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Steam & Excursion > Would testing sizes of coal show reduced cinders on C&TS?


Date: 06/16/22 13:12
Would testing sizes of coal show reduced cinders on C&TS?
Author: PlyWoody

Has Cumbres & Toltec Scenic RR ever experimented with smaller size coal to obtain less burning cinders?  I have always seen them to use Run of the Mine size coal that varies from 5” chunks down to slack.

What results would they obtain by using Egg, Nut, Stoker, or Slack size coal to see if any of these sizes would reduce the size or heat of the cinders?  If Slack for example produced no cinders, it would be worth the price to buy sorted coal.
 
When the 5” sizes of chunk coal explode in the heat of the fire bed, they blow smaller sized pieces up into the gas currents that take it to the smoke box and up the stack just as they are catching fire to rain down on the country side. 

These tests could be done with some good dark night, even in a light rain, and video the results from the various sizes coal and measure the flaming candle results.  
 



Date: 06/16/22 13:49
Re: Would testing sizes of coal show reduced cinders on C&TS?
Author: callum_out

Charcoal Briquets might be another suggestion! What have you people got against oil burners?

Out 



Date: 06/16/22 13:53
Re: Would testing sizes of coal show reduced cinders on C&TS?
Author: ClubCar

callum_out Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Charcoal Briquettes might be another suggestion!
> What have you people got against oil burners?
>
> Out 
Most likely; the cost of converting and the price of oil, especially now that our country needs more gasoline for our lively-hood.
John in White Marsh, Maryland



Date: 06/16/22 14:41
Re: Would testing sizes of coal show reduced cinders on C&TS?
Author: HotWater

For what it's worth, the BTU rating and the amount of ash produced, especially in hand fired applications, is much more important than the amount of cinders. Excellent quality high BTU, low ash coal, doesn't produce than much cinders anyway.



Date: 06/16/22 17:05
Re: Would testing sizes of coal show reduced cinders on C&TS?
Author: wcamp1472

Re: Sources of oil for steam loco fuels...( not from 'fresh oil' markets for fuels)...

Most oil consumed by excursion steam locos is used-oil drainings from
highway vehicles.  There is a type of this 'filtered' oil .--- but, Doyle ( 4449)
preferred the, raw, 'untreated' waste oil ---- he claims it burns way hotter..

The Grand Canyon RR burns waste 'restaurant' fryer oil; maybe others do likewise, now.
The EPA has awarded green environmental-stickers ( worn on the loco cab sides).

The EPA made the award based on the fact that waste fryer oil was kept out of the land-fills.
Overtime, millions of gallons of waste oil in land fills decomposes into methane gas --- a strong,
pernicious polutant.   Thus, the steam locos are helping to reduce  that strong pollutant.

Locos used to burn refiners' waste product : residual oil ---- the gunk left-over at the 
end of the refining process ( sometimes called 'bunker C' oils).  Not much of that
around due to better refining processes.

W.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/16/22 17:10 by wcamp1472.



Date: 06/16/22 22:53
Re: Would testing sizes of coal show reduced cinders on C&TS?
Author: junctiontower

wcamp1472 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Re: Sources of oil for steam loco fuels...( not
> from 'fresh oil' markets for fuels)...
>
> Most oil consumed by excursion steam locos is
> used-oil drainings from
> highway vehicles.  There is a type of this
> 'filtered' oil .--- but, Doyle ( 4449)
> preferred the, raw, 'untreated' waste oil ---- he
> claims it burns way hotter..
>
> ​W.

I find that interesting because my employer heats our shop buildings with waste oil snd we struggle with consistency and quality, even though we generate around 75% of the oil ourselves. Maybe a locomotive burner is a lot less sensitive, but our furnaces sometimes struggle with the differences between different weights of engine oils with gear oils, residual diesel fuel from drained filters, and various contaminants. The furnaces work, but it takes a pretty good amount of time and money to KEEP them working. We deal with a lot of cracking from inconsistent heat levels, soot, corrosion and wear. It’s not practical for us, but I think a refined product would be much preferred in a steam engine application.

Posted from iPhone



Date: 06/17/22 06:09
Re: Would testing sizes of coal show reduced cinders on C&TS?
Author: wcamp1472

Steam Locomotives, that burn oil, had consumed  a very thick-weight oil 
which was the residue left over from the refining process .... sometimes called
'resid'..  in order to get it to flow, the oil tank must be heated.

Steam loco oil burners have two rectangular openings: the lower ( steam port)
rectangular  opening produces a flat, broad fan pattern.  The fuel oil, after leaving
a 'steam-jacket' supply pipe ( over the trailing truck), is fed out the upper rectangular
opening...out onto the 'steam fan'.

In today's world, 'resid' can be more costly than waste oil, and waste oil has impurities,
grit, and dirt ----  none of which clogs, or obstructs the oil flow at the burner.

 As I've said, Doyle's experience was that the 'raw' waste oil ( needn't be heated,
and flowed easy at warm ambient temperatures), burned at hotter temperatures,
than 'processed' waste-oil.   

The automotive waste oil doesn't burn as hot, per unit volume, as the old 'resid' ---  so the oil
tank in the tender could be built to hold, like, 10% more volume...

Waste-oil works just fine in locomotive oil burners...

W.

 



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/19/22 14:21 by wcamp1472.



Date: 06/17/22 17:24
Re: Would testing sizes of coal show reduced cinders on C&TS?
Author: PlyWoody

Well, in about 24 hours the count show about 575 member have read my suggestion and question if a sorted coal of certain size would produce less or no flaming cinder to help prevent forest fires that may shut the railroad down.  The six posts of replies changed the subject and evade giving any information that testing size of coal has ever been done.  This is a important subject that should be tested by rebuilding the fire in an engine when a train returns to Antonito after Osier meal stop, using a certain size of sorted coal each of five nights.  The test would be run in the dark to Lava loop with cameras set up to record each trip and then the results could be compared.  Over 500 readers and no one has any opinion to discus what they think might be the result. Has anyone else ever tested different size of coal for a reduction of flaming sparks? 



Date: 06/17/22 17:40
Re: Would testing sizes of coal show reduced cinders on C&TS?
Author: HotWater

PlyWoody Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Well, in about 24 hours the count show about 575
> member have read my suggestion and question if a
> sorted coal of certain size would produce less or
> no flaming cinder to help prevent forest fires
> that may shut the railroad down.  The six posts
> of replies changed the subject and evade giving
> any information that testing size of coal has ever
> been done.  This is a important subject that
> should be tested by rebuilding the fire in an
> engine when a train returns to Antonito after
> Osier meal stop, using a certain size of sorted
> coal each of five nights.  The test would be run
> in the dark to Lava loop with cameras set up to
> record each trip and then the results could be
> compared.  Over 500 readers and no one has any
> opinion to discus what they think might be the
> result. Has anyone else ever tested different size
> of coal for a reduction of flaming sparks? 

Maybe it's just me but,,,,,,,,,,,I really don't think you know what you are talking about. Have you EVER fired a hand fired, coal burning, steam locomotive at full load?



Date: 06/17/22 18:11
Re: Would testing sizes of coal show reduced cinders on C&TS?
Author: wcamp1472

OK, I'll bite...

The throwing of sparks is totally dependent on the load behind the tender AND
whether the track profile is upgrade or down grade.

Also, a critical area is the grate area and the firebox shape.  Large, wide grates, and 
big-volume fireboxes tend to have lower differential pressures below & above the grates.

Small, narrow grates need a deep firebed, and produce great amounts of glowing cinders---
especially when subjected to very strong drafts and hard pulls.

As soft coal burns, it breaks apart --- all coal must be converted to carbon in the gaseous state.
So, its relatively immaterial the form of the stuff you throw in there...it's all going to have to be
broken down ....  The old style ( pre-1930) fireboxes tended to be narrow & between the rear drivers.
So, they were built to pull strong drafts through the grates.   Rule #1: All coal must be broken-down
to small bits & converted into carbon as a gas ( in order to chemically combine with the available
oxygen ...also a gas).

I contend that is no difference in 'spark-generation' based on the lump size tossed in.

An area to look atso is the "front-end" netting ---- and how new it is -- as well as the size of 
the mesh openings.   A lot of what I've read indicates that the original netting dimensions 
aparently have gotten badly worn with wider openings ---- than when originally installed.
Thus, more sparks get ejected...

Modern solutions included the Patented " Cyclone Front Ends.  These were a vertical drum,
similar to a snail-shell with the exhaust stack in the center.  The higher the velocity of the
burning gasses, the greater the centrifugal force in the spiral ducting.....thus, driving
the solids against the internal, vertical corrugations --- which breaks up the glowing embers.

The harder you beat the loco, the more the cinders are abraded to cold bits...
The gas path is always wide open, whereas, netting can trap and retain cinder bits...
amd in extreme cases, can get clogged with trapped bits.

Strong drafts lift the smoke plumes higher into the cold air --- lessening hot sparks
falling from the sky.

Low drafts encourage firemen to throw-on more coal, and contribute to
more glowing bits up-the-stack.  Low drafts up the stack don't throw sparks very far.
Throwing on more coal does not make the fire hotter --- in fact it tends to cool it down.  
Ergo, becoming a 'spark-generating' laboratory..

So, the biggest factor is studying the firing habits of the crews...
Coal behaves nearly the same, regardless of what 'shape' gets thrown in there.

Stokers are better at grinding the coal for easier conversion to the carbon-gas,
that will quickly burn.  I think the record would show that stoker equipped locos
have lower probability of throwing sparks.   ( high crosswinds also contribute to
lineside fires.. even with stokers).

W.

not proofed, yet



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/17/22 19:26 by wcamp1472.



Date: 06/18/22 05:24
Re: Would testing sizes of coal show reduced cinders on C&TS?
Author: PlyWoody

HotWater Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
 
>
> Maybe it's just me but,,,,,,,,,,,I really don't
> think you know what you are talking about. Have
> you EVER fired a hand fired, coal burning, steam
> locomotive at full load?

It is just you.......I fired CO-NMRRA #483 up Cumbres.  Your posts are always non-productive snark.  I'm asking a question because I don't know if different size coal could produce less sparks. 



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/18/22 10:57 by PlyWoody.



Date: 06/18/22 06:18
Re: Would testing sizes of coal show reduced cinders on C&TS?
Author: WW

During previous dry years,. the C&TS would wash the coal down in the tender prior to train departure.  That removed a lot of the "fines" from the coal and reduced cinder production substantially.  They also issued slow orders on trains ascending Cumbres Pass. from Chama.  That resulted in reducing cinder production further.  They would also double-head even the "regular" 7 car consist on occasion.  Two locomotives running at lower throttle produced less cinders than one working hard.  The results of that program were successful.  Fewer fires set and no major fires in one of the driest years on record.  So, the folks at the C&TS already were doing things that worked long before it became "cool."  Also, using smaller coal actually produces more cinders.  UP found that out with 3985 when they were using small "nut" power plant coal--one reason that 3985 was converted to oil.



Date: 06/18/22 07:31
Re: Would testing sizes of coal show reduced cinders on C&TS?
Author: wcamp1472

Above makes perfect sense.
Thank you, WW

(I thought all firemen knew about soaking the coal pile.
Too much dust flying around in the cab, without wet coal pile..)

Oh, well!

Wes C.



Date: 06/19/22 16:57
Re: Would testing sizes of coal show reduced cinders on C&TS?
Author: wcamp1472

On the engines you're discussing:
What is the shape of the hottest firebed of the subject locos?
Thick or thin?
Heavier in some places?
What size coal lumps are you favorite to toss-in?

How do you manage the various track profile demands?
Ever have any "water carry-over" towards the pistons?

Steam-closed cylinder cocks or 'mechanical' cylinder cocks?

W.

 



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