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

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

  1. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    Hi Noel,

    My response to Julian covers the points you made too.

    You may be right - but I suspect not.

    I’ve spent a year reading the board minutes. I have eight folders of around 200 pages per folder. It was a long, tough read.

    There were moments I was reading and would be struck by the incredibly human responses to some of most awful things that happened in WW2.

    There’s some moments like noting the deaths of railway staff by enemy action, and how to care for their families financially.

    There’s - in the same meeting as Gresleys obituary and Thompson’s appointment - a note of thanks to lord stamp.

    I feel the cynicism of today’s politicians and businesses isn’t quite so parallel to that of the past.

    Call me naive, but though railway companies were there to make money, it is clear from my research that the men and women of the LNER at every level were going about their business everyday for each other and for the country.

    When all’s said and done - it’s a shame this isn’t made more of when we consider just how tough the war was on the railway.
     
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  2. jnc

    jnc Member

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    Right, which is why I am more taken with things like the availability numbers, which are less subjective (and thus affectable by bias). The loco is either available, or it wasn't; or, in other equally powerful numbers, how many of which classes were retained.

    In terms of the goal of turning around an unfair appraisal of Thompson, I think it's better to focus on the cast-iron stuff like availability numbers, etc; it leaves fewer places to mount a counter-attack. Whether or not other alternatives as CME were considered is potentially murky, and people who want to discount the whole fresh look will focus on the potential issues with that point, trying to cast a pall over the whole effort. Best, IMO, to focus on the numbers, etc, which tell a pretty unstoppable tale.

    Noel
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2019
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  3. jnc

    jnc Member

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    This very worth covering in the book - not just because it's a incredibly worthy tale in its own right, but also because (as you've previously pointed out) it illuminates some of Thompson's decisions - the operational environment he was working in.

    Noel
     
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  4. Fred Kerr

    Fred Kerr Part of the furniture

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    Having listened to the podcast I wonder if Thompson was aware of his own brief time in post - knowing that LNER policy was for retirement at 65 - and what effect that had on the choices he made - or was forced to make given the ongoing war situation and its effect on resources.
     
  5. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Part of the furniture

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    Given the situation, I am surprised that the LNER would enforce retirement at 65, both because of the manpower situation & to give some continuity
     
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  6. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    I think he was - very much so. He is quoted directly as saying at his first meeting as CME:

    “I have much to do gentlemen, and little time in which to do it”.
     
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  7. 35B

    35B Part of the furniture

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    It was a different era.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
  8. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    Had a lot of feedback on the podcast and more requests for sources/information which I have been happy to provide. Thank you to everyone who has listened and made comments. I welcome all feedback.

    I had a few queries on the the availability figures; I am still working on the overall spreadsheet of data.

    However I am pleased to showcase a new dashboard as part of the spreadsheet:

    upload_2019-7-24_14-31-37.png

    As the spreadsheet gets further populated, these will increase. The magic number for 1942 is around 6500 locomotives (which shows you I still have many classes to go!) and hopefully this will help give a better idea as to the full makeup of the LNER fleet and its performance.

    I have been debating with myself the inclusion of locomotives whose availability skews the stats somewhat - e.g. D17 where its availability in 1942 was 9% (!!!) Including it gives the most accurate picture of the fleet. Equally it does change the overall stats. This loco (for it was just the one of two locomotives in this class) was preserved.

    Your thoughts on this as ever, appreciated.

    Lastly: I can confirm am doing two talks this coming October. One in London at the Model Railway Club of London, and the second in York with the Gresley Society.

    I'd like to thank Ian McCabe and Mark Allatt for their support in allowing me to give my talk. All are welcome, once I have the poster I will share it here. I intend to have copies of my research notes and possibly the book too on the evening for people to examine.

    Oh - and obviously I have taken advantage of the opportunity to travel behind one of Thompson's finest recently. It's not quite a Bulleid Pacific with a rake of Pullmans, but it has its own charm...

    IMG_9050.JPG
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2019

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