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Edward Thompson: Wartime C.M.E. Discussion 2012 - 2021

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

  1. cranetank

    cranetank New Member

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    Thompsons wartime engineering and management effort is to be commended and do need revising he was working under government guidelines and cannot be judged fairly by train timers and rail enthusiasts.
     
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  2. MrDibbs

    MrDibbs New Member

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    A belated congratulations and welcome to the Signalling Design Industry Simon! I too can hardly wait to read your book in the flesh (Or Paper perhaps)!
     
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  3. 8126

    8126 Member

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    Belated thanks to both of you for posting those little summaries, it does rather suggest that while McKillop clearly wasn't a fan of 2001, it wasn't because it went too well and deprived honest pilot drivers of work. The V4s do seem to have ticked all the performance boxes, but were simply overtaken by events.
     
  4. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    Yes McKillop talks at great length about the issue being coal consumption. He talks about how he tried every different driving technique he knew, different cut offs etc and nothing to reduce the coal consumption. He says he ran normally on 12% cut off.

    His description is this: 'It could haul any two trains tied together up any gradient in the land but it would swallow a hundredweight of coal'. He basically says that for 3 cylinder Gresley you would be 28-35lbs a mile, for 2001 it would be a hundredweight.

    He says of the first journey to Aberdeen they stopped in Dundee because of a heat smell and found:

    "three of the coupling rod bushes 'cutting' to such an extent that there was a broad line of 'gold' from the nave of the wheel to the rim where the brass and oil had run."

    He blamed the monobloc and poppet valves for the high coal consumption and that was part of his report to the District General Manager, which I assume got fed to Doncaster.
     
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  5. 35B

    35B Resident of Nat Pres

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    Why would the monobloc have an effect?


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
  6. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    I was wondering that - one thought I had was that the complexity of the casting made it harder to optimise the shape of the steam passageways. The other was that if it is heavier than three separate cylinders, it would take longer to warm up and that would give you more losses after periods of inactivity, which would also lead to higher steam (and coal) consumption.

    Whether either is true I don't know, but they were two things that came to mind.

    Tom
     
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  7. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    He doesn't say sadly.

    One thing he did not like was the pony truck. He thought they were unsuitable for express work. He was also the person who tested Green Arrow first in Scotland and he sings its praises noting that this was despite it having a pony truck.

    It is quite a short article and it covers a lot of ground and somethings are not quite fully expanded on.
     
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  8. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    McKillop has been dismissed out of hand by some LNER writers for his views on the P2s. It's an extraordinary thing. The more I’ve researched the P2s, the more I understand why the new P2 has had to have so much substantial redesign in some fundamental areas.

    The other equally extraordinary thing is how blinkered some of the views on the original P2s are by writers on LNER matters. It's clear from a number of sources that the P2s were taken off the heaviest trains during the war because of concerns over crank axle failure - which, it turns out - is a legitimate concern, backed up with evidence. Some LNER writers then argue that "they should have been transferred to England where the track is straighter" or other such nonsense, then decry the A2/2s...for being transferred to England onto more regular workings.

    No shedmaster anywhere on the LNER (or elsewhere, I dare say) would want locomotives heavy on fuel, low on availability (as little as 49% in one year prior to rebuilding) and with a known track record for broken crank axles. So much of the stuff claiming the A2/2s were incapable of the work of the P2s ignores a basic, fundamental fact: the P2s weren't capable of doing the work they were doing without significant maintenance, fuel costs, and higher downtime.

    They also ignore basic facts about the A2/2s - if you look at the engine record cards properly and give the full picture (which is no. of trips to work, no. of days out for repair, mileages), then they come out of WW2 looking excellent, have some issues in the early 50s with waiting on boilers (they always had a small pool of boilers - even as Gresley P2s) before the fitting of Peppercorn boilers later on, and then they return to being entirely reasonable locomotives doing good mileages per year.

    So if you were going to sum up the P2s history according to LNER writers:

    • class with amazing potential
    • tragically destroyed by thompson
    When the reality is:

    • class with amazing potential
    • had major engineering issues
    • rebuilt into working pacifics
    The "Thompson bad, Gresley good" line of thinking that authors have traditionally taken is simplistic, lacking in reading the primary evidence, and in some cases, whether deliberately or ignorantly, not telling the whole story despite having the primary evidence in front of them (why has it taken 60 years + for someone to look more closely at the engine record cards and realise that no. of times into works isn't as important as the amount of time in and out of works, against the annual mileage?)

    It's infuriating to see such simplistic thinking regurgitated over and over.
     
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  9. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    Which, most notably, on no.2007 is precisely what they have done with the new fabricated monobloc.
     
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  10. 8126

    8126 Member

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    The complexity of the passages for a poppet valve engine may have come into it, compared to piston valve engines. The V2s and V4s were not notably hindered in the economy stakes by their monoblocs, but I've seen it noted that 4771 has a less-than-great casting, with shifted cores and very thin walls in some of the passages. More complex castings are going to be more prone to that kind of trouble (although much more complicated castings than LNER monoblocs went onto steam engines), but also I believe in 2001 the steam passages were located alongside the exhaust passages, so the incoming steam gave up heat to the exhaust - not a good feature at all. A piston valve engine does this to a small degree of course, with heat loss through the valve and to the walls in the section which the valve head passes over, but that's fairly limited in scope compared to passages sharing a wall.
     
  11. 30854

    30854 Part of the furniture

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    Is there any reasonable comparison to be made with the FfR's Fairlie fleet, where the move has been towards monobloc components?
     
  12. 8126

    8126 Member

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    Why stop there? I expect fully cast steel power bogie frames with integral cylinders under James Spooner within the decade. But, more seriously, incredibly complicated castings were put onto steam locomotives across the world (look at the frame and cylinder drawings for an SAR 25NC some time - a single 18 ton casting). It is possible for it to be true that 2001 had a badly designed monobloc, and perhaps LNER monoblocs in general were not as good as they could have been in terms of casting quality and reliability, while also being true that monobloc cylinders can be and have been a very useful problem solver in reliable, efficient and successful designs.
     
  13. RLinkinS

    RLinkinS Member

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    Is there a single monobloc on a Fairlie power bogie which incorporates both cylinders and valves?

    Sent from my SM-A105FN using Tapatalk
     
  14. Selsig

    Selsig New Member

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    Yes, the piston valve bogies under both David Lloyd George and Taliesin have monoboc castings containing both cylinders and both valves.

    John
     
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  15. Ruston906

    Ruston906 New Member

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    Does this mean there is a gresley book in the pipe line.
     
  16. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    Had the LNER used monoblocs before the P2?
     
  17. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    ;)
     
  18. 30854

    30854 Part of the furniture

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    That's how I've read it, but may be totally wrong! I do know monobloc was adopted to solve ongoing repair issues, which were occurring too often for comfort. Best I copy the question onto a FfR thread, as I'd be interested in the answer too.
     
  19. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    What i will say about McKillop is that in his own words he was a driver first and an author second. He always writes through a drivers eyes. (Dick Hardy never stopped being a shedman). Stylistically McKillop's style is informal and oral compared to the Nocks and Allens of the era. When you read McKillop he will tell you everything about driving and that is what he is focused on, but his accounts of runs are full of asides relating to looking for signals, because well that is what you are doing most of the time. For example in toplink steam he does a diesel run on the Royal scot, a run across the Woodhead and a Newhaven boat train both electric traction, and a run in the gas turbine out of Paddington. But he is constantly asking questions about driving techniques.

    McKillop like any good driver is obsessed with fuel economy, and so while Allen is busy grumbling because the fireman didn't put his back into it and they had a 'sluggish' run, McKillop is always how can we get there on time using as little fuel as possible.

    I half wonder if McKillop's concern about fuel economy is a reflection the LNERs financial situation - labour is cheap but fuel is the big cost?

    Edit - I would also add a class dimension to this. I'd suggest that McKillop is one of the few working class voices writing on railways at this time.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2021
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  20. Hermod

    Hermod New Member

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    NER made a lot of threecylinder ,cast iron monoblocks for 0-8-0 and 4-6-0 locomotives.
    Steel is much more difficult but P2 and V2 monos were cast iron me thinks.
     
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