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Edward Thompson: Wartime C.M.E. Discussion 2012 - 2019

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

  1. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    There's a comment in J.E. Chacksfield's biography of Maunsell as follows (in reference to the N1 / K1):

    "The large clearances required on the conjugated gear pin joints were dictated by the need to cover for inaccuracies in the erection of locomotives, which were prevalent with the level of technology at the time."
    It has the ring of truth about it, but is frustratingly unreferenced: it is not clear if Chacksfield is asserting that, or reporting a view held by the SR drawing office. It does however have a degree of plausibility - with a two cylinder loco, the valve gear arrangement on each side is largely independent of the other, provide you get the relative alignment of cylinder and driving axle right to start with; whereas in a conjugated system, discrepancies between the two sides will feed through to the centre, for which a degree of "slop" seems to have been allowed to compensate. The GWR were, I suspect, some way ahead of the other companies at that time in the accurate erection of their locos.

    Tom
     
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  2. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    Quoting myself ...

    Comparable figures for average miles between overhauls the period 1933 - 1939 were as follows:

    N (80 locos) - 83,009
    N1 (6 locos) - 75,355

    U (50 locos) - 84,295
    U1 (21 locos) - 79,637

    So on average, the three cylinder N1s managed 91% of average mileage of a two cylinder N; and the U1s managed 94% of the average mileage of the class U.

    (Source: Bradley. Comparable figures are given for a range of SR and non-SR locos: Southern N / N1 / U / U1 / LBSCR K / LSWR S15 / H15 / GWR 4300 / LMS 5P5F 2-6-0 / LNER K3. Of those, the LBSCR K has the worst figure and the Maunsell U the best for average distance between overhauls).

    Tom
     
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  3. Fred Kerr

    Fred Kerr Part of the furniture

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    Possibly tangential - but certainly to the Thomson story - but it would be interesting to (a) compare the 36 Stanier 3-cylinder 2-6-4T 2500-2536 to the Stanier 2-cylinder 2-6-4T and (b) the Stanier 3-cylinder 2-6-4T to the 3-cylinder 4-6-0s to see if the comparison stands scrutiny. IIRC the Fowler designs were reputedly weak in axle-box designs (hence Beyer Peacock refusing to acknowledge the LMS Beyer-Garretts once Midland Railway axle-boxes were imposed) which I presume could be analogous to the Gresley "weakness" of the conjugated valve gear hence a further interesting comparison could be between a Fowler 2-cylinder 2-6-4T (2302-2424) and the Fowler Patriot 3-cylinder 4-6-0 (5502-5551). As noted these are tangential discoveries but perhaps put the LMS experience in context with LNER experience given that all locomotive designs are a compromise which includes problem areas; the question of availability and capability then becomes one of how those "problems" are managed within the operating department.

    I do not question Cox's experience but - given his LMS grounding - is that experience sufficient to qualify his critique of the Gresley conjugated gear or is he comparing the apples of the Gresley conjugated valve gear with the pears of the LMS 3-cylindered locomotives. I am also intrigued asto his count of 591 3-cylinder LMS engines as - according to the 1944 ABC Locomotives - I can only identify 351 3-cylinder locomotives (comprising 37 x 2-6-4T (2500-2536); 52 Patriot Class 4-6-0 (5500-5551); 191 Jubilee Class 4-6-0 (5552-5742) and 71 Royal Scot Class 4-6-0 (6100-6170). Other 3-cylinder designs included 275 LMS Compound but these were 4-4-0s hence if my count is correct then Cox was comparing the 652 conjugated valve gear locomotives (of varying wheel arrangements) with 351 3-cylinder locomotives which casts further doubt on the comparison and recommendations.

    As a further query on the Cox Report he indicates 652 locomotives fitted with conjugated valve gear whilst I estimate 672 locomotives comprising 78 Class A1/A3; 35 Class A4; 73 Class B17; 193 Class K3; 6 Class K4; 66 Class 02; 2 Class P1; 6 Class P2; 92 Class V1/V3; 118 Class V2 (60917 last released prior to Gresley's death in April 1941); 2 Class V4; and 1 Class W1 which totals 672 locomotives.

    Pardon my pedantry but if the Cox Report is to be given any credence it needs to be evaluated against salient facts and IMHO the figures for locomotive comparisons are questionnable if my calculations shown above are correct. This is not to say that Thomson deliberately sought to select a biased source, given the LMS experience with 3-cylinder locomotives, but more that Cox may perhaps not have been as experienced an engineer with 3-cylinder locomotives as Gresley had been hence the query about his conclusions. That said I have no doubt that - for the times - his conclusion that a 2-cylinder design and divided drive for 3 cylinder locomotives would prove adequate for immediate future needs remains valid. It is interesting, however, that the Riddles Standard designs for the nascent BR of 1948 were all 2-cylinder designs. The only exception of 71000 resulted from the withdrawal of the rebuilt Turbomotive in the 1953 Harrow crash that required a replacement Class 8 locomotive hence J.F. Harrison returning to the LNER concept of a 3-cylinder design (a la Gresley) with 6' 2" driving wheels and divided drive (a la Thomson) for the replacement Pacific.
     
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  4. Eightpot

    Eightpot Well-Known Member Friend

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    To be strictly correct, the wartime batch of O2s was only 24 locos delivered from 22/5/42, of which 4 didn't enter service until 1943. The last of the previous batches was delivered 15/3/1934 and had undergone several General Repairs up to 1942, so hardly new locos. A grand total of 67 locos including the prototype 3461/3921 scrapped in 1948.

    Gresley took 3-cylinder drive to a 'smaller' loco size level of the 2-6-0 and 2-6-2 tank than which Thompson would only use 2-cylinders on, e.g. the L1 2-6-4. Curiously, Maunsell of the Southern did Gresley level too, with the N1 and U1 2-6-0s (some rebuilt from the 'K, 'River Class 2-6-4 tank) and the W class 2-6-4T.

    Another interesting comparison would be the statistics between the Gresley V1/V3 2-6-2 T and the Thompson L1 2-6-4 (obviously of later years) which was essentially a stretched V1/V3 with more water and coal capacity. Do you have them available Simon, please?
     
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  5. bluetrain

    bluetrain New Member

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    As you say, the O2 engines were mostly newer than the other 2-8-0s, which might explain their better availability.

    But I wonder if it is also significant that these 2-8-0 classes spent most of their time on slow-speed goods traffic, typically with a lot of journeys interrupted by waits in refuge loops while faster trains passed. Such work would not stress the engines like those on passenger or fast freight work, so perhaps fewer hot boxes/bearings and less wear of the conjugated valve gear joints?

    Apologies if this is completely irrelevant, but the world's most numerous class of loco with conjugated valve gear (albeit Henschel rather than Gresley version) was also a heavy freight loco - the German BR 58 (ex-Prussian G12) 3-cylinder 2-10-0 design with 1478 built 1917-24.

    I note from another of your recent posts that the K2 2-cylinder 2-6-0 had quite high availability during WW2, perhaps surprising given that these engines were by then 20-30 years old. Those K2 figures might have been seen by Thompson as evidence that he was on the right track in developing his B1 2-cylinder 4-6-0.
     
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  6. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    I didn’t say they were new locos - I said “fairly new...compared to the O4s” which were much, much older locomotives.

    I think I have the prototype L1 only as my full figures only currently go up to 1947. I’ll gave a look though.
     
  7. bluetrain

    bluetrain New Member

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    The majority of the train services on the former LBSC were, by 1939, being operated by EMUs, with steam very much in a secondary role. The Southern Electric network proved more resilient than expected during wartime. According to Mr Bonavia ("History of the Southern Rly"), some of the Brighton line expresses were even able to run to their peace-time 60-minute schedule during the middle of WW2.

    As you rightly say, the Southern was very much in the front-line and its civil engineering staff were pressed to the limit during the peak bombing period of 1940-41, as they fought to repair damaged infrastructure and re-open lines to traffic. But the locomotive department was not under such intense pressure. Passenger services were reduced from the start of the war. Once the Dunkirk evacuation was complete, freight demands were lessened because there was no longer a BEF to supply, cross-channel commerce had stopped, oceanic shipping and associated naval support was concentrated on the northern ports, and munition stocks were largely moved away from Woolwich Arsenal and other south-east sites to depots in the Midlands. So the Southern actually had a surplus of locomotives through much of the war, enabling it to lend some to the other railways, while some older 4-4-0s went into store. For example, 10 Urie N15s were loaned to the LNER NE-Area in 1942-43. A couple of Billinton B4 4-4-0s were in the NE 1941-44 - on return to the Southern, they were assessed as "worn-out" and went into store un-serviceable, never to work again.

    Of course, traffic on the Southern built up again as D-Day approached, but by that time large numbers of new Stanier, Riddles and USATC 2-8-0s were available to help, as well as the new Southern Q1 class.

    Like the other railways, the Southern lost staff and workshop capacity to the war effort, so Bulleid had to "shuffle things around" and delay some overhauls. But the indications are that he was in far less difficulty than Thompson on the LNER, and hence able to devote plenty of time to the development of the Merchant Navy class and other initiatives.
     
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  8. ross

    ross Member

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    Conjugated valve gear was grease lubricated-were there grease nipples, or some other pot to fill? I have seen the mess that novices make(myself included) before they find the knack of getting the grease gun onto the tit.
    I wonder if maintenance staff thought they were greasing the motion , but actually failing?

    From Sept 1939 we were at war, but it was so little apparent that people called it "the phoney war". It was May 1940 before anything really happened to affect the lives of most Britons. Most people thought it would blow over. The LMS put their best engines away "for the duration"-yes, I'm aware they got them out again, but it suggests that even the great minds there thought the war was a temporary inconvenience. My belief is that Gresley, a kind man, probably hoped it would all be over soon(I have no basis for this statement)
    Summer/autumn 1940, Battle of Britain....but it wasn't until Sept 1940 that Luftwaffe bombing of civilian targets ended everyone's illusions. 6 months later, Gresley had been recalled to the makers.

    Likening HNG as a wartime CME with Thompson as a wartime CME actually does Thompson a disservice. It was Thompson who asked the difficult questions, sought the answers and adopted the assertive stance (Go big or go home?) that made legends of other men in industry/military in the same period.

    Re. The LNER not having difficulties during the war... Coastal shipping was suddenly a very dangerous business, especially North Sea/east coast/Channel. All the coal that had travelled from Tyne to Thames was suddenly on the rails, along with all sorts of low value/bulky/non pershable cargo. We forget how much maritime transport there was prior to 1940. Along with the naval bases and army, bear in mind that by 1942 the RAF had a considerable operation going on, mostly from bases in Lincolnshire and Norfolk. Due to shortages of fuel, rubber for tyres, and larger lorries, nearly all personnel movements were by rail, aircraft fuel was distributed by rail, and of course a quarter of a million tons of export goods every month, all travelled on rail.
     
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  9. Hermod

    Hermod New Member

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    B17 and B16/1 must have been able to do more or less same kind of jobs.
    The wheel diameter difference is not so important on three cylinder locomotives.
    Have availability been compared?
    The B16/1 had an awfull lot of lubrication points between frames and the B17 fewer.
     
  10. The Saggin' Dragon

    The Saggin' Dragon Part of the furniture Staff Member Moderator

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    Possibly occasionally but not regularly ... They were skilled men.
     
  11. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    The list of LMS engines I can see as 3 cylinder in 1941 are:
    • Royal Scot - 71
    • Patriot - 52
    • Jubilee - 191
    • Stanier Tank - 37
    • LMS Compound - 195
    • MR 1000 class - 45
    Which gives us 591 engines as per the report. You have taken the ABC figures from 1944 which is after the publication of the report.

    My availability spreadsheet indicates there were 652 LNER 3-cylinder engines in 1941 matching Cox's numbers. So something is up there and I will check this at an appropriate moment over the next couple of days.
     
  12. Eightpot

    Eightpot Well-Known Member Friend

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    Keep up the good work Simon. I must say that this topic is proving to be one of the most friendly and sensible discussions that I have been involved with on NP, especially when compared with some of those on New General Chat!
     
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  13. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    Ask and you shall receive. I have put together the stats in a quiet moment for 1946. I will try and seek out the 1945 stats later on from my archives. I suspect the L1 would not come out well in 1945 potentially as it had just been built.

    upload_2019-9-11_10-13-54.png

    upload_2019-9-11_10-22-19.png

    Bear in mind we are comparing a one year old prototype two cylinder locomotive to three cylinder locomotives which were much older. The interesting thing is seeing the comparison of the NE and Scottish areas doing better with the V1s.

    upload_2019-9-11_10-24-59.png

    Here's their 1942 stats. I haven't finished 1943-46 so far (only done individual classes so far) but will endeavor to get them done more quickly.
     
  14. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    That's very kind. Thank you. I hope we are getting the level of debate necessary to get better answers from it all.

    I repeat my apology to Robin here, however, for my grumpiness of late. It has been a difficult summer.
     
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  15. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    That may be true pre-war, but definitely not after 1939. The LNER had lost 50,000 of these skilled men to the war effort, directly from maintenance roles and the workshops. Many of those who were employed at the sheds came from teenagers, women or the elderly and those skilled ones that were left were largely pressed into management roles for training these new recruits who had likely never worked on a steam locomotive before.

    There are notes in the emergency board minutes highlighting issues with training these recruits.

    I speculate, of course, but it seems likely this caused much of the issues with the conjugated classes - putting aside any arguments about the engineering - but it is easier to tell someone how to oil up around a two cylinder engine and demonstrate it than it is to show someone how to get between the frames and sort the conjugated gear, let alone the centre valve gear.
     
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  16. Eightpot

    Eightpot Well-Known Member Friend

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    One thing I'd like to clarify are the Area or Location (Area Codes) in the statistics as I can't recall them being explained. I am presuming them to be:-

    SAW = Southern Area West. GC & GN lines?

    SAE = Southern Area East. Former GE lines?

    NEA = North East Area.

    SCO = Scotland.

    WHL = WHole Line.

    Please confirm or amend as necessary.
     
  17. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    I do not think it is any coincidence that KJ Cook changing the setup of frames to using Zeiss optical equipment at the major LNER works in the 50s led to better availability and reliability of the Gresley Pacifics. That three CMEs and heads of the LNER and Eastern Region hadn't grasped this workshop practice, but Cook did, was perhaps a reflection on the insular nature of the LNER a tad.

    One wonders how much of the issues with the Gresley conjugated locos were a combination of:
    • poor workshop practice in setting up frames
    • poor maintenance caused by a lack in skilled manpower
    • change in shopping regime meaning locos were forced to work longer
    During the war in any event.
     
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  18. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    upload_2019-9-11_10-52-50.png

    SAW does indeed refer to GC and GN lines. SAE is Anglia and southern parts of LNER around London.

    I need to update these notes as a few changes have been made but these are largely correct.
     
  19. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    In looking at the figures today I have made an interesting discovery - which is that when we discussed the number of days for Scotland and England available previously, I had only looked at 1942's front sheet and assumed the rest were the same.

    They are not. Therefore I need to go back and make some amendments. It is only a few days either way but it does change the results. It is not onerous to change them, but it is a lesson in not making assumptions!
     
  20. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    Okay, last post for a bit, as I do have some genuine work to be getting on with!

    upload_2019-9-11_11-18-22.png

    Note the additional column giving the number of days in a year. This changes our availability stats by way of the formula we use to calculate them, based on the potential number of working days available. Not by much but it is a change.
     

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