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A question about G.W.R. engines

Discussion in 'Steam Traction' started by 240P15, Dec 11, 2017.

  1. 240P15

    240P15 Well-Known Member

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    It seems to be a lot more right hand driven locomotives in the UK than I suspected. Thanks for all information! :)

    If you see outside the UK i suppose it was more common to have only RHD or LHD locos in each country and not both versions(?)

    I`m not an expert, but know that left hand driven steam locomotives (outside U.K) were used in : France, Belgium, Italy(?) and Sweden (maybe more)
    Right hand driven locos were used in the U.S ,Germany, Denmark, Norway, Spain and the mostly one in eastern-europe

    kind regards

    Knut
     
  2. Reading General

    Reading General Well-Known Member

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    I always understood that it was the signal siting that determined the driver's position.
     
  3. 240P15

    240P15 Well-Known Member

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    I also think so.
     
  4. Johnb

    Johnb Resident of Nat Pres

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    So what knowledge of the West Highland line have you got? That wasn't meant seriously, I know you have fired over the route on many more occasssions than I've had pints in the Grog. I stand corrected, I just seem to remember reading it somewhere, obviously senility creeping on.
     
  5. 1472

    1472 Well-Known Member

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    Signal sighting is easy enough on level straight track with no bridges. Its another matter on lines with plenty of curvature as found in places like the west of England, parts of Wales and plenty of other places. The reality in steam days was that seeing the signals was a matter of route knowledge with the driver constantly observing and the fireman giving particular attention in more difficult locations.
     
  6. Steve

    Steve Part of the furniture Friend

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    A significant number of major pre grouping railways had right hand drive locos (Midland & NER, GNR are just a few) but others, such as the LNW & L & Y were left hand. After the grouping, the LMS, & LNER changed to left hand after starting out with right hand drive. Not sure about the situation with the railways of the deep south.
     
  7. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    A mixed picture:

    LBSCR - Left Hand Drive
    SER - Right Hand Drive
    LCDR - I believe RHD, certainly by the later period
    SE&CR - RHD (both Wainwright and Maunsell)
    LSWR - There was a swap from RHD in the Adams era to LHD by Urie's time (though for new locos only; I'm not aware that any originally RHD locos were ever converted). The switchover seems to have been made by Drummond, whose locos for the LSWR were I believe entirely (or at least primarily) left hand drive.

    Maunsell's new designs for the SR were primarily LHD; however, the moguls which originated on the SE&CR continued for a while to be built RHD in SR days, including the U class which were a new SR design.

    Tom
     
  8. andrewshimmin

    andrewshimmin Well-Known Member

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    I think LHD was one of those matters of Drummond dogma imposed on whatever railway they worked on regardless of previous practice... Certainly Peter caused consternation on the G&SW by swapping the driver's side.
    As far as I can see, it really doesn't matter which side the driver is, so long as the locos and signals are designed to suit one another.
    It must have made things rather difficult when they were switched, or after grouping when locos moved into previously foreign turf.
    It's an example of where standardisation isn't worth doing partially: unless you convert all of your locos and signals overnight, or have a fairly ruthless scrap and build policy, standardising on LHD or RHD when you've inherited a mixed bag isn't really helping anyone.
     
  9. 8126

    8126 Member

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    The Southern had at least two classes where you'd have to know your number series well. I believe of the Moguls only the last batch of the N class were LHD. The W class 2-6-4Ts were amusingly counter-intuitive; the Eastleigh batch were RHD and the Ashford batch LHD, but the Eastleigh batch were built first from components supplied by Ashford, which explains that oddity.

    The LNER also built group standard N7s with LHD, even though the GER originals were RHD. I suspect the LHD engines were more popular, if only because you weren't going to get one with long-lap valves that was RHD.

    Some drivers had rather strong opinions on the matter; Norman McKillop, coming from the staunchly LHD North British, had it down as one of the few things he didn't like about the NER Z class Atlantics (the steam reverser and its mysterious ways being another), even when he was working over NER metals. In fact, I seem to remember he described the: "Our signals are sited to be viewed from the right hand side," argument as 'baloney,' but that particular book is a long way from me at the moment.
     
  10. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    It's a point I'd never really thought much about until now, but taking the LSWR case: Adams was well regarded on the LSWR, and his locomotives were widely seen by the running staff as effective machines. Drummond then came in and changed to LHD - it's the kind of change that could easily have led to a flare up of feeling against the new broom, yet AFAIK, for all his faults, I've never come across anything that suggests that the change led to much in the way of tensions - compare the situation on the NER when Alexander McDonnell seemed to get more or less run out of town for having the temerity to introduce a leading bogie on a passenger engine.

    Tom
     
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  11. weltrol

    weltrol Member

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    The Ffestiniog has always run right hand through loops. Indeed if you look at Linda and Blanche (ex Penrhyn), they were RHD until converted to LHD to match the FfR ( and Mr Garraway's) ideals...
     
  12. LesterBrown

    LesterBrown Member

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    Are the double Fairlies RHD or LHD. then?
     
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  13. bob.meanley

    bob.meanley Member

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    There cannot be any sensible reason why the great majority of the world drives on the wrong side of the road. I was always led to believe that it has something to do with sneaky Frnech cavalry tactics passing on the wrong side of an omcoming attacker - apparently down to Napoleon!
    Bob
     
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  14. LMS2968

    LMS2968 Part of the furniture

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    Armies marched on the left side of the road; that way, should they meet the opposing army coming the other way they met right hand (sword hand) to right hand.

    I can't swear to this: I wasn't there at the time!
     
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  15. weltrol

    weltrol Member

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    As running on theFfr, uphill to Blaenau, the driver is on the left
     
  16. Forestpines

    Forestpines Well-Known Member

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    Depends which way they're going!

    The Ffestiniog hasn't always consistently used right-hand running, incidentally. Penrhyn loop (when it existed) used left-hand running, and Tanygrisiau did from 1998 to 2010 (getting my dates from Festipedia here).
     
  17. bob.meanley

    bob.meanley Member

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    Nothing like an oft repeated piece of anti GWR rubbish is there?

    A quick look at the BR stock at nationalisation reveals some apparently interesting facts with the LMS handing over well in excess of 2000 right hand drive engines, and it appears that the LNER had round about the same number as the GWR, maybe even more? This would provide a nice cosy evening's research for one of our number-crunching friends. I have not looked at the museum collection forming the Southern's contribution to BR, but suspect that the final RH drive result might be GWR 3900, the rest 6500 or thereabouts. So rather than being different to everybody else the GWR appears to be not too far out of step after all.

    One of the other myths spouted is signal sighting, and I rather suspect that many of its proponents have never actually been fortunate enough to be in a situation where they have had to sight signals from large modern main line loco's. If you go to the extreme of something like a Coronation pacific, you are effectively looking out along a 35 foot wall and you can no more see signals from the left side on a right hand bend than you can from the right side on a left hand bend. Most railways seem to have similar numbers of right and left hand bends and it is thus apparent that during the course of a journey, you are pretty well equally disadvantaged whichever side you choose. With smaller engines it becomes much easier to see round the front of the loco on bends, and most signals on left hand bends can be seen up to within 50 yards or so from the drivers position on a Hall for instance, until they appear to be passing the chimney. By the time that you get to a Pannier tank ( or a Jinty for that matter) it ceases to be any sirt of problem at all. Perhaps the greatest issue is with ground signals or position lights in running lines, but if you have got the distant you should have these at clear anway, and this only becomes an issue when shunting. Obviously the Great Western was wise enough to adopt Automatic Train Control and develop it long before other companies did, and this was of considerable assistance in signal sighting (whichever side drivers were on) particularly in poor visibility conditions. You only have to consider Charfield, Castle Cary, Lichfield, Polesworth, Ecclefechan and worst of all Harrow and Wealdstone to see just how many distant signals were missed by drivers on left hand drive engines/railways leading to serious collisions, and the agregate toll of these human tragedies far exceeds that of the Great Western during the period concerned. The moral of this of course is that the important factor in all of this is the introduction of ATC, AWS and TPWS, and that with such systems in operation the human factors and risks in signal sightings are greatly diminished whatever side of the cab is adopted.

    It is perhaps worth mentioning that on the LMS after the recent introduction of 6220 and its very close escape from ending up on its side on the approach to Crewe station during its press run, in the days immediately afterwards a very serious correspondence broke out from their signal engineer A F Bound questioning whether drivers actually realised their ability to judge braking distances due to the ease with which such "modern" engines ran up to very high speed. One of the suggestions allied to a project to provide colour light distants at all block sections between Euston and Crewe was to fit the recently invented Hudd ATC to all of the new pacifics and to provide all distant signals with permanent magnet inductors only in the first instance to provide early audible warning of the approach to distant signals without at first involving the further complication of signal aspect indication from electro magnets. Distant signals at that time were positioned at sighting distances suitable for stopping at the respective home signal from speeds of 70 mph, but what is obvious is that even on a left hand drive railway there was still considerable concern over the ability to miss distant signals with large modern left hand drive locos and the next twenty yeasr would prove the concerns to be well founded.

    So no more repetitive rubbish about the GWR and right hand drive please, there are far too many people with no real experience repeating the mantra.

    Regards
    Bob
     
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  18. Johnb

    Johnb Resident of Nat Pres

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    Correct, the story is that Napoleon ordered his troops not to demean themselves by marching in the footprints of the British and switch to the right which then became the norm throughout France and eventually Europe but not in Sweden until, I believe the 70s. The first traffic laws in the US were in New Orleans obviously from French immigrants.
    About a third of the world drives on the left, basically all of the old British Empire with the exception of Canada along with Japan. One reason why the Japanese found it so easy to infiltrate our car market without having to make any alterations to production.
     
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  19. Ploughman

    Ploughman Well-Known Member

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    Bob
    Did you notice the Smiley?
    I know nothing about Steam Locos but in a lot of cases the GWR did things differently to everybody else.
    From a Loco point of view Most other companies went down the Diesel Electric road.
    GW - Hydraulic.
    Chairs on sleepers.
    Most other companies used screws to fasten the chair to a sleeper.
    GW Through bolts that are the most awkward to remove or maintain.

    Can you supply any other instances?
     
  20. Reading General

    Reading General Well-Known Member

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    actually it was BR(WR) that went for hydraulic, GWR went for Gas Turbine.(and diesel mechanical units)
     
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