Advanced Steam

CSR Undertakes First Test of Biocoal with a Steam Locomotive

Milwaukee County Zoo locomotive number 1924 served as the "guinea pig" on these first torrefied biomass tests. Operating on 15 inch gauge track, the locomotive is the perfect scale to begin combustion analyses of torrefied fuel under the highly variable drafting of steam locomotive boilers.

Milwaukee County Zoo locomotive number 1924 served as the "guinea pig" on these first torrefied biomass tests. Operating on 15 inch gauge track, the locomotive is the perfect scale to begin combustion analyses of torrefied fuel under the highly variable drafting of steam locomotive boilers.

From June 10-12, CSR teamed up with the Milwaukee County Zoo, the Natural Resources Research Institute, and New Biomass Energy to undertake the first test of torrefied biomass on a steam locomotive. The tests are a key step in ensuring that the fuel can be used in steam locomotives of all sizes in the face of shuttering coal mines. 

Torrefied biomass pellets used in the testing.

The Milwaukee County Zoo operates two steam locomotives on its 15 inch gauge railroad. With just over a mile of mainline track and upwards of 30 trains per day, the Zoo operation provided CSR the opportunity to compare runs burning coal with identical runs burning "torrefied biomass," also known as "biocoal," in a controlled, test-scale environment.

"We instrumented the locomotive with four, Inconel-sheathed thermocouples to gauge firebed, combustion space, and exhaust gas temperatures when burning coal vs biocoal," explained CSR Senior Mechanical Engineer Wolf Fengler. "Tests were run on Saturday and Sunday, with trains Saturday burning coal and the first runs of Sunday burning biocoal."

Modified grates [bottom] and two of the three thermocouples poking through staybolt telltale holes [left]. Click to Enlarge

CSR worked hand-in-hand with Zoo staff to instrument 4-6-2 steam locomotive number 1924 and undertake the tests [see diagram below]. Torrefied biomass fuel was graciously donated by New Biomass Energy for use during research. The small fuel pellets were burned on a modified stainless steel grate installed by CSR on-site.

"We used National Instruments hardware in concert with its LabView software to record second-by-second temperature data from the sensors," said CSR President Davidson Ward. "Perhaps most exciting was the fact that three of the sensors were directly in the firebox, one submerged in the firebed and two at varying heights above, each of which provided better insights into the combustion behaviors of each fuel."

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While data processing is still underway, initial results indicate that the torrefied biomass fuel burns with a very similar temperature profile as the coal used by the Zoo, but the biomass had a much longer flame profile, which bodes well for producing more uniform stresses in the firebox.

The video below shows a comparison of coal with biocoal under identical, hostling circumstances. Note the length of flame and brightness of the fire generated by the torrefied biomass.

More information, including additional videos of the tests and a detailed White Paper, will be made available later this summer. CSR plans to undertake a second set of tests with the Milwaukee County Zoo with larger torrefied biomass pellets created by NRRI at its Coleraine Minerals Research Laboratory later this year. The organization has also been in discussions with standard-gauge operators about undertaking full scale tests in the future.

The Milwaukee Zoo train tests were made possible by the outstanding assistance of the Milwaukee County Zoo, the Natural Resources Research Institute, New Biomass Energy, the American Boiler Manufacturers Association, and the support of CSR's donors, including generous contributions by Bon French and Fred Gullette.

If you have yet to do so, please:


Dedicated to: Randy Rawson

For the duration of biofuel testing, CSR renamed locomotive 1924 "Randy Rawson" in honor of the former President of the American Boiler Manufacturers Association, W. Randall Rawson, who died in November 2013. He was a superb friend and advocate of CSR, having expressed unwavering interest and support of our biofuel and steam locomotive research. He had always wanted to be present for the first tests of torrefied biomass in a steam locomotive, and we wanted to do our part to honor him. To this day, Rawson's legacy, sense of humor, and enthusiasm continue to serve as an inspiration to the leaders of CSR. 

Modifications in Mainline Steam - The Red Devil

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South African Railways (SAR) Class 26 number 3450 (nicknamed the "Red Devil"), is the product of mechanical engineer David Wardale’s 1981 rebuilding of a Class 25NC 4-8-4 steam locomotive.  The rebuilding, performed at the Salt River Works in Cape Town, South Africa, was based on the works of the Argentinian mechanical engineer L.D. Porta, with whom Wardale corresponded during the modification.

The SAR Class 25 and 25NC 4-8-4’s were a group of 140 locomotive purchased by the South African Railways, delivered between 1953 and 1955 by Henschel and Sohn as well as the North British Locomotive Company. These locomotives featured all the then-contemporary American improvements: one piece cast steel frame with integral cylinders, roller bearings on all axles and motion, as well as mechanical and pressure lubrication.  The last built Class 25NC, number 3450, entered service in 1953 built by Henschel and Sohn, construction No.28697.

Even though SAR management had already decided to replace all steam traction with electric and diesel-electric power, Wardale was determined to show that the efficiency of steam locomotives could be greatly increased.  With the help of Argentinian mechanical engineer L.D. Porta, Wardale set about on a major modification program including the installation of the Gas Producer Combustion System (GPCS) to improve combustion efficiency and the Lempor exhaust system to improve the power output of the cylinders.

At the end of 1979, the rebuilding of number 3450 to Class 26 began.  Several SAR mechanical facilities were involved in producing new parts of modifying existing parts, including: Salt River in Cape Town, Bloemfontein, Beaconsfield in Kimberley, Koedoespoort in Pretoria and Pietermaritzburg.  The modification work had three main goals: 1) improve the combustion efficiency and increase the steam production, 2) reduce smoke emissions and 3) eliminate clinker problems in the firebox.

Following is a list of the principle modifications to the locomotive:

  • Double Lempor Exhaust;
  • Closed Type Feedwater Heater;
  • Enlarged Steam Chests;
  • Enlarged Branch Pipes;
  • Larger Superheater and Front-End Throttle (From a SAR Class GMAM Garratt);
  • Superheat Booster;
  • New Design Piston Valves;
  • Articulated Valve Spindles;
  • Cooled Valve Liners;
  • Diesel-type Piston Rings;
  • Improved Steam Ports;
  • New Design Cylinder Liners;
  • New Design Pistons;
  • Modified Valve Gear;
  • Tender Coal Capacity Increased by 2 Tons;
  • Lengthened Smokebox;
  • Air Sanding;
  • Self-Cleaning Smokebox;
  • New Design Valve and Piston Rod Packings;
  • Cutoff Proportional Lubrication;
  • Modified Insulation;
  • Exhaust Deflectors and
  • Bright Red Paint.

During testing, the locomotive proved capable of achieving nearly 5,000 DBHP, believed to be the highest output attained by any locomotive on Cape Gauge (3'-6").  In comparison, the Red Devil was capable of the following improvements against a standard Class 25NC:

  • 28% Reduction in Coal Consumption;
  • 30% Savings in Water Consumption and
  • 52% Increase in Drawbar Horsepower.

Equally impressive is that the locomotive ended up being cheaper to maintain and operate than diesel-electric locomotives on the railroad, due in large part to its modern construction, the low cost of fuel, and the application of advanced water treatment.

The following table provides a comparison between the Red Devil and other locomotives in operation today.

CATEGORY Southern 4501
As Rebuilt by
TVRM in 2014
SAR Class
25NC
(Unmodified)
SAR Class 26
No. 3450
"Red Devil"
ATSF 3751
As Rebuilt by
ATSF in 1941
General Classification 2-8-2 4-8-4 4-8-4 4-8-4
Cylinders, in. 26.625 x 30 24 x 28 24 x 28 30 x 30
Drivers, in. 63 60 60 80
Boiler Pressure, lbs. 205 225 225 230
Grate area, Sq. ft. 54 70 70 108
Engine weight, lbs. 272,940 214,400 222,400 478,100
Heating surface, Sq. ft. 3,231 3,390 3,104 5,634
Superheater, Sq. ft. 600 630 1,014 800
Drawbar horsepower, hp. 2,150 2,091 4,023 3,600
Power/Weight (dbhp/ton) 15.8 19.5 36.2 15.3
Tractive effort, lbs. 53,900 45,360 52,000 71,719
Builder Baldwin Henschel +
North British
Henschel Baldwin
Date (Rebuit) 1911 (2014) 1953-1955 1953 (1981) 1927 (1941)

It was announced earlier in 2016 that the Red Devil was moved from storage at Monument Station in Capetown to a restoration facility for restoration to operation. The locomotive is set to be used in conjunction with the Ceres Rail Company excursion operation, hauling trains on the mainline between Cape Town and Wolseley. It is unclear whether the locomotive, which had been significantly de-modified, will be rebuilt as a Class 25NC or converted back into a Class 26.

In Memoriam - Phil Girdlestone

Lastly, of course there are the locomotives themselves, magnificent machines that were the true inspiration
— Phil Girdlestone, 2012

Girdlestone shows off a newly-manufactured lightweight multi-ring piston valve from an ACR NGG16. Photo: ACR

Within the past decade, the last revenue-earning steam locomotives have almost entirely vanished from the Earth. While there are thousands parked in municipal parks and museums, the few that remain in operation today are primarily for the tourist-hauling public – a reminder of the trains of yesteryear.

However, a small group of dedicated mechanical engineers and steam technicians have spent years working to make the steam locomotive as mechanically and thermodynamically efficient and reliable as possible. Three of the leading experts, David Wardale, Shaun McMahon, and Phil Girdlstone, are disciples of Argentinean modern steam locomotive expert Livio Dante Porta. Each of them worked directly with Porta on a number of projects on five continents, and following Porta’s death in 2003, they were left to carry on his legacy. One of the most accomplished and senior members of that group, Phil Girdlestone, has died this week at the age of 61. 

Phil Girdlestone (1954-2016) was born in London and, like many children, he became fascinated with the steam locomotive. He spent many hours as a child watching the mainline steam locomotives of the British Railways chuff by, and he also witnessed their replacement by the diesels and electric locomotives that rule the rails today. Girdlestone believed that the steam locomotive still held promise but in a more refined form. In the words of Bob Harris, former Assistant Works Manager at the Ffestiniog Railways Boston Lodge Works: “Phil is a man who firmly believes in his own vision of steam locomotives, born twenty years too late!” 

Girdlestone  started his railway carreer on the 1`-11 ½`` gauge Ffestiniog Railway in north Wales in the summer of 1970 as a volunteer fireman at the age of only 15. By 1977, he had qualified as one of the very few (in those days) volunteer drivers on the line. In January 1979, Girdlestone joined the permanent staff at FR's Boston Lodge Works, and he was soon appointed to the position of Technical Assistant. This allowed him to develop the steam locomotive fleet so as to incorporate modern cost effective enhancements. Brought up in the Allan Garraway-era of the FR, Phil was a keen and disciplined engineer, and he always insisted upon the highest standards when out on the mainline.

This 1984 photograph of the Boston Lodge Workshop shows a 30 year-old Girdlestone (center with paper in hand) as well a 19 year-old McMahon (second from right in the back row). Photo: collection of S.T. McMahon

This 1984 photograph of the Boston Lodge Workshop shows a 30 year-old Girdlestone (center with paper in hand) as well a 19 year-old McMahon (second from right in the back row). Photo: collection of S.T. McMahon

In the 1982, Girdlestone began correspondence with David Wardale and L.D. Porta regarding modern steam development work in South Africa and Argentina. By 1981, the advanced steam improvements to a South African Railway Class 25NC 4-8-4 number 3450 (nicknamed “Red Devil” due to its paint scheme) began to make news. Wardale and Porta had engineered and rebuilt the locomotive to include the latest in thermodynamics, resulting in a steam locomotive that was more powerful, cheaper to maintain, and cheaper to operate than all diesel-electric locomotives on the railroad. In raw numbers, the narrow-gauge 4-8-4 generated more than 4,400 drawbar horsepower (43% higher than standard 25NCs), could travel faster than 75 mph with a 22 car passenger train, and saved 30% in coal and water compared to the unmodified locomotives.

The evidence of modern steam application was staggering, and Girdlestone sought to bring modern steam to his native Great Britain. By 1983, he had been appointed Works Superintendent at Boston Lodge, and he began applying a much heavier set of improvements to 2-4-0 saddle tank tender locomotive (STT) No. 590, a Hunslet Engine Company-manufactured steam locomotive built in 1893.  He and his crew, including a young Shaun McMahon, converted the 2-4-0STT named  “Linda” from oil to coal with an advanced “Gas Producer Combustion System” and Lempor exhaust, much of the same improvements made to the “Red Devil.” After initiation into service in 1985, Linda quickly proved its worth, able to haul longer trains than in its previous configuration as an oil burner, with less than 70% the operating cost of an oil-burning locomotive. Ultimately, a significant drop in oil prices in 1986 resulted in the engine being re-converted to oil, making again a homogenous fleet at the Railway.

Girdlestone (forefront in the cab) with "Linda" post conversion on the Ffestiniog Railway. Note the new smokestack with reinforced gussets along narrow portion. Photo: G. Rushton, collection of S.T. McMahon

Girdlestone (forefront in the cab) with "Linda" post conversion on the Ffestiniog Railway. Note the new smokestack with reinforced gussets along narrow portion. Photo: G. Rushton, collection of S.T. McMahon

The work at the Ffestiniog Railway a technological success, Girdlestone moved to live and work in South Wales at Hugh Philips Engineering Ltd. and worked on the Sudan locomotive modernization program, which included modernization of the locomotive fleet by applying Lempor exhausts and a modified rotary oil burner. Prior to this, Phil had been on standby to move to the U.S to take the position of chief draughtsman on the ACE 3000 project alongside Porta and Wardale. To that end, Porta often described Phil as “the best draughtsman he had ever come across in all of his working years.”

During the summer of 1988, Girdlestone was contracted for a three month period by the Brecon Mountain Railway to design new boilers for their existing fleet as well as consult on the forthcoming purchase of the Vale of Rheidol Railway in mid-Wales by the same company.

Also in 1988, the then-recently-privatized Alfred County Railway in South Africa had begun steam-hauled freight service. The two-foot-gauge ACR hauled logs, produce, and some passengers over its 75 mile-long railroad. The line used a fleet of NGG16 Class 2-6-2+2-6-2 Garratt locomotives to haul its trains, and management, aware of the successes of the “Red Devil” and work Girdlestone had undertaken in Great Britain and Sudan, hired him to serve as its fulltime Chief Mechanical Officer.

Moving from Great Britain to South Africa in September 1988, Girdlestone immediately began modernization work on locomotive 141. The 40 foot long, 62 ton locomotive was significantly larger than “Linda,” carrying a boiler pressure of 180 PSI and generating 21,360 lbs of tractive effort, complete with superheat. Girdlestone and his crew rebuilt the locomotive with a GPCS, Lempor exhaust system, self-cleaning US-style Master Mechanics’ smokebox, computer-designed light weight piston valves with multiple rings (to save steam consumption), and additional improvements.

Girdlestone (middle with arms crossed) and the shop crews at ACR stand before locomotive 138 in February 1996. Photo: collection of S.T. McMahon

Girdlestone (middle with arms crossed) and the shop crews at ACR stand before locomotive 138 in February 1996. Photo: collection of S.T. McMahon

Reclassified as NGG 16A, locomotive No. 141 rolled out of the shop in a bright red paint scheme in August 1989, and it showed immediate improvements (it too was soon nicknamed - based on its coloration –as the “Red Dragon.”) The rebuilt locomotive saved more than 30 percent on coal, generated 10 percent increased pulling power, and significant maintenance cost savings.  The modifications to the Red Dragon resulted in 90% availability, and the cost of the improvements was paid off in less than 12 months.  A similar rebuilding of ACR No. 155 was undertaken in 1990, resulting in equally impressive results.  In addition to developing the NGG 16A class locomotive, Girdlestone went on to design both the NGG 16B and NGG 17 class locomotives for use on the ACR and other South African two foot gauge railways on the national system.

Girdlestone leans out the cab of ACR 141 as it powers up Wilson's Cut. Note the lack of smoke from the stack. Photo: ACR

Girdlestone leans out the cab of ACR 141 as it powers up Wilson's Cut. Note the lack of smoke from the stack. Photo: ACR

While at the ACR, Girdlestone hired Porta disciple Shaun T. McMahon as Assistant CMO of the railroad. Girdlestone hired McMahon to assist during a time of ACR business and the planned takeover of the Port Elizabeth branch. This provided McMahon an opportunity to gain significant experience hands on in the advancement of steam technology.

While at ACR, Girdlestone was co-opted on to a committee to determine what fuel options were open for a partial retention of steam on the 3'-6" gauge SAR mainline (soon to be converted into semi-privatized Spoornet). At that time, steam was still in service only between Kimberley and De Aar and in switching services on the Reef. The result of this initiative was the first oil-fired SAR steam locomotive since an experiment in 1946. This was 15F class 4-8-2 No.2916 which was converted at Germiston depot using equipment from East African Railways, and Girdlestone was brought in to help supervise the tests and tuning up.

This 1991 photograph shows Girdlestone (second from left) shown with other crew involved with conversion of SAR 15F Class 4-8-2 No. 2916 from coal to oil firing. Photo: P. Girdlestone courtesy of H. Odom

This 1991 photograph shows Girdlestone (second from left) shown with other crew involved with conversion of SAR 15F Class 4-8-2 No. 2916 from coal to oil firing. Photo: P. Girdlestone courtesy of H. Odom

The application of the East African "American-type" trough burners to No.2916 was not particularly successful and Girdlestone suggested an alternative. As a result he was asked to design equipment for the conversion of a 25NC class 4-8-4. The impetus behind all this work was to equip locomotives for work during the dry season, the formation of Spoornet having seen elimination of steam in normal service. It was now operated on behalf of the Transnet Heritage Foundation and normal line clearing and the making of firebreaks had ceased. The new burners were circular with superior atomising characteristics and the first was applied to a 25NC of Beaconsfield depot at Kimberly. It was subsequently applied to a second 25NC No.3417 and retrospectively to 15F No.2916 with success.

Girdlestone remained at the ACR through 1999, some years before the railroad shut down operations due to increased truck freight competition, issues with the national railroad board “Spoornet,” and the washing away of a large rail bridge in a flash flood. 

West Coast Railway Class R 4-6-4s numbers 711 and 766 undertake a light engine move from Ballarat to Newport on May 11, 2004. Photo: Tony 'Ashcat' Marsden

West Coast Railway Class R 4-6-4s numbers 711 and 766 undertake a light engine move from Ballarat to Newport on May 11, 2004. Photo: Tony 'Ashcat' Marsden

In 1996 , Girdlestone opened “Girdlestone and Associates,” which undertook contract advanced steam engineering and retrofitting work across the globe.The first major project for G&A took place with the modernization of West Coast Railway (Australia) Class R 4-6-4 type locomotives numbers R 711& R 766, for which Girdlestone provided detailed engineering drawings via correspondence. The retrofits included application of a dual Lempor exhaust, conversion from coal to advanced oil firing, addition of power reverse, and additional detailed improvements to allow the locomotives to maintain speeds on regular steam-hauled excursions between Melbourne and Warrnambool, maintaining a 3 hour and 13 minute schedule along the 166 mile route. The WCR reported a 30% improvement in power and a 30% reduction in fuel consumption compared with standard R class 4-6-4s.

From 2003, Girdlestone (second from right) stands with some of his crew members beside the two foot gauge Class LSN he was building from scratch for a customer in the UK. Photo: collection of S.T. McMahon

From 2003, Girdlestone (second from right) stands with some of his crew members beside the two foot gauge Class LSN he was building from scratch for a customer in the UK. Photo: collection of S.T. McMahon

Between 2000 and 2003 G&A designed and manufactured the main bulk of a two foot gauge modern steam locomotive for a UK customer, denominated Class LSN.  The firm was also hired by Spanish based company ARMF for a number of years so as to carry out locomotive modification work. 

Girdlestone stands in front of P36.0032 after installation of the dual Lempor. Photo: Collection of P. Girdlestone

Girdlestone stands in front of P36.0032 after installation of the dual Lempor. Photo: Collection of P. Girdlestone

Following the engineering work in Australia, Girdlestone took on work modernizing a broad-gauge Russian P36 Class 4-8-4 number P36.0032. The locomotive is owned and operated by Golden Eagle Luxury Trains, a company that operates luxury passenger trains in Russia. They hired G&A to design and construct an advanced dual Lempor Exhaust system for the large passenger locomotive. The one-ton assembly was manufactured in South Africa and air-freighted to Saint Petersburg, Russia, where it was installed on the locomotive in 2004. The train operator realized significant power improvements post-installation, and the locomotive maintains the exhaust system today.

Around the same time, G&A was hired by Argentina’s Ferrocarril Austral Fueguino, a 500 mm gauge operation that hauls tourists in the southern-most city of Ushuaia in Tierra del Fuego. G&A built an 0-6-0 diesel hydraulic locomotive based on a UK design and, later on during 2005, built an 0-4-0+0-4-0T Garratt locomotive from a mix of spare components left over from a spare Garratt that was never completed and a range of new major components, including a new boiler. The small locomotive included the utmost in modernizations and went into service in 2006. It has operated with diesel-like availability and cheaper-than-diesel maintenance and fuel costs since entering operation.

FCAF locomotive "H.R. Zubieta" on a revenue train. The locomotive was built from scratch by G&A in South Africa and shipped to Argentina in 2006. Photo: FCAF

FCAF locomotive "H.R. Zubieta" on a revenue train. The locomotive was built from scratch by G&A in South Africa and shipped to Argentina in 2006. Photo: FCAF

Up until his death, Girdlestone had been focusing on authorship, including having recently published a book detailing the history of SAR Class 25 Condensing and Non-Condensing 4-8-4s (Camels and Cadillacs, Stenvalls 2014 – ISBN 978-91-7266-185-1). He also had a hand in multiple projects advancing the state of the art in steam technology. It is worth noting that his autobiography is complete and awaiting publication. 

Girdlestone was dedicated to steam technology, traveling the world in pursuit of its advancements pushing the state of the art. It was his passion for technology, science, railway development and, above all, the steam locomotive, which drove Phil Girdlestone to dedicate so much to the iron horse.

Phillip R. Girdlestone, locomotive engineer, born September 1, 1954; died April 20, 2016

NEW WHITE PAPER: Advanced Internal Boiler Water Treatment

Engines, both big and small, have used Advanced Internal Boiler Water Treatment, including South African Railways 4-8-4 No. 3450, shown here pulling a train in 1985 in a stunning photograph taken by and courtesy of William E. Botkin.

Engines, both big and small, have used Advanced Internal Boiler Water Treatment, including South African Railways 4-8-4 No. 3450, shown here pulling a train in 1985 in a stunning photograph taken by and courtesy of William E. Botkin.

We hope that your 2016 is off to a good start! While we have been busy on a number of fronts already this year, the CSR Team is excited to announce the release of our newest White Paper and fourth in our series on the Development of Modern Steam: Advanced Internal Boiler Water Treatment.  

This White Paper, was written by CSR Director of Engineering Shaun T. McMahon and provides both technical detail and precedent examples of how important water treatment can be to reducing maintenance cost.
 

 

New White Papers Available

The first white paper outlines exciting research CSR research collaborator, the Natural Resources Research Institute (NRRI) of the University of Minnesota - Duluth, is undertaking in pursuit of converting invasive species to energy in Mauritania. Working with the non-profit  Agency to Facilitate the Growth of Rural Organizations (AFGRO), NRRI has investigated the ability of turning Typha Australis, an invasive relative of the North American cattail that is choking the Senegal River in Mauritania and Senegal, Africa, into a usable, clean cooking, heating and electricity fuel source.

In late June 2013, CSR Board Member and Director for the Center for Applied Research and Technological Development (CARTD) at NRRI, Dr. Don Fosnacht, and Peter P. Strzok of AFGRO traveled to Mauritania to meet with officials and share information about the torrefaction technologies NRRI champions.  

The second white paper is the first in a two-part series on steam locomotive rail wheel dynamics.  An outgrowth of having received a number of inquiries concerning the feasibility of a modern steam locomotive to operate efficiently and safely at higher speeds since announcing "Project 130" in May 2012. That in mind, it has decided to formulate a two-part white paper on steam locomotive speed and rail dynamics: 1.) Precedent Speed and 2.) Primer on the Mechanical Balancing of Steam Locomotives. This paper focuses on the anecodotal history of traditional steam locomotives at speed, while the next paper will provide an in-depth engineering investigation of locomotive wheel balancing and engineering.

The current interest in the Norfolk & Western Railway (N&W) J Class steam locomotive, due to the recent announcement of the Virginia Museum of Transportation's Fire Up 611 committee to investigate the feasibility of restoring locomotive 611 to operation, provides an ideal segway into a solid precedent on steam locomotives at high speed. In this white paper, the high-speed performance of the N&W Class J will be explored. While the 3460-class of locomotives, of which CSR's 3463 is a member, were well suited to running at 100+ miles per hour, it is valuable to take lessons learned from the Class J, which has 14" smaller diameter driving wheels and could attain similar operational speeds.

Want greater detail? We've got it!

CSR is pleased to announce its new "White Paper Program." Working with the University of Minnesota (U of M), the Porta Family Foundation Archives, and other not-for-profit rail and biomass research organizations, CSR's White Paper Program aims to bring scholarly works pertinent to biofuel, modern steam locomotive and transportation research into the public discourse.

As its first White Paper, CSR chose "The Case for a Better American Steam Locomotive," written by foremost modern steam mechanical engineer L.D. Porta in the mid-1970's in response to the 1973 Arab Oil Embargo and two articles published inTrains Magazine during the 1960's .  Originally intended to be published in Trains, this paper deals with aspects U.S. and European locomotive design and the need for alternatively-fueled motive power (coal was popular at that time).

Of specific interest today, at a time whenUnion Pacific is discussing the possibility of rebuilding one of their "Big Boy" locomotives, this article discusses how, through careful thermodynamic design, a Big Boy could produce in excess of 10,000 drawbar horsepower.  Not simply a "pie in the sky" argument, similar engineering principles were applied to the South African Railways 4-8-4 No. 3450 a few years after this article was written, resulting in 40% higher drawbar horsepower, a 30% reduction in coal consumption and a 30% reduction in water demand, not to mention decreased maintenance cost.

So, enjoy this paper and look forward to other technical documents CSR will post on its website over the coming months.  And, if you have yet to join our email list or sign up as a supporter, please consider doing so in the closing days of 2012!  As with other not-for-profits, every bit of support helps CSR meet its goals and continue to provide innovative research and compelling papers.