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Saint Class 135 ish mph

Discussion in 'Steam Traction' started by Reading General, May 5, 2017.

  1. Reading General

    Reading General Part of the furniture

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    WA Tuplin in his book Saints and Sinners refers to a test run by a Saint light engine on test with various high ranking officials on board including CB Collett. The test was to assess 100 mph running but a much higher maximum was attained and kept secret for years (particularly from Mr Churchward it seems). Collett eventually admitted to "around 120mph" although signal box passing times indicate it was possibly around 135.......

    Tuplin theorises that the pole reversing lever may have adjusted itself (at 100mph) and the crew had difficulty in re-adjusting it and/or closing the regulator, presumably these could have been somewhat stiff on a newly overhauled loco; the loco ran away for some distance in other words.

    Now I think that there was plenty of scope for inaccuracy in the 135 figure, but reading between the lines, would Collett have played it down by quoting around 120?

    Good story isn't it! I can't wait for 2999 to be finished.... (isn't 2999 an odd number to chose? Protytpe 98 became 2998 but prototype 99 became 3100 (2-6-2t) . 2991 would be more logical following on from the former 4-4-2 class members
     
  2. The Saggin' Dragon

    The Saggin' Dragon Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator Friend

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    Without a shadow of a doubt :)
     
  3. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Nat Pres stalwart

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    Can barely stop myself laughing.
     
  4. Richard Roper

    Richard Roper Member

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    A good story, but having tried to read other of Tuplin's books over the years, I finally gave up - I find his style far too florid, and the amount of pure conjecture makes me err on the side of disbelief rather than belief. Someone with inside knowledge may know, butI personally wouldn't trust a Tuplin account as being accurate.
    For that matter, I sometimes find Ossie Nock's claims rather hopeful too.

    Richard.
     
  5. Cartman

    Cartman Member

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    Werent there other claims of ridiculous speeds from the USA at about the same time, like 127 mph on the Pennsylvania?
     
  6. Reading General

    Reading General Part of the furniture

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    you don't think a loco going out of control at 100 could do 120+/
     
  7. Reading General

    Reading General Part of the furniture

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  8. Richard Roper

    Richard Roper Member

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    I'd have thought something like that would either have come to the attention of higher authority, or have been spoken about by others present at the time perhaps?

    Richard.
     
  9. Reading General

    Reading General Part of the furniture

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    I think there was only Churchward and God higher authorities , Churchward was kept in the dark and God said nought
     
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  10. Jimc

    Jimc Well-Known Member

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    I think the "135" was from signal box passing times, recorded only to the nearest 30 secs and then depending on how well the clocks were synchronised, so in practice it probably means somewhere between 75 mph and 200mph.

    Tuplins version of the story appears to be at least 90% imagination
    Collett did comment on it many years later only to say, roughly, that although they did get a value of 120 he didn't consider it well enough authenticated to be regarded as breaking 3440s properly timed record.
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2017
  11. torgormaig

    torgormaig Active Member

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    Bet they could barely stop either - going at that speed light engine! Would be far more plausible if there was any consideration given to the actual braking distance experienced on that occasion.

    Peter James
     
  12. Reading General

    Reading General Part of the furniture

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    well the track had been kept clear for many sections so I'd say they had considered that, for 100 mph running at least
     
  13. david1984

    david1984 Resident of Nat Pres

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    Funnily enough my first though was how long would it take a light engine to pull up from 130MPH!.

    I've no doubt the ton was possible with a light or no load but as with most stories from this period, It's to be taken with a pinch of salt, At least we know City of Truro is capable of the ton, Even if there doubt as to whether it did or not.
     
  14. LesterBrown

    LesterBrown Member

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    And then there are the suggestions of Ajax (or Mars) and Hurricane reaching 100 mph around 1840. ...
     
  15. Reading General

    Reading General Part of the furniture

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    Title should read Saint....oops
     
  16. Courier

    Courier New Member

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    Tuplin didn't invent this, he was repeating it (with some embellishments). The story first appeared in 1932 when Henry Robinson, Chief Inspector on the GWR, retired - and a newspaper article on his career stated that he had driven a locomotive at 120 mph. The Railway Magazine asked Collett if the story was true - and he confirmed that it was. So this is not a tall tale told by a driver after a few pints - two officials in senior positions made statements in writing.

    There are other accounts of engines being taken out of Swindon Works and run at 100 mph light engine for test purposes - such as 5000 in 1927 which K J Cook timed at 108 mph.

    Once you get over the fact that this was "normal" practice at Swindon there is no wonder about 2903 achieving well over 100 mph in 1906 - that is what happens if you run an express locomotive hard down ten miles of 1:300 with nothing behind the tender.
     
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  17. Courier

    Courier New Member

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    2903.jpg
    Photo of 2903 in original condition - before it was named Lady of Lyons - so around the time of its 120 mph run.
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2017
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  18. Reading General

    Reading General Part of the furniture

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    it looks so right
     
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  19. andrewshimmin

    andrewshimmin Active Member

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    Why necessarily ridiculous? American locos of the period were much more powerful than their British contemporaries, and may well have achieved very high speeds (probably not quite that high, though).
     
  20. Reading General

    Reading General Part of the furniture

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    127 ridiculous but 126 not?
     

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