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.

Locomotives that NEARLY made it

Discussion in 'Steam Traction' started by Hicks19862, Apr 22, 2020.

  1. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2008
    Messages:
    18,839
    Likes Received:
    32,421
    Location:
    21C102
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    I think my contention was that it has applicability more widely than just the Southern companies. The initial discussion arose because there happens to be four Southern 0-6-0s in existence that cover seventy years of design (the Stirling O dates back in design terms to the early 1870s; the Bulleid Q1 to the early 1940s); my view is that for British designs, that schema has a wider applicability than just in the South of England. I wouldn't make any claims for applicability outside the UK as I am insufficiently knowledgeable about design practice in other countries.

    @bluetrain's point about the boundaries, and how in some cases they are very sharp, and at other times very blurred, is well made. My initial stab at dates was deliberately somewhat overlapping. It would be an interesting diversion for an afternoon to consider how you could represent graphically which CMEs came in with a new broom and which continued much as before. On the South Western, locomotive practice fundamentally changed at each change of CME from Beattie to Adams to Drummond to Urie. At the opposite extreme you have Churchward - Collett - Hawksworth on the GWR where the design policy was very stable over an extended period of time, and the advances over a period of fifty years were all about incremental improvement of details.

    @bluetrain's point about the divergence of size in passenger and goods engines in the later years was interesting, not something I'd thought about. The largest LMS goods engine had the same boiler power as a Black 5, not a Duchess.

    Tom
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2020
  2. 242A1

    242A1 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2006
    Messages:
    1,266
    Likes Received:
    831
    Indeed we could. I have been critical of the designers of locomotives post WW2 before and of a few pre-war particularly those that worked for the more financially comfortable companies.

    40ihp per ton of locomotive weight as a sustained output was set in the 1930s. There you are I've written it again. It was done, it was achieved. At first the wider railway world beyond France did not believe it. They did not want to believe it. In truth there were plenty of locomotive engineers in France who didn't believe it either, Chapelon had undermined their credibility totally and this created problems later. The demonstrated performances of the locomotives could not be denied, too many observations were made and the impact on traffic and timetable was there for all to see.

    Chapelon was an outstanding figure. You can either learn from such figures which some did or resent them, particularly if you have problems accepting that someone is far more able and capable than you are. There were some of the more enlightened group but there were a good number of the jealous, spiteful and indolent.

    To understand what Chapelon had achieved took a little work. The railway world should not have been surprised at what he achieved, there was a progression, the likes of Edouard Sauvage and Gaston Du Bousquet are just two of the influences along the way. Chapelon was a thinker, it was his favourite pastime. He could come up with new ideas and also build on the work of the best of those that came before him. A few that came after him built on his achievements in a similar fashion. Chapelonising the Chapelons you might say.

    In Britain we largely learned nothing. Well the work hadn't been done here, we gave railways to the world and all that. In 1960 number 92220 was built, the 999th locomotive in the Standard range completed some 25 years and more after the work of Chapelon had established what could be expected. Did any of the Standards at least equal what had been achieved? No. Worse in the post war 1940s an engineer rebuilt a metre gauge Pacific as a 4-8-0 which delivered 2,120 dbhp for an engine weight of 68 tons. Development continued but not here.

    Chapelon did not mind complexity either intellectual or mechanical. Robert Riddles has been criticised for being obsessed with simplicity. One man set standards and the other, well he was responsible for the Standards, none of which met the standard and given the time between the two actions could and perhaps should have been expected to improve on the 1930s standard. The only Standard design that was of any real interest, and it was really a non-Standard, was and is 71000 and Harrison was the man responsible for this one. If only it had been built at Doncaster well out of the way of the regressives of the Crewe/Derby axis.

    The steam locomotive appears to be simple but to grasp in full all the requirements needed to produce an outstanding and exemplary design poses a not insignificant intellectual challenge. And if you choose not to believe this let us take the design of an exhaust system in isolation.

    We are building steam locomotives again, have been for a few years now. Some call them New Builds but what is new about them? They are all examples of an earlier design, the next in the series with a few modifications. They are quite an achievement but none are new designs.

    A Frenchman and an Argentinian gave Britain's post war locomotive designers what might be termed as a good kicking. The sad fact is that they didn't realise that it had been done.
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2020
    Miff, Hirn, ragl and 2 others like this.
  3. D6332found

    D6332found New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2016
    Messages:
    274
    Likes Received:
    127
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Dinting
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    But how much did these locos cost to build service and maintain? It's like trying to compare a Chevy V8 in a Gasoline cheap(formerly) nation with a highly sophisticated BMW engine. Which one will haul you reliably out of the snow? And be easy to maintain.
    Not disputing their designs but both were coal poor countries wantying rid of steam and coal. We sat on 300 years of the stuff, with a whole culture based on the coal economy. The eventual switch to oil was a Pyrrhic victory, only with clean electricity will we see clean air, but strangely we are not raving about the Engineers who have brought this revolution, bet few can name any of them?
     
    jnc, MellishR, andrewshimmin and 3 others like this.
  4. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2015
    Messages:
    6,226
    Likes Received:
    4,515
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Thorn in my managers side
    Location:
    72
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    On https://www.national-preservation.c...s-that-never-were.444966/page-31#post-2568301 I said

    Thinking about it there were, it seems to me, two 'Game Changers; in the UK, the P1 & the LMS Garratts. The latter of course ruined at conception.

    But both capable of hauling significantly heavier - and faster freights than before.

    However what they needed was High Capacity all steel wagons fitted with continuous brakes so you could have 1000 ton 40 mph freights.

    Perhaps we should talk about 'What ifs and wagons that never were'


    Basically passenger trains were getting heavier and faster, but for a whole series of reasons freight trains were not/could not so there was no demand for more powerful freight loco's beyond a certain point
     
    MellishR and andrewshimmin like this.
  5. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2008
    Messages:
    18,839
    Likes Received:
    32,421
    Location:
    21C102
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    And did Chapelon solve the problems of servicing dirty locomotives? While you can rave about a metre gauge 2,120 bhp 4-8-0, in the 1930s the Southern was busily electrifying all its main routes and eliminating steam altogether. Who took the right technical course?

    Tom
     
    MellishR, Jimc, andrewshimmin and 6 others like this.
  6. 242A1

    242A1 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2006
    Messages:
    1,266
    Likes Received:
    831
    The Chapelon designs were complicated but it was found that the more balanced nature of the multi cylinder compounds allowed these engines to maintain their condition well. The 160P with the drive split over six cylinders not only delivered outstanding performance on the road but was easier to work on than might be expected because the motion parts were easier to handle because they were lighter in weight because each individual unit was required to deliver much less power than would have been the case on a two cylinder type that was approaching the same overall output and this engine would have been far heavier anyway because it could not match the 2-10-0 directly. The 160P was an exercise in achieving high power output at low speed, something very difficult in a conventional design.
    Chapelon was also very aware of what was happening in the USA he had visited and learned from their practices. In terms of thermodynamics they had nothing to offer, mechanical design was a different matter. He experienced the N & W, came up with a way of improving the Y6, and along the way picked up a great deal.
    He knew where he wanted to take things. American mechanical design was to be fused with French thermodynamic expertise. A series of 6000 hp designs with frame structures the equivalent of the cast steel bed but offering a 30% weight saving were produced. He had already sent the designers of the French electric locomotives back to the drawing board and this was with a proof of concept rebuild and we know from the work of his successors and followers that there remained far more potential. Some designs have been drawn up and projected performance figures produced. I will move on to Jamessquared's comments if you would excuse me.

    Problems of servicing dirty locomotives? Are you thinking in terms of what you know from experience? Or have you looked to see how things were done elsewhere? Shaffers Crossing and Williamson dating from the 1940s. A very different servicing environment. Nothing like them existed in the UK. On the N & W engines were washed, dedicated tiled lubrication facilities existed, better all round facilities were to be found. And to make matters worse for the observer from the outside the locomotives were mechanically superior. The line was really a freight hauler but it managed to work its principal express trains with 14 of the Class J, they only built 43 of the Class A articulated fast freight locomotives, of the heavy freight various Y6 variants, 81.

    So with better design you need fewer engines and with better servicing facilities you need fewer again. For the servicing facilities, are those of the N & W from the 40s the best that can be achieved? Judging by the quality of locomotive development in the UK possibly, but not elsewhere, not if a new facility were to be deemed necessary.

    All manner of things could and should have been so much better. How many locomotives on the Southern weighing 68 tons could develop and deliver the 2,120 dbhp?

    When some analysis of the costs of of modernisation were carried out on the American Railroads the findings were alarming. You can find the document if you look for it. Put simply the modernisation cost them more than they could afford.

    Those who have investigated the costs of the various forms of traction available in a fair and even handed manner, not comparing 50 year old steam locomotives with brand new diesel and electric traction, come up with figures that are fairly evenly balanced. You have higher vs lower costs per installed horsepower unit, energy costs balanced against thermal efficiency, comparative infrastructure installation and maintenance costs, the nature of the increasing maintenance costs of the various types with time, mileage and age. There are other variables but these will serve as an examples. And remember that Hutber's Law frequently is found to apply.
     
    Hirn, MellishR and ragl like this.
  7. Kylchap

    Kylchap Member

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2015
    Messages:
    347
    Likes Received:
    599
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    East Anglia
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    Well written and very thought provoking. Are the remains of Argentina still extant and rusting away somewhere forlorn?
     
  8. andrewtoplis

    andrewtoplis Member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2006
    Messages:
    1,098
    Likes Received:
    449
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Is this when other factors come into play though, like lengths of passing loops, freight sidings etc? Did we see double heading once the 'largest' size was reached?

    Had we managed to modify the facilities and moved to larger wagons run much faster, would have needed the larger output?
     
    MellishR and Bluenosejohn like this.
  9. 242A1

    242A1 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2006
    Messages:
    1,266
    Likes Received:
    831
    So far as I am aware little or nothing remains. A group was put together to try to rescue the remains but with very few if any Argentinians being interested in it other than as scrap value and no protection being afforded to it in any official manner, a sad end was inevitable. Porta and Chapelon were a source of embarrassment not only to less able engineers but also to decision makers in political circles. The result of this can be seen in the lack of examples of Chapelon's work at Mulhouse and the eradication of "Argentina".
     
    Hirn and ragl like this.
  10. Dunfanaghy Road

    Dunfanaghy Road Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2019
    Messages:
    287
    Likes Received:
    336
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Alton, Hants
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    I do wonder whether Riddles's desire for simplicity above all else derived from a low expectation of the abilities of shed management and staff? Back in the 14-18 War British soldiers were amazed by the educational level of many ordinary German POW's, due to a system intended to provide a productive workforce, I believe. We were happy with the three R's, if that. (Indeed, I remember our storeman at Woking PW in the early 1980's who was illiterate.)
    Combine that with the NIH factor endemic in all British engineering, and you have what we got. A great example: When I belonged to the PWI at Woking we had a lot of members from the DCE's office at Wimbledon (including Peter Pescod, the DCE). One talk was from a member who had spent a weekend on a track relay in the Netherlands. He showed us all the kit they used, and the one (yes, ONE) man who had a fork to tidy up the ballast at the end. (Bear in mind this is the late 70's.) At the end one of the DCE's staff sitting in front of me turned to his neighbour and said "Of course, we don't do it that way." :Banghead:
    Pat
     
    Hirn and MellishR like this.
  11. 242A1

    242A1 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2006
    Messages:
    1,266
    Likes Received:
    831
    As passenger train performance improved difficulties were found in accommodating the requirements of these with those of slow unfitted freight. These services and others have to coexist on the network somehow. You need the track capacity and sometimes this was difficult to provide. Companies could simply be in a position of not be able to afford what was really needed. If your various train types are moving with a modest range of difference in running speeds that can be helpful, but running a freight train of unfitted four wheelers anywhere Silver Jubilee speeds was not a good idea. Passengers want in the main to travel quickly, your express passenger services are going to continue to be under pressure to deliver shorter journey times. If you can increase the speed of your slowest trains that would be a major part of a solution but the railways were stuck with thousands of 4 wheel freight vehicles and events showed that it took many years to have these replaced.

    The Railway Companies did try to improve matters, the GNR received the first of the fully fitted bogie brick wagons in 1920 each one of which could replace 5 of the ordinary wagons. More of these wagons were produced by the LNER in 1930, a ten year gap in production I wonder if this was for financial reasons, however these vehicles were very successful. They could run at passenger train speed and were also used to improve the braking power of the fast unfitted freights. So the companies and their suppliers could and did build and use much better vehicles. But the legacy stock, much of it owing more to the Chaldron wagons of the early days of the railways many decades before than was now desirable, was a huge problem. The need to supply fuel to London in sufficient quantity gave rise to the production of the P1 design. A satisfactory bogie coal hopper could be done, the LMS built some, so did the Southern. The GWR like many other lines carried perishables in rolling stock built to passenger standards in the C19 but it was 1903 before some ballast hoppers were fitted and in 1904 some general goods wagons started to be built with them however in 1948 the bulk of the GW freight stock remained unfitted. So though it were possible to upgrade the London coal supply trains it was not done. The P1 was a capable engine capable of further development, the design of suitable stock wasn't at that stage presenting much of a problem. Keeping the traffic moving, dealing with the cost of of a huge update program quickly, wrestling with Global Depression coping with another World War dealing with the knife edge finance issues, these were another matter. If the GW could not fully update its freight systems then other less financially comfortable did pretty well in the circumstances that they found themselves in. They were trying to move forward, introduced new ideas, improved specialised freight services; could have done better? Maybe, but they were not sat on their hands.
     
    Hirn, MellishR, Wenlock and 1 other person like this.
  12. torgormaig

    torgormaig Part of the furniture Friend

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2007
    Messages:
    2,282
    Likes Received:
    2,458
    Why would Riddles desire anything other than simplicity in his locos? In the changing post war world, bent on recovery, it was clear that steam traction had a very limited future ahead of it. To my mind Riddles produced just what the railway needed at that time, namely simple to operate, simple to maintain locomotives to see the country get back on its feet again. Advanced design high tech steam locomotives could come later if there was a need for them - which of course there wasn't. There is no doubt that Chapelon's masterpieces were fine machines but when it came to post war reconstruction the SNCF reverted to the simple rough and ready 2 cylinder 141R. There was no point in over complicating what is anyway a very crude and in efficient machine when simplicity does the job with far less pain. BR Standard steam locos, just like their Standard Mark 1 coaches, were just what was needed at the time and I for one rejoice that so many have survived for us to enjoy today. The men loved the locos then and those of us who work on them today still love them.

    Peter
     
    clementi, jnc, andrewshimmin and 5 others like this.
  13. daveannjon

    daveannjon Member

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2006
    Messages:
    943
    Likes Received:
    250
    Location:
    Waiting for the Right Away
    A.J.Powell recalled a meeting of the Institute of Loco Engineers around 1950 when a film was shown of how the Norfolk and Western serviced its steam locos - a two hour turnaround from station arrival to station departure - what did a lot of the eminent engineers do at the end - they laughed.

    Dave
     
    Hirn likes this.
  14. Jimc

    Jimc Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2005
    Messages:
    3,089
    Likes Received:
    2,722
    Occupation:
    Once computers, now part time writer I suppose.
    Location:
    SE England
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    The question, of course, is why did they laugh. The problems weren't all management. Hawkesworth's new coaches for the GWR were delayed months, maybe even over a year, because of a protracted dispute as to which union's members were going to do a certain aspect of the construction.
     
    Hirn and gwralatea like this.
  15. 242A1

    242A1 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2006
    Messages:
    1,266
    Likes Received:
    831
    Education! What a subject. French locomotive crews received far better training than those in the UK, more was expected of them just look at the locomotives they were using. Equally if you don't ask for much you don't get much. Riddles was not able to deliver locomotives that matched the standard. This might have been better if he had a more capable team around him. There again no one was particularly forward looking in some important areas so engines were not seen as needing higher capacity. This was not the experience of elsewhere. If the locomotives produces had presented a challenge this would have been an opportunity. Those that are good enough to meet the challenge will rise to it, those that need some help you help. Those that can't or won't are another matter.

    Fewer and better engines mean that you need less staff. You are moving the same or an increased level of traffic more effectively at less cost. The maintenance facilities have to be in keeping with your new engines and you can conduct your turnarounds quicker with fewer better trained staff that are working in better conditions. Because you are conducting the same or rising level of business on a reduced staff you can try to deal with your low quality education issues.

    You could say that those entering the workplace should have a better standard of education to begin with and you would be right but you only get to have a real insight into the problem when you have had close dealings with those engaged at the sharp end, particularly the non PC types. There are good reasons for teaching at home.
     
    Hirn likes this.
  16. 242A1

    242A1 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2006
    Messages:
    1,266
    Likes Received:
    831
    Sounds about right. The railways were well served by idiots like this.
     
  17. 35B

    35B Resident of Nat Pres

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2011
    Messages:
    13,477
    Likes Received:
    10,707
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Grantham
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    I’d be interested to know in what way they laughed. I’d hazard a guess that it was the nervous laughter of people recognising something interesting, but seeing themselves trying to convince those with budgets to spend significant capital on those facilities, and staff used to old ways of working to change those.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
    jnc, gwralatea, Bluenosejohn and 2 others like this.
  18. torgormaig

    torgormaig Part of the furniture Friend

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2007
    Messages:
    2,282
    Likes Received:
    2,458
    So are you suggesting that BR should have followed the N&W model of servicing a couple of hundred larger and vastly different locomotives to our own, in a very different operating environment.? We are after all talking about the complete rebuild and automation of the servicing of thousands of locos in hundreds of locations. I think you need to get real here. You are compareing apples and oranges. Sure it could have been done here but how long would it have taken? And how long did these superdooper servicing arrangements in Virginia last? The answer is a long time in American terms but it was still all over in less than a decade after Powell's meeting. Just because things could have been done does not mean that they should have been. Perhaps the men with vision were the ones who took the pragmatic course of action as opposed to the radical one.

    Peter
     
  19. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2008
    Messages:
    18,839
    Likes Received:
    32,421
    Location:
    21C102
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    I must admit, I'm enjoying planning my next holiday where I shall go to all those countries currently operating fully modern steam locomotives in spotless conditions at low operational cost. And the great thing is I can visit all those countries right here in my living room - ideal for lockdown!

    As for horsepower per ton: couldn't find 40hp per ton, though I note a BR(S) 4REP does about 18hp per ton. Shabby by Chapelon standards, except that that weight includes enough seats to carry 175 passengers as well ...

    Tom
     
    andrewshimmin and Bluenosejohn like this.
  20. 35B

    35B Resident of Nat Pres

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2011
    Messages:
    13,477
    Likes Received:
    10,707
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Grantham
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    This observer rather wishes that the railways had spent rather more money on maintenance and crews a long time before, rather than continuing to rely on an extremely economically unproductive model, with appalling utilisation, minimal spend, and very limited application of science to the railways.

    However, those views go way beyond just locomotive engineering, or even engineering, and thus well beyond the scope of this thread.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
    andrewshimmin, daveannjon and Hirn like this.

Share This Page