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Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway

Discussion in 'Narrow Gauge Railways' started by tony51, Apr 10, 2017.

  1. tony51

    tony51 New Member

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    I’d love to see Monarch running, but barring specific help from an eccentric millionaire, I don’t imagine it will ever happen.

    The WLLR operates on limited resources and currently has The Earl and 699/Sir D under overhaul, Joan and 85 out of service in the queue, and I think Countess due in 2021. Sadly, there is not much scope for restoration of an interesting, might be useful or might not be experiment. Then there are the diesels, apparently Chattenden is long overdue for a proper overhaul, and the tamper needs fixing ..... and no passenger revenue ...

    (I’d like to see Dougal back steaming as well, I wonder if Chevallier could ever be made useful, then there’s that group looking to get a Sri Lankan Sentinel railcar ....).
     
  2. weltrol

    weltrol Member Friend

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    If 'Monarch' was converted to oil firing, maybe that would address the ash/fire problem. Could one of the old FfR burners be modified to suit the-marine type firebox, or would more fundamental design changes be needed?
     
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  3. Hirn

    Hirn New Member

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    On the one time I went on the Welshpool and Llanfair - behind the Resita, a radial axle housing for it was in the shed - I was struck by a an apparently very acute gable angle at a summit further on beyond the top of Golfa bank and wondered if going over this had undone the Resita.

    If this did give it trouble I assume it would have been on the middle axles - taking way over their usual share of the load as it went over the top - but it seems to be the end axles of the 0-8-o. that went. They might have gone from the effects bearing down on them as the engine toppled over the crest but they were not standard straight axles bu had the sleeved radial intricacies and the engine may simply have been driven harder than it was in Roumania.

    Not conclusive but someone may know more. Did the springs, which might be equalised, have short lives? And if indeed they went soon was there any pattern to how they went?
     
  4. Hirn

    Hirn New Member

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    There are fundamental problems with a stayless, ciruclar fire box. The basic one is that to get it inside the shell and under the water level there just isn't very much space for - from the bottom: ash etc. that has fallen down from the bars, air in to under them, the grate itself, the fire on it, and importantly volume above everything for final combustion with overfire air. I think firebox volume was the explanation why some late inside cylinder engines with deep fireboxes went so extraordinarily well and it was certainly part
    of the rationale for fitting combustion chambers - which was one of the improvements which the Gresley A4s had over his original Pacifics. While the reactions are quick above
    the fire, they do actually require some brief time and all combustion above the fuel on the grate needs to be over before the tubeplate, in short any flames go out in a tube and
    if they could have burnt longer you waste that and get no further heat. A brick arch helps in several ways but is difficult to get in a firebox like Monarch had.

    I think a good fire man must have made a difference when Monarch went well especially as without the superheater elements there would have been poor heat transfer to the
    sides of the superheater flues at full diameter the beyond the bottle ends. He would have needed I think to keep a thin bright fire, on a rather narrow grate which was possibly
    not at an ideal height and have to be careful not to get fuel over the end of it. There were considerable problems with the early locomotives c.1812 with one flue in the boiler
    and the fire in that to the point where it was standard to refill them with hot water from "kettles". The only way to get them to steam to anything approaching what we would now expect was to sharpen up the blast ruthlessly and accept the funnel would be red hot at the bottom with plenty coming out the top.
     
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  5. 242A1

    242A1 Member

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    The engine is so maligned by those who regrettably have been exposed to those who have shouted the loudest. Those who were able to successfully deal with the engine are worth listening to but unfortunately have been largely drowned out.

    The boiler is seen as a problem but even with a miserably poor exhaust system some crews were able to get it to perform satisfactorily given the railway's requirements at the time. Some couldn't achieve this and blamed the inanimate object, I would suggest that adequate MIC could have dealt with this but these were relatively early days on the line for the preservationists.

    Alan Haigh recommends the consideration of ash tubes, these would link the bottom of the firebox through to the lower part of the outer firebox, tubes for ash to drop out of and air to enter. Having made an all too brief inspection of the engine it appears that though such tubes may be feasible arranging for the safe collection and disposal of the ash may well prove to be more difficult because of the rear bogie and the low set of the boiler.

    You could move and inset the front tubeplate and so shorten the boiler between the tubeplates. The engine is superheated and the fitting of a smokebox regulator on the superheated side of the steam circuit could be seen as a worthwhile modification.

    Remembering that this locomotive was not designed for the WLLR some work would need to be carried out to make it fit for a working purpose on the line as it now stands, it is no accident that the two original engines have proved to be the most suitable for the line. If you were suitably well off some on the railway would like a third Beyer Peacock but suitably modernised, enlarged cab etc etc.

    If you are going to tackle Monarch, and I hope someone does, you would have to come up with a satisfactory plan of action. Below footplate level you would need to check the bogies; you might as well check the valve gear both in terms of well optimised geometry but also in terms of lubrication and while you were there bring valve, piston and associated packings up to best current standard. Below footplate is one thing but the boiler would command the most considered attention. You are going to fit a very good exhaust system that should go without saying but the boiler would demand some serious consideration. According to the gradient profile the engine did manage to get to Sylfaen in the 1970s and in doing so make a transition between a 1 in 33 climb and a 1 in 38 descent and Golfa is 1 in 37 climb at the summit followed by a 1 in 87 descent. Food for thought.
     
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  6. Paulthehitch

    Paulthehitch Member

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    Forgive me but this is pure W..I.B.N. fantasy. For the amount of money needed with, at best, no guarantee of success it would be more to the point to build a third Beyer.
     
  7. JMJR1000

    JMJR1000 Member

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    Just curious, is this THE Paul Hitch, or someone else? I'm sure his account was just Paul Hitch on here, unless my memory's wrong...
     
  8. Paulthehitch

    Paulthehitch Member

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    Had problems connecting up a new computer with old username. Moderators are aware.
     
  9. Richieboy

    Richieboy New Member

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    I quite agree, and one must remember that Coppice Lane, to where you are referring (I assume) at the time and required a stop on the downhill section in order to pick up the fireman following the crossing - making it worst case as well (Braking taking the water forward).

    as I say, really depends on who you talk too. I’d love to see her run quite honestly, maybe one day. Never say never.

    oil firing is also a potential, especially given the investigations into “renewable” fuels like seed oils etc, it may be that from a fire risk perspective and eco perspective that a case could be made in the future. Who knows, just my random thoughts of course.
     
  10. nine elms fan

    nine elms fan Member

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    Damm computers, i bought a replacement a couple of years ago and got frozen out of my PayPal account, i had to rejoin as a new account, very frustrating. :(
     
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  11. SpudUk

    SpudUk Member

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    I was just going to ask about Chevallier - is it still at Welshpool? Stunning looking locomotive, what's the issue there?
     
  12. black5

    black5 Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]
    She was in the shed during the gala last September.
     
  13. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    With regard to Monarch, does anyone know what exactly was proposed when she was at the FR? Was anything serious proposed or even started?
     
  14. 60044

    60044 Member

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    If, as suggested upthread, the boiler could be shortened by moving the front tube plate backwards, could something similar also be done at the front end as well to create a combustion chamber - and would a combsyion chamber be of any benefit to an oil-fired engine?
     
  15. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    No comment on the feasibility of the modification for that particular loco, but in principle a combustion chamber is there to give additional time for the volatiles and air to mix at high temperature before entering the tubes where the gases rapidly cool and quench any further combustion. So in principle a combustion chamber would be of more use on an oil fired loco, where the fuel is all volatiles needing to be burnt in the gas phase.

    Tom
     
  16. 242A1

    242A1 Member

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    Not really WIBN. The stage was reached where some work was required on the engine and it wasn't done. Some more experienced crews could do very well with it however it appears that the noisy less able had their views drown out the voices of the more capable. No way to treat an engine or much else either. If you are looking at costs, one word, "Resita".
    Monarch needed new tubes and new better quality superheater elements, the engine suffered from tube leakage and poor quality elements which were plugged when they failed because there were no replacements. Dial in an exhaust system which was so poor that it created little vacuum in the smokebox and even less draw on the fire.
    Tubes and superheater elements are consumables. It looks very much as though someone decided to wring what they could out of the engine and then move on to the next one when it required some money spent on it. I wonder if the less able crews had some input here.
    Nigel Day could easily have solved the exhaust system issue, after all he worked wonders on the rest of the fleet.
    The firewall in front of the tubeplate needed consideration when firing but some crew members persistently launched coal over the top of it and blocked the tubeplate. What happened to crew training? Or did some just do it on purpose for, well, "reasons"?
    As for not being able to cope with the change in water level due to gradient issues at the top of Golfa, a glance at the gradient profiles plus the stirring of some memories reveals that it coped with some pretty extreme variations in the past.
    So what went wrong?
     
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  17. Paulthehitch

    Paulthehitch Member

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    This is as utterly classic a piece of W.I.B.N. as you get. Great expense for a doubtful end result.
     
  18. ragl

    ragl Member

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    Hear what you're saying Paul and you have continually repeated this for a quite a few years now.......

    However, the Railway Preservation Movement has been an ongoing WIBN since the 1960s, thankfully WIBN happened, many, many times over since then.

    Give thanks to WIBN, it has given you, me and countless others immense pleasure, joy and satisfaction for nearly 70 years; given that highly successful track record, WIBN is not going away anytime soon.

    Cheerz,

    Alan
     
  19. richards

    richards Well-Known Member

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    What would we do without posts claiming "it's not rocket science" or "beyond the wit of man". Anything's possible from a keyboard. It's those pesky short-sighted finance people who stop it happening, and the lack of volunteers who keep being distracted by other unnecessary projects - like maintenance or overhauling proven equipment.
     
  20. Paulthehitch

    Paulthehitch Member

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    In the early days, W.I.B.N. had the excuse that there was no experience and no-one knew any better. Now such experience is around but the same mistakes are being made. Away from locomotive issues other examples are excessive route mileages and "running a public transport service".
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2020
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