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Date: 06/10/13 17:18
steam/electric locomotives
Author: agentatascadero

Twice now, I've had this conversation, separated by over 65 years. When I was about 3 years old, during WWII, I was perusing a Railroad magazine, and saw a photo of a steam-electric locomotive. Excitedly, I told my Mom the story, but she assured me that this was impossible...it took a bit of haggling with her before I found the magazine and the photo, she was forced to admit I was correct after all. Today, the subject boiled up again, and my friend could not believe this could possibly be true, but at least he did not say it was impossible. That Railroad magazine is long gone, so this time I Googled it and yes, in fact, there once were such creatures...not many, but a few were built. I'm wondering if any members here know of steam-electric locomotives, and how they function? Anyone can use Google so I would like to stipulate that any responses here would be from the fund of knowledge of the responder's brain, I'll supply the story if no one already knows it. I feel certain that this question will, once again, put on full display the amazing knowledge contained by our membership. AA

Stanford White
Carmel Valley, CA



Date: 06/10/13 17:35
Re: steam/electric locomotives
Author: Krokodil

Durind WWII, the Swiss railroads(SBB) converted some of their E3/3 (0-6-0)switchers to electric heating from the catenary. They put a pantoghraph on the cab roof, not sure how the heating elements worked.

Thomas Eckhardt



Date: 06/10/13 17:35
Re: steam/electric locomotives
Author: HotWater

You are probably remembering those steam turbine electric locomotives that the UP, C&O, and the N&W experimented with. Simply, the steam boiler powered a steam turbine, which drove a large generator, which provided electrical power through the switch gear and then to a bunch of traction motors mounted on the various drive axles.



Date: 06/10/13 17:40
Re: steam/electric locomotives
Author: filmteknik

There were several attempts. You can Google for more information on each. In 1939 GE built a pair of steam turbine / electric drive locomotives that were painted for and tested on the Union Pacific. They looked like streamlined carbody diesels (like E's or F's) but with running gear more like electric locomotives of the day. They burned oil and had condensers for closed loop water use. They had so many problems that an exasperated UP sent them home. They later ran with much better success on NP to help relieve a wartime power shortage.

Next came the group of coal burning turbine electrics built for C&O. Foolish to build something like 5? of them before getting the bugs out of just one. As I recall, they were to pull the Chessie, the great train that never was. A story unto itself.

And finally came the Jawn Henry, on the N&W. More successful but still could not beat the diesel.

Amidst all this...not electric as you requested, was PRR's S2 gear-driven steam turbine.



Date: 06/10/13 17:42
Re: steam/electric locomotives
Author: filmteknik

Ah...if he means the electrically heated otherwise conventional steam locomotive, yes, I've heard of them but can only marvel at the inefficiency of such a scheme.



Date: 06/10/13 17:45
Re: steam/electric locomotives
Author: agentatascadero

Thanks to Mr Eckhart, we have a winner, in just 17 minutes. The Swiss did, indeed, construct a few steam engines that used electric power to heat the water...not exactly the optimal method, eh Hot Water?, but did actually work. These would be in the running for the title of the all time weirdest piece of railroad equipment, do you think? And thanks to all for playing along. AA

Stanford White
Carmel Valley, CA



Date: 06/10/13 18:01
Re: steam/electric locomotives
Author: Red

Ah...I completely misunderstood the concept. I am the friend mentioned. I too, like Hotwater, a recent, but good friend, thought that Agentcasdadro was referring to some of the stem/turine electrics. But, with this new info, that the pantographh heated the boiler in certain Swiss locos...I now finally get the concept. Never heard of this before. Interesting concept INDEED!!!! I've TRULY never heard of this until Stan mentioned this to me today until this thread fullly expained the concept to me....



Date: 06/10/13 18:37
Re: steam/electric locomotives
Author: agentatascadero

filmteknik Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Ah...if he means the electrically heated otherwise
> conventional steam locomotive, yes, I've heard of
> them but can only marvel at the inefficiency of
> such a scheme.


How very true...makes me think of the horrors of having an electric water heater at home...same concept. Back when I switched, I marvelled at the huge savings realized with gas water heater.. AA

Stanford White
Carmel Valley, CA



Date: 06/10/13 18:50
Re: steam/electric locomotives
Author: KeyRouteKen

agentatascadero Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Thanks to Mr Eckhart, we have a winner, in just 17
> minutes. The Swiss did, indeed, construct a few
> steam engines that used electric power to heat the
> water...not exactly the optimal method, eh Hot
> Water?, but did actually work. These would be in
> the running for the title of the all time weirdest
> piece of railroad equipment, do you think? And
> thanks to all for playing along. AA

First off, I submit this pertinent information:
"Switzerland has no natural reserves of coal, but the mountainous region offers plentiful, and cheap, hydroelectricity. During the Second World War, the Swiss Federal Railways fitted two small (0-6-0, designed for 30 km/h) steam locomotives (used for shunting) with a pantograph, so they could use hydroelectricity as a power source. Power was taken from overhead lines (15 kV, 16.6 Hz), and fed to heating elements in the boiler, via two transformers rated together at 480 kW. These locomotives also retained capability to be fired by coal. When necessary, the hot embers were kept in the firebox, allowing to switch into coal quickly when entering the non-electrified tracks. The water circulation pump, the control circuit and the lighting were powered by a battery that was loaded from a rectifier fed by one of the transformers.

The entire device was capable of producing about 300 kg of steam per hour at at 12 atm pressure. It weighted as much as 7 tons (increasing the weight of the locomotive from 35 to 42 tons) and allowed to save 700-1200 kg of coal per working day. It was required about one hour to start this locomotive."

Secondly, I did not officially enter Mr. Stan's "game" because if I did, his story of the mythical Dr.Stein of Monterey would be thrown out for bidding on!!

KRK



Date: 06/10/13 19:35
Re: steam/electric locomotives
Author: agentatascadero

Ken, Pleeease....surely you recall that I knew Jack Stein, MD, who practiced Orthopedic Medicine in Monterey, personally for many years. That old controversy was about the son of the well known Mr Stein of Berkeley. At that time, I accepted yours and the other sources who knew that Stein's son was not my friend Jack....I have NO issue with that. That being said, thanks for your excellent rundown of how the steam electrics functioned. If you would accept the reality of my friend Jack, I have already accepted the fact that Jack has "some other Stein" as his father...deal? Perhaps then we can let this go as "an issue". I've always been an admirer of your contributions here and feel uneasy with the Stein thing as an issue for you...having thought this one was long over..seems I was mistaken. AA

Stanford White
Carmel Valley, CA



Date: 06/10/13 22:53
Re: steam/electric locomotives
Author: john1082




Date: 06/11/13 07:46
Re: steam/electric locomotives
Author: Gary4023

Thanks John for the link. It was most interesting. Until I read the story I was sure if this was a spoof or not...
Gary



Date: 06/12/13 10:12
Re: steam/electric locomotives
Author: Harlock

And as KRK knows, the first secretary of Golden Gate Live Steamers, "Budge" Garbett was an intern for GE and rode on their turbine machine on the UP during its test trials, helping to take measurements and data.

-Mike

Mike Massee
Mojave, CA
Photography, Railroading and more..



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