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Steam & Excursion > Cost to build steam engine, today (?)


Date: 06/14/12 08:32
Cost to build steam engine, today (?)
Author: VunderBob

A question I am asking for someone on a different, non-railroad board: What would be the cost to build, from scratch, a full-sized steam locomotive today?

I quoted $25k for a 1/8 scale Pacific type, and projected $1.6 million for the same engine full sized. Can I get a reality check?

How much were the Chinese-built steamers that were made for excursion use?



Date: 06/14/12 08:45
Re: Cost to build steam engine, today (?)
Author: CPRR

If the 4-6-2 Tornado in England cost 3 million pounds (4,662,138.91 USD), then you get the idea. Not to mention, it took 10 years to build.



Date: 06/14/12 09:26
Re: Cost to build steam engine, today (?)
Author: Macster

Depending on the size of locomotive, $1 million to $7 million, including new technology that most railroads and FRA would probably require since it would be a "new" locomotive.



Date: 06/14/12 10:29
Re: Cost to build steam engine, today (?)
Author: jayR

I have a chart on my website ( http://trainperson99.home.comcast.net/~trainperson99/USRA_cost.html ) showing the cost to build each of the USRA steam engines in 1918-19 (derived from Railway Age, March 21, 1919). So for example, the US government paid $53,619 for a light Mikado steam engine in 1918 and in todays dollars that would be roughly $764,00 (using the change in the CPI to adjust). But, somehow I don't think it could be done for that price.



Date: 06/14/12 11:10
Re: Cost to build steam engine, today (?)
Author: rehunn

You are really close on the price of the boiler alone.



Date: 06/14/12 11:14
Re: Cost to build steam engine, today (?)
Author: Mastadon

When I win the next lottery drawing, I'll let you know what my brand new PRR T1 cost.



Date: 06/14/12 12:37
Re: Cost to build steam engine, today (?)
Author: Emmo213

You could ask this guy. He's building a full sized, standard gauge, wood burning, working replica of the V&T Lyon.

http://imgur.com/a/NV3FM



Date: 06/14/12 13:50
Re: Cost to build steam engine, today (?)
Author: ATSF3751

How about a full sized ABA set of Alco PA's? In warbonnet of course.



Date: 06/14/12 15:32
Re: Cost to build steam engine, today (?)
Author: filmteknik

There are great difficulties overcome in building a large, modern steam engine, principally one piece cast engine bed incorporating frame, boiler saddle, cylinders, and valve chamber all in one. I've always maintained that it would make more sense to build it up out of a series of smaller castings, with suitable modification to the design to include good strong places to join. Advances in welding are why such large, intricate castings are not generally done anymore. But who knows...maybe it could be done the old way.

A set of PA's could be constructed. The biggest problem would be finding trucks because if you have to build them, that's a lot of casting and machining. The rest is not too difficult especially if one is not insisting that every stick of steel is placed exactly like ALCO did. A frame is a number of pieces welded up. Maybe EMD can build it for you under contract. Or maybe you can find some junkers of about the right length and cut and weld to get the exact length you need. Body frame is just lots beams welded up. You'll need some custom pieces for the cab and window area. If they are non structural some things can be cast in resin or whatever works. Otherwise investment castings. So far as I know you can still get 251 engines from FM so you'd be probably be building to MK's PA4 design. You don't want to mess with 244's and in any case there probably are no 16-244's to be had. But you'd use a more modern electrical system like Doyle is doing on his PA4. Yes, it could be done. All it takes is money. But there doesn't seem to be any insurmountable deal breakers. How many should we put you down for?

A more challenging project would be a Baldwin Shark especially if you want it powered with a real Baldwin engine.



Date: 06/14/12 16:11
Re: Cost to build steam engine, today (?)
Author: LarryDoyle

ATSF3751 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> How about a full sized ABA set of Alco PA's? In
> warbonnet of course.


Heretic!

-LD



Date: 06/14/12 16:12
Re: Cost to build steam engine, today (?)
Author: LarryDoyle

VunderBob Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> A question I am asking for someone on a different,
> non-railroad board: What would be the cost to
> build, from scratch, a full-sized steam locomotive
> today?
>
> I quoted $25k for a 1/8 scale Pacific type, and
> projected $1.6 million for the same engine full
> sized. Can I get a reality check?
>
> How much were the Chinese-built steamers that were
> made for excursion use?

If you have to ask the question, you can't afford it.

-LD



Date: 06/14/12 16:44
Re: Cost to build steam engine, today (?)
Author: TimBo611

VunderBob Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

> How much were the Chinese-built steamers that were
> made for excursion use?

This was about 10 years ago (when steam in China was more prevalent), but I've seen quotes for a QJ, complete with FRA Form 4, delivered to a port on the Eastern Seaboard for about $350,000. That's probably gone up a bit since.



Date: 06/14/12 17:19
Re: Cost to build steam engine, today (?)
Author: tomstp

Yeb, and that is why some bought those engines from China because you got a operating engine for about 1/4 of what it cost to rebuild a retired one in the US.



Date: 06/14/12 18:28
Re: Cost to build steam engine, today (?)
Author: PERichardson

One steam loco would be a bit costly. Build a few thousand and the price would come down but that probably wouldn't happen. btw, new Alco prime movers can be purchased in India. I seem to recall a company there re-engined the Alcos for PeruRail.



Date: 06/14/12 20:23
Re: Cost to build steam engine, today (?)
Author: DNRY122

Alco PA's in Warbonnet! Just the thought make us Santa Fe aficianados' hearts beat faster. Back about 80 years ago, there was a movie titled "If I Had a Million", which was a series of episodes involved people from various walks of life suddenly given one Megabuck. For similar effect today, probably $20 or 30M. We'd have a fairly strong contingent voting for a New York Central "Dreyfuss" Hudson. Santa Fe fans already have a very much alive 4-8-4 in the form of 3751, and the folks in Albuquerque seem to be making good progress on 2926. My vote (being a traction fan first of all) would be for a three-car set of Pacific Electric 1200-class interurbans. Much as I love the "Blimps" at OERM, they are hand-me-downs, not original PE cars.



Date: 06/15/12 12:46
Re: Cost to build steam engine, today (?)
Author: webmaster

The big challenge is finding a shop that has the machines capable of manufacturing the various parts. Much of the old smoke stack industries that had the capability are gone.

Todd Clark
Canyon Country, CA
Trainorders.com



Date: 06/15/12 16:08
Re: Cost to build steam engine, today (?)
Author: Txhighballer

The biggest initial challenge, after you have the money, is designing the locomotive and finding a shop that can do the work. It might have to be farmed out to several shops, but you could get your locomotive built right here in the US.



Date: 06/16/12 10:25
Re: Cost to build steam engine, today (?)
Author: ATSF3751

LarryDoyle Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> ATSF3751 Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > How about a full sized ABA set of Alco PA's? In
> > warbonnet of course.
>
>
> Heretic!
>
> -LD


Well, they are "honary steam engines" after all.



Date: 06/17/12 08:57
Re: Cost to build steam engine, today (?)
Author: Mgoldman

Macster Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Depending on the size of locomotive, $1 million to
> $7 million, including new technology that most
> railroads and FRA would probably require since it
> would be a "new" locomotive.

Wait, you mean we could've had a brand new PRR 1361
for less money then what was spent? Sigh.

Would it be sacrilegious to have a PRR T-1 built and
shipped from China?

How much would it cost to simply rescue a pair of
Baldwin Sharks from Michigan?

These and many more questions will be answered on
the next episode of "SOAP"!

/Mitch



Date: 07/06/12 17:17
Re: Cost to build steam engine, today (?)
Author: Gateway97

Mastadon Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> When I win the next lottery drawing, I'll let you
> know what my brand new PRR T1 cost.


Could you maybe spring for an I1sa too?



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