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Royal Scot middle big ends.

Discussion in 'Steam Traction' started by RalphW, Mar 10, 2010.

  1. RalphW

    RalphW Part of the furniture Staff Member Administrator Friend

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    I have just been pointed to this quotation regarding the reliability of Scot middle big ends. It's from a book published in 1970 written by E.S Cox, J. Powell, W.A. Tuplin, P.G. Johnson, and comes from chapter 3, “Mechanical Development”, pages 13/14

    “Of all 3 cylinder engines of which there is a record, the Scots were the most trouble free as regards their middle big ends. Gresley’s anxieties on the LNER are well known and Stanier 5X class (Jubilees) came into their share of troubles to the extent that many of these engines were fitted with tell tale stink bombs to give warning to the driver when disaster was impending but the Scots throughout their lives caused little anxiety in this respect”

    In another thread, someone mentions roller bearings, this is not mentioned in the book.
     
  2. std tank

    std tank Member

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    In LMS Locomotive Profiles "The Rebuilt Royal Scots" it states that 46128 The Lovat Scouts was fitted, experimentaly, with roller bearings on the middle big end in 1957. It ran for a number of years in this state. The book does not say whether it ever reverted to a normal big end bearing. No other Scots were converted. The reason for the experiment was lubrication problems on the conventional big end bearing.
    So there you go. Two different opinions on Royal Scot big ends, one from Crewe Works, the other from E.S. Cox etc.
     
  3. RalphW

    RalphW Part of the furniture Staff Member Administrator Friend

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    Odd that one source should sat they were considered trouble free and another says lubrications problems? However if it took till 1957 to try just one with roller bearings then they must have been pretty reliable.
     
  4. gwr4090

    gwr4090 Member

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    Information published in the LMS Journal and elsewhere states that BR installed roller bearings on the inside big end on quite a few Royal Scots because of perceived problems. I imagine this was quite an expensive modification so there must have been justification. Somewhere there is a list of the engines so equippped (about 11 I think), but I am now unable to find it. Interestingly the Jubilees and Patriots were not so fitted.

    David
     
  5. std tank

    std tank Member

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    I find it surprising that the people who write LMS Journal and LMS Locomotive Profiles would have conflicting information in their books.
    I will have to look through the engine record cards when I visit Search Engine at the NRM.
     
  6. RalphW

    RalphW Part of the furniture Staff Member Administrator Friend

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    It gets even more confusing, in "Royal Scots" by an Ian Sixsmith in which every individual Royal Scot is detailed, no mention is made of the fitting of roller bearings to the middle big end but he does comment,
    that of all the three cylinder types for which available records are available the Royal Scots suffered fewer inside big end defects than any. Funnily enough one particular three cylinder type which showed particularly badly against the Royal Scots was the Jubilee.”
    He goes on to give details of a catastrophic failure of one big end on 6154 in 1936 near Perth when the middle big end disintegrated and the connecting rod punctured the boiler.
    Another incident is mentioned occurring near Leicester but without the consequences of the other incident. Again there is no mention of any fitting of roller bearings although there is mention of the thought of fitting roller bearings to wheel bearings because Scots were rough riders but this apparently did not happen.
    The book also gives details of every modification carried out to individual locos of the class but no mention of big end roller bearings. The author says that details come from the loco record cards so it may be that in later BR days these were not kept up to date and modifications did happen but it seems rather odd.??
     
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  7. gwr4090

    gwr4090 Member

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    Further to the above, an item in LMS Journal no 19 states that locomotives fitted with roller bearings on inside big end were:
    46120; 46125; 46128; 46129; 46134; 46136; 46163 and 46169

    David
     
  8. Muppet

    Muppet New Member

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    Do we know any more about this - it sounds almost apocalyptic to say the least! I don't remember reading about this anywhere before!! I thought this would ahve been repeated time and again...
     
  9. RalphW

    RalphW Part of the furniture Staff Member Administrator Friend

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    Yes but it was in 1936, and things that long ago tend to disappear into the mists of time.... Today it would be widely reported and inquiries held, then it was a matter of "Oh Bother!!!!" and get it fixed asap.
     
  10. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Resident of Nat Pres

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    Rather a big "Oh Bother!" but as you say, they just got on with the job in those days.
     
  11. Orion

    Orion New Member

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    Actually the matter was reported to the board of the LMS.

    In reply to a previous post, there have been conflicting views in the past because many of the people who were writing books and articles on railway matters were behaving more as journalists than historians, in part because the events they were writing on what were, to a large degree, current affairs rather than history, and partly because the historical record was hidden from view to a far greater extent than it is now.

    Now anyone can get a readers card to the NRM, BL or TNA but wasn't always so; when I got my first readers card for Kew in 1980 I had to get a friend who was a solicitor to countersign the application! Another matter is the rule whereby public access to documents can be witheld. I'm interested in the CLC and I reckon I know most of the stuff that's at Kew, but in 1993 a new file appeared. It was the file on the withdrawal of passenger services from Stockport to Liverpool. A simple matter like that had had the 30 year rule applied!

    During the 1950-60 period when Tuplin, Nock etc were writing so prolifically I would doubt if they could actually get hold of the documents themselves. A civil service researcher would do it for them and present the info that they thought was needed within what was thought permissable by the civil service department. It isn't at all surprising that much of what was written then is now being corrected.

    Another matter is the practice of 'weeding'. This is where a file has papers that are thought to be irrelevant removed and incinerated. Once they are gone a part of the historical thread goes too. The editors of 'LMS Journal' only found out the extent of applying roller bearing to the inside big-ends of the 'Scots' because a reader happened to have, in his private collection, a document that proves that it did happen to more than one engine. That document doesn't seem to be replicated in any of the public archives.

    So much has been lost, and while the world isn't going to stop turning because of the loss of these sources it does make the world a poorer place.

    Regards
     
  12. Fred Kerr

    Fred Kerr Part of the furniture

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    There is also the problem of local depot initiatives. I am reminded that when Townsend was in charge at Kings Cross he had Kylchaps fitted to a couple of ECML Top Link locomotives without Board permission but once he was able to show the consequent reduction in running costs Board approval was gained for further top link locomotives to be fitted. It would be interesting to know if - at the time of fitting roller bearings - the Royal Scots concerned were allocated to one specific depot / link / service group thus allowing any modifications to [1] be closely monitored and [2] kept secret from higher authority.
    These local initiatives were a common practice in diesel days during the 1970s and - I feel sure - that it was common practice from the earliest of days with information only being known to "local" enthusiassts. I believe Alan Castle [ 23E ] who wrote the definitive account of the last steam workings in 1968 found that local knowledge was sometimes more accurate and comprehensive than the official records of the time when compiling information for his books.
     
  13. houghtonga

    houghtonga New Member

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    Maybe not, it depends on what the lubrication problem actually was:

    a) insufficent lubrication of the bearing journal causing failures (running hot etc).
    b) the bearings were wearing out quickly, but the shed knew about it and was already successfully dealing with it during maintenance so it did not cause a failure.
    b) access to the big end bearing was a pain for the man with his oil can.

    If it was or 'b' or 'c' then both sources could be correct.

    Regarding unofficial depot mods another example of Top Shed's tinkering was the springs on the A1 bogies.
    The A1 and the B1 have the same bogie design, but the works fitted the same springs as the B1s to the locos and the ride was terrible.
    Top Shed resolved it by fitting A4 springs instead, but when a loco went back to the works it would then return with B1 springs!

    I know what you are thinking.... Tornado has the Top Shed version!
     
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  14. class8mikado

    class8mikado Member

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    Reply to Hermods comment copied from another thread:

    Sorry i dont recall, there is a discussion here https://www.national-preservation.com/threads/royal-scot-middle-big-ends.23154/ and considerable information in e.a. Langridge under 10 cmes part two. Might of got a mention in Powells book ( Living with London Midland locomotives).. ahve copied your post to that thread
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2019
  15. Richard Roper

    Richard Roper Member

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    I've just looked on the Railways Archive site, and there are no documents available to view for the 1936 Mishap at Auchterarder with 6154. It's a damned good site for accident investigation reports though, fascinating reading for anyone interested.

    Main website:-
    https://www.railwaysarchive.co.uk/

    Accident Archive:-
    https://www.railwaysarchive.co.uk/eventlisting.php

    Richard.
     
  16. class8mikado

    class8mikado Member

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    Info from LMS2968 'The bearings were not split and this did cause problems in assembling the built up parts of the axle. The female parts were heated to give expansion, and a system of blowing air through the bearing was needed to prevent its overheating.'
    I recall Langridge going into detail about this procedure

    The fitting of roller bearings was only a partial success. The bearings themselves worked fine but the housing in the big end had protruding( sideways?) nozzles for lubrication, the amount of lateral movement of the big end on the crank axle was more than anticipated and these nozzles fouled the crank web. A case of one design tweak away from success - its a little disappointing that a revised version of this 'Mod' hasnt been considered for the current crop of 3 cylinder new builds, but as the records say ' it aint broke' so no one has considered fixing it.
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2019
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  17. 30854

    30854 Part of the furniture

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    Fascinating reading .... cheers for posting it. Just wondering how the procedure described compares with how an equivalent contemporary process, with the benefits of decades of experience, is handled.

    I bring this up as I recall many mentions of the early problems experienced around the introduction of welding (also innovative way back when), which have, for the most part, been ironed out over the years.
     
  18. Jimc

    Jimc Well-Known Member

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    I suppose it depends on how good the maintenance record of the ultimate design of big end as instigated by Cook was. If the final design of big end was satisfactory in running the desired mileage without failures there would at best be no reason to introduce all the complication of solid roller bearings.
    My understanding is that Collet's development work on GWR big ends which Cook took to Doncaster post dated Stanier's move to the LMS.
     
  19. class8mikado

    class8mikado Member

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    Agreed, there seems no evidence that there was a particular problem with the Scots , but that they were perhaps as suitable a Guinea Pig as any for this.
    What is interesting is that neither the existing standard LMS design or even the updated LNER big end design was considered quite good enough for 'Duke of Gloucester' by Harrison....
     
  20. Hermod

    Hermod New Member

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    Pacifics were not loved by mr Cox in the mid fifties but Royal Scots were.
    Can he have had a part in trying to improve the only sensible UK express type locomotive?
    The only kind Pacific remark from him is that the Stannier pacific boiler was a magnificent steam producer.

    He wrote approvingly of the Hungarian class 424 at least two times as I remember.

    The best way to make a built up crankshaft for aircraft engines was the Hirth radial splines method but was that ever tried for locomotives?

     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2019
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