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Flying Scotsman

Discussion in 'Steam Traction' started by 73129, Aug 24, 2010.

  1. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    Personal view this, but I tend to think the vacuum/air braked discussion misses the point. If you operate on the mainline, chances are you need both these days. The main railway companies weren't above changing the braking system for improvements. There may come a time when the national network has a preference for a new type of brake and we may yet have to adhere to that.
     
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  2. The Green Howards

    The Green Howards Nat Pres stalwart

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    They also reduced the height from the GNR loading gauge, converted it to left-hand drive and from an A1 to an A3, John. Your point being?
     
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  3. Johnb

    Johnb Nat Pres stalwart

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    That was pre preservation
     
  4. Johnb

    Johnb Nat Pres stalwart

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    Yes both will be needed by put as you should know Clan Line retains the same braking system that it had in BR days, what’s bee addd is an air pump and controls for working air braked trains. It’s all reversible.
     
  5. The Green Howards

    The Green Howards Nat Pres stalwart

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    But it's running in as close a condition as it would have been when it left service with BR... it depends on how you define 'original'.
     
  6. ruddingtonrsh56

    ruddingtonrsh56 Well-Known Member

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    I think John's views (which are perfectly legitimate) lean into the wider debate about how do you define 'heritage' which is expressed in a particular way in Mainline Registered Class 7/8 Express locos. Which of the following is more in keeping with the 'heritage' of the locomotive (For argument's sake, let's imagine we have two Class 7 express steam locos of an undefined class, owned by two separate groups, both of which are currently operational):
    -Loco A. The owning group have undertaken many modifications to ensure the loco is as suitable for mainline running as possible, including converting the loco to be air braked (with vacuum brakes still in place for the occasional heritage line visit), TPWS, and have modified the chimney, cab and dome to reduce the height of the loco. This ensures the loco has as wide a route availability as possible, including several key mainline routes that it worked over regularly during pre-preservation days, where the height reductions have been necessary to ensure the loco is kept in gauge. The loco spends the vast majority of its year hauling mainline charter trains at 75mph, particularly over routes its class regularly worked over during pre-preservation days, effectively still doing the work it was built to do, with just the odd visit to heritage railways, maybe taking up 4-5 weekends a year.
    -Loco B. The owning group have decided to keep the loco as close as they can to the condition it was withdrawn from BR in back in the 60s. This means that they have not fitted TPWS, Air Brakes, or reduced the height. As a result the loco is not allowed on the national network, and instead is based on a 10 mile heritage railway over a former branch line that is completely unconnected to the loco's pre-preservation history, where it hauls 5 coach trains at 25mph. The loco is very much in a 'heritage' condition, but one could hardly describe the work it carries out as anything close to the duties it carried out with its former employer.

    Which of the above is the more 'heritage' scenario? The loco that is still put together like it was in the 60s, or the loco that is still hauling the same sort of trains as it was in the 60s? Personally, I would argue that the sacrifices made by the owning group of Loco A regarding its condition are justified because it means the loco is still able to do the work it was meant to do (Hauling 12 coach trains at 75mph). This isn't to say that the owning group of Loco B have made the wrong choice by keeping their loco in 60s condition, but this has come at the cost of meaning it is not recreating the heritage experience of pulling the same sort of trains it was built for. It's a different sort of heritage, and when you can't have 100% heritage (Loco in 60s condition performing the work it did in the 60s) I don't think it's necessarily wrong to make a sacrifice in one area to maintain 'heritage' in another.

    (I am aware that Vintage Trains' mainline fleet is not Air Braked, so the concept of having a mainline loco not fitted with air brakes has been proven, but they have still fitted their locos with TPWS (not quite the same as the AWS they would have run with in the 60s) and (I believe) fitted reduced height chimneys etc to maximise route availability, so they're not in 100% heritage condition)
     
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  7. Johnb

    Johnb Nat Pres stalwart

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    Original as in its always been vac braked. When the loco left BR service it changed status to a working museum piece and it would have npbben nice to have made as few a number of changes as possible. FS is not the only one, the Duchess is the same
     
  8. Johnb

    Johnb Nat Pres stalwart

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    I was just saying that I think it’s regrettable that FS and the Duchess have had the original braking system on the engine converted to air when it wasn’t necessary to work air braked trains. Modifications have to be made but why not keep them to the minimum. Vintage Trains work with vacuum stick so air is not necessary. Pedantic hat on, back in the day they would have been fitted with the GW ATC gear not AWS.
     
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  9. ruddingtonrsh56

    ruddingtonrsh56 Well-Known Member

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    And that's a fair opinion to have. But my opinion is that they wouldn't have made that change if it didn't make sense for some reason with regards to running services on the mainline. They obviously must have felt the changes were worthwhile when viewed with the aim of enabling the locomotive to continue to haul the same kind of trains it was built for. That's the same for making the loco air braked first and foremost as it is for as adding the air brakes in the first place - my understanding is that, while you can still run steam trains with Vac only, there are various reasons (probably a mixture of practical, political and possibly restriction based) that mean it could be argued it is 'better' to have access to air brakes. I know you may not think that was a worthwhile sacrifice, but I do, and evidently the owning groups did as well, because the end result is more steam on the mainline, potentially in more places more of the time than it would be if locos remained only vac braked. And I don't really see why air brakes are not considered an acceptable modification in the same way that TPWS is.
     
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  10. Johnb

    Johnb Nat Pres stalwart

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    I think you have misunderstood what I said. There is no reason why FS could not have retained its original braking equipment for the loco but with the addition of an air pump and controls for working air braked trains. This has been done on Clan Line and that has a more complicated system, when it works the Belmond the loco is steam braked, the tender is vacuum and the train is ar, all worked from a combined brake valve from a Class 47.
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2023
  11. ruddingtonrsh56

    ruddingtonrsh56 Well-Known Member

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    Maybe that's your answer - moving to an air-brake based system is perhaps simpler than using different braking systems for different parts of the train. Perhaps that's why they changed it
     
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  12. The Green Howards

    The Green Howards Nat Pres stalwart

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    What's the ORR position on vac-braked stock on the Big Railway?
     
  13. Johnb

    Johnb Nat Pres stalwart

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    The fact that Vintage trains are 100% vacuum and West Coast mostly so suggests they are happy with it.
     
  14. twr12

    twr12 Well-Known Member

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    ORR don’t have a published policy opinion on Vacuum braked trains.

    However, RSSB Standard “GM/RT2045 Compatibility Requirements for Braking Systems of Rail Vehicles”.

    Does specify maximum stopping distances in Figure 2 Curve B1 for passenger trains up to 100mph with cast iron brake blocks, there is no distinction between vacuum and air braking.

    Any concern about coupling and brake pipe compatibility with other trains is nearly as bad for loco hauled air braked trains as for vacuum braked trains. I can’t see an IEP, Voyager, Electrostar, Desiro, etc coupling to a failed air braked train and moving it.
     
  15. Matt37401

    Matt37401 Nat Pres stalwart

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    I don’t think Network Rail were rather happy when a vac braked ECS move blocked a level crossing for some time in Lincolnshire some years ago and the nearest thunderbird was in York though…
     
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  16. 2392

    2392 Well-Known Member

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    As, I believe, I've done already those early Gresley Pacific's based at the former North Eastern Railways shed [plus I believe the former North British sheds], were fitted with Westinghouse air pumps/braking systems as they used air braked stock internally. The air pump being placed just ahead of the right-hand side centre splash.
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2023
  17. martin1656

    martin1656 Nat Pres stalwart Friend

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    getting back to air braking, and 4472, as she was, there was a spell, before she was purchased b the NRM ,When she only had air brakes, the vacuum equipment was removed this was during her hybrid period when she had the later fitments, of double chimney, and deflectors, but carried LNER Apple Green .
     
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  18. Johnb

    Johnb Nat Pres stalwart

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    That shouldn’t be a problem as I think virtually all mainline passed Mk1s are dual braked but it maybe why Vintage take a diesel along on the longer runs
     
  19. MellishR

    MellishR Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    Once upon a time pretty well any locomotive could rescue pretty well any broken-down train, as they all had compatible couplings and braking systems. This has become less and less so over the years.
     
  20. Fred Kerr

    Fred Kerr Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    The problem is the fragmentation of the railway thus allowing different owners to operate subject to meeting operating conditions. Both Vintage Trains and West Coast operate vacuum-braked stock and have the locomotives equipped to use it but many locomotive owners have to operate on stock outwith their ownership hence their need to have air brake equipment on their locomotives should such stock be part of the consist the locomotive is hired to haul. It is clear that different locomotive owners have differing ideas asto how the equipment will be fitted and used hence the variety of solutions that have been applied to privately-owned locomotives. It may not be acceptable to the purists who seek "as withdrawn" condition but with the move to air-braked rolling stock the fitment of air-brake equipment to a locomotive is a compromise that must be accepted if main-line running is to have any future whether purists and linesiders like it or not.
     

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