Questions RE: Locomotive 3463


Q: What will happen if original parts are removed from the locomotive during the rebuild (e.g. the firepan, damper, oil burner equipment, etc.)?

A: Parts removed from the engine will be stored for future research, use or display. This doesn’t include life-expired items that would normally be scrapped in a standard “preservation” style rebuild, such as rusted out sections of pipe, metal plates or unusable staybolts.

Q: Will the appearance of locomotive # 3463 be changed radically? 

A: The form of the steam locomotive will not be radically changed, just the performance, emissions and operating & maintenance costs. Locomotive may be streamlined to improve aerodynamics at higher speeds for testing with a removable shroud, but like many steam locomotives in the US and around the world that were streamlined, the shrouding can be removed later. Note that one locomotive of the ATSF 3460 class was streamlined, #3460, and that the entire class of engines were designed to be converted to burn solid fuel. Hence it is more than likely that the modifications that are to be carried out would have formed part of the overall development plan for this class of locomotive, had steam continued to be developed and these locomotives had kept on working rather than being withdrawn from service.



Q: What is the anticipated performance of locomotive 3463?

A: The anticipated performance level of the locomotive is to be able to match the train handling ability of two contemporary diesel-electric passenger locomotives on a passenger train.

Q: Why did CSR select ATSF 3463 for restoration?

The ATSF 3463 was selected for a variety of reasons. First, the locomotive is relatively modern for its time, featuring: a one-piece cast bed frame, roller bearings on all axles and modern appliances. Furthermore, the locomotive’s large driver size and short piston stroke lend it to high speed running, more so than larger, heavier 4-8-4-type locomotives. Finally, as outlined previously in this FAQ section, the work proposed in this project are a logical outgrowth of what the Santa Fe would have originally performed (converting to solid fuel, improving efficiency, streamlining, etc.). Having worked with the Great Overland Station to save the locomotive from slow self-destruction, we plan to build upon the locomotive class’s strong history by making history.

Q: Will excursion trains be run?

CSR aims to operate 3463 in the context of passenger or commuter rail operations, and it would entertain powering excursions put on by other groups if appropriate opportunities to operate the locomotive arise.

Biofuel Questions

Q: What is Biocoal?

A: Technically known as "torrefied biomass," biocoal is cellulosic biomaterial that has been thermally processed in a low-oxygen environment. Since it is made from biomass, it is net-carbon neutral and, while it exhibits all of the positive traits of coal, including low ash content, high energy density, hydrophobicity and grindability, it does not contain heavy metals, sulfur and net carbon impact of the fossil fuel.

Q: What does Biocoal look like?

A: Biocoal, before it is densified, resembles the chipped biomass that enters the reaction. Generally dark brown in color, biocoal produced by the Natural Resources Research Institue (NRRI) at the University of Minnesota can be custom densified to fit the end use. Whether creating small 3/8" x ½" pellets for use in a furnace, 1.5"x1" pucks for use in the medium sized boilers, or larger briquettes to be ground and burned in fluidized bed combustion, biocoal has the unique ability to fit any end use or transportation mode.

Q: What is Torrefaction?

A. Torrefaction is a French word meaning: to roast. Initially developed as an outgrowth of the coffee roasting industry, torrefaction involves the "mild pyrolysis" of cellulosic biomass. In layman's terms, the woody material is heated up in the absence of oxygen, driving off a certain percent of volatiles, drying the material and, through proper densification, making the material both hydrophobic and energy dense. Part of the success of torrefaction results from the reuse of gasses driven off in the heat of reaction. This, combined with the unique characteristics of the increase in net calorific value of wood when dried, lends torrefaction overall thermal efficiency of up-to 96%, an efficiency that is rarely met by other biofuel conversion processes.

Q: How is Biocoal different than charcoal?

A: Biocoal and charcoal are significantly different in both manufacture and characteristics. Charcoal is made in an oxygenated atmosphere in a process that is roughly 20-40% thermally efficient (as opposed to 96% thermally efficient for torrefied biomass). Manufacturing charcoal is a more time-intensive process that results in a greater portion of material being driven off and a less dense product.