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Edward Thompson: Wartime C.M.E. Discussion 2012 - 2021

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

  1. Muzza

    Muzza New Member

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    Oh dear.

    If this keeps up, someone is going to have to write a book to correct the wild and unfounded allegations that Gresley was a money wasting narcissist.

    Isn’t revisionary history fun?

    Both HNG and ET were good at their jobs under their respective circumstances.

    IMHO if ET had left 4470 alone, most of the acrimony from enthusiasts ( and possibly colleagues) would never have occurred.

    Imagine 1470, resplendent in GNR livery as a centrepiece at the NRM (or whatever it is called this week).


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  2. jma1009

    jma1009 Well-Known Member

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    I agree with this assessment, and ET was singularly unable at the time to appreciate the resentment rebuilding 4470 would cause.

    Same as LBSCR people at the time never forgave Douglas Earle Marsh for scrapping Stroudley single 'Abergavenny' in a fit of pique.

    Cheers,

    Julian
     
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  3. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    How many more bloody times?

    LA Musgrave selected 4470, not Thompson!
     
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  4. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    The worst of the four, IMO, where availability was concerned.
     
  5. bluetrain

    bluetrain Well-Known Member

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    I seem to recall that the LMS swapped the identities of "Royal Scot" and "Silver Jubilee" with other members of their respective classes, in preparation for exhibition and tour events.

    Now if only someone on the LNER had thought to swap the identity of 4470 with another less famous member of its class, then fuss could have been avoided!
     
  6. bluetrain

    bluetrain Well-Known Member

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    Not quite true to say that "conjugated gear was on almost all of Gresleys" - his most numerous class, the J39 0-6-0, had only 2 cylinders, as of course did his earlier Great Northern engines.

    But the analogy with compounding is an interesting one, as is your observation that Webb built both compounds and simples in parallel. In later years, the LMS built large numbers of the Midland Compound 4-4-0s, while everything else was a simple. The Bavarian S3/6 4-6-2 was another example of a compound engine that continued to be built and survived for decades after most other German compounds had gone to the scrap-heap. There are other examples where an engineer or organization appeared to "ride both horses" in a design decision. Churchward saw advantage in 4-cylinders, but then built 4-cylinder Star and 2-cylinder Saint 4-6-0s in parallel. Maunsell similarly built 2-cylinder and 3-cylinder variants of his 2-6-0s in parallel.

    Gresley did have the choice of being more selective in his application of 3-cylinder propulsion, but I would not be so bold as to suggest which classes! We can definitely say that there were issues with the conjugated mechanism, which caused other engineers to move away from it. But we can also note that locos with conjugated gear are still at work, and are able to be maintained by heritage railways with their limited resources.
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2019
  7. Fred Kerr

    Fred Kerr Part of the furniture

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    Would that be the same argument that no-one followed the standard methodology set out by Churchward / GWR because it had no value ? Does that condemn the MR at Derby because it continued with compound main line express locomotives when every other UK railway had rebuilt them to simple locomotives - or do you praise it for succeeding where other railways had failed ? Because Gresley designed the 1st successful Pacific locomotive to work in the UK do you therefore condemn the GWR for not trying harder with its own prototype some 20 years earlier ? Because the GWR had built various 4-6-0 designs do you condemn Thompson for not following GWR practice rather than design his own class B1 locomotive ?

    The CME is employed for a variety of tasks - of which locomotive design is but one - and is subject to the requirements of the railway to meet the demand for locomotives. Whether that means providing a basic specification and letting specific departments (e.g. the drawing room) to fill in the detail or design to the last rivet is for each CME to negotiate with his Board of Directors. Note - for example - that when Gresley "designed" his EM1 (BR Class 76 locomotive) he set out the specifications that had been derived by Raven (Thompson's father-in-law) in the 1920s then set the experts at Metropolitan Vickers to provide the mechanical / electrical elements to meet it. Does the fact that no other main line railway had progressed so far with electrification demean or improve Gresley's reputation as both locomotive designer and engineer ?

    You also forget that Gresley patented his conjugated gear hence other railways would need to pay a licence fee; how many other railway managements would countenance paying for someone else's work - especially in times of financial problems - when they would expect their own CME to provide answers and not simply copy others' work. IMHO your comment "I think this says a lot" says more about your poor understanding of the CME roles within a railway company as it ignores the relationship between the Board with its requirements and the CME tasked to meet them
     
  8. Hermod

    Hermod Member

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    Secondhand british cars in eighthies and forward was the only ones I could afford.They were, dare I say, cheap.
     
  9. Hermod

    Hermod Member

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    Was J39 good engineering?
    The Gresley/Mallard question can maybe be reformulated:
    Did Mallard go fast downhill thanks to or in spite of conjugation?
     
  10. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    You’ve never been south of the Thames then, I take it?

    Tom
     
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  11. Hermod

    Hermod Member

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    My latest(Never more) ten inch Boxford had been so lousy machined that position of headstock relative to bed varied according to wich of the two bolts were fastened the most.
    The final fitter thigthened only the aft bolt and this piece of scrap was ofloaded to a danish school at a premium price as brandnew.Price was about six months wage for a skilled machinist.My new chinese is better and cost is one weeks wage.
     
  12. Muzza

    Muzza New Member

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    Simon, I know your thoughts on the matter - you have mentioned it once or twice .

    Had he the will to do so, I”m sure ET could have overturned the call and chosen another “victim”.


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  13. andrewshimmin

    andrewshimmin Well-Known Member

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    This was done with the Irish GSR 400 Class Watson 4-cylinder 4-6-0s, where judicious swapping of number plates saw the less favoured 409 (I think) scrapped while the preferred 404 (or similar) soldiered on as 409.
    Similarly on the (Irish) GNR, the identities of a couple of PP class 4-4-0s were swapped so the less favoured one (42) was scrapped and not the one ordered to be scrapped (74)...
     
  14. 2392

    2392 Member

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    You've put into writing what I've thought on and off for some time Muzza. By the same token taking in Simon's oft written quote, I wonder whether ET suspected anything having specified/decided on the rebuild. Or only found out after work had started on the "rebuild" by which time it was to late to stop the process....
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2019
  15. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    Thompson did not have the authority to do anything of the sort. That is not how the CME role works.

    I know that’s a strange concept for many people, given he was the CME, but what he could actually do was limited.

    Gresley was also limited in this way.
     
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  16. Victor

    Victor Part of the furniture Friend

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    Wait a minute.......you bought an Allegro.......and then you bought another and another, :rolleyes:.........and in total you had 8 British Leyland cars.........and in the next breath you say "should never have left the factory." and you persist in slagging British engineering. Why did you keep buying if it was rubbish engineering??
     
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  17. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    The anecdote goes that Teddy Windle, chief draughtsman, remonstrated with Thompson over the choice of loco.

    There’s a couple of versions of this story told by a number of people.

    The basic fact is that Thompson asked for an A10 to be nominated for rebuilding. He did not have direct authority to specifically pick a locomotive to rebuild.

    The A2/2 prototype - Thane of Fife - was selected by the locomotive superintendent for that area. The only authority Thompson was given in that was to order one to be rebuilt.

    I believe - speculatively - that the argument was less about rebuilding Great Northern but the possibility of losing the name. Thompson had intended all of his locos to be nameless - he was very utilitarian in this way - and looking at the emergency board notes 4470 would have been similarly treated.

    This is where I differ from others in interpreting the story, as I don’t believe there was much belief that 4470 was particularly special just for being the first one. The name however was possibly a last straw.

    Tensions were probably running high at Doncaster anyway - a lot of change in a short period of time, mostly in response to difficulties had as a result of wartime restrictions (and bombing on the area).

    The likely truth of it is that Thompson thought it coincidental but in some way serendipitous - if his ideas worked, what better than the original prototype to develop?

    Unlike other writers, I think the actual amount of input 4470 informed the Peppercorn A1 design on was next to zero. 4470 was a development of the A4 clearly - and no further development was undertaken.

    Whereas the Peppercorn A1 was a 6ft 8in version of Peppercorns A2 and therefore by way of development, derived from the original P2s via their rebuilds, and the Thompson A2/3.
     
  18. Victor

    Victor Part of the furniture Friend

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    Pretty good hatchet job on HNG being done in this thread but remember....................an A4 (with 'the gear') 126 mph......HNG can't have been as bad as some are making out on here.
     
  19. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    Can I also plead for some
    Dear god.

    Nobody is doing a hatchet job on Gresley. We have ONE person with a difference of opinion.

    Stop being over dramatic.

    And one A4 doing 126mph does not a wartime policy make!
     
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  20. Hermod

    Hermod Member

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    It was the only cars I could afford secondhand at that time.When they ran they did it as well as real cars.
     
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