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Locos that didn't even qualify as a 'might have been', but really deserved preservation

Discussion in 'Steam Traction' started by The Saggin' Dragon, May 24, 2020.

  1. Jimc

    Jimc Part of the furniture

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    I just decided to take a look at post grouping GWR minutes to see if I could see a pattern in which absorbed classes were sent for external repair, and found that the new VOR locomotives were approved by the loco committee on 11th January 1923 as a result of a request by Collett. It seems an astonishingly early date.

    And on the 12th April 4 new carriages were approved.
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2020
  2. Robin

    Robin Member

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    It's fashionable in certain quarters to knock the GWR for having too many preserved locos, but would be nice if just one of their 19th Century passenger locomotives had survived. Maybe a Dean bogie single to complement the Dean goods.
    [​IMG]
    (For the avoidance of doubt, I am not proposing a new build or suggesting it would be suitable for use in preservation)
     
  3. 35B

    35B Resident of Nat Pres

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    Was it quite that early given that the Cambrian was absorbed in 1922, so there'd have been time to take stock?
     
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  4. Dunfanaghy Road

    Dunfanaghy Road Member

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    Beattie 2-4-0 as rebuilt by William Adams. Would look brilliant with a train of 4-wheelers behind. (Easy and cheap to road haul too, I'd imagine.)
    Pat
     
  5. MG 7305

    MG 7305 New Member

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    Arriving late at the party, but I see no one has suggested 2920 Saint David. I know that the GWS have reversed the loss of a saint but 2999 is not historic. I have seen it hinted that there was a move to preserve 2920, would someone care to elaborate?

    Julian
     
  6. Allegheny

    Allegheny New Member

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    More compounds, then we can find out why they were superceded.
     
  7. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    The Webb compounds... was Whale right?

    This could be a whole new genre of new build. Building notorious designs to see if they are as bad as everyone says.

    An opportunity for Webb, Thompson, Bulleid, Drummond and John Chester Craven fans to re-write history.
     
  8. LMS2968

    LMS2968 Part of the furniture

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    Does Craven have any fans?
     
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  9. 30854

    30854 Part of the furniture

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    S'pose like most, all I really know about his locos is that he was from a very different school of thought concerning his railway engineering. About his rolling stock (and marine input), I know even less.
     
  10. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    My sense is that he has been poorly served by history, and in particular the hagiography of Stroudley in the early years of the twentieth century, which put him on an unassailable pillar, and I suspect unfairly criticised Craven so as to make Stroudley appear the greater. (Stroudley had many well-connected fans amongst noted railway writers at that time, including some of those who went on to found the SLS - there is a reason why Gladstone was the target for their preservation).

    There are two main criticisms levelled against Craven. One is that he was a somewhat harsh leader - which while true, was hardly unique at the time. It is also worth noting that on his retirement from office, the men under his command presented him with a cheque for £291 13s 4d as an honorarium, which hardly suggests a wildly unpopular man.

    The other is that he presided over poor locomotive availability. That is also true, but it is a situation that also occurred under Stroudley, Billinton and Marsh - there are well-known photos of row-upon-row of LBSCR locos rusticating at Horsted Keynes waiting an opportunity to visit Brighton Works for repair in the later era. Availability was often little better than 50%. The usual story is that the lack of standardisation of Craven's locos made repairs difficult; however, it seems far more likely to me that it was the poor layout of Brighton Works, cramped against a hill and bisected by the Brighton mainline. Indeed, by Lawson Billinton's time, loco availability was so dire that it was not uncommon for locos to be overhauled and sent straight to work during the summer without going through the paintshop, repainting then occurring the following winter when there was less demand for motive power. The fault to me lies as much with the directors of the company over many years for a poor choice of site, and then never agreeing to do anything about it. By contrast, companies like the GWR, LNWR and SER chose relative green field sites for their loco works where there was space to expand; and the LSWR made a later move to a green field site with all the upheaval caused because they knew it would pay off. The Brighton directors vacillated for decades while the loco situation deteriorated. It was poor under Craven, but it was poor under his successors as well; that suggests that it wasn't anything inherent in his designs, which had working lives well up to the averages that pertained at the time. He may have designed niche classes for individual duties, but there wasn't much wrong with the designs themselves by contemporary standards.

    I think essentially he had a career of two halves. He was appointed as Locomotive Superintendent in 1847, at which point the choice of Brighton as a locomotive works was already made. In my earlier classification, that places him solidly as a "generation 1" builder at the beginning of his career, and generation 2, on the cusp (but definitely not reaching) generation 3 at the end; he ordered locomotives from external builders while skilfully building up the capacity and capability of Brighton Works, such that it constructed its first in-house locomotive in 1852. Thereafter the works expanded, to the extent of demolishing an entire hill to create more room, but the situation was always too cramped for the growing demands. His downfall started around the early 1860s: the traffic increased rapidly and the works couldn't keep up with the demand. Up to around 1862 I think his career stands equivalent to many of his contemporaries. After that date he failed to adapt to changing circumstances.

    The lack of standardisation was for the first time put forward by the directors as a cause, though Craven's reply had some merit: the LBSCR was by northern standards a small company with a relatively small locomotive fleet, so if you designed the optimal type for each class of traffic, you would have numerous small classes, whereas on a larger company you would have the same number of types, but they would have more members each (In 1862, the LBSCR loco stock was 155 engines - 132 tender and 23 tank engines. Compare that with the LNWR.) Maybe what you could say is that he handled the transition from "generation 1" to "generation 2" less well than he might have done. It is worth remembering on standardisation that to his west on the LSWR, Beattie seemed also to design numerous types of similar locomotive; whereas to the east, Cudworth on the SER was a supreme exponent of standardisation but ultimately lost his job five years after Craven because he was so wedded to his standards that he refused any attempts at enlargement or redesign and the traffic demands outstripped the power of the locos. So too little standardisation is blamed for the downfall of Craven, but too much led too the downfall of Cudworth.

    Tom
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2020
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  11. pete2hogs

    pete2hogs Member

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    I'll put forward two romantic items - an L&YR 'Highflyer' and an Ivatt Atlantic after the full set of Gresley enhancement , both with piston valves. And if we are going into total fantasy, let us take posession of the ECML one Sunday and see which will run fastest down the bank.

    I'd also like half a dozen A3's to give them comparable numbers to the A4

    A Baltic tank. I rather fancy a Rutherford one from the Furness which is hardly represented in the preserved lists.

    A couple from the G&SWR - I've always loved David L. Smiths books. Candidates - a Stirling 0-4-2, a Smellie 'wee bogie' or a Mansom superheated 4-6-0 Ah - since we are dreaming , lets have all three. After all the representation of Scottish types in presentation is abysmal.

    A Ramsbottom 'Problem'. Maybe again the one or two that were fitted with piston valves. An early Webb 3 cyl compound 0-8-0 Which would probably work quite well on 25mph preserved railway.

    But what I really want as my own personal transport - ruling out classes already preserved - is a GER D27. Or failing that and slightly more practical, a C32 tank.
     
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  12. D6332found

    D6332found New Member

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    1470 Great Northern. Was enshrined as to be preserved way before WW2, from an anecdotal tale of an old outraged former member of the Doncaster Drawing Office. I think there may have been some Papyrus talk, but it wasn't original I think?
     
  13. MellishR

    MellishR Part of the furniture Friend

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    But WIBN!
     
  14. MellishR

    MellishR Part of the furniture Friend

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    Thread drift apology; but prompted by those remarks of Tom's: if the Brighton site was so poor, why did it survive under the Southern and BR?
     
  15. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    Well, it almost didn't survive under the Southern; they stopped building locos there, wound down capacity and only did repairs. The fortunes revived during World War II when any industrial capacity was needed, regardless, and thereby lasted into the BR(S) era for a while.

    I suspect there were other poorly-sited loco works, but the board of the LBSCR was particularly dilatory in doing anything about it (cf. the LSWR moving from Nine Elms to Eastleigh in the early years of the twentieth century; or the newly amalgamated SECR stopping loco production at Longhedge and concentrating all production at Ashford around the same time). Eventually the LBSCR moved the carriage works to Lancing so Brighton could just concentrate on clocomotives, but that was in the 1910s, and there had been problems at Brighton from the 1860s. That is a spectacular management failure over many decades, but which for some reason Craven seems to be particularly singled out. Craven in fact wished to move the Loco works to Horley - a green field site - but the authorities in Brighton objected as it would lead to a loss of employment, and instead granted permission for further expansion, including aremoving an entire hill to create more space.. Those changes were instigated under Craven but removal of the hill took time, such that it was in the early years of the Stroudley regime that the loco running shed was moved to the newly cleared site, freeing up space in the works. Thus Stroudley benefitted from work undertaken by his largely uncredited and unloved predecessor.

    This plan shows the extent of the works and surrounds in 1875. Note how the loco works is trapped between the running lines to the station and the upper goods yard, largely preventing any expansion. the paint shop is physically distant, across the other side of the running lines - hence any move from erecting shop to paint shop had to cross the busy mainline, and could normally only be carried out at night, further affecting capacity.

    [​IMG]

    Source: http://www.brightonlocoworks.co.uk/CHAPTER4.php That whole site is worth a read.

    Tom
     
  16. 30854

    30854 Part of the furniture

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    Good question! Pre 1912, things were worse, as C&W was located on the cramped Brighton site too. Proposals for a 'green field' site took a good 20 years to bear fruit, in the form of the C&W facility at Lancing (which is now occupied, in the main, by Churchill Ind Est).

    My guess would be a combination of the difficulties experienced in getting Lancing up and running, with WWI coming hard on the heels of that saga, the LBSC's prioritising of electrification, then the dust settling post-grouping, followed by the Great Depression and the ending of loco construction during Maunsell's reign (ahead of the Bullied era reversal of that decision).
     
  17. PoleStar

    PoleStar New Member

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    To get back on topic perhaps, a locomotive which surely deserved preservation was the last NER B13 class 4-6-0, which survived as a counter pressure test loco until 1951.
     
  18. weltrol

    weltrol Member Friend

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    We do have some preserved Craven's DMUs.... (I'll get my coat...) :D
     
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  19. Jimc

    Jimc Part of the furniture

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    The Taff Vale works were so badly sited that the GWR board were told they needed to be closed "at the earliest possible opportunity".
     
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  20. ady

    ady New Member

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    There was not attempt to buy one of the W class tanks on their withdrawal in 1964, however did they deserved presevation?

    I like to say 7037 Swindon and 16xx Pannier Tank 1669 as the last GWR 'designed' express engine and last 'GWR 'designed' engine total to be built as candidates for this thread...
     

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