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Modernisation Plan Diesels




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#1 Nearholmer

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Posted 11 January 2016 - 22:16

New place to discuss what has become a seriously OT debate elsewhere.

The debate is already well underway, but for those who see it here for the first time, it might be summed-up in this question:

Were the Type 1 locomotives, taken as a group, "a lot of near-junk, with the exception of the Class 20"?

Discuss, stating your reasoning.

Kevin



#2 Phil Bullock

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Posted 11 January 2016 - 22:21

Yes

Paxman engines in D82xx and D84xx had incendiary tendencies and D84xx also suffered from NBL build issues

Claytons - the less said the better! Stored straight from delivery as initial locos so poor

Only other ones any use were Class 14s but by the time they arrived their traffic had virtually disappeared. But look how long many of they have survived.

But a WR man would say that wouldn't he?

Hee hee

Phil
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#3 russ p

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Posted 11 January 2016 - 22:30

I was talking to a friend the other day about D82xx BTHs which he worked on, he said that by the late 60s reliability was no worse than anything else and with a declining requirement for motive power it was the fact that they always had to be double manned led to their withdrawal.
One wonders if that hadn't occurred if they would have been rebuilt with lowered short noses like US diesels
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#4 Derekstuart

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Posted 11 January 2016 - 22:33

I find this continued sneering at early designs to be very reminiscent of the VHS Vs Betamax race.

 

When VHS and Betamax were both released, no one knew how it would end up (although I accept that marketing played a part as important if not more so than technical quality).

 

Likewise with hindsight we know that EE1's were the best of the type 1 pilots- but that has been after many years of them proving their worth. If the BTC could have predicted with accuracy which classes would be the most successful then they would have done. There is an element of trial and error in developing technologies.

 

PS as an aside does anyone know why the Wright brothers built the Kitty Hawk? It would have been FAR more sensible if they had gone straight for the design Boeing used for the 747-400. It seems fairly obvious to me that the 747 would be the more successful in the long run.


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#5 Reorte

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Posted 11 January 2016 - 22:38

I suppose that that's the subject for this thread - should they have known better? Of course it's never fair to directly compare technology from one time with another and you'll always get a few duds with any new technology, but there's a balance between making the best you can under the circumstances and just trying anything at random and hoping something works. In this case I've no opinion where on that line they ended up (trying to ignore the benefit of hindsight).



#6 The Stationmaster

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Posted 11 January 2016 - 22:56

The problem was that the Pilot Scheme was never really allowed to run its course and weed out the duds before repeat orders were placed.  If that had happened the outcome would have been different but i'm not at all sure what as as an alternative to the 'long nose' EE Type 1 would inevitably have emerged and instead of being mass-ordered could well have been the scene of further trials.   But notwithstanding its problems - which weren't many - the EE design outshone and outperformed all the others and continued to reel in orders.  And sorry Phil but Swindon's D95XX had a pretty grievous reputation on the WR and many depots and drivers were glad to see the back of them.

 

I think the D82XX were being sorted to some extent from what appeared in mags at the time (but was it propaganda?) but the others were, I think, also rans from the starting line.  And of course the level the level of also-rans wasn't just confined to the Type 1s - the Type 2s weren't much better.


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#7 Rivercider

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Posted 11 January 2016 - 22:57

I suppose one way of introducing new diesel classes would be to invite builders to provide some prototypes,

then run and evaluate them for a while, work out which is best, iron out as many faults as possible, and build a production batch.

Alternately invite builders to build  some prototypes, then order a production batch of each in a panic before knowing which will be best.

 

Of course with declining traffic levels the workload for many of them was going even before they left the factory.

So while some types had been made more reliable, and others may have been improved as crews and fitters became familiar with them 

in the end there was no requirement to keep most of them, so we will never know,

 

cheers


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#8 Nearholmer

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Posted 11 January 2016 - 23:02

Derek

Good, and I assume conscious and deliberate, provocation.

To re-state, my case is that it was actually perfectly visible by the mid-1950s that three combinations of engine and transmission produced a solid, dependable locomotive (EE/EE; Sulzer/Crompton; Maybach or MAN/Voith), and that it was perverse procurement policy that encouraged other, less experienced, less successful combinations.

Why perverse? Well, a tender list of three known competent suppliers, plus perhaps a fourth supplier that is being carefully nurtured into competence, is perfectly defensible from the viewpoint of maintaining competition, and is likely to get serviceable results and a sustained industry. Whereas, encouraging "all and sundry; competent or not" is a recipe for trouble, for wasting customer's money and breaking suppliers, it just encourages "reach to exceed grasp".

And, begging that this was all very new technology in the 1950s is to deliberately ignore a vast amount that had happened since c1912, and which had been well-written-up, in numerous trade publications and industry reports. The Engine/transmission combos that I cite were good precisely because they weren't particularly new. And, Diesel locomotion wasn't at the Wright Brothers stage in the early 1950s; looked at globally it was "well past the DC3".

In short, I firmly believe that, to use Reorte's words "they should have known better".

Kevin

Edited by Nearholmer, 11 January 2016 - 23:06 .

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#9 Derekstuart

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Posted 11 January 2016 - 23:06

Is it not reasonable also to note that the early pilots were being maintained in former steam sheds. Diesels are somewhat more finicky about dirt than a kettle- everything from blocking an air intake filter through to dirty (thus jammed) injectors and not forgetting that soot tends to form a paste in the cylinders and cause premature wear.

 

I have heard comments from the mechanics of the era that they were expected to fix new technology using a steam age set of tools and equipment.


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#10 Dava

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Posted 11 January 2016 - 23:09

It still intrigues me just why BR ordered 117 Clayton class 17s of an untried design and Paxman engines as a standard type 1 loco, a bigger waste than the class 14 which at least worked. Who made this decision and why?

I remember the last ones lined up at Derby works in 1975.

Dava

#11 Derekstuart

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Posted 11 January 2016 - 23:16

Kevin

 

No, not deliberate provocation- I quite respect your viewpoint even though you are wrong.

 

I am not sure that firstly it would be legal for the BTC to exclude companies based upon arbitrary considerations- none of them would have built up enough of a reputation to be automatically included or excluded from the PILOT schemes.

 

As I used the example elsewhere, Bayer Peacock was a highly regarded company that should- under your criteria- be automatically short listed for diesel production, but it did not work that way. How do you judge (and who judges) what companies are worthy of this new technology?

 

You may give examples post 1912 (what particularly happened in 1912 apart from Titanic sinking?) but whether they are directly related or not I could not say. Are you saying that there was existing technology that was capable of providing main line locomotives that could displace steam engines fully prior to these pilot schemes? If so, could you list them for me please. You did of course use the example of English Electric and Sulzer in the old thread. Both made engines for ships in WW2 (the Deltic and most of the Sulzers can trace their parentage to gun boats (indeed I understand that the first Brush 4's used spare diesels purchased from the Royal Navy)) but the engine and/ or gen-set is only one part of it and has countless differences in usage for the railway. I would agree that some companies would have demonstrable track records in various exploits, but that is not always a guarantee for the future.



#12 Clive Mortimore

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Posted 11 January 2016 - 23:48

Where did BR go wrong with the moderisation diesels?

 

Retaining steam heating and vacuum brakes.

Too many engine types.

Too many generator and traction motor types.

Too many manufacturers.

Too many mixed traffic types.

Allowing the regions decide what they wanted.

Poor prediction of traffic patterns, Dr B did his best to help but too late in the day.

Many locomotives over engineered and overweight.

Too few miles under the wires.

Too many locomotives ordered.

 

Where they went right.

 

DMUs.


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#13 Derekstuart

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Posted 12 January 2016 - 00:04

Clive

 

Since you seem to be very good at predicting what is going to happen in the past, could you possibly forecast what last week's lottery numbers are going to have been, please?

Where did BR go wrong with the moderisation diesels?

 

Retaining steam heating and vacuum brakes.

Too many engine types.

Too many generator and traction motor types.

Too many manufacturers.

Too many mixed traffic types.

Allowing the regions decide what they wanted.

Poor prediction of traffic patterns, Dr B did his best to help but too late in the day.

Many locomotives over engineered and overweight.

Too few miles under the wires.

Too many locomotives ordered.

 

Where they went right.

 

DMUs.


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#14 tamperman36

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Posted 12 January 2016 - 00:05

The class 14s were a reasonable machine as many of them went on to indusrial use for many years, they were just ordered as the work for them was being wiped out, i.e. local stopping goods traffic and local branch services were axed just as they were arriving thus BR no longer had a use for them. The 14s were suited to steel plants and pits with the central cab and good visability thus found a new role in private use.
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#15 YesTor

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Posted 12 January 2016 - 00:08

Where did BR go wrong with the moderisation diesels?

 

Retaining steam heating and vacuum brakes.

Too many engine types.

Too many generator and traction motor types.

Too many manufacturers.

Too many mixed traffic types.

Allowing the regions decide what they wanted.

Poor prediction of traffic patterns, Dr B did his best to help but too late in the day.

Many locomotives over engineered and overweight.

Too few miles under the wires.

Too many locomotives ordered.

 

Where they went right.

 

DMUs.

 

Hindsight is a wonderful thing...


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#16 Derekstuart

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Posted 12 January 2016 - 00:16

Sorry for the pointless post but sometimes clicking "agree" is not enough.

 

These 5 words summarise the whole saga.

 

Hindsight is a wonderful thing...


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#17 Clive Mortimore

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Posted 12 January 2016 - 00:33

Did I get it wrong, I thought this was a repeat of the many debates held here and elsewhere about the failure of the BR modernisation plan diesels.

 

I could have been more specific, like they built to 200 too many 2000s, underpowered, overweight, 1940s design and engineering. Not helped by the shortsightedness of the civil engineers demanding a 1Co-Co1 wheel arrangement. The 16CSVT was already to be used in 1958 and could easily been carried on a Co-Co chassis and without having to have a big kettle inside the body would have been much lighter, with a better power to weight ratio. Then there would have been no need for the BR/Sulzer Type 4s, or the Brush/Sulzer type 4 1/2s or any of the stuff ordered by the GWR management. Just think a fleet of several hundred locos with the performance of DP2. And the class 40 was a successful type. 

 

Be grateful BR did order so many useless designs, it makes our modelling more interesting.  Can that be included as something they did get right?


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#18 cheesysmith

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Posted 12 January 2016 - 01:49

I think the biggest fault of the early years of British rail was carrying on with what had been done before. For example, look how many short wheelbase single bolster wagons were made, many of which never turned a wheel in service. Also, the use of so many 16 ton minerals because of the limits on colliery loading screens, although the British coal board closed lots of its oldest collieries early on (and ignoring the better wagons it already had running about in the shape of the bogied hoppers). Also, there was a lack of understanding as to what they were doing. What lead to the creation of the class 40 s and 45s was a minimum specified wheel diameter to axle load to prevent rail burns. But they didn't understand the cause of the damage to the rail head was being cause not by wheel slip but by wheel slide under braking. Also, the railways as it was then didn't quite understand how the HP of a diesel corresponded to that of a steam loco. For example, which is a better express engine, a class 40 or a duchess?

With hindsight, what would have been better? Probably looking at the basics of what service they were going to provide and then ordering trains (not just loco's, coaches, wagons, they all have to work together) that matched the service they wanted to provide.
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#19 Phil Bullock

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Posted 12 January 2016 - 06:46

The class 14s were a reasonable machine as many of them went on to indusrial use for many years, they were just ordered as the work for them was being wiped out, i.e. local stopping goods traffic and local branch services were axed just as they were arriving thus BR no longer had a use for them. The 14s were suited to steel plants and pits with the central cab and good visability thus found a new role in private use.


I was being somewhat provocative with my post! Mike the stationmaster has the right answer for sure....

What were the most common problems with them Mike?

Phil

#20 david.hill64

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Posted 12 January 2016 - 07:59

What an interesting topic! Definitely one for personal opinions, so here are mine:

 

Diesel loco procurement was based on finding lower cost replacements for steam locos without much consideration of how traffic patterns were changing and the loss of the branch line and pick up freight business that required a lot of stock to service. Thus BR probably had far too many type 1's and 2's and the more successful designs were the higher powered ones.

 

Truly successful types:

 

Class 20, 24/5, 26/7, 31 (after re-engining), 33, 37, 47, 55, 60(?)

 

Not successful types:

 

14, 16, 17, 21, 22, 23, 28, 29, 30, 41, 56, 58

 

Jury's still out:

 

15, 35, 40, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 50, 52, 

 

I always liked the hydraulics and for a railway transitioning from steam to diesel I think there were sound reasons for going that way. However, if dieselisation had been seen as a short term interim measure to cover certain shortages while we transitioned from steam to electric then going to diesel electric and changing from steam heat to electric heat is a better solution.  I have included the 1Co-Co1 locos in this group as My personal opinion is that they were overweight and underpowered. Travelling from Gloucester I always hoped for a Western to London and a Brush 4 anywhere else.


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#21 luckymucklebackit

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Posted 12 January 2016 - 08:03

As I understand it, the original BR plan was to introduce small batches of various types of loco, fully evaluate each under service conditions and proceed with full scale dieselisation based on the best features of each of the Pilot types.  Before that process was completed, due to external pressure, the plan was torn up and large orders were placed with many different companies.  It would be interesting to see what would have been the outcome if engineering logic had outweighed political, commercial and social influences. 

 

Jim


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#22 Nearholmer

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Posted 12 January 2016 - 08:04

Derek

I will deal with your Post 11 in a bit of detail, because it puts forward a set of views very typical of those held by UK Rail enthusiasts, and which seems not to be able to look backwards past WW2, or look beyond our own Big Four.

So, what happened c1912, apart from the sinking of the Titanic? Well, c1912, petrol-electric drive systems were very common in all sorts of applications, ranging from quite big ships to quite small cars, and were well-established in rail applications. In 1911 [edit: testing began in September 1912], the first attempt was made to build a mainline diesel loco, but it used direct drive, and was a failure. In 1912, a Swedish consortium built the first Diesel, as opposed to petrol, electric railcar - total success, and they went on to start series-building modest Bo-Bo locos immediately after WW1. Virtually the same thing was happening in the USA, so by the mid 20s you could by a pretty decent DE from DEVA in Scandinavia, or AGEIR in the US. Britain missed-out by the merest whisker, because "our" Bo-Bo DE, under construction in 1914, was cancelled due to the War. This was the "Wright Brothers" phase.

During the 1920s and 1930s, the DE technology was perfected and pushed to decent main-line sizes, most notably, but by no means exclusively in the US. And, German-speaking countries pursued the "purer" mechanical and hydraulic transmissions, also to decent main-line sizes. UK suppliers were in all this, not for domestic, but for export, sales, with Beardmore, for instance being a very important engine supplier. By 1940, decent main-line diesels were very firmly a reality - big, heavy, and high first-cost, but a reality. This was the "DC3" phase.

Turning to my three favoured combos:

EE/EE - deep background in traction electrics through Dick Kerr, who had also built petrol-electrics from an early date. Very solid experience with DE shunters in the 1930s; "best mates" with both the SR (whose electrification programme kept EE fed through the 30s), and the LMS (through the shunter programme); they were the "go to guys" for both the SR and LMS when they wanted mainline locos in the late-1940s; very successful designs indeed, based on progressively increasing the number of cylinders and the degree of charging of their proven engine. Was selling "Class 20s" to many overseas customers from c1950 (possibly earlier, I need to check).

Sulzer/Crompton - Sulzer built the very first locomotive Diesel engine in 1911, learnt from that mistake, went on to build significant numbers of locomotive engines through the 20s and 30s for customers all over the world,working with several electrical gear suppliers, notably Alsthom, but from the late 1930s with Crompton-Parkinson in the UK (big locos for Patagonia), who themselves had vast traction-electric experience. The engine was licensed to Armstrong Whitworth in the UK, who were a bit conservative with overall locomotive design; if you want to see what could really be done with a Sulzer engine by the late 1930s, have a look at the Swiss Federal Railways Am4/4, and try to tell yourself that you are not looking at BR classes 26/27/33.

MAN or Maybach/Voith - Both knew a bit about engines, having been "in from the start". Extensive track record in rail traction in Germany pre-WW2, and when DB set out its diesel programme, they concentrated very firmly on these two engine builders, with Voith or one other transmission. This combo could deliver very high power/weight ratios, which were ideal of fast passenger trains.

The oddity was the choice of Paxman as engine supplier for 10800 by the LMS. Paxman did have some rail experience, but they inflicted a very complicated fast patrol boat engine on the loco, which would probably have been far better off with a more conservative EE engine.

Where the UK does seem to have been rather weak was in two-stroke engines, which is a great pity considering that the first decent ones were devised by a Scotsman.

Anyway, bit of a long essay, but I hope it goes some way to nailing the misapprehension that diesel locomotives were "new technology" c1950. They very,very, very definitely were not. And, I still hold that "they should have known better".

Footnote regarding procurement practices: SR and BR(S) were able to justify and maintain a pretty much closed relationship with EE over electric traction, notably the EE507 traction motor, and London Transport didn't feel the need to go on speculative shopping trips, so I argue that a more moderate procurement approach could have been used during the diesel-fest.

Nice picture below,to lighten things up a bit.

regards, Kevin

Attached Thumbnails

  • image.jpg

Edited by Nearholmer, 12 January 2016 - 22:29 .

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#23 Peter Kazmierczak

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Posted 12 January 2016 - 08:50

Some thoughts - not in any particular order:

 

Half-hearted electrification, results in "stopgap diesels" having to be used much longer than anticipated

No step-change in power of diesels from steam - needed at least 3,000hp, maybe 4,000, rather than the 2,000/2,500 initially provided

Generally very conservative (small c) timetable planning - hardly any improvement in speed/frequency on many routes despite increased competition from other modes

Modernisation plan focussed too much on motive power, whilst still using same basic infrastructure of steam days

Lack of consultation with key customers (coal, steel, power generation, etc) about where their markets were going

Poor decision making, eg on brakes

No real drive to reduce costs / change operating practice on many lines

Too many organisational changes within BTC / BR


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#24 cheesysmith

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Posted 12 January 2016 - 10:15

I think anouther fault was BR (BTC) at the time not knowing itself what it wanted. Just look at the number of different suppliers it had. They should have standardised more on fewer engine types/electrical equipment and more specialised loco types and fewer mixed traffic type loco's. Also, they should have worked in partnership with their suppliers more to ensure that their suppliers worked to provide what they wanted.

A example of this would be EE, who limited development of the CSVT engine in favour of the high speed U type engine, only to cancel it at the last moment. The U type engine would have been very useful to BR in that it could have been used to replace the deltic engine when the overhauls came due, but equally more development of the CSVT earlier would have produced a better engine from the operators point of view (things like replacing the chain drive to the camshaft timing gear).

Equally, the same could be said for sulzer, which at the time was only just increasing the rpm of its engines, having been very conservative in the rpm/main bearing limits/loadings it used, resulting in very large, heavy engines for rail use. Sulzer had actually started developing 4 valve cylinder head engines with higher rpm limits that would have been better for rail use,and some were planned for use on BR until the problems with the twin bank engines which had been over stretched in their development started, resulting in all the resources being put towards solving that problem. Sulzer did have a 4 valve per cylinder version of it inline 6 cylinder engine in development and was going to put one into a class 25, which had a power output of about 1600 bhp. They had also the v type engine used in the 48s, although slightly less powerful than the twin bank 12, was also lighter.

Also, BR suffered from too much interference from people who had their own pet favourites and pushed for these at the expense of other options. Look at derby, which had a long and successful history of building diesel loco's (admittedly, mainly shunters) with EE, but when it came to high horsepower mainline loco's, they went with sulzer. And their was the building of the second generation type 4 loco that became the class 47. The cheapest bid to build what they wanted was actually submitted by brush, but using a EE prime mover instead of the sulzer twin bank.

#25 Tim H

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Posted 12 January 2016 - 10:17

The obvious 20/20 hindsight would have been to carry out the modernisation and rationalision of the network in parallel rather than as two seperate crash programmes. Then traction procurement would have matched the longer-term motive power needs, without early withdrawal of locomotives whose rationale had evaporated almost as soon as they'd been built. We'd probably have seen far fewer underpowered type 2s and more type 3/4s.

 

I've always understood the cull of non-standard designs around 68-71 was largely because BR had a surplus of motive power at the time. Had that not been the case might some of the non-standard types soldiered on into the mid-70s?


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