Train GraphicClick on the map to explore geographics
 
End of through trains
Bristol to Waterloo?

 
Please sign our petition
(more information)
 
Campaign links here
Travel & transport from BBC stories as at 11:55 02 Dec 2021
- How I got my dream job with a Tube station pitch
Read about the forum [here].
Register [here] - it's free.
What do I gain from registering? [here]
 tomorrow - TWSW AGM - online
09/12/21 - Award Event - CRN
19/01/22 - MTUG - regular meeting
08/03/22 - WWRUG AGM - B-o-A
Random Image
Train RunningCancelled
12:34 Maidenhead to Marlow
13:00 Marlow to Maidenhead
13:34 Maidenhead to Marlow
14:00 Marlow to Maidenhead
15:10 Bristol Parkway to London Paddington
17:12 London Paddington to Bristol Parkway
Short Run
05:40 Penzance to Cardiff Central
11:10 Weston-Super-Mare to Filton Abbey Wood
11:14 Filton Abbey Wood to Weston-Super-Mare
12:12 London Paddington to Bristol Parkway
12:12 Filton Abbey Wood to Weston-Super-Mare
Delayed
06:40 Penzance to Cardiff Central
Abbreviation pageAcronymns and abbreviations
Stn ComparatorStation Comparator
Rail newsNews Now - live rail news feed
Site Style 1 2 3 4
Next departures • Bristol Temple MeadsBath SpaChippenhamSwindonDidcot ParkwayReadingLondon PaddingtonMelksham
Exeter St DavidsTauntonWestburyTrowbridgeBristol ParkwayCardiff CentralOxfordCheltenham SpaBirmingham New Street
December 02, 2021, 12:03:50 pm *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Forgotten your username or password? - get a reminder
Most recently liked subjects
[56] Bike spaces on IETs
[49] Rail Ombudsman launched - 26th November 2018
[44] Are the railways fit for their (future) purpose?
[42] Coffee Shop Advent Quiz, December 2021. Introduction and day 1
[41] December Timetables
[34] I am having problems with train line
News: A forum for passengers ... with input from rail professionals welcomed too
 
   Home   Help Search Calendar Login Register  
Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 9
  Print  
Author Topic: The end of coal  (Read 13667 times)
Clan Line
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 617



View Profile
« on: June 10, 2020, 12:47:10 pm »

There was an article on the BBC» (British Broadcasting Corporation - home page) website yesterday wondering for how much longer the UK (United Kingdom) would need to import coal, following the news that Britain has not burnt any coal in its power stations for 2 months.

If we do not need to import coal for power stations any more, will it be economically viable to import it for heritage steam locomotive use ? Would it be possible to burn wood in our steam locos, or is this too much of a spark hazard ? Oil would be one solution but how long before that is no longer needed ? Could our steam railways (and any other coal users) support a small UK based coal mine ?

Any thoughts ?
Logged
ellendune
Transport Scholar
Hero Member
******
Posts: 4053


View Profile
« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2020, 01:11:55 pm »

There will still be a need for a small amount of coal to make coke for steelmaking so I do not imagine that supplies will dry up. 
Logged
didcotdean
Transport Scholar
Hero Member
******
Posts: 1315


View Profile
« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2020, 02:22:14 pm »

There is also the new (and controversial) coal mine being developed near Whitehaven, although all the output is destined to become coke for steel.
Logged
stuving
Transport Scholar
Hero Member
******
Posts: 5941


View Profile
« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2020, 02:25:54 pm »

If you need real working heritage coal for your real working heritage steam engine, shouldn't it come from a real working heritage coal mine?
Logged
broadgage
Transport Scholar
Hero Member
******
Posts: 4497



View Profile
« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2020, 04:25:57 pm »

There will always be a need for some coal, whether imported or produced domestically, for iron and steel manufacture.
It should be simple to use a little for heritage railways.
There is also a modest but ongoing demand for coal for domestic heating and cooking. The domestic use of traditional housecoal has been/is about to be banned, but anthracite and coal derived patent fuels are still permitted. It should be simple to use a little of this coal for heritage railways.

Also coal burning for electric power production is unlikely to permanently end just yet. It is expected to resume in the winter, and for the next few winters. It should be simple to divert a little of this power station coal for heritage railway use.
Electricity from coal is declining rapidly but is most unlikely to become totally extinct just yet.

Farriers and blacksmiths will also need coal in modest volumes for the foreseeable future, supply to heritage railways could be combined with supplying this market.
Logged

A proper intercity train has a minimum of 8 coaches, gangwayed throughout, with first at one end, and a full sized buffet car between first and standard.
It has space for cycles, surfboards,luggage etc.
A 5 car DMU (Diesel Multiple Unit) is not a proper inter-city train. The 5+5 and 9 car DMUs are almost as bad.
IndustryInsider
Data Manager
Hero Member
******
Posts: 8936


View Profile
« Reply #5 on: June 10, 2020, 04:34:39 pm »

Will a shrinking market mean increased costs though?
Logged

To view my GWML (Great Western Main Line) Electrification cab video 'before and after' video comparison, as well as other videos of the new layout at Reading and 'before and after' comparisons of the Cotswold Line Redoubling scheme, see: http://www.dailymotion.com/user/IndustryInsider/
broadgage
Transport Scholar
Hero Member
******
Posts: 4497



View Profile
« Reply #6 on: June 10, 2020, 09:13:52 pm »

Yes, I expect costs to rise as coal demand falls.
Not by that much though, imports of a few thousand tons a year should not cost much more per ton than importing millions of tons.
If just 100,000 households burn coal, and each one uses on average a ton a year, that is 100,000 tons a year.
Add to that the demand for iron and steel production, and other uses.
Logged

A proper intercity train has a minimum of 8 coaches, gangwayed throughout, with first at one end, and a full sized buffet car between first and standard.
It has space for cycles, surfboards,luggage etc.
A 5 car DMU (Diesel Multiple Unit) is not a proper inter-city train. The 5+5 and 9 car DMUs are almost as bad.
Witham Bobby
Transport Scholar
Sr. Member
******
Posts: 279



View Profile
« Reply #7 on: June 12, 2020, 02:45:50 pm »

Not all coal is suitable for steam locomotive fireboxes.  Different classes of locos need different coals, too.  Locos of The Great Western Railway were designed to work with the anthracite coal of the Welsh collieries.  I've had experience of firing the small shallow grates on GW (Great Western) locos with the proper stuff, and with substitute material from Yorkshire, Scotland and Russia.  lets just say the job works well with the designed-for fuel, and leave it there.
Logged
eXPassenger
Transport Scholar
Hero Member
******
Posts: 424


View Profile
« Reply #8 on: June 12, 2020, 06:22:00 pm »

Yes, I expect costs to rise as coal demand falls.
Not by that much though, imports of a few thousand tons a year should not cost much more per ton than importing millions of tons.
If just 100,000 households burn coal, and each one uses on average a ton a year, that is 100,000 tons a year.
Add to that the demand for iron and steel production, and other uses.

Bear in mind that the average size of a bulk carrier is 150,000 tonnes so you are talking of under 1 ship a year for domestic usage.
Logged
Celestial
Transport Scholar
Hero Member
******
Posts: 655


View Profile
« Reply #9 on: June 12, 2020, 07:20:08 pm »

Yes, I expect costs to rise as coal demand falls.
Not by that much though, imports of a few thousand tons a year should not cost much more per ton than importing millions of tons.
If just 100,000 households burn coal, and each one uses on average a ton a year, that is 100,000 tons a year.
Add to that the demand for iron and steel production, and other uses.

Bear in mind that the average size of a bulk carrier is 150,000 tonnes so you are talking of under 1 ship a year for domestic usage.
I'm not sure the typical coal burning household will use a ton each year, as it tends to be a "nice to have" to make the house feel welcoming, rather than a "must have used all the time" through winter.  We probably get through about a third of a ton each winter on that basis.  Though I suspect there are more than 100,000 householders still burning it on a discretional basis.
Logged
Robin Summerhill
Transport Scholar
Hero Member
******
Posts: 1000


View Profile Email
« Reply #10 on: June 12, 2020, 07:23:09 pm »

Not all coal is suitable for steam locomotive fireboxes.  Different classes of locos need different coals, too.  Locos of The Great Western Railway were designed to work with the anthracite coal of the Welsh collieries.  I've had experience of firing the small shallow grates on GW (Great Western) locos with the proper stuff, and with substitute material from Yorkshire, Scotland and Russia.  lets just say the job works well with the designed-for fuel, and leave it there.

This was a problem in the 1950s, let alone now, and was one of the reasons why Swindon Works involved themselves in improved draughting arrangements etc. In short, when all you can get hold of is coal dust stuck together with cement you still need the engines to steam.

I admit that I am a bit of an armchair inexpert  on the finer points but, as the majority of railway coal being burnt these days is to keep relatiively light loads going at a maximum of 25mph. the coal quality is unlikely to have any serious problems attached to it. Until you get to dropping the fire after a day's work, that is...

Main line steam working would of course be a different matter
Logged
eightf48544
Transport Scholar
Hero Member
******
Posts: 4542


View Profile Email
« Reply #11 on: June 13, 2020, 10:36:30 am »

Looking back with hindsight we as a nation possibly made the wrong decision to go for large coal fired baseload power station based mostly around the Trent and Calder.

But one of the less well known successess of the Beeching plan was the MGR trains which served these stations with home dug coal direct from a local colliery to the power station. Where the train was unloaded on the move. For rail the ideal traffic. These ran up until fairly recently but unfortuantely latterly with imported coal from Hunterston? in Scotland to Yorkshire via the S&C (Settle and Carlisle ).

Logged
Clan Line
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 617



View Profile
« Reply #12 on: June 13, 2020, 11:54:36 am »


Bear in mind that the average size of a bulk carrier is 150,000 tonnes so you are talking of under 1 ship a year for domestic usage.

Which commercial port is going to keep/maintain the coal bulk handling infrastructure to unload 1 ship per year ?
Logged
WSW Frome
Transport Scholar
Sr. Member
******
Posts: 135


View Profile
« Reply #13 on: June 13, 2020, 02:44:24 pm »

An item in the June "Railway Magazine" examines the quite major issues that could affect the supply of loco coal in the near future UK (United Kingdom) for use in the heritage fleet. In essence, UK sources could easily disappear and there are problems of importing the right kind of coal, suitably sized etc. This would need to be handled in some bulk for economies of scale and therefore would somehow need to be co-ordinated across the whole heritage sector - at a somewhat higher cost overall. 
Logged
Bmblbzzz
Transport Scholar
Hero Member
******
Posts: 3671


View Profile
« Reply #14 on: June 13, 2020, 06:30:59 pm »


Bear in mind that the average size of a bulk carrier is 150,000 tonnes so you are talking of under 1 ship a year for domestic usage.

Which commercial port is going to keep/maintain the coal bulk handling infrastructure to unload 1 ship per year ?
Does it require different infrastructure to handling bulk ores?
Logged

Waiting at Pilning for the midnight sleeper to Prague.
Do you have something you would like to add to this thread, or would you like to raise a new question at the Coffee Shop? Please [register] (it is free) if you have not done so before, or login (at the top of this page) if you already have an account - we would love to read what you have to say!

You can find out more about how this forum works [here] - that will link you to a copy of the forum agreement that you can read before you join, and tell you very much more about how we operate. We are an independent forum, provided and run by customers of Great Western Railway, for customers of Great Western Railway and we welcome railway professionals as members too, in either a personal or official capacity. Views expressed in posts are not necessarily the views of the operators of the forum.

As well as posting messages onto existing threads, and starting new subjects, members can communicate with each other through personal messages if they wish. And once members have made a certain number of posts, they will automatically be admitted to the "frequent posters club", where subjects not-for-public-domain are discussed; anything from the occasional rant to meetups we may be having ...

 
Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 9
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.2 | SMF © 2006-2007, Simple Machines LLC Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
This forum is provided by a customer of Great Western Railway (formerly First Great Western), and the views expressed are those of the individual posters concerned. Visit www.gwr.com for the official Great Western Railway website. Please contact the administrators of this site if you feel that the content provided by one of our posters contravenes our posting rules (email link). Forum hosted by Well House Consultants

Jump to top of pageJump to Forum Home Page