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Competency - ex Cholsey and Wallingford

Discussion in 'Locomotive M.I.C.' started by ruddingtonrsh56, Dec 9, 2021.

  1. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    (Probably this could be split into a different thread ...)

    In short - no, there is no hierarchy. However, both driving and firing tests are multi-day affairs that encompass a range of locos. For example, I took my firing test on 'Bluebell' and the S15 - from next year, it is likely they would be Fenchurch and Sir Archie, i.e. you have to show competence on a tiny tank engine and a large pacific. Some locos are considered more of a handful than the others: BR Standards are avoided for tests if possible, simply because they are much more forgiving. Since the assumption is that by time you pass your test you should be competent on everything, while training you could have any loco.

    I don't think I'd ever consider a loco "beneath me": pretty much any loco or day can catch you out if you are unwary.

    Tom
     
  2. 30854

    30854 Resident of Nat Pres

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    There's a great old photo of an inside cylindered LNWR 4-6-0 facing south on a train at Lewes. It should NOT have been there. I'm not sure of the exact circumstances, but it certainly wasn't a class cleared for LBSC lines and from what little I know, sounded like a case of 'cock-up before conspiracy'.
     
  3. Maunsell907

    Maunsell907 Well-Known Member

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    I assume it was an Experiment. In the 1909 loco exchange with LNWR, a LBSCR I3 ( No 23 ) worked the “Sunny South”
    Brighton to Rugby returning South the following day. The reverse working was taken by LNWR Precursor “Titan”

    Without checking I imagine the Precursor loading gauge and Experiment were the same.

    In the early 1960s I regularly saw Stanier 5s and occasionally Jubilee working through on the Glasgow Newhaven
    turn. A Longsight 5 was rostered for some years on the summer through Manchester Brighton service.

    The problem with GWR locos, even on the former LSW routes was the outside cylinders. Castles occasionally
    reached both Bournemouth and Pompey and were immediately impounded. The Grange issue at Eastleigh
    was cylinders fouling the platform edges ( the Halls were ok ) The LSW loading gauge was more generous
    width wise than the LBSC.

    I think LMS locos overall were less of a concern. Although I remember a Royal Scot created excitement when it
    reached Brighton, but I suspect perhaps because they had never seen one before. Jubilees occasionally were
    impounded but I think this was dependent on particular personnel rather than dictate.

    When consideration was given to LMS Duchess 4-6-2s being allocated to the SR for Bournemouth services
    in 1964/5 concerns over the tunnel before Soton ( an overhang rather than loading gauge issue ? ) were the
    deciding issue against I think. They had after all worked Exeter Waterloo in the 48 exchanges.


    The stray Hall to Redhill via Clapham Junction and East Croydon was the subject of some past NP postings.
    This happened because the Reading Redhill line was closed, so the Midlands South Coast service was
    rerouted without an engine change, The Hall went back l/e during the ‘hours of darkness’ at 25mph.

    A mere drop in the ocean of the many unusual happenings that could be noted day in day out on
    the Steam Railway ( Is that a oxymoron? )

    Michael Rowe
     
  4. 30854

    30854 Resident of Nat Pres

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    I recall the tests. Impressive results indeed for a 4-4-2T and the reason an I3 really ought to have been preserved. Ho-hum. Years later, a brace of Marsh 'atlantic tanks' on wartime allocation to the GW were reportedly quite happy on turns normally employing native 6 coupled power.

    Re the 4-6-0 at Lewes, the accompanying cation referred to a diagramming error. How likely that is, I'd not care to speculate, but stranger things have happened! AFAIK, the 'Sunny South' through working from the LNWR was a Brighton bound service. Of luggage labels associated with tbe working, SREmG notes that "All surviving LBSCR Sunny South labels are from Brighton", but learning of other destinations on the South Coast wouldn't surprise me. Lewes, of course, isn't on the direct Brighton Main Line, but would be a logical place to see an Eastbourne, Hastings or Seaford bound train.

    Re: Exeter-Plymouth, IIRC there were regular GW workings on the SR route and vice versa, to maintain route knowledge of footplate crews. In OVSB's time, Southern drivers had a habit of demonstrating the electric lighting to advantage on their steeds at Exeter. Not a trick any GW loco could perform!
     
  5. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    Well, it wasn't exactly a 'healthy' place in terms of attitudes and behaviours.

    You say that in training you could get anything but would you start a new trainee either driving or firing on a BR std or could they in theory start on anything which might be the most quirky/challenging loco in the available pool?
     
  6. Maunsell907

    Maunsell907 Well-Known Member

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    I was aware Lewes was not on the Brighton main line ( I actually lived in Wivelsfield from 1965-69 and commuted
    daily to London ). I believe there were WW1 LNWR loco workings to Newhaven.

    In the early 60s I recorded Brighton London services via Lewes Eridge and Oxted. The Schools did not respond well to the steeply
    graded curve leaving Lewes.

    Yes the I3s were excellent machines ( unlike Mr Marsh’s I1s, I2s and I4s although the I1s after receiving B4 type
    saturated boilers and becoming I1X performed well over the Oxted lines. ). The I3s were superior to the B4 4-4-0s.
    With the hindsight of a century it is a pity that B4s were not rebuilt as per B4 No.44 (I3 type S/H boiler with 1.25
    inch tubes, 20” dia. cylinders, and 8 inch piston valves.) Hindsight says this would have been cheaper and
    arguably more successful than the B4X rebuilds that utilised the K mogul boiler. But then it might not
    have freed up redundant B4 saturated boilers to upgrade the I1s. Hindsight speculation is great fun.

    The I3s post WW11 were probably working harder than ever over the Oxted lines with eight coach corridor
    sets over the Oxted lines. They set a real challenge for the replacement Fairborn 2-6-4 tanks !

    I note the comments re the I3s on the GWR. The I3s were significantly more powerful than
    the 45xx/55xx 2-6-2 tanks. There is a record of an I3 with 275 tons attaining 41mph on
    the 1/88 between Groombridge and TWW. c.1000-1050EDHP, more than I think even a
    41xx/51xx 2-6-2 tank ( 850-900 is the best I have observed with RFO and 40%.)

    Regarding the Exeter Plymouth GWR/SR workings. The GWR mainly employed 43xx 2-6-0s
    whereas the SR often rostered a light Pacific. There are records during a bus strike (TI 1957
    and DWW’s book ) when the 4.32pm ex Plymouth was strengthened. Exmouth Jct. Driver Gidley
    with a nine coach train starting from Plympton attained 22-22mph on the 1/42 to Hemerdon.
    EXJ drivers always liked a challenge. Their spirit lived on into the diesel age.

    I have said enough, all off subject

    Michael Rowe.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2022
  7. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    Our crew rosters are typically done further in advance than the loco roster - so at the time the roster is drawn up, you (and more importantly the roster clerks and inspectors) don't know which loco any particular duty would be on. So training is luck of the draw in that regard. There might be some clues; for example, if you are rostered on a service train, it is more likely to be a big loco, and on a dining train more likely a medium one - but it isn't an absolute; and "a big loco" could be either the Standard 4 tank or the S15, which are very different from Botha driving nd firing point of view. Ultimately though you have to be able to handle (and prepare) everything.

    Tom
     
  8. ruddingtonrsh56

    ruddingtonrsh56 Member

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    If locos are rostered later than crews are, how is rostering done to ensure footplate exams can take place on the appropriate loco? Will your exam date be earmarked at the point you are rostered and loco rostered to match then? Or is it a later notice kind of affair?
     
  9. ruddingtonrsh56

    ruddingtonrsh56 Member

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    Does your competency for a particular loco expire if you go a certain length of time without a turn on it like general competency does? Or does individual loco certification last longer? I would have thought individual certification could be very problematic if you have a loco kept out of traffic by overhaul for a prolonged period
     
  10. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    A degree of liaison between the inspectors and workshop; and a degree of rearrangement of assessments to fit the desired locos. FWIW, for the first part of my test, I was told the day before that a turn I had would be treated as a test. For the second part, I had I think a month or more of warning - I think I preferred the former!

    Tom
     
  11. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Part of the furniture

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    At some stage in the 90's (?) EWS were running some steam specials between Bristol & Gloucester with GWR loco's specifically to train their steam crews on GWR loco's
     
  12. Matt37401

    Matt37401 Part of the furniture

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    Wasn’t that with 34016 and 35005 from Eastleigh?
     
  13. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    Interesting, because it was the reverse. To manage costs the loco roster was pretty fixed from when the timetable was planned and then crews were built around that. You might get the odd swap if something failed but you would pretty much know what would be hauling say service train A in October when the timetable was released in January.
     
  14. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Part of the furniture

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    There was a Yeovil Junction based training run in about 2000, but that was with Bodmin (And rather nice it was as well)
     
  15. 5944

    5944 Part of the furniture

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    I'm sure they did some local workings around Bristol with 5029 about the same sort of time.
     
  16. Steve

    Steve Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    Didn’t realise 34016 & 35005 were GWR ones. So the Great Western had some decent locos after all. ;)
     

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