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Steam locos: Do you like to see them running Shiny or Dirty ?

Discussion in 'Steam Traction' started by toplight, Jan 1, 2018.

  1. estwdjhn

    estwdjhn New Member

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    Based on their own locos...
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  2. THE MELTER

    THE MELTER Member

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    Richard R
    if we are mixing things up to make a point it seems a bit desperate,
    however.
    my experience with bus owners is it always seems a good thing to do for 4 guys with the mechanical acumen of a frog.
    as for motorcycles that exactly proves Mr Coopers point. British bikes were famous, yes famous for oil leaks and looking like shite,
    and they survived for years and years unloved uncleaned and in good ( not perfect ) working order with little maintenance, the British motorcycles we see now transported around on trailers and cleaned every 100 miles or less do not reflect at all the motorcycles of the time.
    neither do railway locomotives or traction engines that are cleaned every 10 working hours.
     
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  3. Richard Roper

    Richard Roper Member

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    No desperation whatsoever, I am as much entitled to my views as anyone else is...
    I respect your views and personal experience, but please don't tar us all with the same brush. Apprentice-trained Engineer I may not be, but incompetent f*ckwit with the mechanical acumen of a frog I most certainly am not.
    The classic bike I ran (Norton 650SS), was modified subtly as regards oil seals, belt-drive conversion, etc., and was far from leaky and looking like shite. And no, it wasn't trailered either, it was ridden hard.

    Richard.
     
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  4. Matt37401

    Matt37401 Part of the furniture

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    Not making excuses but they look like they've been on RHTT duties, which are terrible for the loco's that work them's external condition.
     
  5. Enterprise

    Enterprise Part of the furniture

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    So not being ridden as everyday transport in the 50s and 60s the period @THE MELTER was accurately describing. I ran a Norton 88 in the 60s and it had to cope with mud, clay and cement dust from the road construction site where I was working. It got hosed down every couple of weeks. I still have a 99, 650SS and an Atlas. What are these subtle oil seal modifications of which you write?
     
  6. Avonside1563

    Avonside1563 Active Member

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    One way of telling if the crew have pride in the job isn't necessarily the amount of bling the loco has but rather are any steam leaks evident that could easily be cured during prep, or has spilled oil been wiped from round oil caps, or are the brasses wiped clean of grit that can easily work its way into a bearing surface and grind away that lovely soft metal. Yes I like to see a nicely polished loco but I know of crews who spent all their time cleaning and none of it on simple maintenance. I also like to leave a loco in the state in which I would like to find it, so properly disposed of with the cab left tidy, boiler properly topped up, plenty of dry wood for lighting up and excess oil wiped off wheels and motion where possible.

    Having said that it's the paying passengers who bring in funds to a heritage railway and, next to clean loos, Joe Public likes to see a nice clean engine and crew. They have little interest in the mechanical condition of the loco or if the livery is historically correct, so if it knocks and bangs a bit, or is precisely the wrong shade of green, they won't worry about it and just enjoy their visit.
     
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  7. Worsdell

    Worsdell New Member

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    In terms of historical authenticity, when did engines particularly get mucky? I've often thought engines in a real bad state was particular to the late BR period when they stopped bothering with having cleaners, so in the time period of steam locomotives operating in revenue earning service it's a fairly small slice (though there's another argument in there in proportionally how much the BR slice is shown on railways as a whole!). Grouping and pre-grouping locomotives generally always appeared in good condition - my profile photo of a P1 0-6-0 (J25 from LNER days) shows the crew on an immaculate engine that would be hauling coal, and looking through period photographs of this class an immaculate mineral locomotive is not a rarity.

    Certainly wartime and subsequent labour shortages presumably meant engine appearance suffered as a result, although in the First World War apart from some austerity liveries (GWR khaki, SECR olive green then grey, NER unlined black on goods locos only) engines seem to have been pretty well turned out, the NER and others employing plenty of female engine cleaners with the results of their hard work well documented, and believe this was also the case in the Second World War with LNER etc.
     
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  8. GWR4707

    GWR4707 Resident of Nat Pres

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    I thought the same, but to be honest for RHTT locomotives they are quite clean. :)
     
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  9. Richard Roper

    Richard Roper Member

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    I don't remember all the exact details now, as the work was carried out over 20 years ago, and my bike was stolen 3 years ago, so I've bee out of the bike scene since. Work centred around the valve guides, rocker shafts and rocker box covers.
    I had the rocker caps and cylinder head alloy welded and corresponding lips machined on them to give a better seal. The valve guides were treated to new Norvil oil seals, and new stainless rocker end caps were fitted. Bottom end was pretty oil tight.
    I had a new gearbox outer cover fitted, as the original was cracked when I bought the bike. This had been machined to accept lip seals, rather than the O-rings fitted as standard.

    Admittedly, once done, there was still the odd seep, but nothing major. The only thing I had left on the "to do" list when the bike was stolen, was to machine the mating face of the revcounter drive, as it always managed to seep through under the mounting screw holes, probably because the revcounter drive gearbox was alloy and had been overtightened in the past.

    Not complicated Engineering for the most part, but it produced a machine which didn't piss oil out everywhere. The only thing I couldn't cure was the primary case, so a Norvil belt kit was fitted. This saved the rear tyre from being lubricated profusely!

    Richard.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2018
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  10. Jimc

    Jimc Part of the furniture

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    One of the significant problems with the 50s british bikes was that they simply didn't have enough fastenings on the cases to avoid distortion and seeps.
     
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  11. Richard Roper

    Richard Roper Member

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    Very true - The Norton primary having one central fixing stud / spacer, and a large rubber "seal" around the edge which leaked like a sieve the first time it was overtightened!

    Richard.
     
  12. Enterprise

    Enterprise Part of the furniture

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    The Norton primary chaincase is a problem but it can be cured. My 99's chaincase is oil tight but the point about over-tightening is well made. In the 50s, 60s most riders did not have torque wrenches and did not have the necessary feel for tightening screws correctly. With some exceptions I don't wholly agree with @Jimc that cases or covers had insufficient fasteners. The main problem was ham fisted owners. I have had 70s, 80s and 90s bikes with distorted covers and, of course, many with stripped threads.
     
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  13. CH 19

    CH 19 Active Member Friend

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    Just thought l would share my wallpaper Roll 1 061.jpg
    Not mine:( but I just like everything about it, modifications, improvements whatever! it still looks like what it is ( if that makes sense) and thats from an ex bonnie man.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2018
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  14. LMS2968

    LMS2968 Well-Known Member

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    I think I've lost the plot somewhere, but I thought this forum was about railways!
     
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  15. Richard Roper

    Richard Roper Member

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  16. CH 19

    CH 19 Active Member Friend

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    Yes, but the drift is IMHO in the right vein, but from a different enthusiast base. Above is a classic machine (could be an A4 a Black 5 an M7 or a Castle) it is clean and it has some mods/improvements but it is still totally recognisible as what it is.
     
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  17. Jimc

    Jimc Part of the furniture

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    You're quite right of course - discussion of inadequately designed cases that leak oil belongs in the Bulleid thread... [ducks, sprints for exit]
     
  18. Matt37401

    Matt37401 Part of the furniture

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    Friday night and someone's had a pint and feeling brave! ;):)
     
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  19. 8126

    8126 Member

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    At risk of returning to topic, I like to see steam engines clean. They don't have to be sparkling, but they should look like somebody cares.

    A loco department (or a depot in BR days) is an organisation stuffed full of people, and to give of their best people on the whole need to feel like the organisation gives a damn about them and the kit they work with. If the engine is clean, believe you me they'll treat it with more respect. Some will do the right thing regardless, many won't. Which depot do you think got better performances from its engines and people, Top Shed or Gateshead?

    I've worked in a place where the kit I worked with was allowed to go to rack and ruin because nobody above cared. Even when it was working it looked awful, flaking paint, rust, dirty working environment even when it had been 'cleaned'. Some good people drift away, others who could be good just give up, a few plug on heroically (I won't say which category I fell in, but I'm not there anymore). That's your BR steam organisation in the '60s. Wonderful David Shepherd paintings, of course, but I don't want to see anything on a preserved railway looking like that on a regular basis.

    For road steam owner-drivers it's a bit different of course, they only have to keep themselves happy with its condition. Same with cars and bikes, I'm very particular about the mechanical condition of mine but it is undeniably filthy right now.
     
  20. 34014

    34014 Member

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    For many it's about how we remember things on BR as we grew up. As a kid in Kent in the 50's i witnessed Top Link Loco's mainly in a good clean condition, especially those from 73A where a certain Mr Hardy made sure things were right for the most part. 73B also turned out nice clean Bulleids and Schools etc and even Hither Green (73C) had its 'Pride of ' King Arthur. Freight Loco's were generally not treated so well by the cleaners who were fully occupied most of the time with the Passenger Loco's but i saw a lot of newly painted Freight Loco's on running in turns from overhauls at Ashford Works. Generally; the majority of Loco's stayed well looked after until we lost our steam in June 1961 and most principal types were transferred away to the Central and Western Sections in good order.

    In the following years i visited the Tunbridge Wells-Hastings/Brighton Lines and the Bournemouth Line and after about 1963 things started to get pretty grubby as the run down of steam began across the whole region.

    Personally i like to see a light coating of weathering on principle Loco's once they have been in use for a few days as that's how it was in the main and i like my Model Railways to reflect an image of grubbyness similar to what the railways of the steam age really were like.
     

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