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Bulleid 'Leader'

Discussion in 'Steam Traction' started by Eightpot, Mar 23, 2020.

  1. 8126

    8126 Member

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    It seems to have been the way, for the most heavily curved routes the KMs did well and possibly better, but Garratts were more versatile. It could be argued that the SAR GM/GMA/GO family of Garratts, with their ever present water carrier wagons, were also effectively operated as tender engines.
     
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  2. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    April 1941, after Thompson had taken over from Gresley. One day into the job. Availability of locomotives was at an all time low, workshop space and foundry capacity was limited by the war effort and Thompson had to put to the board an outline of what he felt the next five years were going to be like.

    There was no "ten year" sort of plan, there were immediate discussions on what we would recognize now as "quick fixes" i.e. workshops reorganized, more central control and providing more inspectors for boiler inspections at sheds (which was key to getting availability down together with addressing the known issues of the conjugated valve gear in wartime).

    Not my intention at all! Apologies.
     
  3. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    Just on this - one can't help but feel that on the Southern Railway, Bulleid's three major design contributions - two Pacifics and a workaday 0-6-0 - were all complete revolts from Gresley in a variety of ways. The Bulleid Merchant Navy and the Thompson A2/2 were contemporary and were effectively trying to resolve the same problems in wartime, that of a reduction in maintenance personnel.

    Whereas Thompson kept largely the same locomotive outline with three sets of valve gear, and reorganised entire maintenance departments, Bulleid went the other way and went experimental with chain driven valve gear in an oil bath. Thus making the day to day maintenance more on the crew that worked the locomotives rather than the shed staff, where valve gear was concerned. I used to think Bulleid was mad to trial this in wartime - I have revised my views completely after researching the Thompson book and think it's genius. It is a shame that all of the MNs were rebuilt; one as built MN would be a sight to see today (and being biased, I'd have loved to have seen Channel Packet in original form).

    The Leader by contrast is one of the biggest wastes of time any engineer has ever committed to metal, outside of Fowler's Ghost and Perseverance from the Rainhill Trials. I can't quite get my head around the fact that Bulleid was allowed to design and build it on the Southern Railway where Thompson, and then Peppercorn, were rebuffed in building new types of conventional steam locomotives. It makes absolutely no sense at a practical level, IMO.

    If he wanted a locomotive with a cab at each end, capable of doing the work of an M7, he should have just built a modernized few of these!

    [​IMG]

    Joking aside, the above probably fits the Leader's original spec far better than Leader actually does!
     
  4. RLinkinS

    RLinkinS Member

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    I do not think Bullied was mad (I understand that you do not mean insane) but I do think he lacked the ability to discriminate between sound engineering ideas and those that were likely to cause more problems than they solved. I imagine he was a bundle of energy and the rest of the design team were trying to keep up with him. I also suspect he was really good at selling ideas to the Board.


    Sent from my SM-A105FN using Tapatalk
     
  5. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    Perhaps questions could be asked of Eustace Missenden?

    But on the other hand, when working for CIE Bulleid gave us the CC1. So he didn't give up after the Leader.

    Also, the 4DD considering that double deck trains are common on European and North American railways now, but again, Bulleid was innovating ahead of the curve, even if they did not quite work as well as intended.
     
  6. Eightpot

    Eightpot Well-Known Member Friend

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    Not forgetting the double-ended LNER Y10 Sentinel 0-4-0s working at Lowestoft.
     
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  7. 30854

    30854 Part of the furniture

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    There's an end-on photo, from above, of the beastie resplendent in (plain) black, taken at Brighton (so, yes, I am assuming that the whole loco was painted thus), though I can't recall in which of three books and (from memory, my books currently being isolated in a different location!) the forbidding I mentioned was possibly the very reason the emblem you mentioned was obliterated.
     
  8. Dunfanaghy Road

    Dunfanaghy Road Member

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    The appearance of the EMD Class 59, and the derivative Class 66, was supposed to reflect the Class 52. Why anyone would want to perpetuate the appearance of a Western engine is quite beyond me.
    Pat
     
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  9. 22A

    22A New Member

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    I read that a former director of the Southern Railway who moved to the board of BR's Southern Region declared "Oliver Bulleid cost us a great deal of money. But I think we got our money's worth".
     
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  10. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    This is how I like to remember the Westerns ...

    https://flic.kr/p/aJN1jD

    Tom (not my photo)
     
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  11. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Nat Pres stalwart

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    I don't like to remember the Westerns at all. :)
     
  12. paullad1984

    paullad1984 Member

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    Sacrilege!
     
  13. Romsey

    Romsey Member

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    Not the most efficient diesel locos ever built, but a triumph for the BRB Design Panel for styling.
    Apologies for the subject drift, but they were not really suited to 90mph expresses. For 60 or 75mph freight they were ideal and performed very well on the Mendip stone trains.

    Cheers, Neil

    00925R 1070 Greatbridge 8 June 1975.jpg
     
  14. Maunsell man

    Maunsell man Member

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    Kevin Robertson wrote a definitive book on the Leader that had hundreds of photos in it. There is a picture of 36001 at Brighton works complete and in gloss black. He adds in the caption that this was applied in error by the paint shop and was immediately overpainted into grey. It never left the paintshop in black. Lining, number and crest were all applied although the crest was removed at some point in the trial period
     
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  15. Sheff

    Sheff Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, that saved me from digging mine out.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  16. Matt37401

    Matt37401 Part of the furniture

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    I have several good ideas after a few tinnys of Hazy Jane, I'd need a whole barrel full of whiskey before I thought 'Leader' would be good idea.
     
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  17. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Part of the furniture

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    Great pity that the 5AT Project didnt get anywhere, now that DID have potential
     
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  18. Matt37401

    Matt37401 Part of the furniture

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    You may get a visit from the WLA's string quartet with comments like that young man! :p
     
  19. 8126

    8126 Member

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    Thank you! I also own that excellent book (recommended to anyone who's ever wanted to know a bit more than all the things 'everybody knows' about Leader), but it's practicing social distancing in a different location to me at present. I was pretty sure it hadn't gone from grey to black, that answers the question.
     
  20. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    Struggling to understand the Western bashing. Each to their own. I can't say they're my favourite diesels but they definitely have a character all their own.
    Did it though? There were some amazing minds behind it and their facebook group is an excellent resource for study and hypothetical. However funds were not forthcoming from the wider sphere. I think it's fair to say you need the support, monetarily and time wise, to build or overhaul a locomotive, borne out by the support seen for groups like the MNLPS, SLL, PRCLT, A1 Trust etc. The locomotives have to have a purpose and draw. 5AT didn't have that "je ne sais quoi", it seems.

    Still - fascinating idea and some great innovations, and artwork, developed, among their papers and presentations.

    [​IMG]

    The proposed outline I always did like the look of, to be fair...A project for the model railway one day no doubt!
     
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