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Edward Thompson: Wartime C.M.E. Discussion 2012 - 2022

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

  1. Matt37401

    Matt37401 Resident of Nat Pres

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    Just shows how narrow minded they are, as someone who has an interest in history (and not just railways) I just find this petulant and downright bloody childish.
    Do the LNER society want to be taken seriously or not? Or do they just want to promote a skewed view of history?
     
  2. Jimc

    Jimc Part of the furniture

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    TBH if you look around at society in general is it really a surprise that there are special interest societies with a narrow focus and limited acceptance of alternate viewpoints? We are living, after all, in the age of the new intolerance. But if we don't want to be tarred with the same brush then we need to back off and not be critical or we risk being just as bad.
     
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  3. Fred Kerr

    Fred Kerr Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    In fairness it is difficult for a Society with convictions based on many years of acceptance to accept an alternative viewpoint to that one held by them. It needs a good range of facts to support the new orthodoxy - as supplied by Simon's book on Thompson - but consider his difficulty to be the same as the early Christians seeking to spread the Word to replace the old Pagan beliefs. I suspect his analysis of Gresley may be subject to the same problem - how dare you criticise the Deity; that genius of engineering whose beliefs re 3 cylinders and conjugated valve gear are sacrosanct ? Although Gresley would not accept such status his followers might hence the difficulty Simon will face.
     
  4. mdewell

    mdewell Well-Known Member Friend

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    "He's not the Messiah, he's a very naughty boy!" ;)
    (Sorry, someone had to say it):D
     
  5. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Nat Pres stalwart

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    Not on me. Every designer has their fundamentalist followers. I've seen plenty of posts elsewhere rubbishing Gresley and refusing to accept any criticism of Thompson.
     
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  6. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    I would love to see this, if only for amusement.

    An element of “I don’t believe it” here though, that would be an incredible turn around on public opinion.

    The Gresley/Thompson debate is stoked mostly by those who see it as either/or - I say this in my book, but you can’t really have the successes of one without the other as CME.
     
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  7. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    I’ll send you a PM later. My experiences echoing yours more than a tad.

    Its funny, I’ve spoken with a few well known faces in the heritage industry whose views of the LNER Society are not printable - it’s no shock to some that the Gresley Society was more amenable to my research. Far more understanding and supportive.

    The true “LNER Society” quite frankly.
     
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  8. Big Al

    Big Al Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

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    I was bemused by the above and an earlier comment by @sir gilbert claughton, so I visited their web site.

    Apart from the fact that it presents itself as if it's locked in the year in which it was founded - i.e. 1965 - it seems to exist, and I quote:
    to facilitate the study of the historical LNER, its inheritance from its constituents in 1923 and the legacy it bequeathed to the Nation in 1948, and to provide accurate and authoritative information to historians and modellers.

    That's a laudable aim but historians will know that it is often a dispassionate re-examination of history and what was seen as true at the time that gives us a much clearer picture of how things probably were.

    It's disappointing if the LNER Society really is into 'dissing' views that don't align completely with whatever is seen as the way the LNER was. Anyway, it's about the railway and people such as Thompson, Gresley and others are just part of that story.
     
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  9. Fred Kerr

    Fred Kerr Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    But more important however are the 2 elements that any locomotive designer requires ; - a board of management that actively supports a project (e.g.the development of the A4s to be superior to the Flying Hamburger) and a support team committed to drawing the reality of a designer's concept. If one looks at all the 'named' UK designers there is the constancy of both factors at play with the designer taking the kudos - but on behalf of his support team and not on their particular contribution alone.
    Even on the LMS the Fairburn / Ivatt approved rebuilds of Royal Scots and Patriots to Stanier taper boiler standards are referred to as 'Stanier' rebuilds and not ascribed to those responsible for approving them.
     
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  10. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Nat Pres stalwart

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    You need to be on the right forums/Facebook pages. Also earwig conversations around heritage railways. Most people making these comments have no practical experience of the designs they’re either lauding or denigrating. It’s not limited to the Gresley v Thompson debate either.
     
  11. Fred Kerr

    Fred Kerr Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    It does seem incredible that the Jarvis rebuilds of the 3 Bulleid Pacifics are still ascribed to Bulleid who had nothing to do with their design or rebuild.
     
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  12. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    Yet Ivatt gets the credit for the eponymous class 2MT locos of great renown despite the fact they must have been drawn up, ordered and at least partly built under Fairburn!

    Tom
     
  13. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    What I think this highlights more is the marked inconsistencies in the recording and then reporting on railway history. Something that I have touched on in the Thompson book, but really a more full academic analysis is probably required across the industry. How did we get here is probably another salient question.
     
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  14. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    Two Bulleid Pacific classes. West Country/Battle of Britain are the same locomotive design, named differently. The Merchant Navy class is one singular class with many minor variations within.

    The rebuilt locomotives effectively give us four Bulleid Pacific classes, with one of those four becoming extinct on rebuilding.

    But I think a better argument would be that there are two Bulleid Pacific classes, and two Jarvis Pacific classes.

    A Gresley P2, rebuilt, is not called a rebuilt Gresley A2/2, which is probably the closest comparison. It is called a Thompson A2/2.

    But we're getting into semantics and personal preferences for record keeping, quite frankly. The officials at the time retained the Bulleid name to the classes and applied the rebuilt moniker, so we must respect that in some way.
     
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  15. sir gilbert claughton

    sir gilbert claughton Well-Known Member

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    I'm not sure that is right .Fairburn was much more an electrical engineer . i doubt he would have had much input into steam locos .
     
  16. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    Yes, my point though was about dates! You either have to just say “the loco gets called by the name of whoever was CME when they emerged” or “credit who did the design”. But instead we get a bit of mix and match across classes and railways that seems to be based largely on a whim. A Maunsell S15 gets its own moniker despite being a fairly modest change from the Urie original; but a 1950 Black 5 is still a “Stanier” Black 5 despite certainly being more significantly changed between 1934 and 1950 that an S15 was between 1920 and 1936.

    Tom
     
  17. Big Al

    Big Al Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

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    True but the 'stand out' feature that remains is the ability of the locomotive to make steam and that was/is down to Bulleid.
     
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  18. 30854

    30854 Resident of Nat Pres

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    And that's before we get to locos designed and constructed by your Hunslets, Beyer Peacocks, Nasmyth Wilsons, Sharp Stewarts ..... etc. etc. Many were long lived, yet how many of us could name who was responsible for, say, the Hunslet Austerity? Or pretty much any successful Garratt*?

    *easy enough to identify those who hamstrung Garratt designs thinking they knew best!
     
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  19. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    I think it is important to recognise how much didn't change during the rebuilds.

    There's a tendency to focus on some aspects of the design, and then write-off the aspects that didn't change as somehow less important. For example, most visibly - the air-smoothed casing was removed, along with associated changes to the smokebox and valance / running plate. But that's a triviality: Streamlined Stanier Duchesses had an equivalent change during their life, but no-one makes out it constituted a new design.

    The valve gear, reversing mechanism and inside cylinder changed, which was significant.

    What remained? Well, the frames, stretchers, wheels, brakes, bogies, pony trucks, suspension, boiler, tenders, drawgear and auxiliary fittings like injectors, cab layout (largely), lighting etc all remained. That's pretty fundamental. If you consider that a locomotive consists of a boiler for raising steam; cylinders / valve gear for using it; and a frame / suspension / braking / wheel setup for linking the two and safely and smoothly transferring the power generated into useful work (haulage), then the majority of the loco was unchanged. Indeed, while the boiler is widely held up as successful, you have to say that the frame and suspension / bogie / pony truck set up was also very good, such that (AIUI) significant features were influential in later BR standard designs.

    I think as enthusiasts, the loss of the air-smoothed casing in particular tends to drive people down a line that the rebuild was more fundamental than it was, and therefore that the originals were less successful than they were. In practice, it was a very good piece of engineering: retain the strong features (boiler, frame, chassis); replace the less successful (valve gear, reverser) but do it all with the smallest possible amount of change, both so that they needed to be withdrawn for the smallest possible time while rebuilt, and to use the smallest possible amount of new material.

    Tom
     
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  20. Fred Kerr

    Fred Kerr Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    Herein the pedantry; whilst I agree that there were 2 Bulleid classes some may argue that the class moniker suggests 3 classes. In fairness to the LNER Class A2 it seems that the rebuild P2s were considered as 'new' locomotives hence their ascription to Thomson - especially as a new classification (from P2 to A2) was created whilst the SR considered the rebuilt Bulleid Pacifics to be the same classes hence the retention of ascription to Bulleid. As you note these are semantics which provides fertile grounds for research and discussion that both NatPres and your books provide.
     
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