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Sir Nigel Gresley - The L.N.E.R.’s First C.M.E.

Discussion in 'Steam Traction' started by S.A.C. Martin, Dec 3, 2021.

  1. Richard Roper

    Richard Roper Well-Known Member

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    I'd be interested in what overall percentage of work done by Gresley's locos would be taken up by the K3 & V2 classes. A comparison between peacetime and wartime would be very interesting too.
    Both classes shared common faults (Conjugated motion, swing-link pony trucks), but were responsible for the haulage of trains of prodigious proportions, in the K3's case right from its introduction in 1920. Also I would suggest they had the best usage on mixed classes of train too... K3s regularly worked express goods and express passenger diagrams at considerable speed too, as did the V2. That these classes had the largest number of members speaks volumes.
    How did the Pacifics cope with the goods trains they worked? By accounts I have seen they could turn themselves happily to goods workings, but was their usage on goods diagrams was less common than was the usage of V2s and K3s on fast passenger work?

    I know less about the LNER than the LMS, but find everything that's emerging extremely interesting!

    Richard.
     
  2. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Nat Pres stalwart

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    Spot on. A3, A4 and V2 all survived until the end of steam in Scotland in 1966. The locos may have been modified during their lifetime but that's standard for most things in service that long. The basic designs were sound IMO.
     
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  3. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    A counter-factual to muse on. What would the LNER have looked like if H.W.Thornton had stayed with the LNER rather than leaving for CN? Could he have been the Lord Stamp type figure that the LNER needed? Would he have been able to work with/for Whitelaw (given Geddes description of Whitelaw) or alternatively, given that Thornton was appointed chairman of CN could he have been a potential chair?

    Isn't it also that the GWR has the 'easiest' grouping. It is the GWR + Cambrian + Welsh Valley lines. It is clear that the GWR is the dominant railway. Only one significant loco works. It doesn't really have to restructure itself.

    Collett can be the continuity Churchward with relative ease. No one is challenging whether this is the right policy as was the case at the LMS.

    Whereas, the LMS inherits three, three/four lines that each think they should be the dominant partner (MR, CR, LNWR/L&Y) - four loco works with distinctive practices and designs (Crewe, Derby, St Rollox and Horwich). And we can see all the centrifugal forces at work all the way through.

    SR - has three (LSWR, LBSCR, SECR), Eastleigh, Brighton, Ashford.

    The LNER has it worse with effectively 5 significant players - GNR, GCR, GER, NER and NBR. 5 loco works - Doncaster, Gorton, Stratford, Darlington, Cowlairs.

    Let's flip it around, let us say that at grouping it is decided that the LSWR and GWR should be grouped, would combining Swindon and Eastleigh have produced a harmonious coherent successful loco policy? I am not so sure it would have done.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2021
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  4. 30854

    30854 Resident of Nat Pres

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    .... and done so whilst remaining reasonably on-piste (for once!). In the absence of a 'Jazz Hands' emoji, this'll just have to do =>> :)
     
  5. Cartman

    Cartman Well-Known Member

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    Either that or LNER big stuff
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 6, 2021
  6. mdewell

    mdewell Well-Known Member Friend

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    I'm sure I read something in a recently published book ;) that an independant report by Stanier and Cox did find an inherent defect with the Gresley 3 cyl valve gear design. :)
     
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  7. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Nat Pres stalwart

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    And Pacifics with the "defective" valve gear outlived those designed by Stanier. :)
     
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  8. Bikermike

    Bikermike Well-Known Member

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    An interesting question is "when did Gresley start thinking about the V4"? If he knew of the issue and was planning an answer, but was stopped by external factors, it's not his fault. If didn't find the issue and/or knew about it but didn't do anything about then there is a question to be answered.

    Re GWR, my theory is that any engineering "style" has it's strengths and weaknesses, and is an answer to a specific issue. Robinson had gone as far as he could with the gcr style (as shown by the unspectacular 4-6-0s by the standards of the time), the LNWR style was probably struggling at the time of grouping, etc. The GWR style was ahead of the game when adopted - would it have been able to provide the next generation?

    Was Gresley chosen as the "Gresley style" had more development potential than the other style options they felt available to them? (Interesting that the LMS went out and bought a whole new style in, so query what the LNER felt it had available to them).
     
  9. Jimc

    Jimc Part of the furniture

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    But there are more GWR locomotives operating in preservation than any other line, so clearly they are superior...
     
  10. 35B

    35B Nat Pres stalwart

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    Which was the result of a number of factors that had nothing to do with the underlying quality of the designs.:)
     
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  11. Bikermike

    Bikermike Well-Known Member

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    Electrification killed them. Therefore Bulleid pacifics are superior as
    a) they outlasted both, and
    b) survived in an area of electrification...
     
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  12. Fred Kerr

    Fred Kerr Resident of Nat Pres

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    But only because the GWR adopted diesel traction so quickly that its withdrawal of steam over-ran the ability of scrap dealers to cut them up quickly enough.
     
  13. Bikermike

    Bikermike Well-Known Member

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    Is there much in the archives as to the reasons for the choice of Gresley? Was there a process?
     
  14. gwralatea

    gwralatea Member

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    I don't know actually, though would expect so - however it is known that he was second choice, and offered it when Robinson turned it down. From what I remember of the papers when I was researching something else, there was a very clear idea that the job was Robinson's for the taking (I think on seniority?) and when he - rightly I think - said no, they had to have a quick rethink.
     
  15. gwralatea

    gwralatea Member

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    actually IIRC Robinson suggested Gresley to the new board
     
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  16. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    I don't know about Gresley. But... Hamilton (I just happen to have it by my desk at the moment so it is fresh in my mind) points to an almighty row over whether Whitelaw should have been chair. The hated Eric Geddes (minister of Transport, ex-NER) was strongly opposed. Bonavia says that Geddes was considered before Whitelaw but I don't know what the process was for choosing any of the positions or posts in the LNER.

    (Oddly, both Whitelaw and Geddes were Tory politicians but I think it is clear that they were very different kinds of Tory).

    It is interesting to wonder what an LNER under the hated Geddes and his infamous axe would have been like. Geddes being NER and a former chief goods manager would I think have had a very different eye on the LNER's problems than Whitelaw. Would there have been more support for Raven as CME under Geddes?

    As I mentioned Thornton was also around a would have been a good candidate for a senior position but I don't know if he was rejected by the LNER or headhunted by CN.

    I think that the formation of the LNER and the choices made will make for a very rich seam for @S.A.C. Martin to mine. It strikes me as a key moment of critical juncture.
     
  17. 2392

    2392 Well-Known Member

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    I too seem too recall that.The LNER Board in waiting approached Robinson, he then declined the offer. The board in turn asked if he had any suggestions as to who go for and he recommended Gresley.....
     
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  18. Big Al

    Big Al Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

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    Indeed. And the difference between an acceptable weak spot and an unacceptable one is the food of debate ad nauseam. For example is the drain cock weakness of Stanier an acceptable or unacceptable weakness? :)
     
  19. GWR4707

    GWR4707 Nat Pres stalwart

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    Reading this and the Thompson thread the uninformed on matters LNER like myself could draw the conclusion that he was chosen having been found in a stable in Bethlehem.... ;)
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2021
  20. class8mikado

    class8mikado Part of the furniture

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    No that was Thompson ( Hes not the Messiah, he's a very naughty boy..) .:Angelic:
     
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