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Sir Nigel Gresley - The L.N.E.R.’s First C.M.E.

Discussion in 'Steam Traction' started by S.A.C. Martin, Dec 3, 2021.

  1. std tank

    std tank Part of the furniture

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    No mention yet of Gresley's little dabble with electric locomotives. In 1942 he rebuilt one of Sir Vincent Raven's North Eastern Railway's 0-4-4-0 Class EF1 locomotives. This was 26510 and it became Class EB1. The loco was allocated to 30A Stratford and was withdrawn in 1959. Presumably. it was something to do with, the then embryonic, Great Eastern line electrification.
     
  2. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    But that was what 1941? The tests with AW were 1932. Nine years seems a long time to wait for some evidence.

    What were the comparative fuel costs btw? LNER Encyclopedia says the AW at full power burnt 2.5 gallons an hour - how does that compare with a shunter's coal/water/oil consumption on comparative loads?
     
  3. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Nat Pres stalwart

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    Became depot shunter at Ilford IIRC.
     
  4. Jimc

    Jimc Part of the furniture

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    Maybe, but the costing is tricky. Not only is there a far greater capital cost for the diesel shunters, there's also the investment required for the infrastructure required to service and maintain them. If the technology isn't very mature then there are also all the problems associated with being an early adopter. Its cheaper to learn from other folk' mistakes than it is to duplicate them. I imagine the very limited speed of the type was also a consideration since working patterns might need to be changed. Probably negotiations with the unions too.
     
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  5. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    But if the LMS could do it why couldn't the LNER?

    I don't see the LMS as being so massively different from the LNER in any of the criteria.

    It looks more like a board (and CME) that are behind the curve and looking at the wrong priorities - high end passenger trains for the publicity and ignoring the freight that pays for it all.
     
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  6. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    Certainly does look long, and note that I wasn't passing judgement on it. However it's about wholescale adoption of a new standard, and I don't think you could argue that the handful of diesel shunters in Britain really gave railway companies enough confidence to make that change.

    For example, you're talking about diesel shunters as if they just turn up and replace steam. Okay - what needs to be done to introduce these shunters?
    • Infrastructure - refueling points and maintenance depots, not to mention delivery of fuels (requiring new logistical processes)
    • Training - drivers and staff
    • Support from suppliers or changes to major works for overhauls
    • Spares stock and storage of said spares
    Coal and water are already ingrained and accounted for, but diesel fuel and its associated complexities isn't. It really isn't as simple as "this diesel shunter is better than the steam locomotive shunter" - you could cogently and reasonably argue that the relative simplicity of the steam locomotive and how its fuels are stored are already cheaper to run than the diesel shunter by virtue of the facilities required (patch of land for a coal heap? Check. Special pressurised tanks in a safe area away from fire risk for diesel fuel? Not so easy?)

    The point is, by the 1950s Britain's railways (and by then, British Railways) were recognising that what you spend in new infrastructure to support diesel traction is saved in your prep and maintenance times.
     
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  7. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    All that is true - and yet it is possible to do all that in 1941 in the middle of a conflict and during a materials shortage. It seems to me that only the crisis (ie labour shortage and massive increases in demand) was enough to kick the LNER out of its inertia.
     
  8. 35B

    35B Nat Pres stalwart

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    Behind the curve, or just not so far along it as the LMS? With hindsight, we know that the LMS were setting the pace for future development; how did that look when viewed from the perspective of a decision about use of scarce capital against other priorities?
     
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  9. Enterprise

    Enterprise Part of the furniture

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    Is not the case that the LNER's freight, predominantly mineral, was in severe decline in this period? An experiment with diesel shunters would have been quite peripheral to more pressing issues.
     
  10. Enterprise

    Enterprise Part of the furniture

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    You could perhaps more accurately write that "labour shortage and massive increases in demand" changed the cost - benefit analysis.
     
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  11. 30854

    30854 Resident of Nat Pres

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    It'd be interesting to see a reasonably detailed analysis of the fallout from the 1929 crash, but was there anything else specific to the LNER going on back then? The LMS must've been affected just as badly by the depression, yet from Stanier's accession as CME, they went hell for leather down the 'scrap and build' route.

    Maybe the LNER's historic debt (thinking primarily of the GCR extension) was far more of a millstone than we appreciate?
     
  12. Jimc

    Jimc Part of the furniture

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    Yes, this is an important point. To go ahead with that sort of change it not only needs to provide a benefit, but for that benefit to be greater than was gained by the things they did instead.

    I keep thinking of the Southern in the 30s. They failed to replace their antiquated steam fleet, but I submit it was not because they were blind to the benefits of doing so, but because they rightly considered that putting the effort into electrification would be a far better investment.
     
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  13. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    No, because that would be something different. That is because you have no alternative, so irrespective of the cost benefit analysis you have to do it because you can't do it any other way.
     
  14. Victor

    Victor Nat Pres stalwart Friend

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    Where do you get 'special pressurised tank in a safe area ' from ? And you'd do well to set fire to a storage tank full of diesel.
     
  15. 35B

    35B Nat Pres stalwart

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    I think we’re in danger of counting angels on pin heads, but I’d suggest there were still costs and benefits to consider - even if the decision made itself due to their magnitude.
     
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  16. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    Victor, how do you think a fuel pump works? And fire risks exist wherever there is fuel storage.
     
  17. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    I am not so sure. I really don't see many decisions made in the war time period on the basis of a cost-benefit analysis.

    Well, as the locos were discussed at a meeting in Feb 1941 it should be fairly simple for Simon to dig out the minutes and to see what the arguments were for buying them and indeed the minutes from 1932 for not buying them and what changed, and whether there were any discussions between 32-41 about following the LMS's lead.
     
  18. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    May I just point out that it is not simple - the minutes are recorded in large, leather bound volumes and there are literally thousands of meetings and millions of points. Trying to read through them is difficult!

    I think it's remarkable I have been able to glean anything from them over the years; it's certainly not been easy to read back through. I took something like just over 30,000 photographs of their contents in 2018 and my home-printed copies are much leafed through and modified over the years.
     
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  19. 30567

    30567 Part of the furniture Friend

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    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great...ingdom#In_the_North_and_industrial_heartlands

    I suspect if you were to do some kind of centre of gravity both spatial and sectoral of the effects of the Great Depression, it would turn out that the LNER was significantly the worst affected of the Big Four.
     
  20. Eightpot

    Eightpot Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    Getting back to the pros and cons of the V4, I wonder if we are looking at things through the wrong end of a telescope.

    What did not happen was for the CME to say to Operating "Here is my masterpiece, it's up to you to make best use of it."

    In reality Operating would say to the CME "We have a problem that we need you to solve." Examples:-

    "We want to eliminate the uneconomic double-heading of heavy trains between Edinburgh and Aberdeen." Result - the P2s.

    "We want a locomotive capable of short bursts of high power that will be an improvement over the K2s for the West Highland line." Result - the K4s.

    "We want a locomotive to operate on RA4 lines to haul heavier and faster trains than the current locomotives available." Result - the V4s.

    "We want a small one man operated locomotive for shunting at PW Depots." Result - Sentinel Y1 and Y3.

    "We want to cut costs by the elimination of short steam locomotive hauled passenger trains." Result - Sentinel steam Railcars.

    Sometimes the problem could even be not properly solvable, the B17s being a classic example. The GE section wanted an improvement on the B12s with a maximum of 17 tons axle load. The problem was given to Doncaster who eventually said "It can't be done." The powers-that-be then gave the job to North British Locomotive Company. They couldn't do it either within the 17 ton limit. Eventually with a relaxation to 18 tons or more they came up with the B17 design. However, the locos were so lightly built that most, if not all, had to have new frames within a year, and that within a few years boiler pressures had to be lowered from 200 psi to 180 psi. See the RCTS LNER locos book for more information. While the B17 boiler (Diagram 100) was beefed up for the B1s at 225 psi, they were not immune to boiler cracking problems.

    While this might result in a number of locomotive types, there can still be a lot of common parts between them. Taking the basic A3 Pacific boiler as an example, just by shortening the barrel produced one for the V2. Lengthening the barrel and the firebox by a foot produced the P2 boiler. Thickening the plates and a longer combustion chamber resulted in the A4 version and from this came the boilers for the post-war Pacifics.

    I think it true to say that HNG only produced one new driving wheel diameter of 6' - 2" for the V2s, later also used on the post-war Pacifics. Apart from the shape of the frames, etc., many of the components would be interchangeable. It's just how you juggle the bits and pieces around.
     
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