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Bulleid 'Leader'

Discussion in 'Steam Traction' started by Eightpot, Mar 23, 2020 at 5:29 PM.

  1. 35B

    35B Resident of Nat Pres

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    I think there’s merit in that, but it’s also worth considering that all of the companies had refresh plans for their fleets, where replacing the older part of the fleet would have been to some extent routine. And, given that the end of Southern steam in 1967 was unknown in Bulleid’s period, continuing business as usual doesn’t seem unreasonable.

    None of which precludes the idea that Bulleid then made use of the “M7 problem” as a way to support his ideas.


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  2. Jimc

    Jimc Part of the furniture

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    At an outside random guess I could imagine Bulleid sold it as the wonder solution that was going to let them skip diesels until they could electrify the whole network. And the board are limited in what they can do. Doesn't take too much sense to hire a professional engineer and then have a bunch of amateurs tell him he's talking nonsense. Besides if you do too much of that you're faced with the problem of finding another CME.

    I've wondered vaguely, and on no evidence at all, whether the GW board put in the big external orders for 94xx pannier tanks just before nationalisation to ensure their money was spent on the WR, and not diverted elsewhere. With a similar complete lack of evidence might one wonder if the SR board thought similarly?
     
  3. Paulthehitch

    Paulthehitch New Member

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    Now there you go again! According to two people I have talked to independently of one another, one a footplateman and the other a regular passenger, in the latter years of the M7s, they were barely capable of timing a two coach push-pull set. Two points. Firstly I am not sure how "latter year" they were talking about. Secondly neither you nor I are in a position to refute what they said.
     
  4. 30854

    30854 Part of the furniture

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    Perhaps, but trashing a decent 'atlantic' to do so, especially when you consider the contents of the scrap lines at Eastleigh (the ex-LBSC stud being a bit light on outside cylindered designs), seems a strange way of going about it. Surely, when it came to thermal expansion and simulated loading, some static testing would've established the soundness (or otherwise) of the tech involved, ahead of taking the idea out onto the network.

    There must, by 1949, have been a wealth of data concerning sleeve applications on aero and auto engines. It occurs that Stanier's experience with LMS 6202 may have impacted Bulleid's thinking, given that turbines, like sleeve valves, are generally held to perform optimally under constant speed.
     
  5. Jimc

    Jimc Part of the furniture

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    What about cost of ownership though? The GWR was rapidly running down its pre group fleet (even including Churchward standards with the striking exception of 8-coupled) in the late 40s and WR in the early 50s. It does seem that a good part motivation was that the newer construction was simply cheaper to maintain.
     
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  6. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    That was possibly true in the 1960s, when at times Eastleigh was rebuilding one good loco out of two, and scrapping the remaining parts. There is absolutely no evidence that the M7s were in significantly bad shape in the 1940s, as evidenced by the fact that the entire class continued in use for another 15 years; nor that there was any "desperation" to their replacement in the 1940s.

    Tom
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2020 at 3:14 PM
  7. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    SR motive power policy, though, since the formation had been a managed decline of steam as electrification came in. Maunsell scrapped a lot of old locos, but built relatively few new ones to replace them. (I think the SR motive power fleet went from something like 2,200 in 1923 to 1,800 in 1947). So I don't particularly see why, left to their own devices, that policy shouldn't have continued through the 1950s. The Leader clearly wasn't needed, but I am not convinced that large number of Fairburn tanks were either; the fact they were built at Brighton in large numbers I think has at least as much to do with postwar politics as it does desired motive power policy.

    Tom
     
  8. PoleStar

    PoleStar New Member

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    The Atlantic was unfortunately due for scrapping anyway. It was quite a historic machine having been "La France" in LBSC days IIRC.

    It does not seem the ideal choice of engine and apparently a King Arthur was the first choice, but the new cylinders could not be fitted within the loading gauge.

    Unless you know differently, there was little if any data available at the time relating to sleeve valves in steam engines. Temperatures, pressures and lubrication are very different in IC engines.

    The test without rings was in fact just the sort of static testing you suggest, with actual rather than simulated loading. It was what practical engineers could have done easily.

    All the development work on the Leader was done in a hurry without enough money or resources. I am interested in what they did, and why.

    With due respect, I have the impression that you just want to have a meaningless argument.
     
  9. Paulthehitch

    Paulthehitch New Member

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    I hope you are not being too "football supporterish" here. The "home team" was worn out and, particularly in the case of the 4-4-2 tanks used in the Sussex Weald, badly in need of replacement by the 4MT machines. In addition, 30 2MT tanks were hardly an excessive number to follow on from the large number of o=4=4 scattered all over southern England, often well over 50 years old.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2020 at 11:21 PM
  10. Jimc

    Jimc Part of the furniture

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    You may well be correct - of course you are correct about the run down of steam and replacement with electric. But it does seem possible for there to be a point where keeping very old stock running is so expensive that replacements, even with a short life, would be cost effective. If Eastleigh were having to do "one good one from two" rebuilds in the 1960s at a time of rapid run down of the fleets it does sound as if something had gone badly wrong. Obviously no-one needs a failure like the Leader, but something more rational might have made sense.
     
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  11. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    I’m not sure they “had” to do those rebuilds that way; rather that there was a combination of a fleet being rapidly run down but specific long-frame M7s needed for push pull working; in those circumstances they combined parts to keep the long frame loco going and scrapped the short frame one.

    Really though my point is about the supposed “desperation” for motive power fifteen years earlier, for which I think there is scant evidence. The main thing that seemed to happen in the period 1949 - 1951 was a mass clear out of whatever Stirling, Kirtley, most of the remaining Adams locos except the O2s, and Stroudley D tank locos were still ekeing out an existence, along with many of the older Billinton and Marsh tank locos. What remained in traffic after the early 1950s of the pre-grouping locos were the Billinton radials, most of the Wainwright locos (only the small J class 0-6-4Ts went at that time) the Drummond M7s, T9s and Black motors, the Marsh 0-6-0s, the K and N class moguls, various Maunsell SECR 4-4-0s; the big Urie 4-6-0s and a handful of ancient relics (Terriers, Beattie well tanks, Adams radial tanks) kept on for very specific purposes. At the same time, 140 new Pacifics were built. The picture to me looks like a managed decline of small passenger locos while keeping on the newer and better condition ones, but with a requirement for new front line passenger locos.

    Tom
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2020 at 5:15 PM
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  12. martin1656

    martin1656 Part of the furniture Friend

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    In most cases, when new locos come on stream, the loco's that were employed on those duties would be cascaded to other parts of the system and older engines scrapped, except in some cases where there was no modern loco that could do the job, such as Terriers on the Hayling Branch, 02's on the IOW, Adams Radial tanks on the Lyne Regis branch, well tanks on the Wentford, ( but these were replaced by light weight panniers later) , but otherwise such engines would have been scrapped as soon as other engines arrived, The idea though behind the Leader was to replace M7,s but they were just too flawed , at least underneath the cladding the pacifics were fairly convential .
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2020 at 7:28 PM
  13. 30854

    30854 Part of the furniture

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    Well the rest of the post is spot on (and thanks for the info on the 'Arthur', which was news to me), but - sorry - that sentence sure as hell ain't! I'm genuinely interested in the application and detail concerning the only other example I know of, the Midland 'Paget', beyond it featuring multiple single acting cylinders, is a bit thin on the ground.

    Leader itself I find a fascinating project, agreeing with the published sentiment that it was 'steam's last chance'. Obviously, steam was never going to be able to compete with the efficiency of electric traction, where that was eceonomically viable, and although, clearly, Leader came up short, I applaud Bulleid for attempting to keep steam technology (and indigenous fuel) relevant. The later adoption of conventional steam distribution on (4 cylindered) CIÉ CC1 probably tells us all we need to know about Bulleid's own view on his excursion into sleeve valves.

    I do note OVSB's choice, in his CIÉ days, of ex-GS&W 2-6-0 No.356, during experiments germane to development of the 'Turf Burner' occasioned similar comment to those concerning the 'atlantic'.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2020 at 6:12 PM
  14. Jimc

    Jimc Part of the furniture

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    Before the war were they anticipating Kent Coast electrification in the late 40s or early 50s? That would have been another big increment of redundant steam and made a lot of difference to what the fleet looked like. But even then it seems to me that they had far too many antiques running on far too long. OTOH I can hear Maunsell's shade whispering in my ear saying "Do you really think I should have built a fleet of modern branch/cross country line steam engines instead of going as fast as possible with electrification", and its hard to disagree.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2020 at 6:13 PM
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  15. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    With the benefit of hindsight, I think it is pretty clear that Maunsell was right.

    More generally, I think the presence of a few very old locos kept for specific purposes tends to form a distorted picture of Southern motive power in the last ten to fifteen years or so of steam. Yes, there were the Hayling Island Terriers; the three Beattie Well tanks at Wadebridge; the three Adams radial tanks at Lyme Regis; and the IoW Adams O2s. But all of those were filling very specific niches where there was no justification to design a very bespoke replacement. On the bulk of the system in general, after about 1951 there was almost nothing remaining older than about 1895, and most locos were newer than about 1905. OK, that's the result of a very different loco policy to that followed by the GWR and LMS, but the presence of a few surviving locos built in the 1870s shouldn't cover up the fact that almost all of the fleet was several decades newer. The 1947 - 51 clear out was really pretty brutal in getting rid of anything much older.

    Tom
     
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  16. MellishR

    MellishR Well-Known Member Friend

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    How so? Just how was it supposed to be an improvement over a conventional tank engine? What advantage were sleeve valves expected to offer over piston valves, even if they had worked perfectly? A driving cab at each end obviously had some advantage, but surely not enough to outweigh the disadvantage of separating the fireman from the driver. Having the whole weight available for adhesion on bogies is good, but that could have been done with a Garratt layout.
     
  17. 30854

    30854 Part of the furniture

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    I'm thinking more of the projects' objectives than any one of the particular design features. The evident fact it ultimately failed to meet any of these doesn't detract from my longstanding fascination .... if that makes any sort of sense! :)
     
  18. Dunfanaghy Road

    Dunfanaghy Road New Member

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    Don't forget Adams' G6. 11 out of 34 lasted until 1958, the last went in 1962.
    Pat
     
  19. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Part of the furniture

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    While I quite understand why The Southern wasnt building steam loco's & the LNER didnt have the money, the GWR did a pretty good job of replacing the bulk of its fleet in the inter war period while Stamp on the LMS decided that new built locomotives were cheaper to run than older ones, even allowing for depreciation
     
  20. 8126

    8126 Member

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    To my mind, the interesting thing with the Southern and passenger/mixed traffic tank engines prior to Leader is that they were arguably first in the field with a modern 2-6-4T, but they'd been so badly burnt by it that Maunsell never went near a passenger or mixed-traffic tank engine design again, or pony trucks for new design. Even the projected "goods Nelson" was a 4-8-0, not a 2-8-0 as you might expect on other lines. And yet a 2-6-4T version of the N, as was actually built for the Metropolitan Railway as the K-class (confusing, I know), would on paper fill all the roles later taken by Fairburns and Standard 4 tanks.

    The surviving big, modern tank engines that might be considered applicable were the W-class (tried on passenger turns around 1948 and promptly banned, having all the same faults as the K class), the two Brighton J class (modern arguable here, but the only remaining fast, powerful tank engines), and perhaps the H16 class, which did a lot of ECS work and race day specials to Ascot. Having a radial truck at the rear the H16s were suspect in fast bunker first running and weren't particularly speedy engines anyway. An H16 "Ashfordised" along the same lines as the S15s to which they were so closely related could have been an interesting engine, but at 95 tons and over 9' wide, route availability would have been a sticking point.

    The problem seems to have been the lack of a good pony truck design on the SR; the one on the Maunsell moguls was adequate for the Moguls but not for heavier tank engines. It just became accepted (and the Chief Civil Engineer enforced) that new designs had a bogie if they were to go fast, and yet other lines amply proved that a good pony truck was possible. It was just that in the earlier years, side control design seems to have been more by luck than judgement, and bogies were more forgiving. If my memory of Cox's writing in Locomotive Panorama is to be believed, it it wasn't really until the second world war years, when previously acceptable designs like 4-6-0s and Pacifics started coming to grief on poor track, that anyone in Britain really explored the requirements of a good design in detail. At that point they had to, there wasn't any more forgiving arrangement to move to.
     

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