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 Post subject: Gas at $10 Revisited (Limited Time Engagement!)
PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2022 4:18 am 

Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:41 am
Posts: 3835
Location: Inwood, W.Va.
Jeesh, I hate to come into this again, but despite some comments about it not being relevant to us, I have to say it is--and I'm going to say why.

First, we have to admit most of the people who come to visit our museums and heritage railroads drive at least part of the way to us, sometimes over considerable distances. If driving gets too expensive, you can bet that leisure trips like that are going to be among the first things to go. That could also affect our labor force, volunteers most severely, but possibly also affecting even paid employees. It's something we should consider, including, maybe, the concept that we are overdependent on highway transport, which in turn is dependent on oil--overly so.

Transportation overall is something like 67% of oil demand, and the biggest user there is motor fuel. Everything else--heating, power generation, chemicals including plastics--is but a sideshow in comparison. Keep that in mind when someone makes comments about how your computer or cell phone has oil in it. It's next to nothing compared to our driving.

https://www.eia.gov/energyexplained/oil ... of-oil.php

Some talk of climate change has also crept in, and we have some people who don't think much of it, even with the scientists telling them so.

So, I'll tell you it's real, and I see it, in my back yard, living in the same county for over 40 years now.

I can personally tell you we don't get the winters we used to, and that also means we don't get the snowfall we used to, either. That's important because a lot of people where I live in West Virginia still rely on wells--and the snow helped put the water in the ground.

In fact, we hardly get any snow at all. Some years we have had winters that didn't even get cold enough for insects to go completely dormant as they normally do.

Ice storms--freezing rain--used to be fairly common, but are much rarer.

Thunder snows--snow storms with lightning and thunder--were always rare, but I don't think I've seen one in 20 years, maybe 30 or more.

Wind storms in the last few years have been getting stronger and sometimes longer. We had a storm of wind with 60 mph gusts a few years ago that lasted three days. Thankfully I haven't seen anything like that since, but I can tell you, with the damage it caused in places around me, once was enough.

There are states south of me that are starting to get tornados--in winter. That's not something I recall reading about in the past.

Finally, my daffodils have started coming up in February in the last few years. It's happened enough that I think it's going to become normal.

I'm not sure these changes should be normal.

That's of concern because we may wind up with parts of the country where we have been growing things to eat that may not be usable for growing in the future. If that food doesn't grow, we have problems along the lines of those gas prices, although they might be even more severe. As much as we love what we do, our heritage rail enterprises aren't essential to survival.

I don't have to tell you those stronger storms are a problem, too. Those who've had to deal with floods, washouts, and wind damage know this first hand.

That's all I'm going to say for now--other than to add that we shouldn't poo-poo people who say we have these problems. We do, and we'll have to deal with them--somehow.

I just hope this doesn't trigger some people, as has already happened.

We need cooler heads to deal with these things.

Our operations are businesses, after all, and these are challenges for us and many other "more serious" firms, whether we like it or not.


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 Post subject: Re: Gas at $10 Revisited (Limited Time Engagement!)
PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2022 4:51 am 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 3:01 pm
Posts: 1692
Location: SouthEast Pennsylvania
I live in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and volunteer at the Shore Line Trolley Museum in East Haven, Connecticut, about 180 miles from my house. Variations in the cost of travel, whether driving or riding, do affect how often I can help. Some of those variations are the cost of fuel.
A place like the Baltimore Streetcar Museum, not far from the center of a large city, may find that an increase in the cost of fuel will cause neighbors who normally drive to Disney World for streetcar rides to instead consider an attraction much closer to home.


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 Post subject: Re: Gas at $10 Revisited (Limited Time Engagement!)
PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2022 5:08 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:54 pm
Posts: 2289
J3a-614 wrote:
Jeesh, I hate to come into this again, but despite some comments about it not being relevant to us, I have to say it is--and I'm going to say why.

First, we have to admit most of the people who come to visit our museums and heritage railroads drive at least part of the way to us, sometimes over considerable distances. If driving gets too expensive, you can bet that leisure trips like that are going to be among the first things to go. That could also affect our labor force, volunteers most severely, but possibly also affecting even paid employees. It's something we should consider, including, maybe, the concept that we are overdependent on highway transport, which in turn is dependent on oil--overly so.

Transportation overall is something like 67% of oil demand, and the biggest user there is motor fuel. Everything else--heating, power generation, chemicals including plastics--is but a sideshow in comparison. Keep that in mind when someone makes comments about how your computer or cell phone has oil in it. It's next to nothing compared to our driving.

https://www.eia.gov/energyexplained/oil ... of-oil.php

Some talk of climate change has also crept in, and we have some people who don't think much of it, even with the scientists telling them so.

So, I'll tell you it's real, and I see it, in my back yard, living in the same county for over 40 years now.

I can personally tell you we don't get the winters we used to, and that also means we don't get the snowfall we used to, either. That's important because a lot of people where I live in West Virginia still rely on wells--and the snow helped put the water in the ground.

In fact, we hardly get any snow at all. Some years we have had winters that didn't even get cold enough for insects to go completely dormant as they normally do.

Ice storms--freezing rain--used to be fairly common, but are much rarer.

Thunder snows--snow storms with lightning and thunder--were always rare, but I don't think I've seen one in 20 years, maybe 30 or more.

Wind storms in the last few years have been getting stronger and sometimes longer. We had a storm of wind with 60 mph gusts a few years ago that lasted three days. Thankfully I haven't seen anything like that since, but I can tell you, with the damage it caused in places around me, once was enough.

There are states south of me that are starting to get tornados--in winter. That's not something I recall reading about in the past.

Finally, my daffodils have started coming up in February in the last few years. It's happened enough that I think it's going to become normal.

I'm not sure these changes should be normal.

That's of concern because we may wind up with parts of the country where we have been growing things to eat that may not be usable for growing in the future. If that food doesn't grow, we have problems along the lines of those gas prices, although they might be even more severe. As much as we love what we do, our heritage rail enterprises aren't essential to survival.

I don't have to tell you those stronger storms are a problem, too. Those who've had to deal with floods, washouts, and wind damage know this first hand.

That's all I'm going to say for now--other than to add that we shouldn't poo-poo people who say we have these problems. We do, and we'll have to deal with them--somehow.

I just hope this doesn't trigger some people, as has already happened.

We need cooler heads to deal with these things.

Our operations are businesses, after all, and these are challenges for us and many other "more serious" firms, whether we like it or not.



You understand of course that your subjective memory of winters is not science, right? Nor are scientists infallible, inerrant or incorrupt.

https://www.vox.com/future-perfect/2150 ... statistics

As for this severity of storms prediction; lawyer and grifter Al Gore told us we would have more tornadoes (kind of tough to tell, I witnessed a tornado in Northeastern Pennsylvania in June 1981; no cell phones then, so the visual of a now deceased NWS employee was key to validating it).

Pervasive video, Doppler Rsdar and increased population density and we still have years with single digits.

https://data.ydr.com/tornado-archive/


Technology is moving so fast that the ridiculous premise of the movie Twister is now anachronistic; Leigh Orf models storms (specifically one) on supercomputer; but retains an open mind as to whether the similarity of his models to observed activity means he has a working model; and now drones are beiing used to observe the storms.

What we know don't have? More of the most severe twisters; we haven't had an EF-5 since May.

Of 2013.

And of course if the"drought" ends like with a bang; it'll be "climate change".

But wait don't throw away your galoshes.. And a fearporn addiction can be treated.

https://www.severe-weather.eu/global-we ... -cold-rrc/

Maybe those people trying to de-extinct the Woolly Mammoth will bring it back just in time for the new ice age.

As for the price of fuel; had I not pulled the plug on the 240 mile round trip to Scranton for other reasons; you can bet that 4.00/gallon matters when a single trip that used to burn about 10 gallons @ a cost of less than $30 and which would be closer to $50 would affect my activity, and what's really an issue now I just jacked up my monthly heating oil "budget" amount to $400, because the last delivery was $4.839; the total wal was $775 and we'll get at least three more deliveries like that by next March.

It's 36 degrees as I type this; it was 56, I'd be thrilled.


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 Post subject: Re: Gas at $10 Revisited (Limited Time Engagement!)
PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2022 6:59 am 

Joined: Wed Jan 16, 2019 8:47 pm
Posts: 201
The now locked thread got old and irrelevant just the same and just as quickly as this one.

Here's the deal, gas is expensive, the diesel tourist lines run on is way more expensive. Some people bury their heads and say this won't affect ridership or the bottom line.(Aside: I saw one person comment that "We're a non-profit it's not like we NEED a profit margin" Yes, those are the kinds of minds that we're sometimes trying to have this discussion with.) But when that Geep or Alco on the head end just went from $6,400 to fill up to $9,600 in a few short months (and who can tell if that will go higher or lower by next season, in the long term as fossil fuel use declines it WILL get worse), it's a real problem that affects us collectively as many operations struggle with regular season ticket sales dwindling.

So, without invoking a climate change argument, I'd suggest a couple pertinent questions to mull over.

1- How can we offset increased fuel prices? Is cutting back less popular trips a good idea? How can we take better advantage of the more popular ones with marketing? Maybe the best answer is raising ticket prices? Since diesel has a limited shelf life, stockpiling "buy now before it goes up" is only a short-term solution.

2- How can we help ensure that our fuels will be available to us in the future? Regardless of the true threat (again, not to debate CC) of fossil fuels, they will only become more scarce as legislation, industrial, and societal changes shift away from them. Steam operations that burn coal already feel this, and unfortunately the CSRs development of alternative solid fuels has gone nowhere. Someday we may find ourselves either the target of, or swept up in legislation limiting fossil fuel use. Be prepared for the day we have to lobby for a "heritage exemption" or similar, if we can get it. Is substitution of treated cooking oil a viable option for when diesel is too expensive or not available? I've heard of diesel car owners doing this, with mixed results for how practical it really is.

As it relates to steam, whether you think CC and global warming is real or not, we know for a fact that BLACK SMOKE IS WASTE. Historically, you wouldn't have commonly seen a responsible fireman "rolling coal". Modernly, it's a waste of an ever increasingly hard to obtain and expensive fuel (coal or oil). And it looks really bad for the (apologies for the term) climate nuts who would report you to the EPA for air pollution- I've personally experienced someone doing this to us.

So why do we continue to do it for the cameras or act nonchalantly when it happens??

If we're going to coexist with current trends, we needs to clean up our act- at the stack and on the ground. Coal/Ash containment, controlling runoff from these into the environment, and taking inefficient firing seriously, are basic things that I belive every railroad should be taking seriously. (These are already things that are legally enforced on other businesses, and which we are technically required to adhere to as well in many situations) It might just be a fun weekend hobby for many, but the regulators that show up at the front gate someday don't care. So don't give them anything to start writing you up or shut you down for.


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 Post subject: Re: Gas at $10 Revisited (Limited Time Engagement!)
PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2022 10:27 am 

Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:41 am
Posts: 3835
Location: Inwood, W.Va.
Boilermaker wrote:
The now locked thread got old and irrelevant just the same and just as quickly as this one.

Here's the deal, gas is expensive, the diesel tourist lines run on is way more expensive. Some people bury their heads and say this won't affect ridership or the bottom line.(Aside: I saw one person comment that "We're a non-profit it's not like we NEED a profit margin" Yes, those are the kinds of minds that we're sometimes trying to have this discussion with.) But when that Geep or Alco on the head end just went from $6,400 to fill up to $9,600 in a few short months (and who can tell if that will go higher or lower by next season, in the long term as fossil fuel use declines it WILL get worse), it's a real problem that affects us collectively as many operations struggle with regular season ticket sales dwindling.

So, without invoking a climate change argument, I'd suggest a couple pertinent questions to mull over.

1- How can we offset increased fuel prices? Is cutting back less popular trips a good idea? How can we take better advantage of the more popular ones with marketing? Maybe the best answer is raising ticket prices? Since diesel has a limited shelf life, stockpiling "buy now before it goes up" is only a short-term solution.

2- How can we help ensure that our fuels will be available to us in the future? Regardless of the true threat (again, not to debate CC) of fossil fuels, they will only become more scarce as legislation, industrial, and societal changes shift away from them. Steam operations that burn coal already feel this, and unfortunately the CSRs development of alternative solid fuels has gone nowhere. Someday we may find ourselves either the target of, or swept up in legislation limiting fossil fuel use. Be prepared for the day we have to lobby for a "heritage exemption" or similar, if we can get it. Is substitution of treated cooking oil a viable option for when diesel is too expensive or not available? I've heard of diesel car owners doing this, with mixed results for how practical it really is.

As it relates to steam, whether you think CC and global warming is real or not, we know for a fact that BLACK SMOKE IS WASTE. Historically, you wouldn't have commonly seen a responsible fireman "rolling coal". Modernly, it's a waste of an ever increasingly hard to obtain and expensive fuel (coal or oil). And it looks really bad for the (apologies for the term) climate nuts who would report you to the EPA for air pollution- I've personally experienced someone doing this to us.

So why do we continue to do it for the cameras or act nonchalantly when it happens??

If we're going to coexist with current trends, we needs to clean up our act- at the stack and on the ground. Coal/Ash containment, controlling runoff from these into the environment, and taking inefficient firing seriously, are basic things that I belive every railroad should be taking seriously. (These are already things that are legally enforced on other businesses, and which we are technically required to adhere to as well in many situations) It might just be a fun weekend hobby for many, but the regulators that show up at the front gate someday don't care. So don't give them anything to start writing you up or shut you down for.


Thank you for this wonderful answer. This is the sort of response, the sort of calm thinking, I was hoping to inspire.

To be honest, I wish I had more to offer.

Not that we could do it, but there was a railroad in Africa--I don't remember which country this was in--that ran steam into the 1970s and wasn't too anxious to dieselize for a while. Part of the reason was that while one division of its railway did have oil fired steam, the rest of the railway used wood. The road even had whole groves of fast growing trees--eucalyptus, I think--that provided a continually growing fuel supply.

Supposedly some of those same trees are an invasive nuisance plant in California, and part of the reason is that when they burn, they go off "like a candle."

If anyone's curious, I can look up the road; it would just take time I don't have immediately. Their power did include wood-fired Garratts, and I've seen a photo of one of those as well, and could probably find it if someone wants confirmation of this.


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 Post subject: Re: Gas at $10 Revisited (Limited Time Engagement!)
PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2022 11:05 am 

Joined: Tue Sep 14, 2004 7:52 am
Posts: 2346
Location: Strasburg, PA
Oh for crying out loud.

My issue with this kind of thread is the endless application of rhetorical questions regarding society at large and the endless potential "ifs" about what may happen in the future that we cannot have any control over because our special interest is so microscopic that our wants and needs don't tip the scales a whit.

The only answer can be that we will adapt as we get factual input, and muddle through as best we can.

We might as well initiate an 11 page rant fest on what if Putin nukes Washington DC tomorrow, how will it affect Mid-Atlantic tourist railroads Christmas train seasons, and what can we do to mitigate the "fallout".

Mental masterbation. Don't you all have trains to run?


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 Post subject: Re: Gas at $10 Revisited (Limited Time Engagement!)
PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2022 11:18 am 

Joined: Sat Aug 25, 2007 12:45 am
Posts: 965
Kelly Anderson wrote:
Mental masterbation. Don't you all have trains to run?

No. They don't.

Hence all the off-topic threads.

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 Post subject: Re: Gas at $10 Revisited (Limited Time Engagement!)
PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2022 11:31 am 

Joined: Wed Jan 16, 2019 8:47 pm
Posts: 201
Wood can be an option for *some* locomotives. But you'd be surprised at the sheer volume of fuel that it takes to run on it. We're talking cords and cords of wood just to run a weekend. That's a lot of labor spent splitting logs, or buying them already split- at a price.

Britain not too long ago seriously restricted the use of private wood stoves for home heating (bet that's biting now in this oil shortage), so it's not the perfect solution to satisfy climate activists/government, but it is a more "sustainable" fuel than coal or oil.

Realistically we as an industry need to invest in researching fuel substitutions and replacements, as well as lobby to ensure we can still both get and use existing fuel options, even as they grow more expensive.

CSR has done a lot of legwork with torrified biomass, but ever since their full sized testing at the Everett (coming up on four years ago now)- radio silence. That's disappointing. I had heard from the rumor mill it just wasn't quite as hot, and had a tendency to throw sparks. I'd love to hear from someone who knows more about it. Even if TB doesn't work out, I would hope the research and efforts into a similar thing continues- because long term coal or "coal" firing depends on it.


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 Post subject: Re: Gas at $10 Revisited (Limited Time Engagement!)
PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2022 11:36 am 

Joined: Wed Jan 16, 2019 8:47 pm
Posts: 201
Kelly Anderson wrote:
Mental masterbation. Don't you all have trains to run?


Nah, I get enough on my day job.

If I may quote our former moderator "if you don't like it don't read it".

Not being willing to acknowledge and discuss a problem, as out of our control as it may be, is to just give up. We have to do what we can, even if it's sit back and watch the train wreck.


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 Post subject: Re: Gas at $10 Revisited (Limited Time Engagement!)
PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2022 12:15 pm 

Joined: Tue Sep 14, 2004 7:52 am
Posts: 2346
Location: Strasburg, PA
Boilermaker wrote:
Wood can be an option for *some* locomotives. But you'd be surprised at the sheer volume of fuel that it takes to run on it. We're talking cords and cords of wood just to run a weekend. That's a lot of labor spent splitting logs, or buying them already split- at a price.
cbk on Trainorders wrote:
From a 1917 report on logging railroads in California:

Where fuel oil is not obtainable at a reasonable cost, which is usually at mills with lumber flumes, wood must be used—either slab wood or split white fir. The cost is from $1.75 to $2.25 per cord, besides the time spent in loading it on the tender. A 42-ton geared locomotive working fairly hard requires about 7 cords per day. Thus it appears, eliminating the extra efficiency of oil and loss of time on the part of the train crew, that the daily cost is much the same. One operator whose wood costs $2.50 per cord calculates that he saves $1.50 daily on a 35-ton locomotive, and states that the oil-burning locomotive handles 16 cars and a wood burner but 14.
Note that a cord of wood equals a stack, 4' x 4' x '8, that's a lot of wood!


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 Post subject: Re: Gas at $10 Revisited (Limited Time Engagement!)
PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2022 12:29 pm 

Joined: Wed Jan 16, 2019 8:47 pm
Posts: 201
Thanks for the resource on wood vs. oil Kelly. Per Google, a cord of wood will average about $300. So that's about $2,100 a day in wood! That's the cost equivalent of 6-10 tons of coal by my guesstimate.

Interesting how they compare.


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 Post subject: Re: Gas at $10 Revisited (Limited Time Engagement!)
PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2022 1:39 pm 

Joined: Tue Sep 14, 2004 7:52 am
Posts: 2346
Location: Strasburg, PA
Boilermaker wrote:
Not being willing to acknowledge and discuss a problem, as out of our control as it may be, is to just give up.
Yes, but $10 Diesel fuel is not a problem. It is a "possible" future problem, as is nuclear war, the US falling to fascism, socialism, or communism (take your pick), termination of the Constitution, the zombie apocalypse, or the reinstitution of prohibition.

Remember the years of news coverage regarding "what will happen if gasoline reaches $1 per gallon?" When it actually happened, the US shrugged and went about its business. When diesel fuel hits $10 per gallon, I would suspect the same overall reaction. Whether I will live to see it is another question.


Last edited by Kelly Anderson on Sun Dec 04, 2022 7:56 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Gas at $10 Revisited (Limited Time Engagement!)
PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2022 1:51 pm 

Joined: Thu Feb 27, 2014 10:08 am
Posts: 680
Kelly Anderson wrote:
Yes, but ... a "possible" future problem, as is ... reinstitution of prohibition..

OK. NOW you have my attention!


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 Post subject: Re: Gas at $10 Revisited (Limited Time Engagement!)
PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2022 1:57 pm 

Joined: Tue Sep 14, 2004 7:52 am
Posts: 2346
Location: Strasburg, PA
Boilermaker wrote:
Thanks for the resource on wood vs. oil Kelly. Per Google, a cord of wood will average about $300. So that's about $2,100 a day in wood! That's the cost equivalent of 6-10 tons of coal by my guesstimate.

Interesting how they compare.
When I was working, coal on the ground was about $150 per ton, so fourteen tons vs. seven cords.

Google says that a cord of wood weighs about 2,500 lb., at about 7,000 BTU per pound, so 17,500,000 BTU's per cord, times seven.

If our hypothetical coal contains 12,500 BTU per pound, fourteen tons would contain 350,000,000 BTU's, about three times as much. No wonder railroads went to coal.

P.S. Fourteen tons of coal takes up about 550 cubic feet, where twenty-one cords of wood (for equal heating value) takes up 2,688 cubic feet, or about five times the volume. That's a hell of a tender.


Last edited by Kelly Anderson on Sun Dec 04, 2022 2:57 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Gas at $10 Revisited (Limited Time Engagement!)
PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2022 2:31 pm 

Joined: Wed Jan 16, 2019 8:47 pm
Posts: 201
Unfortunately my prices for coal require a significant drive for delivery from our dealer. I wish I could get it under $200/ton!


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