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Isle of Wight Steam Railway

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by Freshwater, Nov 12, 2013.

  1. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    Probably a discussion for another threat before the Vectenesians go off in a huff ...

    But: firstly, there was a modern 2-6-4T - indeed, you could argue it was the very first modern 2-6-4T and as such the grandaddy of all that came later. Sevenoaks queered the pitch for any further development though.

    What you do have to bear in mind with the SR though was that it was a small railway. Maunsell built eighty N class moguls and it was one of the biggest and widest ranging locos on the SR. Stanier probably needed eighty locos just to shunt the works yard at Crewe ... The effect of that was that it was quite hard to justify the design work in relatively small classes. What might have been a class of 100 on the LMS and been efficient in design terms would have been 10 on the SR and much harder to justify a brand new class. The remarkable thing about Maunsell was his talent for improvising classes from the components already designed for others.

    That said, there were a number of proposed Maunsell classes that didn't get built. One of those, ca. 1936, was a modern 2-6-2T which, on principal dimensions, would have been roughly equivalent in size to a BR Standard 3MT tank. The idea was to use it to replace the myriad ancient 4-4-0s that were still being used on slow passenger trains at the time - the various Stirling, Adams and Drummond 4-4-0s still clinging to life. It got as far as being ordered but then cancelled. The cancellation was probably justified given the proposed schedule of electrification at that point - what wasn't to be known was the outbreak of the war, which curtailed electrification and then left the SR with a big loco problem immediately after the war. That was filled by various Class 2 and Class 4 LMR tank engines but might otherwise have been not needed due to a combination of electrification and a Maunsell class 3 tank.

    Tom
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2021
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  2. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    I don't think the evidence supports that. The design specification given to Bulleid from the traffic manager was for something much larger; it is pretty much in the territory of a tank engine Light Pacific in requirement. (The fact that it didn't achieve that isn't the point: that is what he was asked to produce).

    There are different schools of thought in loco design: one is to build locos optimised to specific duties (which is ultimately what you got with the BR standards, with the result you ended up with lots of very close designs - why have a Class 4mt 2-6-0 and an entirely different class 4mt 4-6-0?) The other is to try to cover the traffic with the smallest possible number of designs, with the intention that what you lose by sometimes employing a loco that is too big you gain by a simplified spares situation. Rightly or wrongly, Bulleid was of the latter school and, seemingly, Riddles was of the former. Given the relatively small SR loco fleet, working towards having four or five classes of several hundred each was not necessarily a bad idea. Had he worked on a railway that needed 20,000 steam locos rather than 2,000, you can afford more nuance in design.

    Tom
     
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  3. 30854

    30854 Resident of Nat Pres

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    Another criteria applicable specifically to the Southern was, of course, the fact that the numerical bulk of it's passenger traffic was already on the electrified network by the time OVSB landed, unlike Riddles, who had an overwhelmingly unelectrified system to design for. Had the Austrian Corporal's ambitions not intervened, continuing electrification would doubtless have occurred under Southern auspices.
     
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  4. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    Indeed, and that would have justified the decision not to construct the Maunsell 2-6-2T (see previous post), the existing Victoriana and Edwardiana holding the fort until they were directly replaced by electrification.

    Tom
     
  5. Dunfanaghy Road

    Dunfanaghy Road Member

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    Some of the more antiquated tanks (think Radials and Well Tanks) could have been replaced with something more modern and 'mainstream' - if the Civil Engineer's budget had stretched to realigning and relaying the Lyme Regis and Wenford lines. Basically a saving in one budget would have been achieved by loading another. The Southern almost certainly called it right by taking the course that they did. (And we can all thank them for it.)
    The Island was a different problem, as restricted loading gauge and axle loading made upgrading an impossible dream. And so we have 1 remaining Flittermouse. (Hooray.)
    Pat
     
  6. JMJR1000

    JMJR1000 Member

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    Indeed it would seem most of the older locomotives from before the SR's existence survived as they did due to fulfilling in a very specific role, and most importantly did so in the most cost effective manner for the SR, investing into electrification instead.

    One wonders just how things would have looked though if the company hadn't decided to go this route, building more new steam locomotives designs instead, of course for starters we most likely wouldn't have had these unique survivors as we do now so am grateful for things having panned out as they did.

    Just one question though... Flittermouse? Might I ask what that is? The Adams O2 I suppose? First time I've heard of that nickname...
     
  7. Paulthehitch

    Paulthehitch Member

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    Well the availability of suitable rolling stock was as much a problem as motive power in the I.OW. With post war passenger trade rapidly returning to the road it is no surprise that most lines closed well before the Beeching era. The 2MTs would have been fine but there were only 30 for the whole of the South. Whereas neglected O2s were performing wonders with peak holiday trains on the IOW I have been told that M7s in their dotage were often less able to cope even on trains of as few as 2 carriages. Thus the modern motive power stayed on the mainland and the O2s battled on.
     
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  8. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    In the 1920s the SR did comparative trials on a number of pre-group tank engines, all at that time of roughly comparable vintage, to determine costs, both running cost and repair cost, on similar duties. The O2s turned out rather better than the M7s on both scores, the M7s in particular having high per mile running costs.

    Decorum forbids stating which former SECR design turned out to be comfortably better than all of them on both measures ...

    Tom
     
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  9. 8126

    8126 Member

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    It's mentioned in the Adams volume of D.L. Bradley's LSWR Locomotives. Supposedly when the early examples were being built at Nine Elms the men called them 'Mice', presumably because they were so small. Then when they came into service and turned out to have a way of gliding along very quietly on a shut regulator, they became 'Flittermice'.

    On another note, the M7s come in for a lot of shade on this forum, but 53 seems quite a capable machine given the chance, and Holcroft wrote surprisingly favourably about E35 taking seven bogies for 150 tons tare out of Ilfracombe (a mere 1 in 36), which was apparently a normal duty for them at the time the N class were being introduced on the route (which is why he was there). His conclusion was: "For purely branch line work the M7 appeared to be the handiest, but the tender was needed for the through trains to Exeter."
     
  10. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Resident of Nat Pres

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    In which case why didnt the H Class end up on the IoW?
     
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  11. 30854

    30854 Resident of Nat Pres

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    Something that size?!! :Woot:
     
  12. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    Because in the 1920s they were still needed in Kent! Suburban electrification out of Waterloo meant there were South Western types surplus to requirements but not so many SECR types.

    (There are probably secondary considerations as well, such as the closer connection of the Island railways with the LSWR and LBSCR).

    In an alternative universe, sending ex-LCDR 0-4-4T over might have been interesting, given they were already air braked. I guess the issue was that the earliest ones were already a bit long in the tooth by the 1920s, and the later ones were still needed in their home area.

    Tom
     
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  13. Dunfanaghy Road

    Dunfanaghy Road Member

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    Flittermouse is an old word for bat in English (I don't know if it is Old English, if you get my drift). Think 'Die Fledermaus'.
    Certainly W24 glides along a treat.
    Pat
     
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  14. cav1975

    cav1975 Member

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  15. 8126

    8126 Member

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    Thank you! I'd previously had that name filed under "I'm sure it made sense at the time," with the context it makes perfect sense.
     
  16. ady

    ady Well-Known Member

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    I'm guessingfrom pervious conversationso about ex Brighton machines that the D3s were worse the O2s, M7s, and Hs. As I never heard them being selected for use on the Island even though they were already fitted with air braking.
     
  17. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    I've quoted this before, but:

    The braking question is interesting in the light of the fact that when the SR wanted to take bigger air-braked locos to the Isle of Wight, they chose the O2 even though they had to be specially equipped with air brakes, rather than the D3 that came ready equipped. It can't all have been down to serendipitous visits by Eastleigh officials in 1922 paving the way!

    Going into specifics, as a general starter, a quote from Holcroft, in Locomotive Adventure, which gives an insight in to general repair costs:

    "Another thing we were warned about on Brighton engines was the lack of interchangeability of parts between engine of a class. It seems that the chargemen - of the erecting shop in particular - had been allowed far too much latitude in the past in the way they carried out repairs and reconditioning of parts, so that it could not be assumed that any two engines of a class were strictly alike."​
    A cursory read of A.C. Perryman's "When steam was king at Brighton" bears out that picture.

    For a more quantitative view, various figures.

    Firstly on construction costs:
    LSWR O2 class - in the range £1,485 - £1,660 across 60 locos built 1889 - 1894
    LSWR M7 class - in the range £1,400 - £1,650 across 105 locos built 1897 - 1911
    SECR H class - average of £2,380 across 66 locos between 1904 - 1915
    LBSCR D3 - £2,450 each for the first batch of 15 in 1891; I can't find costs for the others.

    Then, comparative repair costs of various passenger tank locos - these are relative to each other, rather than absolute costs. They come from a trial where running sheds took detailed records through 1928, at which point all these locos were about 20 - 30 years old. I've just included the 0-4-4T as directly comparable:

    SECR (Kirtley) R1 - 94
    SECR H - 96
    LSWR O2 - 108
    LBSCR D3 - 119
    LSWR M7 - 120

    The Brighton D3 costs 25% more in repair costs than the SE&CR locos; only the M7 is worse (and the Adams O2 somewhat better than the D3).

    Then on coal consumption, measured at the same time, coal lbs per mile:

    SECR (Kirtley) R1 - 36.3
    LSWR O2 - 36.9
    SECR H - 37.2
    LBSCR D3 - 39.3
    LSWR M7 - 40.4

    Again, the M7 is the worst of the bunch. The R1, H and O2 are all pretty similar, and somewhat better than the D3 and M7.

    What is clear from the above is that the LSWR locos had the edge on first cost (much of that must be more efficient workshop practice). But the Brighton locos were most expensive to build; most expensive to repair and rather more expensive than the SECR locos in coal. The high build cost was undoubtedly down to general chaos at Brighton, but repair costs were those on shed. Whichever way you look at it, the D3 compares badly with the Wainwright H and Kirtley R1, and not much better against the Adams O2, which was cheaper to run and cheaper to repair. It's little wonder that as locos were withdrawn and others cascaded to fill their place, that the Brighton locos generally went first. Of course, for IoW service, the early electrification of the South Western suburban lines meant that there was a relative surplus of LSWR tank engines in the early 1920s, and that must have been a major consideration, but the D3s were demonstrably worse engines than the O2s as well.

    Tom
     
  18. ady

    ady Well-Known Member

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    I see that's actuality quite interesting. I guessing Adams knew how to build an engine.

    Really beginning think my love for LB&SCR is really really misplaced. Why the historians said over the years they were good when they weren't is beyond me but it's very misleading...
     
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  19. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    I think it is worth disconnecting a love for a railway from any notion of engineering or other excellence! I happen to like (as a side order) the NER, but part of that is because they were using Hackworth-type antiquities incredibly late.

    On the LBSCR, I think there are couple of things that have given them the interest they had. One is a degree of quirkiness, particularly in locomotive matters, coupled with what is undoubtedly a flair for visual design in the late Victorian era. The other point is that they had an incredibly good press in the early 20th century, with several notable and influential writers lauding them, and particularly Stroudley. The founding members of the Stephenson Locomotive Society, for example, included a number of LBSCR devotees - one happy outcome of that was the early preservation of "Gladstone" and its restoration, as far as possible, to Stroudley condition. For an LBSCR devotee that is a happy event, but viewed objectively, the type was something of an evolutionary dead end - it didn't point towards the future in the way that comparable 1880s express locos from other railways did. In historical terms, something like an NBR Abbotsford 4-4-0 would have been of greater significance from that era in pointing the way to a "main branch" of loco history - but the SLS members were Stroudley aficionados, not Drummond.

    In the end, we are enthusiasts - so be enthusiastic about what you like. A Billinton D3 was undoubtedly a very attractive design; they did the job they were designed to do for fifty years. They were far from a failure on any score, they just weren't the apogee of suburban tank engine design. They were clearly good enough to work through a full lifetime with no thought of premature rebuilding, as happened to many designs at the time.

    Tom
     
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  20. Bikermike

    Bikermike Well-Known Member

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    Of course, the high-speed stability wouldn't matter on the Wight... perfect place for them. Keep the tanks a bit low and half-fill the bunker, be fine...
    Later on, there were spare G16 - they'd have managed the holiday traffic alright
     

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