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Steam & Excursion > Extreme Climate and alitude effects on steam engine operations?


Date: 02/10/19 06:18
Extreme Climate and alitude effects on steam engine operations?
Author: RailRat

Everyone who has any witts about them, and have traveled up and down, through drastic temperature and altitude changes while driving thier infernal combustion engine automobiles thrugh hill and dale,, have noticed a change in performance, and all they have to to do is regulate thier throttle and brakes, But what about a steam engine pulling a load of freight in the winter up a hill, and then down, in the Winter time, during different altitude and weather changes? So I guess my question is: Are the tested Tolerances during Winter on a big steam boiler like the Big boy, still good during the summer  heat? I guess Winter Baby steps are good for now.

Jim Baker
Riverside, CA



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 02/10/19 08:02 by RailRat.



Date: 02/10/19 07:45
Re: Climate and alitude effects on steam engine operations
Author: HotWater

I was always taught that neither altitude nor ambient temperature, affect performance of a steam engine.



Date: 02/10/19 08:05
Re: Climate and alitude effects on steam engine operations
Author: RailRat

HotWater Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I was always taught that neither altitude nor
> ambient temperature, affect performance of a steam
> engine.

Thanks HW, I changed thread title to Extreme changes.

Jim Baker
Riverside, CA



Date: 02/10/19 09:18
Re: Climate and alitude effects on steam engine operations
Author: railstiesballast

I read somewhere that the effects of extreme cold are worst on the crew in semi-exposed cabs and on appliances.
Staggering through knee deep snow to oil around, climbing on an icy tender deck to get water, getting the water valve to turn on and off, etc. make difficult work.
Anything connected to the boiler will be OK, but if an engine is at rest for a while and the injectors or other hardware is not used you can get in trouble with freezing.
An intermal combustion engine at high altitude cannot draw in enough air so the compression cycle becomes weaker, this does not affect the external combustion steam engine.



Date: 02/10/19 09:39
Re: Climate and alitude effects on steam engine operations
Author: HotWater

railstiesballast Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I read somewhere that the effects of extreme cold
> are worst on the crew in semi-exposed cabs and on
> appliances.
> Staggering through knee deep snow to oil around,
> climbing on an icy tender deck to get water,
> getting the water valve to turn on and off, etc.
> make difficult work.
> Anything connected to the boiler will be OK, but
> if an engine is at rest for a while and the
> injectors or other hardware is not used you can
> get in trouble with freezing.

Those railroads that operated in the extreme cold portions of the U.S. and Canada, had lots of steam "tracer" lines, supplying steam, to various appliances and water valves/hoses between the tender and engine. 



Date: 02/10/19 10:05
Re: Climate and alitude effects on steam engine operations
Author: tehachcond

HotWater Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I was always taught that neither altitude nor
> ambient temperature, affect performance of a steam
> engine.

Jack, is it fair to say that fact was one of the reasons steam was used on the Leadville-Climax run for as long as it was?  The mine at Climax is right around 12,000 feet.

Brian Black
Castle Rock, CO



Date: 02/10/19 10:17
Re: Climate and alitude effects on steam engine operations
Author: HotWater

tehachcond Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> HotWater Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > I was always taught that neither altitude nor
> > ambient temperature, affect performance of a
> steam
> > engine.
>
> Jack, is it fair to say that fact was one of the
> reasons steam was used on the Leadville-Climax run
> for as long as it was?  The mine at Climax is
> right around 12,000 feet.
>
> Brian Black
> Castle Rock, CO

That was reportedly a contributing factor, as the "new" diesel electric units had a pretty difficult time doing very much work up there. In fact, EMD did lots of "altitude testing" involving 567, 645, and 710 engine performance on such D&RGW lines.



Date: 02/11/19 21:48
Re: Climate and alitude effects on steam engine operations
Author: SD45X

C&S 828 was reworked by EMD specifically for the Climax Branch’s high altitude.

Posted from iPhone



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