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.

'Sensible' New Builds

Discussion in 'Steam Traction' started by alexl102, Sep 12, 2022.

  1. alexl102

    alexl102 Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2019
    Messages:
    244
    Likes Received:
    139
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Leeds
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    I know that 'new build' steam locos (whether from scratch or using parts taken from other locos) are quite controversial at the moment. That's been covered elsewhere so I'd like to put that aside and for a minute wander into the world of the hypothetical - what could be considered some sensible new build projects that, if they were to happen and be properly funded, would be of benefit to the heritage scene.

    I think most people agree that 82045 is a great idea - a perfect size for many heritage lines and as a BR standard should be okay to maintain and run. I also think the Bluebell Atlantic project is a great one - it's a good fit for its intended line both in size and region.

    So as an example - I've often thought it's a shame that the K&ESR will be using mainly GWR traction for its heavier trains once the link with the RVR is completed. Although for example there are a few unrestored Merchany Navies, these would be overkill and totally out of touch with the line's feel and history. What lost class of loco would be a good fit - maybe a Maunsell K Class would both fill a gap in SR loco preservation and suit the line in terms of size and power?
     
  2. 35B

    35B Nat Pres stalwart

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2011
    Messages:
    21,604
    Likes Received:
    17,640
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Grantham
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    I disagree with the basis of the question.

    If new builds are to be justified, they need to fit a historical niche, and to serve an operational purpose. They also need the support of people who will be able to fund raise and see them through. Projects like 82045 and the Atlantic do that well.

    But I don't see an operational need for new builds to run on railways. Instead, I see too many locomotives not running, because they're "under overhaul", and a reducing demand for locomotives as railways try to operate as efficiently as possible. Those projects underway will be selling themselves into that climate, and increasing the competition for scarce funds; enough so that I fully expect that many will also spend many years in storage pending overhaul as their certificates run out.

    As for the specific example, I see the KESR's use of GW traction as squarely in Col Stephens' tradition - using what he could get his hands on to try to do what work he could. Borrowing obsolete GWR locos was a noble tradition followed by industry and later London Underground, and seems absolutely appropriate to the KESR.
     
    Bluenosejohn, Spinner, Gav106 and 3 others like this.
  3. 30854

    30854 Resident of Nat Pres

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2017
    Messages:
    12,172
    Likes Received:
    11,482
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Brighton&Hove
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    Just 'cos it's fun and ignoring the fact that we've already seen the same question rehashed any number of ways .....

    Into how many categories would you say our heritage lines fall? As @35B says, a Stephens-esque use of a stonking great 2-8-0T has precedent. That doesn't change the fact that, even on the best funded of mainline railways, way back when, those CMEs such as Chuchward and Stanier, who had (at worst) a sympathetic hearing from their boards were a distinct minority.

    Get away from the larger companies, into the realms of those lines where any order for a new loco was a real 'red letter day' and you're usually asking a different set of questions, beginning and ending with "Do we have any money to spend in the first place?", backed up with "So what can we afford of what's out there?"

    For instance, it strikes me that a Y6 or J70 would be popular with many, not cost more than an arm and half a leg to build and either would fit the bill very nicely on the MSLR. That doesn't alter the fact you'd likely need at least three of 'em to shift the NYMR dining set ... and if you were responsible for such a departure from acceptable behaviour, you probably oughn't be allowed back on site until you'd satisfied a psychiatrist you were no longer a risk to the railway.

    I'd ask "What's the question here?".

    Does it concern the ideal loco to work today's traffic on this or that line? Is it down to the need for a loco where maintenance doesn't involve dismantling and reassembling a Chinese Puzzle every time a gland needs repacking? Or taking the burden off a lovely 150 year-old loco whose design means the poor old fireman needs the constant ministrations of an osteopath? Or you've a specific shortage of people ready to commit a significant percentage of their lives to polishing brass?

    Or is it to fill any of the umpteen gaps in the evolution of the steam loco on public railways? Or maybe to iron out kinks in what ought to have been impressive locos?

    Or, which in all honest seems most likely, are we merely avoiding directly mentioning those four letters ..... WIBN?
     
  4. Paulthehitch

    Paulthehitch Member

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2020
    Messages:
    962
    Likes Received:
    1,011
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Hayling Island
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    My reaction to this is ''up to a point Lord Copper''. Specifically, 3MT sensible for tourist railway use but high wheeled Atlantics? Hardly.
     
    Gav106 and Gareth like this.
  5. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2010
    Messages:
    4,606
    Likes Received:
    7,652
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Asset Engineer (Signalling), MNLPS Treasurer
    Location:
    London
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Goodness Paul, anyone would think that you had a grudge against the Atlantic project, the number of times you've commented specifically regarding their build. Why single them out?

    In any event Paul, your argument against the Atlantic has been covered numerous times, not least:
    • Practicality of the boiler being available
    • Practicality of other parts such as the tender wheelsets being available
    • A team, funding and support to do it
    • Timetables and schedules for the Bluebell requiring larger traction (which the Atlantic meets)
    I have to ask Paul - what did the Atlantic Project do to you, to get your ire so often publicly on Nat Pres? Bewildering!
     
  6. Bikermike

    Bikermike Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2020
    Messages:
    1,304
    Likes Received:
    1,441
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Thameslink territory
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    To finish first, first you must finish. The only new-builds that can get to define "sensible". It seems the unifying factor is the organisation behind. So don't start with "what to build?", but "who to build it?"
     
    Sheff, pmh_74, gwalkeriow and 4 others like this.
  7. 35B

    35B Nat Pres stalwart

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2011
    Messages:
    21,604
    Likes Received:
    17,640
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Grantham
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    You have obviously missed how my justification of the Atlantic relied on filling a niche, and filling an operational purpose, and funding, and support from people who will see it through. Any such project is pure WIBN; to be justified requires the ability to convert WIBN into reality. As has happened many times within preservation, including the IOW, WLLR, Bluebell and others.
     
    MellishR and flying scotsman123 like this.
  8. GOEdwards

    GOEdwards New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2012
    Messages:
    34
    Likes Received:
    24
    There was a piece in Railway World magazine years ago (late 1980s/early 1990s) speculating on the worthiness of a new build of a batch of GWR design panniers, potentially for use on Cornish branchlines during the tourist season.

    I could see the potential in building a batch like this (or of a similar class/4mt tanks) for use in the heritage sector.
     
    Paulthehitch likes this.
  9. Paulthehitch

    Paulthehitch Member

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2020
    Messages:
    962
    Likes Received:
    1,011
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Hayling Island
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    What niche could that be?
     
  10. Dunfanaghy Road

    Dunfanaghy Road Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2019
    Messages:
    1,003
    Likes Received:
    1,196
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Alton, Hants
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Look at it this way. Railway A runs Class 7 or 8 power on a light train, not from choice, but because the ranks of preserved main line locos are skewed away from the Class 2, 3 or 4 power that most need. To my mind a MN has a place on the main line, but is a nonsense on a heritage line. (I regard 35005 as an albatross around the neck of the Watercress Line. £1,000 burnt before it leaves the Loco., for example.)
    If new builds become a necessity (as opposed to a choice) then copies of the BR Standards, or Ivatts (for variety), would be the way to go. Otherwise it's "Back to the Future" - Austerities will go up in price!
    Just my two penn'orth.
    Pat
     
  11. 35B

    35B Nat Pres stalwart

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2011
    Messages:
    21,604
    Likes Received:
    17,640
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Grantham
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    A historical niche - LBSCR main line traction, operable Atlantic.
     
    Gareth, Paul42 and S.A.C. Martin like this.
  12. Paulthehitch

    Paulthehitch Member

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2020
    Messages:
    962
    Likes Received:
    1,011
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Hayling Island
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Utterly spot on!!
     
    GOEdwards likes this.
  13. Paulthehitch

    Paulthehitch Member

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2020
    Messages:
    962
    Likes Received:
    1,011
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Hayling Island
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    That is the whole vexation. It is not a main line but a 25 m.p.h. tourist railway which has a splendid station needing much expenditure at a time of economic uncertainty.
     
  14. Miff

    Miff Part of the furniture Friend

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2008
    Messages:
    2,562
    Likes Received:
    2,194
    K&ESR's first ex-GWR loco arrived in 1914 (1380 Ringing Rock became K&ESR No 8 Hesperus ) but as you say lots of railways have many more locos than they'll ever need operationally, especially the longer established lines. Perhaps this might start to change. Until very recently it would've been hard to imagine the Bluebell Railway disposing of any of the more static jewels in their extensive collection. But this year someone made the right offer for 30064 - and they've let it go.
     
  15. 30854

    30854 Resident of Nat Pres

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2017
    Messages:
    12,172
    Likes Received:
    11,482
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Brighton&Hove
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    The Colonel certainly had a penchant for names reflecting his love of the classics
     
  16. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2010
    Messages:
    4,606
    Likes Received:
    7,652
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Asset Engineer (Signalling), MNLPS Treasurer
    Location:
    London
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    We have gone over this ad infinitum and the idea that a class 7 or 8 is supposedly "too big" for any line ignores:
    • scheduling requirements of the railway
    • load
    • gradients/etc of line
    • draw (as in "big and named")
    And many other factors, where a class 7 or an 8 will always have more in reserve and therefore be worked less hard than other locos of smaller power, blah blah blah...

    Railway preservation is a wide church: we've all been dealt some cards and have to play them accordingly.

    There is no right or wrong answer to what you stick on the front of a train, just make sure you do your best to make it profitable and that the money raised goes back into keeping your group/society/charity/railway/whatever solvent.
     
  17. 35B

    35B Nat Pres stalwart

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2011
    Messages:
    21,604
    Likes Received:
    17,640
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Grantham
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    It is unfair and unreasonable to judge the merits of a project started many years ago based on circumstances now. However, my point about niche remains entirely valid - it fills a significant historical niche within the history the LBSCR, where main line traction has basically not survived. Coupled with some fortuitous accidents of fate, that leads us towards a design that is entirely appropriate to the Bluebell, even if not the optimum design for it’s operations (though at the power/weight classes, I believe quite well suited to the mid-range duties that Bluebell does have).


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
    Copper-capped, Gareth, Paul42 and 2 others like this.
  18. Bikermike

    Bikermike Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2020
    Messages:
    1,304
    Likes Received:
    1,441
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Thameslink territory
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    But if it draws in more visitors (and repeat visitors), then it's paying for that work.

    If the station is the big concern, the obvious answer is to book flying scotsman.
     
    Matt37401 likes this.
  19. Cartman

    Cartman Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2015
    Messages:
    1,849
    Likes Received:
    1,349
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Cheshire
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    The GER 2-4-2 tank and NER 0-4-4 tanks spring to mind as sensible
     
  20. 30854

    30854 Resident of Nat Pres

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2017
    Messages:
    12,172
    Likes Received:
    11,482
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Brighton&Hove
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    The same could be said of the "Brighton Overhead", though just getting official sanction, never mind finding somewhere to operate 6.6kVac stock might prove 'interesting'.
     
    35B likes this.

Share This Page