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FR & WHR & WHHR News

Discussion in 'Narrow Gauge Railways' started by AndrewT, Jul 17, 2012.

  1. andrewshimmin

    andrewshimmin Well-Known Member

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    To be fair, ME has had rather a lot of extensive repairs and is old in the sense that a family is old - i.e. it has history but the original bits are long gone...
    My vote is for Brighton umber or Caledonian blue - but happy to settle for green as we will need a green 'un with the Earl gone.
     
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  2. fergusmacg

    fergusmacg Well-Known Member

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    But how much of the original loco remains . . . . .
     
  3. lostlogin

    lostlogin New Member

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    I have to admit it would appear to be a case of six of one or half a dozen of the other as I am struggling to see where the difference is between using a lot of new components to repair an old loco or building a new loco with parts including power bogies from the other. I presume describing it as a new build, calling a new name gets more publicity and possibly better funding but it really seems a case of semantics.

    When they rebuilt Palmerston and now Welsh Pony I am sure there was never any thought of describing them as new builds but percentage wise in terms of new & old was there much difference. Same when Gibbons rebuilt Talyllyn for the TR in the 1950's.

    Makes you think when does a rebuild become a new loco and vice versa?
     
  4. John Stewart

    John Stewart Well-Known Member

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    The nameplates.;)
     
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  5. Corbs

    Corbs Member

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    Aren't the Fairlies basically lego locos, though, with Merddin having been rebuilt with the best bits from all of them, while Livingston Thompson was re-assembled with the worst of everything?
     
  6. jma1009

    jma1009 Member

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    How much original remains in the FR locos?

    What a fascinating subject!

    The TR never had a proper workshop and from 1936 onwards the main repair tool was a hammer. Only certain bits remain from the original locos on Talyllyn and Dolgoch.

    On the otherhand Livingston Thompson at the NRM is pretty much as it ran in the 1930s. There are lots of bits that are per-preservation on all the old FR locos still extant, and of course Princess is exactly as per 1946 as was Welsh Pony till the other year.

    A lot more of Prince is 'original' (or strictly speaking pre-preservation) than Talyllyn and Dolgoch.

    There is/was a fascinating article on the swapping of Double Fairlee bogies - unfortunately I have lost the link. The new monobloc cylinders and piston valve design is a further development.

    The wheelsets off the original James Spooner still survive.

    I am sorry, but I never liked the replacement EOM.

    I would be very interested to hear from those more in the know how much of Merddin Emrys is original. I know the injectors are the originals!

    Cheers,
    Julian
     
  7. andrewshimmin

    andrewshimmin Well-Known Member

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    No need to apologise, it is entirely subjective.
    It's just that some people try to claim their subjective opinion is more valid than someone else's which is obviously nonsense.
    Some of us grew up post preservation and I always loved the contrast in shape and livery (latterly) between EoM and ME (and now DLG), I for one will miss those big square tanks. Hope the Earl lives to steam another day.
     
  8. nanstallon

    nanstallon Well-Known Member

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    Yes, EoM was a bit of a visual challenge to many people, but it represented a big milestone in the preservation movement. Preservation of railways is such a big phenomenon and now of some age that its own history justifies preservation! It won't be long before some railways have run in preservation for longer than in 'normal' service.

    John
     
  9. meeee

    meeee Member

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    Not quite. When the railway originally closed LT was running on Merddin's bogies and Merddin was on LTs but with James Spooner's wheels. LT currently sits on it's original bogie frames with an incomplete set of motion made up of various life expired bits. The rest of its bogies (wheels motion etc) currently run under EofM but on new frames having previously been under Merddin until about 1994. I think LT's wheels are currently under EofM and James Sooner's under LT. These bogies will go under the new James Spooner.

    Merddin's bogies ran under LT until it was withdrawn. They were then heavily rebuilt with new wheels and used under the new EofM from 1979, before going under DLG and then back under EofM and are now withdrawn essentially worn out. They will go under EofM again when it is withdrawn.

    Merddin runs on brand new bogies originally intended but never fitted to DLG.

    DLG is on brand new piston valve bogies completed in the last few years.

    Tim
     
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  10. estwdjhn

    estwdjhn Member

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    I have to admit it would appear to be a case of six of one or half a dozen of the other as I am struggling to see where the difference is between using a lot of new components to repair an old loco or building a new loco with parts including power bogies from the other.

    My reading of the key difference is the shape the tanks will be.
    Fitting 1880s style tanks to EOM would have caused an outcry from many (who like me) see it's rather brutalist form as a tribute to the era it was built and the men who built her. After all the years and miles, those ugly dome lids, and sloping tank have become a real part of the FR heritage.

    I fear by withdrawing her and replacing her with another identikit 1880s styled double engine, the railway will be losing rather than gaining. (I seem to recall DLG was built because of the outcry when it was suggested Victorianising EOM in the late 80s - this time it seems the management will get what they wanted, but with the plundered remains shoved in a corner somewhere to assuage the outcry.)
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2016
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  11. patrickalanbooth

    patrickalanbooth New Member

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    Il leave this up to Tim.
    many thanks
    Patrick
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2016
  12. meeee

    meeee Member

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    I think there is a bit of a misunderstanding here. EofM is being withdrawn because both the boiler, superstructure, and cradle frame are life expired or at least need a lot of work.

    Two new boilers are being built but with tapered barrels to avoid the design defects in the parallel Hunslet boilers currently fitted to ME and EofM. When ME was rebuilt in 2005 the design for the new tanks took into consideration the need to replace the boiler in the next 20 years. So it is an easier job to slot the new boiler in when the time comes. However EofM is very much built around the parallel boiler so the new boiler will not fit. A re-think of the super structure would be required and as i mentioned before it is mostly scrap anyway. The cradle frame that it all sits on very much represents the scarce resources available at the time it was built, and will most likely need complete replacement too.

    The FR is aware EofM has it's own identity and appreciate that people want to keep it that way so it will be kept complete until such time as it can be rebuilt to the same profile. In fact it only exists because people had the same feelings towards the previous EofM and didn't want to see it bodged to fit the Hunslet boiler. So it would be some what hypocritical to then cut up and rebuild as a Victorian style Fairlie.

    In the meantime there is a need for 3 double engines A set of partially completed tanks along with some other bits are already in existence and can be used to build James Spooner reducing the time that railway is without an essential loco.

    Until then EofM will be in use practically every day until Merddin comes back before being withdrawn in the winter. So i suggest you all go and enjoy it while you can.

    Tim
     
  13. MuzTrem

    MuzTrem Member

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    Thanks for the insight Tim, it's good to have a better understanding of the rationale behind the decision.

    In a way it isn't surprising that EoM has become life-expired at this point. My understanding is that, in days gone by, steam locos were usually designed for a 40-year life - although things rarely worked out like that in practice!

    Personally I have to say that if, as you say, most of the superstructure would have to be replaced in order to restore her to steam, then personally I would prefer to see her stuffed and mounted like LT. She is an engine of such historical significance - the first new-build of the preservation era - that she ought to be left with her historical integrity intact. Perhaps, though, her current smokeboxs, chimneys and domes could be pinched for the new James Spooner, and the engine returned to her original 1979 condition (I believe the original chimneys and domes are still in store in any case?)

    Just my two pence worth, of course. Anyway, a new Victorian-outline double Fairlie will be a splendid addition to the FfR, and I hope I will manage to see EoM in steam just once more before it bows out :)
     
  14. Dag Bonnedal

    Dag Bonnedal New Member

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    Tim, thank you for both your very informative contributions.
    Clarifying the modern history of the power bogies is very welcome.

    First, EoM was naturally a product of its time, the same 1970-ties that saw colour light signals e.g.
    After that the leading word has been "Heritage", not only in Wales but all over, even in the remote Scandinavia.
    Thus your strategy to replace EoM with a locomotive the fits into the image of Ffestiniog today is perfect.

    Second, a few questions:
    The rebuild of the Taliesin power bogie to monoblock cylinders was the first of its kind, right?
    And then came the pair for DLG?
    I guess the long term perspective will see more of these piston valve cylinder blocks.

    So far most boilers have been fitted with low degree superheaters with 4 flues.
    And I assume that this is to be able to use them with old slide valves.
    What is the approximate superheater temperature?

    But going towards piston valves opens up the possibilities for higher superheat temperatures.
    Still the drawing of the new boiler design still has only 4 flues.
    Any comments?

    Dag Bonnedal
    OSlJ, Mariefred, Sweden
     
  15. black5

    black5 Member

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    Last edited: Mar 31, 2016
  16. jma1009

    jma1009 Member

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    This has all got very interesting, and many thanks Tim and other posters.

    The circa 1970 Hunslet boilers are defective in design. ME's boiler is of same batch as EOM, but is not regarded as life expired, having undergone I believe considerable alteration/repair to the throatplate. Please correct me if I am wrong.

    EOM's tanks are life expired as are the bogies. As is the boiler as above. I presume also the cradle is life expired - though the original EOM/LM cradle was not pinched for the new EOM which allowed LT to be preserved as it is.

    The FR has moved on since 1970 in design technology, so we now have DLG and Taliesin with monobloc cylinders with piston valves.

    Plus DLG and Taliesin are 'overscale', and with superheaters and higher boiler pressure.

    I expect James Spooner will follow DLG in being a super duper improved Fairlee to 'traditional' outline, coal fired, superheaters, and with a monobloc cylinder casting with piston valves.

    In the meantime work is pressing on with remarkable speed with the rebuild of Welsh Pony.

    Cheers,
    Julian
     
  17. meeee

    meeee Member

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    Oooh lots of questions there. I'll try and answer a few however i'm only a volunteer so don't take my word as gospel on everything.

    Someone asked about returning it to 1979 condition. The answer is almost certainly not. The original chimneys do exist but only one is complete. The base of the other is under Linda's stove pipe and currently does sterling work as a flower pot somewhere in Yorkshire. The dustbin domes have actually been on the engine over the winter, but the brass ex P class ones will be going back on soon if they haven't already. The smokeboxes are worn out so are no good for James Spooner which is getting stovepipe chimneys anyway. Other things like removing the beading and moving the nameplates will likely result in a waterfall i'm afraid.

    That being said i'm sure there will be moves at some point this year to approximate the 1979 condition as has been done for special events in the past.

    Taliesin was indeed the first to get the monoblock piston valve cylinders. The slide valve ones had some manufacturing defects from new. As a result it was frequently failed with valve issues. The boiler pressure was also reduced. With the new cylinders fitted the pressure has again been raised, however it has caused excessive wear to the crossheads and big ends. Taliesin is currently restricted to light duties to avoid barreling the cylinders until the crossheads can be re-metaled. I have no idea if the FR will continue to run it at 200psi, to me it seems some of the bearing surfaces aren't up to the job.

    DLG had brand new bogies built. The ex Merddin ones were heavily modified to go under EofM in 1979. They never really performed satisfactorily since then. Their age, combined with some of the modifications, and the extra stress of running under DLG did them no favors. So they are essentially withdrawn. It made sense to fit the new bogies with piston valves.

    The other bogies are both in good shape. Merddin's are a little over 10 years old now so the cylinders are still pretty new. The ones under EofM had new cylinders in the mid 70s, they have recently been re-bored and are running well. I don't expect the FR will replace perfectly good slide valve cylinders while they sill have life left in them.

    As for superheat i have no idea of the temperatures, some indicator test were done on Merddin a few years ago i'll have to see if i can find the results for you. I doubt there will be any moves to raise the superheat more than the DLG. There was talk of getting rid of it completely. The FR is quite a stop start railway so they never really warm up until around Rhiw Goch if that. Then you get to Tan-y-bwlch and they cool down again They are also expensive to construct and maintain so there is a balancing act between the cost and the benefits. I expect they are only being retained simply because of the old mantra "if it ain't broke, don't fix it".

    EofM boiler has had several throat plate patches and repairs to the shoulders of the fireboxes. It also had longitudinal stays fitted to correct the sagging firebox but not to the same extent as the belt and braces approach on Merddin. There are also issues with the quality of construction, both boilers have suffered leaks around the dome joints in recent years due to the quality of the riveting. This boiler has also spent more years in use the Merddin. The one in Merddin Emrys is currently under overhaul and expected to see out another 10 years before replacement.

    Those two boilers are what effectively started the overscale trend for double engines. The boilers were longer no doubt to standardise tubes with Linda and Blanche or something odd like that. So the rest of the engine was enlarged to keep it in proportion. The extra length was also used to fit the steam brake cylinders on the back of the bogies, rather than in the cab. It is a common misconception that they are over scale to make them more powerful. DLG is actually smaller than the other two.

    Tim
     
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  18. banburysaint

    banburysaint New Member

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    I always used to think that EoM was an ugly locomotive but I am rather sad she is going to be laid aside. However I am sure if enough cash is brought together in the future she could re emerge just like Welsh Pony is doing

    For the new James Spooner it would be great to have her fitted with the bell that you see in some photos from the Victorian era
     
  19. AndrewT

    AndrewT New Member

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  20. andrewshimmin

    andrewshimmin Well-Known Member

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    If you are looking for somewhere to keep EoM once withdrawn, I'll happily have her in my garden...
     

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