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May 2016
 

The Bellinghman
Date: 2009-12-23 15:49
Subject: Old tech saves the day
Security: Public
As seen here: Passengers rescued by Tornado.

It's rather wonderful in its way that when the electric-driven trains were being disabled by ice and snow, a good old-fashioned A1 Pacific steam loco could carry the stranded passengers to London.

He said: "It was a nice way to finish for Christmas, though I think some of the rescued passengers didn't realise they'd even been travelling on a steam train until they got off."

Hmm. I wonder what they thought the plume flowing back along the train from the front was, then.

(Steam trains are wondrous things, but I wouldn't really want them back in bulk. Electrics can run in almost any weather, as the Swiss can demonstrate, and they don't have to run on hydrocarbons.)
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User: furrfu
Date: 2009-12-23 16:51 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Sadly, I have found only partial information so far:

- Wikipedia says transmission losses in the US were estimated at 7.2% in 1995
- Wikipedia says fossil fuel power plants with steam turbines can be up to 60% efficient
- A very modern piston diesel engine can be 35% efficient. Googling for train diesel engine efficiencies seems to suggest 30%.

Sadly, I lack one piece of the puzzle, and that's an estimate of the losses in the overhead wire. The UK operates (according, again, to Wikipedia) at 25kV AC, but I can't find exact numbers for efficiencies just now. However, I doubt it's enough to make up the difference.
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