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Locomotives that NEARLY made it

Discussion in 'Steam Traction' started by Hicks19862, Apr 22, 2020.

  1. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Part of the furniture

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    David Wardale pointed out that the Steam Locomotives worst enemies were its supporters
     
  2. pete2hogs

    pete2hogs Member

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    I'd go for the V8 every time.
     
  3. 242A1

    242A1 Member

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    Chapelon did not want to build his new designs in the old way. French drawing offices were rather set in their ways and this needed to change and this is where the American influence came in. The 141R rough and ready? Have you looked at one? Show me a locomotive on British metals that displays a better mechanical design.
    Chapelon's thermodynamics produced the power but the fusion with American mechanical design would allow for successful long term delivery. If your railway demands power you have to design to deliver, And efficiency is not always what it seems, it is so easy not to include factors in your calculations that may not help the case for your own particular favourite type. You are looking at the overall costs of running your traffic and thermal efficiency is only a part of that calculation and if you don't "fiddle the figures" the results are not what many maintain that they are.
    The more advanced steam tech locomotives existed for many years before the Standards and continued to develop afterwards. Riddles deemed that the Britannia class were sufficiently powerful to meet foreseeable requirements but by world standards the power to weight ratio was poor and they were soon found to be wanting. It didn't have to be the case, what would these engines be capable of if designed along the general lines of the Argentinian 4-8-0? The Standards might have been new, but modern?
    By the standards of the time Riddles and his team delivered a disappointing amount of horsepower for all the tonnage of metal that they used.
    Yes, we are engaged in preservation and this is very much a side issue but we should have some far better specimens to look after. And if you think that a steam locomotive is simple try designing one. It is a most difficult exercise, just about everything interacts; even the fire to the nature of the sound of the exhaust though tuning the exhaust to excite the combustion is not an area that has been worked on, designing a good exhaust system to drive the gas flow has escaped the majority. It is just the way it is, but it should not have been.
     
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  4. 242A1

    242A1 Member

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    Agreed! But it does make you wonder if they really were supporters in the truest sense.
     
  5. Jon Pegler

    Jon Pegler New Member

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    I am always amazed by the 'British is best' approach in the UK.
    The Pennsylvania Railroad was producing a two cylinder, wide firebox, superheated, Pacific locomotive before 1917.
    The Britannia locomotives came out in 1951 and were a comparable design, albeit with a smaller loading gauge.
    A similar locomotive over thirty years later.
    Why were the UK designers so slow to accept and develop foreign ideas?
    I quite appreciate that there were difficulties, particularly as the railways were legally obliged to be common carriers, but it should have been within the ability of railway management to force through the use of fully braked freight trains, large bogie freight wagons etc..
    One of the problems when the Caledonian Railway tried to introduce bogie coal wagons was opposition from the mine owners, due to their outdated facilities.
    Clinging to vacuum brakes and short wheelbase wagons held Britain back for many years.
    I would guess that the directors of the big four companies always had an eye on the shareholders dividend every half year and that precluded investment.
     
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  6. 242A1

    242A1 Member

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    Larger engines? No. Why should anyone want to do that if power to weight ratio could be vastly improved? You are building a machine to meet a traffic requirement. Why use more tons than you need to? Equally you want a design which has a very high availability, has gland packings that last for many tens of thousands of miles without leakage or attention, ditto for many other components. Each unit will cost more but you will need fewer of them. They offer a higher and more consistent performance and a better working environment for their crew. Are they very different to their predecessors? Yes and no.
    Better servicing facilities would benefit all engines. Improving this area and the associated working environment should have been a priority. Staff recruitment and retention were an issue and a shift in spending priorities was desirable.
    A large number of pre-nationalisation classes would benefit form a well designed exhaust system, the fitting of a Double Kylchap exhaust to the A3s delivered an extra 500 hp according to estimates and those few V2s that were fitted were hugely improved and fitting what were then state of the art exhaust systems is much less costly than building new engines. So at low cost you have substantially improved members of the existing fleet. Steaming problems are practically unheard of, you have better and more dependable performance and the negative impact of inconsistent fuel quality has been significantly addressed.
    Do you need 999 Standards, say 900 if you are covering the exhaust system work? Probably not just yet.
    Improved shed facilities with improved staff training will help to get the best out of what you have and prepare for what is to come. For the locomotive design team they could produce engines to the 1930s performance standard - the French one - and incorporate some Transatlantic features. Riddles was desperate to build his designs but if they had been produced to a modern standard it would have taken a significant amount of time for the diesels to match the performance level. They would have had more time too and we wouldn't have been blighted by so many poor first and second generation units and their associated costs. If we had had an engineer of Porta's ability the class 55s would have found themselves seriously underpowered.
     
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  7. torgormaig

    torgormaig Well-Known Member Friend

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    I would still ask what a "better" Britannia would have achieved in the post war 1950s? It and the rest of the Standards achieved what was required of them, namely ease of maintenance and ease of operation. I'm not aware that there was a need for a more powerful Britannia and it proved to be a perfectly adequate stop gap until the onslaught of dieselisation occured. I am sure that more advanced loco designs were possible but I remain unconvinced that they were needed at that time. There is no point in building the best if a more cost effective alternative will do.

    Peter
     
  8. RLinkinS

    RLinkinS Member

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    There was American input into British designs. Churchward certainly looked across the Atlantic for ideas when he was designing his standard locos. They may not have looked the same but that is mainly a cosmetic issue. He also looked to France and purchased the 3 French atlantics. Gresley was influenced by the Pennsylvania K4s when designing his pacifics.

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  9. torgormaig

    torgormaig Well-Known Member Friend

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    Look I'm no expert on this type of thing but the railways in the UK faced somewhat different challenges to its counterparts in Europe. We were fortunate enough to have not been invaded and as a result our railway infrastructure remained largely in tact - absolutely clapped out but complete. On the Continent the railways were decimated and needed rebuilding from the ground up, which gave opertunity to rearrange running sheds and the like. In the UK there was no immediate need to rebuild things - that could wait until we had the trains running on properly maintained infrastructure. When the initial phase of post war recovery was complete in the mid-50s it was clear that you rebuild motive power facilities for diesel traction not steam. Just think what a waste of money it would have been if a dozen more sheds like Thornaby had been built in the late 50s.

    You points are perfectly valid when divorced from history but in the circumstances of the day it just was not going to happen.

    Peter
     
  10. Railcar22

    Railcar22 New Member

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    The GWR were not adverse to trying new things, and American practices influenced G.J.Chuchward a lot. The GWR built between 1905 & 1907 over 100 X 40 ton bogie coal wagons. They dind't build anymore due to receiving the same complaints from the mine owners that the CR received from the mine owners in their area
     

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  11. Jimc

    Jimc Part of the furniture

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    Not quite correct. They built, according To Atkins et al, 27 40 ton bogie wagons, but the real effort was in trying to persuade the collieries to go for 20 ton wagons. The savings in siding space and tare weight for 40 ton wagons over 20 ton was not great, and the capital cost per ton load was actually greater.
     
  12. andrewshimmin

    andrewshimmin Well-Known Member

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    Erm, there's a Chapelon Pacific at Mulhouse...

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  13. 60044

    60044 Member

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    To change the subject slightly, this thread has so far focused on standard gauge ex-BR locos, but there were plenty of ex-industrial engines in both narrow and standard gauges - what were the near misses in these fields?
     
  14. 30854

    30854 Part of the furniture

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    One which sticks in my memory was a std gauge industrial Hughes saddle tank (somewhere in the southeast, though I'm afraid the exact location slips my mind) which looked like ex-Corris No.3 Sir Haydn on steroids. That went in 1960.
     
  15. LesterBrown

    LesterBrown Member

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    deleted - wrong thread!
     
  16. weltrol

    weltrol Member Friend

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    The Padarn Railway Hunslet 0-6-0Ts.
    Moel Tryfan
    Penrhyn Quarry Railway 2-6-2Ts
     
  17. 60044

    60044 Member

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    Was there much narrow gauge steam left outside of the welsh quarries by the mid 1960s?
     
  18. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Part of the furniture

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    I am familiar with the first two but not The Penrhyn Quarry 2-6-2's
     
  19. GWR Man.

    GWR Man. Well-Known Member

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    Baldwin WN 46764, 46828 & 47143 ex USA Transportation Corps No's 5159, 5104 & 5096 with 2 been scrapped in 1940 and the third sold to an Australian sugar railway and is still with us.http://tacotdeslacs.free.fr/collection/photo043.jpg
     
  20. 60044

    60044 Member

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    "Scrapped in the 1940s" is not what I would include in a list of nearly made it into preservation, though! Both the Snailbeach and the Ashover Baldwins lasted longer, for starters, and I don't think any of them would be considered a near miss.

    When I posed the question upthread I was thinking in terms of a date around 1968/9. For instance, two of the Lambton 0-6-2Ts were saved yet one would have thought there an ideal type for nascent lines so how come only these two were saved?
     

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