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Flying Scotsman

Discussion in 'Steam Traction' started by 73129, Aug 24, 2010.

  1. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    I mean, I’m a Flying Scotsman supporter, both enthusiastically and monetarily, so I have bias.

    But I am dismayed by the lack of of mention of the GWR. Scotsman’s history is interlinked with the GWR on many occasions, culminating one could argue with the meeting of Pendennis castle in Australia.

    Still a very good program and I loved that a Thompson B1 was shown to demonstrate steam - but yes, I think on this occasion losing a few details on the GWR was a missed opportunity.
     
  2. talyllyn1

    talyllyn1 New Member

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    At least this time we were spared the usual member of the public proudly proclaiming that "My Granddad drove the Flying Scotsman" when, in all probability, he was actually in charge of whatever loco happened to be rostered to the 10 a.m. departure from Kings Cross or Waverley! :rolleyes:
     
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  3. Fred Kerr

    Fred Kerr Part of the furniture

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    Not really ! It only needs a quick statement that 1472 was advertised as the "Most Powerful Locomotive" which was challenged by the GWR and its Castle Class exhibit. This led to a contest between the 2 locomotives that identified differences which Gresley noted hence his specification of the improved design that became the A3 and to which specification 1472 was upgraded by Doncaster Works. Job Done and Honour Satisfied Methinks !
     
  4. std tank

    std tank Part of the furniture

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    Yes Fred, but that conversion did not take place until 1947!
     
  5. Fred Kerr

    Fred Kerr Part of the furniture

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    IMHO that is - in terms of other comments re balance - irrelevant; the GWR challenged the claim and a comparison test run was arranged that led to the A3 specification and 1472 was upgraded to that specification, albeit some 20+ years after the test run, but in the interim new A3s and A1 to A3 conversions had taken place. The GWR involvement in the history of 4472 is thereby IMHO not only important but crucial to the history of the locomotive.
     
  6. class8mikado

    class8mikado Part of the furniture

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    (Sigh) What is the TE of a Castle (31625), what is the TE of an 180psi A1 ( 29,835)...

    Want to rejig your story ?

    Gresley and Felix Pole always denied the 'Challenge' element of the story but the performance of the Castle in terms of coal consumption despite its moderate superheat did force Gresley to reconsider his design regarding the travel of his valve gear...
     
  7. Sheff

    Sheff Part of the furniture

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    Indeed. If only the GWR had been as willing to learn from their peers too .....
     
  8. 242A1

    242A1 Active Member

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    How do we measure the power of a locomotive? Nominal T.E. or horsepower (or kilowatts if you prefer)? The LNER A4 and K4 designs have similar nominal tractive efforts (35,455lbf vs 36,600lbf) but the Pacific is capable of producing double the horsepower output of the Mogul. So which of these designs is the more powerful?

    So, returning to the Castle/A1 tests, which was the more powerful?

    At the time these trials took place locomotive designers were wrestling with a number of issues. Long travel valves were believed to suffer from more wear than short travel. You had the valve ring question of broad vs narrow. Broad rings were more difficult to lubricate but were stronger than narrow though they were harder to drive, they didn't seal particularly well for long but ring breakage, regardless of wear and leakage concerns, exercised a greater worry. Strangely, on an industrial railway network in the North West of England were a small class of engines built with two broad rings per valve head, their designer did well with the details of these because the surviving engine continues to work even to this day, retaining the broad rings. Mind you, he didn't have superheating to be concerned about. In the 1920s people very much did. And lubricants and lubrication methods that would allow the successful use of high superheat steam became an issue that continued to be mulled over for decades.
     
  9. class8mikado

    class8mikado Part of the furniture

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    ( Sigh) yes, yes and yes , and i find the rings thing fascinating, not particularly relevant to the Flying Scotsman story.
    Let me fill you in
    The LNER put their BIG shiny new pacific nto an Exhibition. The GWR put their equally Shiny but comparatively smaller looking 4-6-0 into the same Exhibition and hailed it the most powerful Express loco in Britain ( by virtue of its nominal TE). This got tongues wagging, and as you say it was argued from the other side that there is more to power, especially sustained output then TE. The following year an exchange was arranged... the spin says that gauntlets we're thrown down and cheeks slapped but none of the personnel who would have been involved in this arrangement havc ever agreed that this was the case. The outcome of the exchange is now well known.
    The GWR knew they had a fine loco. and nothing was done with it for 30 years. Gresley on the other hand came round to long travel, higher boiler pressure and then went on to borrow a few of Chapeleons ideas...
    Later the GWR came up with the King... just a big Castle really.
    The LNER came up with the A4...
    ( and the footnote is that the weaknesses of the A4 are eventually cured by a GWR man...)
     
  10. 30854

    30854 Part of the furniture

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    Some extremely pertinent points here. Leaving aside hindsight, many significant developments which looked great on paper were bedevilled by practical considerations. Piston rings are a fine example, where theory was trumped by real world experience until, at the turn of the 19th/20th centuries, manufacturing advances made multiple narrow rings a realistic proposition.
     
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  11. 242A1

    242A1 Active Member

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    Flying Scotsman was and is a product of a particular period in locomotive development and those factors that were exercising the minds of those involved in the process of the production and development of the design (any locomotive design really) are very much a part of the history of the type/design. As such they are very relevant to the Flying Scotsman story.

    Tractive effort in itself gives little indication of how much power a locomotive will produce. If it were an accurate indicator the K4 would produce more power than the A4 and the nominally more powerful Princess Coronation class would be more powerful than a Chapelon Nord Pacific.

    So which engine produced the most power in the Castle/A1 trials? The type that did demonstrated that it was the most powerful UK express passenger locomotive at the time.
     
  12. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Nat Pres stalwart

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    Prior to the exchanges Bert Spencer reportedly had prepared drawings for modifications to the A1 valve gear that Gresley was reluctant to adopt. So whilst the exchanges may well have convinced Gresley that Spencer was right, arguably the changes to valve travel may have come about even if the exchanges had never taken place.
     
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  13. class8mikado

    class8mikado Part of the furniture

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    242A1, the Story attached to Flying Scotsman and its 'adventures' are what make it famous /special. Its mechanical and developmental history is pretty ordinary / contemporaneous with other locos. even other members of its class had bigger roles in that.

    For me the first indication of locomotive power are the size and style of its firebox -
    Ceteris Paribus the amount of heat you can convert to work depends on how much fuel you can turn into heat in the first place... The A4 is regarded as a good Class 8 even though it has the smallest ' shallow fire' grate of its class and is one of the most efficient UK locomotives of its era.
    The

    Spam can - Don't you get the impression that Gresley wasn't the kind of man to be persuaded about something unless he persuaded himself about it first...
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2018
  14. 242A1

    242A1 Active Member

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    I agree with you that the "adventures" of Flying Scotsman are what make it famous and recognisable to many. It depends on the nature of the interest that you have in locomotives as to whether you view something as ordinary or otherwise.

    Flying Scotsman is the first production series Pacific built for UK railways, its predecessors were experimental or prototypes for evaluation, this is just a part of the "story". The design was not yet fully developed but was capable of handling the heavier trains that had become the norm on the line it was built for. The basic design proved to be suitable for much future development (it remains the case) but the class in the early days came into being at a time when certain important details were being worked through. In the end the narrow valve ring won over the broad, long travel valves won over the short, levels of superheat increased and lubricants and the means of their application improved largely in keeping with requirements. Other railway companies had to deal with these matters too.

    We don't have many examples of LNER design from this important period. The original A1 was quite remarkable. Other companies had to build newer larger designs to deal with developing traffic but the LNER just had to continue to modify the early 1920s machine. The Lord Nelson, the Royal Scot, the Castle were all valuable machines but, well, you know what happened. True enough the Gresley design was challenged after his death but his basic design continued in front line service until the end of steam. And Flying Scotsman is the beginning of the very successful commitment to the use of the design. It is not just a dry note in the history books, it survives.

    Did the basic design need to be challenged? Some would argue not. The next Pacific development based on the original Gresley design might come about one day. Those who might like to do it have a rather good crank axle design to work with.

    The boiler is only one part of the locomotive equation. You can have outstanding evaporation but if your specific steam consumption is poor, your leakage high and your valves and valve gear leave much to be desired you are going to be very disappointed with the power output. Oh, we can throw the exhaust system design and optimisation into the mix.

    Gresley was Chief Mechanical Engineer, he had a team but, unlike today, he was the responsible body. He conducted some experiments but he was heavily constrained by the financial circumstances of the company. He had to be convinced that something was worth trying particularly at times when there was a degree of conflicting issues to deal with. Some on the LNER considered that the introduction of the narrow ring piston valve was more beneficial than the adoption of long travel valve gear at the time theses issues were being addressed. The company obtained both, but the man at the top had to be convinced on balance that they were not only worth taking up but were actually going to be practical.

    (And you still haven't answered the question. Which of the two designs, Castle and A1 produced the most power during the trials)
     
  15. Matt37401

    Matt37401 Resident of Nat Pres

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    Fascinating, and you do make several good points. But how do you put that into a 45 minute program without boring the pants off the majority of viewers that'll be watching?
     
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  16. 35B

    35B Resident of Nat Pres

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    By treating them like grown ups?


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
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  17. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Nat Pres stalwart

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    IMO a successful CME needed a mix of self confidence plus the ability to learn from others. I think he had that mix. At the end of the day it's largely immaterial why Gresley decided adopt higher oiler pressure and to go back to long travel valves as initially trialled on the K3, all that matters is that he did.
     
  18. W.Williams

    W.Williams Active Member

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    Little has changed it seems. I have to demonstrate the upper management my designs are practical/manufactureable/within budget/meet the requirements. Much of which can be conflicting under demanding requirements.

    As for the CME not being the responsible body, I believe in many companies, that is still the case. It certainly is for me.


    That could be pulled out of any current job advert for an engineer.

    Reading through this, its fascinating to note how, even though we consider the A3 a very capable engine, as FS has numerous times demonstrated, the initial version needed tweaking. Despite the brilliance of Gresley, he still had work to do after launch. That is exactly like today, even with all the technology and brilliant methodology, modern products still launch with teething trouble.

    As for the castle vs A1/3, kind of unfair no? The A3 was a fairly radical departure from the status quo. The castle had built on a very tight lineage of predecessors which had demonstrated what worked and what didn't. The castles are clearly fine engines, and the GWR was blessed with some very fine Engineers, but personally, I feel its a little harsh comparing the two. Look at what came after? Can we really compare a castle and an A4?
     
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  19. Enterprise

    Enterprise Part of the furniture

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    Both the BBC and Sky produce high quality art and history programmes which attract a wide audience. The number of viewers are not as high as for Strictly Come Dancing but why should every programme be aimed at a mass audience?
     
  20. Bulleid Pacific

    Bulleid Pacific Part of the furniture

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    I suspect that on one level, its ratings; on another, its because the intended audience aren't born enthusiasts with a mechanical engineer's level of interest in the more technical aspects taken as given. Whatever programme is produced, it is going to walk a tightrope between telling the whole design history, or giving a broad mix of material using the subject matter, in this case 60103, as the focus.

    Whilst I felt that the A1/4073 class story could have demonstrated the collaboration taking place between engineers of different companies, at the same time I recognise that as distance from the steam era increases, so does the need to capture the imagination of the otherwise non-initiated viewer in more broadly-defined ways. It might seem a little 'lowest common denominator' to ourselves, but if one viewer decided to do even a Wikipedia search on the subject as a result of the programme, then it would have been successful in generating interest that has the potential to be taken further.

    I guess one way to test whether an audience can be carried by a more in-depth design history approach is if a production company gets commissioned to do a series of maybe six programmes on specific classes of locomotive, thereby giving a 'warts and all' account of why they were designed that way, why they were built, notable events and modifications, crew stories from the archive, and why they were withdrawn from service. That said, I also suspect that the commissioning editor and scheduling manager would have to be pretty happy about it, too!
     
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