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LIGHT OIL STEAM TRAINS

V. Ryan 2002-2004

 

     

In the last ten years Swiss train manufacturers (Swiss Locomotive and Machine Works) have been researching and developing new hi-tech steam engines. Recently several have been commissioned and are now in service with mountain tourist railways in Switzerland and Austria (see photographs below).

 

 

MODERN STEAM TRAINS TAKING PASSENGERS TO THE TOP OF THE ROTHORN, SWITZERLAND

The advantage of using modern steam technology is that there is at least an eighty percent reduction of toxic emissions compared to modern diesel powered trains.  Instead of steam and toxic gases been emitted, now only steam is sent into the atmosphere leading to obvious benefits to the local environment. From a tourist point of view steam trains are a greater attraction than diesel powered trains.

The trains are powered by light oil which is a move away from the traditional coal powered steam trains. The advantage of light oil is that it is much more efficient even compared to modern diesel engines, with fuel consumption reduced by forty one percent. Furthermore, the the new light oil engines weigh twenty four percent less and are capable of greater speed.

One of the locomotives used on the Orient Express was modernised in 1998 to incorporate a light oil steam engine. The top speed of the engine is now 100 km/hr compared to 70 km/hr of the previous coal burning engine. The engine is not only much more efficient but it paves the way for the possible return of steam power to railway systems throughout the world.

 

 

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