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Locomotive Performance and Tractive Effort Discussion

Discussion in 'Steam Traction' started by MellishR, Nov 26, 2022.

  1. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    Sorry Tom, but I am looking at photographs in Peter Tuffrey's excellent volume, LNER Workshops, and there are several photographs showing the removal of blastpipes from boilers. On the LNER parts being removed were likely to go to be reconditioned and indeed I can see in one such photograph that a replacement set have been marked for fitting.

    Not only that, but the LNER workshops were generally laid out in such a manner that different parts went to different workshops.

    Hell, the front cover of Peter Tuffrey's volume shows an A4, an A4 boiler, and a Peppercorn A2, all without blastpipe equipment in situ within the works.

    That might be true for the LMS but it definitely does not ring true with the LNER.
     
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  2. LMS2968

    LMS2968 Part of the furniture

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    Amazing.
     
  3. Steve

    Steve Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    Are you sure? When a boiler entered works for overhaul one of the usual things to do was to remove the smokebox tubeplate. This both allowed access to the boiler innards and enabled a check for grooving, a problem quite common with tubeplates. The tubeplate isn't going to be removed with the smokebox attached so prior to that the smokebox would be removed. This would also allow easy access to various other parts of the loco. It even happens with preserved locos undergoing overhaul today if there is a need to gain internal access. There wasn't a pool of smokeboxes so, if fit for further use, it would go back on the same loco. The LNER liked providing manholes in the bottom of the boiler barrel which would have lessened the need to remove the tubeplate but they weren't usually big openings (A3's were 14" diameter and I wouldn't be able to fit through that!)) so anything other than an inspection wouldn't have been an easy task. It was by no means a universal provision, either.
     
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  4. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    I’m not suggesting you wouldn’t remove the blast pipe during an overhaul - you’d need to do so in order to clear out accumulated coke. What I’m suggesting is that once refurbished, you’d return it to the same loco.

    Also, on terminology - I’d be careful saying “the blast pipe is removed from the boiler” - fundamentally it is not part of the boiler, it’s better to consider it is an extension of the cylinder assembly, surely.

    Tom
     
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  5. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    Fair comments Tom. I understand what you mean better now, thank you for clarifying.
     
  6. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    Begging everyone's pardon, but the idea that there was not a "pool of smokeboxes", or that "the smokeboxes would go onto the same loco" doesn't ring true again, because there was a pool of spare boilers and these were interchanged constantly on the LNER - and there absolutely had to be removal of smokeboxes in order to get certain combinations of boiler, smokebox, superheater header and similar onto different classes. Because - key point - the smokeboxes on all of these classes were different lengths and had different arrangements.

    Key example: Thompson and Peppercorn boilers were considered interchangeable amongst the Pacific classes, and Thompson's A1/1 was considered standard with the A4s, and the A2/1s were considered standard with the V2s. All of these classes had boilers from other classes on them at times. In BR days, A4 boilers were used on A3s too and this too would have required removal of the smokebox from the boiler.

    The devil is in the detail, and a blanket statement of "they wouldn't have removed it from the boiler" doesn't ring true. I'm sorry: I know the LNER, I've been studying their locomotives for over a decade. You might get a smokebox that stays with a loco, you might get a boiler that stays with a loco, or (fundamentally more likely), you get a loco that swaps its boiler for the next that's available and a decision is made on what parts are to be retained.

    But it's not a hard and fast rule and no matter how much someone says it should be, it invariably wasn't: and we have photographic proof that shows this was so.

    The best example: Peppercorn A1 with a round top dome, diagram 117 Thompson A2/3 boiler:

    6CE43A37-BD69-4900-BCDF-55FC982741C7.jpeg

    RCTS 2A LNER “green book” - just have a read of the individual locos boiler records and you can see how complicated it gets with LNER Pacifics!
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2022
  7. LMS2968

    LMS2968 Part of the furniture

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    Sorry Simon, but there would not be a pool of smokeboxes. There would be of boilers, generally up to 10% more boilers than engines, because boilers took longer to repair than engines, but smokeboxes were straight forward fabrications, easy and quick to make but taking up a lot of space in storage. They would be assembled as and when needed, which would not be as often as a boiler overhaul.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2022
  8. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    Where did I say they definitely had a pool of smokeboxes?

    The point I am making (maybe not very well!) is you can’t assume parts stayed with a loco at an overhaul, because invariably they did or didn’t based on condition.
     
  9. LMS2968

    LMS2968 Part of the furniture

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  10. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    But that is the precisely the point I am making. The blanket statement of “a smokebox would stay with a loco” doesn’t ring true, and neither does the possibility of there not being some form of pool or at least one spare smokebox available!

    If we are saying explicitly Doncaster/Darlington works didn’t have a spare smokebox for a Pacific, or that they kept them with certain boilers, those are hard and fast rules that don’t align with the reality of how overhauls were undertaken at those works.

    Again, I refer to the photograph above. There are many possibilities of how the locomotive above came to be fitted with a diagram 117 boiler: and either we accept that the Peppercorn A1 smokebox could not have stayed with a boiler, and had to either stay with the loco or be spare (particularly if we are also saying that the smokebox from its previously fitted diagram 118 boiler should have stayed with the loco or boiler…!)

    Do you see what I am saying?
     
  11. class8mikado

    class8mikado Part of the furniture

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    We do, your good reasoned arguments do sometimes carry a tone of disagreement with those whose posts you respond to, when actually you are just stating your examples which may actually support those posts...
     
  12. Steve

    Steve Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    I think you’re arguing that the smokebox generally stayed with the boiler and not the set of frames. If not, what are you saying?
    Swapping of parts between locos was common in the latter days of steam but very much less so in the earlier half of the 20th century (GWR excepted).
     
  13. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    No - that's not what I am saying at all Steve. I am in agreement with you.

    I am saying that we can't make a hard and fast rule on whether smokeboxes stayed with locos or boilers, or vice versa - because (as you correctly say) swapping of parts was more common towards the latter days of steam (although IMO looking at the LNER workshops, parts swapping seems far more commonplace throughout all of the major works and locomotives).

    Where the LNER Pacifics are concerned you cannot make any hard and fast rules on what parts stayed with which locomotive, outside probably the driving wheels and frames (and even then!) because we have hard evidence which documents that parts swapping (particularly the boilers) was a frequent occurrence, and we also know between certain classes smokeboxes couldn't stay on boilers and swap to other locos, and even within the same class sometimes you couldn't retain a smokebox on a loco when a new boiler was swapped in...!

    I do sometimes disagree with what is being said! That is not a crime :) But I am not trying to disagree in an aggressive manner (my apologies to anyone who feels that way, was not my intention).

    And my further apologies if my tone was off last night (and this morning!) - it wasn't intended to be.

    I think when you spend so much time researching and analysing this kind of stuff, you tend to realise that the rules you assumed were there, likely never were. Every single locomotive that goes into works is basically assessed on its condition and plans made accordingly.
     
  14. LMS2968

    LMS2968 Part of the furniture

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    Not at all, Simon. We don't agree and that's fair enough: that's what debate and this forum is about: making your case. I can't see where anyone has been 'aggressive'.

    I'll gladly bow to your knowledge of all things LNER, but I do know engineering and workshop practice, which are the basis of my comments. I cannot see that an original smokebox would not fit a replacement boiler, unless that boiler was a different class, which is technically a rebuild rather than a straight repair.
     
  15. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    Thank you for that, much appreciated.

    I have been pondering how best to showcase this and I have come up with a diagram to show what I mean:

    D40EBAD2-FC68-4004-ABAB-32FC00C2C607.jpeg

    If you follow the lines you can see what boiler types went where. Every single one of those classes, bar none, has different smokebox lengths and arrangements and in one very specific case (A2/2) four different boiler types were in use amongst just 6 class members!
     
  16. Jimc

    Jimc Part of the furniture

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    As a rule though it seems to me the steam workshops were far more likely to remake or replace cheap parts (and what was cheap when you had the factory facilities might be very different from what is cheap today) than, say, those of us who've worked say in a modern auto shop would expect. I would fully expect that the steel casing would be altered or replaced if it didn't fit the boiler that was coming on. Happy to be proved wrong, but at a casual glance it doesn't seem as if replacing a smoke box casing (not the longest lived bit of metal on the locomotive anyway I believe) would be that big a deal. The contents of the smokebox on the other hand...
     
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  17. RAB3L

    RAB3L Member

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    Given that a smokebox is either riveted or welded to the boiler, smokebox removal would surely only be undertaken if it was necessary, e.g. if front tubeplate repair required it. Here's a picture of the boiler shop at Swindon:

    https://www.licensestorehouse.com/s...-works-shop/av-boiler-shop-c1920s-457405.html

    Of course the stage of the repair for each boiler is unknown, but the picture at least suggests that smokebox removal was not routine - at least at Swindon!
     
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  18. Steve

    Steve Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    That's fine. My misunderstanding but you did say this earlier....
     
  19. class8mikado

    class8mikado Part of the furniture

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    at least at Swindon!.... So thats everywhere else doing it differently then! :Resistanceisfutile:
     
  20. Jimc

    Jimc Part of the furniture

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    How interesting. Never would have anticipated that...
     

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