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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. jma1009

    jma1009 Well-Known Member

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    I have considerable sympathy with 'Spamcan81' as we have both made posts on this thread and the previous related thread and usually got not just a negative response.

    So I totally support @Spamcan81 over all this.

    I was going to buy Simon's book if it had been £25, but £35 was a bit too steep for me. I don't think we will ever get Simon to properly appraise the Bert Spencer stuff.

    Cheers,
    Julian
     
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  2. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    I don’t believe that to be true, personally: and neither of you have had anywhere near the levels of incivility aimed at me over the years. You want to talk about people dismissing ideas and thoughts out of hand, start at page 1 of this thread and read on for the next ten years worth…

    How many times do I have to (wearily) remind you that the focus of my book wasn’t Bert Spencer?

    Missing the point Julian, again. A shame as there is a chapter regard him.
     
  3. RalphW

    RalphW Resident of Nat Pres Staff Member Administrator Friend

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    You do really think you are the oppressed don't you? You have obviously never seen the incivility and rudeness that some members of this forum have had thrown at them for having beliefs that do not conform to the ideals of others. The few comments that you see as rudeness are a mere bagatelle.
     
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  4. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    Laughable.
     
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  5. RalphW

    RalphW Resident of Nat Pres Staff Member Administrator Friend

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    So I take it the answer is yes, reminds me of


    ;)
     
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  6. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    Give it rest can you …

    Tom
     
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  7. simon

    simon Part of the furniture

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    10% off on Amazon
     
  8. Jimc

    Jimc Part of the furniture

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    Enough already.
     
  9. pete2hogs

    pete2hogs Member

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    Yes, I think it was fortunate to be allocated to the old GER where the K3's did more 'top end' mixed traffic work - elsewhere by the 50's they didn't really fit, being too large for most of the duties available. No V2's on the GER.
     
  10. pete2hogs

    pete2hogs Member

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    Probably an unresolvable debate. The V4's were the most advanced engines Gresley produced, and undoubtedly had he not died early there would have been many more of them. Events rapidly made them irrelevant and their actual capabilities became of little interest after the initial trials were completed. They clearly could have done anything a B1 could do, possibly a little more.

    Equally, it's true that what was most important when Thompson took over was something that could be produced rapidly and maintained easily to replace any number of tired out relics that Gresley would have no doubt replaced 10 years earlier had finances then permitted. I mean, it's not as if he (Gresley) disliked designing and building new engines.

    The wheel arrangement isn't the main issue - it follows from the respective firebox designs. Other countries (Russia, Hungary) have used 2-6-2's rather than 4-6-0's, although clearly the majority decision was for a 4-6-0.
     
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  11. Jimc

    Jimc Part of the furniture

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    Mmm, there are some interesting subtleties though. Did any of the steam era design teams really have a good high speed leading pony truck sorted out? If not then a 2-6-2 will have disadvantages over a 4-6-0. Then there are weight distribution factors too. A 2-6-2 can have a shorter fixed wheelbase and indeed can probably be shorter overall as the boiler is shorter for the same heating surfaces, but also means the centre of gravity changes.
     
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  12. bluetrain

    bluetrain Well-Known Member

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    The 2-6-2 was certainly a preferred choice for passenger and mixed-traffic work across much of Central and Eastern Europe, with the Russian S & Su classes totaling more than 3000 engines. It was easier to design a satisfactory firebox into a 2-6-2, with a wide firebox being an option as on the Gresley V2 & V4. That was a particular consideration in countries where available coal was of poor quality.

    Many of the Continental designs had a Krauss or Zara truck at the front end, which was considered to give a better ride than a pony truck. Having said that, I doubt whether any of the Continental 4-6-0 and 2-6-2 designs operated at the high speeds that some of the British express passenger 4-6-0s achieved.
     
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  13. Fred Kerr

    Fred Kerr Part of the furniture

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    That could be because the Continental operators were more careful about the speeds at which their trains operated ! Although of limited experience within DB operations of the 1970s I recall that the Class 042 2-8-2 was restricted to 90 km/h whilst even the prolific P38 4-6-0 was restricted to 90 km/h and its replacement Class 23 2-6-2 was restricted to 110 km/h forwards and 85 km/h backwards.

    Even in diesel traction the DB Class 220 Warships were restricted to 140 km/h (90 mph) whilst BR drivers often worked them at speeds in excess of that. I'm afraid to say that the UK experience of high speed wasn't reflected in Continental practice IMHO where the power was used for haulage rather than speed compared to UK practice where power was used for speed in preference to haulage.
     
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  14. Bill2

    Bill2 New Member

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    It is worth mentioning that the pre-war 1-Do-1 express electric locomotives in Germany (classes E17, E18, and E19) had Krauss-Helmholz trucks at both ends and ran successfully for many years. The E19 was originally designed for 180Km/h and reached 200 Km/h (125mph) on test, though after the war the E18 and E19 were limited to 140 Km/h.
     
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  15. mdewell

    mdewell Well-Known Member

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    Yes, and firebox design is probably largely influenced by the quality of the coal available. Good quality (i.e. high calorific value) coal can produce adequate steam from a smaller firebox (which would fit between the frames of a 4-6-0), while poor quality coal needs a larger, wider firebox (which may not fit between the frames, hence the need for a rear pony truck).
    Of course, if you typically operate at slower speeds, then smaller driving wheels would be ok and you can have a wider firebox as you like.
    Wheel arrangements are probably a fair way down the list of design priorities.
     
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  16. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    Fundamentally, I don't believe that to be true.

    I think even if Gresley had lived, the V4 had substantial issues outside of its design that would have made it unlikely to be perpetuated without major design changes.

    The V4 design comprised:
    • many lightweight specially designed fabrications instead of castings (not standard with anything else)
    • a boiler with thermic siphons (later removed)
    • Use of lightweight alloys (most of which became less available as the war went on)
    So from the outset we have a highly capable design using materials that are in scarce quantity and to a level of design detail and manufacturing requirements that the LNER would have struggled to do more of. The reason the B1 came into existence in the first place was precisely because there were severe materials, skills and workshop availability shortages.

    So I highly doubt, even had Gresley lived, that the V4 design would have continued as was - it would have required significant lowering in its exacting standards to justify more being built - and that ultimately is why it's probably fair to say that even had Gresley lived, the V4 class would have been unlikely to have perpetuated without major changes, and it's probably highly likely they would have been cancelled in any event.

    That though fundamentally isn't what the problem was. The problem for the LNER was absolutely clear cut: locomotives that were decreasingly available for work and not meeting the mileages required to do the work of the railway.

    The more people think of this as being a "my engine design's better than your engine" contest, the further we get from the truth of it, which ultimately is a railway company having enough useable, reliable, cheaper to run and maintain and build locomotives to do the work required.
     
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  17. Jimc

    Jimc Part of the furniture

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    Not sure about that. One of the few first hand reports we have of early stages in the design process is in Ken Cook's book "Swindon Steam" where he discusses the early brainstorming for new autofitted classes - what evntually became the 48xx 0-4-2T, and 54xx and 64xx 0-6-0T classes. Cook describes how they ran through all sorts of different wheel arrangements before eventually deciding the only thing that was going to meet the needs were modern versions of the 517s and 2021s that the new locomotives would replace. But its going to be different in different circumstances.
     
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  18. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Nat Pres stalwart

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    Any facts to back up your supposition re the V4? Fact is, none of us know what would have happened if HNG had not died when he did and all we can do is indulge in supposition.
     
  19. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Nat Pres stalwart

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    The bullet points Simon gives look like facts to me (or at least, verifiable statements - I'm no expert!), which put together a reasonable argument that they would have been unlikely to have been progressed even if Gresley had survived. Sure it's supposition, but it's not without evidence, and nor is a simple 50/50 probability - either they would have been built to spec regardless or they wouldn't, because we have known facts that make one outcome seem more likely than another.
     
  20. 30854

    30854 Resident of Nat Pres

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    Had Gresley lived, I suspect answers would have been found. With his death, I'd agree that the impetus to develop novel features would have mitigated against the V4, whoever had taken the reigns. However .....

    Looking at those three points, I feel that, having only been fitted to 3402 as an experiment, thermic syphons are a bit of a red herring. No killer argument to be had there, plus, considering wartime shortages, a welded steel firebox seems a sensible enough feature.

    On the first point, whilst fabrication by welding was a new technology at the time, it was also one with significant benefits to the wartime economy. Of the charges levelled by Bulleid's detractors, I don't recall his employment of welding being amongst them. Given the demonstrable benefit of weight savings, I see no knockout argument here either.

    With regard to lightweight alloys, this one does stack up against the V4, as built (didn't most of our aluminium come from Canada back then?). Whilst perfectly valid during exceptional wartime conditions, it seems reasonable to say development of such tech would have been beneficial to aircraft development, so even during the war, not something to be taken off the table completely.

    Whilst the B1 was doubtless a sensible response to wartime conditions, it was one which came with it's own issues (thinking primarily of ride quality here). Nor do I see anything to suggest the B1 represented either the only or best possible solution, just the (pretty good) one the LNER got.

    Edit: corrected number of syphon flitted loco (3402)
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2021
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