News from China ….

ASTT member Liang Chenyuan has sent us a link to a video of an experiment carried out on steam locomotives in China recently.

Chenyuan, who only recently joined ASTT, reports that the experiments were undertaken in 2017 by the Chuntian Company on QJ and SY locomotives owned by the Jitong Railway Company, which involved the replacement of steam with high pressure inert gas (presumably CO2).

Gas was piped from a storage cylinder mounted either on the loco tender or in a wagon behind it, and fed directly into the steam chests at a controlled pressure.  The aim was to find a method of powering a steam locomotive without polluting emissions.

A fascinating video of the experiments can be seen at

Chenyuan reports that the experiments were not successful, though he doesn’t know the nature of the problems that were encountered.  It would be interesting to know how cylinder and valve lubrication was affected and/or if special low-temperature lubricants were used.  It would also be interesting to know how the cost of inert gas compares with steam, and how far the locomotives could haul trains using a 5 tonne cylinder of CO2.  Furthermore, it would be interesting to know how the CO2 was prevented from freezing as it expanded into the steamchest.

Chenyuan reports that there is increasing levels interest within China in railways in general, and in steam locomotives in particular, and that he is one of a growing fraternity of enthusiasts.  We hope he will send us more news from China in the future.



2 comments on “News from China ….”

  1. Chris Corney

    Hi Chris,
    In the present climate (or more to the point the change in climate) I think it is more likely to be Nitrogen, rather than CO2. Nitrogen will be cheaper too.
    In terms of energy storage it reminds me of the fireless locomotive. Modern clean energy storage systems tend to use batteries, although the system in the video will be easier to retrofit to an existing locomotive

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