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Best British Locomotive

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

  1. Eightpot

    Eightpot Part of the furniture

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    True, but they suffered from the fabricated crankcases cracking. Can't say I was impressed by them, to get a piston out you had withdraw the liner as well as the conn rod was bigger than the cylinder bore - not easy on a 'Vee' engine. Heads also troublesome to re-fit with shims involved. Always sounded rather 'wuffly' to me, unlike the exhaust crackle from the EE engine.
     
  2. The Saggin' Dragon

    The Saggin' Dragon Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator Friend

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    I worked with similar Mirlees Blackstone diesels on ships, seem to remember pulling pistons through the crankcase :eek:

    Sent from my SM-G900F using Tapatalk
     
  3. 30854

    30854 Well-Known Member

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    Last point first ..... leaving aside personal preferences ..... Stanier's 'best' was something else, but the best?

    Regarding GW complacency, although clearly the product of the Gauge Commission's (slow) death sentence on the broad gauge, the near fossilisation of BG design leaves Collett in the shade!

    In my books, Stroudley's early component standardisation deserves special mention, as does his adoption of Westinghouse brakes whilst most other lines waited until the mounting body count finally forced govenment to act. The Adams bogie deserves a mention too.

    The most significant post-Churchward steam developments (IMO) were: higher degree of superheating (I always think 'Stanier' here), adequate firegrates, driver comfort, corridor tenders (Gresley), roller bearings, rocking grates and self emptying ashpans, ease of maintenance (HG Ivatt), welding, cab ergonomics, boiler design (Bulleid), steam supply circuit, simplified layout (Thompson), reliable exhaust steam injectors, self cleaning smokebox, fireboxes capable of buring old boots (Riddles).

    I'll happily leave the downside list to others!
     
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  4. 8126

    8126 Member

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    A minor quibble perhaps, but I certainly wouldn't suggest Stanier for high-degree superheat; several of the pre-grouping companies used larger superheaters than the GWR, but arguably Gresley was the foremost early exponent of high-degree superheat in this country. Stanier had to be talked into adopting previous LMS standard levels of superheat once his initial preference was found inadequate, so while the brand new Jubilees were tottering around with a mere 14 superheater flues, obsolete Ivatt Atlantics fitted with ever-larger superheaters under Gresley were putting up their finest performances with hot steam from a 32-flue superheater giving more than double the heating surface. Gresley also has a good claim to being one of the first over here to look at opening up the steam circuit, post-Chapelon.
     
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  5. 30854

    30854 Well-Known Member

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    @8126 Your point re: superheat (which I cheerfully concede) rather reinforces my own view that Stanier was open to improvements. If I've perhaps been less fulsome than is due to Gresley, it's down to less knowledge than yours of his work prior to upgrading his pacifics post-exchange trials. Well ..... they do say you learn something new every day!

    Additional to his work picking up on that of Chapelon, I neglected to mention HNG's familiarity with contemporary US practises, though I'd imagine the UK loading gauge put paid to developing all relevant lessons to full advantage. Certainly, the water tube boiler of the W1 would have been easier to engineer had the LNER enjoyed the extra space afforded Baldwin 4-10-2 No.60000 of 1926. Not noticably any more successful than the W1 in original form, the Baldwin oddity survives in the Franklin Institute Science Museum. With only 2 years of trials under it's belt, doubtless in pretty decent condition, though the rebuilt W1 scores on recouping much of it's original costs over a respectable service life!

    Perhaps someone among our number could expand on the legend that elements of the Pennsy K4 pacific (of 1914) influenced Gresley's own design?
     
  6. Hermod

    Hermod New Member

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  7. paulhitch

    paulhitch Part of the furniture

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    Not strictly locomotive relevant but Stroudley was unusually safety conscious for his time. Apart from the air brake there was an emergency alarm which worked and electric lighting of carriages. The L.B.S.C.R. was not the richest railway around and had nearly gone bust shortly before Strooudley's arrival.

    Paul H
     
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  8. The Saggin' Dragon

    The Saggin' Dragon Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator Friend

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  9. Tuska

    Tuska New Member

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    To be fair everyone, I would have nominated the Standard Class 8 as the best designed steam locomotive, had BR not completed botched up her manufacture and performance:

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/BR_Standard_Class_8

    Happily though, they got her running to her true strength and untapped potential. A real life story of Henry the Green Engine. ;)

    Now I like the Great Bear, but didn't she have operational problems in her sheer axle weight? I thought it was so prohibitive she had to be restricted to certain routes.

    I wish it were a success story, or at least preserved and not butchered into a Castle. Imagine GWR Pacific locos running up and down the country with names like "The Great Hippopotamus", "The Great Lion", "The Great Buffalo", "The Great Giraffe" and so on...

    I can see why some dream of GWR Cathedrals. :)
     
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  10. Bill Drewett

    Bill Drewett New Member

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    :D

    I always imagined her as tailor-made for the KESR.
     
  11. 30854

    30854 Well-Known Member

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    I think 'Rocket' might've just pipped the K4 to the post on outside cylinders! Seriously though, outside Walschaerts gear had been in use in the UK since (at least) Avonside's semi-successful single Fairlie of 1878 and was applied by Hunslet to the 2-6-0t design for the Tralee & Dingle in 1889. As No.3 (from the original trio) remained in service until 1959, they can be chalked up as a success.

    Alfred Belpaire was most definitely a Belgian gentleman (add to Egide Walschaerts and King Leopold and you've answered the notorious 'name three famous Belgians' question, though you could do that with athletics' Borlée brothers!) and Churchward was using said engineer's firebox layout over a decade before the K4.
    As the Gresley design utilised a Wootten firebox however.....

    As I'm currently unaware of any UK example, I might be tempted to 'buy' the trailing truck, although the K4 boiler seems to be cited as the influence on Gresley.
    That's my thinking too. A trailing truck on which to sit the wide firebox. It's just the rather oblique reference to the K4 boiler which still niggles.
     
  12. 30854

    30854 Well-Known Member

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    With you on the class 8. It's safe to say 71000's restoration ironed out the niggles which crippled the loco in BR service.

    I suspect you're right about the pacific names too. Sorry GW fans, but the "Halls" namings got a bit tedious. If they'd continued building them ad nauseam, by now "Stuart Hall" would've definitely needed renaming a few years back .... "Hall's Mentholyptus" perhaps?
     
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  13. Tuska

    Tuska New Member

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    I think, the Duke, was deliberately crippled by the incompetence and corruption of the then-BR board. They wanted to discredit steam, and push for the modernisation plan to implement diesel before the technology was even refined.

    Duke shouldn't have just been a prototype, it if they had any sense, would have been the 1st of an entire class, the mainstay of passenger trains across the region. She had an impeccable design, but again BR just weren't interested, and gave her the internals, or standard chimney, of an 0-6-0 Deans Goods if I'm not mistaken? Before Riddles could stop them? That's like expecting an elephant to depend on a heart, meant for a mouse!

    Mr. L.T. Daniels, the representative of the British Caprotti company, knew this, and worked with the trust to correct the corners they had cut when restoring the machine. A happy end, but a little bittersweet when we reflect on this...
     
  14. LMS2968

    LMS2968 Well-Known Member

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    There are a lot of allegations in there which could do with some corroborating evidence.
     
  15. 30854

    30854 Well-Known Member

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    With you on the effects, but as to cause, I tend to lean to cock-up over conspiracy ..... this was British Railways after all! The lack of interest in solving issues was certainly depressing though, but as this was when the early diesels were still mostly an unknown quantity and ahead of the Bulleid rebuilds, which weren't too shabby ......

    Testing time on the Rugby stationary plant seems to have been a limiting factor in the case of quite a few classes regarding possible mods which went by the board.

    72010 should answer several questions when it eventually takes to the rails. Interesting times lie ahead methinks! :)
     
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  16. The Black Hat

    The Black Hat Active Member

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    While I think that a great deal of what you say is right, I do think that one of the greats you missed was Raven. The attention to detail behind the scenes of a simplistic design like Q6 really is impressive, while Q7s were virtually unmatched till 9F. While using steam he had some good designs his use of electric power really did show potential and his designs were years ahead of their time, but still could have been done then.

    I think the standardisation of the NER was matched in ethos in GW, but their evolution in design and testing was brilliant. Stanier did employ this upon moving to the Midland, and there was a period of good designs in latter years. Peppercorn Pacifics followed Thompsons work and testing, ending in a brilliant design. Have to think that Riddles Duke of Gloucester if completed according to plan would have been great and produced performances seen in preservation. So I think some great design practice did return.
     
  17. The Saggin' Dragon

    The Saggin' Dragon Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator Friend

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    Seriously? The BR board specified the chimney design of 71000?
     
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  18. The Black Hat

    The Black Hat Active Member

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    That's not the point. The idea was that an engine change means the design needed work in the early years thus discounting it from a chance of being the best. Problem is that theres so many ways to define this and having one engine based on such broad definitions will produce tons of answers when we don't have a means to narrow it down. Maybe that's part of the fun.

    So do you say that a worn engine is a reason not to count it - like the HST, when some like class 47 and 37 still solider on. Do you think that an engine like Duke of Gloucester has been a design that's grown and developed and still has the potential for brilliance so that should be best? Is it a Raven electric of 1917 as they were years ahead of their time? Is it a simple Peckett that was reliable and did a role most often overlook - or class 66 for revolutionising reliability and performance in a sector that was soon opened up to the pressures of the free market?

    It could be any of them, it could be none. We all have an answer. Maybe that's part of the fun.
     
  19. The Saggin' Dragon

    The Saggin' Dragon Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator Friend

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    Yes indeed it could be any of many, but I am yet to be convinced that there have been that many that provided a huge step change to service provided.
    71000 is a great loco undoubtedly, but is it hugely greater than a 'Duchess', 'A1' or 'Merchant Navy'?
     
  20. 30854

    30854 Well-Known Member

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    Sir V is an engineer I regard as a first rate refiner and implementor of established technologies and his locos certainly vied with Drummond's for robustness, but I always felt his innovative design streak (and main interest) lay in electric traction and consider it a tragedy for our wider rail network that he wasn't given full reign to put his ideas into practice.
     

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