If you register, you can do a lot more. And become an active part of our growing community. You'll have access to hidden forums, and enjoy the ability of replying and starting conversations.

Edward Thompson: Wartime C.M.E. Discussion 2012 - 2019

Discussion in 'Steam Traction' started by S.A.C. Martin, May 2, 2012.

  1. 2392

    2392 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2010
    Messages:
    965
    Likes Received:
    423
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Felling on Tyne
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    As I've mentioned in the "new build" thread. The LNER had started to dismantle the last of the North British Atlantics' in 1936-7. William Whitelaw [I think] stepped in and luckily there was a suitable spare boiler left over, which was rapidly overhauled and fitted to the engine. Unfortunately in September 1939 the engine [Midlothian I think] was once more withdrawn and promptly reduced to an assortment of scrap metal, as WW2 had started.
     
    andrewshimmin likes this.
  2. sir gilbert claughton

    sir gilbert claughton Member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2017
    Messages:
    800
    Likes Received:
    387
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    retired
    Location:
    east sussex
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    not forgetting the GCR Atlantics , which lasted 'till 1950
     
    andrewshimmin likes this.
  3. 2392

    2392 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2010
    Messages:
    965
    Likes Received:
    423
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Felling on Tyne
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Yes, but none of them were withdrawn, reinstated and then withdrawn again. To be scrapped as part of the War Effort at the beginning of the Second World War. Where as the re-reinstatement of Middlothian was nominally the prelude to an "honourable" retirement presumably in the LNER's Queen Street Museum in York.
     
    andrewshimmin likes this.
  4. bluetrain

    bluetrain New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2019
    Messages:
    93
    Likes Received:
    104
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Wiltshire
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    I would ideally have liked examples of all the main British Atlantic types to have been preserved, but especially the GCR (C4) on grounds of extreme beauty and the Raven (C7) as the only British multi-cylindered Atlantic to be built in quantity. Although I suspect that the NYMR would prefer a B16 4-6-0 to an NE Atlantic - better for the climb to Goathland!

    An Ian Allan booklet shows the following 333 LNER locos as still in service in Nov 1965:

    Pass & MT - A1 (3), A2 (3), A3 (2), A4 (7), V2 (17), B1 (110), K1 (31).

    Goods - O4 (16), Q6 (44), J27 (46), J36 (9), J37 (18), J38 (21).

    Tanks - J50 (1), J72 (2), J94 (3).

    There would also have been some Stanier & WD 8Fs that had been in LNER ownership.

    Note the late survival of those Pre-Grouping GC/NE/NB goods engines, sometimes outlasting equivalent more modern types. Dieselisation had progressed quickly on the GN and GE sections, leading to earlier extinction of the older engines there. However, the older GN types had largely vanished before dieselisation even started. There had been a tendency, extending back to before 1923, for GN engines to be withdrawn after shorter lives than equivalents from the other LNER constituents.

    Most of the classes extant in 1965 have at least one member preserved. The exceptions were A1, J37, J38 & J50. Tornado has rectified the A1 omission, but I've not seen the other three omissions on anyone's fantasy new-build list. 0-6-0s will never whet the appetite like big express engines.
     
    andrewshimmin and 2392 like this.
  5. Eightpot

    Eightpot Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2006
    Messages:
    6,180
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Aylesbury
    Getting back to the subject of 2 : 1 valve gear vs three sets (on 3-cyl locos), Gresley opted for the former, others opted for the latter. If doctors can disagree, so can engineers. An influencing factor that probably restricted its use was that Gresley took out a patent for it in 1915 (which I presume was valid for 15 years), so anyone using it until the patent expired in 1930 would have to pay a royalty. That alone would limit its use.

    As far as the extra number of pin joints involved with the 2 : 1 gear are concerned, to put things in proportion it should be remembered that for the inside cylinder valves on an LMS 'Duchess', an extra 5 pin joints are involved that are in addition to all those on the outside valve gear.

    From Peter Townend's writings the 2 : 1 gear was the least of his problems, indeed the fact that that the A4s (and A3s, too) were used on some of the longest and fastest trains on the East Coast route right until the end of steam on that line in 1963, and later in Scotland, clearly displays the faith that the operators had in them.

    However, by substituting a 3rd set of valve gear as on the A1s and A2, you are merely replacing one item that could possibly give trouble with a different item which could also cause trouble. Peter Townsend stated that on these later locos the inside eccentric and strap did occasionally cause a failure, and I gather that the LMS was not immune to eccentric and strap problems happening with their 3-cylinder 4-6-0s.

    I'd hazard a guess that such inside valve gear problems were not confined to this country as the Deutsche Reichsbahn (Germany) used eccentrics on their 3-cylinder locos only until 1937. The first two batches of the Class 44 3-cyl 2-10-0s (44 001 - 44 010 of 1926, and 44 013 - 44 065 of 1937), on which the inside cylinder drove the 2nd coupled axle with the eccentric for its valve gear on the 3rd coupled axle. However, the next batch (44 066 and onwards delivered also from 1937) the eccentric was deleted and the valve gear driven by a second crank-axle substituted on the 3rd driving axle with a scaled down conn-rod coupling it to the expansion link. This latter arrangement was subsequently used on the 01.10 and 03.10 Pacifics, Classes 45 2-10-2s, 06 4-8-4, and 61 002 the 4-6-6 tank loco. Chassis parts of the latter still exist as the Pacific 18 201/02 0201
     
  6. RLinkinS

    RLinkinS Member

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2008
    Messages:
    282
    Likes Received:
    351
    Gender:
    Male
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    I have read about the problems with eccentrics on the Peppercorn pacifics. I wonder if the use of roller eccentrics was considered? I did not realise such things existed until I saw a steam lorry with them at the Scarborough Fair museum. Split roller bearings are available, we used Cooper bearings at work on large pumps with 8" shafts, so fittting would not be a problem. A check on Cooper's website reveals that this type of bearing was invented in 1907. Considering that bearings were used extensively on return cranks it is suprising that this idea was not considered for eccentrics after WW2.
     
  7. Eightpot

    Eightpot Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2006
    Messages:
    6,180
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Aylesbury
    Fodens fitted roller bearings in the eccentric straps for their Over-type steam wagons from about 1920...........
     
  8. Hermod

    Hermod New Member

    Joined:
    May 6, 2017
    Messages:
    521
    Likes Received:
    127
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Klitmoeller,Denmark
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    It will be no fun to protect/seal big diameter rolling element bearings between locomotive frames.
    Six normal white metal eccentrics on LMS Compound and Raven B16/1 was evidently OK so long as speed were low but for sustained fastness not so.Was it a problem on GWR?
     
  9. RalphW

    RalphW Part of the furniture Staff Member Administrator Friend

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2005
    Messages:
    29,940
    Likes Received:
    4,770
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Retired-ish, Part time rail tour steward.
    Location:
    Northwich
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    More points WIBN froth, with the question why.......Who is interested except for a few anoraks....
     
  10. RLinkinS

    RLinkinS Member

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2008
    Messages:
    282
    Likes Received:
    351
    Gender:
    Male
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    The bearings I refereerred to at work were on pumps that circulated sea water and were located in a pit near the coast. This was a more challenging environment than on a loco. The pump ran continously for months. The bearing had to be greased occasionally, they were well sealed.
     
  11. RLinkinS

    RLinkinS Member

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2008
    Messages:
    282
    Likes Received:
    351
    Gender:
    Male
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Yes, I now recall it was a Foden I saw.
     
  12. Jimc

    Jimc Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2005
    Messages:
    2,820
    Likes Received:
    2,158
    Occupation:
    Once computers, now part time writer I suppose.
    Location:
    SE England
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    As the vast majority of inside cylinder/valve gear locomotives had four eccentrics it's probably reasonably to assume that the technology was well understood...
     
    andrewshimmin and LesterBrown like this.
  13. Dag Bonnedal

    Dag Bonnedal New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2012
    Messages:
    120
    Likes Received:
    184
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Stockholm, Sweden
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Already in 1922 the first Prussian PKEV P10, 2-8-2 heavy express locos (later DR cl. 39) were delivered from Borsig with a double counter crank on the left side of the third coupled axle. With one rod driving each of the left and middle valve gears.
    In 1924 the same manufacturer delivered the heavy suburban 2-6-4 tanks to Danish DSB cl. S with the same arrangement.
    And for modern inside connected locos with forged crank axle, outside drive of the inside valve gear have been common.
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2019
    bluetrain likes this.
  14. Hermod

    Hermod New Member

    Joined:
    May 6, 2017
    Messages:
    521
    Likes Received:
    127
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Klitmoeller,Denmark
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    Prussia got quite a lot of G12 2-10-0 as three cylinder with conjugated drive in 1917 constucted by Henchel.
    Borsig made the P10 2-8-2 as three cylinder with the double counter crank. Design was done 1919.
    http://www.osterthun.com/2.Static/Xtra2/F1885.JPG
    Danish State railways sacked their own inventive CME (To much inventive) and let Borsig design first a standard two cylinder 4-6-0 in 1912.
    This was found a little harsh for track when running fast and Borsig designed a three cylinder version in 1920 with outside drive of inside valve as shown


    https://www.jernbanen.dk/Fotos/Damp/DSB_R963_1975.jpg

    Same valve gear on some 2-8-0 freigth from 1923 and the surburban tanks 1924.
    This arrangement was not found wanting in neither Germany or Denmark and not rebuilt before scrapping in mid sixties.

    The thread here is interesting and I see it as a search for answer to why were three cylinder steam locomotives built by whom and who did it best.
    For England my answer Thompson and for rest of world byAugust Meister from Borsig.
     
    bluetrain likes this.
  15. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2010
    Messages:
    3,157
    Likes Received:
    3,817
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Apprentice Railway Engineer, Children's Author
    Location:
    Sidcup, Kent
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Absolutely agree with you on that.

    Peter Townend was working on the Gresley Pacifics post war, when their maintenance and overhaul facilities had been much improved together with preventative maintenance regimes.

    As has been said a number of times in this very thread, where we consider the conjugated valve gear in the context of Thompson, we should be considering the context of the time he was working in.

    Saying "these engines were fine in the 1950s and 60s therefore they were always fine" (as you are basically saying) is completely ignoring the evidence we now have.

    In 1941:
    • The availability of Gresley's largest engines with conjugated valve gear was poor - we now have the LNER's own availability stats to hand to prove this
    • Cox and Stanier wrote their report and the stats for LNER engines versus similar LMS 3 cylinder engines was 6 times the failure rate of the latter.
    So the absolute basic fact of the matter is that:
    • Thompson was not making up these problems or exaggerating them
    • These problems were very real
    • Something had to be done
    And this is the thing which bothers me. Nobody in 1941 could predict that we'd have nationalisation in 1948, and then another decade of so or Gresley Pacifics on the ECML.

    Nobody anywhere within Doncaster Works or outside of it could have predicted or known exactly what the solutions were to the problems that were manifesting within the LNER fleet.

    Thompson is given a report - the Cox Report - which gives him several options: don't build any new locomotives with 2:1 gear. Rebuild a number of them with a third set of valve gear experimentally. Small and medium engines with two cylinders only. Suggestions on how to modify the existing fleet's conjugated gear also given.

    Thompson literally carried out all of these things. He didn't solve the conjugated gear's issues fully - neither did Peppercorn. KJ Cook did arguably.

    The point I am making is that it is a fallacy to suggest that because the Gresley Pacifics worked well post war, that there were no issues. There were issues during the war.

    Whether you think it was the conjugated valve gear, the middle big end, a lack of maintenance (or as I personally do, a combination of all of these issues) - availability was down and something had to be done.

    That at the end of the day is key to understanding the LNER, Thompson, and the situation they faced.

    Wartime conditions always seem to be ignored or played down, and I'm not certain I know why (other than people perhaps being ultra defensive about Gresley?)
     
    andrewshimmin and jnc like this.
  16. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2010
    Messages:
    3,157
    Likes Received:
    3,817
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Apprentice Railway Engineer, Children's Author
    Location:
    Sidcup, Kent
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    I disagree with this.

    The more I learn about the Thompson Pacifics - and the more time I spend with the Jarvis re-design of the Bulleid Pacific, it becomes clear that all our Pacifics in this country have some flaws and advantages.

    The best you could say is that some Pacifics were not as efficient as others.
     
    andrewshimmin, paullad1984 and ross like this.
  17. paullad1984

    paullad1984 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2007
    Messages:
    766
    Likes Received:
    286
    Every loco is flawed in some way, some more than others. Loco design is a fine art that continues to evolve.
     
  18. Eightpot

    Eightpot Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2006
    Messages:
    6,180
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Aylesbury
    Simon, the question that has to be asked is - if there were wartime issues with the 2 : 1 valve gear, what were they exactly? Lack of maintenance has been suggested, but if this was the case (lubrication lacking), how was it the loco crews would presumably be prepared to place a loco over a pit for oiling up the middle set of Walscaerts gear, but not prepared to do the same to a lesser number of points on the 2 ; 1 gear. I find this difficult to believe.
     
    60017 and 2392 like this.
  19. 69530

    69530 New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2013
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    12
    Gender:
    Male
    Surely there weren't any ?
     
  20. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2010
    Messages:
    3,157
    Likes Received:
    3,817
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Apprentice Railway Engineer, Children's Author
    Location:
    Sidcup, Kent
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    I have answered this before but I will do so again.

    The LNER at the outset of war lost:
    • Around 60,000 trained maintenance staff to the armed forces
    • Just over 2/3rds of their workshop capacity due to making armaments and vehicles for the war effort
    • Specialist lubricants including oils and grease of higher grades that had been made available for the big engines
    On the first point, the LNER did not replace staff like for like - it was impossible to to. Like all of the other railways, young and elderly volunteers and women supplemented the largely male work force that had gone to war.

    It is easy to say to someone trained in oiling around a 3 cylinder locomotive to go oil and grease it - the LNER were significantly short of people to teach the ins and outs of locomotive maintenance, never mind do the work on a daily basis.

    You are an LNER foreman on a shed where you have minimal numbers of crews and maintenance staff. You have limited supplies of pretty much everything. You do not have the time or senior personnel who can repeatedly teach people to do the best job possible. You teach them to do the bare minimum to keep the locomotives running.

    You do everything in your power to keep a locomotive from being shopped to works - because the reality is that the LNER didn’t have the capacity.

    In 1941 emergency memorandum was sent out by Gresley and Thompson to the heads of at the various works and depots. There were significantly more locomotives being shopped prior to their normal shopping mileages. Born out by the availability figures and the mileages run by the worst locomotive classes.

    The memorandums were about shopping locomotives. Looking at repairs. Whatever could be done on shed, had to be done on shed. Boiler quality was examined thoroughly prior to dispatching a locomotive to works.

    On the second point - I surely don’t have to explain that losing so much of your overhaul and foundry capacity will affect a railways ability to overhaul and maintain its rolling stock.

    On the third point - this one is largely ignored by all the major LNER writers - but the quality of pretty much everything the railways were getting to maintain their locomotives with was a poorer grade than that pre war. It’s a bit like the difference between a quality oil in your car engine and pouring undiluted vegetable oil in.

    High performance locomotives like the big conjugated engines did not do well under these conditions.

    Put all three conditions together and you can see why availability of locomotives like the P2s and the Pacifics nosedived in some parts of the country.

    You can choose not to believe this - you can choose to ignore factual evidence. You can, if you like, ignore everything I’ve presented on this thread including the copies of the availability figures, the cox report, and the most basic of facts about the LNERs time in World War Two (suggest you start with Bonavias books to get the full picture).

    If after all of that you believe there were no issues, that’s your prerogative. I’ve done my bit.
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2019

Share This Page