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Steam speed records including City of Truro and Mallard

Discussion in 'Steam Traction' started by Courier, Jan 30, 2011.

  1. Hampshire Unit

    Hampshire Unit Well-Known Member Friend

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    True, speed can be used as a marketing tool, but as we have seen in the recent HS2 debacle, where the argument in the public eye was about how much it would cost to knock 20 mins of this journey or that, whereas the real benefits of a dedicated high speed line are the increased capacity released on the existing network as S A C Martin was talking about earlier
     
  2. 35B

    35B Nat Pres stalwart

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    I find it interesting that, aside from occasional spasms of record breaking, peak speed isn't that important. If it were, I'd expect to see a more continuous emphasis on records, as opposed to the very occasional pattern we have seen, usually associated with testing new(ish) traction as engineers try to understand the practical limits of what they've got.

    On the other hand, reductions in journey time do sell - though given the way that those journey times later creep back up, I suspect that the practical economics are quite finely balanced. Hence regular London/Edinburgh journey times have never stabilised around 4 hours but stayed higher so as to absorb the traffic.
     
  3. 30567

    30567 Part of the furniture Friend

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    A couple of comments.

    If your market is Liv St to Chingford or Vic to Purley then frequency and reliability dominate. If we consider London to Edinburgh, then journey time and sensible dep/arr times are important. There are threshold effects too--- arguably the biggest step change in practice was the eight coach Deltic trains bringing Leeds and Newcastle to comfortable out and back in a day to/from London. I can recall the groans when the 7.30 from Leeds was headed by a 47---that's 20 mins lost before we've started the day.......

    On line capacity, it's important not to map today's problems on to 1938 conditions. Imagine trying to create paths today for hourly non-stops from Newcastle/Darlington and Leeds/Wakefield to KX at 140 mph-- target say 1hr 40 from Leeds and 2hr 30 from Newcastle. Probably that would involve making significant sacrifices elsewhere. Back then, I suspect there was more scope for manoevre because quite a lot of capacity will have been taken by non time sensitive traffic, there were far more loops available etc. So creating 75mph running speed paths might have been ok on the plain line, though my recollection is that there were often problems getting through Doncaster, York and other pinchpoints.

    Leaving aside the LNER's failure to predict WW2 (!), was the Silver Jubilee a commercial success? I think that's an interesting but demanding question. Given what we know now about generalised journey time which is in the Passenger Demand Forecasting Handbook, I wonder if it might be possible to back project the parameter values on to 1938 (or 1963 Deltic or 1978 HST) conditions to help assess the demand side of the business case. That's leaving aside the streamline/nose cone/sparks effect type of impact referred to above.
     
  4. MellishR

    MellishR Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    That is the first I have heard of the 130 mph idea. Where did you find it? What do you make of it?
     
  5. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    It's quite well known actually, 130mph was always the intended record to aim for with the A4 Pacifics. The discussions in the board minutes in the 1930s mention 130mph as an aspiration, not an absolute, for the future speeding up of services. I am convinced by the evidence available that the LNER saw a lot of merit in increasing high speed services beyond the three trains they ended up introducing.

    I don't think Gresley or the LNER were intending to have steam locomotives running at 130mph, but a streamlined train running at 130mph in the future, where possible: yes it was discussed.

    I don't believe, for the record, that they would have achieved anything like 130mph in everyday use, without significant changes to the infrastructure: so electrification of the mainlines was necessary, plus continuously welded rail and changes to the cant of the curves (super elevation), colour light signalling throughout, braking technology changes, and more.

    However, they were heading in the right direction in multiple aspects. The LMS were ahead in the track technology I feel.
     
  6. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    A couple of thoughts / questions about high speed rail.

    What was the first train that needed to run at 130mph (or at least 125 …) as a routine operational matter to meet its defined schedule? In the UK, was that the Inter City 125 - did anything previous need that level of regular performance?

    What about in other countries? Was the Shinkansen the first genuinely high speed train?

    Track and signals - has any service in the UK needed that level of performance while also needing to run on steam-era infrastructure, i.e. jointed rail / semaphore signalling?

    Tom
     
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  7. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    Need? I don't know. But it is clear pre WW2 that the LNER and LMS were both starting to think differently about the "railway". The questions that will arise from my research are likely to be around the tone of whether they were heading towards high speed rail or high speed trains on a hybrid system.

    Truthfully I do not know but I am enjoying learning about them. I have spent the last few weeks reading on French developments.

    It depends on whether you class a high speed train as a unit running on a segregated service or a train running at speeds higher than the rest of a mixed traffic railway. I think you could make a case for it being the first true "high speed train" if we define high speed railways as segregated from the existing infrastructure. If not, then you have a range of (significantly slower) trains that are "high speed" when compared to the trains around them.

    I think the point being made Tom is that they were aspiring to improve the infrastructure of the railway to eventually attain improved services.
     
  8. Hermod

    Hermod Member

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    Gresley cherry picked happy moments from roll.
    He was either not wery well schooled in mechanics or sorry for having run slower than 05 002.
    This was no reason to doubt the German claim.
    I have just ordered the 05 book from Gottwald for 5 € plus 6€ postage,that have a picture of raw data I hope.
    ISBN 978-3882551143
    Price indicates that Steam Enthousiasts are a dying breed.
    Hurry up gentlemen or world will never know the thruth of Mallards wild ride.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2023
  9. Enterprise

    Enterprise Part of the furniture

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    In the 1930s what would have been the advantage of CWR over jointed track. If properly maintained, would traditional jointed track be safe for speeds around 130mph?
     
  10. 35B

    35B Nat Pres stalwart

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    As important, could traditional jointed track have coped with the hammering it would have received? And would the trains have stood up to those repeated impacts?
     
  11. LMS2968

    LMS2968 Part of the furniture

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    I think you might have to justify that and I suggest you will struggle to do so. Nigel Gresley was a very gifted mechanical engineer in all senses, especially but not just steam locomotives.
     
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  12. Jimc

    Jimc Part of the furniture

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    I rather think that all speed records consist of cherry picked happy moments!
     
  13. Hermod

    Hermod Member

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    Aeroplanes are the bane of highspeed rail more than anything else.
    The latest short trip Airbusses with wings from UK uses around 16 gram fuel per km per person fully loaded.
    In Denmark the crossover point for highspeed trains is around 220km per hour and a lot of water that makes rail journy longer.
    Britain also imports lots of electricity and more high speed rail will only sharpen that.
     
  14. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    Gresley emphatically did not. Gresley was not involved in the decision making for the run's claims.

    He supported the 125mph claim, and 126mph was the revised record by post war, when the dynamometer roll was then looked at more closely.

    If anything, you could argue the on-board team "cherry picked happy moments" and to be fair, they took five second intervals on the section of high speed and measured the average speeds. So that is, accepted, a form of data selection.

    But that's kind of the point, you are looking at the data and trying to prove something with it. The German team in fact did the same thing, albeit they had more data to work with.

    (A side note - although the 05 ran for longer at the higher speeds, Mallard's data is on a technical level "more accurate" - the dynamometer car was modified prior to the run to double the length of the paper roll, so effectively halving the inaccuracy by way of measurement of the recorded data).

    In short, no to all of those questions, and that's large;y why CWR was developed (together with resilience of the railway).

    I think (though I need to check with my track colleagues) but there is an upper speed limit applied on jointed track in this country today by way of the railway group standards.
     
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  15. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    Absolutely agree.
     
  16. Hermod

    Hermod Member

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    I suggest You make a power in /power out describtion of the last two miles from the quoted speeds from roll five second averages.
    If You succed it is a great way of supporting Mallard glory,and if not its useless that I try to convince.
    Are the speeds given here acceptable for believers?
     
  17. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    Frustratingly you are making the same basic error that Mr Andrews did. You are taking the milepost marks (91, 92 etc) and you are using that part of the data instead of the automatically added quarter, half, three quarter and full mile measurements.

    Which is part of the problem with not being able to share the roll online visually - you sort of have to describe why the data doesn’t quite match up.
     
  18. LMS2968

    LMS2968 Part of the furniture

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    Personally, I'm not interested in the speed record claim; it was the general comment casting aspersions on the engineering abilities of great CME. And my user name should show where my allegiances lie and provide evidence of any lack of bias here.

    If you are going to cast derogatory comments about a great man, it's your job to justify them; there is more than enough evidence of his abilities that I don't need to elaborate on them.
     
  19. Ross Buchanan

    Ross Buchanan New Member

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    Why don't YOU make a 'power in /power out description of the last two miles from the quoted speeds from roll five second averages'?
    You are trying to prove a point- do the work yourself. Don't expect someone else to do your research for you to prove a point that they already disagree with.
    Can I also suggest that you stop attempts at humour on this forum. Whilst your English is technically extremely good, your choice of words for what I take to be attempted humour is often crass and insulting, and wins you no credit.
     
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  20. Big Al

    Big Al Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

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    On a related matter that arguably concerns us rather more than what happened before we were all borne, can I digress slightly?

    The mix of fast and slow trains on the same track is an interesting one. Steam charters are rather a pain as they are speed limited to 75, (mostly) and cause quite a problem on the ECML and WCML if they end up on the fast line - hence the fact that they often spend time in loops. By contrast they can trundle along on the slow line amongst semi-fast/stopping services and in the process can actually sustain quite a pace. I recently ran down the slow on the ECML for 40 minutes unchecked at pace simply because our speed was compatible with a service train that made a few stops en route. Sadly what often happens is that the steam charter is put behind a stopper, spends its time catching up the train ahead and in the process wastes fuel and steam but of course doesn't delay the train ahead. Were the planners able to set realistic schedules that ran the non stop charter ahead of the stopper then life would be better all round, not that this would be favoured in a risk averse and delay attribution world. That said, when trust prevails the optimum can happen.

    I recall returning from Nottingham with Tornado when we took water at Grantham in the down loop. There was a problem over water and we lost our path. What followed was, it transpired, a really sensible discussion between the DB Cargo crew and the signaller over how long they could guarantee that the train could take from Grantham to its booked slow line switch at Huntingdon. There were, of course, easy options such as running down Stoke on the slow line and threading our way onwards but this wasn't ideal. So despite setting off 30 late and 'on a promise', we ran fast line down Stoke that was rare then and even more so now. We first hit 75 at Corby Glen and that is (roughly) where the speed remained for half an hour until we dropped below 70 after Leys Summit before turning off. Booked 57 minutes from Grantham to Huntingdon; took 43.5 and continued on the slow to our drop off at Stevenage running the 77.8 miles in 77 minutes. Jim Clarke in charge and now only 10 late. Four late into KGX. Remarkable but brilliant and cooperative regulation of the train, plus some pretty fine driving as well - 77 through Peterborough.
     
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