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Monday Train Blogging: New England Autumn

by DoDo Wed Nov 23rd, 2005 at 07:55:11 AM EST

From the front page ~ whataboutbob

This week I'll be short – today the first snow fell in Budapest, so I say farewell to autumn with this photo:

Taken from RailPictures.net (click link for larger version!), Robert W. Lyndall's photo shows preserved locomotive Chesapeake & Ohio #614 with a special train of 25(!) cars atop Moodna Viaduct (Salisbury Mills, NY), on its way back to Hoboken, NJ From Port Jervis, NY.


(To regular readers who know my schedule: thematic posts resume next week, I'm still missing some data for what I planned for today.)


Previous Monday Train Bloggings:

  1. (Premiere/ modern Austrian trains & locos)
  2. Adventure
  3. Fast Steam
  4. Heavy Haul
  5. Forgotten Colorado
  6. The Hardest Job
  7. Blowback
  8. Highest Speed

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Saw this on the BBC site today: Trouble on the line for new SA train

It is a single project which, if it goes ahead, will cost almost three times South Africa's transport budget for this year.

Depending on who you believe, it will either revolutionise the way South Africans see public transport and tempt them away from gridlocked roads - or it will swallow public money while transporting only a handful of white-collar professionals.

The Gautrain is intended to link Johannesburg - South Africa's economic hub - with the national capital, Tshwane (previously called Pretoria), 50km away in 40 minutes.

That would be a huge improvement on a journey that can take up to two hours by car when the traffic is particularly bad.

Pressure on the transport system will intensify when South Africa hosts the 2010 Football World Cup and proponents of the Gautrain see it as a way of moving visitors to and from the airport, their hotels and the match venues around Gauteng province.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Nov 21st, 2005 at 11:15:20 AM EST
That's a great photo...

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Mon Nov 21st, 2005 at 04:25:05 PM EST
Nice picture but holy crap that's a lot of black smoke. Is that as toxic as it looks?

Hrothgar
by Hrothgar on Mon Nov 21st, 2005 at 05:33:46 PM EST
Could be - such dirty smoke indicates low-quality coal (or even wood, but I believe this particular locomotive was never fed wood). For a photo of the same locomotive burning cleaner coal, check the photo on the maintainer's homepage. (The white is water condensated in the cold.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Nov 21st, 2005 at 05:48:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oxides of sulfur, small particles, traces of heavy metals, polycyclic aromides . . . it's all there!  

(Not much oxides of nitrogen though.)  

Yes the switch to diesel received universal accolades for being clean!  

This locomotive never burned wood, and could not.  The tip-off is the smoke stack, which is so small and short it is almost invisible.  Wood burners require large, fat stacks that hold the screens that filter out the burning embers--without which you would be setting grass and forest fires all along your route as you chugged merrily along.  

The thick smoke shows the fire in the box has been freshly stoked.  As the coals burn down the smoke they put out can decline nearly to invisibility (in a photo like this.  It never really falls to nothing.)  

The Fates are kind.

by Gaianne on Tue Nov 22nd, 2005 at 05:00:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The tip-off is the smoke stack, which is so small and short it is almost invisible.  Wood burners require large, fat stacks that hold the screens that filter out the burning embers--without which you would be setting grass and forest fires all along your route as you chugged merrily along.

This is not entirely correct. First, the smokestack of this locomotive is not small: most of it is inside the part in front of the boiler (the smokebox), which is much bigger than on the popular older American locomotives. Second, newer spark arresters didn't require as much space, and were built inside the smokebox. Third, spark arresters were required in Europe for coal-burners too, especially on burners of low-quality coal - and even they don't stop all sparks, that's why nostalgic trains are prohibited to run during summer droughts here. See the cut-view of German locomotive class 86 - the spark arrester is marked 107:

Image hosted by PicsPlace.to

BTW, wood was burnt in coal-burners sometimes (at least it happened in some instances in post-war Europe.

As for freshly stoked, thanks, I never thought of that  (as an excuse, I'm too young (and not enough involved with nostalgic trains) to know steam locomotive operation well enough).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Nov 22nd, 2005 at 07:10:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
a snow cap:

Source: Japan Society of Civil Engineers Digital Archives

I will become a patissier, God willing.

by tuasfait on Mon Nov 21st, 2005 at 08:30:53 PM EST
It's a sight to behold. The mountains (glorified hills really) have colors that you wouldn't think possible - nothing like the earthtone tinged reds, yellows and oranges in Europe. I remember my parents were driving down to the Cape their first fall in the US when they heard on the car radio about some Japanese tourists coming over to see the fall colours in New Hampshire. They promptly turned around and went north - they didn't regret it.  There's a reason why the Times has a leaf map every day during the fall.

NYC itself is nowhere near as nice but you can get some good colours just a bit north of here along the Hudson valley (gorgeous river valley in all respects). Riding up north along the river to Bear Mt. (40-50 mi. from NYC) is a wonderful early October bike ride. If you have the endurance continuing up to West Point is great as well. The freight train that runs along the same route isn't so picturesque.

by MarekNYC on Tue Nov 22nd, 2005 at 01:52:38 AM EST
Beautiful leaves, obscured by sooty carbon emissions.

It has been a warm fall in New England this year, and the trees changed color much later than they usually do.

Climate change, anyone?

Sorry, I don't like that photo.  At all.  Call me a stupid environmentalist, but...

by Plutonium Page (page dot vlinders at gmail dot com) on Tue Nov 22nd, 2005 at 03:26:08 AM EST
This fall Connecticut was like Washington DC, back when I was growing up.  (Washington is about 300 km to the south.)  If the weather keeps up like this, I am going to have to move farther north.  :)  

Colors weren't that good this year either--also like DC.  Good colors want a moderately warm and wet summer, followed by a sharp turn to cold.  This year we got drought, which didn't break until the equinox, and then warm and wet weather that has cooled only gradually.  

Plutonium--This is the difference between nostalgia and reality:  We love those monsters, but there is  no way we would want them chugging through our lives right now . . .

The Fates are kind.

by Gaianne on Tue Nov 22nd, 2005 at 05:22:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Heh, I wonder if there are any American rightwing blogs that have "SUV and Hummer blogging"?

I understand nostalgia, but the photo bothered me so much that I had my browser block it :-(

by Plutonium Page (page dot vlinders at gmail dot com) on Tue Nov 22nd, 2005 at 06:31:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
here is an enviromentally friendly autumn nostalgic train for you:

(A Swiss SBB Be 6/8 III "crocodile" class loco - most of the Swiss railway electricity comes from hydropower.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Nov 22nd, 2005 at 06:45:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My absolute favorite! The "Krokodil/Crocodile" was introduced in 1919. Some are still in service.
About electrification, in 1928 55% of the 2900 km of SBB/CFF railway were electrified, 90% in 1946... (no coal in Switzerland). The dam of Ritom above Airolo, was build in 1920 to power the newly electrified Gothard line.

Hydropower is not always as clean as we can imagine. It's partly recycled french nuclear energy: at night, water is pumped up in the dam using cheap electricity and sold back during the day.

by Hansvon on Wed Nov 23rd, 2005 at 05:42:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Side note, this method is one possibility to balance the intermittency of wind power. (Even better is to not pump anything but to regulate hydropower output - that benefits the downstream biosphere too -, and this is where the Scandinavian energy system is heading.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Nov 24th, 2005 at 06:41:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This particular photo appears to have been "staged" for maximum soot output.  This specific train only ran a couple of excursion routes per year in the late 1990s and is not in regular operation.  Below are a couple of other pictures of this same locomotive passing over the same viaduct:

So it's fairly obvious that this locomotive isn't always such a polluter.  It's not terribly clean, no doubt, but 614 was built in 1948, just prior to the main switchover from coal to diesel-electric.

by The Maven on Tue Nov 22nd, 2005 at 01:06:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hah! I hoped someone would step in with such info ;-)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Nov 22nd, 2005 at 01:37:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BTW, such staging of high soot output is ocassionally done here too - for example, a few years ago at the railway parade for the 150-year celebrations of Hungarian railways, the Romanian guest locomotives did this when passing in front of the tribunes filled with railfans packed full of cameras.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Nov 22nd, 2005 at 01:40:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
and the flame red and thought:

Crap! Another bombing in Iraq!

Then I scrolled the rest.   :D  

Very beautiful photo.  

The Fates are kind.

by Gaianne on Tue Nov 22nd, 2005 at 04:45:53 AM EST


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