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Steam speed records including City of Truro and Mallard

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

  1. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Nat Pres stalwart

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    1936?
     
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  2. GWR4707

    GWR4707 Nat Pres stalwart

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    Whatever was or wasn't achieved, you always know that things were afoot in GWR running when G H Flewellen was involved!
     
  3. Big Al

    Big Al Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

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    Lovely... What's a difference of two in the dates when we are into a similar range with the speed!

    Yes - a fair cop on that one.
     
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  4. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    I think it may only have been a sustained 1935.1 ...

    Tom
     
  5. Jimc

    Jimc Part of the furniture

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    I suggest that to call it a properly authenticated record it should have been timed and verified in association with a suitable independant body, and achieved on level track without gravity assistance...
     
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  6. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    On a serious note, I do think there’s been a real and obvious overlooking of basic facts in write ups on the 05 002 vers 4468 scenario.
    You physically can’t check the 05 002 data.

    The missing time stamps are the biggest blow to all of this, and the graphs we have for the run have to be interpreted carefully. But they’re emphatically secondary evidence, not primary.

    The 05 002 graphs available are not of a good enough quality to conduct the level of analysis that some have claimed they have done.

    The question is, is this enough to disprove it? No, of course not, but we do now have to be careful in how we look at the 05 002 claim.

    The thing is, the highest recorded speed was 200.4kph (124.5mph), which is below the 125mph initially claimed by the LNER team. The 124.5mph was not a sustained speed, either:

    IMG_0538.png

    That little flick at the top of the graph? That purports to be 200.4kph. This is a hand trace from a man after the event, examining a dynamometer roll, which we don’t have and therefore cannot validate his work for scrutiny.

    So in short, those claiming 05 002 was faster than Mallard don’t have enough primary evidence to back up that claim.

    The gradient questions are salient for both but in both cases we have issues, one slightly uphill and the other slightly downhill. In Mallard’s case, how much assistance did the gradients give? In the 05 002’s case we have to prove that a short consist train with a powerful locomotive accelerated up a very slight incline to its top claimed speed.

    Overall, Mallard has the primary evidence base to confirm beyond all reasonable doubt that 125mph was achieved, and that takes the record regardless.
     
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  7. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    That’s one of the points I make in relation to all of the speed run claims in the paper.

    There is undoubtedly more of a “Wild West” in terms of claiming speed records for railways than with the land, water and air records of the 20th century, much of which I think is due to the infrastructure. There is no test track for this sort of thing nor a long enough stretch of level gradient matching the conditions of those other industries. So it becomes a case of accepting the limitations of railways in relation to this.

    (Sorry Jim, I fell asleep before responding last night. Also my apologies, I said 130mph saint again…!)
     
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  8. 30567

    30567 Part of the furniture Friend

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    Or. if you had had a good model, level track equivalent? I still want to know what Mallard's speed was worth in lte.

    If you insist on level track in the sense of no gravity advantage, where are we looking? Tollerton, Sonning, Bushey?

    What is the record on level track?
     
  9. Big Al

    Big Al Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

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    And that I reckon is the 'bottom line' in this debate that I am prepared to bet is where the NRM would stand were someone at the museum brave enough to join in the discussion and express a view.
     
  10. Miff

    Miff Part of the furniture Friend

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    Is there any suitable bit of level track, long enough for today's speeds, anywhere? :) And what about curves? In the real world any 'rules' would need to take account of what is physically possible on the railways where speed-contenders could actually be tested.

    The reason such rules were applied to (non-railway) land-speed records was because, up until about 1970, there was so much competition to beat the latest record that it became necessary to develop a strict framework in order to avoid disputes. And, compared to a railway, it wasn't so difficult to find a suitable location for a long and flat test track. Since 1970 there has been little competition for a top-speed record (the current record was set 26 years ago) either because interest has waned, or because it's so bloody expensive to develop a suitable vehicle.

    In contrast I see no need for rules of that kind in the railway context, and it's of no help in evaluating historic claims. At the time of these claims there was little or no dispute amongst the companies and engineers involved.

    For railway top-speed records there was never any serious competition, therefore no need for an independent body to develop and supervise the rules - and nobody wanting to pay for it. Point to point journey-time & haulage capabilities were always far more important to the commercial and social needs of the railway. Therefore I see no justifiable reason why 'actual' top speeds, even briefly on a gradient, shouldn't be accepted as 'records' if they can pass the kind of technical scrutiny @S.A.C. Martin proposes.

    Otherwise there have never been any railway top-speed records and this entire thread is moot. Perhaps it should be :)
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2024
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  11. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    I think this is probably the record for a manned rail vehicle - about 640mph:



    If you are prepared for unmanned vehicles, you can get up above Mach 8 - in the region of 6,500 mph.



    They both meet the @Jimc test of "on level track" but fail the FIA test of "twice within an hour in opposite directions".

    Being slightly serious - Col Stapp was a brave man in pursuit of a worthy research objective.

    I wonder if it is (a) standard gauge and (b) they are prepared to hire it out? ;)



    Tom
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2024
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  12. Copper-capped

    Copper-capped Part of the furniture

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    Are you thinking “lady of legend” light engine with safety valves screaming? At least we could then definitively rule that one out! (Or in…:D)
     
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  13. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    I think what we should be identifying is that speed records on the railways have to be analysed carefully and then put into their proper context by way of an evidence based approach with some modelling required to explain the probable true outcomes.

    Railways are the outlier in this regard, compared to other industries in having no formal basis for officiating speed record runs.
     
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  14. Spinner

    Spinner Member

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    You want a section of track that is straight and level? Bring your locomotives to the Nullabor plain, there's a straight section of track that is reasonably level for what may be enough length.
     
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  15. Big Al

    Big Al Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

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    Maybe so but don't forget that the Rail Performance Society undertakes several detailed logging sessions to inform scheduling and timekeeping on the network. As I understand it that is sometimes work that is done for the industry to inform train planning. So whilst there are no official speed trials (and why should there be?) there is quite a lot of data out there. And are we forgetting the Bittern and Tornado speed runs?

    As for the query as to whether our network has any generally level track of significant length I thought that about 180 years ago a pretty decent stretch was opened out of London going westwards! :rolleyes:
     
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  16. 30567

    30567 Part of the furniture Friend

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    So, to rephrase my questions, (a) where exactly did Tornado do the ton and can the four miles downhill to MP 200 at 1 in 750 be disregarded (b) if so, is Tornado's 100.6mph the highest authenticated speed on level track?

    Very little of Brunel's railway is actually level but mostly the ruling gradients are less than 1 in 1000 as far as Didcot.
     
  17. Big Al

    Big Al Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

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    I'll settle for 1 in 1000 as level and if it was ok for Brunel then it's ok by me!

    As for Tornado, I think this was around Thirsk that is level and I also recall it was a 'last chance' attempt when the crew was pressed to stretch the loco, arguably against their better judgement but given that the owner reps were on the footplate, who can argue?

    I mention in passing that high speeds at Thirsk were pretty common. A Merchant Navy managed 90 in 1966 after only passing Croft Spa at 60 following checks in the Darlington area. And that, by all accounts, was from a NER crew who sadly didn't have the finer skills of working a MN so this was a constrained maximum.
     
  18. 30567

    30567 Part of the furniture Friend

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    I think Tornado's ton was more like Tollerton or even Beningbrough. The video by Tom Ingall mentions a TSR at Thirsk. They were definitely in the last chance saloon.
     
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  19. The Green Howards

    The Green Howards Nat Pres stalwart

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    Pity we'll never see the likes of that again, especially after The Ebor Flyer debacle.
     
  20. Hermod

    Hermod Member

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    An educated guess on powers involved in Tornado fast run is given message 139 this thread
     

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