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Best British Locomotive

Discussion in 'Steam Traction' started by Hermod, May 12, 2017.

  1. LMS2968

    LMS2968 Well-Known Member

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    To quote D.K. Brown (warship designer): Engineering design is the use of scientific principles, technical information and imagination in the definition of a structure, machine or system to perform specified functions with the maximum economy and efficiency (my italics).

    By the way, I used to teach design principles at degree level, and there are many ways that the 9Fs' design can be faulted, as with every other locomotive.
     
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  2. ross

    ross New Member

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    One Deltic managed 2,000,000 miles in 12 years of service. The highest recorded service mileage was, I believe, about 2 1/2 million. They were pampered, and frequently unreliable.

    Mundane and commonplace the HST's may be, most have racked up well over 10 million miles in almost 40 years of front line service. Seeing as they were meant to be a stopgap until the APT arrived, they've done pretty well. I wonder if Mr Hopwood's new Hitachis will last so long. The Adelantes didn't cut it, did they.
    The HSTs, in my opinion, are like Terry Wogan. Love 'em or hate 'em- anything that stays at the top of its game for 40 years deserves serious respect
     
  3. ross

    ross New Member

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    Mind you, is 20 301 still working for Direct Rail Services? Built December 1959, and still working last year at 57 years old, certainly makes those Deltics look like a flash in the pan. Almost as durable as a steam loco
     
  4. Cartman

    Cartman Member

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    Deltic’s were a small specialised class for one duty, the East coast main line, and after they were displaced by HSTs there was no obvious need to keep a small specialist fleet, they occasionally appeared on a Liverpool to York/Newcastle workings in their last year or so.

    9Fs were intended for fast, fitted freight workings, rather than general goods duties, but those jobs, such as liner trains appeared a few years later and they were diesel hauled from the outset, by 47s and the 9Fs ended up on the same jobs as 8Fs, WDs etc, which they weren’t intended for
     
  5. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Resident of Nat Pres

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    I was broadly limiting myself to locos I have driven and / or fired, which narrows the field a bit, having not had that pleasure on the T9.

    "Best" is always going to be difficult if you just start playing top trumps on size and power: how do you compare, say, Stephenson's Rocket and a BR Standard? Only one of them changed the course of history.

    So with that in mind, my justification for the H is to think what is important in a locomotive. For a driver, the power to do the rostered job with a bit in reserve. For the fireman, a free-steaming boiler that is well matched to the cylinders. For both of them, a comfortable cab and well-laid out controls. To the shed foremen, high reliability, knowing the loco will always be available when needed to do the job. To the company directors, a long service life for the capital investment. On all of those measures the H class did an excellent job. I was looking at the mileages the other day: of the 66 locos in the class, all went well past 1,000,000 miles; almost half of them went past 1,500,000 and three of them went past 2,000,000, over working lives of typically 50 years or so. Those are figures to keep the Directors happy, and would be near impossible without high reliability for the shed foremen. The loco rides well, the cab is comfortable, the steam reverser keeps the workload down when shunting and the boiler steams freely. Some locos - especially older ones - are enjoyable because of the challenges or a certain characterful quirkiness. Whereas for the H, it is enjoyable because it is almost free from vices: just a good, solid, dependable, powerful, free-steaming bit of all round quality.

    Tom
     
  6. Eightpot

    Eightpot Part of the furniture

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    During my time at Finsbury Park I saw two Deltics where a rod came through an upper crankcase cover. With bits of metal and oils splattered about something of a mess to clean up, to say nothing of the engine itself.
     
  7. Eightpot

    Eightpot Part of the furniture

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    Can't entirely agree with that. New England 35A (Peterborough) had a number new to replace WD 2-8-0s.
     
  8. Reading General

    Reading General Part of the furniture

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    i can't agree either, if that were the case they'd have been 9MT not 9F.

    There were far too many of them for them to have been intended only for fast fitted freights, of which there were comparatively few
     
  9. ross

    ross New Member

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    Wasn't that because the fast fitted freights, for which the 9Fs were planned, never materialised? Serious money was spent on marshalling yards for this traffic which simply never materialised.
     
  10. Reading General

    Reading General Part of the furniture

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    I don't think the yards were built just for this traffic and they operated for some years until freight traffic dwindled and block trains took over
     
  11. LesterBrown

    LesterBrown Member

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    Why all this discussion about 9Fs when it's so obvious that Castles were the best steam locos? :)
     
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  12. Copper-capped

    Copper-capped Active Member

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    Certainly very Wogan-like!

     
  13. MellishR

    MellishR Part of the furniture Friend

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    Best for whom? I was speaking the other day to a chap who has fired Tornado. Keeping that huge grate fed while the loco pulls a heavy train up a bank is extremely hard work and he did not enjoy it. It was bad enough in the days when firemen got used to doing it day after day, and it can be worse if you only do it occasionally.
     
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  14. MellishR

    MellishR Part of the furniture Friend

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  15. class8mikado

    class8mikado Well-Known Member

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    Ok, well I think the 9f is a really good machine at what it was designed for and surprisingly good at things it wasn't... but would have been a better all round locomotive as a 2-8-2..
    But surely the answer is the Stanier Black 5. You hook it up, pulls everything, doesn't break down, end of... By the time they'd made 800 the examples were even better... so now we can have a discussion about which Stanier black 5 was best - valve gear ?whether a double chimney made any difference ? and the pros and cons of roller bearings etc
     
  16. The Saggin' Dragon

    The Saggin' Dragon Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator Friend

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    Applying that logic, doesn't that make the BR Std5 4-6-0 even better? :)
     
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  17. GWR4707

    GWR4707 Part of the furniture

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    It is also in the most recent SR.
     
  18. Copper-capped

    Copper-capped Active Member

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    ....and they also come in green?
     
  19. class8mikado

    class8mikado Well-Known Member

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    better tenders at least. Isnt it basically the same ? .... in my op. would have been better all round with slightly smaller rather than larger wheels... and not painted green.
     
  20. The Saggin' Dragon

    The Saggin' Dragon Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator Friend

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    It seemed to have the reputation of being a much freer-running loco, with no loss of haulage power ... depending upon who you asked of course.
     

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