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Edward Thompson: Both sides of the story

Discussion in 'Steam Traction' started by S.A.C. Martin, May 2, 2012.

  1. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Nat Pres stalwart

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    Re: New Build P2

    Also the board ordered Thompson to cease his rebuild policy. Trials had shown no significant benefits overall from the various rebuilds and the less said about the 2-cylinder D49 rebuild the better.
    As others have said, we're straying a long way from the original thread so maybe the mods should shift all this Thompson stuff into a new one.
     
  2. osprey

    osprey Part of the furniture

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    Re: New Build P2

    A boxing ring maybe......
     
  3. osprey

    osprey Part of the furniture

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    Re: New Build P2

    My trip also reminds me of my return home................"what on earth have you been doing this time............how am I going to get that clean?".......Ma of course............
     
  4. MuzTrem

    MuzTrem Member

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    Re: New Build P2

    You're insinuating that the LNER were dissatisfied with Thompson because they followed normal procedure and forced him to retire at the same age that they forced other employees to retire?

    I just can't understand why you feel the need to keep attacking Thompson in this way. As I said in (IIRC) a thread about Alan Bloom, the history of railways is not a history of heroes and villains. It's a history of human beings. Yes, Thompson undoubtedly had some personality flaws (who doesn't?), and his not all of his locomotive designs were entirely successful (but then neither were Gresley's, or Bulleid's, or Drummond's, or Webb's, or Robinson's...I could go on.) He had different ideas to Gresley, but that doesn't mean that every last thing he did was motivated by a personal vendetta against him. I think Thompson has surely received far more spite from railway enthusiasts then ever he displayed towards Gresley.
    Finally, he died decades ago. Whatever differences he may have had with Gresley, whatever mistakes he may have made as a locomotive designer, surely enough water has passed under the bridge that we should be able to step back and consider his successes and failures objectively, rather than dredging up increasingly tenuous attacks on him in post after post after post?
    In short, can we please get a little perspective and let the poor man lie in peace?
     
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  5. Maunsell man

    Maunsell man Well-Known Member

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    Re: New Build P2

    Haha talking about personality flaws on a railway enthusiasts forum! Where else could there be so much animosity over the actions of a long dissolved companies long dead chief mechanical engineer who modified an old machine in an attempt to improve its efficiency? What kind of organisation was the LNER - was it a commercial profit making organisation that existed solely to create wealth for its stakeholders or was it some kind of altruistic pre-preserved railway that existed solely to cater for the train spotters of tomorrow?

    Did they really care at the time that the collection of bits with a number painted on that related to a prototype engine from decades before changed shape or did they care have more concerns that part of their engineering budget and resources had been used to modify an engine with no appreciable improvements in efficiency?

    For goodness sake having a wobbly over this now meaningless course of history is all really rather silly. Sort of laying yourselves open to all the old trainspotter jokes and stereotypes that the non afflicted would think off is they read all this nonsense.

    SAC Martin - you are wasting your time mate. You will never win on this score as they will never be a reasoned discussion on the merits of the rebuilt Gresely pacifics. The obsessed on here would put Thompson in the same category is Goebbels, Himmler, Attila the Hun and Hagar the Horrible. Save your breath.

    Louis Theroux has got a series on BBC1 at the moment about finding love. He has done Autism and people with dementia. Apparently he was going to do one with railway enthusiasts but there wasn't enough participants. They were all discussing the diameter of GNR coaching lightbulbs of 1920 on the internet in their Mum's spare room!
     
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  6. Bean-counter

    Bean-counter Part of the furniture

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    Re: New Build P2

    If that's your view of Railway Enthusiasts, what are you doing as a member of a Railway Preservation Forum?
     
  7. guard_jamie

    guard_jamie Part of the furniture

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    Re: New Build P2

    I always thought Hagar was alright really...
     
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  8. Oakfield

    Oakfield Guest

    Re: New Build P2

    Don't ask awkward questions!!:peace:

    P.S. May I just say I am not searching for love as I have already found it and am happily married, as I know many others on this forum are!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
     
  9. Maunsell man

    Maunsell man Well-Known Member

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    Re: New Build P2

    I'm interested in the engineering aspects - always have been and always will be. What I can't see the point of is arguing to the point of personal insults about what some long dead bloke's motivations were about what was an inanimate company asset or this railway is better than that railway. Suggest some people errr get a life and worry about the future a bit more!
     
  10. MarkinDurham

    MarkinDurham Well-Known Member

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    Re: New Build P2

    In fairness, I think that it is an accepted fact that Thompson was regarded with great suspicion by many footplate staff who were very happy with their Gresley locomotives. The fact that, whether it was deliberate or not, he had the prototype Gresley Pacific rebuilt into something which was, to many folk, both visually offensive and technically unsuccessful, was not something which endeared him to them.

    There's an old saying about 'if it looks right, it IS right', and, let's be brutally honest, the Thompson A2s did NOT look right. As for their performance 'on the road', I think that the fact that they were some of the first casualties of the rush to dieselisation speaks volumes, does it not?

    But we digress... back to the P2 :D
     
  11. Lplus

    Lplus Well-Known Member

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    Re: New Build P2

    And there you possibly hit the nub of the complaint.

    Perhaps if the A1/1 had been a major success and had been multiplied accordingly he might have been forgiven for using 4470, even though he was asked not to use it and other A1s were still available for rebuild.

    It seems there is little doubt that

    a) Thompson had a thing against the conjugated gear. It had to be modified during the war to oil lubrication to ensure it was lubricated each day, but it still saw out the east coast steam renaissence on the A3s and A4s. These were still given the top express duties, so it would seem to have been a pretty good piece of design to have lasted on top link work for over 40 years.

    That said, using three sets of individual gear isn't the end of the world but it is more awkward to work on the centre gear - and when labour was at a premium it seems to me to be a retrograde step to introduce a more labour intensive system. P Townend had few complaints about the conjugated gear "despite its unpopularity, which became fashionable after Gresley died, the gear did not present any special problem. A failure of a component of the two-to-one valve gear on the road was virtually unknown, though one cannot say the same of the middle eccentric (of the separate middle gear of the later locos), which occassionally did cause serious failures. ------ there was a distinct advantage in eliminating this feature (the eccentric)." Top Shed 2nd edition PP 150 - 151.


    b) Thompson had a thing about equal length connecting rods. O S Nock reckoned ET felt they would allow more accurate valve events (as would three sets of gear) - or it may be ET simply admired the way the GWR used them, but they were the over riding reason for the somewhat odd stretched look and the front end steam tightness problems of the Thompson Pacifics. Loose exhaust pipe bolts described by O S Nock riding on Wolf of Badenoch - Aug 1945 - LNER Steam P188.

    It is recorded that the LNER directors insisted on as much being used as possible of the rebuilt P2s but even if that were also the case for the same layout of the rebuilt V2s and the A10 it is no reason for using the same layout on the A2/3 series unless ET considered it to be preferrable.

    I have also seen it stated that the A1/1 was better than the single chimney A3 and A4, but so what? All the Thompson pacifics had the Kylchap double blastpipes, so they should be compare to the Kylchap A3s and A4s, over which they were not superior by any means.

    The Thompson Pacifics were mediocre - they could do their job - albeit with some maintenance problems at the front end, but they didn't excell as the Gresley Pacifics did. Perhaps if they had, and Peppercorn had not needed to revert to a shorter front end, this argument would not still arise.

    BTW the problem of loose bolts on the "boiler" is described in "Top shed"as occurring to the A1 class, where problems were found with the smokebox/smokebox cradle bolted joint or the smokebox/boiler riveted joint. P N Townend atributes the problems to a different boiler expansion arrangement from the Gresley engines - though whether the change was made by Thompson or Peppercorn is not stated. Top Shed 2nd Ed P 152


    Hmmm, spent so long on this that there are three more posts.

    As you say back to the P2 - and perhaps less picking up on of the cuff comments....
     
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  12. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Nat Pres stalwart

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    Re: New Build P2

    Hooray! Godwin's Law strikes again. :)
     
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  13. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Nat Pres stalwart

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    Re: New Build P2

    Because he's desperate to be interviewed by Louis Theroux. That's if his mum will allow Louis into her spare room. :)
     
  14. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Nat Pres stalwart

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    Re: New Build P2

    But it's OK for you to aim snide remarks at the protagonists in the argument. Hmm.
     
  15. Bean-counter

    Bean-counter Part of the furniture

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    Re: New Build P2

    But there is some really interesting engineering stuff being discussed here - you could say the nub of the matter is whether the view of Thompson and the A1/1 is based on experience of the enginering and operational performance or whether it is more emotive - as, indeed, you could restate that question as being whether it was engineering or personal reasons that motivated the rebuild and selection of the locomotive concerned.

    Shooting off at an even greater angle from the P2, I was chatting with a Driver with many years experience who fired A3s in BR days and his view was very much that 4472 was known as one of the poorer ones (which they'd packed of the the GC section!), just underlining again that now all sister locos are by any means the same! (And in itself an interesting comment on design/engineering/build/maintenance issues)

    Steven
     
  16. MuzTrem

    MuzTrem Member

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    Re: New Build P2

    Much what I was trying to get at, although I didn't want to put it quite so bluntly!
     
  17. Maunsell man

    Maunsell man Well-Known Member

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    Re: New Build P2

    Not at all. Pots and kettles me thinks. I haven't called somebody 'deliberately dense' inhere because they don't agree with your view. Something in your water at the moment Mr Spamcan as you seem to be very aggressive on here and on the Bluebell Yahoo forum.

    (BTW - I don't live with my Mum either. I'm married with two children and a black labrador. Thanks. xx)
     
  18. Oakfield

    Oakfield Guest

    Re: New Build P2

    Although scholars of Greek and Latin still become very worked up about interpretations and events that happened much longer ago.
     
  19. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    Re: New Build P2

    Lplus, that's a very thought provoking response there. Thank you for your candour.

    I understand a little better the engineering side of it, after speaking with a good friend today, but - whilst accept the Thompson Pacifics were "average" or "mediocre", they followed a period of extreme locomotive development and money spent on developing many different locomotive classes to cover many types of jobs, into one where severe austerity and cost savings were the order of the day, along with a reasonable rationalisation of classes and standardization to make maintenance standards more achievable - in the middle of a very bloody war.

    To some extent, they reflect the period they were built in rather well, and were no more or less average than, say, an Austerity 2-8-0 (which in itself, has lots of differing views at both ends of the scale, in terms of reliability).

    In short, I wonder if in the last forty to fifty years, it's been a case of letting subjective viewpoints cloud objective analysis of four Pacific locomotive classes which were designed, neither to be exceptional nor intended to be, as a result of the circumstances they were designed and built in.
     
  20. Maunsell man

    Maunsell man Well-Known Member

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    Re: New Build P2

    Absolutely right which is why I read it. Trouble is the usual suspects get over excited and insult anyone who dares defend Edward Thompson or anyone else who is decreed the bogey man (or is it bogie in this context). Barely nobody on here would have experienced the original Great Northern nor the rebuilt version. Nobody on here would have experienced Edward Thompson's views on Gresley design but that doesn't stop the hogwash of people telling everyone that he resented Gresley, he rebuilt 4470 out of spite or he went round stealing ice creams out of baby's hands.

    Did the rebuilt version of 4470 succeed? probably no. Was using 4470 as the prototype relevant at the time? probably no as well. It was an A3 and that is what was wanted. If the theory had been proved correct and the engines achieved their design requirements then he would have been an engineering hero. It didn't and yes they were fairly ugly to boot. Did that mean the bloke deserved to be vilified on an internet forum decades after he passed away?

    Goodwins Law? I didn't know Hagar the Horrible was a member of the Nazi party?
     

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