Steam locomotives are dead, right? Awe-inspiring
though they might be, labor issues and diesel fuel at 4 cents a gallon killed them in the 1950's and 60's, and they survive only in isolated pockets around the world and on tourist railways.
A dedicated cadre of railfans and unusually sentimental railroad companies preserved some examples that can still be found running today, so that sixty years on, we can still appreciate the sound and fury
of a great locomotive. Mainland China still uses them
, and some of the Chinese locomotives have been imported
into the US for tourist service.
What is it about steam locomotives that will not die? Just the number will launch old time railfans into arguments resembling ed
Back during the 1973 embargo, efforts were made to design new steam locomotives
in response to the crisis. The technology, for something considered dead and buried, has continued to advance.
Now, there's even a new company building standardized parts
for steam locomotives.
There have been arguments in railroading circles for years regarding steam vs. diesel power. With diesel fuel at $4.00 a gallon in the US, it might appear that the cost equation might be moving back in the other direction.
Think we can't build a new steam locomotive any more? These guys
did, from the rails up, and they're going to run it this year.