Question posted at another site

ddm502001 May 1, 2019

  1. ddm502001

    ddm502001 TrainBoard Member

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    I also write on a mechanics forum where we appreciate the old Steam power as much as here. UP has converted their mega machines from coal to oil fires, N&S still having the old N&W steam machine on coal so where do they dump the ash bottoms? There are no ash pits remaining I am aware of any more than active coaling towers except on Tourist roads. What of those roads, do they have ash pits?
     
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  2. RailMix

    RailMix TrainBoard Member

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    Don't know, but some short lines have used something as simple as steel plates between the rails to negate any fire danger and just shoveled the ashes up afterwards, perhaps wetting them down with a hose. I have seen PM 1225's crew dump them on the track at a servicing stop. This was done in a barren area, again taking precautions to extinguish any live coals.
    In a somewhat different arena, the former Pere Marquette/C&O rail car ferry Badger, still coal fired and now in auto ferry service across Lake Michigan, ran into some trouble over the dumping of ashes. The source of the complaint turned out to be a Chicago based competitor. There was some talk of converting the boilers to natural gas. Not sure how that wound up, but she's still in service to the best of my knowledge.
     
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  3. ddm502001

    ddm502001 TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks, is a start. As with so many other boilers, does anyone know if the oil converted are using bunker or refined fuel oils in the engines?
     
  4. BNSF FAN

    BNSF FAN TrainBoard Supporter

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    In all my years of watching Southern and NS steam excursions, I don't think I was ever around when they dumped ash. Saw them load coal on many occasions. EPA regs were not as strict back in the 70's, 80's and early 90's so they may have done just the thing Tom described the 1225's crew doing, dump it on the roadbed during service stops.
     
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  5. acptulsa

    acptulsa TrainBoard Member

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    The Santa Fe did use a thing called Bunker C oil during the steam era. During the mixed power era, I believe I've heard that oil fired steam locomotives and early diesels used the same fuel. Whether this was still Bunker C oil, or something more refined for the diesels, I do not know. But the fact that diesels could suckle from the same facilities probably helped them in getting accepted.

    And many oil burners weren't converted, but were built to burn oil.
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2019
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  6. r_i_straw

    r_i_straw Staff Member

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    While waiting for the UP 844 to arrive a few days late in Hearne, Texas a few years ago, (mechanical problems), I got to know the guy who holds the contract to bring fuel oil to the UP steam locomotives wherever they travel. UP was having too many problems getting consistent quality in their fuel and having it delivered exactly to where they wanted it by using local sources. They now get all their fuel oil from the same refinery somewhere in Iowa. It is basically recycled automobile motor oil, however the refinery guarantees that it is well filtered and does not have any antifreeze in it, which apparently many garages mix with their used motor oil to get rid of it. This guy picks up a load with his 18 wheeler tank truck and drives to wherever the locomotive is at the time. He can refuel the 844 or the 3985 (and now the 4014) three times before he has to drive back to Iowa and refill. The UP adds the appropriate time in their tour schedule to allow him to get back with the needed fuel. When a locomotive is out in California it requires another tank truck and driver to do a tag team and swap tank trailers in Salt Lake City. He is always in contact with the engine crew and coordinates where to do the refueling. For the newly restored Big Boy, 2014, I believe they are using the near identical tender borrowed from the 2985, until they can install an oil bunker in the 2014 tender. That way they could concentrate on getting the locomotive itself ready for its big debut this month in Utah.
     
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  7. acptulsa

    acptulsa TrainBoard Member

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    That's the nice thing about steam. If it'll burn, you can find a way to use it to get you down the road.
     
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  8. mmi16

    mmi16 TrainBoard Member

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    To my knowledge Bunker C oil has a very heavy consistency almost to the point of being grease. To be able to flow easily it has to be heated. I believe UP used Bunker C oil with both their steam engines and their turbines. Bunker C oil has never been used on railroad diesels, however it may be being used on some marine diesel. Bunker C is the lowest and cheapest grade of 'oil' that is commercially available.

    I believe UP is using a 'refined' grade of fuel oil in their present steam engines, not Bunker C.
     
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  9. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Locomotives using "Bunker C" usually had steam heat lines from the boiler through the tender, to provide the heat.
     
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  10. minesweeper

    minesweeper TrainBoard Member

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    Ships definitely use Bunker oil for their diesels, but these are monsters turning mere low three digits RPM
     
  11. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Member

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    UP used Bunker C on their turbines for a couple of months, until it eroded the turbine blades. UP called GE to file a warranty claim, so GE sent their turbine project engineer to Cheyenne. Jim took only a moment to inspect the blades, then asked what fuel was in the tanks. When he was told Bunker C, Jim closed his briefcase and told them to forget the claim because the contract read #2 Diesel ONLY!!!!

    This is direct from Jim (last name withheld on purpose) with whom I worked during the 1960s. I wish I could remember other of Jim's experience developing the turbines, because it was fascinating....from an engineering perspective, mind you. Probably TMI on this forum. :confused:
     
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  12. minesweeper

    minesweeper TrainBoard Member

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    :eek::eek::eek::eek::eek::eek::eek:
    Nice try UP! Saving pennies and ending up wasting bucks by the thousand.
    Like the guys using food grade oils on their diesel cars in Europe and bursting their engines after a few thousand miles......
     
  13. r_i_straw

    r_i_straw Staff Member

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    When the UP brought the 3985 on a tour through Texas in June of 1995, a local supplier in San Antonio provided them with a bad batch of recycled motor oil. As I mentioned in a post above, it had a large component of antifreeze, courtesy of the local garages mixing it in with their disposed motor oil. The mix screwed up the oil atomizers in the firebox causing the burners to barely put out enough heat to keep a head of stem while putting out huge clouds of nasty smoke. The excursion train was heading from San Antonio to Fort Worth but running way behind schedule. They were still only to Waco when they were supposed to be in Fort Worth. The excursion sponsors ordered in a buffet of BBQ that was picked up in Waco to try and sooth the disgruntled passengers. They finally got to Fort Worth in the middle of the night.
     
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