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JumbleDuck

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April Fool's joke perhaps, but there are some real worries in the heritage railway world about both availability and the legal status of coal burning in the future. The last UK mine producing lump bituminous coal is due to close next year and there is an EU directive (which may not apply to the UK any more) which banned use of coal from the mid-20s (iirc) and did not give an exemption to heritage railways.

The South Tynedale Railway at Alston has rebuild one of their locomotives, Green Dragon, to run on wood briquettes. It's very clean and smells lovely (albeit a bit unusual for a steam engine) but uses a lot of wood ... and that's on a short narrow gauge line. I wouldn't be surprised if wood pellets didn't come into use on heritage lines, or perhaps bio-diesel. About 20 years ago a rack railway in Austria went from diesel back to steam because they combustion in a boiler can be far better controlled, with fewer nasties emitted, than in a diesel engine.

Sorry, bit of a digression, but it shows that a reduced carbon future is going to have all sorts of ramifications. I doubt if 2 nm/gallon motorboats have much of a long term future.
 

pvb

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UK East Coast
Sorry, bit of a digression, but it shows that a reduced carbon future is going to have all sorts of ramifications. I doubt if 2 nm/gallon motorboats have much of a long term future.
Do you believe that diesel fuel will no longer be available?
 

JumbleDuck

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Do you believe that diesel fuel will no longer be available?
[Looks into crystal ball]
I think that diesel fuel will be available for a long time, because there is no real replacement on the horizon for some purposes. However, I think it is is liable to become scarcer, a lot more expensive and mostly biodiesel, and I think gratuitous use of it for leisure purposes is likely to become less acceptable. Big motorboats may not be legislated out of existence (although that could happen) but I wouldn't be at all surprised to see diesel fuel at £10 or more - in 2021 money - per litre within ten years.

All speculation, you understand.
 

JumbleDuck

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I see the Union Pacific converted their Big Boy to oil firing when they restored it.
The Ffestiniog Railway ran on oil for many years, partly because they could get it cheap and partly because running coal-fired locomotive through forestry is a pain for fires. They converted back, though, mainly (I think) because the cost went up. They used to have their own tanker which collected waste engine oil from garages but that's no mostly recycled and they were having to buy new oil to burn.

The Brienz-Rothorn Bahn in Switzerland uses a mixture of modern (1990s) oil-fired steam locomotives and vintage coal (briquette) fired ones. And, back on topic, the Sir Walter Scott on Loch Katrine was modified to burn vegetable oil instead of coal in her boiler when they uglified her superstructure and ruined her looks a few years back.
 

pvb

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43,449
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[Looks into crystal ball]
I think that diesel fuel will be available for a long time, because there is no real replacement on the horizon for some purposes. However, I think it is is liable to become scarcer, a lot more expensive and mostly biodiesel, and I think gratuitous use of it for leisure purposes is likely to become less acceptable. Big motorboats may not be legislated out of existence (although that could happen) but I wouldn't be at all surprised to see diesel fuel at £10 or more - in 2021 money - per litre within ten years.

All speculation, you understand.
I think you're on another planet. There are tens of millions of diesel-engined vehicles in the UK, the majority of which will still be alive and kicking in 10 years' time. Nobody knows what inflation is likely to be in the next 10 years, but it would need to be fairly dramatic to make diesel £10 a litre!
 

JumbleDuck

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Messages
23,178
Location
SW Scotland
I think you're on another planet. There are tens of millions of diesel-engined vehicles in the UK, the majority of which will still be alive and kicking in 10 years' time. Nobody knows what inflation is likely to be in the next 10 years, but it would need to be fairly dramatic to make diesel £10 a litre!
We'll see. I certainly don't expect fuel for either of my petrol powered cars to be cheap or even easily available in twenty years time and diesel for private cars will probably go first.

Protip: don't ask people for speculation and then insult them when they give you speculation. It looks ungrateful.
 

Laminar Flow

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Joined
14 Jan 2020
Messages
1,150
Location
West Coast
April Fool's joke perhaps, but there are some real worries in the heritage railway world about both availability and the legal status of coal burning in the future. The last UK mine producing lump bituminous coal is due to close next year and there is an EU directive (which may not apply to the UK any more) which banned use of coal from the mid-20s (iirc) and did not give an exemption to heritage railways.

The South Tynedale Railway at Alston has rebuild one of their locomotives, Green Dragon, to run on wood briquettes. It's very clean and smells lovely (albeit a bit unusual for a steam engine) but uses a lot of wood ... and that's on a short narrow gauge line. I wouldn't be surprised if wood pellets didn't come into use on heritage lines, or perhaps bio-diesel. About 20 years ago a rack railway in Austria went from diesel back to steam because they combustion in a boiler can be far better controlled, with fewer nasties emitted, than in a diesel engine.

Sorry, bit of a digression, but it shows that a reduced carbon future is going to have all sorts of ramifications. I doubt if 2 nm/gallon motorboats have much of a long term future.
There are other traditional fuel options available: Mummies for example. The Egyptian railways ran on them for years and the British museum has loads of them. Also: dried sturgeon, the Canadian Prairie railways found them to be a suitable source. Fish & chips, anyone?
 

pvb

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UK East Coast
We'll see. I certainly don't expect fuel for either of my petrol powered cars to be cheap or even easily available in twenty years time and diesel for private cars will probably go first.
I see you've now extended your 10 year forecast to 20 years. Hybrids aren't due to be banned until 2035, so I can't see that petrol availability is going to be a big issue in 2041.

As for "diesel for private cars", it's difficult to stop that if you still provide diesel for taxis, vans, buses, etc.

Protip: don't ask people for speculation and then insult them when they give you speculation. It looks ungrateful.
Sorry about that. I didn't expect your belief to be so unrealistic.
 

prv

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Southampton
there is an EU directive (which may not apply to the UK any more) which banned use of coal from the mid-20s
Any idea what the massive German open-cast coal mines for their power stations are doing about that?

Pete
 

SaltyC

Member
Joined
15 Feb 2020
Messages
78
Location
Yorkshire
Any idea what the massive German open-cast coal mines for their power stations are doing about that?

Pete
AAh the rules don't apply to them! 40 years ago I was amused by a saying, the Germans make the rules, French ( & Irish) ignore them and the British follow them. It proved quite prophetic apart from the British Establishments habit of embellishing the rules.
 

sgr143

Active member
Joined
26 Jul 2016
Messages
432
Location
Oxford & WicorMarine
it's difficult to stop that if you still provide diesel for taxis, vans, buses, etc.
Actually I should think that taxis and buses, at least urban & suburban ones, are likely to be the first types of vehicle to go completely electric. Aren't central London taxis now all electrics (or hybrids)? And the company whose emails I subscribe to for keeping informed against the day when I might buy an electric car (go-green autos) seem to shift more small vans than they do cars. Long-distance stuff is another matter, of course. Hydrogen?

This is all a bit to one side of the main thread though...
 

JumbleDuck

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Messages
23,178
Location
SW Scotland
I see you've now extended your 10 year forecast to 20 years. Hybrids aren't due to be banned until 2035, so I can't see that petrol availability is going to be a big issue in 2041.
No, I've given a different musing over a different time frame.

As for "diesel for private cars", it's difficult to stop that if you still provide diesel for taxis, vans, buses, etc.
Pfft. Easy. My local garage already sells diesel which can only legally be used in some classes of vehicle.

Sorry about that. I didn't expect your belief to be so unrealistic.
Not a belief, just a suggestion. If you want an argument, the Lounge is over there >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>.
 

JumbleDuck

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Joined
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Messages
23,178
Location
SW Scotland
Any idea what the massive German open-cast coal mines for their power stations are doing about that?
They are planning to phase out coal generation in 2038. No, I have no idea why they are taking so long about it. The Greens there were responsible for the idiotic decision to close down their nuclear generating capacity and increase reliance on coal which does orders of magnitude more damage.
 

JumbleDuck

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Messages
23,178
Location
SW Scotland
You can joke about electric steam locos, but it has already been done by the Swiss! Well when blessed with lots of cheap hydro why not?
Electric-steam locomotive - Wikipedia

View attachment 112758
Horrendously inefficient, but as the article says, use of electric heat to keep boilers warm overnight is well-established. For those of a thermodynamic bent, the big problem with electrically heated steam is that it's very tricky to get superheat, and saturated steam is not very efficient.
 
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