and the coal lobby lost. Steam on the road was also killed by the taxation brought in 1932, again as part of the lobbying by oil and rubber companies. As far as I am aware electronics have never been used on a reciprocating steam engine, so for example automatic cut off has never been tried?
     

    I am writing a book about steam buses, which ran in London from 1903 to about 1920. Smooth quite, very rapid acceleration, beaten by a cartel and forced out. 
     

    But the central thing is that engineers worked with what fuel they had.

    A group of Swiss engineers have a scheme to generate steam from a central rubbish plant and to use the storage capacity of steam to run every vehicle within an airport. The CO2 and costings are impressive. Can they get funding? Can they heck.

    so everyone is rushing down the hydrogen route, which is very difficult to compress and store, ignoring all other opportunities, and using precious metals in fuel cells which are only marginally better at conversion than - a steam engine! So why not use the technology that we have already, technicians already building engines and boilers, and burn hydrogen or better still methanol derived from scrap wood with solar and wind energy doing the distilling?

    Picture by coolbowers on Twitter at Chester

    fb2324bd2921d2afd87239a6916024e1-original-ffd55993-9862-41f7-a6f0-b310c6ddadd0.jpg

    Maybe steam is not dead. In the meantime  Tornado has been out today stretching its legs, remember brand new a few years ago, built entirely by enthusiasts funded by enthusiasts and pulling revenue earning train but burning Russian coal because of the PC brigade shipped right around Europe. About 6 or 8 full size ‘extinct locos are in the process of being created. What we need is bio coal. It is being and can be made, but no R&D and no government interest- sound familiar?
     

    end of rant!

     

    Russell Bulley C.Eng B.Eng MIET

  • I notice the East -West rail line have chosen diesel for the new trains on this new line…..

  • Diesel engines are more reliable than either steam or electric. They are autonomous and unlike electric engines don't rely upon expensive and often vulnerable overhead electrical systems. Diesels are safe, powerful, reliable and efficient.

    Z.

  • Former Community Member
    0 Former Community Member

     

    fb2324bd2921d2afd87239a6916024e1-original-ffd55993-9862-41f7-a6f0-b310c6ddadd0.jpg

    Maybe steam is not dead. In the meantime  Tornado has been out today stretching its legs, remember brand new a few years ago, built entirely by enthusiasts funded by enthusiasts and pulling revenue earning train but burning Russian coal because of the PC brigade shipped right around Europe. About 6 or 8 full size ‘extinct locos are in the process of being created. What we need is bio coal. It is being and can be made, but no R&D and no government interest- sound familiar?
     

     

    Tornado has shed-loads of electronics on board