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Preservation Loco 'Exchange' Comparisons

Discussion in 'Steam Traction' started by ruddingtonrsh56, Feb 1, 2021.

  1. Andy B

    Andy B Member

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    What I keep telling myself is actually how lucky we are to be driving any of them... yes we have favourites, but at the end of the day, we are so lucky to even be able to be having this discussion. Let’s enjoy what we can.
     
  2. andrewtoplis

    andrewtoplis Member

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    Absolutely this, 100%

    When you consider the barriers to entry if you were interested in historic sportscars or, even worse, old fighter planes, I think it is fantastic we are able to get involved and work our way up to these heights
     
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  3. Cosmo Bonsor

    Cosmo Bonsor Member

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    Tom, I first heard the term ‘diamonds and squares’ when I was owner’s rep for the Dukedog on its travels. I’m sure I heard it first at the SVR, it’s probably quite and old saying, easy to remember how to keep a flat fire with not too much in the middle.

    Another historical one I believe, is what I was told when we took Fenchurch to the IOW. I fired to Ken, lovely man. They would run back from Wootton with the blower on, filling the boiler up. Exactly what you would do on an engine that only had pumps. I’m sure andrewtoplis can confirm or deny.

    As for Dukedoggy Dog, the people that said ‘fire it like a Pannier’ came unstuck. The good ones, and I saw some excellent enginemanship BTW worked it out for themselves. The SVR crews were all over it. It’s as interesting seeing crews work an engine out as it is operating it yourself.

    The North London Tank last ran in ‘93 so my memory of it is poor. However it will pull anything you hang on the hook. Horrible lifting injectors and a track unfriendly waddle. If you had it right the firehole door would glow orange. Any coal down the front will kill the pressure. Is that an LMS or North of the River thing? A good reliable steamer as I recall.

    As for some others, Martello was nice, W8 Freshwater is easily the best Terrier I have been on.
    The Dutch loved Fenchurch, we were lucky to get it returned.
    I liked Leander a lot but those short gauge glasses on quite a big boiler! Oh and the position of the blower handle.

    As I said earlier the ‘modern’ class 2s don’t have the low speed punch and have to be driven pretty much full regulator with our loads and hills.
     
  4. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    How do the B4 and Baxter compare?
     
  5. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    Not necessarily an easy comparison to make: the B4 is about 50% heavier and has almost double the TE: it is an altogether bigger beast.

    I've only had loco turns on Baxter, and only a few line turns. Some years back, we would occasionally roster it for our pilot turn, which involved pulling six carriages out of the carriage shed, which is quite a stiff climb and on a curve. It would do it, but a P tank was preferable on account of more adhesion and a bit more reserve in the boiler.

    It had lifting injectors which could be temperamental. Out on the line, a bucket of water and some rags were common currency to cool them down from time to time ... The biggest issue from a firing point of view was no real ability to control top air (an oven door type fire hole door) and no brick arch or baffle plate. So trying to fire with the regulator open was prone to kill the pressure by gulping in lots of cold air. If you needed to fire, you'd get a shovel of coal (really not much bigger than a domestic fireplace shovel); open the door, fling it in then shut the door again. Not a lot of finesse. I found the best way was to load up the firebox, then just watch it and hope you got all the way to the top of the bank (which is pretty much the opposite of what I normally try to do). One consequence of that is that it tended to be a rather smoky engine, because all your tools for minimising smoke were somewhat hamstrung - no brick arch, no baffle plate and a tendency to fire big rounds primarily when the regulator was shut - not really in accordance with the Black Book firing manual.

    From a driver's point of view, the reverser had only two positions each way - full gear or a cut off position - so the tendency seemed to be to get it on the move, bring the reverser back to the cut off position and then just let it find its own way. It would get there in the end provided you didn't hurry it along.

    It was a short wheelbase, so the ride could be quite lively - that was exacerbated by a very open cab. You needed to hold on carefully. It was fun on unfitted goods though, when all you had was a handbrake to regulate the speed. As a fireman, that's where I learnt all sorts of little subtleties in changes of gradient that I'd previously been largely oblivious to.

    Ultimately, it's a bit like @Cosmo Bonsor comment on the Belgian loco: taking it eleven miles up the line with 15 minutes between stations, you are not really using it for what it was designed for. I think if you took it to somewhere like Tanfield (it did go to Beamish) you'd get an honest appraisal of how it compared to other similar 0-4-0Ts.

    Tom
     
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  6. Matt35027

    Matt35027 New Member

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    I don't think there's much contest there! There are tales of Normandy taking 7 coach empty stock trains to Horsted Keynes, whereas I once saw Baxter departing SP with a goods train and being given a push start by one of the footplate crew!
     
  7. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    There may have been a degree of hamming it up with Baxter ...

    [​IMG]

    Via https://twitter.com/bluebellrailway/status/1240606323307315200/photo/1

    Tom
     
  8. Matt35027

    Matt35027 New Member

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  9. jnc

    jnc Part of the furniture

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    I'm rather racking my brains trying to work out why a roller bearing would give a noticeably different ride than shell (journal) bearings, which I gather are the usual axle bearings used in steam locos. It seems to me that for that sort of 'agricultural' application ('agricultural' compared to, say, a IC reciprocating or gas turbine engine), the difference should be undetectable? Can someone explain what's going on? Thanks!

    Noel
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2021
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  10. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    For sure, I was thinking about Bluebell engines that hadn't been discussed rather than how do they compare to one another (so poorly worded on my part). They were the two that I thought might be more 'interesting' to fire or drive.
     
  11. Cosmo Bonsor

    Cosmo Bonsor Member

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    At the risk of dragging things back on topic rather than just being about Bluebell engines, I had a couple of goes on Furness 20.
    Once was on a film job, possibly ‘Woman in Black’, the Dickens one where apart from lighting up I was there to keep things legal.
    I fired and drove it on a pass turn and found it a very soft engine. The blast is soft and the lower pressure and smallness made the engine feel quite lightweight in the way that say a Terrier or P isn’t.
    The owner who was with us thought I wouldn't get it to steam, well that was something of a gauntlet hitting the cab floor. I proved him wrong.
    I think the soft blast means it won’t recover quickly. I felt you had to tease performance out it.
    He told me off for driving too fast ie over 15mph. ‘We don’t make up time on this engine.’
    Good to get a go on something really old though.

    As for the B4 it’s a properly proportioned shunting engine, that is a small firebox relative to the size of the boiler, the barrel especially.
    I did a lot of firing on the extension in the 90’s and we had to take a load of rail from the end of HK down yard headshunt . I think the load was in the 180 ton range, but don’t quote me.
    Well it turns out I had a badly clinkered fire and by about Vaux End we were down to about 80 psi. luckily the vacuum was off. The huge cylinders meant we kept going. I had the injector on all the time and we kept up a steady 10 mph or so. My Driver kept his nerve and went through the tunnel and arrived at West Hoathly with water in the boiler and about 60 psi on the clock. Saved by skilful driving not for the first time.

    The point about older big cylinder saturated engines is you can keep plodding on with low pressure well enough, I’ve done the same on the E4 on both sides of the cab. Modern engines especially Swindonshire ones go south very quickly if you let the pressure drop.

    I try to keep the safeties on Wiltshire products with just a bit of steam coming out like a pan of spuds on the simmer.
    Compared to other contemporary engines Terriers were quite an advance in technology, probably why they lasted.

    And reply to Andy B yes we are very lucky to do quite an expensive hobby. My mum used to ride other people's horses with no P&D and my dad sailed other people's boats. Us Bonsors like to play with other people's toys for free.
     
  12. andrewtoplis

    andrewtoplis Member

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    Hello @Cosmo Bonsor - Yes, I can confirm we would run from Wootton to HS with the injector on, its downhill as soon as you are out of the platform, so six chuffs and you can shut off again. Put plenty of water in and it'll keep quiet whilst you fill up with water and wait for the train from Smallbrook.

    I'd also agree that Ken was a lovely chap and a superb engineman. As a former steam man he knew every trick in the book and was a great one for doing half of the disposal before you even got to the shed. On the final run back from Wootton he'd have you raking the fire and filling the boiler up, then once stabled it was just smokebox and go. Presumably they were finished as soon as disposal was done, so wanted to get home as quick as they could!

    In the spirit of the thread, we don't get many visiting locos on the Island, but did have the tender Ivatt over a few years ago. I really liked it because the regulator was light and the forward view was better than the tank engine, that said we were double-heading with it so the reduced adhesion wasn't a factor. I fired Birch Grove when it came over as well, but that was at least 15 years ago now... :eek:
     
  13. jnc

    jnc Part of the furniture

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    I'm trying to work out if the lack of a response means either i) people are just too buy to answer this (fine), ii) my query is so obviously clueless there's no point to answering (also fine, although a quick note - private if need be - to explain why would be appreciated), or iii) nobody knows the answer (somewhat astonishing if so, given the galaxy of knowledge here). If the last, maybe it's just one of those things that got said once, and everyone has repeated it ever since, without wondering how accurate it really is. Or maybe it's a real pattern that has been noticed, but it's never been worked out what the cause is?

    Noel
     
  14. 30854

    30854 Resident of Nat Pres

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    In my case Noel, it's definitely (iii)!

    FWIW, as the business roller bearings are steel and (presumably) involve a lesser contact area when compared with more malleable non-ferrous plain bearings, I'd expect less 'give' in the system.
     
  15. LMS2968

    LMS2968 Part of the furniture

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    I'd agree. Roller bearings are 'solid' without give, white metal less so, although I wouldn't have thought that the slight difference would be noticeable in the ride. Another point is that cannon boxes are heavy, and they represent unsprung weight, so an answer along those lines, perhaps?
     
  16. 30854

    30854 Resident of Nat Pres

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    I guess the only valid direct comparison would be between Black 5's, 1947 built roller bearing fitted 4767 and 1945 built 4871, as both are Crewe products .... assuming the differing valve gears don't 'queer the pitch'.
     
  17. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    Surely it's balancing in the wheelsets, valve gear and the characteristics of the front bogie/pony truck/rear trailing wheels and suspension (if any) that have far more to do with ride quality than the bearings?
     
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  18. LMS2968

    LMS2968 Part of the furniture

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    Not necessarily. You ride on, say, a Black Five with worn boxes, and I did a few times in 1968, it soon lets you know it isn't happy with heavy knocks , bounces and general rough riding. That though isn't the same as harsh riding from an engine in good mechanical condition.
     
  19. std tank

    std tank Member

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    Surely, cannon boxes are sprung in exactly the same way as plain bearing axleboxes?
     
  20. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    Fair comment. Isn't there also a degree of "how many cylinders" too - two cylinders being reputedly harder on track than three or four?

    There's so many factors for ride quality with a steam locomotive, it seems!
     
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