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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. The Green Howards

    The Green Howards Nat Pres stalwart

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    Indeed: however, I am sure that GNR historians are less than happy that Edward Thompson ordered the destruction of the early GNR (and others?) technical drawings held by the LNER. I gather those that survive are due to some staff secreting them away.
     
  2. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    Do you have a source for this?
     
  3. Jimc

    Jimc Part of the furniture

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    Telling the chief draughtsman to get the place tidied up and chuck out all the useless waste paper is hardly a crime, no matter how much we might regret it now. Especially if, to essay a hypothetical, they had run out of storage space. I doubt at that date there was much in the way of archive facilities.
     
  4. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    I completely agree with you there Jim; however I am asking that question specifically as I have some knowledge in this area and I am interested to see what comes back.
     
  5. The Green Howards

    The Green Howards Nat Pres stalwart

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    Yes: The Stirling Singles of the Great Northern Railway by Leech & Boddy (pub. 1965, David & Charles).

    The book suggests - and take this how you will - that by contrast, Gresley wanted the engineering drawings retained. 'Leech' is Kenneth Leech, who seems to have had rather a connection to the GWR in later years and IIRC died at the grand age of 103. He witnessed the 'Singles' in regular service on the GNR: I was also unaware the majority were shedded at Peterborough.

    It saddens me to learn that such attitudes to archiving - which I thought a modern phenomenon - go back so far :(
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2024
  6. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    I knew you were going to quote that volume.

    I’m very sorry to say I don’t take much stock (if any) in that view or what was reported in that volume.

    Thompson never had any control or responsibility over the drawings held by the various works (neither did Gresley: that’s not how their jobs or responsibility was structured on the LNER) to the extent that he could order the destruction of archive drawings.

    This is because the responsibility of the retention of archive drawings was held by the chief draughtsman for each drawing office at all of the major works. Both Thompson and Gresley could recommend changes, of course, but ultimately the chief draughtsman had final say.

    And perhaps the most damming thing - the book claims that Gresley was alive when Thompson “ordered” this, but we know that Thompson was in charge of Doncaster as Gresley’s assistant mechanical engineer from 1938-1941, and Gresley as CME had the direct line management of the drawing office, from his office in London.

    The suggestion that Thompson did this with Gresley’s knowledge when he was two steps away from the responsibility of it (and his own pressing work to get on with, including helping Gresley on the modernisation of various parts of the works) looks and feels strongly like yet another of those secondary sources that tries to jump on the bandwagon for “Thompson was an evil bastard”, to be honest.

    Bear in mind that by the time Thompson became CME, the LNER had over 160 classes working on the railway to the tune of between 6500 and 7000 locomotives. The working locomotives took priority. Provided locomotives were still working, or parts of them were on other engines, all drawings were retained as part of the working documentation of the LNER.

    I have long had to contend with secondary sources making bold claims of Thompson’s decision making during wartime - I don’t mind saying that the vast majority of the negative commentary made on him ignores all existing primary evidence including what his role as CME actually was and what he actually did, and what he would have realistically been responsible for.

    If I may add, though, the thing that comes to mind most for me about the secondary sources that make these sorts of claims is that they, almost uniformly, come after certain books by OS Nock were published in the early 60s. One day I will do a better job of the historiography of it all.
     
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  7. Jimc

    Jimc Part of the furniture

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    Which is all very well until the chief draughtsman comes to the boss with a request for an extension to the drawing office to house extra plan chests because space has run out. Especially if its in wartime. If the LNER offices where anything like Swindon they had extra staff engaged on war work and were generating lots of new material, and its easy to imagine space could be a big problem.
     
  8. MellishR

    MellishR Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    Were the chief draughtsmen not answerable to the CME? (I am asking: I don't know.) Even if they were, obviously the CME would take heed of their advice, but if push came to shove ...
     
  9. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    They were but the LNER were a lot more modern than we give them credit for: fundamentally job descriptions and responsibilities were very much detailed and understood by the individuals working for them.
     
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  10. Jimc

    Jimc Part of the furniture

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    They were, but they had a lot of independance too. On the GWR, for instance, its clear that the Chief Draughtsman had the authority to kick off a good sized study before presenting it to the CME. Two notorious examples are the Stanier-Hawksworth "Compound Castle" which had got as far as at least a thoroughly worked out weights diagram before they presented it to Collett, who threw it out in about 5 minutes flat, and Mattingley's post war pacific study, which was rejected by Hawksworth who seems to have tried (and failed) to completely disassociate it with his name.
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2024
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  11. Cartman

    Cartman Well-Known Member Account Suspended

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    What about on the LMS before Stanier took over? A compound Pacific was designed but was rejected.
     
  12. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    And a three cylinder design was proposed by Stanier and then rejected in favour of a four cylinder one (became the Princess Royal).
     
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  13. Jimc

    Jimc Part of the furniture

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    Wasn't that more running dept versus CME's dept rather than CME and drawing office?
     
  14. Cartman

    Cartman Well-Known Member Account Suspended

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    Yes, I think it was, the operating department were ex Midland Railway and they insisted in imposing Midland practises on the new operation.
     
  15. RAB3L

    RAB3L Member

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    An updated list of locomotives built, rebuilt or influenced by Chapelon.

    Built/Rebuilt/Modified:

    231 Est 051 to 073 23
    231 PO 3701 to 3731 31
    231 Nord 3.1111 to 3.1130 and 3.1171 to 3.1198 48 (Second batch new)
    231 PO 3801 to 3806 and 3821 to 3829 15
    140 PO 5001 to 5067 67
    231 PO 3601 to 3650 50
    141P SNCF 318 (New)
    240A/240P 37
    160A1 1
    242A1 1
    142 GELSA 66
    242 GELSA 24
    141R 165

    Influenced:

    150 Nord 5.1201 to 5.1230 30
    150P 115
    État 231-501 to 231-783 215
    231 PLM 2 to 86 84
    231G entre 2 to 285 284
    140J 170
    141 D 124
    141 E 254
    141 F 195
    Est 230K 177
    Est 231B 40
    231 H 30
    241 Est 241002 to 241041 and 241 État 241-001 to 241-049 90
    232R 3
    232S 4
    232U 1
    241P 35
    Czech Series 556 510
    RENFE 141 F 240
    PLM 5-231 E 71
    PLM 5-231 H 30
    PLM 5-241 D 145
    PLM 5-241 E 27 1
    PLM 5-150 A 10
    PO 231 4500 to 4570 33 (remainder converted to 240P)
    PO 231 4571 to 4600 30
    Est 1-230 3501 t0 3890 36
    Etat 3-141 C 250
    Etat 3-231 D 135
    Etat 3-231 DD 31
    Etat 3-231 W 21
    Etat 3-231 H 92
    Etat 3-231 R 6
    Etat 3-231 C 24
    AL S14 1-231 B 60
    LNER A2 6
    LNER Peppercorn A1 49
    LNER A1/1 1
    LNER A2/1 4
    LNER A2/2 6
    LNER A2/3 15
    LNER/BR A3 79

    LNER A4 35
    LNER P2 6 (Kylchap not fitted to 2005 but fitted to 2007)
    LNER/BR V2 8
    BR 71000 1
    BR 60163 1
    CSD 387.001 6
    CSD 475.1 172
    CSD 476.001 3
    CSD 498.0 40
    CSD 498.1 15

    Total 4,918
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2024
  16. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    There is absolutely no way I would include any of the LNER Pacific classes or the V2s on there under the heading of "built, rebuilt or heavily influenced by Chapelon". That is a nonsense.

    At best, the LNER classes used variants of the Kylchap double chimney which, again, owes as much to Kylala as it does to Chapelon and is one component out of thousands.

    71000? Duke of Gloucester? Freddie Harrison said this was "influenced by what Gresley would have built" - !!! Not Chapelon.

    Tornado is a Peppercorn A1 with David Elliot making reasonable adjustments for use on the British Mainline.
     
  17. RAB3L

    RAB3L Member

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    Wasn't it yourself that suggested that I add at least some of them to the list?

    Post #210 in the Chapelon thread.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2024
  18. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    Yes, but in relation to the fitting of a part-Chapelon component. I don't think you can seriously suggest Chapelon's work influenced Gresley to the extent you are claiming.
     
  19. std tank

    std tank Part of the furniture

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    Just to clarify with 71000. The Duke ran with a normal double blastpipe and chimney in its B.R. days. The Kylchap was fitted in its preservation life.
     
  20. RAB3L

    RAB3L Member

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    I don't think I did, sadly for Gresley! Gresley would certainly have benefited from studying Chapelon's work on internal streamlining. For instance, what was the pressure drop between the boiler and cylinders on an A4? The P2s would have been more successful if Gresley had applied Chapelon's principles to their cylinder block.

    I have removed "heavily" from the post above.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2024

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