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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. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    Thinking about this ... if you have two locos with the same boiler, cylinders and wheel diameter, then their sustained ability to shift a train ought to be the same. Fundamentally, that is a power calculation, and the sustained power of a loco comes from its ability to burn coal. So maybe not a great surprise if the LNER found that rebuilding a 2-8-2 into a 4-6-2 with so much original material retained resulted in a loco of more or less identical sustained capability. It would be odd if it hadn't done so.

    The greater reliability is of course a success that can be chalked up to the revised design.

    That only leaves adhesion, for which the 2-8-2 ought to be superior if it can avoid slipping. But that is a benefit that can only be realised for a small part of the duty cycle when the loco is working beyond its sustained output, for example on starting: if a loco is, on normal rail, capable of applying so much torque as to be able to slip continuously without winding the boiler, then the boiler is too big! (*) The interesting question with adhesion is how much you have to go to an eight-coupled design, and how much there may have been much cheaper gains to be made in better regulator design, improved suspension arrangements etc. Even something as minimal as routinely fitting steam chest pressure gauges could help, particularly on starting.

    (*) I think it was Mark Donohue, American racing driver of the notorious 1500hp "Can-Am killer" Porsche 917, that remarked that unless a car was still wheel spinning in top gear at the end of a straight, it didn't have enough power! But you don't design locomotives like that ...

    Tom
     
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  2. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Nat Pres stalwart

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    Nothing of the sort. Simon has dismissed the efforts of previous authors and makes much of "primary evidence". It is therefore not unreasonable to ask what the primary evidence is for some of his assertions. As for previous authors, the internet wasn't around when they were writing and they are now long gone. I'm sure if they rose from the dead and came on here, they'd be subject to similar scrutiny.
     
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  3. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    For the record, always happy to be held to account on this. That has been the point of the discussion.

    The big question is whether people are prepared to accept the primary evidence, which includes statistics, board minutes and reports from the company which owned the locomotives in the first place.
     
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  4. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    Yes, I have dismissed the work of some writers on this subject. The reason for that is simple. Evidence which shows their views to be biased, wrongly held, or without a basis in fact.

    The quotation marks are somewhat odd, unless you are suggesting that official LNER records, which include statistics, reports, minutes and letters done at the time to not be primary evidence?

    If they're not primary evidence, then what is?

    For those unfamiliar:

    I suppose that's why the Colonel Rogers book on Thompson and Peppercorn has never - as far as I can see - been directly challenged for its many, many factual inaccuracies, and bewilderingly fantastical assertions in print?
     
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  5. RalphW

    RalphW Resident of Nat Pres Staff Member Administrator Friend

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    And can you honestly say that some of your views are not biased?
     
  6. Cartman

    Cartman Well-Known Member

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    I think, overall, Thompson was on the right lines. Gresleys locos were high quality machines, but seemed to be heavy on maintenance, and lacked the workmanlike qualities of other lines engines like Staniers Black 5s, the Southerns S15s and so on.

    at the time he was appointed to the job, it was a very difficult period, in World war 2, and he reasoned that simpler, easier to maintain engines were the way forward, and more standardisation, hence the excellent B1s.

    Gresley seemed to like the idea of small classes for specific jobs, and insisted on the 3 cylinder arrangement, fine for express types but was it necessary for such secondary and goods types like D49s, B17s and O2s?

    Thompson wasn't in the job very long, had he had a longer run at it, in different times, he might not have come in for the same level of criticism.

    My take on the LNER is that they seemed to chuck what money they had at prestige services on the East Coast main line and do everything else a bit on the cheap.
     
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  7. bluetrain

    bluetrain Well-Known Member

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    To use a Krauss-Helmholz or Zara truck up front, it is necessary to set the cylinders and connecting rods sufficiently wide to allow sideways movement of the leading coupled wheels. That was not possible on the P2s, because the 21-in (533mm) cylinders were already at the limit of the British loading-gauge. Bulleid did consider a 2-8-2 option with K-H truck for his Merchant Navy class, but they only had 18-in (457mm) cylinders, so the solution fitted.

    The majority of Continental 2-8-2s were mixed-traffic engines with driving wheels in the range 1.60m-1.75m (5ft 3in to 5ft 9in). The P2 was among the less common group of 2-8-2s designed as express locomotives with big wheels, and possibly the only express 2-8-2 design without a K-H or Zara truck.

    According to RCTS, there was a complete ban on the double-heading of Pacifics and V2s on the Edinburgh-Aberdeen route, which of course crossed the Forth and Tay bridges. So double-heading would have to involve two smaller engines. When the P2s were introduced in 1934, trains were sometimes double-headed by a NB Atlantic plus a 4-4-0. I wonder whether the P2 was aiming to replicate both the steaming power and the adhesion of that combination. If you proceed to write a book on Gresley, perhaps you will be revisiting the original P2 design, to research Gresley's thinking and review whether or not the P2 concept had been a good idea in the first place?
     
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  8. Big Al

    Big Al Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

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    First hand evidence, especially if it is data is just that. It has not been filtered through the minds of people or word of mouth. You have to assume that when an analysis of that evidence is shared then it will not be biased. In any case the evidence is available for others to view and analyse themselves.

    A 'content free' view can easily be biased and some regular contributors on this thread seem to demonstrate that in spades especially if it may challenge a previous, widely held view.

    We have the luxury of people with knowledge (and views) being able to discuss data, information and views in a way that authors of 50 years ago never had. That's a plus. My personal view is that this book will stand on its merits and thoroughness but it will need to be read in full before that can be established.
     
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  9. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    Yes, because they’re backed up with evidence Ralph.

    I know this thread has shaken your world view quite a bit, particularly where it may stray into potential criticism of past railway writers and their titles, or Gresley, but you need to shake off the idea that everything I’ve written is rooted in irrational biases without a basis in fact.

    I formed the views I have because the evidence I’ve collated has led me to those conclusions. That’s the bottom line. If we’re being scientific, scholarly and fair, we would all recognize that our views must change as the facts change.

    I look forward to seeing your responses once the book is published, and you have read it.
     
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  10. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    I have effectively started one of my chapters asking that question. The answer will surprise you…!
     
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  11. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    I was in fact so anxious with the statistics that they have been independently verified, and the formula we created on this thread was further peer reviewed and analyzed by other statisticians and engineers.

    Absolutely agree, and that’s why this forum gets mentioned specifically with due credit in the book.
     
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  12. RalphW

    RalphW Resident of Nat Pres Staff Member Administrator Friend

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    I'm afraid that you are sadly mistaken, this thread has shaken nothing, your arrogant assumption of the effect it has had on my 'world view' is laughable since I am unlikely to stray into potential criticism to past railway writers as I could not care less about them or their titles.
     
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  13. 21B

    21B Part of the furniture

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    Your responses frequently give the impression that you have been shaken and angered. If that is not the case you might wish to express yourself in less aggressive tones
     
  14. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    It's very difficult to reconcile that when you frequent this thread only to ride rough shod into a slew of personal commentary against me personally, on a subject you say you don't care about. I think your words and actions on this thread very clearly show you are in some way threatened by my work. If not - then it is utterly mad to wade in on a thread and subject matter you apparently don't care about.

    The only conclusion we can come to then, from that, is a personal dislike of me - which you are welcome to hold, nobody gets universal acclaim on this planet - but it is very rude, and wearying, particularly as I don't reciprocate the personal attacks.
     
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  15. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    I'd caution about that. Raw data is just that, raw data. It is in the interpretation where explicit and implicit biases can come into play, ie discounting or overlooking a variable.

    Since everyone is socialised into a world view and will have blind spots a good author will be aware of them and take steps to ensure that they do not have a distorting effect. I think it is fair to say that say Nock et al had biases, were products of their time and situation, but to all intents and purposes did not seem i) aware of them or ii) take steps to factor in their blind spots. (At the same time I don't think it is fair to expect Nock et al to be that self critical since he was a bang 'em out writer of popular texts and not a deep thinker or analyst. Likewise, Shedmaster X or Driver Y writing their memoirs is tasked with trying to reconstruct something for 20 years previously, or using contemporary materials that were often written in haste and in the middle of difficult circumstances - beware notes scrawled in the margin).

    Really, what @S.A.C. Martin is being accused of is playing fast and loose with the evidence in order to shape the evidence to match his already held views. I have to say, that I have not seen any evidence of evidence that has been i) omitted or ii) distorted in order to support a conclusion. I mean if @RalphW can give us examples then that would help.
     
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  16. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    Just one thing to clarify - I didn't hold these views when I started this thread in 2012 (9 years ago) - my views developed as we found new evidence and discussed it as a group, publicly, together. Open source peer review.

    I too, would love to see examples of this. Mainly because I am always - and have always been - open to changing my mind if the evidence is there. To date my views have been cemented with the more I have done the research based on the primary evidence.
     
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  17. RalphW

    RalphW Resident of Nat Pres Staff Member Administrator Friend

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    Neither or angered, just nonplussed by some of the assumptions made.
     
  18. RalphW

    RalphW Resident of Nat Pres Staff Member Administrator Friend

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    In some way threatened by your work, what a strange comment, an amusing conclusion.
     
  19. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    Then perhaps you would care to venture on what assumptions I have made?
     
  20. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    Then I'm at a loss Ralph: you're not threatened by the work, or care about the other writers and their work...so why are you here?

    Every time you enter this thread you bring accusations, general bad temper and never seem to explain what exactly your point is. If the whole point of it is disruption tactics from the discussion points in the thread: you've succeeded in that, well done.

    Perhaps you should reconsider if you should be posting in this thread, if you have nothing of value to add, say, or wish to elaborate on the things you say?
     
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