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Which loco do you think should be built in the future

Discussion in 'Steam Traction' started by charterplan, Sep 8, 2013.

  1. 242A1

    242A1 Well-Known Member

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    From the standpoint of the enthusiast it largely depends on where your particular loyalties lie. If you tend to side with the East Coast you have probably got good cause to lament the lack of preserved material particularly if you cast an eye over the West Coast or the South West.
    There are however significant gaps everywhere and it is inevitable that folk would like to fill them. Some projects will get support, depends on how many people are prepared to share a dream and then fund it. It might not be your dream but that is no reason for resentment.
    Preservation is about far more than the locomotives and people will recreate all manner of things. Preserved lines can be viewed as being a historical recreation of a time and place long gone but hugely valued and because of that value we try to create these precious places all over again.
    Preserved lines are one thing but preserved steam is in some ways another. One thing preserved a preserved line is unable to truly recreate are the glory days of when steam was King on the rails - the kings of power, speed and spectacle. Hence we try by means of access to the National Network to hang on to this too.
    So what to build next? It depends on what you are trying to preserve, to keep alive. Preserved lines are difficult enough but mainline steam could prove to be far more difficult. We have Tornado, fine and good, but is that enough? Do we plan or fail to?
    So many of the locomotives considered fit for mainline use are in the hands of individuals who are happy enough to spend heavily and share their passion. These engines outlive their owners but when the owners pass on, loose interest, go bankrupt can we be sure of the future of these engines we already benefit from?
    When the pressure is on for engines to perform better in order to continue to have a fringe place at the modern railway table, what happens then? So what do we try to do for the long term future? What, if anything, should be built?
     
  2. Reading General

    Reading General Part of the furniture

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    isn't it ironic that the best represented railway is also the one where the most gaps are being filled... ironic and fantastic, roll on the Saint being finished... :)
     
  3. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    I really dislike the use of the word "leech". One man's meat is another man's poison. Everyone in railway preservation has to make their wares as attractive as possible for the general public/enthusiasts/volunteers/businessmen and women to get funding. Some are better at this than others. That doesn't make them leeches: it makes them savvy. I hardly think Tornado's building took funding away from the building of the Welsh Highland Heritage Railway, or that Beachy Head's building is somehow taking money away from restoring other locomotives on the Bluebell or the funding of the extension in the last decade...?

    There are some things I would agree with, and agree to disagree with, but the often quoted "new builds take funding away from other heritage railway projects" is an utter nonsense, for which there is no proof of doing so and plenty to show that new builds are actually adding to the profile of said railways in the first place.

    One of the things which has caused this year's motive power shortages on the preserved railways is a particular batch of copper stays...so it's not entirely fair to pin the blame at new builds in general.
     
  4. david1984

    david1984 Resident of Nat Pres

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    People seem to forget that the public are fussy about where their money goes too, money available for one project, woulden't necessarily be available for another, so the argument it's taken money away from this, or it's better spent on that, is a moot point really.
     
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  5. pete2hogs

    pete2hogs Member

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    Um, how many New Build projects are 'leeching away' money from specific railways? The vast majority of them are separate projects, with only one or two exceptions like the Brighton Atlantic (which IMHO is one of the most worthwhile - we won't see 251 running again).

    Further what if any evidence have you that the resources used on such projects would be available to the 'home railway' otherwise?

    I am not unconditionally in favour of new builds, but I share Tom Sopwith's attitude about originality - they are late production examples, unless they deviate drastically from the original design, in which case there would be an element of misrepresentation. Of course modifications to meet modern safety requirements in manufacture or service have to be excused.

    People are allowed - still - to spend their own money on what they want to.

    As railways themselves have to face up to harsher commercial reality, ever increasing health and safety requirements, and the deterioration of non-locomotive assets, it may well be that if we want to see locos outside the normal ones that are the most economic for the particular railway to run they will need to be funded and managed separately, whether new builds, much rebuilt locos that have run continuously since the 60's, or Barry wrecks that have come late to the party. There will always, as long as interest in steam remains, be people who are totally focussed on 'their' loco or class and who are relatively uninterested in the wider picture.
     
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  6. flaman

    flaman Well-Known Member

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    I wouldn't disagree with that. It's no use trying to force, or even gently persuade, people to spend their money on one aspect of preservation if their interest lies in another direction- it's illogical, but so is the whole idea of spending vast amounts of money and effort on trying to preserve, or recreate, a redundant transport system!

    The thing that concerns me is not so much whether money ploughed into "new-build" schemes would be better spent on something else, it is whether some of these schemes justify having money spent on them at all.

    Before this thread started, I thought that there were more "new-build" schemes than could be justified, but one thing that I have now learned is that there are twice as many as I had thought and they are being added-to at an alarming rate.

    If an individual wants to spend his money on a "new-build", then that's his choice. If his scheme subsequently fails, then he loses, but no one else is affected. The trouble with many "new-builds" is that they solicit funds from people, dreamers if you like, who really believe in the scheme, but just don't realise that there is no earthly chance of it reaching fruition. I think that most people would accept that this is true of some of those schemes that exist only as Facebook pages but, sadly, it is also true of some that are widely regarded as well-advanced, serious schemes.

    How can this happen? Probably because the railway media and, I'm afraid, many members of forums such as this, don't check the facts. Just because a "new-build" scheme's website quotes (wildly optimistic) completion dates, describes various components that are, or "soon will be", to hand, even shows said components posed to resemble, say, the front of a loco, that should not be taken as evidence that said loco will ever be completed. I have seen, too often, the look on the faces of (usually) old men who have committed funds to a "new-build" scheme, only to find, when faced with the evidence, that they have been misled!
     
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  7. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Nat Pres stalwart

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    This same argument was put forward time and again by some people when yet another Barry scheme was floated and in most cases they have been proved wrong.
     
  8. flaman

    flaman Well-Known Member

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    A rather selective quote! Reading the rest of my post will alter the context.
     
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  9. flaman

    flaman Well-Known Member

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    Your comment regarding Barry schemes may well be correct- it's difficult to know now, as Nat Pres or indeed, any other forum, did not exist then. But there is a glaring difference between a Barry wreck and almost all the current "new-build" schemes- a Barry wreck consisted of, at least, the basics of a locomotive; frames, boiler, wheels, cylinders and, usually, a good deal more. Of how many "new-builds" can that be said? Less than a handful. A few include, perhaps, a smokebox, headstocks, tender frames and a few other ancilliary items, many others exist only on paper, whilst some, the "Facebook schemes", exist only in the ether and the imaginations of their proposers. A Barry wreck, however robbed and corroded, has an immeasurably better chance and justification of becoming an operating loco than the vast majority of "new-builds".
     
  10. Jimc

    Jimc Part of the furniture

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    Are you confident you're not exaggerating?
    Lets think.
    Saint, County, Grange all have pretty much all the Barry wreck has and more.
    47xx has about the same in components if you consider the possibility of turning her out in Std 1 boiler guise.
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but haven't both Beachy Head and the Std project at the Bluebell got at least that much metal identified?

    What other projects are at the "equivalent to Barry" stage? Getting to be a pretty decent handful already...

    I've only paid attention to the GW projects, but it seems to me all those listed are less work to finish than a wreck other than 47 whoch is about the same.
     
  11. gios

    gios Member

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    Flaman.

    The weakness in your argument, and most of your fellow travellers, is that you class all New Builds in the same category. They are more like people, different in many aspects, motivated by different objectives, succeeding to differing degrees - they even live in different places ! In my humble view a New Build only really starts in earnest once money is in the bank and metal is on the ground. Forget the Facebook cases in this discussion until such time as they move from ideas in space to cash in the bank and metal on the ground.

    I get a little weary of people who cast aspersions on the endeavour's and aspirations of others. This is the Heritage railway movement, you know, where enthusiasts play trains and find a great deal of satisfaction in what they are doing. It would do us all well to remember that this is only possible thanks to the paying customer. If a sector of this movement choses to try and succeed at the difficult and sometimes impossible challenge of a New Build then why not ? New Build will constitute a net contribution to the sector, at no cost or time to anybody but the project supporters. In the real world this would be called a win/win situation. Unfortunately this largess and effort is seen by some in the Heritage sector as problematic. Of course some of these efforts will fail - its life - you know, that pathway where people fail every day, but many more are successful.

    The New Build argument can be summed up in one word - Tornado. A triumph of the spirit. A singular and spectacular one off at present, but certainly only the first of many.

    If you really are concerned about the future of your movement, I suggest your energies would be better directed into considering how the necessary creeping change from a Heritage movement into a viable Business is best managed in an acceptable manner. Revenue streams need to be increased to maintain the fabric and assets of all that has been bequeathed from the 'old men'. Old men who today are probably smiling and satisfied at the reward for their past endeavours.
     
  12. TonyMay

    TonyMay Member

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    Yes, but as I've said, these aren't new builds, they're rebuilds or partial rebuilds.
     
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  13. class8mikado

    class8mikado Part of the furniture

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    Another side to the Restore versus Build argument is how long can a piece of metal, assuming it was sound in the first place, left out in the open still be considered fit for purpose 30 years? 50 years ? 70 years ?.
    At the very least after youve cleaned it up and had it examined and tested (which all cost) its life expectancy will be somewhat diminished and in some cases it actually makes more sense to start with fresh metal... the same skills are required to fettle and fit new bits as are for old.
     
  14. 46118

    46118 Part of the furniture

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    You make a valid point about "old metal" and " new metal", but increasingly "new metal" has to be introduced into repairs and restoration/recreations, and who would have though 40 years ago that today we see new inner fireboxes for Bulleids, new wheels cast for the Patriot and 82045, and so-on. It cannot be too far ahead that we see new frames being assembled for existing " service fleet" locos, and we really do get into the "same hammer, two new heads, five new handles" scenario, but, that is only what happened in days gone by at the main works over a period of time in the life of an engine, isn't it?

    The "Didcot" recreations will I suspect be finite, once the pool of "Barry" parts is exhausted. Wasn't there a plan for one more, a 4-4-0 tank? Cannot recall from memory. But beyond that, I suspect no more, unless they start from scratch with 100% new materials.

    My concern with the new-builds is that if a project is completed, it then has to then pay its way (unless it becomes a museum piece...), even if it means becoming a regular in service on our heritage lines. Humdrum maybe, but steaming fees equals building up a fund for ongoing maintenace and eventual overhaul. My worry would be some of the very large engines proposed, ie outside the class 4/class 5 range, that cometh the day that steam is no longer allowed on the Big railway, where will they find regular use?

    46118
     
  15. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Nat Pres stalwart

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    Look through Barry restorations and you will find locos that have had new wheels, new cylinders, boiler sections, inner fireboxes and all manner of smaller components made from new. There's an awful lot of new metal in a Barry rebuild. Even some non Barry jobs have had new boilers since preservation. With all this replacement of material going on, how long before we have a loco running in preservation that contains no components that actually saw service in BR days? Does it then become a replica?
     
  16. flaman

    flaman Well-Known Member

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    Absolutely agree.

    As to some of the posts from the pro new-build lobby, wow, a hornet's nest, or what?! The posts are coming in so thick and fast that I can't reply to them all, I have a railway to run! However, I must comment on some points in gios's post, 111. First, "metal on the ground"; reminds me of one "new-build" that I'm very familiar with, several bits of metal rusting on the ground and no real progress. Second, Tornado, a "singular and spectacular one off". Well, precisely! Thirdly, in his last paragraph, gios implies that I should concern myself with developing heritage railways, or a heritage railway, to meet future business challenges, or words to that effect. Well, actually that sums up my job! As to the "smiling and satisfied old men", I suspect that there are quite a few who are disappointed, disillusioned and crying into their beer, as they see their cherished one-time projects rotting in sidings.
     
  17. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    I'm not sure if classification is helpful, except maybe for marketing purposes.

    In my eyes there is a continuum of projects. On the one hand, you have a "pure" restoration (which, nonetheless, will rquire significant new construction). 76084 would be a recent example. At the other end you have the "pure" new build, which incorporates essentially no material from original locos - I believe Tornado would be in that camp.

    But in between, it is a grey area. Beachy Head is generally classified a new build, but incorporates an original boiler, tender underframe and wheels and sundry smaller components such as buffers, brake components etc - all of which help keep down the cost. 84030 is also typically called a new build, though in practical terms, it is effectively a conversion; in fact the opposite in scope to 9351 on the West Somerset (2-6-0 without a tender --> 2-6-2T; 9351 is a 2-6-2T --> 2-6-0 with provision of a new tender). No-one seems to count 9351 as a new build, but effectively it is just as much a new build as 84030 is.

    Thought experiment: if the Bluebell fitted a new boiler to the existing frames of 9017 to create a long-lost Bulldog, would that be a new build, a conversion, a reversion, or something else? You can get lost in the semantics, when actually what is important is simply how much work is involved, and is that work feasible given the resources of the group trying to achieve it.

    Finally, I'd make apoint about heritage being about more than just preservation of artefacts (even though that is important). If a new build results in preservation of skills even if the loco incorporates no original material, surely that is an important end in itself? And particularly if the project draws resources (money and people) to the sector who may not otherwise have got involved.

    Tom
     
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  18. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Nat Pres stalwart

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    Less of the old thank you. :)
    Lots of us went in to the job of a Barry rebuild without a clue of what it would take but if we had known we may not have started. Ignorance can indeed be bliss. Many groups succeeded nonetheless and are indeed "smiling and content." The same will no doubt be true of new builds.
     
  19. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Nat Pres stalwart

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    Excellent post, especially the final paragraph.
     
  20. gios

    gios Member

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    Sometimes you reach a point where productive discussion or exchange of ideas leads nowhere. I guess we have reached that point Flaman.

    Taking comments out of context is neither acceptable, nor of value to your argument . A view of rotting hulks in head shunts, projects rusting in sidings etc. may well be one unfortunate aspect of the Heritage movement, nothing new there. I see a vibrant movement, full of people who give their time as volunteers so that the paying customer can enjoy a unique experience, available nowhere else. I hope you take the point. As a curator/conservator or whatever, you must have had the pleasure of viewing some of the 'out of sight' collections at some of our major museums. Notice any similarities ? Your descriptions appear to focus on a narrow and unfortunate aspect of an otherwise remarkable and vibrant scene, of which New Builds are just one very small part.

    I take a more positive view of life, that as people we are all capable of doing something out of the ordinary, even extraordinary. The profits of doom and gloom, that seek to interfere in the ambitions and challenges of otherwise ordinary people, make success all the more rewarding, and failure no less bitter. You might be comforted to know you have a couple of bedfellows who post similar views - maybe together you could organise something, I would suggest a 'chaps club', where you could gather in a bar, and complain to each other all evening - you won't however find any "sad old men".

    They would be happily pissed in achievements of the past and plans for the future !

    New Builds/Rebuilds/Partial New Builds, whatever name you like, are here to stay. Like it or not. Stop quibbling about something in which you clearly have not the slightest interest, in depth understanding nor intent of supporting. And I am being extremely polite !
     
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