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A question about G.W.R. engines

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

  1. ruddingtonrsh56

    ruddingtonrsh56 Member

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    I'm not sure whether GW locos have more oiling points than a typical loco from another company, but I do know they tended to put more of them out of sight in between the frames (compare a Black 5's exposed valve gear to a Hall's). While this, from a certain perspective, helped the aesthetics, it does make oiling up in the morning more of a faff.

    On the subject of Coal, the GW was built with a reliance on a dependable supply of Welsh coal, and so loco designs were tailored to make the best of the specific characteristics of this specific fuel source. There were cases during WWII and into the 50s where Welsh coal wasn't readily available, and because, say, Yorkshire coal has different characteristics and requires to be fired in a different way to Welsh Coal, it is to be expected that crews who had only ever learned one way of firing would have struggled when factors outside of their control meant that no longer would provide the best results. I know also in the 1948 exchange trials, the King was marked down for its inability to steam well on 'average' Yorkshire (I think) coal, which was deliberately used to try and even out results, but 23 years earlier Pendennis Castle on the same fuel when trialled on the LNER performed fine. Some loco designs were more adaptable than others, for one reason or another.

    I also remember seeing a DVD about Flying Scotsman's operations in the late 90s, where she was very well received by crews on the old Southern Region (who were used to Bulleids), but when given to crews in the West Midlands (who were more used to things like Black 5s and Halls) they struggled to get the best out of it. Crew familiarity can also play a role in locos performance
     
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  2. LMS2968

    LMS2968 Well-Known Member

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    But it was Horwich that was using micrometers at this time.
     
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  3. Steve

    Steve Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    I don't really subscribe to this idea that GW locos were designed to burn Welsh coal. Low and high volatile coals may have different combustion characteristics but, at the end of the day, still required the same amount of air to fully burn and have a similar C.V. . That air supply was driven by the blastpipe arrangement and the only difference between the two was that low volatile coal required proportionally more through the ashpan than the firehole door. However, the proportions are in the control of the fireman. I can understand that the two different coals need different techniques from the fireman and ignorance of this fact can lead to problems but I don't think a loco is particularly suited to one or the other. In my experience, GW locos will generally steam well on hard coals and non-GW locos will generally steam well on soft coals if the right techniques are employed.
     
  4. Copper-capped

    Copper-capped Active Member

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    Calibrated to the nearest half-inch?!! ;)
     
  5. Cartman

    Cartman Active Member

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    Wasn't it E S Cox who said that, on the LMS, just after the grouping, that at Derby the nice little engines were made pets of and not overworked, at Horwich they had gone all scientific and started talking in millimetres or thous, but much of their work was to the nearest half inch, while at Crewe, they didn't care as long as they could rattle along with a decent load.
     
  6. RLinkinS

    RLinkinS New Member

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    N class 1400 to 1406 were RHD, 1407 to 1414 were LHD. It is really strange that they swopped part way through the batch
     
  7. Argus

    Argus New Member

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    When was the last recorded instance of a Great Western loco having a major boiler problem attributed to a common mode failure on a water gauge?
     
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  8. Argus

    Argus New Member

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    Very good.....

    Lamp brackets - Who cares? Wont lose any sleep over that!

    Number prefix - They got what others wanted....

    25" vacuum - more brake force, extra 4" vac gives an equal brake force to an air brake when coupled to MK1/2 coach designed for 21"... Certainly no bad thing.

    Oiling points - No more on a king than a Scot or Jubilee with three sets of valve gear, even more on a Princess with 4 sets of valve gear and a lot more awkward!

    Signals - Same as LNW, what's the issue? Still controlled the safe movement of trains the same as any other signal.
     
  9. bob.meanley

    bob.meanley Member

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    Firstly the original comment by Steve re more to go wrong, that is simply answered by the fact that they need maintaining properly and regularly. As Argus says "when was the last time" the only time that comes to mind was with Yiewsley Grange in the early 60's, surprisingly (?) suffering from poor maintenance at an LMR shed. However the history of boiler problems is littered with low water failures on loco's having two water gauges. Strange isn't it? You might be forced to concede that a statistical risk assessment might conclude that single gauges are safer!
    Bob
     
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  10. bob.meanley

    bob.meanley Member

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    Have to disagree ever so very slightly:-

    25" vacuum actually gives a somewhat greater brake force than either 21"vac or air on BR standard stock. The brake force of air is to all practical extent the same as that for 21" vacuum on such stock, logically by design. The extra 4" of the 25" system gives better brake performance as cylinder stroke increases due to block wear. It is also worth noting that in order to consistently operate with 25 " rather than 21" it is necessary to have better brake equipment, more efficient vacuum ejectors, and that equipment and pipework has to be properly maintained against leakage to ensure correct functioning. The performance of Tyseley's BR stock on 25" vac has long been the subject of favourable comment on the effectiveness of the brakes from main line drivers raisedf on 21" trains.

    Oiling points: some time ago in a rare idle moment we got in a debate about this and took the opportunity to compare a Castle to a Jubilee as we had some standing in the shed. We actually went round and had a count up and to just a little surprise (some out there will however be dismayed!) we discovered that the oiling points on a Jubilee (and hence a Scot) actually slightly exceed the number of such on a Castle. (don't mention a Princess which far exceeds anything the GWR possessed). Can we do anything to stop the uninitiated continually raising this particular oft peddled myth please? Consider it debunked chaps.

    Signals; please add the Mdland railway to the lower quadrant lobby. The truth is that real drivers on the real railway weren't that troubled by them. I think that there still may be a Midland lower quadrant out there on Network Rail amongst upper quadrants, and quite a number of LNW LQ's existed alongside UQ's at Chester until around 1980. If there was anything other than trivial prejudice amongst amateur commentators against them, the HMRI would have banned them long ago. Proper drivers just get on and cope with it. It is part of signing for route knowledge.

    Regards
    Bob
     
  11. Johnb

    Johnb Resident of Nat Pres

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    I know what you mean about the Princesses, back in my youth I learnt that Camden men invariably referred to them as a ' corky Liz'. More oiling points, hence corks than any other LMS loco
     
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  12. Sir Nigel Gresley

    Sir Nigel Gresley Active Member

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    Ketton ?
     
  13. Reading General

    Reading General Part of the furniture

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    maybe it's a case of some needing two gauges because they are more likely to go wrong?
     
  14. Steve

    Steve Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    The BR standards used two GWR style gauges. (Without the tri-cocks, though!)
     
  15. threelinkdave

    threelinkdave Well-Known Member Friend

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    A railway changing from RHD to LHD can have serious repercussions. The SER was a RHD railway and signals were placed / sighted to suit. This included a signal at St Johns Lewisham placed on the right. Even when changed to colour light the original post was used. It was this signal which was passed by the driver of 34066 which caused the Lewisham crash 4/12/57
     
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  16. LMS2968

    LMS2968 Well-Known Member

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    In my experience, and this as a guard on BR, drivers never dropped below 10" of vacuum when braking, and this on 21" stock, so except in emergency conditions I doubt there was much advantage to having 25" available. I've never run with that amount of vacuum, but would suggest that there would be a high risk of wheel slide if braked down to zero inches. This not only induces wheel flats but also increases the braking distance, possibly why air braked stock braking performance conforms with that of 21" vacuum stock.

    In the days of steam, most drivers on ex-LMS lines did drive with their heads outside the cab windows, even on Black Fives,, 8Fs, etc. Thousands of photos show this. The LMS, and LNER / SR, provided cinder glasses to protect the men from the airstream. The reason for this mode of driving was that it gave better forwards visibility, especially across the front of the loco.

    Signals siting and sighting.: from a LHD loco with the signals on the left, they would be visible, barring intervening structures, all the way from first sighting until the cab passed them on straight track or left curves. It was only on right curves were sighting might be difficult and require the driver to cross the footplate to get a better view. This wasn't commonly needed, even then. Of course, exactly the same applied to RH drive with signals placed for that side driving. It was when there was a LHD engine in RH sited signals areas where problems arose, as at Milton in 1955 when 70026 overran several signals and went down the bank. Here the ATC did not prevent the accident, and there were many other sighting issues, all investigated in the report: http://www.railwaysarchive.co.uk/documents/MoT_Milton1955.pdf

    ATC was good, but it was what we would now term a back up system in case the driver failed to sight the distant. The other lines went for the introduction of colour light signals, initially at the distant and later extended area by area. These not only made the signals easier to see but also simplified them, so reducing the possibility of confusion and what we now call SPADs. Ideally, both were needed together, but few Railways could afford the huge outlay in capital, materials and labour that each required, so the provision of both was out of the question. There were surviving lower quadrants on other railways, but unlike the ex-GWR, they were mostly on secondary routes and branch lines. A left over of this was a photo I saw of a HST passing a GWR lower quadrant semaphore, which brought to mind the word, 'quaint'.

    There were many aspects of GWR operation which was better than those of the other three, but the same comment applies also to the LMS, LNER and Southern. Perfection is not achievable by anyone and anything. I don't go in for GWR bashing, but there were things they could have - should have - learned from the others, but didn't.
     
  17. andrewshimmin

    andrewshimmin Active Member

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    Nope, it was D.W.Sandford, in 1946.
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2017
  18. threelinkdave

    threelinkdave Well-Known Member Friend

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    Dont forget the guard on a heritage railway has to have the same route knowledge as the driver as not having any electronic aids they need to check all signals
     
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  19. Jimc

    Jimc Part of the furniture

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    Don't forget the huge advantage of running in fog.

    The GW also considered that their 25" vacuum with the air pump was cheaper to run. I haven't the book handy but I recall Cook writing on the lines that Westinghouse had the lowest running costs, but the GWR system ran it close. The standard 21in vacuum was the most expensive to run, but OTOH the cheapest to build. Westinghouse was the most expensive to build/install.
     
  20. LMS2968

    LMS2968 Well-Known Member

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    Indeed, but that applied to colour lights too.

    The LNWR used pumps (this was a result of a swap of patents with the GWR: the LNWR got vacuum pumps; the GWR got water troughs) and the LMS continued this. Stanier, ex-GWR, had them removed due to high maintenance costs.
     

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