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Bulleid Pacifics - Past or Present

Discussion in 'Steam Traction' started by 34007, May 13, 2008.

  1. twr12

    twr12 Well-Known Member

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    Bulleid Pacifics did 26 years service for Southern Railway/ British Railways. In that time they were driven by hundreds of drivers and maintained by hundreds of fitters.
    For most of the staff, they just got on with it. A few, years later, decided to write books or contribute articles to publications.
    Preserving in aspic their own opinions and prejudices for years after.

    Bulleid Pacific’s have operated almost continuously in preservation since 21C123 was restored to use in 1976, 46 years.
    The preservation movement has built up considerable engineering experience over those 46 years. Coupled with a level of interest that far exceeds anyone who worked on them “first time round”.

    Ive been involved with maintenance of Bulleids for 16 years. Both original and detuned versions. There really isn’t much between them as to reliability. The same things go wrong equally often on both types: blower valves, steam brake valves, injectors, clacks.
     
  2. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Resident of Nat Pres

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    P&O had a day on pure ovoids last month. From what I gathered it steamed OK, in comparison to our GWR locos anyway which really didn't get in well with them, but went through them at a hell of a rate, such that its tender was empty part way through the day and had to be rescued.
     
  3. Jimc

    Jimc Part of the furniture

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    There's an awful lot more what if about this than the LNER comparison though. The complication, it seems to me, is the light pacifics. You can validly compare 30 merchant Navies to Kings on the GWR and Pacifics on the LNER and LMS, and probably to Nelsons, although it may be tricky to make a really valid comparison between different lines/regions and working practices. But 100 plus locomotives doing second line duties are surely doing equivalent duties to 2cyl 4-6-0s on other line. Do you compare them to the Maunsell Arthurs or something else? In practice what did they replace? Presumably they partially replaced pre group 4-4-0s and the like, partially the rather dubious early LSWR 4-6-0s and partially cascaded some newer classes? An interesting thing to do would be if you could find out the SRs coal expenditure. Coal and oil used per train mile run would be a very interesting statistic, although very hard to extract meaningful numbers with electrification confusing the piece. A light pacific might be very profligate in coal and oil compared to the narrow box 2 cylinder 4-6-0s used by other lines, but as Tom points out its probably still cheaper than double headed 4-4-0s. Oil consumption was a really big deal back in the day: in GWR minutes it was reported to the board, so definitely worth looking at.
    We mustn't forget, though, that the Bulleid pacifics were pretty much unique in post grouping terms in receiving very expensive rebuilds at a young age. I don't think the SR accountants would have been much interested in what railway authors had written about chains stretching. The business case made at the time will surely repay close inspection.
     
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  4. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    I agree with your approach Jim, largely: my only contention is that if you're developing standardised classes to replace older classes en-masse, a go-anywhere Pacific doing all of the duties is not something I personally would have thought about if I had been in Bulleid's position at the time. The Q1? Made a lot of sense. A 4-6-0 version of the Q1? That would have been something to see and probably a more likely replacement for all of the 2-4-0s, 4-4-0s, 2-6-0s and older 4-6-0s on the railway.

    What we get instead are one excellent class of 0-6-0s, two types of 4-6-2 of around 140 examples and the single working 0-6-6-0T Leader: when arguably a standardised set of 2-6-0, 4-6-0, 2-6-4T, 2-8-0 and possibly a 4-6-2 makes more sense.

    ...and with that argument, I find myself looking at Thompson's standardisation plan...!

    But then if we're going down that route, on the continent we had the Kreigslokomotives, contemporary to all of this, and arguably proving you could build only a few standard locomotive classes to do virtually everything, everywhere. The best example being the nearly 8000 strong DRB 52 class.

    (Of course, side note, nobody here is going to ignore the awful conditions that the Kreigslocomotives were built in, including but not limited to slave labour by the Nazi regime. The point is that it is possible and ultimately proven that a few standardised classes of the right wheelbase, size and power can replace outright older traction whilst reducing overheads such as spares, toolings and more).

    Totally agree, and it's the business case for building them at the time that I feel is likely to show the light Pacifics in particular, in a favourable light.
     
  5. 35B

    35B Nat Pres stalwart

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    But was Bulleid trying to deal with the same issues as Thompson? @Jamessquared has mentioned the role of seasonal peaks on the Southern, while rolling electrification was also progressively eliminating a lot of locomotives. As at 1939, blessed with a significant fleet of post WWI 2-6-0s and 4-6-0s inherited from Maunsell, why would development in those areas be a priority? And what was the unmet traffic demand on the SR that would have justified use of a new 2-8-0 design?

    If we accept that the MNs were to deliver a completely new capability at the top of the range, then I can see a question about the niche that the light pacific were intended to fill. But given their ability to cover a range of duties from top link expresses down to the Padstow local, I'm inclined to suggest that Bulleid was ahead of his time in designing the steam equivalent of BR's class 47 diesel.
     
  6. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    Now that is a very interesting idea and a great one liner.
     
  7. class8mikado

    class8mikado Part of the furniture

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    Cue livery mock up of air - smoothed pacific in 2 tone green with grey 'roof' ...
     
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  8. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    I’m sure somewhere I saw reference to Bulleid reckoning on five standard designs for the non-electrified network: they would have been Merchant Navy, Light pacific, Leader, Q1 and a 350hp shunter. Can’t find the reference now, I’ll see if I can dig it out.

    The issue with standards: the SR had ~ 1,800 locos during Bulleid’s time. Depending on how old you let locos get, that meant a replacement rate of about 50 - 60 new locos per year. Sometimes when people talk about Standards, there seems to be an unspoken subtext that the entire existing fleet is swept away and replaced. But that rarely happens (and when it does, it is often fraught with problems *cough* BR modernisation plan *cough*).

    So if you start out planning to replace the fleet with standards, by time you get to the end of the programme (ca. 1975) your standard designs are looking pretty long in the tooth and are no longer really ideal. Remember, the N class mogul was perceived as a wartime standard, and was a pretty good design - but it was a 25 year old design by Bulleid’s time.

    Tom
     
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  9. goldfish

    goldfish Nat Pres stalwart

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    Hadn't Stanier beaten him to it with the Black 5…? (Riskily entering a 'details' thread and about to be shot down… ;) )

    Simon
     
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  10. 35B

    35B Nat Pres stalwart

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    Arguably, though I suspect on a duty for duty basis, that would more compare to a 37 than a 47.
    I'd just like to see that mock-up in Railfreight "sector" grey on a rake of HAAs...
     
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  11. maddog

    maddog New Member

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    A design built in large numbers and had to be derated to achieve reliability? o_O
     
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  12. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    Yes please Tom, I'd be interested in seeing that.
     
  13. 35B

    35B Nat Pres stalwart

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    We won't talk about the 200 Peaks that came first... Let's just say I like the Bulleids in all their forms, and have no great love for the 47s - yet see significant similarities in usage patterns. And if they weren't so freight specific, I'd actually have cited the 66s.
     
  14. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Nat Pres stalwart

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    Pedant hat on : It's Kriegslokomotive or Kriegslok for short. Pedant hat off.
     
  15. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    Further pedant: on closer inspection, if I was using the plural properly, as intended, it's actually Kriegslokomotiven for the range of designs.
     
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  16. bluetrain

    bluetrain Member

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    If we're looking for the Continental European steam locomotive that can go most places and do most jobs, the best example is not the Kriegslok but the Prussian P8 (DRG 38.10) 4-6-0 - it was even available in a green livery not unlike the LNER B1! When the Germans came to plan an updated equivalent, they turned like Gresley to the 2-6-2 and produced two Class 23s in 1941 before all production switched to the Kriegslok. Post-war, both East & West German Railways built modified versions until the diesels took over.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prussian_P_8
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DR_Class_23.10
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DB_Class_23

    Back here, BR Standard 4-6-0s and Class 4 2-6-0s were deployed in some numbers to the Southern Region during the 1950s, indicating that the SR had a place for new locos in those power ranges. Bulleid may have envisaged the Leader filling these roles, but was the Leader intended to have the range of a tender engine? I thought it had derived from ideas for a conventional large tank engine?

    Both the Bulleid Light Pacifics and the BR Standards would have replaced old engines being withdrawn. Looking at what the SR was scrapping during the late 1940s and early 1950s, the largest number seem to have been Drummond 4-4-0s of various classes. The WC/BB was considerably larger, heavier and more powerful than a Drummond 4-4-0, so did the accountants regard these as one for one replacements? Based on the size differential, one might argue for a 2:3 or 3:4 replacement rate.
     
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  17. Matt37401

    Matt37401 Resident of Nat Pres

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    I’ll go to hell for this, but what the Southern Region did regarding the spec for the 33’s was rather ahead of it’s time in my opinion, 309 BRCW Type 3’s with ETH from new rather than having to be retro fitted in the 1980’s like with the 31, 37 and 47/4s could have been a massive game changer.
    However as we all know those lovely people at English Electric and RSH did come up with something built like a bloody big tank that continues to give sterling service today ;)
    Anyway back on topic…
     
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  18. 8126

    8126 Member

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    The Leader specs look remarkably like an N, in terms of tractive effort, grate area, coal and water capacities, with the bonus of 100% adhesion. So yes, I absolutely think it was intended (the difference between intent and reality put to one side for a moment) to fill roles later taken by BR Standard 4s in various flavours.

    The Standard 5s ultimately displaced the second line 4-6-0s. I suspect had Bulleid still been in charge of motive power policy, they would instead have been more Light Pacifics.
     
  19. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    The April 1946 specification from the Traffic Manager was as follows:

    Routes and weights to be hauled:
    Plymouth to Tavistock or Okehampton: 256 tons
    Okehampton to Halwill Junction and Bude: 256 tons
    Banstaple and Ilfracombe: 325 tons
    Exeter and Exmouth: 384 tons
    Bournemouth and Swanage: 320 tons
    Brookwood (or similar stabling grounds) to Waterloo: 450 tons
    Speed of trains: 50 - 60 miles per hour
    Distance to be run between taking water and coal: 60 miles for water and 120 miles for coal.
    That usage is primarily in the West Country, with the addition of empty stock trains into Waterloo.

    It is not clear to me where the Traffic Manager got that requirement from (Was it a genuine requirement? Was it almost a challenge to Bulleid to produce something unproduceable? Or did OVSB say "here's what I can do" and the Traffic Manger signed it off?) But it is pretty clear at that point what was being asked for was not just an M7 replacement: you are getting towards Light Pacific territory with that specification, certainly a powerful Class 4. (325 tons between Barnstaple and Ilfracombe looks particularly challenging: given I think Light Pacifics were limited to about 200 tons unaided I think - were they counting on the superior adhesion of the Leader?)

    Tom
     
  20. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    I've never seen anything as to how the SR did that sort of accounting (there's an avenue for study, @S.A.C. Martin ...) As a general rule, modern replacements tended to be bigger that the engines they directly replaced: for example, the logical replacement of a 60 ton M7 is a 75 ton 82xxx or 85 ton 80xxx. the bigger loco is more capable, but you still fundamentally need one new replacement for one old retiree -- unless the availability is markedly better -- simply because the same number of duties need to be covered. The 80xxx may make light work of the duties that the M7 is maxed out on, but that doesn't enable you to run the train with only three quarters of an 80xxx ... Of course, in the summer a Bulleid Pacific might have been able to cover for two elderly 4-4-0s; but in the winter with lighter trains it is still a 1:1 replacement, just with plenty of power in hand.

    Tom
     
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