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GWR Rebuilding of Acquired Loco's after The Grouping

Discussion in 'Steam Traction' started by johnofwessex, May 26, 2020.

  1. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Part of the furniture

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    Following on from

    https://www.national-preservation.c...rved-preservation.1418099/page-3#post-2578055

    I have seen it suggested that it was at best 'over enthusiastic' and many of these loco's were of limited use - 'Galloping Gertie' being the case to point or that the locos would have been better left to use up the life in the existing components.

    Discuss
     
  2. weltrol

    weltrol Member Friend

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    The VoR Tanks were a reasonable design brought up to date by theie replacement with new locos. Obviously the GWR had looked at what was there, and come up with a solution. The W&LlR tanks were a slightly better design, and only 'improved' by having new boilers made. Likewise, Cambrian locos were assessed and those 'worthy' of prolonged use received standard Swindon boilers and fittings.
     
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  3. Jimc

    Jimc Part of the furniture

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    Without knowing what sort of condition they were in isn't it difficult to assess? I've seen it suggested that the Taff Vale fleet in particular had been desperately neglected (although the primary source for that seems to be Gibson, who although there, I feel needs to be treated with caution). What is certain is that not only did Swindon itself put in an enormous amount of work, but in addition a lot of money was spent having repairs done by the major engine builders. There are a considerable number of entries in loco committee minutes about major repairs and even renewals done by outside companies. A renewal being the process of putting a locomotive in as new condition using such parts as may be suitable for further use. Such renewals seem to have run to about 1/3 of the cost of a new locomotive. Few classes seem to have been completely reboilered: with the most numerous ones it seems as if enough were done that there remained enough original boilers to form a repair pool. I haven't done an analysis of which classes had renewals done, it might be interesting. Its also certain that an awful lot of the absorbed stock was indeed just run until it dropped: you only have to look at the withdrawal dates.
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2020
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  4. Jimc

    Jimc Part of the furniture

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    Hmm. If I have my spreadsheet right it looks as if the GWR spent 4,000 pounds with the Yorkshire Engine Co in 1924 to have two Taff Vale A class "renewed" that had been built in 1920. To put that in perspective new 56s were booked at £4,200. They did run until 1957 though. Other A class seem to have been renewed at similar cost.
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2020
  5. MellishR

    MellishR Part of the furniture Friend

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    Relevant matters include hindsight now and those with responsibility at the time probably being "up to the arse in alligators".
     
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  6. 30854

    30854 Resident of Nat Pres

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    This is purely speculation on my part, but with some companies fully absorbed or amalgamated during 1922, perhaps there were a few places in the management of a suddenly expanded empire which weren't sufficiently developed to prevent some odd decisions from seeing the light of day?
     
  7. pete2hogs

    pete2hogs Member

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    Was it not that the rebuild program was overtaken by the Depression, and suddenly the GWR had more locos than it needed?
     
  8. 30854

    30854 Resident of Nat Pres

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    To judge by withdrawal dates across the board, the Great Depression was a 'game changer' whose full effects we possibly underestimate. Certainly, lots of older locos (and stock) were weeded out, across the 'Big4', by no means all of which were replaced by new construction.

    Over in Ireland, on top of the deleterious effects of WWI, the process started earlier, due to both partition and the Civil War .... even if, south of the border, many choice antiques (locos and carriages) continued to serve well past nationalisation (in 1945) under CIÉ auspices.
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2020
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  9. Jimc

    Jimc Part of the furniture

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    Perhaps not the great depression, which didn't really get going until 1929, but I'm sure economic factors are the source.
    Looking at the entries in the loco committee minutes from Dec 1923 to Feb 1925 I see orders for over 200 standard boilers from outside builders. Mostly medium sized types as used on absorbed rebuilds, but even a batch of standard 1s. In 1923 and 1924 though there were few external renewals. From January to May 1925 external renewals are in full swing, and 28 are authorised and only one condemned. In June/July 1925 6 were condemned and only 1 authorised for renewal, and that was basically the end of the programme. About this time the government money for maintenance arrears from the Great War stopped coming, and according to Cook by the end of 1925 the works were required to reduce expenditure by half a million pounds per annum, even though the running superintendent wanted the previous level of output. I'm sure the problems in the coal industry, which were ramping up to the general strike also had a lot to do with it, but you need an economic historian for this, which I am emphatically not competent to write about...
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2020
  10. LesterBrown

    LesterBrown Member

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    Presumably the external rebuilds were a short term continuation of 'business as usual' in South Wales where only the Rhymney really had adequate workshops. The Taff Vale had for instance sent fifteen locos to Vickers for repair at Barrow in 1919 as well as repairs to others continuing at their cramped West Yard works. After grouping the only initial change was for Caerphilly to also repair Barry Railway locos and e few others. Swindon had previously carried out repairs to and rebuilds of Port Talbot Railway and South Wales Mineral Railway locos and now other absorbed locos were brought in as traffic requirements allowed and if worth retaining dealt with as works capacity permitted. Plans for a new works at Radyr were cancelled and a big expansion of Caerphilly substituted. Once the new erecting shop there was completed in 1926 the GWR could better manage repairs, also in that year a number of good condition locos of older and numerically smaller classes were advertised for sale (with varying success) as the new 5600s replaced them.

    ( I have no idea why MSWJR no 16 'Galloping Gertie' was selected for rebuilding with superheated standard boiler in 1925, particularly as its sister no 14 was dismantled before the first world war. The GWR did seem to hold Beyer Peacock locos in high regard. Strangely 14's wheels and frames were sold to a Darlington contractor in 1918 and in due course it was rebuilt and sold to a colliery.)
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2020

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