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Joined: Thu Sep 27, 2012 11:01 am
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Re: So much for a Leaf being the "backup car"

Sun May 26, 2019 5:24 am

RonDawg wrote:
goldbrick wrote:And yes steam engines are very maintenance intensive. That’s why steam locomotives mostly faded from existence quite quickly once diesel-electric ones became widely available. Normally a company would wait for such a large investment to simply wear out before replacing it, but the maintenance savings were worth retiring many of them early.
Love the analogy! And yes, steam engines were and are very maintenance-intensive which is hugely expensive. I’m very close to the North Carolina Transportation Museum which used to be a steam engine servicing center. Today, it is one of the very few active steam engine rebuilding and servicing centers and it performs a lot of work on it’s and other museum’s fleet of active steamers. Fascinating for us chronologically-advanced folks to watch, ride in, and even drive from time to time.

According to some of the folks at the museum, @RonDawg is quite correct: maintenance was a key driver to the demise of steam locomotion but there were others as well. Operating costs beyond maintenance were high too. A steam loco eats horrendous amounts of oil, coal, wood, or other fuel. It consumes a massive amount of water that has to be frequently refilled and heated impacting any trip length. It takes hours to start one up from cold, not just flipping a switch to start up a diesel, and hours for one to shut down and get cool enough to work on. It requires a significant infrastructure of water and fuel servicing stops and the maintenance of those stops. And accidents are very dangerous since you have high pressure water/steam and a large open firepit with a blazing fire in it.

With all their drawbacks, for me there is nothing quite like seeing a steamer in operation, and to actually drive one at the museum? Priceless. Thanks @RonDawg for this trip down memory lane!
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Re: So much for a Leaf being the "backup car"

Sun May 26, 2019 6:20 am

I often return to a locomotive museum in Durango, CO.
Those things are majestic.

They are also monstrosities. It can be hard to fathom just how much was used to build them and the inefficiency is vertigo inducing. They reflect on the dawn of engineering, somewhat in the same vein that watching a pre-historic start a fire is to think about the beginning of science.
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