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The Jacobite 2020

Discussion in 'What's Going On' started by NeilL, Jan 7, 2020.

  1. 35B

    35B Resident of Nat Pres

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    Seeing it’s 36 years since they’ve been working the Jacobite, and their pre-preservation working lives were shorter, I’m inclined to forgive them that!


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  2. Sam 60103

    Sam 60103 New Member

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    That’s interesting to hear you say that as I thought a 5 would outperform a k1 all day long. What is the difference between a 5 with 7 on (morning train) and a 5 with 6 on (afternoon train)? Also how do things change if for once the engine is smoke box first out of Mallaig?
     
  3. Apollo12

    Apollo12 New Member

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    With the Mallaig line having many short steep & twisty climbs the K1 with its big cylinders and little wheels give it the edge.

    That extra coach on the morning train makes such a difference both with the added weight and it’s also mostly all Commonwealth bogies which gives a noticeable drag around the sharp curves (in the dry).

    I’ve only done chimney first out of Mallaig at couple of times, it’s the same but different!
     
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  4. Johnb

    Johnb Resident of Nat Pres

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    As the line starts and finishes at sea level in both directions, logically it should br the same. I’ve obviously not driven or even footplated the line but I assume the run back to FW is slightly easier as the four Beasdale tunnels are on the downgrade and most tunnels are damp and slippery
     
  5. Apollo12

    Apollo12 New Member

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    Whichever way the engine faces, the biggest test for the fireman is ‘the Mhuidhe’ which is the climb from Loch Eilt up to the two tunnels. If the engine is chimney first out of Mallaig, when you reach the summit you’re then going down the other side nose first. Basically the fireman needs to be on it otherwise you might be either crawling over the summit or even stopping to ensure you’ve got the water.
     
  6. Johnb

    Johnb Resident of Nat Pres

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    I know back in the day most crews preferred facing upgrade smokebox first so the could keep the crown sheet covered without overfilling the boiler but I suppose the switchback gradients of the Mallaig road makes little difference. On a still day it’s nice to follow the train back from Mallaig, stop at the end of Loch Eilt and listen to it doing that climb
     
  7. Sam 60103

    Sam 60103 New Member

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    Am I right in thinking the K1 is out of ticket at the end of next year? If that is the case is there any prospect of the B1 coming north?
     
  8. Apollo12

    Apollo12 New Member

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    Nope the boiler was out last winter so it’s got years left.
     
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  9. Mike Wylie

    Mike Wylie New Member

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    Yes it should be steam and diesel locos that have an association with the line but just occasionally its nice to see how a stranger would get on, however unlikely. Would only be a bit of fun you know. There are many folk who still don't like the idea of our 47s going but life moves on.
     
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  10. torgormaig

    torgormaig Part of the furniture Friend

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    Just catching up on this thread today. Matt (@Apollo12 ) has said most of what I would say. I certainly agree that the Mhuidhe is a bigger challenge for a fireman that Beasdale - and far more fun if you get it right! It has the advantage when running tender first that you can come out of the tunnels near the top of the climb with the water just showing in the bottom of the glass and know that all will be ok going over the summit. Why would you want to do that you ask? Well to get there you have a big fire on which is suddenly not needed but will carry on producing steam very readily. This can be used to fill the boiler up as you drop down to Glenfinnan station, but you want to avoid overfilling it, so the more room you have to play with the better. The steepest part of the descent into Glenfinnan is on the approach to the station which is where the driver is braking hardest. With the water shifted to the back of the boiler, if it blows off at this point, the chances are that the safety valves will catch the water, which does nothing for the longevity of their springs. This is a bigger problem with the round top boiler of the K1 than it is for the flat top Black 5. Often by the end of the season the K1 can be very erratic about where it blows off on the pressure gauge. But another advantage the K1 has over a 5 is that, although it may be slightly harder to fire, it will still pull heavily when down to less than 170lbs, whereas a 5 becomes noticeably weaker if you drop below 200lbs.

    I often get asked my opinion about the Black 5 vs the K1. On the Mallaig there is no doubt that the latter is the better piece of kit, but the 5 is a far better all round loco as their history shows. The reason that they were not used to Mallaig in the "old" days is two fold. One, they were not needed as there were plenty enough K1s, 2s and 4s around that were better suited. Then towards the end of steam, as the K2s and 4s were retired and 4-6-0s were needed it was the larger wheeled B1 that were used as it was found that they could just fit on the Mallaig turntable which it seems that 5s could not. But the last 35 years have shown that a 5 is a more than adequate tool for the line.

    Peter
     
  11. henrywinskill

    henrywinskill Part of the furniture

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    Excellent post Peter
     
  12. Sam 60103

    Sam 60103 New Member

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    Thank you. It would be nice to see the B1 up at Fort William again though.
     
  13. Sam 60103

    Sam 60103 New Member

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    That must have been the most unsuited engine to have gone up the West Highland Line in the last 35 years. If you would argue that the K1 is the most suited then the hall is the least suited.
     
  14. Johnb

    Johnb Resident of Nat Pres

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    Thanks for taking the time to compile that. Always interesting to get proper information from someone at the sharp end.
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2020
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  15. torgormaig

    torgormaig Part of the furniture Friend

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    I would not want to have it there on a regular basis but it worked easily enough when it was there. It is after all a poor mans Black 5:)

    Peter
     
  16. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    That reason for preferring smokebox first is often given; however as alluded to by @torgormaig, when you are on a line with switchback gradients, when you are smokebox first, everything works against you as you go over the summit. In other words, the driver shuts off and the water falls; the gradient goes from up to down and it falls some more (because it moves to the front of the boiler, away from the firebox); then he puts the brake on and it falls even further (because it surges forward)! The result is you can seemingly have plenty of water on the climb and then suddenly find you have none at all on the downhill. To counter that, you run with a higher level but then have less space to play with if you go over the summit with a really hot fire that will still be generating steam like mad for several minutes but with suddenly much reduced demand.

    I obviously haven't fired the Jacobite route, but I have fired a line with significant changes of gradient (including 1 in 55 up to 1 in 60 down in about an engine length followed a few minutes later by a long stop with a potentially hot fire) and my preference is to go bunker / tender first - sadly most of our engines are the other way round! On several of our locos, the water is always out of sight out of the top of the glass all the way in the uphill direction: if it isn't you know you don't have enough for the descent - but essentially it means the gauge class tells you almost nothing, and your judgement of water level becomes a kind of sixth sense.

    Tom
     
  17. henrywinskill

    henrywinskill Part of the furniture

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    By that will go down well in Copper Top land lol
     
  18. Mike Wylie

    Mike Wylie New Member

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    Bit of a copper capped fan myself having done most of my learning on them at the WSR. I followed 5972 up Beattock in the car the first time it went North. Didn't go very well with a lengthy blow up at Greskine. I did wonder how it faired on Glen Douglas and up the Falloch
     
  19. jonathonag

    jonathonag Well-Known Member

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    As always Matt and Peter, your inputs are well appreciated and good to have some more discussion into the operational side.

    I've always asked about how 45212 compares to the other 5's, being the rocket she is. However, I've meant to ask how 212 compares to the K1? Any views on that?
     
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  20. torgormaig

    torgormaig Part of the furniture Friend

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    Matt will give a more objective answer than I can as I've only ever fired 5212 twice on the 6 coach afternoon train whereas I've done 25 - 30 days a year on the K1 in recent years - always on the 7 coach morning train. The question is a bit like compareing apples and oranges - they are very different locos but both are more than capable of doing the job asked of them. On the Jacobite I personally prefer the K1 as that is the one I know best, but it is always interesting to go out on something different.

    Away from the Jacobite the K1, lets face it, is pretty rubbish. It's got bags of power but no great speed. Ideal for heritage lines where speed is of no import, but the Bleanau Ffestiniog branch apart, it is not an ideal main line loco. Here a Black 5 is way better in every respect.

    I knew Geoff Bird, who was York's last shedmaster, quite well. He always said that the K1 was too powerful for its own good. The only use he had for them were heavy engineers trains and one coach officers specials. He avoided using them on other trains if he could.

    Peter
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2020

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