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Edward Thompson: Wartime C.M.E. Discussion 2012 - 2020

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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    My apologies!

    Absolutely.

    Not sure where the 56,000 miles per year for the A4s comes from. That is much lower than pre second world war and post second world war aimed annual mileages (which the LNER had as a centralized document stating that the A4 class should be achieving annual mileage of 75,000 in England and 70,000 miles in Scotland). During the second world war their mileages were lower (a quick glance shows an average of around 56,000 for the class for the five years of the war) which is perhaps where that stat comes from.

    I would be interested to see the equivalent LMS statistics compared to that I have found and am recording in a spreadsheet for the LNER.

    I don't have the equivalent LMS figures to hand and have never made such a comparison, so cannot comment. However if the writers on the LMS are as poor as the LNER has been served in terms of looking at the raw data, then there may be more to the overall story than just the "on the face of it" writings in some books.

    I would argue they're not comparable, despite the contemporary nature of their designs and the fact they're both Pacifics. The differences in the work they did is clear. Different weights, speeds, limits and the "common user" theme that had set in on the LNER for drivers and firemen was not necessarily the same as that applied to the LMS.

    No apologies necessary. It is an entirely relevant discussion to the topic here. The LMS and in particular Stanier had ties to members of the LNER (Gresley and then Thompson were both colleagues and friends of Stanier in many ways).

    I don't wish to denigrate LMS matters at all: I just think if we're being brutally honest about it, the GWR had an approach to railway engineering and in particular their locomotive stock that was abundantly better economically than other other three; at the other end of the chain you could quite cogently argue that the LNER, with the largest breadth and numbers of pre-grouping rolling stock, of which most were over 30 years of age, was at the bottom of the big four economically and locomotive stock wise.

    I think I had better leave it at that - I am most tired from what has been a very spreadsheet and word heavy day!
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2020
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  2. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    Just on this - boilers did not stay with locomotives very often on the LNER, only really with one offs or small classes.
     
  3. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    “I have the honour to report for the information of the Minister of War Transport [...] the result of my Inquiry into the failure of a locomotive boiler on 12th January, 1944 at Thurston on the London and North Eastern Railway.”

    http://www.railwaysarchive.co.uk/docsummary.php?docID=1409

    Looks like a boiler explosion on the LNER to me.

    Tom
     
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  4. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    It is on LNER metals, but the design is not LNER but American (class S160) where the design has been described as "poor".

    upload_2020-3-15_8-37-58.png
     
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  5. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    Indeed, but it was boiler explosion on the LNER with a locomotive that was owned, operated and maintained by the LNER. There were myriad examples of locomotives running in this country that weren't to the design of the company where they ran, but you don't thereby exclude them from the statistics! The point was made that "the LNER had the enviable record of never having a boiler explosion" when objectively that isn't true.

    Tom
     
  6. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Part of the furniture

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    Didnt the NER have a bit of a bad record for boiler explosions?
     
  7. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    Tom, I didn't comment on whether it should be included or not in the statistics. I just pointed out that the design in this case was not LNER.

    I’m perfectly happy to accept that there were boiler explosions on the LNER, but context is key. An LNER driver, unfamiliar with the loco class, continued driving an engine despite a fusible plug being dropped.

    In any event, class S160 was not owned by the LNER but (as all were) on loan to the constituent companies from the WD.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2020
  8. Eightpot

    Eightpot Well-Known Member Friend

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    There were 20 or more such incidents with the S160 class 2-8-0s in the 1940s with these locos in both the UK and Europe, several in Italy. This was caused by a design fault of the firebox stays having too coarse a thread which lead to local overheating and becoming 'plastic', resulting in the collapse of the firebox. See 'Locomotives at War' by P. M. Kalla-Bishop for more details. Actually, a 2nd S160 suffered the same fate on LNER metals, this in a tunnel on the GW & GC Joint line in NW London, and a 3rd on the GW at Hollingbourne(?).
     
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  9. LesterBrown

    LesterBrown Member

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    Honeybourne
     
  10. Jimc

    Jimc Part of the furniture

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    Were there actually enough boiler explosions during the grouping period to draw any conclusions at all? I just did a search on railways archive.co.uk, and apart from those caused by broken connecting rods, all I could find were the S160 incidents.
     
  11. LesterBrown

    LesterBrown Member

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    And "Fury"
     
  12. Eightpot

    Eightpot Well-Known Member Friend

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    Thanks for the correction. I wasn't sure offhand so deliberately put a '?' after Hollingbourne.
     
  13. huochemi

    huochemi Well-Known Member Friend

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    When you say the design was described as "poor", do you mean the concept of having only one water gauge ( a la GWR), or the design of the gauge itself (which was US standard fitting), or the design of loco (they were demonstrably quite useful machines). Having spent some time studying the type for my latest book, there seems to be quite lot of misinformation out there on these locos. The main problem in their use in this country IMHO seemed to be the rather macho concept that a driver could drive any loco without instruction in the special features of the type. The anecdote mentioned in Higgins' "Over Here", that some crews were under the impression that the gauge glass contained mercury, shows the alarming lack of understanding prevalent.
     
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  14. garth manor

    garth manor New Member

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    So is this 3 LNER operated boiler explosions ?
     
  15. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    No, I was quoting the report, hence the quotation marks.

    I have absolutely no opinion on the quality of the S160.
     
  16. huochemi

    huochemi Well-Known Member Friend

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    Thank you. Assuming you are referring to the Thurston report, can you tell me where the word "poor" is used so I can understand the context (having converted the pdf to a searchable document I cannot find it)? There is some criticism in the Remarks and Recommendations in the final para. of the design of fusible having "certain disadvantages".
     
  17. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    I am now re-reading it and questioning my sanity because I can't see it there either this morning! o_O:oops:
     
  18. Jimc

    Jimc Part of the furniture

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    No. Honeybourne was a GWR crew. I haven't found the other incident. Shall we leave the subject of boiler explosions. Other than to note that British crews seemed to have a problems safely operating the S160s in their early days there are simply too few incidents to draw any conclusions from at all, and it appears to have nothing to do with Thompson.
     
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  19. huochemi

    huochemi Well-Known Member Friend

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    Easily done!;)
     
  20. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    Looking at the time now available to me (!) I think I should be able to do some additional work on the book.

    That being the case, and thinking about what I can do to help anyone, please find below last year's podcast on Thompson.



    I am looking at whether I can put my Thompson lecture notes into a small enough file to upload here too, to help relieve some of the boredom of lockdown (or maybe bore you more, delete as required!)
     
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