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 - 2021

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

  1. RalphW

    RalphW Part of the furniture Staff Member Administrator Friend

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2005
    Messages:
    32,453
    Likes Received:
    6,714
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Retired-ish, Part time rail tour steward.
    Location:
    Northwich
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    No it hasn't, mainly because my view of the world does not rotate around Simons theories and pronouncements, or even this thread.
     
  2. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2010
    Messages:
    3,822
    Likes Received:
    5,439
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Asset Engineer (Signalling), MNLPS Treasurer
    Location:
    Sidcup, Kent
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Yet still you come back Ralph. Like a pub regular! :)

    Theories though? Come now: I have provided all my sources, shared my research, shown a few people the book straight up for them to make their own minds up. Surely we're beyond theory when it comes to Thompson? Isn't that the point I keep coming back to? Research, provide evidence, analyse.
     
    MellishR likes this.
  3. Victor

    Victor Part of the furniture Friend

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2006
    Messages:
    12,626
    Likes Received:
    5,934
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    DEWSBURY West Yorkshire
    You have a seemingly 'unhealthy obsession' with the Thompson fella. You've rubbished a lot of people who had PRACTICAL experience of his machines, they were there, putting in the mileages. preparing and repairing locos,(drivers etc, writers, timers with their cheap watches), you even sunk to calling some liars, You however don't have any such experience............you weren't even born when steam was king
     
  4. 69530

    69530 New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2013
    Messages:
    55
    Likes Received:
    67
    Gender:
    Male
    No, just quoting from a footplateman who worked from 1924 t0 1961 on what became the Midland Railway, until requested to assist on a punctuality drive on the ER main line.
    Why can't you have it both ways one liked 60113 and the other disliked the Thompson locos what is the problem with that, it is an opinion, we are allowed them. One group of people prefer the Rolling Stones and the other group The Beatles, are you saying that to like one you have to dislike the other, do I have to apologise for liking both as I do.

    Can you point me towards the the post about the Scottish driver who disliked the Thompson locos I have been unable to find it and would like to read it, and would not dismiss it, many thanks.
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2021
    S.A.C. Martin likes this.
  5. 69530

    69530 New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2013
    Messages:
    55
    Likes Received:
    67
    Gender:
    Male
    You however don't have any such experience............you weren't even born when steam was king[/QUOTE]

    What a bizarre statement, human history goes back approx 6 million years, are you saying the nobody can write about the past unless they were alive at the time ? That would only leave us with autobiographies from about 1200BC.

    Our lives would be much less rich and knowledgeable without historians and their diligent research !
     
  6. 35B

    35B Resident of Nat Pres

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2011
    Messages:
    15,846
    Likes Received:
    12,794
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Grantham
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    Because historians do go over things and sometimes upset the apple cart by finding that conventional wisdom is, quite simply, wrong.

    In the mid 90s, I had a nice little phd project lined up, which came to nowt because it wasn’t funded - I got a “real” job instead. Knowing what I know now, which is in large part the result of historians doing similar work to what my project would have been, I know that I’d have been involved in changing consensus about the period I was interested in, and laying down groundwork for just how little interest the western Allies had in dealing with war crimes in post war Germany. With (now deceased) relatives having served in Germany at the time, that had potential to offend.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
    S.A.C. Martin likes this.
  7. simon

    simon Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2006
    Messages:
    10,567
    Likes Received:
    4,327
    Really? Way off topic, but I think that was generally well accepted, outside popular literature, well before the period you would have been doing your Phd.
     
  8. jnc

    jnc Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2012
    Messages:
    1,368
    Likes Received:
    2,316
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Western Atlantic
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    One minor correction: 'I hope is outlined in my book.' :) (Doubt is at the heart of all great scholarship.)

    Noel
     
    S.A.C. Martin and simon like this.
  9. Jimc

    Jimc Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2005
    Messages:
    3,237
    Likes Received:
    3,102
    Occupation:
    Once computers, now part time writer I suppose.
    Location:
    SE England
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    I think its maybe tangential to why you are writing, but I don't think you can dismiss what Cook and Cox had to say quite so blindly. You can make a good case that they misunderstand his motivation. You make an excellent case that the man did a good job as CME and set the LNER in a better direction for the circumstances they were in. But those people who were there and knew most of the folk involved - they were ARLE members so probably knew Thompson, at least casually. Its surely hard to deny that there were very strong feelings about Thompson's legacy very quickly. The sheer amount of negative writing tells you that. You're of the opinion that some writers had such strong feelings that they at the least drastically massaged the conclusions of their research work to make Thompson look bad. We have these two very strong opinions from very senior executives who were right on the spot. There *must* have been a belief, however mistaken, that Thompson sought to at the very least greatly reduce the Gresley legacy. There was surely discord and factions in the LNER engineering hierarchy. And TBH haven't you also made the case that Thompson instituted a considerable change away from a number of aspects of Gresley's policy, and rightly too? "Why was Thompson so vilified" probably doesn't belong as a chapter in your book, but its nevertheless an interesting question. And a man who has "much to do and very little time in which to do it" is unlikely to avoid treading on a few toes.
     
  10. Jimc

    Jimc Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2005
    Messages:
    3,237
    Likes Received:
    3,102
    Occupation:
    Once computers, now part time writer I suppose.
    Location:
    SE England
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    I also find it interesting that Cook had so little to say about his time as E & NE region CME. 8 years in what was pretty much the peak of his profession, and they seem to have been successful years, and it comes down to "wasted effort" and "maybe I was able to do a few useful things", and a paragraph on how friendly his staff were and 'healing the discord.' There must have been more to it than that, but I'm not a great reader of either Eastern affairs or the BR era.
     
    Jamessquared and Bluenosejohn like this.
  11. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2018
    Messages:
    2,874
    Likes Received:
    5,809
    Location:
    Here, there, everywhere
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    I think it is fair to say that we all have mixed opinions about the people that we work with. There are some people we like, some people we find easy to get on, some people we find difficult or annoying. For example, the different views about say Fairburn seems to be because he was very different to Stanier and also to Ivatt. If you got on better with Ivatt you might have found Fairburn difficult.

    There is bound to be an element of group think. I am sure many us have sat around and listened as someone lays into someone and others agree and it ends up being accepted wisdom, unless you are really willing to swim against the tide, very few people will sit there and say 'that is unfair or wrong'.

    We have Cox and Cook on various people, but we don't necessarily have their contemporaries on Cox and Cook. (Although Tester and Beavor criticise Cox's work).

    Just by way of note on Fairburn (Thompson's contemporary and someone who came into post in the shadow of a predecessor):

    Cox: "Fairburn, on the other hand [compared with Ivatt], was one of the first examples of someone coming straight from outside industry into a top position in railway engineering. Starting as Chief Electrical Engineer in 1934, he was far from being solely an electrician, and his former positions of responsibility with the English Electric Co., including their heavy mechanical engineering activities, gave him great authority in dealing with railway workshops and production matters after he became Deputy C.M.E. Thus he was a scourge of the inefficient in the shops, and soon became extremely 'canny' in weighing up form on steam traction matters, in which, to the surprise of some and the affront of others, he took a very real interest."

    Jarvis: "had his own definite views and needed diplomatic handling at times", moreover "he was not a fit man and could at times be quite irritable""

    Langridge: "He disliked the 'out-of-date' steam locomotive and was very keen that the drawing office should follow the practice of English Electric in making 'unit drawings' of every detail instead of ordering up details from a sub- assembly drawing. He rapidly became a thorn in the flesh to the older dyed-in-the-wool steam men, and removals and transfers of anyone who criticized his views soon took place. He saw the future traction unit as a diesel-electric locomotive."

    Why does this matter? Earlier I mentioned Fairburn's lack of credit. These quotes give a small window into what it was like to work with for Fairburn and may to some extent suggest as to why people may not necessarily be overly well disposed to him and to give him credit that they may not think he deserves.
     
    jnc likes this.
  12. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2015
    Messages:
    6,857
    Likes Received:
    5,077
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Thorn in my managers side
    Location:
    72
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    Thinking about it............

    I have driven a TY2 (DR Class 52, Kriegslok) in Poland, Always wanted to drive one but frankly it gave me the creeps - unlike the identical post war Polish built TY42.

    Now that may be my opinion of the machine from a drivers point of view, but in terms of the work they did both during and after WW2 the facts show the TY2 was a great locomotive.

    I also watched Clive Groom describing his first experience of a 9F - it wasnt good, if that had been his only one they may well have been dammed by him, but he set to work to understand it and soon managed to get the best out of it.

    So by all means listen to the people who used these things but look at the figures as well.
     
    Matt37401 and jnc like this.
  13. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2008
    Messages:
    20,903
    Likes Received:
    38,523
    Location:
    215
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    That struck me in Cook’s book - what he left out was more intriguing than what he put in. (Similarly Holcroft says comparatively little about his time working with Bulleid).

    My only thought about Cook is whether his time on the Eastern Region wasn’t an especially happy one, and he preferred to say nothing than say something he might later come to regret. Whereas there is an evident pride about his time at Swindon and he was keen to talk about that time and his role in it. (I’m sure many of us can relate to that in our own careers, being more keen to recollect what we consider the good times than others). But that would be complete speculation ...

    Tom
     
    jnc and Bluenosejohn like this.
  14. Jimc

    Jimc Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2005
    Messages:
    3,237
    Likes Received:
    3,102
    Occupation:
    Once computers, now part time writer I suppose.
    Location:
    SE England
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    Its interesting, because I read Steamindex on Fairburn https://www.steamindex.com/people/fairburn.htm afyer you mentioned him, and my impression was that he was a big loss and would probably have done a far better job than Riddles at BR.
     
  15. Cartman

    Cartman Member

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2015
    Messages:
    1,161
    Likes Received:
    850
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Cheshire
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    Another observation from a disinterested (LMS) outsider. Thompson replaced a very successful and respected man (Gresley) who had been in the job a long time, which is always difficult. Think David Moyes taking over from Alex Ferguson at Manchester United.

    Thompson wasn't in the job that long, maybe if he had had a longer run at it a more balanced career would have resulted.

    He came into the job at a very difficult time, 1941, and presumably took the view that the Gresley locos needed more maintenance, in difficult conditions.

    The fact that the rebuilt pacific s looked a bit wrong with the cylinders set well back and the long wheelbase probably didn't help.

    I am getting from this thread that the focus seems to be on these locos, and a bit on the L1s, both of which are not particularly regarded as good engines, but the B1, which was very good, has hardly been touched on.

    Even the great Stanier produced one dud, the 2-6-2 tanks!
     
    RLinkinS and jnc like this.
  16. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2018
    Messages:
    2,874
    Likes Received:
    5,809
    Location:
    Here, there, everywhere
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    Steamindex is a funny site. The webmaster holds quite strong views on things.

    My reading of Fairburn is that he was a massive loss in terms of the development of British railways but I think those who worked with him found him difficult or at least reading those sources there were tensions - at a personal level 'diplomatic handling' but also organisational - trying to introduce EE methods to Derby etc. I suspect that he simply wasn't in post long enough for those tensions to generate a full blown reaction against him.
     
    Bluenosejohn likes this.
  17. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2008
    Messages:
    20,903
    Likes Received:
    38,523
    Location:
    215
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    The “great” Stanier? Have you read Langridge? ;) (retires to safe distance ...)

    Tom
     
  18. 21B

    21B Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2009
    Messages:
    1,849
    Likes Received:
    2,687
    Your posts give a completely different impression.

    Sent from my SM-A405FN using Tapatalk
     
  19. 21B

    21B Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2009
    Messages:
    1,849
    Likes Received:
    2,687
    I didn't have you in mind when I wrote the post, but the tone of your response and the fact you have replied is suggestive that Simons arguments have certainly got under your skin.

    This is by some margin the best thread on the forum at present. Mostly because the debate has largely been most respectful. We are all entitled to our views. What I like about this thread is it has been genuinely instructive and has convincing, at least to me and some others. I do sincerely hope that the debate doesn't now move from "playing the ball" discussion of the arguments for and against Thompson into "playing man". Cam we continue with the discussion please everyone?



    Sent from my SM-A405FN using Tapatalk
     
  20. RalphW

    RalphW Part of the furniture Staff Member Administrator Friend

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2005
    Messages:
    32,453
    Likes Received:
    6,714
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Retired-ish, Part time rail tour steward.
    Location:
    Northwich
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    It's not Simons arguments that have got under my skin, it's the way he treats those who disagree with his statements dismissing them as unfounded rubbish.
    @johnofwessex said, "So by all means listen to the people who used these things but look at the figures as well." Maybe that could be amended to, "So by all means look at the figures and data but listen to the people as well" Simon could well to note this.
     
    Bluenosejohn likes this.

Share This Page