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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

    To quote the great Sir Nigel himself, "to standardise is to stagnate." The P2s were a class introduced to do a specific task, i.e. work heavy train between Edinburgh and Aberdeen without recourse to double heading. In that at least they were successful being able to haul anything the operating department cared to attach to the drawbar. As for them being made "standard" by rebuilding, I suggest you look at the differences between the three sub classes of Thompson A2s.
     
  2. Oakfield

    Oakfield Guest

    Re: New Build P2


    Those of us who went to school before the abolition of the 11+ were told, by our Teachers, that poor spelling and punctuation was an insult to the intended reader. Work thus presented would not even be marked but either returned to be re-done or entered as a 0 in the marks register. Those were the days when good spelling, grammar and presentation counted.
     
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  3. Fred Kerr

    Fred Kerr Part of the furniture

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    Well noted Frank ! but the preservation of 26020 - as the exhibit at the Festival of Britain in 1951 - is surely an adequate compensation as it was a production version/

    Many still fail to appreciate that 26000 was a GRESLEY locomotive which actually was conceived by Gresley who followed the principles outlined in a 1920s report (by Raven ?) which identified a Bo-Bo design for unfitted freight work and a Co-Co design for passenger and fitted freight. Again - showing the best of Gresley - he outlined a specification and commissioned the expertise of Metropolitan Vickers to create the locomotive for the job. In this Gresley was again in advance of his peers in adopting the principles later followed by BR - set out the specification and let the expertise of the commercial firms build the desired locomotive but monitor carefully that the locomotive provided meets ALL the requirements.

    As noted by others Gresley would have been happy to electrify routes but the heavy initial capital outlay for the necessary infrastructure was beyond the resources of the LNER and it was only the release of funds in 1936 that allowed the LNER to consider electrifying both the GER suburban routes out of Liverpool St and the Manchester - Sheffield route - both halted by the onset of the war and taken up by BR although the South Tyneside scheme was successfully completed in 1938. Despite the appearance of grandeur epitomised by the A4s in the mid 1930s such was the lack of funds that Gresley only gained Board approval for them by convincing them that they were actually simply "Super A3s" - as they were - albeit in a different guise which helped generate extra income on the services which they powered.

    Even in BR days the heavy inintial costs of electrification was the major factor in Riddles decision not to go for outright electrification from the start [British Short Term-ism at its best !!] when the BTC would accept steam locomotive construction to replace war losses and initiate a standardisation programme; trial diesel traction as a potential medium term replacement for steam locomotives and hope that funds would be found to build the electrification network that Riddles desperately wanted to introduce from the start.

    This is the nub of all the discussions to date; the CME can design all manner of locomotives to master any number of trains BUT if the funders do not have the monies then the CME is constrained to provide what the Board(s) - in this case either LNER or BTC - are willing to provide. Gresley's success allowed a little more latitude, WWII constrained Thomson's room to manoevre and Peppercorn was part of the short term post-war optism that existed before Nationalisation appeared.

    In short analysis of any designer and his work must be aware of the conditions under which designs were created, authorised, built and introduced to traffic. How many contributions to this thread have allowed for this factor ?
     
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  4. Guest

    Guest Part of the furniture Account Suspended

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    And so it all comes full circle and demonstrates why the Major conception of a railway is such an unmitigated disaster.

    He created a railway where the infrastructure dictates to the business - cart before horse - tail wagging dog! Whichever epithet you use, until the general manager who earns and manages the revenues and their expenditure regains control of the industry the current nonsenses will prevail.

    What bloody use is a railway which can't carry the traffic offered to it? - None at all! But that is what we have now. Is it really eighteen years since that Curry muncher wrecked the industry? And yes - to the little boys on here who think I have strong views about how we got where we are. I do, I don't apologise for understaning history and where it went wrong, and in due time intellectual rigour will gain the upper hand and economics and not engineering will regain control. don't know if I'll be here to see it, but the current shambles is, in the final event, unsustainable.
     
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  5. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    Re: New Build P2

    A fair point, in terms of their specific purpose, but to standardize does not necessarily have to exclude ingenuity. The Great Western were the masters of standardization, some argue, and their designs were more than adequate for the work required. The benefits of standardizing on components from an economic and engineering viewpoint are surely not in doubt, and being used as an argument against Thompson wholly, when it can be seen to have shown great benefits elsewhere?

    Besides, what else could Thompson have done? He was in the middle of a very bloody war where there were material shortages and bombs falling all around them. Standardization of components between classes to make maintenance and repair quicker and more economic was surely THE only and best ethos for its time?

    Were they not standard within their own sub-class? There were a few boiler differences in the early years, but the A2/2 class as a whole was more or less the same as each other.

    Bar that simply annoying 1946-49 extended superheater (?!) fitting on Lord President which I still have been unable to positively identify.
     
  6. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    Re: New Build P2

    If you are making a formal presentation, no doubt, but on a public forum which is more less (bar the actual company) akin to conversation down the pub, why the desire to undermine? His points were understandable at the very least, even if you disagreed with the cut of his jibe.

    Reading and writing, as it has always done throughout history, comes more easily to some than others, and we shouldn't wish to exclude communication and debate for want of a few misplaced apostrophes. I say we, possibly meaning "me" as I wouldn't personally wish to exclude anyone taking part in a debate on the basis of their grammar.
     
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  7. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    Yes - it should have been. As number 60113, with divided drive and the double kylchap. In other words, preserved in its Thompson Pacific form and therefore filling in the gap between the A4 Pacific and Peppercorn's A1.

    It is still a crying shame that not one of the Thompson Pacifics was preserved to provide an example of the wartime development of the LNER and to acknowledge the skilled work of the men who worked on them in extremely difficult circumstances, during and immediately post-war.
     
  8. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Nat Pres stalwart

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    Is it your main aim in life to annoy admirers of Gresley? 1470 was the first production Pacific in the UK and should have been preserved as such, not rebuilt as the ugly abortion that was 60113.
     
  9. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    Great Northern was rebuilt: that is a fact. She was unique when rebuilt, and worked well - probably the best of the Thompson Pacifics. Stating I would have liked to have seen 60113 preserved as she was when she was withdrawn is not in any way denigrating Gresley or slighting his supporters: merely putting forward my view that the rebuilt locomotive should have been preserved. The full story of the Pacific locomotive on the LNER was missing two specific links: a Peppercorn A1 and a Thompson Pacific. 60113 would have filled that role perfectly as the missing link between Gresley and Peppercorn variants.

    I think we are all agreed that we would have preferred 4470 to have not been rebuilt: but she was, that is a fact, and I personally think she should have been preserved as is. If you choose to read into that any inferred trollism that is your hang up; it was certainly not my intention nor crossed my mind.
     
  10. ragl

    ragl Well-Known Member

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    Nerve well and truly touched there methinks.:)
     
  11. Sheff

    Sheff Part of the furniture

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    I wish you luck with that appeal Simon ;)
     
  12. Lplus

    Lplus Well-Known Member

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    Er, no, sorry. As an A3 as it would have been rebuilt had Gresley lived.;) It could then have been preserved by the NRM as the first Gresley Pacific.:D


    That said, I tend to agree that a Thompson pacific is a missing link that should have been preserved, but I think the A2/3 version represents a better overal loco than the A1/1 or the earlier A2/1 and A2/2. the A2/3 was at least designed as a new loco, not a "rebuild"
     
  13. Sir Nigel Gresley

    Sir Nigel Gresley Active Member

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    Hang-on a mo ........ wasn't there a 1950's plan to rebuild 60113 as an A3?

    As an aside, shouldn't the butchered loco have been re-classified A10/1, after the Peppercorn A1's had been introduced? :rolleyes:
     
  14. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    I think you and I both know that any Thompson Pacific appeal would (sadly - and not on the basis of facts or engineering) be laughed off the forum. Besides, only a lottery win would give the capital to have one built.

    Here's my (totally unrealistic and with dreamer's hat on) offer - if I win big on Euromillions one day, I'll give the P2 Trust the money to finish 2007, build a V4 as well, on the condition they build me a standard Thompson A2/3 using the data they've created with 2007 through Deltrarail.

    The A2/3 was a direct development of the A2/2 and has around 70% commonality of engineering with the P2 as a result - same frames, same wheelbase, boiler virtually identical and can be made standard with the A1 and P2. Sound like a good deal? Two Gresley engines complete for the sake of one Thompson Pacific.

    But it wasn't - it formed the prototype for the new A1 class and was ultimately intended for all of the 180lb locos - including Scotsman as it happens! - to be rebuilt accordingly. That didn't happen and 60113 worked until 1960 (pretty good going for a prototype and unique locomotive with a limited pool of spares. No other unique prototype steam locomotive seems to have been as long lived - Duke of Gloucester perhaps another rare exception, and the rebuilt W1?)

    60113 would be my personal preference if only for the plethora of livery variations and those handsome smoke deflectors. The raked back look really suited the A1/1. That said - controversial I know - I think she was more handsome when shorn of deflectors and with the small cab. Her development echoed Stanier's early Pacifics and was also in some ways similar to the thinking of the standard Pacifics thereafter (level cab floor, high running plate, utilitarian looks). She was an impressive locomotive and is much maligned in my view. Not the best locomotive in the LNER fleet but undeserving of the vitriol she gets.

    Lord knows - if they were all that bad, the Thompson Pacifics would have been rebuilt…

    As for Scotsman - I am grateful for her continued existence to show the elegance of the Gresley line and hope we get to see her in a few different liveries over the coming years, not least I think we are owed BR dark green at last some time soon...
     
  15. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Nat Pres stalwart

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    I have read in more than one book that 4470 was destined for preservation in York. The LNER out of all the Big Four had established a railway museum so they obviously had an eye as to what future exhibits might be. Thompson's rebuilding of the loco changed all that.
     
  16. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Nat Pres stalwart

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    The above reads like one of your children's stories. Stick to the latter is my advice.
     
  17. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    How utterly condescending. Was that really fair or necessary?

    Notable that you have twice had to resort to some rather unfair commentary without once qualifying your statements or providing a fair rebuttal to mine.
     
  18. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    Of course, the insinuation is there that you've actually read my book (which seems unlikely if you're making that kind of unqualified (and without merit) statement...)
     
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  19. std tank

    std tank Part of the furniture

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    Check your history Mr Martin. 60113 was withdrawn in November 1962
     
  20. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    Always happy to be corrected. I should have checked the LNER encyclopedia again before posting.
     

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