History Main / SteamNeverDies

1st Dec '16 11:47:57 AM cantab
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* Steam ''turbines'' are what remain common in electrical power generation and on large ships. Large steam turbines can be very efficient but they work best running at one fixed speed. That's perfect for an electrical generator, and a ship can use gears or fancier turbines to allow a choice of a few propeller speeds (or use a generator, electricity, and a motor). But direct propulsion of locomotive wheels requires varying speed, and so steam turbine locomotives were rarely successful.
29th Sep '16 7:22:44 AM Jhonny
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* China probably takes the cake for "shortest time between last steam and first high speed train". Steam trains last ran in regular revenue service along main lines in December 2005. The Shanghai Maglev opened in 2004 (making that time ''negative two years'') and in 2008 the first high speed line opened allowing steel wheel on steel rail trains to run at up to 350 km/h. Just three years after steam "died". And some steam locomotives are still in service as tourist attractions.

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* China probably takes the cake for "shortest time between last steam and first high speed train". Steam trains last ran in regular revenue service along main lines in December 2005. The Shanghai Maglev opened in 2004 (making that time ''negative two years'') and in 2008 the first [[UsefulNotes/HighSpeedRail high speed line line]] opened allowing steel wheel on steel rail trains to run at up to 350 km/h. Just three years after steam "died". And some steam locomotives are still in service as tourist attractions.
29th Sep '16 7:12:06 AM Jhonny
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** Sweeden has just dragged its' last strateigic reserve lcomotive from its' shed, and sold it to a preservation society.

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** Sweeden Sweden has just dragged its' last strateigic reserve lcomotive from its' shed, and sold it to a preservation society.
28th Sep '16 6:38:16 PM Arch9enius
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** During one particularly bad British winter in 2009, hundreds of passengers found themselves stranded after the weather disabled the electrics on modern trains. Enter the [[BreakOutTheMuseumPiece restored steam locomotive]] ''Tornado'' which could run quite happily without electricity.

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** During one particularly bad British winter in 2009, hundreds of passengers found themselves stranded after the weather disabled the electrics on modern trains. Enter the [[BreakOutTheMuseumPiece restored newbuild steam locomotive]] ''Tornado'' which could run quite happily without electricity.
28th Sep '16 6:31:54 PM Arch9enius
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*** As late as 2014 they could be found working on a short line serving a coal mine in Bosnia. They used to run the trains the full distance on the mainline, but now leave the ([[FiveFingerDiscount lighter]] ) wagons in a yard for collection by the state railway. Other mines in the area used USATC 0-6-0T engines from the allied side of the war, some locally built.


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** Sweeden has just dragged its' last strateigic reserve lcomotive from its' shed, and sold it to a preservation society.
11th Sep '16 9:57:33 AM Jhonny
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** They also forget a couple of other important points. One, that the steam engine depended on the availability of large numbers of people willing to do dirty jobs for little money, and they aren't around any more. Two, that the thermal efficiency was appalling, and not susceptible of improvement. Innumerable devices to improve efficiency were tried, but the invariable result was that the efficiency gain was small, while the maintenance requirements increased enormously, and it just wasn't worth it; the same would still apply to any new-design locomotive. In effect, not only does Steam Never Die, but ''The Rocket'' never died - the failure of any change to that basic design meant that even the latest and most advanced steam locomotives were still recognisably just ''The Rocket'' writ large.

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** They also forget a couple of other important points. One, that the steam engine depended on the availability of large numbers of people willing to do dirty jobs for little money, and they aren't around any more. Two, that the thermal efficiency was appalling, and not susceptible of improvement. Innumerable devices to improve efficiency were tried, but the invariable result was that the efficiency gain was small, while the maintenance requirements increased enormously, and it just wasn't worth it; the same would still apply to any new-design locomotive. In effect, not only does Steam Never Die, but ''The Rocket'' never died - the failure of any change to that basic design meant that even the latest and most advanced steam locomotives were still recognisably recognizably just ''The Rocket'' writ large.large.
** There is another aspect: While coal is indeed more plentiful than liquid fuels and coal ''cannot'' be used for internal propulsion engines (Rudolf Diesel initially intended his engine for coal dust - neither he nor any of his successors could get it to work), however, Coal can be converted into liquid fuel via the [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fischer%E2%80%93Tropsch_process Fischer Tropsch process]] which has been known since the 1920s. While its energy efficiency is ''atrocious'', it is still more than made up for by the better fuel efficiency of internal combustion compared to steam. Indeed, many countries that for one reason or another had no access to oil used exactly this process, be it Apartheid South Africa, NazisWithGnarlyWeapons or EastGermany, though the latter also kept using steam engines almost until the very end.
11th Sep '16 9:51:11 AM Jhonny
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* The UK kept building new steam locomotives well into the 1960s while most of Europe was going over to diesel or electric locomotives, mostly out of economic necessity. Oil had to be expensively shipped in from overseas, and overhead electrification required a huge up-front investment that was completely off the table in the early days of UsefulNotes/NationalRail; what hadn't been wrecked by German bombs had been run ragged supporting the war effort. But what we ''did'' have was plenty of coal.

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* The UK kept building new steam locomotives well into the 1960s while most of Europe was going over to diesel or electric locomotives, mostly out of economic necessity. Oil had to be expensively shipped in from overseas, and overhead electrification required a huge up-front investment that was completely off the table in the early days of UsefulNotes/NationalRail; [[UsefulNotes/NationalRail British Rail]]; what hadn't been wrecked by German bombs had been run ragged supporting the war effort. But what we Britain ''did'' have was plenty of coal.
10th Sep '16 1:12:13 AM Morgenthaler
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* The UK kept building new steam locomotives well into the 1960s while most of Europe was going over to diesel or electric locomotives, mostly out of economic necessity. Oil had to be expensively shipped in from overseas, and overhead electrification required a huge up-front investment that was completely off the table in the early days of NationalRail; what hadn't been wrecked by German bombs had been run ragged supporting the war effort. But what we ''did'' have was plenty of coal.

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* The UK kept building new steam locomotives well into the 1960s while most of Europe was going over to diesel or electric locomotives, mostly out of economic necessity. Oil had to be expensively shipped in from overseas, and overhead electrification required a huge up-front investment that was completely off the table in the early days of NationalRail; UsefulNotes/NationalRail; what hadn't been wrecked by German bombs had been run ragged supporting the war effort. But what we ''did'' have was plenty of coal.
24th Aug '16 9:28:33 AM OtterOverthinker
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** During one particularly bad British winter in 2009, hundreds of passengers found themselves stranded after the weather disabled the electrics on modern trains. Enter the [[BreakOutTheMuseumPiece restored steam locomotive]] ''Tornado'' which could run quite happily without electricity.
15th Jul '16 9:57:35 AM TimberRidge
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* [[LampshadeHanging Lampshaded]] and [[JustifiedTrope justified]] by the Woolfonts & Chickmarsh Railway in the ''Literature/VillageTales'' series. Which was cunningly begun as a heritage steam railway, community-owned, and then microfranchised into an indispensable link in the national network (although with traffic limitations so as not to disturb the villages), to the great profit of the said villages.
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http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/article_history.php?article=Main.SteamNeverDies