If you register, you can do a lot more. And become an active part of our growing community. You'll have access to hidden forums, and enjoy the ability of replying and starting conversations.

Edward Thompson: Both sides of the story

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

  1. paullad1984

    paullad1984 Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2007
    Messages:
    606
    Likes Received:
    125
    Brilliant book, have my copy in front of me now.
     
  2. Maunsell man

    Maunsell man Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2006
    Messages:
    1,471
    Likes Received:
    279
    Occupation:
    Senior Finance Auditor
    Location:
    Kent
    Re: New Build P2

    Never said I was tired of railway preservation anywhere, just got bored of the obsessiveness that some people have about it. Sort of grew up and moved on a bit hence my now limited hobby time has gone mainly to other things. I think most people develop over the years... Your posts sum the behavioural traits I spoke off totally though. Every one of your posts appear to be I know best and confrontational to anyone who questions you or anyone who thinks you cannot save absolutely every piece of obsolete and knackered piece of machinery. By the way why don't you like Accountants or spreadsheets?

    Road steam isn't a better place but is more inclusive to those with families who can join the fun.

    I could sit here and trade insults with you all day but unfortunately I have a gauge glass to sort out before next weekend so its back off down the workshop.

    Lastly - I have no Loyalty to Edward Thompson or Sir Nigel Gresley. It is fairly obvious that there are people that have a couple of facts and then embellish them to create a whole different story. My thoughts are that 70 odd years later it is actually impossible to really know what was said or thought by either party and to be honest its now irrelevant. Some people on here create the illusion that he was as evil as the child snatcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang without actually knowing anything. 4470 got hacked up and rebuilt. So did Royal Scot, the Claughtons before them, the Merchant Navies and so on. The all looked vastly different to what the original designer envisioned. Nobody wobbles on about them do they?

    Toodle-oo
     
    S.A.C. Martin and gwalkeriow like this.
  3. TenWheeler

    TenWheeler New Member Account Suspended

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2011
    Messages:
    149
    Likes Received:
    2
    Re: New Build P2

    I'm afraid you write stuff as though you are quoting, but you make it up as you go along, and a lot of what you say just ain't true. Most of the comments I have made are about things that I know about. I don't bother writing about stuff I don't. If that comes over as I know best, well sorry that's just too bad. This is just a forum, It's not a text book. If someone asks a question, and I know the answer and it's not too much trouble, I post it. Simple as... If you don't like it you can just pass it by. That's what most reasonable people do, they don't get obsessed about it.


    Did I say that? I never said anything of the kind.

    I think like a lot of people you should make an effort to read and understand before you pass comment. I guess if anything really bugs me it's that. Someone earlier questioned a couple of people's outlook, and immediately you go banging on about Microsoft office. The word outlook has another older meaning than just a computer application you know. Maybe you should look it up in the dictionary. I happen to love spreadsheets. One of the most useful tools ever devised. Also, I didn't say I didn't like accountants. I simply said you sound like one, and that accountants have stuffed a lot of things up in the past - when they fail to apply a little common sense.

    Also, who mentioned "every piece of obsolete and knackered piece of machinery". Only you. A pity you have to support your position by such gross misrepresentation. As a matter of fact I'm given to understand that the locomotive at Ongar is actually more or less ex-works before it was stored. I've only questioned why you seem so keen to see it destroyed. If you don't like it why not just let nature takes its course. If anything, beating the drum and advocating it's destruction might be thought a bit obsessive.
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. Dan Hill

    Dan Hill Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2008
    Messages:
    2,058
    Likes Received:
    125
    Occupation:
    Brick Machine Operator
    Location:
    Haywards Heath
    Re: New Build P2

    Did that liviery actually happen. I saw a MSTS model of 4470/60114 in it but thought the liviery was fictional.

    Also there's a bit about Thompson in the Tornado 21st Century Steam book in which there's a bit that says that draftsmen at Doncaster would come up with their own designs and hide them when Thompson was around but they would show them to Peppercorn and that Thompson was insistant on the A1 used to create his A1/1 would be 4470 Great Northern.

    I must say that I'm not quite keen on Thompson's designs other than the L1's and the B1's but then again I'm an admirer of most of Gresley's work as well as the Peppercorn locos.
     
  5. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Nat Pres stalwart

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2007
    Messages:
    26,722
    Likes Received:
    9,504
    Occupation:
    Training moles
    Location:
    The back of beyond
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Re: New Build P2

    From the A1SLT web site :
    "In September 1945 Peppercorn’s predecessor, Edward Thompson, unveiled his rebuild of Gresley’s first pacific, 4470 Great Northern at Doncaster Works. It wasn’t just the engine’s new Royal blue livery lined out in red that was striking: very little remained of the original locomotive. The new Great Northern was an angular and ungainly looking locomotive. In spite of its well documented flaws, Thompson was sufficiently satisfied with his A1 to place an order for 16 new-build versions in October 1945 and then another 23 the following year."
     
  6. Jimc

    Jimc Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2005
    Messages:
    2,512
    Likes Received:
    1,630
    Occupation:
    computers
    Location:
    SE England
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    On the Thompson/Gresley thing K J Cook, in his book "Swindon Steam" says of his time as CM&EE of the E & NE regions "Perhaps I was able to heal a little of the discord brought in by Edward Thompson's tragic desire to obliterate Gresley. Sir Nigel Gresley was the idol of the locomotive world of the old Great Northern, later the London and North Eastern, the 'Churchward' of that system and as greatly revered." So that's a contemporary and well informed view of the issue. But when you consider what Churchward scrapped and is generally not reviled for (although I've seen one modern source suggest it was Stanier rather than Churchward who gave the order to scrap North Star and Lord of the Isles), Thompson does seem to suffer disproportionally.
     
  7. guard_jamie

    guard_jamie Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2008
    Messages:
    2,503
    Likes Received:
    24
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Signalman
    Location:
    Herefordshire
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    I think that the main problem with Great Northern and most of Thompson's pacifics is their 'odd' looks and, generally speaking, mediocre performance when compared against A4s, Peppercorn A1s etc. If they had been stunning beauties and tremendous successes, all of this hoo-haa would be forgotten. We often forget that Stanier (understandably in fairness, he was a CME not a Curator) ordered the scrapping of several locomotives being stored by the LMS at Derby when he took over at Crewe in 1932. We also forget that Churchward (or Stanier under Churchward's watch), had as Jim says North Star and Lord of the Isles scrapped. So their plusses in enthusiasts' eyes outweigh their minuses.
     
  8. Fred Kerr

    Fred Kerr Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2006
    Messages:
    5,392
    Likes Received:
    2,078
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Freelance photo - journalist
    Location:
    Southport
    Re: New Build P2

    The simple answer to that IMHO is that Gresley was renowned for accepting proven improvements to his locomotives ( consider his actions after the Castle trials ) and such improvements as mentioned would simply be absorbed into the works or major shed work-list depending on the importance of the development. I see no conflict with improving a locomotive to better suit modern operating conditions - as long as the basic engineering principles are not compromised.

    In that context I submit that the current situation regarding 4771 Green Arrow highlights the dilemma extremely effectively.
     
  9. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Nat Pres stalwart

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2007
    Messages:
    26,722
    Likes Received:
    9,504
    Occupation:
    Training moles
    Location:
    The back of beyond
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Re: New Build P2

    Paying tribute? How on earth is destroying one man's work paying tribute to him? Tribute was paid to Gresley by naming his 100th Pacific after him, not by taking his pioneer Pacific and "rebuilding" it to such an extent about the only things left of the original were the wheel sets. Anyway, I'm off to rebuild a Spitfire as a largely different and ineffective aeroplane as tribute to its designer.
     
  10. MarkBilling

    MarkBilling New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2011
    Messages:
    30
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Yorkshire
    Re: New Build P2

    [
    I think like a lot of people you should make an effort to read and understand before you pass comment. I guess if anything really bugs me it's that. Someone earlier questioned a couple of people's outlook, and immediately you go banging on about Microsoft office. The word outlook has another older meaning than just a computer application you know. Maybe you should look it up in the dictionary

    [/QUOTE]

    Here here!! I totally agree- how utterly ridiculous to bring up spreadsheets when someone mentions that your outlook is flawed. Maunsell man - you really do have a flawed spreadsheet lol!!
     
  11. Maunsell man

    Maunsell man Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2006
    Messages:
    1,471
    Likes Received:
    279
    Occupation:
    Senior Finance Auditor
    Location:
    Kent
    Hmmm - irony + anorak = no go.

    Wibble and accounting nonsense actually relates to a rather aggressive forum user on here that posted on the thread relating to the scrapping of the Finnish monstrosity at Ongar. After nosing on my profile page which has my profession on it he decided to rattle on about Accountants knowing the price of everything but value of nothing, then wibbled on about sitting behind spreadsheets instead of doing something useful. Unfortunately the post was removed by a moderator and then said individual posted that he was told he wasn't welcome here anymore so wouldn't be posting again.

    He lied - unfortunately!

    I'm just playing along as its all good clean fun. Flicking backwards and forwards onto Nat-pres and Traction Talk whilst having a slow day helps the time pass by...
     
  12. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2010
    Messages:
    2,497
    Likes Received:
    2,237
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Apprentice Railway Engineer, Children's Author
    Location:
    Sidcup, Kent
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Re: New Build P2

    I think you've missed my point. If the whole idea was to "destroy" Gresley and the whole image of Great Northern - the engine, the railway company, the history - why keep the name? It's an iconic name which would forever be associated with Gresley. Why reuse the same name if the purpose is to remove the whole image of Gresley?

    I think so many people are blinded by the idea that Great Northern was a way of ruining Gresley's image - when it seems wholly more logical and in keeping with Thompson's actions, that the engine and name were chosen for combination of reasons.

    Firstly, to prove the theory behind his ideal 6ft 8in Pacific.

    Secondly, in keeping with his design philosophy of the time (as necessitated by wartime austerity), incorporating standard components already available.

    Thirdly - and this is the leap of faith I doubt many people would make - why not, in livery and in name, pay tribute to the two main railway inspirations in his life?

    The GER in the livery - no doubt an influence from his time at Stratford, and his work on Stratford's finest (remember the B12s?) and the Great Northern Railway - which he had spent so much time working for, and its later grouped company - in the name.

    Gresley, by way of being his boss throughout his time with the GNR and LNER, will have been a great influence on Thompson throughout his life, both positive and negative. Who is to say Thompson actually hated Gresley? Envious perhaps, definitely disagreeable on the subject of locomotive engineering. But hating a man so much, to want to eradicate him? Where is the evidence for this?

    All of the above I am postulating is hypothetical, but there's nothing aside from Bert Spence's assertions that Thompson's actions indicate that thought process of wanting to "destroy Gresley" at all.

    Is there a chance you may show me the same respect I show towards your posts? A difference of opinion should not be met with such submissiveness at every turn.
     
  13. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2010
    Messages:
    2,497
    Likes Received:
    2,237
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Apprentice Railway Engineer, Children's Author
    Location:
    Sidcup, Kent
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Re: New Build P2

    Sorry Mr Kerr, I'm afraid I haven't made myself clear. I have no problem with any of the improvements as made per Tornado, and outlined in my own post, it was the post indicating the possibility of a bissel (spelling?) truck on the P2 that I disliked the idea of, as being too far away from the original design's ethos.
     
  14. Fred Kerr

    Fred Kerr Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2006
    Messages:
    5,392
    Likes Received:
    2,078
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Freelance photo - journalist
    Location:
    Southport
    Re: New Build P2

    I note your comment but surely my point regarding Gresley remains valid ? If the (later) Bissel truck gave any advantages over the original truck then Gresley would have been willing to use it once the benefits had been shown to exist rather than thought to exist. Thus even if not part of Gresley's original P2 spec the later addition does not negate the value of its use as most engineers would simply absorb improvements in the light of running experience.

    In that context I think Gresley would have found the use of German smoke deflectors on his A3s an acceptable design feature - but such discussions open a new can of worms; suffice to say I am not a purist to the dehree of quibbling about which type of truck is used as long as the basic outline is correct and any improvements are those which it would seem Gresley would have found acceptable as part of the modifications identified by running experience.
     
  15. ZBmer

    ZBmer New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2010
    Messages:
    70
    Likes Received:
    5
    Occupation:
    Sound Engineer
    Location:
    Bedford
    Re: New Build P2

    Any man who takes over from a legend is going to have a hard time. Thompson was always going to be compared unfavourably to Gresley, and (some of) his engineering clearly fell short of his own ideals. And being, by some accounts, a fairly difficult man to deal with, he suffers disproportionately from history being written by his enemies. Peppercorn, on the other hand, came into office with the built-in flying-start advantage that he wasn't Thompson. And his history is largely being written by his friends.

    Roger
     
  16. Jimc

    Jimc Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2005
    Messages:
    2,512
    Likes Received:
    1,630
    Occupation:
    computers
    Location:
    SE England
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    Re: New Build P2

    Well there's K J Cook's (Peppercorn's successor really) quote I report above, from someone both conteporary and well informed. Whetever personal feelings might have been, its hard to avoid the feeling that Thompson felt Gresley's work needed to be supplanted. Its hard to know whether the decision to rebuild Great Northern deserves any more criticism than Collet's decision to rebuild the Great Bear: in many ways a similar action.
     
  17. The Saggin' Dragon

    The Saggin' Dragon Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2006
    Messages:
    14,120
    Likes Received:
    4,399
    Location:
    1012 / 60158
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    Re: New Build P2

    The Great Bear was not looked on as successful by most accounts, being something of a shy steamer, due, I believe to its boiler/firebox proportions. Great Northern, on the other hand had, like its contemporaries, worked pretty well 'out of the box' and had been even further improved over the years.
     
  18. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Nat Pres stalwart

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2007
    Messages:
    26,722
    Likes Received:
    9,504
    Occupation:
    Training moles
    Location:
    The back of beyond
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Re: New Build P2

    And the Castle which came out of the Great Bear rebuild was demonstrably a better locomotive.
     
  19. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2010
    Messages:
    2,497
    Likes Received:
    2,237
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Apprentice Railway Engineer, Children's Author
    Location:
    Sidcup, Kent
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Re: New Build P2

    A fair rebuttal, sir.

    I wonder if it is possible to collate all of the contemporary commentary together for analysis. The trouble I - personally - am having is trying to find the specific books mentioned to read the full context.
     
  20. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Nat Pres stalwart

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2007
    Messages:
    26,722
    Likes Received:
    9,504
    Occupation:
    Training moles
    Location:
    The back of beyond
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Re: New Build P2

    Big "ifs" I admit but if Gresley had not died in 1941 and if it had been decided to persevere with the P2s, I think there is little doubt that modifications would have been made so I cannot see a problem with detailed modifications being made to the design in the event of a new build going ahead.
     

Share This Page