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Chapelon and related Matters

Discussion in 'Steam Traction' started by Big Al, Oct 25, 2023.

  1. RAB3L

    RAB3L Member

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    The 141Rs were very hard on the track and were limited to 100kmh whereas the 141Ps, being 4-clinder, could run at up to 125kmh. So the latter were preferred for faster work. One of the advantages that the 141Rs had was that a large number of them were oil-fired; they therefore needed less labour to operate. Most of the 141Rs at the end of steam in France were oil-fired. There are only three surviving 141R charbon, one being 141R73, a one time resident of the UK, although it is now a source of spare parts; all the remainder are oil-fired. There's only one 141R charbon in the whole of France. It should be noted that the 141Ps were new, not rebuilds. Their frames were 35mm thick, against the 28mm of the 141C/D/E/Fs that they were roughly modelled on. Their low pressure cylinders were placed inside the frames, unlike the 141C/D/E/F.
     
  2. RAB3L

    RAB3L Member

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    Built/Rebuilt/Modified:

    231 Est 051 à 073 23
    231 PO 3701 à 3731 31
    231 Nord 3.1111 à 3.1130 et 3.1171 à 3.1198 48 (Second batch new)
    141P SNCF 318 (New)
    240A/240P 37
    160A1 1
    242A1 1
    142 GELSA 66
    242 GELSA 24
    141R 165
    241P 35

    Influenced:

    150 Nord 5.1201 à 5.1230 30
    150P 115
    État 231-501 to 231-783 215
    231 PLM 2 à 86 84
    231G entre 2 et 285 284
    140J 170
    Est 230K 177
    Est 231B 40
    241 Est 241002 à 241041 et 241 État 241-001 à 241-049 90
    232R 3
    232S 4
    232U 1
    Czech Series 556 540

    List assembled with the assistance of a certain French forum.

    Incidentally, the figure for 141Rs is probably a gross underestimate. The French consider that most 141Rs had their valve gear modified by Chapelon but not all. I don't have a number so will leave as is.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2023
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  3. bluetrain

    bluetrain Well-Known Member

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    Full marks there for effort! Without RCTS booklets and Ian Allan ABCs, and only patchy coverage on Wikipedia, I find very difficult to work out exactly what locos existed on the French railways. Things are not helped by the SNCF loco classification system, which allowed cross-regional duplication of class numbers. So for instance, "231A" means four different types on four different SNCF regions. When locos were moved between regions, it could involve a change of class identity.

    But getting back to your list, there were a further 15 of the rebuilt Chapelon Pacifics, numbered in the 38xx series on the PO and later 231G on the SNCF (but changed to 231J when some of the ex-PLM Class 231G were transferred to the SW region). These differed from the other Chapelon Pacifics (the 37xx series on the PO) in being given a new type of piston valve ("Willoteaux" valves) to the LP cylinders. So from the original 89 members of the PO 35xx class (first introduced in 1909) that were all rebuilt to Chapelon's design, 46 remained on the PO (37xx and 38xx numbers), 23 transferred to the Est and 20 transferred to the Nord (supplemented by 28 new builds for the Nord).

    Under "Influenced", perhaps we should include the 4-6-4s (232R/S) designed by the Nord but delivered to SNCF in 1940? Apart from the post-WW2 241P class (an update of an older PLM design) and the one-off 242A1, those were the final French express engines.
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2023
  4. RAB3L

    RAB3L Member

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    The pre-nationalisation numbering system was less confusing than the SNCF one. Each number was preceded by a single digit and a dash. Thus 1 for Est, 2 for Nord, 3 for Etat, 4 for PO and 5 for PLM. Nationalisation meant that these digits were no longer used. Thus a Ouest 141C (2-cylinder simple) could be confused with a Sud-Ouest 141C (4-cylinder compound)!

    The PO 35xx are covered by the 231 Nord 3.1111 à 3.1130 et 3.1171 à 3.1198.

    Yes, judging by the steam chests on the 150P, de Caso was very much influenced by Chapelon, so I should probably add the 232R/S.

    There's a useful list of French steam here: https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Locomotives_à_vapeur_françaises#Origine_PO
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2023
  5. Maunsell907

    Maunsell907 Member

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    I am unsure as to whether the following is considered a reliable source.

    “L’ouvre D’Andre Chapelon a la S.N.C.F et son influence Mondiale.”
    par Maurice Maillet Editions du Capri. 1983

    I purchased this and the companion volume remaindered many years past although it is
    now regarded as ‘scarce’.

    The section concerning influence has a section on France.with classes and numbers.

    The book then lists countries where the author considers, with examples, there was Chapelon
    influence, taken as he says, although of varying quantity “par order alphabetique”.

    (Afrique Centrale, Afrique Occidental)
    French Central Africa, French West Africa ( when still French Colonoies)
    Algeria
    Germany, ( Allemagne )
    Argentina
    Belgium
    Cambodia
    China
    Spain ( Espagne )
    Grand Britain
    India
    Indoochine. ( now Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia )
    Morocco
    Nigeria
    Portugal
    Czechoslovakia (Tchecoslovaquie )
    USSR (U.R.S.S.)
    USA.

    Michael Rowe
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2023
  6. RAB3L

    RAB3L Member

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    Very much so. Someone in France recommended this book to me today.
     
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  7. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    So again Michael, you have a secondary source where the author has listed countries where he considers Chapelon had an influence.

    This isn’t evidence. It’s supposition. We need something quantitative and qualitative to really work out if Chapelon really was that influential.

    The United States on that list strikes me as an outlier, given the designs at work there.

    Those saying Chapelon had a wide influence need to back it up with specific instances of influence and show at the very least, a link to Chapelon’s work, if not Chapelon himself.

    I am pleased to see a list of loco classes and will study this closely over the coming days and return with more informed opinion.
     
  8. Maunsell907

    Maunsell907 Member

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    Simon, please. I said “ I am unsure if this is considered a reliable source” I was responding
    to a post lamenting the absence of the equivalent to RCTS booklet, Ian Allan ABCs etc. I
    know it’s not primary evidence . Maillet is quite specific that for example Kenneth Cantlie
    followed Chapelon wrt the KF 4-8-4s built by Vulcan for China.

    I was hoping someone might have a view as to the quality of his tome. I think there
    has been some criticism of his work.

    Michael Rowe
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2023
  9. 8126

    8126 Member

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    If we are discussing influence, and this is far from primary evidence in the sense you think of it, but closer to locomotive archaeology, what are we to make of Bulleid adopting steel fireboxes with thermic syphons (just like all the Chapelon classes, but also American and used in the British export works), at 280psi (really very close to the 20 atmospheres of the contemporary Chapelons, but you can't trademark a boiler pressure), while using TIA water treatment (I'm sorry, it's French, there's no other source for this), then draughting them with a modified Lemaitre exhaust (one of the better Kylchap patent dodges, also from France)?

    Is it so outrageous in that context to suggest that on and after his visits to France with the LNER this French speaking, open-minded engineer might have been taking notes?
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2023
  10. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    Most certainly food for thought.
     
  11. Maunsell907

    Maunsell907 Member

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    Reference USA. In essence Maillet says Engineer A.Lipetz of Alco accompanied Chapelon on the
    October 3 1935 trials with 231-726. Lipetz was so impressed he spoke to P.W.Kiefer of the
    New York Central. As a result the 1937-38 construction of the 50 j-1
    QUOTE “et qui avaient recu un circuit de Vapeur elabore en tenant compote de la these
    Chapelon. Lors des essais des nouvelle machine, il fut relieve une puissance aux
    cylindres de 4725 ch a 121 km/hr.”END QUOTE

    He then goes onto say how Chapelon ( with Bloch) visited the States in October/
    November 1938’ rode behind 5407 and streamlined ( aerodynamique ) 5453 on
    the Twentieth Century between Albany and Harmon.

    The improvements in steam flow on the J-1s was subsequently incorporated by
    Alco on QUOTE “d’autres locomotives americaine 242, 230+032, 240+042 articulees
    construites par Alco pour L’Union-Pacific”.

    He also observes that Bloch and Chapelon benefited from their States visit
    especially: monobloc chassis construction, robust construction, etc
    QUOTE “ces donnees ne manqueraient pas d’influencer , a leur tour, les projets
    en coeurs pour le S.N.C.F” END QUOTE.

    I am not able to judge the validity of this but the dates, named personnel and that
    the author knew Chapelon, Carpenter etc. give credibility ?


    Michael Rowe
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2023
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  12. bluetrain

    bluetrain Well-Known Member

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    I believe Lemaitre was an employee of the Nord Rly, and his exhaust was certainly fitted to a number of Nord engines, including some of the veteran du Bouquet Atlantics and 4-6-0s as well as the later Nord Super-Pacifics. So Bulleid was not adopting an untried option. I cannot say whether the Lemaitre had been invented simply for the Nord to avoid paying royalties for the Kylchap!

    On the subject of Nord Atlantics, I was surprised to read from Gérard Vuillet that they were still being used in the 1930s on Paris to Brussels expresses, in spite of France by then having a large number of Pacifics. Like Ivatt's GN Atlantics, they had a good innings.
     
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  13. RAB3L

    RAB3L Member

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    Surely W1 had four cylinders?

    Not true. The first P2 was far less efficient than Chapelon's 3566, in part due to the fact that the live steam to the cylinder block heated the exhaust. Both Gresley and Bulleid admitted that they had learned lessons from their trips to Tours and Vitry-sur-Seine.

    Evidence please. The French laugh at this suggestion! Gresley built one compound and it was a failure; perhaps mainly due to the boiler but also condensation in the LP cylinders. By comparison, Chapelon built hundreds of compounds; all were successful, some were outstanding. None were rebuilt by anyone, Chapelon included. Whatever did Chapelon have to learn from Gresley?

    Lastly, I don't think that you can treat William Brown's book as a reliable source if this review is anything to go by:

    http://advanced-steam.org/5at/references/books-and-publications/hush-hush-the-story-of-lner-10000/
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2023
  14. huochemi

    huochemi Part of the furniture

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    Thank you for posting this information. I spent quite a lot of time researching the KF1 and Cantlie when writing the chapter on the locos in Volume 4 (The Foreign Steam Locos) of my Locomotives of China series of books. There are some Cantlie papers in the NRM while SOAS has the files regarding the actual order and tendering. If we are considering the (in some ways narrow) matter of whether someone was "influenced" by Chapelon, then Cantlie himself stated in his paper to the Newcomen Society of March 1983 (referring to the design) that "I and my colleagues in the Standards Commission of the Ministry or Railways were guided by such eminent engineers as Lawford Fry, Goss, Cole and especially Chapelon." A Mr G Carpenter in the discussion stated that Chapelon was a great admirer of Cantlie. Generally however we tend to rely on Cantlie's own writings when making an assessment of Cantlie's work. One comes across the interesting issue of whether someone's own writings consititute a "primary source" which usually seems to be used with the implication that this implies an accurate record, as IMHO Cantlie was not one to hide his light under a bushel. What is puzzling is that he does not seem to have been involved with any of the other locos ordered from the UK (or anywhere else) around that time.

    I have a copy of the specification for the 4-8-4 which was issued with the tender documents and I would say that there is little which is unambiguously "Chapelon inspired" in there (and much which is not specified), but it does state that "all steam and exhaust ports, passages and piping shall be of maximum size and free from sharp bends". My own assessment is that much of the design work was actually done by Vulcan. The sketch of the loco in their tender documents shows something that looks like an Indian loco (which may have been provided by the Chinese Ministry of Railways to all tendering parties). The specification gives the valve diameter (350mm but subsequently reduced) but not lap or lead or maximum cut-off, although later it refers somewhat ambiguously to long travel valves (I assume it means long lap (it was 50mm as built), but Churchward was probably there before Chapelon). The boiler pressure was 220lbs psi. It also notes that "The smoke stack shall be designed to give maximum draft" and the blast pipe cap shall be a GWR jumper top type. In the Newcomen paper, Cantlie states that a Kylchap was not required because the steaming rate required in relation to the size of the boiler could be handled by a conventional blast pipe.

    In Collingwood's paper to the ILocoE in 1936 (Collingwood was the supremo at VF) , he notes "The generous proportions of the boiler resulted in good steaming qualities and gave an ample reserve of power. Full advantage was taken of this by providing large diameter steam pipes, which. together with big steam chests, ensure a steady supply of highly superheated steam to the cylinders when the engine is working at full capacity without the " wire drawing " usually experienced with small pipes; in addition, the exhaust passages were designed to give as free an exhaust as possible." (the locos were fitted with a Type E superheater). Collingwood does not refer to Chapelon (or Cantlie) but this suggests that this part of the spec re steam passages was followed. It is possible though that private loco builders were (given a blank sheet of paper) more au fait with contemporary international practice and less constrained by idee fixes than the railway companies, and would not normally design tortuous or inadaequate steam passages.

    Are there any other Chinese loco types mentioned in your book? How about the USSR, which type(s) are mentioned? It is possible that foreign influences are mentioned in some of the books that these two countries published on steam locos but they do not usually rush to credit other countries.
     
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  15. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    Quite right - I had meant to type four! I will go back and re-edit.


    Being less efficient than 3566 does not mean the locomotive was poor. The steam circuit was, and remains, excellent in a British context. That much is obvious by its steam raising ability. I don't believe anyone stated Gresley/Bulleid hadn't learned anything, but the point remains that the Gresley boiler and Bulleid boiler designs are excellent steam raisers.


    Streamlining, in fact, and learning from Gresley's work by improving his own. That much is factual.

    In any event, for the Gresley thread, but the W1 was not a "failure" - it is only a failure by the very narrow viewpoint of some commentators.

    A book review without a writer's name attached?

    William Brown's book is excellent as it promotes and cites the primary evidence we have left on the W1, which is largely in one big file at the NRM in their search engine facility. If you haven't got the book (I have my own copy, I am happy to endorse its excellence), then I encourage you to go and get a copy for yourself.
     
  16. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    My apologies for my pigeon Francais, but I interpreted the above as:

    Interesting for sure, but in what way? The improvement in power looks good on paper, did this have any other effects on the machine (wear and tear, etc?) Lots of questions!

    Credibility, certainly, and the steam circuit quotation is interesting. What it does not tell us is in what way they took Chapelon's thesis further, which is frustrating as it would be great to build up a picture of the direct influence further.
     
  17. RAB3L

    RAB3L Member

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    Facts please. If you demand objectivity and rigour from others you have to provide the same.


    It states a review by Chris Newman near the top of the page.

    By the way, Col. Rogers' book also mentions that Gresley and Bulleid sought the advice of Chapelon over the problems with 10000. He also adds that Chapelon recommended more superheat as well as re-superheating.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2023
  18. 35B

    35B Nat Pres stalwart

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    The review is attributed to Chris Newman. I'd personally describe the review as "mixed"; very favourable on primary research, but much more critical on interpretation and explanation. I've used a few more than flawed books in my time, which have still been excellent source material and well worth their publication, so consider the assessment by @RAB3L a little harsh.
     
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  19. huochemi

    huochemi Part of the furniture

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    And your pidgin pigeon?;)
     
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  20. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    Where is that, for reference? I must be working tired today, I can't see it.
     

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