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Steam Turbine Locomotive by gunslinger87 Steam Turbine Locomotive by gunslinger87
This is a concept I'm seriously trying to develop.

This is a Steam Turbine Electric Locomotive, the idea is to comletely remove the Desiel part of the equation. And replace it with steam.

Back during the late 1940's into the early 60's Railroads have exparimented with Turbine locomotives with only moderate success. It was proven that Turbine engines have higher horse power and performance, but couldn't withstand the constant pounding and abuse on the rails like their traditonal "Sid Rod" counter parts.

Even the smallest dirt and grim tore their workings to shreds. This is mainly because, I believe, a lack of technology and understanding of materials.

Today we have descovered new ways and techniques to engineer new and stronger, more durable materials. The turbine locomotives of the yesteryear I think were just too far ahead of their time. Now we can produce a turbine locomotive that not only can perform but endure what traditional locomotives do!

The oporation of my design is fairly simple. Like most steam locomotives it uses the concept of boiling water. The boiler in my design is a bit different, its a water tube type. That means that instead of having a large amount of water surounding smaller tubes of hot air, its the other way around.
The water would be in small tubes and hot air would suround them. Since there is "less" water to heat, it takes a shorter amount of time to produce the necessary amount of steam.

Then the steam is piped to a Turbine genorator, the steam spins a series of fan blades that produce electricity. The electric power is then sent to electric motors which in turn power the wheels. This is for a system that burns some type of fuel. I want my design to burn a clean feul such as Hydrogen or Ethenol. I'm not sure which to choose, which ever one is the cleaner burning one.

Another method of oporating this loco could possibly make it a "Fireless Cooker". Aka, an engine that doesn't burn anything! This idea functions like so. Take note of the large battery bank, it can provide power to an internal heating unit which can heat the water to produce steam, then the process is virtually the same as above. But this time not only does the genorator provide power to the wheels but also puts a "trickle charge" into the batteries. Essentialy its a self sustaining system.

Sorry for this being so long to read, in any case though, I hope you guys like it!!! :D

Oh, and please do leave comments!!! :D
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:iconsteammechanic:
Steammechanic Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2014  Professional Artist
It's a good start.this idea has been considered and plans created,but it was deemed to costly to run and repair
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:icongunslinger87:
gunslinger87 Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2014
Yes... back in the 1950s and 60s. But back then this was brand new tech. And that was the main reason behind the extreme cost. Today the tech and materials are more advanced. So I believe that this concept should be reconsidered. 

Most of the "Green Goats", hybrid yard and road switchers, are simply converted from diesel electric switchers. Everything below the "deck/frame" of the engine is the same as on any other engine. The prime mover was replaced with a massive battery bank and small diesel gen-set to provide a trickle charge into the batteries when needed.

In a similar way I think converting a diesel electric locomotive to a steam turbine electric could be done in the same or similar manner. Which would cut back the overall cost of designing an all new locomotive. Which was what was being done when Steam turbines were being experimented with.
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:iconsteammechanic:
Steammechanic Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2014  Professional Artist
Actually there was another attempt in the 80's and 90's. You'd have to wiki it as I forgot what it was called
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:icongunslinger87:
gunslinger87 Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2014
Really? I'll certainly have to look that up! Though I do know of one Steam Turbine locomotive in operation. It's preserved on a railway museum somewhere in Switzerland.
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:iconsteammechanic:
Steammechanic Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2014  Professional Artist
Yes I've heard of that one
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:icongunslinger87:
gunslinger87 Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2014
There's a video of it in operation on youtube. Pretty cool actually!
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:iconsteammechanic:
Steammechanic Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2014  Professional Artist
Yeah it is
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:iconrockyrailroad578:
Rockyrailroad578 Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Jawn Henry after NS rebuilds. I LIKE IT!
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:icongunslinger87:
gunslinger87 Featured By Owner Feb 18, 2014
Much Obliged!
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:icondinodanthetrainman:
dinodanthetrainman Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
ho and it reminds me of [link] [link] [link] :)
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:icongunslinger87:
gunslinger87 Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2013
I had no prior knowledge of this.
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:icondinodanthetrainman:
dinodanthetrainman Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
didn't think so also I am not sure if Mechanical Vapour Recompression requires a vacuum it's main purpose is to increase thermal efficiency but also condenses [link] [link] :)
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:icondinodanthetrainman:
dinodanthetrainman Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
very cool how seriously can you really make a condenser that small is it Vapor-compression :)
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:icongunslinger87:
gunslinger87 Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2013
It doesn't exahaust into a vacuum. It's not a condensing locomotive.

The Swiss developed a non condensing steam turbine locomotive that was VERY successful.
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:iconbaronvoniron:
BaronVonIron Featured By Owner Apr 5, 2015
And what is your source on saying the Swiss turbo was "VERY successful"?
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:icongunslinger87:
gunslinger87 Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2015
The exact phrase comes from myself, but is based on the fact that the Swiss Steam Turbines replaced a fleet of internal combustion locomotives. Which traditional would be the other way around. Eventually they were replaced by electric locomotives with overhead power. but the turbines saw some fairly extensive use. And again, they were non-condensing. Also, at least two of the three Swiss Turbines are preserved with one operational. Here's a video of it in operation:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZsrzUj…

However this design is a bit outdated as a battery bank would be impractical and would need a hot burning fuel source. Still, this diagram represents a hypothetical approach to a modern Steam Turbine locomotive. It's not perfect, I never claimed for it to be so. It's also not the first time I've had people point out all the faults. It's my personal belief that these locomotives, historically, were just too far ahead of their time. Very much like the CSS Hunley, which was a good 50 years ahead of its era. With today's knowledge of alloys and metallurgy I think that a practical steam turbine locomotive could be produced and for around the same cost as a traditional locomotive. Using the same philosophy of the "Green Goat". (A 'hybrid' diesel-electric switcher) By using the same frame, trucks, traction motors, ect...; the stuff "below the deck" of a conventional locomotive and replacing the diesel portion of the locomotive with a steam turbine and power plant I believe it has potential. 

The Norfolk & Western developed their "John Henry" turbines and were deemed the most successful out of the condensing type design. Aside form a few bugs, which were able to be worked out, the cost of each locomotive was just far too great. The N&W looked to ALCO to order 27 units, but the cost per locomotive was just too much. And the primary issue was it was ALL brand new tech, brand new materials. Everything had to be fabricated and virtually nothing of their design was already available. So by using a already commercially available components (Frame, Trucks, Traction Motors, Generator, Fuel Tank/System) that would cut the production cost down substantially. It would still be a challenge to develop a machine like this, but I think it would be worth it. I mean there are a lot of Class 1 operations that have been tossing the idea of switching back to old school steam. Primarily that a fleet of steam locomotives are cheaper to maintain and operate that diesel-electrics. The deciding factor is the lac of steam locomotive builders to produce all the mechanical parts used on steam engines. After all, a large bar of steel is cheaper to produce than many electronics.

The Railroad Industry is evolving and it's exciting to see what's around the next bend. With in the next few decades we could see the return of classic steam motive power! Or will the steam locomotive, as we know it, take on a new form? Like this idea I've presented here. This concept is a work in progress and I'm digging more into turbine tech. And I'll be learning about turbines anyway with my Aircraft Maintenance course I'll be starting in August. Which will give me a better perspective and insight. Either way, the power of steam is virtually limitless! After all, even nuclear power plants are nothing more than glorified steam engines. What blew up Mt. Saint Helens wasn't magma, but built up steam pressure within the rock strata cause by the heat of the magma. So think of what could be had if we could harness that kind of power? Even it its in the form of a steam locomotive.

Again, the above design is not without its flaws. But I think it can be a good starting point. ;p
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:iconbaronvoniron:
BaronVonIron Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2015
The difference between Sweden and Switzerland is roughly half a continent. Those few Swedish turbos may have been successful then and there, but isolated instances do not make a strong inductive argument. Near as I can tell, all Swiss turbos never got repeated.

Steam turbos have practically nothing in common with aircraft turbines except that they spin.
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:icongunslinger87:
gunslinger87 Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2015
You do bring up some vary valid points, especially in regard to water consumption. I fully realize that steam turbines are water hungry machines. And I also realize that a steam turbine will function most effectively in a vacuum/condensing apparatus. However, the diagram I have made here is not to scale nor is it up to date. Aside from a few pencil sketches in a notebook this was my first attempt and visualizing a contemporary steam turbine locomotive. And at the time I was greatly inspired by both fireless locomotives as well as the "Green Goat" and hence the large batter bank for power. But at that time also I was not as informed about locomotive technology as I am now, and I still have much to learn. However I have learned enough to see the flaws in this design and am fully away that an all electric power source to generate for steaming is impractical, aside from overhead catenary as you mentioned previously. But the more viable option is using a combustible fuel for adequate heating to generate steam. This diagram is outdated and wasn't accurate even at the time I made it and I just haven't had the opportunity to sit down and rethink the overall all design.

The basic premise behind this concept is to use commercially available locomotive components to cut back on production costs. All the previous steam turbine locomotives in the past that were deemed successful, such as the N&W John Henrys, were just too darn expensive to mass produce. The engines were made up of entirely new materials, parts, and components that would have to be manufactured for each locomotive and the result was an extremely high price tag per unit. Like the Green Goat, this concept revolves around using currently available parts and components from traditional modern motive power to cut back on production cost. And this is also the reason why I would like to avoid using a condensing apparatus because for one, it would add to the the overall cost of the the locomotive. And two, would take up a considerable amount of space on the locomotive frame and body. And that is why I looked toward the Swiss turbine locomotives for inspiration. although you are correct, they are an isolated case, however I believe that it shows that an effective non-condensing turbine locomotive be developed.

By using the Swiss turbines as inspiration and a starting point I believe that the locomotives could be adapted for long distance service. I personally would like to see a contemporary Steam Turbine Locomotive carry all its fuel and water on itself just as present diesel electric locomotives. However I am not opposed to the idea that a water and/or fuel tender may be necessary for such travel/operation. With that being said, going back to the topic of water consumption, I understand that it is important to conserve as much water as possible just as it was with more traditional steam locomotives of the past. In this case it would be inefficient to be solely committed to the steam turbine for all forms of movement, as the amount of water/fuel used to just navigate yards, sidings, local service, ect... would be a waste of resources. The locomotive would also be equipped with a small diesel gen-set to allow for said movements previously mentioned. This would conserve water and fuel usage and save the primary power plant for over the road operation.

All the ideas and concepts behind this proposal I have bounced between others more knowledgeable about locomotive design and railroading than myself. These are my thoughts on the matter and my opinion is that a modern and efficient steam turbine locomotive can be manufactured and produced with reasonable cost using readily available parts and components. But as said, these are just my opinions.
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:iconbaronvoniron:
BaronVonIron Featured By Owner Apr 5, 2015
Your size of equipment is then woefully incapable, turbines are water hungry and would demand at least 40,000 gallons every moderate trip between major cities. It appears you have provided for only about 4,000 gallons. No condensing = No go.
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:icondinodanthetrainman:
dinodanthetrainman Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
ok
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:icongundammech101:
GundamMech101 Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2012
this is a very well done and thought out design i must say, i've been wondering about these steam turbine locomotives as well and think they needed a well rethinking over and by golly you did just that and beyond, im very impressed
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:iconultranox:
ultranox Featured By Owner Aug 11, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I like your design idea. But where is the exhaust system for an over abundance of steam?
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:iconsquirrelkinns:
squirrelkinns Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2011
You don't want turbines for that they can't take the abuse and way too finicky about water type.
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:iconcnw8646:
CNW8646 Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2009
Great concept. :) :)
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:icongunslinger87:
gunslinger87 Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2009
Much Obliged!
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:iconcnw8646:
CNW8646 Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2009
No prob. It would work. :)
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:icongunslinger87:
gunslinger87 Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2009
I think so too! But ALOT of people have shot down the design! Personaly I don't think they know SQUAT about Trains! ^^;
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:iconcnw8646:
CNW8646 Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2009
Trust me, that trubine design would work.
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:icongunslinger87:
gunslinger87 Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2009
AGREED!!!

TAKE THAT EGG HEADS!!! :shakefist: :D
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:iconcnw8646:
CNW8646 Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2009
Yep. Show them who's boss.
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:icongunslinger87:
gunslinger87 Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2009
I sertantly shall!!! :abduction: :mwahaha:
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(1 Reply)
:iconrailman:
railman Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2008
Very nice! You know this kinda reminds me of a project by Ross Rowland.
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:icongunslinger87:
gunslinger87 Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2008
Ross Rowland?
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:iconrailman:
railman Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2008
Yup Ross Rowland. He was the creator of the American Freedom Train that ran in 1976. He was also the engineer of C&O 614. What he tried to do was make a modern computer controlled steam locomotive that would releive our need for foreign oil.
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:icongunslinger87:
gunslinger87 Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2008
Kinda sounds like what I want to do. :D
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:iconrailman:
railman Featured By Owner Aug 28, 2008
Yup it's a pretty neat idea. Wish they could have been developed . But the main difference is his locomotive was still piston driven, instead of turbine electric. But all and all they both retain the diesel locomotive body.
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:icongunslinger87:
gunslinger87 Featured By Owner Aug 28, 2008
Well, I think the point is to have a STEAM powered locomotive, not to have it look like one. (Though I wish we could) :D
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:iconrailman:
railman Featured By Owner Aug 28, 2008
I hear ya man lol!
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:icongunslinger87:
gunslinger87 Featured By Owner Aug 28, 2008
:D
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:icondin626:
Din626 Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2008
This is a Steam-Electric as opposed to a Steam Turbine.
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:icongunslinger87:
gunslinger87 Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2008
No, it still is a turbine. Steam is esnt through a turbine to turn a genorator to produve electricity. So its a Steam Turbine Electric.
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:icongattlin:
Gattlin Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2008
I personaly think this concept is intresting, though if you want to just hear me say "this is a cool desighn, I realy like it" then stop reading right now.

Are you still reading... good, now for my critiques.
First of all the concept is good, and I am not saying your stupid, but the thing is I know it has already been thought of by other people. I mean, the only thing seperating this from a nuclear sub (other than that it's not a sub) is that it uses ethenol or somthing like that instead of Nuclear fusion. Still, I partialy think that using the turbine to run an electric motor is a waist of energy, and instead run it through a transmition and then to the wheels, it's more efficient I think. And the thing is, if you want to make it a REAL powerhouse, then use diesel, not only is it cheaper (even though it's hard to tell because the oil companies are realy F***ing around with prices these days because diesel is actualy easyer to make), but once you get it to ignight it burns hotter than hell fire. That's when you use the combustion engine for better efficiancy.

Yah, it's a bit of a loop, but what I realy think you need to concentrate on is not in the "high strength" devision, but the "commuter services". I mean, all you need to do is set up tracks for speedy travel, unlike the electric amtrack stuff in which you need to set up the track and the wires and the supports for the wires.
You get what I am trying to say?
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:icongunslinger87:
gunslinger87 Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2008
Yeah, I see. But Diesel is now MORE expencive that gas! Plus steam has nearly limitless potential! Realy the only limitations is for the machine itself.

A good axample of Steam power is that the UP "Big Boy" was the most powerful, and still remains, the most powerful steam locomotive ever concived! It took locomotive companies YEARS to come up with a Diesel locomotive more powerful than it!

Also Steam is used to power over 80% of the US's eletrical power! Power plants use the same concept I am for this locomotive, just on a MUCH larger and static scale.
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:icongattlin:
Gattlin Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2008
Well, in reality Diesel is actualy cheaper, it just dosn't show that because the gas companies are getting all the profit and jacking around with us. Just beleve me when I say "Diesel is cheaper" because when you get to the source, it realy is.

And I am not saying "don't use steam" I am saying that the concept needs a bit of revision because the BigBoy is one of the LARGEST steam engines in the world, and was also high manetnentce and not to mention there were only about twenty to fourty made because of how blasted expensive they were.

And yes, steam is used to make electricity, I mean, Nuclear. Still, I don't think putting a tiny Thermo Nuclear device in a train is a good idea.
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:icongunslinger87:
gunslinger87 Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2008
I didn't mean Nuclear, I meant coal!

The Big Boy had roughly around 500 to 600 psi, My system would have pressures closer to 1,000. This can be done because of the new engineered materials now available that wern't 50 years ago.

Idealy I hope to develope a system that doesn't burn feul at all.

Also you may be right about losing power by not directing power right to the wheels. I guess I designed my version to be easier for railroad comanies for conversions.

I may work on a third version
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:iconbaronvoniron:
BaronVonIron Featured By Owner Apr 5, 2015
The UP 4000 series ran on no more than 300 psi. Only the D&H experimentals ran higher, and they were utter disasters, besides the KCS 2-10-4 at 310 psi; those were adequately successful.

To build a system that does not rely on combustion whatsoever is to design a straight electric locomotive. There is no challenge in that except finding funding for stringing up catenary.
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:icongattlin:
Gattlin Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2008
Coal? sorry to burst your bubble but coal is a fossil fuel and it's not exactly the cleanest thing around, although I do not at the moment know how plentiful it is or how much it costs so there might be an advantage.

Thing is, for somthing like your suggesting, you need somthing that can reach up to 1,500 psi to make it truely effective. And also, I don't think it was because of the lack of strong materials, but because of the complexity of the actual machine.
It might look simple on paper, but what I am going to show you is what your train is most likely going to look like (on the inside).
[link]

Also, I highly doubt that ANYONE within the next twenty years will be able to develope a system that dosn't burn fuel. Unless it's solar powered, which I highly doubt.

I must say that I realy enjoy this enlightening conversation.
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:icongunslinger87:
gunslinger87 Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2008
Well, when I said Coal I menat for the Power Plants. And it is a FACT and I know it first hand.

Any way, I wasn't expecting my locomotive to be simple, I'm well aware of how complex it would be. But I do apreciate the link! :D

And the reason I talked about the new materials is because there stronger and more durable. The one underlying cuase of failure of the Past locomotives was dirt and grim that got into the mechanics of the machine. If just one grain of sand got inside the engine, it would practicaly rip it to shreds from the inside out.

With the new materials now available, My engine could better withstand all the dirt and grim that other locomotives can stand up to. Plus we now can more effectively "seal" the parts and areas that need the most protection.

And yeah, developing an engine that burns NO fuel is a long shot but its the idea that has thinking about it! Now it is possible to run my locomotive with electricity. Using electric power to create steam for power, that also was an experiment for a time, Fireless Cookers they were called. Though those engines usualy were limmited in size, usualy a 0-4-0 or 0-6-0 type.

And I have to agree, this is an interesting conversation, its giving me alot to think about. :D
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:icongattlin:
Gattlin Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2008
Alright, I am personaly under informed about the Coal so I don't realy think I can help you with that.

I know this might become a ping pong part of the conversation, but I still don't think that the materials in question were the problem in this situation because a small grain of dust wasn't capeable of ruining a turbine of that type, and if it did it was more likely because the turbines were not made right. Also you should consider what kind of turbine is needed in this situation, like an Impulse Turbine or a Reaction Turbine.

Also, I don't think one realy needs to worry about dirt or grime if the actual mechanics of the locomotive in question are completly contained. And I do understand about the more effective seal, but I think that unless you are using purified water I think there will be build up in the "boiler tubes" and cause blockages, in which it will become a BIG pain in the rear to clean out.

And the Electric to Steam... yah, way to innefficiant, either use small gas engines or motors in situations like that.

Yah, I know, I should have kind of told you this before, but in conversations like this I usualy become the Devil's Advocate for the exact reason to make people think about certan flaws.
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