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Francis Webb,good or bad?

Discussion in 'Steam Traction' started by Hermod, Mar 22, 2020 at 4:35 PM.

  1. LMS2968

    LMS2968 Part of the furniture

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    Read H.C.H. Burgess's 'Working with LMS Steam'. He was a fitter at Swansea Paxton Street shed and describes the Cadbury's excursions from South Wales to Bourneville for the benefit of their sales people, using Super Ds as motive power. Then the WR took over, decided that a D wasn't appropriate and sent a Hall. By the time the train arrived at Bourneville it was time to leave again. Although the people did travel there the following year, they never again went by train.
     
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  2. sir gilbert claughton

    sir gilbert claughton Member

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    he did

    lnwr drawing office gettyimages-90746775-1024x1024.jpg
     
  3. sir gilbert claughton

    sir gilbert claughton Member

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    we don't
    GJC s remarks concerned Whale's locos , not those of Frank Webb . ...another era
     
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  4. 8126

    8126 Member

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    I was looking for the writings of J.M. Dunn, one time shedmaster at Bangor, who I remembered being quoted describing some of the rather challenging maintenance procedures for basic items like injectors on LNWR classes* (which I think in that respect were rather unchanged from Webb's day to the end), and instead found this. A couple of interesting little excerpts, I particularly liked the bit about one "Argus" expressing particularly unflattering opinions about Webb's compounds, at great length in letters to the engineering press. A Dreadnought later emerged, named.... Argus. I'll admit that, whatever their failings, I've always rather liked the look of the Webb three-cylinder double singles. There are a couple of very nice live steam models out there, I'd love to see one of them run.

    *I'm sure I remember something about a one piece unit having to be unfastened from the backhead and lowered down through the cab floor, to enable the injector (which was under said floor) to be removed. But don't quote me on that. Regardless, if you showed a fitter, who'd just finished working on an LNWR-design 0-8-4T (introduced 1923), a picture of an LSWR G16 4-8-0T (introduced 1921) I suspect a sense of humour failure might ensue.
     
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  5. Cosmo Bonsor

    Cosmo Bonsor New Member

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    I find this discussion very interesting because I have long thought that Webb had a partly undeserved reputation.
    The main reason I would give is that we need to ask ourselves ‘What is a locomotive for?’
    The clue is that it is an item of capital equipment.
    As such the job of a locomotive is to turn money into more money.

    There are lots of ways to do this but there seems to be a spectrum with the GWR making very well engineered, high quality machines at one end (as a Driver there is lots to be annoyed by) and LNWR, Webb smash them out as cheaply as you can, thrash them round for a bit and chuck them in the skip.
    I do this with cars BTW.

    The LNWR was very profitable so there is a case that his engines were successful and the Directors just liked seeing the money roll in.

    Like Mr James, I have a real fondness for Wainright products and can tell you from my time on the tools how well made they are, even though the SECR was famously skint.

    I would dearly love to drive a Webb engine to judge for myself.

    I like the discussion on the authors too. My main area of knowledge is 70’s and 80’s Japanese motorcycles and it is almost impossible for the casual observer to understand the reasoning behind engineering decisions without a large amount of underlying knowledge and I see many posts about bikes which though I can see why they might think that, but they are still wrong. Go on ask me about radial calipers. No, don’t.

    It will have been true For Nock and CHE too.
     
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  6. sir gilbert claughton

    sir gilbert claughton Member

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    the GW taper boiler did not exist in 1895..at any price. yet another example of Webbs machines compared to products of a later time .

    No/ 100 appeared in 1902 . until then there was nothing to shame Jeanie Deans
     
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  7. Jimc

    Jimc Part of the furniture

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    I was in the bike trade then and we certainly never heard any of the real reasons for the engineering decisions... We just had to flog 'em and fix 'em when they turned up, and it was a constant mystery why the journos praised to the heavens some of the stuff they did.
     
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  8. D6332found

    D6332found New Member

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    Some of his 1878 coal engines made it to 1953, not bad for a cheap 'knocked out' design!
     
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  9. sir gilbert claughton

    sir gilbert claughton Member

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    good post ,

    Webbs engines helped the NW produce dividends of C 10% in his time as CME .

    his engines were cheap - well the simples were anyway . they were thrashed if needed but they did not end up in the bin . the crested goods lasted until the '50s , and the 2-4-0s did 50 years ,albeit rebuilt .

    the little 2-4-0 and 0-6-0 s could - and did give 550 hp from a small cheap engine . the 2-4-0s could run at 85 mph and the 0-6-0s 70 mph .his 0-8-0s lasted until the end of steam . as did his coal tanks -Cauliflowers without a tender . ....not forgetting the 0-6-0 were the child of the DX Goods . these engines , and Crewe works are his true legacy.

    the Compounds are much harder to quantify . Webb was a pioneer in compounding , and he had his share of failures , but he came so close to pure gold .he designed the Tuetonics , a 47 ton engine that did work we would have been happy to see from a Black 5 in the 1950s . and the mileages got from them were astonishing .
    other compounds were inferior , some moreso than others . the Alfreds were very good engines . nothing better existed elsewhere
    We should remember Webb was a man of his time . things like con rods , and boiler dimensions constrained his work .Churchward blew those constraints away .

    his last years were dismal , but the standards he achieved at Crewe in terms of workshop practice -and discipline - were never surpassed .

    for Hermod's benefit the Precursers were big Jumbo's .
     
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  10. Eightpot

    Eightpot Well-Known Member Friend

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    Who was it that said of LNWR locos that "they were all cast iron and lamp-black"?
     
  11. 30854

    30854 Part of the furniture

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    I didn't actually start it (this time!), and was merely responding to an earlier mention of GJC.
     
  12. Hermod

    Hermod New Member

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    Nocking noise.
    Discussion can be uplifted if the original Railway Engineer drawing from Talbot page 186 top view can be found in a library and copied with better resolution.
    Top Jumbo view Talbot page 112 and Top view Nock Precursor page74 and the Talbot Railway Engineer Top view Jubilee page 186 can be put alongside,printed and sold to some Webb compound fans .One for me at least .
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2020 at 8:03 AM
  13. andrewshimmin

    andrewshimmin Well-Known Member

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    Hopefully the Railway Magazine articles by Rous-Marten should be attached.
     

    Attached Files:

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  14. Hermod

    Hermod New Member

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    Nice reading and thank You from a Webb compound fan.
     
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  15. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Well-Known Member

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    When it comes to writers such as say Marx or Hegel it is common to divide their work into the young, mature and final phases of work. So perhaps with someone like Webb who was in post for so long it would make sense to look in a similar way. This would give more context in terms of understanding the relationship between designs and changing demands.
     
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