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WW2 locomotive building.

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

  1. LMS2968

    LMS2968 Part of the furniture

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    Yes, Tom, I too have wondered why the GM or Directors didn't take a more active line, but that's how it was. I suppose one issue was, if you get rid of this pair, with whom do you replace them? Someone from the LNWR? The answer proved to be Stanier, who had nothing previously to do with the LMS and so could be seen as neutral.

    There are many books covering the LMS's teething troubles: LMS, a Railway in Retrospect by C Hamilton Ellis (although I'm not a big fan), 1970 Ian Allan SBN 71100048 4. Perhaps better is Locomotive Engineers of the LMS 1991, Patrick Stephens Ltd ISBN 1-85260-142-6. The books from Roland Bond and E Stuart Cox tend to gloss over the internal politics, in my opinion.
     
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  2. Jimc

    Jimc Part of the furniture

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    Oddly the on line bio I found didn't mention the date he moves across, but you're right, I was thinking about the relationship in late Midland days.

    But I think the principle that it would appropriate for Fowler to delegate matters he didn't consider himself expert in still stands. Perhaps the LMS didn't move Anderson sideways far enough. It sounds like an extremely messy situation - which of course it was.
    Lets assume it was appropriate for Fowler to delegate design to Anderson in Midland days. Who would have been the senior man on the Locomotive design side when Fowler was LMS CME. Lemon wasn't a locomotive designer either I understand.
    Reading Cox it seem as if there was no single senior locomotive design man, with separate chief draughtsmen at each drawing office, and also another former chief draughtsman, Symes, in charge of works. It really is a mess, as it would appear Fowler needed an assistant CME who was a locomotive designer and would be regarded as at least the equal of Anderson, and didn't have a candidate.
     
  3. Cartman

    Cartman Member

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    The GWR, in particular, made a fetish out of being different to everyone else. It probably started with the broad gauge, but then moved onto other things, their locos were driven from the opposite side, they insisted on using rods and mechanical linkage on push pull working, when everyone else used pneumatic control, they designed a ratchet brake for wagons, when everyone else used the Morton type brake, and so on. Also, the odd numbering system where the second digit had to be the same, 4300-4399, followed by 5300-5399 etc.

    It extended into the diesel era, everyone else had diesel electrics so they had to have diesel hydraulics.
     
  4. Copper-capped

    Copper-capped Well-Known Member

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    In know it seems to be a commonly held view about the GWR but I don't buy the simplicity of it. The GWR was a successful company - they got a lot of things right. They would have been fully aware of what was happening elsewhere but ignoring it and not feeling a compulsion to implement is two different things. Why change a winning formula?
     
  5. paulhitch

    paulhitch Guest

    I always suspect Cox as having been a leading office politician himself. There is a rather strange comment in one of his books where he says of Fairburn "he loved intrigue" in oddly approving terms.

    PH
     
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  6. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    Far be it from me to defend Swindon's honour, but I don't think much of that is true. For example, in pre-grouping days, some lines had right hand drive (SECR, for example) and others left (LBSCR, amongst others). As for push-pull, there were numerous systems - the LBSCR used compressed air; the LSWR used a cat's cradle of wires and pulleys strung cross the roof; other lines used a vacuum system. As for numbering schemes - well, tell me that the SR scheme for its own locos had any more logic? So there was lots of variety pre-grouping and into the grouping, and the GWR was far from unique in its choices.

    What is significant, though, is that whereas the LMS, LNER and SR all formed more or less as mergers between several near-equal entities, the GWR formed by a number of small lines being added to one that was utterly dominant. That played out over the next decade: whereas the other three all had to make (with varying degrees of success) compromises between different design ideas to come up with a "standard" practice, the GWR could essentially carry on as before, with the small added companies coming into rapid conformance. (For example, on the SR they standardised on 3rd rail electric, but then had a PR job do on the good residents of Brighton, as that decision, while sound in the long term, essentially delayed mainline electrification to Brighton and the South Coast by several years).

    Given that - the GWR pre 1922 was RHD, so why would you go to the expense of changing locos and signal positions post 1923? Whereas, say, on the SR that question was more finely balanced. Even into the 1930s, Maunsell U Boats were being built with right hand drive.

    Tom
     
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  7. 35B

    35B Resident of Nat Pres

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    The question for me is whether the lack of change reflected success, or stagnation. There's a lot of history of once innovative companies stagnating and getting stuck in a rut, rather than continuing to develop anew.

    When it comes to the GWR, and the development of their designs between Grouping and nationalisation, I'm left with the feeling that they were stagnating. Not because I'd like them to have been doing radically new things, but because they kept producing more of basically the same designs.
     
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  8. huochemi

    huochemi Well-Known Member Friend

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    Cox's paper on axleboxes to the ILocoE in 1944 does discuss the 4Fs at some length and notes that various cures were tried, configuration of white metal, point of entry of lubrication, different oil (e.g. cylinder oil), and axleboxes were changed to the later standard design (steel, pressed in brasses, decent underkeeps) but nothing cured the problem, which seemed to boil down to excessive bearing pressure / inadequate bearing surface, which as noted would have required major cost to correct. As Wardale notes, one of the problems of steam engineering was the ready acceptance of the "it's good enough" mentality.
     
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  9. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Part of the furniture

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    Of course while no Swindon devotee, the GWR did get things right enough in most areas.....................
     
  10. Cartman

    Cartman Member

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    I have always thought that the GWR did this. They took a quantum leap forward under Churchward in the early 1900s with locos like the 28xx/ Moguls, Saints etc and were way ahead of the other railways designs. The rest of their locomotive history, up to nationalisation, was just slight modifications of these designs.
     
  11. huochemi

    huochemi Well-Known Member Friend

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    You might add Bonavia's "The Four Great Railways" which covers the management tribulations and motive power development (albeit briefly) at all the big four. Bonavia, an LNER man, was a huge fan of Walker (who Granet tried to get to come back to the LMS, "back" as Walker was of course ex-LNWR).
     
  12. Copper-capped

    Copper-capped Well-Known Member

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    Yes, fair points. It is very hard to imagine Swindon embracing someone like Bulleid that's for sure! On the flip side with respect to loco design, Swindon wasn't pumping out any dud or problematic classes either, (maybe the manors needed some tweaking). I just don't see there was a case for them to do much more.

    P.S if a King was the pinnacle of GWR passenger design then I can sure live with that!
     
  13. GWR Man.

    GWR Man. Well-Known Member

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    You forgot to add the GN/LNER to your list.
     
  14. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    Again ... hasn't @Jimc argued forcefully that the apparent lack of development by Swindon disguised the fact that there was constant iterative development of individual components going on. For example, a 1950 Castle being very different from a 1923 version.

    The key question would then seem to be whether there was a point at which upgrading an existing design was no longer a rational design choice, and something completely new was required, and if so at what point that was in Swindon design history? You might argue that their motive power philosophy was sound at least up to 1939, though possibly not sound in 1950.

    The other point to bear in mind was how many locos of each design were built. The entire SR output of new steam locomotives was I think 259 Maunsell designs (including the 20 Qs built after he retired); and another 180 under Bulleid (including 50 built post-1948), plus a few extensive rebuilds like the D1 / E1 / E1r that essentially resulted in new designs.

    By contrast, the GWR built about the same number just of Kings, Castles and Halls, let alone thousands of other locos.

    So the economic balance between new construction versus more of the same; and between extreme standardisation versus iterative improvement of apparently standard designs, was markedly different across the big four.

    Tom
     
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  15. class8mikado

    class8mikado Well-Known Member

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    On the LMS Langridge is always worth a read in, theres some pretty strongly worded anti-Anderson stuff in McGintys Life and Times of a Duke...
     
  16. LMS2968

    LMS2968 Part of the furniture

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    I think the Chief Draughtsman for most of Fowler's time as CME was Herbert Chambers, but he could not act above the CME. He was in any case a Midland man himself. I don't think Stanier was particularly impressed and he was soon replaced by Tom Coleman.

    As others have stated, the CME's job was mostly managerial. Fowler's remark to a fellow party guest, "I've never designed a locomotive in my life, old boy!" rather summed this up. If it came to that, neither did Stanier (the CMEs had people to do this), but I believe that Nigel Gresley was fond of sitting at a drawing board if ever the chance arose.
     
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  17. Jimc

    Jimc Part of the furniture

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    I suppose the situation was that by the late 1920s the core of the GWR fleet essentially consisted of efficient modern locomotives built to highly consistent standards. Nothing that came later was a radical improvement on what they had. Higher degree superheat and inside Stephensons versus outside Walschaerts valve gear are alternatives that have pros and cons. Judging by Cook's book Collett concentrated on cost of ownership, reliability, time between overhauls and detailed improvements, not on new design. I don't think you can definitively say that was a wrong decision.



    I have a 1958 copy of "the Observers book".
    At that time the WR fleet had only the tiniest handful of pre Churchward revolution designs - a few Dukedogs and some small 0-4-0 and 0-6-0 small tank engines, mostly absorbed. Oh, and City of Truro!
    The Southern must have had some hundreds, mainly tank engines: their tender engines were generally more modern.
    The LMS had even more antiques, including of course hundreds of the Midland 0-6-0s.
    The LNER fleet had a large number of modern design (and large number of designs!) top link locomotives, but an awful lot of older designs on secondary services.
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2017
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  18. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Part of the furniture

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    AFAIK whatever push pull system was in use, it often didn't seem to be connected so by keeping the cheap mechanical system as opposed to the SR one (for example) the GWR was simply looking at the reality of the situation and going for the cheapest option
     
  19. Cartman

    Cartman Member

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    One thing you can say about the GWR is that they didn't build any duds. All their locos from Churchward onwards, with the possible exception of the County class 4-4-0s, were very effective. The LMS (and I am an LMS fan) had a few that were duds, the Austin 7s and Fowler class 3 tanks spring to mind.
     
  20. 35B

    35B Resident of Nat Pres

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    That's a useful clarification on the numbers, and I agree on the economic point. I suspect that's why so many companies ossify after a period of change - it requires a certain amount of energy (not to mention cash) to effect significant rather than incremental change.

    The problem is that there comes a point where too little change will mean that equipment is left behind, and the company vulnerable to being stuck, unable to meet the latest challenges with it's existing kit but also struggling to justify the investment with which to fix things.
     

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