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WW2 locomotive building.

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

  1. andrewshimmin

    andrewshimmin Well-Known Member

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    I know Anderson gets a very bad press, but let's be even handed.
    At the Midland, he had been in charge of operations at a very well operated, efficient and well-run railway. His ideas about frequent lighter trains were right - it just took decades for some lines to catch on to it! The engines he ordered on the Midland were perfectly adequate and compared very well with other company's engines.
    On the LMS, he may well have over-reached himself (compared to other companies' ways of doing things) and he seems to have stuck to standard components well beyond their sensible application. In doing so, he led the LMS into trouble - although not quite the crisis it is sometimes portrayed as. Everyone got where they needed to go any the company didn't go bust!
     
  2. pete2hogs

    pete2hogs Member

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    I don't think you are right about the buckeyes. I seem to recall buckeyes were standard for mainline coaches at least, but as you say that's another discussion.
     
  3. Jimc

    Jimc Part of the furniture

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    Buckeye couplings and Pullman gangways...
    There was a joint trial across LMS and GWR which reported in early 1946. I've got a photo of the summary that was presented to the GW loco committee December '46 in front of me.

    The GW fitted up 45 vehicles with buckeye couplings for a trial, and their joint conclusion seems to have been that of the claimed advantages
    1) reduced maintenance - no reduction could be confirmed
    2) Safety to shunters - as shunters still had to go between buffers to connect vacuum and steam pipes they considered automatic coupling of marginal advantage
    3 & 4) Telescoping and breaking loose - claimed that this was already being dealt with with improved drawgear and steel components.

    the GWR didn't like the increased weight, and also felt that mismatched stock would be detrimental to timekeeping during the changeover period.

    I'll summarise the conclusions as "not worth the trouble". Whether they were right or wrong I don't think I'm expert enough to judge.
     
  4. LesterBrown

    LesterBrown Member

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    Didn't Collett build sets of steel 70 footers for South Wales services in the mid 20s with buckeye or similar couplings (IIRC the side buffers hinged down rather than slid back in as on Mk 1s).

    As regards the persistence of right hand drive it should be remembered that even Gresley's A1s were built right hand drive. Presumably there was less concern about forward visibility past the boiler on GWR locos with their smaller diameter smokeboxes.

    When Hawksworth did introduce improved non standard design features into his Counties I get the impression that their reception was more along the lines of 'why are they different' rather than 'what a great improvement' since once wartime restrictions on construction were eased new building reverted to modified Halls and Castles.
     
  5. LMS2968

    LMS2968 Part of the furniture

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    There is much in what you say, and I've already said that Midland locos were right for Midland practices. But even there he was stuck in the past: in the late 19020s there was a perceived need for some further suburban tanks; his solution went back to a 19th Century design. It was modernised externally and introduced in 1932, but it was still 19th Century technology.

    Nor was his 'light trains and often' a universal solution, as was found out on the Western Division. It requires a greater degree of track occupation and more paths than were available, and the whole system had to be abandoned and revision made to fewer heavy workings. Unfortunately, he had by then flooded the system with Compounds to work all these light trains which no longer existed. As a result, the LMS was stuck with a lot of engines for which it had no real use (the Compounds worked compound only at long periods of full regulator, which didn't normally happen on secondary passenger turns); and the large engines which were really needed didn't exist. This resulted in the panic trials of the Castle in 1926 and the Royal Scots the following year. The Garratts were another example, where 'standard' Midland fittings were imposed on them by Anderson against the recommendations of the builders, so 33 huge and expensive machines eked out a living consuming coal and axleboxes in huge amounts, where similar engines elsewhere worked competently and economically.

    The thing is, and I say this again, design was not part of Anderson's responsibilities and he had no right to interfere with it, but it was his interference which was the root cause of the LMS's woes in its first ten years. Whatever position he had held prior and during World War I, he wasn't there then. He had no interest in developing design practice, apparently on the basis of 'if it worked then, it will work now'. This isn't an uncommon viewpoint among operators, and that's what in LMS days he was. He was not and should not have been involved in design, but instead virtually dictated it. Had he been a good and progressive engineer, this would have been bad enough, but he didn't fit into that category. The LMS might have worked, and didn't go bust, but it spent a lot of money needlessly, money which could have been better spend elsewhere.
     
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  6. Jimc

    Jimc Part of the furniture

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    Yes but...
    Think you need to see it from his point of view. The senior executives need to be working together as a team, and it was certainly not in anyone's interests for the running department to be presented with a fleet of unsuitable, marginally capable and expensive to maintain locomotives to run their services. He was a professional trained locomotive engineer, even if that wasn't his job title, and it seems to me there was no other locomotive engineer at that level. So taking a very deep involvement was not unreasonable. I think it can fairly be argued that the big problem wasn't his involvement. I suggest that the problem was that it appears that he wasn't nearly as good as he thought he was, and so in the absence of a better senior engineer the result was that he bore a great share of the responsibility for the LMS ending up with a fleet of unsuitable, marginally capable and expensive to maintain locomotives. Deeply ironic really. It seems to me that the board should have recognised the weakness sooner than they did and recruited from outside earlier. Mind you, who should they have got in?
     
  7. Courier

    Courier New Member

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    Everything should be reduced to three questions: How did it affect safety, how did it affect profitability, how did it affect the passenger experience.

    Better to spend money on changing cabs to l/h drive (thus moving controls and affecting safe operation), changing signals to upper quadrant or better to invest in ATC? (By the way, exactly how many lives have been lost due to lower quadrant signals?)

    How would safety, profitability, customer satisfaction have improved with outside valve gear. (Did railways with outside valve gear have less staff per miles run? - I doubt it) - Conversely look of the benefit of decent bearing design on the GW - or decent regulator design (the secret to starting without slipping) - both of which were absent on other railways.

    Note the maligned inside valve gear is highlighted because it is a visible design feature to the enthusiast - not because it is important.
     
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  8. paulhitch

    paulhitch Guest

    Some of this is fair comment, other bits, notably the defence of inside valve gear, reactionary stuff worthy, dare it be said, of James Anderson himself.

    PH
     
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  9. Copper-capped

    Copper-capped Well-Known Member

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    What a rediculous statement in the light of @Courier 's post regarding safety, profitability and customer satisfaction. It matters not one bit whether the GWR used inside, outside or upside-down valve gear. It worked for their business model.

    Read his last sentence again. You fulfilled that prophecy nicely.
     
  10. paulhitch

    paulhitch Guest

    That, forgive me, is a true gricer's response. Unless you remove things which are a cause of un-necessary difficulty in everyday maintenance tasks, your costs, arising from the need to employ more people than would have have been needed had the arrangements been more straightforward are increased. Not only are you competing with other forms of transport for business but with other types of employment for your labour force. No U.K. railways addressed this well but the G.W.R. were worst.

    PH
     
  11. clinker

    clinker New Member

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    Shades of both the British Car and Motorcycle industries.
     
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  12. LMS2968

    LMS2968 Part of the furniture

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    Which was what he gave them.

    Not so. There were three Drawing Offices in England alone, not to mention St Rollox, all employing skilled and experienced draughtsmen. The production of the Ctabs and Class 4 Tanks proved what could be done with existing staff.

    That's rather like the Sales Manager at a motor manufacturer sitting down at the board (or keyboard) and telling the design team, "We know what sells." Unfortunately, as you yourself point out, he didn't and wasn't up to the job that wasn't his but which he usurped.

    Possibly, but such a major reorganisation as the Grouping was bound to show up anomalies and it would take time for things to settle. It was seven years after that even that Fowler was removed, and only four following his appointment. Strictly speaking, Anderson wasn't the problem, it was Fowler's inability to deal with him, something developed from pre-Grouping days. But Stanier soon showed it could be done.
     
  13. 45045

    45045 New Member

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    How did the WD 2-8-0/2-10-0 compare with the S160s? Performance, ride, ease of use, economy, reliability etc. ?
     
  14. Jimc

    Jimc Part of the furniture

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    You do have to identify what costs are increased though.

    The GWR clearly had no objection to outside Walschaerts valve gear where there was a clear need, there were the railmotors in 1903 and the VoR 2-6-2s in 1923, the latter being a case where they took a design with outside Stephensons and deliberately altered it to Walschaerts.

    We also know that outside Walschaerts was seriously considered for the Counties - preliminary design sketches exist - and also that the 1500s with outside valve gear seem to have been *designed* before the inside cylinder and gear 9400s.

    In the light of that, a blanket statement that the choice of inside valve gear was purely a reactionary thing seems to have little supporting evidence. They must have had good reasons - or at least reasons that seemed good at the time.

    I don't know what they are, but I note that locomotive preparation, for instance, was a piece work task with a time allowance, so not much potential for real savings there unless you can negotiate altered rates with the unions.

    In the case of the 4 cylinder locomotives I've tried drawing up outside valve gear on the Castle and as far as I can see, and of course I'm not a locomotive designer, it doesn't work unless the designer is prepared to accept one or more of
    - unpredictable valve timing due to expansion of the outside valve spindle
    - individual sets of valve gear for inside and outside cylinders
    - fundamental redesigning the whole relationship between cylinders and wheels.
    Such reasons are presumably why the Stanier Princesses had 4 sets of valve gear, and two sets only had to wait until the Duchess which does indeed have the whole relationship between cylinders and wheels reworked..

    The same is true of increased superheat. It brings disadvantages as well as advantages. The LMS had no choice but to accept the disadvantages because they couldn't get the Stanier boilers to steam properly without. The GWR had no such problem - Cox, for example, records how in the 1926 exchange Launceston Castle steamed completely satisfactorily on Yorkshire coal.

    For any decision with pros and cons you have to know all the factors, otherwise you are just guessing, often from prejudices. As I've asked before, is anyone in a position to know at what date the GWR should have adopted high superheat? In 1909, Churchward decided that high degree superheat brought too many lubrication issues, and adopted moderate superheat, whilst other CMEs, reduced boiler pressure or suffered valve problems. Difficult to say he was wrong. In 1943 Hawkesworth started installing high superheat again, one assumes accepting the disadvantages because he felt the advantages now outweighed them. Presumably there was a date in between when it was right to make the change, but I bet no-one has any way of knowing when it was.
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2017
  15. LMS2968

    LMS2968 Part of the furniture

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    Just a minor correction: high degree superheat would not increase steam raising capacity, quite the opposite, in fact. Heat taken to superheat steam already evaporated in the boiler cannot be used to evaporate more steam, and many a saturated boiler was a prolific steam raiser. But the low degree superheat did exaggerate the problems when steam pressure was insufficient.

    The reasons for the poor steaming of the 5XPs was due to poor tube and flue ratios and incorrect chimney and blastpipe dimensions. But the testing to cure the steaming did show up the problems - for the LMS - of low-degree superheat. Even after these tests, though, most Stanier locos received only 21 elememnt superheaters, which could not be regarded as more than moderate.
     
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  16. Jimc

    Jimc Part of the furniture

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    Not disagreeing with any of that.

    But of course not every draughtsman is a future executive, and the problem Fowler was facing, from what I gather reading Cox, was firstly to recognise that his former right hand man and senior draughtsman/designer was wrong, wrong, wrong on locomotive design, difficult to do if you're not an expert yourself, and secondly to identify which senior draughtsman he should be promoting into a post where he could be in charge of locomotive design to overrule the over-detailed requirements coming from Anderson. We also seen time and again that there was a definite tendency for the railways management to accept things they should have realised were inadequate.

    It was all much easier for Stanier, firstly because he was an acknowledged locomotive specialist on the same organisation level as Anderson, and secondly because he'd been brought in specifically because things were in a mess.

    So while its fair to say that it was Fowler's responsibility (with the board) to get locomotive design on a better footing, I think its also fair to say that the situation he was in, and the personalities they had to deal with, made it an extraordinarily difficult task. George Ivatt, who one could argue with hindsight might have been the best choice as a locomotive assistant to Fowler, was probably still too young and in need of more management experience before he was ready for the role.
     
  17. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    That's a good point.

    Worth remembering that even on a tremendously progressive railway like the SR ;) that favoured simple, outside-cylinder, outside valve gear designs for its new construction, very few locos actually had outside valve gear - by 1938, it would only have been about 10% of the total stock.

    Also well made.

    I looked up the theoretical gain in efficiency from superheating. In theory, for a given 200psi boiler, adding 200F of superheat could give about 16% increase in cylinder efficiency relative to having no superheating. But that is very much a theoretical figure based on analysis of the thermodynamic properties of steam at different pressures and temperatures: the actual real-world gain would be less, in part on account of the fact that superheaters only really work at their optimum after a period of continuous operation. The difference then between different degrees of superheat would therefore be rather small: certainly within the levels that you would want to be factoring in any other cost increases (of which lubrication is a significant issue) before making decision about the optimum temperature rise to aim for.

    Tom
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2017
  18. paulhitch

    paulhitch Guest

    PH
     

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  19. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    Certainly one of your more gnomic utterances ...

    Tom
     
  20. paulhitch

    paulhitch Guest

    Click on "expand and my comments are in bold. A not particularly successful experiment but it can be deciphered.

    Incidentally I omitted to refer to the late Bert Perryman's description of superheater oil in his youth at Brighton Works as being so viscous that it would not flow freely when in an open container held upside down, Lube oil technology did not stand still as fanboys of a certain West Country establishment sometimes would have us believe.

    PH
     

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