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FR & WHR & WHHR News

Discussion in 'Narrow Gauge Railways' started by AndrewT, Jul 17, 2012.

  1. 30854

    30854 Resident of Nat Pres

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    Something went very squiffy in that post. The 15mph comment applied to double headed Englands, none of which may have ben running last time I was there, but both Ladies were and were doing so at considerably more than 15mph. Of course, the locos and I were half a century younger, back then.

    I honestly read and reread every sentence of every paragraph, over the time it took to get that lot right, across a couple of hours and several log ins, I then reread the whole lot before posting (I'd swear I did!) so I'm at a complete loss to understand what the hell happened there, quite embarrassed and not a little pi$$ed off peeved .... so thanks for picking that up (honest, thanks!), I'll go and edit the damned thing yet again.

    Anyone else remember when all this technology was going to set us free? :(
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2021
  2. weltrol

    weltrol Member Friend

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    Yes, I was thinking of superheating... maybe even roller bearings as well. A new build 'Little Wonder' would be nice, or as the drawings exist, a new build 'Livingston Thompson' would be better, because as so many point out there is no much worth saving in York. As for 'Princess', leave it alone for a museum display.
     
  3. Bikermike

    Bikermike Member

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    external caprotti valve gear, kylchap blast pipe, turbo generator, mechanical stoker, gas producer firebox...

    Joking aside, would roller bearings be a good idea - the issue of brinnelling - would they spend enough time standing for that to be an issue?

    WRT double engines - has there ever been a beyer-garratt that would fit the loading gauge? the benefit of a garratt has been said the ability to get a short fat boiler, given the loading gauge, do you get that benefit over a fairlie?
     
  4. meeee

    meeee Member

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    The benefit of a Fairlie is that it is very compact for a large articulated loco. The boiler can be pitched low. The fireboxes and cab can sit down low between the bogies. The bogie centres are close together so the loco can be relatively short. The fuel and water tanks simply occupy unused space around the boiler. The centre of gravity of the whole thing is quite low so you can use inside frames to keep the width down.

    A Garratt is almost the complete opposite.

    The FR presents a unique environment where the Double Fairlie is the perfect solution. Even building a diesel to do the same job in the same space is a tricky proposition. Why would you want to ruin the FR to fit a Garratt up it? Or ruin a Garratt to fit it up the FR?

    Tim
     
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  5. Bikermike

    Bikermike Member

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    I don't want to ruin anything, that's why I asked the question.
    My thoughts were following on from the "improved England". Current FR operation requires a number of double engines. All the extant double fairlies in any kind of usable condition are being built-out. So the next engine will need to be a new one, so it's interesting to work through the options.

    You can't just use a bulkier engine (it won't fit), so what options are available. Mallet? Kitson Meyer?
     
  6. Andy Williams

    Andy Williams Member

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    You build new double engines. James Spooner for instance.

    Given the loading gauge constraints its is difficult to see how to improve on the Fairlie concept without ruining the aesthetics.

    Andy
     
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  7. meeee

    meeee Member

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    I believe it was Albert Einstein who said the definition of insanity is trying to build an "improved" England.

    An England engine is something designed to replace a horse. If you want to pull bigger and faster trains, what you need is a bigger engine. They worked that one out around 1869.

    Tim
     
  8. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    Does the FR need “better” engines? Or does it just need more engines? (By better I mean capable of pulling heavier loads).

    I’m not massively familiar with the operation, but reading this thread it comes across to me that (1) the double Fairlies are up to the job but (2) they are getting increasingly worn out. Give that, I’d argue you don’t need anything more “advanced” whether that is a Garratt, Kitson-Meyer or anything else; you just need to have available about four reliable double Fairlies that you aren’t trying to nurse or otherwise protect.

    Tom
     
  9. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    I think the issue is and has always been the lack of a single engine that is more powerful than the Hunslets that fits the loading gauge and that goes round the corners. Something that can take between 7-10. The Peckett on paper looked good but the wheelbase (plus fuel capacity), Alco has been problematic but at its best it does do the job. K1 didn't fit the loading gauge, nor did Monarch, I don't know if the Baldwin that was proposed would have ever worked. I don't know how Taliesin and Lyd compare to Alco and the Hunslets.

    All of which basically means that if you want something more powerful than the Hunslets that fits, goes round the corners and works means you are back to a Fairlie. But a Fairlie used to not make much financial sense if the load was below 10 (the numbers maybe different now).
     
  10. 35B

    35B Nat Pres stalwart

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    Or is the question actually one about timetabling and loads? My memory last time I was in the area was of timetables that were relatively infrequent, and of seeing long trains on the Cob. Would spreading demand on more, shorter, trains help?
     
  11. Bikermike

    Bikermike Member

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    I think the answer as always is it depends.
    A fairlie does the job fairlie-y well (sorry...), but if you need a new engine to avoid flogging historical artefacts to scrap, is it worth looking at an engine that could give you a benefit, be it easier for the crew, more power, less fuel, available in more colours, etc.

    Clearly you wouldn't rebuild a fairlie into a garrett, but if they are at max load (and that isn't the limiting factor on the train lenght), then getting something that can pull another carriage might be good for future-proofing.

    I think the Welsh narrow-gauge railways exist on a scenery/heritage continuum with Snowdon at one end and probably the Tallylyn at the other. (Lets face it, the most historically-accurate state for the WHR is closed).

    If you are going to build a new engine for traffic reasons, how far do you have to repeat the past?
     
  12. 30854

    30854 Resident of Nat Pres

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    Whatever the question is, I'd venture to suggest it changed drastically with the advent of the WHR, a line with very different (and even more stringent) operating requirements.

    Thinking on the earlier comment by @Jamessquared about wearing out Fairlies, a couple of thoughts occur.

    During those years when the line (theoretically) had three double engines available, in practice, for much of that time, there were but two serviceable, which were worked hard on services to BF. Any shortfall in Garratt availability seems to result in two double engines needed on any full-length train leaving Harbour in t'other direction. No advanced mathematics is needed to work out the implications of that! The long and the short of it, is I can't see that either another new double loco, or a rethink on EoM's retirement can do anything but be moving up the agenda and that will still be true with three serviceable Garratts ensuring acceptable resilience on WH services.

    Even accounting for the intensive services of the late 60's and early 70's (with nowhere near modern train weights in normal years), I doubt the frontline fleet has been worked as hard as in the modern era, or indeed since the Great Quarry Strike at Penrhyn (when the overwhelming tonnage was going downhill by gravity anyway) .... and there wasn't the WHR to provide for, in either earlier period.

    Quite what the constrained timetables of this year might mean for services on both lines into the future, we can only guess, but if the pretty impressive loadings on the Caernarfon-Beddgelert section are anything to go by, perhaps there's scope for more than the couple of full-line services of recent years. One for the marketing wallahs to get their teeth into!

    Question: Has anyone worked out where all the punters go on Mondays and Fridays?
     
  13. Llwyngwern

    Llwyngwern Member

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    Mondays and Fridays are usually changeover days in the holiday and tourism trade -- in similar vein this is why a fair number of rural pubs don't open at lunchtimes or at all on Mondays.
     
  14. 30854

    30854 Resident of Nat Pres

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    That's a change from the Saturday scrums I remember. Cheers for.the info. :)
     
  15. Llwyngwern

    Llwyngwern Member

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    The general change has been to 3 or 4 day breaks rather than a week away. Minehead sees major movements to and from Butlins on Mondays and Fridays for example, although there are some week long stays during August. Similar 2 or 3 night stays are usual in hotels, apart from the big chains who pre Covid relied on business stays Mon- Thu and did reduced rates for people taking breaks Fri-Sun.
     
  16. meeee

    meeee Member

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    Prior to Covid the preference was to run less trains but make them bigger if they got busy. The downside of this was that you often had double engines running on 7 and 8 coach trains especially at weekends. In addition to this all the rolling stock got heavier. Apart from Lyd which can take 9 if it is in good health, all the single engines were too small for most of the trains.

    So if you stick to that model then yes you'll need an endless fleet of double engines. However Covid has changed things up somewhat especially with things like pre-booking. It has also shown that punters are interested in more than the one option they were previously sold most of the year. So I'd be surprised if the railway went back to how it was. Just running 4 trains the Blaenau with corridor stock for most of the year.

    Anyway it is the WHR that is short of locos, the FR has loads of them.
    Tim
     
  17. 30854

    30854 Resident of Nat Pres

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    One factor I forgot to include in my musings was that when it comes to improving the Fairlie concept, Blodge (to their great credit) haven't exactly let the grass grow under their feet and today's double engine is a much improved breed. Just some of those developments (and I'm bound to have overlooked a few others) being:

    Decent bogie braking has been developed
    The flaws inherent in the 'double Hunslet' boiler design have been addressed
    An updated "wagon top" boiler design* has been developed
    Monocoque engine block design obviates issues with steam tightness
    Substantial improvements have been made to flexible steam pipes

    It all compares very favourably with my memories of (the then) Earl of Merioneth's distressing habits, half a century ago ... the loco, that is, not the late Duke of Edinburgh! One cannot but feel Percy Spooner would've been well pleased with the work of his worthy successors.

    *on a line which operates 'waggons', presumably 'wagon top' has some different derivation?
     
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  18. MellishR

    MellishR Part of the furniture Friend

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    Double Fairlies are absolutely traditional for the Ffestiniog, and the current ones do seem to be "new inproved" over the originals. But the double boiler does seem unnecessarily complicated and the cab spaces are surely very cramped. Something like a Kitson-Meyer could have similar powered bogies with a single-ended much fatter boiler extending over one bogie, a large bunker and water tanks over the other, and a more commodious cab in between. Besides being untraditional for the Ffestiniog, would that have any other disadvantage over a new Fairlie?
     
  19. 30854

    30854 Resident of Nat Pres

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    Intriguing, but I'd need to hear from those familiar with the beasties that the issues you highlight trump the design's role as a Ffestiniog USP before being convinced there was any problem to address. If there were, maybe the real starting point needs to include Garnedd Tunnel and some high explosives ... or are skinned knuckles another of those sacrosanct FfR traditions? ;)

    Casting my mind to the WHR and the prospect of seeing an eight-coupled loco (NG15) doing it's stuff, I can't help recalling only three six-coupled locos have regularly trodden FfR rails, namely Moel Tryfan, Mountaineer and Lyd. Is anyone aware of the PW Dept's attitude to six-coupled machines, over the sinuous FfR?
     
  20. Dunfanaghy Road

    Dunfanaghy Road Member

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    Meyers always strike me as being a nightmare to dispose, with an ashpan over a bogie. And any blown ash will head straight for the oily bits, as well.
    Pat
     

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