coal firing and consideration for others

jimmytrains_0

jimmytrains_0

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16 Dec 2009
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Ealing
Just got back yesterday from an enjoy able jaunt to Sumner Ponds, west sussex, Steam gas and coal were both demonstrated on one railway, all areas of this one large tent became filled and I mean filled by the smoke smoke everytime a fresh round went on. Is this exceptable?

On many occasions we have been asked to prepare a loco else where, no where near public and keep all sight of gas canisters hidden, this is good practise and stops the "ocassionals" who seem to then realise that maybe it's time to say "i have asthma".

coal is a little different because you get real. no beautiful white plumes all the time, and that "lovely " I remember smell - but not at half past three in the morning in the tent when it finely settles over everything.

The practise was also witnessed at a grail show in the south at the end of the day and about half an hour into packing up the sky fell in. Should steam with coal be indoors?
 
garrymartin

garrymartin

My Family,Railways, Beer and the Seaside
I would be quite worried about coal firing in a tent because the risk of fire and Carbon Monoxide . I suppose a lot depends on the size and nature of the tent.
 
F

fridge

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15 Jan 2012
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I was there too. The tent was large, more a small marquee, and open along one side. Even when in the tent, I didn't get the impression of any smoke nuisance. Nonetheless, any safety issues at a public exhibition ought to be carefully considered. That particular group layout has been exhibited at a number of venues around the country and I would have hoped that the operators knew what they were doing. I have no connection with the layout, by the way. I must say that I had a really enjoyable morning there and will happily go again.
 
TLR

TLR

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What ever fuel is burned it all has the potential to produce Co [ carbon monoxide ] so plenty of ventilation is required when running live steam inside.

Shaun
 
PhilP

PhilP

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5 Jun 2013
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I do not think CO would be a problem in a tent/marquee, even with the flaps shut! ;)

Smoke nuisance might well be a problem, even with an open-sided tent. - Wind direction would affect this too.
I would have thought they would stagger steaming-up to control this a bit?? Perhaps they had more coal-fired loco's than normal??

Still, if you enjoyed yourself, then the 'steamy fix' should last you a while! ;) :D :happy: :happy:
 
PaulRhB

PaulRhB

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At Shepton the gas fired live steamers used to regularly 'gas everyone' with the orrible smell at that end of the sports hall, ok for punters but could get a bit trying if you were exhibiting opposite them, as that show is in february opening the doors could only be done briefly to clear the fug or everyone froze!
Personally a tent outside sounds much better than in a exhibition hall as it means a shower isn't a problem but live steam is best outdoors for the ventilation.
 
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400Parker

400Parker

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18 Nov 2013
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I was invited to run a coal fired loco at the Weymouth Model Engineering Society`s show for a couple of years. It`s held indoors in November. There wasn`t a lot of smoke (as far as I could see ;) ) but there was a distinctive smell. Apparently some of the traders complained and I wasn`t invited back for a third time.
The main problem, I think, is getting the fire going when the paraffin soaked charcoal can give off a lot of smoke.
Steve
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TLR

TLR

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24 Oct 2009
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I do not think CO would be a problem in a tent/marquee, even with the flaps shut! ;)

Unfortunately that is not quite right, people have died trying to warm up tents with gas burners, admittedly small tents, but Co has been the culprit, as the oxygen is depleted in the tent you become sleepy and tend not to wake up.

Shaun
 
PhilP

PhilP

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I do not think CO would be a problem in a tent/marquee, even with the flaps shut! ;)

Unfortunately that is not quite right, people have died trying to warm up tents with gas burners, admittedly small tents, but Co has been the culprit, as the oxygen is depleted in the tent you become sleepy and tend not to wake up.

Shaun
Not wanting to be pedantic, but that refers to small synthetic 1/2 man tents.. I defy you to make even a small 'marquee' type tent 'airtight' enough for this to be a problem.

Not belittleing the danger of CO poisoning, of course.
 
TLR

TLR

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24 Oct 2009
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Not wanting to be pedantic, but that refers to small synthetic 1/2 man tents.. I defy you to make even a small 'marquee' type tent 'airtight' enough for this to be a problem.

Not belittleing the danger of CO poisoning, of course.
I did say a small tent and yes your right about a marquee style tent, assuming it was not a synthetic and had multiple engines running, I was trying to show that Co can cause problems under the right conditions.

Shaun
 
C

CoggesRailway

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If it really is a potential issue, a CO alarm could be placed somewhere in the venue, brought along by the exhibitor group. They don't cost much. We have one in the house for peace of mind.

I do doubt in a big space with lots of awake people its much of a threat. It's probably more a matter of taste- some like the atmosphere some think its a stink!
 
PhilP

PhilP

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I think the biggest problem from both 'real' smoke, and especially smoke-oil, is the fact 'we' are in close proximity to vapourised complex hydrocarbons in a small space for a fair amount of time..
I would guess they are carcinogenic?? - Hence the 'health' warning on some large-scale loco's that they contain substances known to cause cancer in California..

Though we might be safe, as long as we don't all move to said state!! ::) ;)
 
G

green park

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mine doesnt give off too much smoke on anthracite until i put on a lump or two of house coal deliberately for the coal smell. soon has a blue haze around the garden unless its windy. would soon clag up the air indoors i think. have only run meths indoors but that stinks if not burning correctly. ...mart
 
T

Trainman 864

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As a live steam enthusiast, I sometimes find myself drawn into these debates about the safety and acceptability of the different fuels used. Unfortunately, agreement is rarely reached because of the widely differing knowledge of the people involved - and also their differing attitudes to percieved risk, which can range from the cavalier "lets just do it, the chances of anything going wrong are too small to worry about" all the way to " if there's any risk at all, then it's got to be elliminated"

In my experience the best thing to resolve thiese potentially contentious questions is a credible and authoritive RISK ASSESSMENT - written by someone suitably qualified in Risk Analysis. There is always going to be some risks and the best approach to managing those risks is to divide them into three catagories and actioning them accordingly .........

1) Risks that are acceptable and require no action.
2) Risks that are not acceptable at their present level and reqire some action to downgrade them to acceptable.
3) Risks that are not acceptable and need to be eliminated.

I find that people tend to have a much more realistic view of this whole issue when the risks are presented to them in this way.

However - I also think it's as well to remember what my local Chief Fire Officer said after I discussed my last risk analysis with him - "Risk assessment is an inexact science" ...... :)
 
Madman

Madman

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BREATH DEEP, THE GATHERING GLOOM.....
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stockers

stockers

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"Risk assessment is an inexact science" ...... :)
Until something goes wrong - then its inadequate - however good it was in the first place.
 
Rhinochugger

Rhinochugger

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27 Oct 2009
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Until something goes wrong - then its inadequate - however good it was in the first place.
It is an inexact science, but the purpose of it is to consider all of the 'what ifs' and then document your conclusions.

It is worth noting that you are only likely to be pilloried if one of your conclusions is so obviously flawed that you are proven to be a blethering idiot.

If you have done the analysis conscientiously and have not exceeded the limits of your knowledge, then that is a very unlikely outcome.

You are quite likely to be pilloried if you have not attempted to undertake a risk assessment.

The vast majority of H&S solutions are common sense, not necessarily deeply technical.

And, yes, I am qualified to make these observations and no, I am not a blethering idiot (just yet) :party::party::party:
 
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Railway42

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28 Feb 2013
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I took my wife to the Great Central Railway exhibition last year and the live steam tent smelt so bad that we turned around and walked out without seeing any of it. I assume because the exhibitors were trying to fill a hot gas tank. Whenever I see gas tanks being filled there seems to be more wasted than what actually goes in the tank.
 
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artfull dodger

artfull dodger

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12 Apr 2012
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Kokomo, Indiana
I think coal firing at an indoor event would be reasonable, but I would use the cleanest burning coal I had, saving the smokey/stinky stuff for outdoors. I would also keep the runs to a single load of water and not go for an endurance run of long duration. Maybe even post a sign as to when the coal fired engine(s) will run so that interested viewers can come back at a designated time to see the locomotive operated. I get this when I take my friends stable of gas fired engines to a public show. Many times someone will want to see a certain engine run, so I will set a time and let them know to stop back by the layout at that time. The shows here in the states seem to be a well ventilated buildings with enough drafts to dispense with the smells of the fuels and such. But live steam is not common at shows in the states, so at most we have 2 engines running and one or two raising steam to be ready when the running engine is ready to be shunted to the cool down track. Mike
 
dunnyrail

dunnyrail

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25 Oct 2009
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Live Steam Gigs can get a bit "Thick" on the atmosphere. Used to visit the Beds Group at Ridgemont on a regular basis and yes with Gas Fired and the occasional Coal Fired Loco at the end of the day the Hall was a definately not nice pkace to be. But as we all loved our Live Steam we just accepted it. Though there were always the last few that hung around to get things put away, masocists or just good eggs that wanted to get things packed away properly?

Live Steam is always a tricky call particularly with Electric Trains in smaller Scales and Traders. The atmosphere created does offend and have an effect particularly with smaller scales like say N Gauge and even the finer P4 EM etc scales. So perhaps the Tent is a good idea. I would try to insist that Firing Up, Fueling etc is done outside if possible. Though even that can be tricky if it is Raining or even Snowing. My local Biggleswade Show had a Live Steam presence when they were at the Racecoarse. Was outside in Open Sided Garden type Marquee. That was a good solution, but a very cold one for the Operators. In I think March or early April.

All in all a difficult problem. Perhaps Tolerance on all sides is a word that can be used.
JonD