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L & Y R Aspinall Atlantic

Discussion in 'Steam Traction' started by Cartman, May 24, 2017.

  1. Cartman

    Cartman Member

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    Ive heard a rumour from somewhere, cant recollect where exactly, that one of these supposedly reached 100mph somewhere between Southport and Liverpool Exchange slightly before Truro's 102 mph run in 1904.

    However, there is no evidence to support it and it wasn't documented. Has anyone else ever heard this? Looking at the locos, they look like they might have been capable of it, with 7 foot 3 driving wheels.

    Only one way to find out - new build!!
     
  2. LMS2968

    LMS2968 Well-Known Member

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    I have heard the rumour, and that's all it is. That particular stretch of railroad doesn't lend itself to such speeds; there are no serious downhill bits anywhere along it!
     
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  3. Beckford

    Beckford Well-Known Member

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    Dismissed by CJ Allen in "British Atlantic Locomotives" (claim "utter absurdity"). CJA pointed out it was improbable that even modern traction could have achieved it in the distance and on the stretch of line involved.
     
  4. std tank

    std tank Member

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    Nothing mentioned in "The Aspinall Era" by H.A.V. Bulleid. It should be remembered that the Liverpool to Southport line was being electrified during this period.
     
  5. Thompson1706

    Thompson1706 Member

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    I could believe it if they had said it was the Liverpool Exchange - Ormskirk - Preston line. Once past Aughton Park the Jubilees on the Liverpool - Glasgows used to do some fair speeds downhill until they had to slow down to enter the west coast main line. I presume that these Atlantics must also have run on this section.

    Bob.
     
  6. Courier

    Courier New Member

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    This is from a post on this forum in 2011....
    -----------------------------------------------------------
    I always like to see the source document in any study and believe this is the one for 1392 from the Locomotive Magazine of 1899: [​IMG] [​IMG]

    There might be another first hand source - but this is the only one I've seen.

    Whatever happened (and I don't believe the 17 miles were run in 12:45) the fast run probably depended on a very fast start rather than any extreme speed. There is a 1902 account of one running the first 2.25 miles from Manchester in 2:51 with 100 tons (a similar load to the 1898 run).
     
  7. LMS2968

    LMS2968 Well-Known Member

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    Yes, Courier, that 'must' in the report has more than a hint of wishful thinking to it. And the first 2.25 miles out of Manchester in that time, given the many connections, gradients and curvature in both directions, also pushes credulity to the Limit. But I hadn't heard of that last one so thanks for bringing it up.

    I'm a bit surprised at the L&YR, which was a rather staid concern not interesting itself in exceptional high speeds: "The Business Line", as it was known.
     
  8. pete2hogs

    pete2hogs Member

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    I have a sneaking liking for these brutes. There are some interesting variations in the class. And by all accounts they were fast, if not quite as fast as claimed. It was 1417 of the class that was 'reputed' to have achiveed 117 mph. It had special slide valves with Hughes' ball release valves - someone more engineering savvy than me will have to explain what that means. As a resukt it was supposedly the fastest of the class.

    1419 was scheduled for preservation along with Hardwicke and Caley 123 but missed out. They were the first English locos to have a superheater, albeit of a fairly primitive type, so they were a reasonable candidate for preservation. The L&YR large engines all missed out on preservation, being early victims of the LMS stanardisation policies.
     
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  9. Black Jim

    Black Jim New Member

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    You know what they say, no smoke without fire!
     
  10. LMS2968

    LMS2968 Well-Known Member

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    The Atlantic were fast, no doubt. In theory they were displaced by the original Dreadnought 4-6-0s. The contemporary opinion was that the Atlantics would run but wouldn't pull, while the Dreadnoughts would pull but wouldn't run
     
  11. 8126

    8126 Member

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    There's a description and diagram of ball release piston valves in this paper by E.S. Cox (page 34 of the pdf, 133 in the source), but you can see how it could have been applied to slide valves, basically a port from through from the face of the valve to the steam chest sealed with a ball valve. They were reputedly the cause of much trouble with steam leakage and consequent loss of economy, but they would in theory lead to better coasting, and they might partially eliminate compression loops at short-ish cut-offs - if the cylinder pressure goes over steam chest pressure they lift off the seat and allow it to equalise.

    I'm amused to see this claim crop up again, and thanks to @LMS2968 and @Beckford for giving the implausibility some context. I first encountered it a couple of years ago, when (probably in the wake of coverage of Flying Scotsman's overhaul) there was a rather snotty letter printed in the IMechE magazine regurgitating it as the gospel truth and generally claiming that with all this talk of Gresley the profession was ignoring the true master - Aspinall.
    :Saywhat:
     
  12. andrewshimmin

    andrewshimmin Well-Known Member

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    Your scepticism about the alleged speed record is justified, but your astonishment about Aspinall's claim to greatness is not. Aspinall was at the forefront of locomotive development in his era (and earlier one than Gresley) and in the context of the railways he worked for (more businesslike and less high-profile than the GNR and LNER). His passenger locos (tank and tender), freight locos and mixed-traffic locos were all the equal of the best of their contemporaries.
    As such, and for his contributions to locomotive manufacture, train safety, railway operation and more, he deserves a place amongst the very greatest of locomotive engineers.
    He trained some of the best of the next generation too: not least one H N Gresley.
     
  13. 8126

    8126 Member

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    The reaction was more at the tone of the letter than the claim regarding Aspinall's skill, seriously, it was quite something. I should probably stay away from emoticons though.

    Let's put it this way. The rag in question occasionally prints quite decent pieces about various heritage engineering projects (there was quite a good one about Boston Lodge works a while back) but it's not a railway publication. So when a piece is put out about Scotsman and in response a letter-writer goes off at the deep end with some dubious stories about the engines of a man hardly any outside the enthusiast world will have heard of... it's not going to be making legions of converts to the cause, especially if the writer can't resist that oh-so-tempting but counterproductive urge to have a pop at the more famous figure, who they consider to be just so overrated compared to their favourite (paraphrasing alert). It didn't come across very well.
     
  14. Courier

    Courier New Member

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    Had a flick through Aspinall's 1903 paper on train resistance (Inst of Civil Engrs). There are details of runs with 1392 between Liverpool & Southport - including one running up to 77 mph on 16th July, 1899 - the day after the supposed 100 mph run. So they were certainly doing test runs with 1392 at that time. Did they do a shake down test the day before a formal dynamometer test and run fast for the thrill of it - perhaps. I doubt whether they hit 100 (the gradients aren't that favourable) but am prepared to believe it was an unusually fast run. Whatever happened it wasn't considered worth mentioning in Aspinall's lengthy paper.
     
  15. pete2hogs

    pete2hogs Member

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    I'm biased - I have H. A. V. Bullied's book on Aspinall and have always had a liking for the L&YR, despite growing up at the other end of the country - but Aspinall seems to have been unusually capable - so capable he was promoted to general management from the engineering dept. A modern equivalent would be to appoint the IT manager to be CEO - not something that happens often.

    We will never know whether one of the Highflyers touched 100 - but they would appear to have been more capable of doing so than some other designs for which the speed has been claimed.

    117 is a bit too much for me to swallow though!
     
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  16. 85Merlin

    85Merlin New Member

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    Rous - Marten was quite dismissive of the 100 mph reports. Writing in the Railway Magazine on July 1902 he said " It is true that certain penny -a- lining 'yarns' have been spun about imaginary 100 mph runs between Manchester and Southport, but these were promptly contradicted and apparently the fictionists became discouraged, for no more romances on the subject have come out of late " Apart from the mention of the Manchester to Southport line, rather than the Liverpool line, the article does rate the Atlantic's highly. Rous - Marten records a run on a York - Liverpool train which reached speeds in the high 80's - he mentions recording one quarter mile in 10 secs but does not claim the full 90 because he was unable to see the adjoining quarter mile posts. The load was only 100 tons. One remarkable claim is that the 2 miles plus from the start at Manchester Victoria to passing Pendleton took only 2'51". Although he refers to the engine being driven hard, I would still find that hard to accept.
    Ian
     
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  17. peckett

    peckett New Member

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    According to Eric Mason in his book L&Yin the 20th century ,Ian Allan 1954, the high speed bits were on the Manchester to Liverpool line, there is 7 miles or so downhill of 1 in 111 /1 1n 285 from Upholand to the other side of Kirkby. He has timings of 1417 ,newly fitted with the Hughes Back pressure release valves, and driven by its regular Driver J Chapman .They are ,7 bogies Rainford Jnc to Kirkby, 5 miles in 3 and half minutes ,and Rainford Jnc to Walton Jnc, 8 and three quarter miles in 6 and a quarter min's.
    He also states that there are mythical legends of extraordinarily high speeds round 1417 ,and there are no confirmation of a alleged 117mph near Kirkby ,and says there is no doubt the engine did perform some really fast running in the hand of Driver Chapman. who did all the trial work with 1417.
    The Liverpool (Exchange )to Southport line is mentioned with loco 4-4-2 1392 on the 15 July 1899. From a standing start , Exchange to MP17 in 12 and three quarter min's ,average of 80mph ,he wonders whether 100mph may have just about attained on this run. Also fitted with the Hughes back pressure valves were 4-4-2 s,1401,1403 and 1399.
     
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  18. LMS2968

    LMS2968 Well-Known Member

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    Yes, I have Eric Mason's books, but the claimed 117mph does seem to be bit mobile. The claim I heard was Liverpool -Southport, then Manchester - Southport, now Manchester - Liverpool. Very fond as I am of the L&YR, you need to treat with caution such high speed claims when even the location is subject to debate!
     
  19. Fred Kerr

    Fred Kerr Part of the furniture

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    I too have read reports of the L&YR "ton up" but my understanding was that the run in question was one of a series operated as part of the pre-electrification project to assess electric train running times (given that at the time Southport - Liverpool line had a mix of services covering express, fast and semi-fast). In the "reported" test of Highflyer 1392 on 15 July 1899, it was recorded working the 14:51 Liverpool Exchange - Southport express service and noted passing MP17 at 15:03:75 with the conjecture that it had reached 100 mph during the journey. Since the overall results were of interest and, because of concerns expressed in many quarters regarding "excessive speeds", the 100 mph running was given little promotion by the L&YR at the time.
     
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  20. marshall5

    marshall5 Member

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    ...... and if any of you young-uns aren't sure what one looks like.....
    Ray.
    1424 at Manchester Vic c.1910.jpg
     

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