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Alternative history steam 1980

Discussion in 'Steam Traction' started by Bikermike, Jul 1, 2022.

  1. Bikermike

    Bikermike Well-Known Member

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    It's an interesting point, WW1 surplus lorries made a huge difference, but didn't take rail out, as they weren't powerful enough or easy enough to use to make long-distance stuff better than by rail. AIUI, it was the big jump in available stuff post-WW2 (in quality and quantity), as well as the huge leap in industrial capacity that did for rail.

    I suspect we'd end up with a similar-sized road-transport network but via a slower progress.

    Also, would we have had the sharp rise in labour costs and conditions that drove up the costs of handling which drove things away from transhipping?
     
  2. Allegheny

    Allegheny Member

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    I'm just thinking that if steam had still been around in 1980, David Wardale would have stayed in the UK rather than going to South Africa.
     
  3. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Resident of Nat Pres

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    So, by 1939 the LNER is on the verge of bankruptcy, possibly most of the other Big 4 companies as well.

    There is little understanding of costs, rates are controlled by the Railway Rates Tribunal and no money is avalible for investment.

    The absence of WW2 means that the motor industry isnt held back for about 15 years.

    I dont think its going to end well.
     
  4. toplight

    toplight Well-Known Member

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    If ww2 hadn't happened then the growing use of motor transport would have occurred earlier and taken traffic away from the railways at least 10 years earlier. Without nationalisation I don't think as many lines would have closed as much of Beechings ideas was about closing duplicate routes, but if the big 4 had continued then the routes would have remained owned by separate organisations, therefore, less reason to close as many. Small branches would have still have been the ones that went.

    Don't think there would have been much electrification unless government provided the extra funding. Likely diesels would have been very slowly introduced and refined. Any steam developments would have been largely improving existing designs, rocking grates, easier maintenance, better blast pipe arrangements etc. Ivatts modern designs on the LMS being the sort of locos that would have been built. ( Ie similar to the standards).

    The streamlined trains on the LMS and LNER would have probably been further developed and expanded too.
     
  5. Bikermike

    Bikermike Well-Known Member

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    Also, railways wouldn't have been hammered by 6 years of war
     
  6. 30854

    30854 Resident of Nat Pres

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    I wonder .... The first war not only saw major progress in ICE vehicles, but released many thousands onto markets everywhere when the shooting stopped.

    What advances were made in ICE tech during, or more specifically, as a result of WWII? In our timelime, military surplus hitting the roads from 1945 didn't do so as it had in 1918, due to Mr Attlee's administration's nationalisation programme. No WWII, (arguably) less advanced vehicles, definitely no war surplus.

    Then there's all that manufacturing capacity which went in during WWII. The UK's automotive industry would have been as it was in the 1930s .... still suffering the aftermath of the depression, meaning.we'd have been at the tail end of a decade of lack of investment, likely with a lot of very tired ex-WWI lorries and buses breaking down left, right and centre.

    Would the protectionism of the 'National Government' coalitions of the 30s have continued? I see no reason to suppose otherwise. I could imagine politicians banging on about the balance of payments and the evils of imports, most especially from 'foreign countries' .... i.e. the not-pink bits in atlases, on maps and globes. Who made the only reliable diesel engines in the 30s? ..... That'd be the cousins!
     
  7. 22A

    22A Well-Known Member

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    Some interesting thoughts posted so far. I've read that when the 9Fs were introduced it was expected they would be in service until 1985.
    In another book written by Paul Beevor(?) he reasons that after nationalisation, no one at national level reviewed the stock of locos. Instead each Region continued as before 1948. The author suggests Black 5s and V2s to the Southern, West Countries to Leeds and Merchant Navies to Liverpool etc.

    After WW2, it was realised that electrification was the way ahead, but Britain couldn't afford it, so settled for diesels. In the 1955 Modernisation plan, it stated "Oil is cheap and it all comes from countries who are friendly to Britain whereas British coal is produced by militant unionists".
     
  8. Allegheny

    Allegheny Member

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    Is the 1970's oil price hike factored to be factored in in this thread?
     
  9. Jimc

    Jimc Part of the furniture

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    Not a great idea, reducing standardisation and increasing costs at both ends.

    As I imagine I've said before, no matter when a change in traction was introduced it was almost inevitable that the last generation of the old traction would not run a full life. So what if it doesn't - building new locomotives that you know will have a short life will be cost effective if its cheaper than keeping the old crocks running. The last pure broad gauge 4-2-2s only ran 4 years.
     
  10. Bikermike

    Bikermike Well-Known Member

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    If you like, I had more assumed the middle east capacity (and thus price not-increase in the 50s) didn't happen
     
  11. Allegheny

    Allegheny Member

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    After the oil price increases, large scale electrical power generation from fuel oil eventually became extinct. If steam had still been around (on the railways), the pendulum may have swung back away from Diesel.
     
  12. Dunfanaghy Road

    Dunfanaghy Road Member

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    But, would the labour shortages of the sixties still taken place? AIUI they made steam increasingly difficult to operate, no matter which way the economics may, or may not, have swung.
    Pat
     
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  13. 6220Coronation

    6220Coronation New Member

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    What if the BR Standards had remained in service until the 1980s as originally planned?
     
  14. Martin Perry

    Martin Perry Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

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    If steam had been more ‘everyday’ on the mainline, steam heritage railways would probably not be so numerous.
     
  15. Selsig

    Selsig Member

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    35B likes this.
  16. mdewell

    mdewell Well-Known Member Friend

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    I would imagine the GWR still going the diesel hydraulic route with steam being phased out during the 1960s. They had the speed for passenger services, and low speed grunt to handle freight (Just add the appropriate gearing).
     
  17. 30854

    30854 Resident of Nat Pres

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    Shouldn't think so ..... an improved atmospheric system, on the other hand! ;)
     
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  18. Jimc

    Jimc Part of the furniture

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    Electric traction is really the same principle as atmospheric - put the fuel and power generation at fixed points and distribute the energy via infrastructure with a minimal "locomotive".
     
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  19. 30854

    30854 Resident of Nat Pres

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    Believe it or not, there are a couple of modern takes on 'atmospheric' systems, one of which uses synthetic rubber in the sealing system (marketed by http://www.aeromovel.com/ ).and another which uses magnetic couplings between the piston in it's unslotted tube (does that make sense?) and the vehicle being propelled. Can't find much beyond a bare mention of the magnetic system at the sec.

    The atmospheric systems' Wiki page says "see also 'steam catapults" .... I kid you not!
     
  20. gwralatea

    gwralatea Member

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    same sort of principle, and very useful for getting heavily laden combat jets off your deck if you don't have the money, inclination or port facilities to build extremely long aircraft carriers...
     

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