Anonymous asked in Cars & TransportationRail · 1 decade ago

Steam train experts.......?

Were the old steam trains as fast as the new electric modern ones?

8 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Express passenger steam locomotives like the A3 class (e.g. 'Flying Scotsman') and A4 class (e.g. 'Mallard') were capable of 100mph+ and the 'Mallard' still holds the record for a steam locomotive at 126mph.

    However, electrics can go much faster. In 1955 a French electric locomotive broke the 200mph barrier and today, electric trains are capable of up to 300mph although they only reach a maximum of 200mph in normal service.

    Electric locomotives are also much more energy efficient than steam. A steam locomotive with a heavy train consumes large amounts of coal and water and also exerts a lot more wear and tear on the track.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    First: I have to disqualify myself in one respect, I am NOT a steam expert, I only know a little bit from being around steam engineers way back in the day.

    But to answer if they are as fast the answer has to be NO. For the day they were incredible, there were some instances where steam locomotives were able to hit speeds of a hundred plus but not with the reilaibility of modern electric locomotives.

    That would be like asking if a 1930 Model T car was as fast as a new Cadillac.

    Interesting question to ponder though. If steam had stayed in use, what innovations would have been made and just how good could steam power be?

  • Derail
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    They weren't as fast as, say, the electric trains in parts of Europe. But yes, they were fast. If commuting demanded high speeds, then that's what the railroad tried to provide. In the more remote and mountainous parts of the U.S. west for example, where the terrain is rough and people didn't use trains for work every day, they weren't as fast.

    The last generations of steam engines were incredibly powerful. But they were costly to operate. Even using two or three diesel engines to replace that one steam engine was still cheaper, in operating, than using the steam engine.

  • Andy
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    Not as fast as the TGV of France and Japans Bullet train. But some such as the Northerns were faster than todays modern freight locomotives The Maglevs might beat them all in the near future.

    Source(s): UPRR engineer
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  • 4 years ago

    I artwork a 1920 1st earl baldwin of bewdley 2-8-0 for the final 15 years i'm by utilising no skill a steam professional yet have executed extensive maintenance to this steamer. in case you cant discover "professional help" i may well be waiting to help you.

  • 1 decade ago

    I think they could hit 100mph, but no where near the 150-200 mph of modern high speed trains.

  • l

  • 5 years ago


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