If you register, you can do a lot more. And become an active part of our growing community. You'll have access to hidden forums, and enjoy the ability of replying and starting conversations.

Large and Small locomotive economics, ex-West Somerset Railway developments

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by GWR Man., Nov 8, 2014.

  1. GWR Man.

    GWR Man. Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2014
    Messages:
    2,044
    Likes Received:
    1,892
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Taunton
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    A few things of interest what has been discussed on here and when I was seen/working as a chippie today at Williton.

    Yes the trusties do help on the QB as there aren't enough volunteers to help run it especially when it is used on a Saturday evening and then on the Sunday as well and the food hygiene score wont be helped when the coaches aren't cleaned between uses.

    3850 is most likely to be moving away as the railway have found that 2-8-0 engines do track damage due to their long wheel base, yes No 88 will still be used as their is a long term agreement for the engine to be used on the line.

    Also the railway have found the 45xx/75 class will use one tone less coal each day, so they are looking at using these class more against the larger engines where possible.

    The Western is in the D&EG workshop with looks like some body work been started on it when I went past the end of the shed, I also see what you mean about the rust on North Star.

    The road which has been talked about to follow the Minehead branch will be part of the Norton bypass and this section would have been built if planning was granted for these fields to be covered in houses between the Minehead branch and the Station Road which are used for the car park for the rally site.
     
  2. Premier.Prairie

    Premier.Prairie New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2009
    Messages:
    184
    Likes Received:
    99
    Also the railway have found the 45xx/75 class will use one tone less coal each day, so they are looking at using these class more against the larger engines where possible.
    Well I never!!
     
  3. Snifter

    Snifter Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2014
    Messages:
    1,299
    Likes Received:
    3,400
    Gender:
    Male
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    Bears are also believed to perform their ablutions in heavily forested areas.
     
    lil Bear, Matt37401, jnc and 3 others like this.
  4. paulhitch

    paulhitch Guest

    Won't please those who are looking for excuses to run large motive power whatever the cost! There are plenty of those around.

    PH
     
  5. 1472

    1472 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2008
    Messages:
    1,664
    Likes Received:
    1,904
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Some very questionable "facts" here on the MPD side re both 4575 class locos and 3850. The PLC have recently made it clear that after its forthcoming overhaul they remain interested in having 3850 back with one caveat which does not relate to track damage.

    The idea that a 4575 class uses that much less coal than the other locos (on similar loads) is fanciful. There may be a place for this size of loco but only on limited off peak loads.
     
    Triumph 2500S and Tiffer like this.
  6. paulhitch

    paulhitch Guest

    As said previously there are plenty of people around with "reasons" why big machinery needs to be used. Part of the equation is to ensure that more vehicles are not being dragged around than the trade really justifies. If there actually is the trade which warrants long trains then so be it but otherwise it is no better than, frankly, willy waving! A sort of "we run longer trains than others do" boasting which can waste a lot of money.

    PH
     
    Paul Kibbey likes this.
  7. 61624

    61624 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2006
    Messages:
    3,968
    Likes Received:
    1,820
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Actually, that's a very simplistic reply. On the NYMR the 7-coach formations remain pretty well fixed for a couple of reasons - firstly there is a shortage of space to put detached vehicles, and secondly the fairly recent death of a guard in a coach-detaching accident has made the management keen to minimise such operations. It isn't a point of view I agree with, but then I didn't have to witness the aftermath of the accident.
     
    lil Bear and jnc like this.
  8. Bean-counter

    Bean-counter Resident of Nat Pres

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2007
    Messages:
    5,844
    Likes Received:
    7,686
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Former NP Member
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    The other issue which is very relevant is that a set of coaches tends to do 2 to 3 round trips a day on the NYMR but may only require 7 vehicles for one or two single legs of that. Punctuality and reliability of service militates against adding and taking vehicles for individual single trips, although we used to do it about 20 years ago, when coaches were "hoarded" at Grosmont in order to make up the 15:35 to Pickering to up to 10 coaches (3672 usually did the honours). Timetable changes so that we now run 50% more seats out of Pickering before 13:00 and similar back later on in the peak means that train lengths of 7 (or preferably 8 on some) have become more the norm.

    I suspect, given that the West Somerset (and other lines running to the coast) will have similar flows which are predominantly in one direction at differing times of the day, that a similar issue exists but if a diagram can be designed that allows use of a shorter set and smaller loco, then a saving can be made. From memory, the West Somerset Railway has timetable gaps where demand is low to reduce costs and level of resources needed, as well as aiding reliability and punctuality.

    The economy of the 45XX/4575 Class is not something which has recently been discovered - Mark Smith mentioned it to myself and NYMR colleagues a good 5 years or more ago.

    The final point on train lengths is we are in the leisure industry. Our passengers do not want to be on a recreation of the 08:20 arrival at London Waterloo. Anything over about 2/3 full and people will be more crowded than they may like. Extra space may have a cost (but, depending on the size of loco being used, may not have such a cost anyway, certainly in terms of loco wear and tear and fuel - carriage wear and tear is a different matter!) which may be worth paying if passengers can enjoy their ride better.

    Steven
     
  9. paulhitch

    paulhitch Guest

    In the particular circumstances of the individual line concerned, then the practice is understandable. However, generally, one of the things railways must do is not spend money wastefully. This is not simplistic at all.

    PH
     
  10. Tiffer

    Tiffer Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2013
    Messages:
    441
    Likes Received:
    316
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    retired
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    "Punctuality and reliability of service militates against adding and taking vehicles for individual single trips, although we used to do it about 20 years ago, when coaches were "hoarded" at Grosmont in order to make up the 15:35 to Pickering to up to 10 coaches (3672 usually did the honours)". Still remember them with Fletch driving intent on recovering the time lost by shuntopoly !
     
  11. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2008
    Messages:
    19,762
    Likes Received:
    34,987
    Location:
    215
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    I think it is a very complex equation.

    On the one hand, it would be interesting to know the difference in coal consumption between, say, a 45xx working hard and a nominally bigger 28xx on the same load working more easily - I suspect in that circumstance, the 45xx wouldn't necessarily come out very favourably. Obviously, it would be a bit more favourable if the load was sufficiently reduced that the smaller engine wasn't being taxed; however, then you may run into the overcrowding problem alluded to by beancounter. (Our new GM was quite forcible on that point - our passengers may have spent all week standing up on their daily commute between Basingstoke or Guildford or Haywards Heath and London: the last thing they want to do is come out for a leisurely day out and do the same between East Grinstead and Sheffield Park).

    The other issue is that coal consumption is only part of the story - the heavy general overhaul is also in effect a (disguised) part of the daily operating cost. It may well be cheaper to use a bigger loco more gently and thereby end up with a simpler mechanical overhaul at the end, than knock seven bells out of an ostensibly more economic small loco, but then have an expensive overhaul - or even worse have it fail early. The WSR may use relatively big engines for the traffic on offer, but they also seem to have a good record of getting big mileages between heavy overhauls.

    From experience (and apologies for the SR focus) I would say there is not really sufficient difference between, say, a Maunsell U (25sq ft grate area) and an S15 (30 sq ft grate area) to be readily apparent in how much you shovel on similar loads. I suspect there is far more financial gain in coal consumption to be made based on the individual skill of the driver and fireman, as well as trying to arrange duties such that locos spend the longest possible number of consecutive days in service to avoid heating and cooling losses. You can run as efficiently as you like all day, but if you over-fire the last trip and have to shovel a few barrow loads out on shed, you've thrown away all your good work from earlier in the day - as well as set yourself up for a long tiring job when you just want to go home!

    None of which is to suggest that one shouldn't keep a close eye on loadings, and the ability to match loco size to demand. But a simple maxim of "small engine good, big engine bad" misses a lot of the subtleties of running an efficient service.

    Tom
     
    jnc, Triumph 2500S and Tiffer like this.
  12. RailWest

    RailWest Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2011
    Messages:
    2,547
    Likes Received:
    4,611
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    West Country
    A good point. I recall a few years ago getting on a train at Swanage, taking a brief look around, and promptly getting off again! I decided that it would be a far more enjoyable use of the next hour to sit in the buffet with a cup of tea, and then visit the bookshop, than to endure what looked like it was going to be mobile hell :-( I can't say that I've had the same experience on the WSR - maybe the extra capacity is indeed a 'plus point' - though there have been the odd occasions when some fellow passengers have been less than ideal.... Perhaps they think the same about me ? :p
     
    Paul Kibbey and Triumph 2500S like this.
  13. paulhitch

    paulhitch Guest

    Tom,

    We are never going to agree over this and I am not going to try and convince you. However no-one, certainly not me, is suggesting "knocking seven bells" out of anything, be it locomotives or passengers. Nothing on standard gauge heritage railways, with the possible exception of the NYMR , compares with the hammering given to motive power on certain of the Welsh narrow gauge lines day in and day out and they take very good care to detach surplus vehicles for this reason. By the way, when is your B.R. 2MT 2-6-2T likely to be done? Just the job for you.

    Paul H.
     
  14. GWR Man.

    GWR Man. Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2014
    Messages:
    2,044
    Likes Received:
    1,892
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Taunton
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    And when the Bluebell Railway took delivery of LSWR No 488 it was declared too big for any use on the railway.
     
  15. Steve

    Steve Part of the furniture Friend

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2006
    Messages:
    10,172
    Likes Received:
    6,441
    Occupation:
    Gentleman of leisure, nowadays
    Location:
    Near Leeds
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Too true about the NYMR. We even knock seven bells out of Black 5's and B1's. Load limit for these in BR days was five coaches yet we hang seven as a routine and eight when demanded; even worse with a Pullman diner. These are really into class 6 and 7 territory in terms of haulage, if not speed. Ill informed people often go on about dragging unnecessary coaches around but removing or adding a coach is no five minute job and, when your turn rounds are twenty minutes, including taking water, it creates havoc with the T/T. If a set is only required to be at full strength a couple of times a week, it is worth leaving it at that all the time for any number of good reasons from safety through to convenience. And Joe Public like to have a compartment to himself and family.
     
    MikeParkin65, jnc and Tiffer like this.
  16. paulhitch

    paulhitch Guest

    Agree with most of this save to observe that when I was actively engaged with operations the railway concerned thought nothing of adding and removing vehicles from trains during turnrounds, which included coaling up although, admittedly, no corridor connections were involved. Whether Joe Public "likes" his own compartment has to be tempered a bit.

    Incidentally I can recall a "local" who we liked to give his own saloon carriage to as he was an alcoholic of uncertain personal habits who was apt to address visitors from the U.S.A. as "Damn Yankees"!

    PH
     
  17. Steve

    Steve Part of the furniture Friend

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2006
    Messages:
    10,172
    Likes Received:
    6,441
    Occupation:
    Gentleman of leisure, nowadays
    Location:
    Near Leeds
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    When I was involved with the narow gauge, attaching extra coaches was a five minute job. There's a world of difference between with coaches fitted with Buckeyes, corridor connections, vac, steam heat and electrical connections to the narrow gauge where there is generally a screw or chopper coupling and not much else. When attaching a coach, besides the fireman having to couple the loco to the coach, it may also need detaching from another coach, which will involve the guard/shunter going between, detaching all the connections, pulling the chain and indicating to the driver that he can pull forward a few feet before stopping him. He will then have to go between the coaches and drop the buckeye and re-set the buffers on the coach left behind. Only when this has been done can the coach be shunted out of the siding and onto the train. Again, the guard will have to signal to the driver to stop short whilst he lifts and sets the buckeye and buffers on the end vehicle. He can then signal to the driver to set back and, if your lucky, the buckeyes will take and a pull test will prove this. He then has to go between and couple up all the remaining things before asking the driver to create vacuum so that he can walk back to the rear of the train to do a continuity test. All that takes quite a bit of time and is additional to the guards other routine tasks. No time for a cuppa!
     
  18. paulhitch

    paulhitch Guest

    Crikey! Sounds as if buckeye couplings make work instead of saving it unless one is fortunate enough to have an A4 at the head. Can't see why the vacuum has to be released though. Surely simpler and quicker to shunt with the vacuum remaining connected.

    PH
     
    threelinkdave likes this.
  19. Paul Kibbey

    Paul Kibbey Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2014
    Messages:
    1,165
    Likes Received:
    1,402
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Land of Sodor
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    I just Googled LSWR No 488 and saw a few pictures of it, what a beauty. It is a pity there aren't more Victorian locos out there but then there is a very good reason for that, they are Victorian and very old. I've not been to the Bluebell Line yet but would be good to see a Terrier or two. Were there Terriers running on the Isle of Wight back in the 60s? Sorry to go off topic but it is good to talk about railways as well.
    Paul.K
     
  20. Paul Kibbey

    Paul Kibbey Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2014
    Messages:
    1,165
    Likes Received:
    1,402
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Land of Sodor
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    Having had a footplate trip Pickering - Gromont - Pickering I can vouch how hard a Black 5 works up to Goathland with a 7 Pullman set. The regulator was in the roof, fireman shovelling more less constantly and water being taken by the boiler constantly more or less, it was exhilarating and something I will never forget. I do hope the footplate crews find as good.
    Paul.K
     
    Snifter likes this.

Share This Page