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FR & WHR & WHHR News

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

  1. marshall5

    marshall5 Well-Known Member

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    As pointed out above, E of M is completely worn out and if everything that needs to be replaced is replaced little or nothing of the 1979 built loco will remain. My suggestion would be to cosmetically restore the Earl and place it in the proposed museum in the Old Loco Shed with Princess so visitors can compare the first built and the first 'new-build' alongside each other. Just my 2p worth.
    Ray.
     
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  2. fergusmacg

    fergusmacg Part of the furniture

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    And leave the railway with a fleet of 3 DF's all essentially looking the same . . . a bit boring to my eyes, but I'm not making the decisions, nor paying for them.. . .


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
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  3. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    It is a bit pompous to say that those who want to see the Alco back have never fired it, there are also some of us who have fired the Alco and certainly had no issues with it (no more issues than with any other loco). There is a lot of groupthink about locos and what is good or bad about them. They can all be difficult and easier to work depending on a number of things including the skill and mindset of the person firing.
     
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  4. pete2hogs

    pete2hogs Member

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    Bring back Mountaineer! If none of you want to fire it I'm quite happy to do so.
     
  5. 30854

    30854 Part of the furniture

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    Whilst it's a viewpoint I understand, it's not one I regard as a command set in stone. You may recall that Boyd's Festiniog Railway Vol.2 (sic) noted of Welsh Pony that the ministrations of Blodge over the years meant 'little of the 1867 loco, other than the wheel centres could survive'. IIRC, he was referring to the l892 rebuild! Similarly, Merddin Emrys must've had the odd bits'n'hobs replaced down the years. Actually, wasn't that what caused all the fuss leading to EoM being built in the first place?

    Followed to it's logical conclusion, a policy treating every bit of every loco as sacrosanct is liable to lead to storage issues, in fairly short order. I wonder ..... and just playing Devil's Advocate here .... was Ray's beloved IMR out of line in rebuilding Nos.4-6, rather than getting new locos? I'm guessing that's OK, as it was the original line making assets fit for purpose, at which point, yes, I am going to point out rebuilding EoM would fall into precisely the same category. Question: did Blodge grievously sin when 'The Ladies' were given their leading pony trucks?

    In a slightly different category, this .... given the sheer scale of work put in by Swindon between ex-GW 4073's withdrawal and arrival at South Kensington, all those years ago, does that mean what's now preserved as Caerphilly Castle isn't authentically Caerphilly Castle? And that one hasn't turned a wheel under it's own power since it's withdrawal!
     
  6. marshall5

    marshall5 Well-Known Member

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    The point I was trying to make was that EofM, as it currently stands, is unique in being the first of the 'new-builds'. Whilst I readily accept that virtually ever preserved loco is akin to William the Conqueror's pocket knife the Earl is still substantially 'as built' and, as such, maybe should be preserved 'as is'. At the end of the day it's not my engine or my money but I strongly believe that the F.R. are doing the right thing by replacing EofM, in traffic, with the new James Spooner rather than destroying a unique loco by replacing virtually every part.
    Regarding IMR locos 4-6. At the time of the "rebuild", which was actually only a boiler and tank replacement, trainloads were getting progressively heavier and the 'small' locos were proving inadequate for the task. However, by replacing the 2'10" boilers with 3'3" ones, the locos were able to handle similar loads to the 10-13 series at much less cost than buying new locos. ISTR that the, now, surplus 2'10" boilers went into the pool and found further use on the remaining 'small' locos. Perhaps this was not the most comparable, exemplar? Now, if you really want to play Devil's Advocate consider the current situation with IMR 16 'Mannin'. This loco is essentially 'as built' in 1926. It has not run since 1964 and has been on display in P.E. museum since 1975. Earlier this year it was removed pending a possible rebuild and return to service. In doing so probably 50+% of the most original IMR loco will be lost. Do we leave it 'as is' or accept the change? The difference with EofM, IMO, is that nothing would be left apart from the nameplates and memories.
    Cheers,
    Ray.
     
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  7. meeee

    meeee Member

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    We can add that to the list of things he got wrong then. There is much of Welsh Pony that is from 1867. A lot of it will still be on the engine when it steams again.

    I fired the ALCo in its last two seasons before it retired. The loco was a bit past it, but it you could still keep to time and maintain steam and water on 8 coaches. If you had a driver who was up for using his feed a fair bit to squeeze extra water in at every opportunity, you could really have some fun with it. I think a lot of people who experienced it during it's last ten year stint have really fond memories of it.

    If you talk to people who knew it when it first came out with the new boiler and piston valves, they will tell you it was absolute beast. That's a bit before my time though.

    As for the Square. The company is building JS2 because that is what the board voted for. The reasons are not really known to us but I suspect it is largely to do with funding.

    The best option for the Square now would probably be to fit a new boiler to Merddin, and then use the one from Merddin on the Square. This boiler will require some new platework around foundation ring level but is more than likely in much better shape than one on the Square. Ultimately I think we will have 4 double engine. Which will be really boring.

    Tim
     
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  8. marshall5

    marshall5 Well-Known Member

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    I'd be genuinely interested to know which parts from 1867 are/will be going back on Welsh Pony. I've always thought that at the 1891 rebuild WP had new frames, cylinders, new wheels, a new boiler and full cab. A second new boiler was fitted in 1915 and another at the current rebuild along with new frames, cylinders and rods. Whilst the saddle tank and cab were repairable this time around the former is certainly a 'consumable item' and dates from no earlier than 1890.
    Ray.
     
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  9. meeee

    meeee Member

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    Wheel centres, valve gear, side frames and brackets, rear sub frame, front buffer and bufferbeam, weights under the sand pots for starters. The motion brackets and crossheads are probably a few years later and the outside motion is original but isn't being reused. There is probably more if you really go into detail. Don't forget these two engines were not rebuilt to quite the same extent as the original four.

    Slight edit. Some bits of the valve gear are more recent such as the expansion links. The tank hand rails are also original.

    Tim
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2020
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  10. 30854

    30854 Part of the furniture

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    .... always assuming currently received wisdom accurately reflects the loco's true condition. With all Fairles, of course, the presence of power bogies puts a rather different slant on the overall calculations, when compared with non-bendy locos.

    As it is for Ray, EoM is not my loco and thus, not my call. I do wonder though, should pickling in aspic prove it's ultimate fate, just where it'll be displayed?
     
  11. meeee

    meeee Member

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    To be honest I find this a bit of a silly idea. When we preserve engines in this way it is because we are using them to document the past. What we want keep is the techniques used to build it, the way repairs are done, the materials used etc. It is telling us a story that is difficult to find out any other way.

    With the Square all these things are well documented already. The techniques used in construction are still used today. Are we really gaining anything in by preserving it in this way? The loco is not as original as the DLG and certainly not as original as JS2. Should we never steam that engine to preserve it's originality?

    The Square tells it's story much better as a working engine. Rather than being some Disneyland pastiche it has grown into an attractive loco with it's own unique style and history.

    From what I can tell though this idea of pickling the Square was invented after the fact, and not something put forward by the railway. In fact rather than pickling the loco, the railway originally wanted to take bits off for the new engine. The society then ran an appeal to make new parts so it is easier to return the loco to steam in the future. The idea was never to stuff and mount it.

    Tim
     
  12. Miff

    Miff Well-Known Member

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    As far as I recall at the time the announcement was made the FfR were fairly non-committal about the future of EoM at the time the decision was made to build JS. If any importance was attached to preserving its original form this wasn’t stressed, just a promise that a future restoration wasn’t ruled out.

    The impression I got was the decision was made on the basis of financial value for money and engineering judgment (which often amount to the same thing). I.e. building a new loco to an improved design results in a more effective and efficient machine rather than trying to fix one containing so many components which are either worn out, or would need to be replaced to fix the shortcomings of the original design.
    (edited for clarity)
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2020
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  13. 30854

    30854 Part of the furniture

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    My own view is that, most of the time, the best way to 'preserve' something is to keep it in working order. If you've sufficient space to display an artefact (or tuck it away indefinitely), all well and good. If you haven't, less so. We've a tendency to want our cake and eat it. What happens if that stops being a viable option?

    At least no-one's mentioned the "s" word!
     
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  14. MuzTrem

    MuzTrem Member

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    You are quite right to say that, in practical terms, it isn't realistic to conserve every engine in aspic, even if we wanted to. The important point is that each case needs to be judged on its own merits, weighing up factors such as the historical importance/rarity of the locomotive in question, its condition, whether it has previously steamed in preservation, and, yes, whether there there are suitable facilities to ensure that it can be conserved in the long term. No point trying to conserve an engine if it is going to end up rusting outside on a siding because there's nowhere to display it.

    The question of how much of an engine is "original" - i.e., goes back to the date on the maker's plate - is usually irrelevant. Most engines have parts replaced during their wokring lives. What matters is how much historic material still remains. So, in the case of Princess, probably quite a lot of the engine was replaced after 1863. But that's not an argument to restore her now. She hasn't been touched (apart from a few coats of paint) since the "old" FfR ceased working in 1946. She is therefore a 100% authentic record of the materials and craftsmanship of the old company. If you were to restore her now, you would lose that. And anyway - what would we gain, given that we can already enjoy Prince, Palmerston and soon, Welsh Pony in steam?

    I think Ray is right that there is a good case for conserving EoM, too. She is of particular historical signficance as one of the first "new build" engines in preservation. Her metalwork provides evidence the methods the early preservationists used to build an engine on a budget. And again - what would you gain by "restoring" her, given that, by the sounds of it, the major components would end up on the scrapheap anyway? Kinder to just leave the original as it is and raise money to build a replica. Same goes for LT - which, as you rightly point out, was the motivation for building EoM in the first place.
     
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  15. pete2hogs

    pete2hogs Member

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    Please get over this. A working locomotive which is efficient and useful will probably have 90% of its fabric replaced over the long period it is in service. There is no such thing as 'originality' and attempts to achieve it are often fatuous - a good example on the standard gauge would be the Ivatt Atlantic 251 which has basically been eviscerated to make it 'more original''
     
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  16. MuzTrem

    MuzTrem Member

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    As for Mountaineer - I have never had the pleasure (or not!) of working on the engine. When confronted with such wildly differening reports it is difficult to know how good, or bad, an engine she really was. However, from reading old back-numbers of the FfR Magazine two comments about the engine have struck me:

    1. It sounds like the modifications in the '80s to try to make her more powerful were not a long-term success, because the higher power outputs put too much stress on the lightly-built frames.
    2. Conversion to oil-burning and the fitting of a new boiler (not of the original design) caused weight-distribution issues.

    So you have to decide: do you want to create a powerful engine for regular use, or to restore the engine just as a "nice-to-have" loco to bring out on gala days? If the former, then you're probably looking at a radical rebuild with completely new frames - and if you're going to go to that much trouble, you'll probably want to sort out the weight distribution issues as well, which could mean conversion to a tender engine, as was suggested in the '90s. If the latter, then I'd suggest that it would be better to have a new boiler built to the original design. Conversion back to "original" condition is would be a bit self-defeating since it would then foul the FfR loading gauge (although you could still run it on the WHR, of course!). But you could convert it back to its condition when first introduced to FfR service in 1967, which, although post-preservation, is now so long ago as to be of historic interest in itself. That would be my choice, in an ideal world - but then, I'm not the one who would be raising the money for it, nor the one who would be firing it when complete!
     
  17. MuzTrem

    MuzTrem Member

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    Did you even read my previous post?!

    Honestly, being a conservator is a thankless task. Everybody loves working engines, so nobody wants to understand why there might be an argument for an engine not working. Nevertheless, I passionately believe that sometimes, just sometimes, there is.
     
  18. Martin Shaw

    Martin Shaw New Member

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    I remember once having this very same conversation with a museum individual in respect of Lode Star. His view was that as a working engine you gained nothing about the performance of a GW 4 cylinder engine that cannot already be understood from one of the working Castles whereas Lode Star is a genuine Swindon Factory outshopped engine which you would lose if it were returned to working condition. I came to agree with him, although of course if you want a working Star then nothing else will do, so it is, as in may cases, essentially insoluble.

    I suspect from my understanding that JS2 represented better long term value for money than rebuilding EoM, and as a commercial business that has to be the primary concern of the FR. As I gather nothing has been done that would prevent an eventual rebuilding of EoM if both money and political will are available, that it is of course if you think that it represents some evolution of double fairlies on the FR. I don't think it does and it's aesthetic deficincies are merely representative of the finance available at construction, it has marginal technical differences, but in every other sense just another one. I understand why FR members of a certain age and era might have fond regard for it as they do for Mountaineer, but I don't think currently either demonstrate an essential operational need.
    Regards
    Martin
     
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  19. andrewshimmin

    andrewshimmin Well-Known Member

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    Let's be absolutely clear: the reason many of us want to see the Earl back in circulation is almost entirely sentimental! It is not some calculation about essential operational need, nor historic value, but simply that we love the engine and want to see it in steam.
    It's not some johnny-come-lately: at recent withdrawl EoM was older than any Black 5, GWR King, A4, Bulleid, etc., was at the end of steam!
    What EoM represents to me is one of the most important and remarkable eras in all of railway history: the preservation era. Every bit as noteworthy and historic as the Victorian period or the Stephens era. The Earl embodies the incredible passion, ambition and achievement of those who - against considerable odds - strove to rebuild this unqiue railway.
    We may have become rather inured to the idea of new build steam post-Tornado. In the mid seventies building this engine was audacious. Together with the loop at Dduallt it is testimony to all those who contributed to the astonishing achievement which is the modern FfR.
    (As an aside, I think it's rather a shame we're going to have three largely indistinguishable red Double Fairlies in parallel. At the very least paint either DLG or JS2 in green, a good historic FR colour, as worn by LT/Taliesin in the 1930s and by the whole fleet in the preservation era. And I still think calling a new build which isn't a replica of James Spooner by the same name when there are no many other good options - not least Charles Easton Spooner, the great colossus of the FR - is a bit bizarre).
     
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  20. MellishR

    MellishR Part of the furniture Friend

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    Get over what? I am seeing reasonable statements of the various considerations in deciding what to do with locos that are at present not in working order.
     
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