If you register, you can do a lot more. And become an active part of our growing community. You'll have access to hidden forums, and enjoy the ability of replying and starting conversations.

WW2 locomotive building.

Discussion in 'Steam Traction' started by Eightpot, May 26, 2017.

  1. John Stewart

    John Stewart Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2011
    Messages:
    4,206
    Likes Received:
    2,070
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Hilton, Derby
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    The Midland got plenty of stick over its "small engine policy" but in my view its least excusable failing was the perpetuation of its standard inadequate axleboxes, even to the point of their being installed in the Beyer-Garratts.
     
    30854 and LMS2968 like this.
  2. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2008
    Messages:
    20,122
    Likes Received:
    35,983
    Location:
    215
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Probably not.

    Firstly, the one undoubtedly outstanding feature of the Q1 was an excellent steam-raising boiler. But that's not really what you need for a shunting engine where minimising standby losses in important for a loco that may spend lots of time standing inactive, interspersed with short periods of maximum output. (Look at the choice of boiler of the Maunsell Z tank to see just how carefully Maunsell thought about that issue). Then you've got the issue of carrying perhaps two tons of coal and 7 or 8 tons of water, plus associated metalwork for the tanks and bunker, on a six-wheeled loco already weighing 51 tons - and that's before you consider where you would actually put the tank.

    In short - the Q1 was an excellent goods loco, but that doesn't automatically mean that it would form the basis of an excellent anything else.

    Tom
     
    Wenlock and LMS2968 like this.
  3. LMS2968

    LMS2968 Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2006
    Messages:
    2,544
    Likes Received:
    3,431
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Lecturer retired: Archivist of Stanier Mogul Fund
    Location:
    Wigan
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Indeed. The small Midland locos worked well on the Midland; it was when their use was extended elsewhere that problems arose. And, as discussed on another thread, the axleboxes were 'standard', so could not be replaced by others more suitable to the greater piston thrusts which later locos could exert.
     
  4. Jimc

    Jimc Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2005
    Messages:
    3,162
    Likes Received:
    2,879
    Occupation:
    Once computers, now part time writer I suppose.
    Location:
    SE England
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    I think that overstates the case. Just because a component is standardised it doesn't preclude you from superseding it with an improved design, but it does mean that once you have the improved design you have fixed an awful lot of locomotives.

    You have to excuse me quoting GW examples only, since that's what I've been studying for this book I've been writing, but take GW standard 3,500 and 4,000 gallon tenders. From 1890 to 1950 they had the same major underframe dimensions. I've got access to the registers showing the drawing numbers for the major components, and over that period there were, I reckon on a quick scan, six designs of frames, six arrangements of spring gear (plus at least one more only seen on repaired tenders) and four designs of axle box, and at no time were they all changed at the same time, so they must have been reasonably interchangeable. And when it comes to preserved tenders we see a spectacular variety of different design components from when tenders got large and small repairs, so while it would be exaggerating to say no two are the same, there is considerable variation in minor detail. We have at least four surviving frame designs for example, and many tenders with either different frames or different tank to that they were built with. In some cases both appear to have changed, and there's at least one case where two preserved tenders are reasonably entitled to carry the same number!

    I don't know if the 4F axleboxes were improved over their lives, but with all the advances that were made with lubrication on the 20s and 30s they certainly should have been, and if they were they should have been able to roll an improved design right round the fleet fairly quickly if it were advantageous to do so.
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2017
  5. 30854

    30854 Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2017
    Messages:
    5,811
    Likes Received:
    5,931
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Brighton&Hove
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    AIUI the LMSR Garrats would've benefitted from being left to the expertise of the Gorton D.O across the board. The antiquated steam circuit was as inadequate as the bearings.

    Just a few months after these locos were turned out, BP were given an outline brief by SAR/ZASM, left to get on with design detail without interference and produced the superb 4-8-2+2-8-4 GL class, having nearly twice the 'grunt', achieved with a 2.5ton lower axle load!
     
    John Stewart and 8126 like this.
  6. 8126

    8126 Member

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2014
    Messages:
    720
    Likes Received:
    764
    Gender:
    Male
    While I'm sure others will know this better, my understanding is that the problem with the 4F axlebox was that the bearing surface simply wasn't big enough and no amount of detail fiddling was going to solve this. When further applied to locos like the 7F 0-8-0, the results were predictable. Any solution would probably have needed larger diameter journals, since you can't exactly go inwards for longer journals on a design with big inside cylinders. So then you need new boxes, new axles, bigger horn gaps in the frames, new hornblocks or horncheeks, maybe new stretchers etc. Suddenly the solution can't easily be rolled out interchangeably across the fleet.

    Adrian Tester has written a lengthy defence of the 4F in general, in which he covers axleboxes at length, suggesting that the problem was the LMS economising on whitemetal specifications. This may well have been true, but having your general purpose goods design dependent on expensive grades of whitemetal strikes me as a poor economic choice - maybe for a Pacific, but a 4F?

    The Royal Scots also developed axlebox trouble due to deterioration over a period of several years, due to the detail design of the box. This could be and was solved with a re-designed axlebox in the Stanier era, because fundamentally the axlebox was big enough for the design loads.

    Regarding the previous comment, I agree entirely on the magnificence of the GL. Arguably one of the finest designs built in this country full stop.
     
  7. Hermod

    Hermod New Member

    Joined:
    May 6, 2017
    Messages:
    666
    Likes Received:
    180
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Klitmoeller,Denmark
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    A possible solution could have been to put cylinders closer together and put valve gear outside.It will also save lubrication oil.
     
  8. LMS2968

    LMS2968 Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2006
    Messages:
    2,544
    Likes Received:
    3,431
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Lecturer retired: Archivist of Stanier Mogul Fund
    Location:
    Wigan
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    The Midland axleboxes were 'standard' and duly appeared on the first 4F in 1911, and all others that followed. It was, up to 1923, reliable, but this was because of the strict loading limits imposed by that Railway on all its locos. From the Grouping, the 4F itself became 'standard' across the LMS, and the other constituents had no such loading limits. It was then that the problems, which had been dormant up to that point, raised their heads, and the 4F axleboxes then proved to be only marginal on an engine of this size. So too was the steaming, not apparent previously as neither engine nor boiler had been particularly stretched. The later bigger classes, the Garratts and Austin Sevens, got these axleboxes simply because they were 'standard'; there was no other reason. Likewise the Garratts (and Class 3 tanks) were fitted with short lap short travel valves which badly hindered their performance, in the Garratts' case most notably their coal consumption. The strange thing here was the inconsistency: Horwich had produced the Crab with long lap long travel valves and Derby itself the Class 4 tanks. We can but presume that one end of the Drawing Office wasn't talking to the other.

    Hermod, while admitting that your solution might well have been effective, the expense of new cylinders, axles, axleboxes and all valve gear would have been huge and probably justified a replacement engine, and since these were fairly new machines, that wasn't an option.
     
  9. Jimc

    Jimc Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2005
    Messages:
    3,162
    Likes Received:
    2,879
    Occupation:
    Once computers, now part time writer I suppose.
    Location:
    SE England
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    The trouble I have with that point of view is that if the original design was marginal at that size then, unless that original design was faultless, improved lubrication and other detail design will provide an improvement in service life. There does seem to have been a tendency in the industry towards an acceptance of failures though.
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2017
  10. LMS2968

    LMS2968 Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2006
    Messages:
    2,544
    Likes Received:
    3,431
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Lecturer retired: Archivist of Stanier Mogul Fund
    Location:
    Wigan
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    As I said in Post #28, they were designed for smaller locos, and even on the 4Fs were alright in the mollycoddled days of the Midland, so the DO wasn't aware that there was a problem until after the Grouping, so was quite happy to keep using them on ever bigger locos.

    You need to understand James Anderson's attitude here. He had been Deputy CME of the Midland and was Acting CME during the war years while Fowler was away working on Government service. He was imbued with the MR spirit (in a similar way to Swindon's people) and that there was no improvement possible, moreover he had been personally responsible for the introduction of many of the detail fittings. Admitting that there was any fault or a better way of doing things was anathema to him. He made decisions which were properly the CME's (Fowler's) but the latter did not have the moral courage to stand up to him. Had Fowler been fully in charge his department - as he should have been - then design would almost certainly have moved forward: the 4-6-2 Compound on which he was working comes to mind. But Anderson, not Fowler, arranged the Launceston Castle trials which effectively killed it.
     
    John Stewart likes this.
  11. Cartman

    Cartman Member

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2015
    Messages:
    1,026
    Likes Received:
    729
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Cheshire
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    Another query is why were 4Fs still being built until 1941 when the last batch was turned out, with no attempt made to correct their faults? I remember talking to an ex Stockport Edgeley man a while ago who described them as "crap!" although, Edgeley, being an ex LNWR shed would not be keen on anything Midland. He did say that they also occasionally got some of the Johnson/Deeley 3Fs and rated those as better.
     
  12. LMS2968

    LMS2968 Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2006
    Messages:
    2,544
    Likes Received:
    3,431
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Lecturer retired: Archivist of Stanier Mogul Fund
    Location:
    Wigan
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Something which tends to be forgotten about the 4Fs: they did the job. Something else could have done it better, but it did the job intended. Having said that, there had been attempts to design something better but they came to nought; I think that there were issues of weights which proved difficult to resolve. One idea was to take the tanks off a Class 4 2-6-4T, but again that didn't work out. More locos were urgently needed in 1941, and without anything better available, more 4Fs were built. Space constraints between the frames mitigated against major improvements and fitting wider axleboxes would have brought its own issues. But as said, they worked and did their job and were at work for some 55 years.

    It was the Ivatt Class 4s which were the eventual replacement, but not in huge numbers and many of them finding employment away from ex-LMS lines, so there was obviously no major need to replace them.
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2017
    John Stewart, ssk2400 and Cartman like this.
  13. Cartman

    Cartman Member

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2015
    Messages:
    1,026
    Likes Received:
    729
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Cheshire
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    Yes, true about the Ivatt class 4s, quite a lot of them went to the Eastern, the M & G N became strongly associated with them
     
  14. Jimc

    Jimc Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2005
    Messages:
    3,162
    Likes Received:
    2,879
    Occupation:
    Once computers, now part time writer I suppose.
    Location:
    SE England
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    I think that's a bit unfair. The CME was the head of a huge business organisation, and locomotive design was only a very small part of his responsibilities, and no-one can be good at everything. I believe Fowler never claimed to be an expert steam locomotive designer, so it would be entirely proper for him to delegate responsibility in that area to an immediate subordinate who was - or maybe should have been. If Anderson wasn't up to the job then that should have been spotted and moved sideways - as he eventually was I suppose.

    I don't know about you, but in my field I was always more expert in technical matters than my senior management, and I would have been extremely unimpressed if they'd overidden my *technical* decisions rather than confine themselves to business matters in which I certainly considered them to be more expert than I. Decisions where both overlap are always fruitful areas for disagreement of course [grin].
     
    jnc and andrewshimmin like this.
  15. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2015
    Messages:
    6,614
    Likes Received:
    4,851
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Thorn in my managers side
    Location:
    72
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    David Wardale pointed out, quite rightly IMHO that the Steam Locomotives biggest weakness was its designers and operators...................
     
    30854 likes this.
  16. 30854

    30854 Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2017
    Messages:
    5,811
    Likes Received:
    5,931
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Brighton&Hove
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    Two of Folwer's 3F Jinties (LMS Nos 7456 & 7553 - respectively Bagnall 1926 & Hunslet 1928) were shipped, regauged - of course, to the NCC (as Nos 18/19) in 1944. They lasted until 1959(18) & 1963(19). William Scott records in Locomotives of the LMS NCC that although adequate as shunters, their use on Carrickfergus local services revealed issues with hot bearings, noting lubrication problems.

    These issues must have been evident quite early on, and it all suggests that Derby stuck with an outmoded and inadequate bearing spec from Mr Johnson's day for too long. Occam's Razor would seem to indicate that the tenets of standardisation, applied to the subsequent 4F design, meant that in reality, the LMS had simply 'painted themselves into a corner'. However anyone defends this decision, it must have increased maintenance costs. In any event, since when did a status of 'adequate' constitute a ringing endorsement?
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2017
  17. LMS2968

    LMS2968 Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2006
    Messages:
    2,544
    Likes Received:
    3,431
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Lecturer retired: Archivist of Stanier Mogul Fund
    Location:
    Wigan
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    What your forgetting, Jim, is that Anderson, in LMS days, wasn't part of the CME department at all and he had no business interfering with design issues. His responsibility was motive power, i.e. the sheds and also shed maintenance came under his department, but design was very much the prerogative of the CME. I quite agree that it was only one part of his duties, and these varied with the Railway and even the time period within a particular railway, but design, of rolling stock as well as locomotives, was always a CME responsibility. With Anderson joining in as well, that responsibility became split, never a good omen.

    That the LMS Locomotive departments were in a mess prior to Stanier's arrival is beyond doubt; it was why he was brought in. And when you get down to it, the responsibility for this mess lay mostly with Anderson and the split leadership. Fowler was not the man to take him on, and was eventually 'booted upstairs' to make room for someone who would take charge, which was Ernest Lemon. But he was soon also moved upstairs, in his case due to the death of a Director, and Hartley, the Director in charge of Research (and under whose leadership Fowler moved) cast the net outside the LMS, so Stanier was head hunted from the GWR.

    But Anderson had left the CME Department before the Grouping; design was no longer within his remit, but he refused to let go.
     
    35B likes this.
  18. 30854

    30854 Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2017
    Messages:
    5,811
    Likes Received:
    5,931
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Brighton&Hove
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    ..... adding "sometimes over-cautious and occasionally truculent Civil Engineers" to Mr.Wardale's list!
     
    pete2hogs likes this.
  19. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2008
    Messages:
    20,122
    Likes Received:
    35,983
    Location:
    215
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    What you are describing is essentially a long-running battle between two senior officers, to the detriment of the whole organisation. But in that case, doesn't some of the responsibility for the mess belong with the General Manager for not getting a grip on his sub-ordinates sooner?

    Again, it's instructive to look at how HA Walker dealt with the painful aftermath of the Sevenoaks disaster in a manner that avoided what must have been the potential for the working relationship between the CME and the Civil Engineer to break down.

    Tom
     
    pete2hogs and 35B like this.
  20. Steve

    Steve Part of the furniture Friend

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2006
    Messages:
    10,249
    Likes Received:
    6,657
    Occupation:
    Gentleman of leisure, nowadays
    Location:
    Near Leeds
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    The Midland and the GWR were very similar in this respect. Both thought that their way was best and largely ignored what was happening elsewhere.
     
    John Stewart, paulhitch and Cartman like this.

Share This Page