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LMS Patriot Project Updates

Discussion in 'Steam Traction' started by Gav106, Apr 10, 2011.

  1. Maunsell man

    Maunsell man Member

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    My background is very much in Engineering and project management, although in civil as opposed to mechanical. It's not a case of calm heads or deriding the efforts of others. Neither is it a case of 'oh well, let's live and learn and move on'.

    There are fundamental floors in the structural integrity of the group managing the process of desiging, procuring and assembling the machine. The list of bits binned (from memory) includes wheels, axles, tender frame and cylinders plus a myriad of smaller components such as drain docks etc. If there are cracks on one wheel, what is the likelihood the other five cast at the same time are similarly affected? Then what, on well move on and get some more?

    Hundreds of thousands of pounds of donated money has been squandered through poor decisions in procurement, inspection and documentation. This is no way to run a project. It's absolutely no way to run a project that an is in hundreds and hundreds of thousands of pounds of publicly donated money.

    Another discovery of a disaster, another apology, another appeal for funds. what next?

    Is the machine really going to work as designed? I more than have my doubts it will with the components in the pictures.

    Part of the main objectives of a management team on a project is to keep the confidence of the project stakeholders. This confidence has gone, and gone for good.

    Sorry for the harsh words but they are more than justified in this case
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2021
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  2. Richard Roper

    Richard Roper Member

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    I think the chaps at West Shed have done a pretty thorough investigation already regarding the frames and bottom end, so hopefully there shouldn't be any more nasties. I know I've said that before, but once the wheels have been dealt with, there's not a lot else left to deal with, assuming West Shed staff are happy with the cylinders & frames.
    Assuming the wheels were flawed right from casting, is there any chance that their replacements could be made without charge, or at least at much reduced cost?

    Richard.
     
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  3. RA & FC

    RA & FC Member

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    Is it time to start again with the GW steam rail motor? That was made in Wales.

    You will find though that Llan had very little to do with the wheels as we don’t have a foundry, casting shop, wheel lathe or heating rigs. All done elsewhere and delivered complete to Llan for assembly under the frames.
     
  4. Phill S

    Phill S New Member

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    Out of curiosity, how much has been spent on it so far?
     
  5. jnc

    jnc Part of the furniture

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    Yes, some pretty significant errors were made in the past by the group that was then responsible for building the engine. But ...

    First, some of their errors, they weren't the only group to make. Other groups either trusted the people at Llan to do good work, and/or didn't have sufficient oversight of their work - as has come out recently, and caused the sad downfall of Llan. The point is that the old Warrior group weren't uniquely remiss in their dealings with Llan.

    Second, as pointed out by several others, these kinds of issues have happened to other engines - up to Tornado's recent failure, which was fundamentally an engineering one (albeit, like many airplane accidents, the confluence of several things, any of which, by themselves, probably wouldn't have been so serious.). So even strong groups have chinks in their armour.

    Finally, to circle back to where I started, the crew currently in charge of the engine are all different people from the ones who started out. Their track record so far has been a good one, in going back through work done so far, in close partnership with an excellent independent group (PRCLT - one with a record of success), and i) being very open when they find issues (a key attribute, and one we've seen a number of other heritage organizations fail at), and ii) generally trying to fix things the 'right' way when they find them (as here, where they aren't just going to hope on the other wheels, they're going to go check them).

    Yes, it's going to take longer, and cost more, than originally planned - and I'm pretty certain that everyone, including both original and current insiders, is distraught about that. I don't know if every single thing has been checked, but they have done a lot - and they have the attitude needed to surmount the remaining obstacles. I don't know if this is the last un-expected one, but even if there are more, the way they're dealing with this one gives me confidence that they'll deal with any others they encounter.

    Having said that, I think I need to go make a donation to help pay for the wheel.

    Noel
     
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  6. std tank

    std tank Member

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    You appear to be blaming Llangollen for a lot of errors/mistakes that were nothing to do with them. Bogie design and build, rear cylinder covers mis-cast, driving crank pins, to name a few.
     
  7. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    I don't think I would have been quite so outspoken in my comments as @Maunsell man but I think he does have a point. Reading the latest engineering report, there seems to be lots of work going on around certification, documentation, compliance and so forth - in some cases, leading to expensive rework. You can't lay all that at the door of Llangollen: it feels to me pretty fundamental bread and butter project management stuff.

    I've mentioned before that of current new build projects, some seem to be marketing-led and some engineering-led. You need both sides of course: but if you are going to contract out the engineering rather than do it in house, it doesn't absolve you from the requirement to put in place a robust QA process to sign off the work being done by external contractors.

    Tom
     
  8. Maunsell man

    Maunsell man Member

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    Where did I say that? Please quote the text. I have pointed out the the root cause of the failure to deliver the objectives set out is the issue is p*ss poor project management from the commissioning group. The Llangollen though to be fair is not blameless on many, many levels. Ask the D49 boys amongst the other victims.
     
  9. ghost

    ghost Part of the furniture

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    I think std tank's comments were directed at jnc, not yourself
     
  10. std tank

    std tank Member

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    Beat me to it, ghost. Quite correct.
     
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  11. jnc

    jnc Part of the furniture

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    My mention of Llangollen was not at all meant to imply that they were behind all the Warrior's problems; clearly, they are not. (And I didn't say they were; you all appear to have read something I didn't write. In fact, careful reading would have indicated that; I said "some of their errors ... trusted the people at Llan" [emphasis added] - clearly implying that there were other errors, which didn't involve Llan. I am with some difficulty restraining myself from becoming snappy about what I regard as an unfounded charge.)

    Rather, my mention was in the context of replying to the implication that the prior management (although the post I was replying to didn't carefully distinguish past and present) of the Warrior project was extra-ordinarily (not stated, but implied - if it were ordinary, every new build would have these issues, and thus there would be no call for special castigation of the Warrior group) remiss in squandering "money ... through poor decisions in procurement, inspection and documentation".

    One might reply 'well, several groups had problems at Llan; but the Patriot group had other major issues as well'. I don't know about that, and express no opinion on it (to be explicit, which is apparently necessary). My focus was on how the current Patriot management are responding (openness, doing the right thing). For the past, water under the bridge, and all that.

    Noel
     
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  12. Maunsell man

    Maunsell man Member

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    Ok, beg your pardon
     
  13. osprey

    osprey Member

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    Well put sir....
     
  14. 35B

    35B Nat Pres stalwart

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    From someone who has never donated to this project, and has no particular interest in it, I have observed from a distance the oozing puss of bad news about this or that engineering problem. If I were a likely donor, or even more so a past donor, I would be very likely to feel as @Maunsell man does, and I would recognise his description of this project from my own experience in IT, wondering if all it needs now is Kevin McCloud and a C4 camera crew...

    However, I stop short of that conclusion. I observe a significant change of management within the project, and some open and honest communication about the state of the components and the amount that will, frankly, have to be written off. I have vivid memories of working on one failing project which was eventually turned around, and the key step in that turnaround was the acknowledgement that it was up the creek. Only then was it possible to start looking for the paddles that we needed to turn it round, and make it the success it proved to be.

    I fully accept the right of those, like @Maunsell man, who feel that they have contributed enough and feel betrayed by what's happened, to stop donating. I also respect those, like @Gav106, who believe in the project and wish to see it through despite those hurdles. Wherever we are on that spectrum, I hope the mistakes made will be shared with other projects so that they can learn from them - not at the superficial "go and supervise your contractors more" level, but at something a bit deeper down. That, sadly, needs to be part of the legacy of this project.
     
  15. jnc

    jnc Part of the furniture

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    Yes, exactly. (That was the intended implication of my mention of "openness", but you have put the critical importance of it very well.)
    Yes, it's quite understandable; sorry if I didn't make that clear. (Indeed, @Gav106 also was clearly quite upset at all the issues.)

    Noel
     
  16. Kylchap

    Kylchap Member

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    I'm in two minds, maybe more than two, about the Patriot Project. I've contributed a fair bit of cash to them over several years. My reason for doing so is that I want to see an original Patriot in action - I just missed the originals, they were all scrapped before I could see one. My support for this project was in response to their obvious enthusiasm and they planned to operate the loco on the main line.

    I've continued to support them through their ups and downs, accepting that setbacks happen to the best of projects, though this one has had more than its fair share. The last thing I want to do is withdraw support when it's needed most, when they are just about to turn the corner. Yes, PRCLT have a strong engineering record and I have no reason to doubt the competence of the boilermakers. On the other hand, patience does have limits.
     
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  17. sir gilbert claughton

    sir gilbert claughton Member

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    i know nothing about what was done , but IF the wheel concerned is the same as the one that couldn't be pressed of --- and JNC suggests uneven cooling could cause cracking i ask myself if heat was applied in the efforts to remove it (likely?) and uneven cooling after it stayed put was the cause , which would mean it was not a manufacturing defect ....... which if nothing else would imply the other wheels are likely to be OK.
     
  18. 7P6F

    7P6F Member

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    With a turn of phrase like that you'd have been in your element as one of the tricoteuse, offering your 'opinion.'

    Perhaps you should keep your distance, or you could send a donation. I can't comment on the engineering difficulties. I can tell the difference between a cottage pie and a cotter pin but that's about it. However, I've been a supporter of the Patriot project since its inception and continue to support financially as best I can within my means as do so many of its supporters even in these difficult times.

    You can be assured if making a donation, that of all the new build projects I am a member of, the Patriot has the most transparent and well presented regular finance report that I see. It also has the best quarterly magazine. The Warrior is well worth the membership fee alone. This is a massive project and it takes time, a lot of time in some cases, such as 2999 Lady of Legend, which looks magnificent on the Severn Valley as will the Patriot on the main line.
     
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  19. jnc

    jnc Part of the furniture

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    Well, I was told uneven cooling during casting; not sure if it would have gotten that hot if it was heated during an attempt to remove the wheel. Also, we don't know if it was the same wheel; the engineering update said it was the "Left Trailing Wheel" which wouldn't come off, and the monthly member's bulletinsays it was one of the "trailing wheel pans" which was cracked; so there's a good chance it was (and if so, one has to wonder about the coincidence). Although heating things to separate them has a long history. Perhaps there was a minor defect which started the crack? Not unknown...

    But this is all speculation. Hopefully the Patriot group will let us know anything they discover as to the likely cause - unless they decide it was likely some external party, whom they don't wish to malign publicly, even if it leaves an un-warranted cloud over the prior Patriot management.
    Best to check them, though; although we could then hope they'll all therefore likely be fine.

    Noel
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2021
  20. Richard Roper

    Richard Roper Member

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    I will keep donating, as I have done since 2013 when I joined. I see no reason to doubt that we will see a working locomotive, but I am glad that PRCLT are on-board as a professional party to the construction process. The vast majority of the problems have stemmed from the original project management team's tenure of office, and yes it is obviously very frustrating to have to correct many faults during the build. But now that these faults are being weeded out, there's no reason that the Patriot shouldn't be just as good a machine as any of the other newbuild locos once completed. I've said it before, but I want to see the Unknown Warrior, not the Unfinished Warrior.

    Richard.
     
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