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Modernisation Plan Diesels




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#51 jessy1692

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Posted 12 January 2016 - 18:10

Regarding the Class 17 built by Clayton, Claytons original proposal to BR had the engines supplied by Rolls Royce but someone at BR insisted that they used unproven Paxman engine. Result a chronic failure rate, many of the locos experienced problems before leaving Claytons works and major engine problems persisted when entering traffic. Claytons finally persuaded BR to allow them to build 2 locos with Rolls Royce V8 engines and these were fine, but by that point BR had given up on the design and ordered EE type 2s. It would have been better to re engine the locos but they were scrapped, despite the crews Loki g the cab arrangements.
The Clayton management were very upset with the high handed approach of BR and the impact on the image of Claytons. Engines similar to the class 17 built by Claytons worked perfectly well in New Zealand, but with Rolls Royce engines.

Thanks Norton, i think if the RR engines had been used they would have been a real success. Pity BR didnt leavd Clayton to it



#52 Norton961

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Posted 12 January 2016 - 18:34

Re the Claytons one of the disadvantages of a centre cab arrangement is that it requires 2 engines increasing maintenance and if fitted with a unreliable engine, it's double trouble! One thing to remember about Claytons is that they were a subsidiary company of Rolls Royce who also had a locomotive engine company RR having the old Sentinal works at Shrewsbury who also built Industrial locos.

#53 Tim H

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Posted 12 January 2016 - 18:38

Another "might have been". Why wasn't there a follow-up of the "Derby Twins" soon after 1948?



#54 lanchester

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Posted 12 January 2016 - 19:16

That's an opinion that's not often seen expressed, although I agree 100%. By the time the Brush Type 4 was selected as the standard general purpose design, the BR Board had the "benefit" of their experience with the Pilot Scheme diesels, but apparently had learned nothing.

 

Despite reading most of the books on the subject, I have never understood what was going on around that time. Why did the privately-built prototypes, Lion, Falcon and DP2, emerge only very shortly before the first Class 47? I had always assumed that those prototypes were a sort of mini-Pilot Scheme, but obviously the decision to go with the Brush loco/Sulzer engine combo must have been taken before any of the prototypes had turned a wheel. That being the case, why was the future of Brush deemed to be worth safeguarding, even though they were to use a Swiss power-unit, whilst English Electric, wholly UK, & with an excellent export record, had to make do with the consolation prize of 50 Class 50s, which they had to lease to BR?

As late as 1975, during my brief and inglorious BR 'career', a BR Board member no less explained to us oiks that there was still genuine disagreement at high level as to whether it was better, both in terms of performance and perhaps more crucially maintenance costs, to use engines with a large number of small cylinders working at high rpm (ie the EE philosophy); or a small number of large cylinders working at low rpm (the Sulzer approach). I didn't understand then, and don't now, why this point had not been determined almost twenty years after the Modernisation Plan kicked off. They certainly had detailed cost figures, although I have seen suggestions that some Regions, possibly of a copper-capped tendency, may not have been scrupulously honest in their cost recording/allocation (a suspiciously similar accusation is made about the WR attitude to Standard steam classes so it may just be a gross libel). For what it's worth, we were told that Deltic maintenance costs were twice as much per annum as the Westerns, which themselves were about twice as expensive as the Sulzer engined 45/6/7. (I can't remember where the 40s came, or what the rankings were in the lower power clases). Both the high cost classes of course used two engines which probably pushed costs up - double the effort in stripdown and reassembly, regardless of wear and tear.

 

Around the same time, someone else suggested to us that the thinking had been that the massive and slow-revving Sulzers could be pushed further in increasing horsepower from the same basic metalwork, but that in fact Sulzer themselves had already taken this as far as it would go with what was essentially a pre-war design, and that was why the 47s,for instance, had to be somewhat derated. (After all, the 12 cyl job was essentially two 6cyl blocks cast together and connected through gearing, and the 6cyl version went back to the early thirties)


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#55 DavidLong

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Posted 12 January 2016 - 19:16

Regarding the Class 17 built by Clayton, Claytons original proposal to BR had the engines supplied by Rolls Royce but someone at BR insisted that they used unproven Paxman engine. Result a chronic failure rate, many of the locos experienced problems before leaving Claytons works and major engine problems persisted when entering traffic. Claytons finally persuaded BR to allow them to build 2 locos with Rolls Royce V8 engines and these were fine, but by that point BR had given up on the design and ordered EE type 2s. It would have been better to re engine the locos but they were scrapped, despite the crews Loki g the cab arrangements.
The Clayton management were very upset with the high handed approach of BR and the impact on the image of Claytons. Engines similar to the class 17 built by Claytons worked perfectly well in New Zealand, but with Rolls Royce engines.


Interesting about the New Zealand locos. I didn't know about them. Some information here:

https://en.wikipedia...lass_locomotive

David
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#56 Nearholmer

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Posted 12 January 2016 - 21:35

Lanchester

I have an inkling that there may have been an additional factor behind the "few big cylinders" question with Sulzer, a sort of philosophical point.

If you look at the fundamental thermodynamics of the engine, and the base theory as expounded by (I may spell this wrongly) Beau de Rochas in the early nineteenth century, and which Diesel was trying to turn into practice, it is more efficient to go this way - practical example being whopping great marine engines, with huge cylinders, producing astonishingly good fuel economy.

Some practitioners in Germany, and German-speaking nations, seem to have been more fastened on getting as close as possible to the theoretical ideal than, say, the 80/20 Americans.

Some of the pursuit of mechanical and hydraulic transmissions had the same roots - theoretical efficiency, with Germans pursuing them hard, despite knowing full well how to create excellent electric transmissions from pretty much the same date as Lemp sorted this matter in the US. Porsche was a strong contributor in this area, incidentally, and Die Fliegender Hamburger was a pretty convincing demonstration of mastery of DE traction, the transmission design for which had roots in his work.

At an earlier stage, Diesel himself may have accidentally stifled high-speed, multi-cylinder engine development because of this pursuit of the theoretical ideal. It is notable that quite a rash of (by the standards of the age) high speed, multi-cylinder engines were unveiled by suppliers as his basic patents expired from 1907(1908?) onwards [ edit: Diesel himself was working on higher-speed, multi-cylinder engines, for road vehicles, with Saurer, from this date onwards too. http://www.deutsches-museum.de/sammlungen/maschinen/kraftmaschinen/verbrennung/dieselmotoren/fahrzeug-und-kleindiesel/versuchsmotor-lastkraftwagen-1907/ ]

Some of this is what might be called "partially tested hypothesis" on my part, more research to do, and this "theoretical ideal" vs "practical realisability" issue may have worked its way out of the system by the 1960s, but it might be worth pondering.

Kevin

Edited by Nearholmer, 12 January 2016 - 23:16 .

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#57 The Bigbee Line

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Posted 12 January 2016 - 21:56

I've been lucky enough to work hands on with maintenance of first class 47's and then class 37's.  My vote goes for the English Electric design.  Whilst the 37 appears clunky, the bogies, especially the slack adjusters, are very dependable.  The automatic slack adjusters on the 47 can play up.  The English Electric power unit doesn't leak out oil and water like its Sulzer brother...



#58 Tim H

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Posted 12 January 2016 - 22:06

I've been lucky enough to work hands on with maintenance of first class 47's and then class 37's.  My vote goes for the English Electric design.  Whilst the 37 appears clunky, the bogies, especially the slack adjusters, are very dependable.  The automatic slack adjusters on the 47 can play up.  The English Electric power unit doesn't leak out oil and water like its Sulzer brother...

 

I think EE missed an industrial design opportunity with he class 37. Had they come up with something looking more like the Malaysian class 20, they'd have had something to rival the 47 in aesthetics.  Instead they copied the dated looks of the class 40.



#59 jonny777

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Posted 12 January 2016 - 22:09

The fact that the class 20 is still running shows it to have been basically a good design,also the class 31 still finding work today

 

Although all the class 31s running today do not have the power unit they were built with.

 

I suppose that more classes could be considered a success if they had been re-engined with a much more reliable unit after a few years.



#60 russ p

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Posted 12 January 2016 - 22:12

I think EE missed an industrial design opportunity with he class 37. Had they come up with something looking more like the Malaysian class 20, they'd have had something to rival the 47 in aesthetics.  Instead they copied the dated looks of the class 40.


It may look dated but if I was to hit an obstruction I would much rather be in a 37 than a 47
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#61 Dava

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Posted 12 January 2016 - 22:16

Engine changes did not always help, witness the class 29 (see comments above on North British locos) and class 29 Baby Deltic, a perennial problem child unlike the other EE successes also mentioned.

Dava

#62 Derekstuart

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Posted 12 January 2016 - 22:23

A sane mind would prefer to be in neither.

 

I think the CEGB crash with a Peak 46 demonstrated that a little bit of nose is going to make very little difference as to what happens to the bloke at the front.

It may look dated but if I was to hit an obstruction I would much rather be in a 37 than a 47



#63 russ p

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Posted 12 January 2016 - 22:29

The nose on English Electric loco's is a lot stronger than the one on a peak.
I can speak with some experience on this having hit an obstruction which pierced a class 47 cab stopping just behind the desk a waist height. I wouldn't have got that far on a 37
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#64 Tim H

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Posted 13 January 2016 - 10:31

It may look dated but if I was to hit an obstruction I would much rather be in a 37 than a 47

 

The Malaysian 20s had noses like the 37s, but orders of magnitude more stylish than a 37.



#65 Reorte

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Posted 13 January 2016 - 10:39

Although all the class 31s running today do not have the power unit they were built with.

 

I suppose that more classes could be considered a success if they had been re-engined with a much more reliable unit after a few years.

Some perhaps, but considering the number that were built without much work, and the problems with having a multitude of different classes, I suspect most would still not have survived all that much longer.



#66 PenrithBeacon

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Posted 13 January 2016 - 10:46

The 14s did not find a role in private use. They found a role in other nationalised industries. Once these industries were de-nationalised they were sold on to preservation, couldn't get rid of them fast enought!
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#67 Fat Controller

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Posted 13 January 2016 - 10:51

The 14s did not find a role in private use. They found a role in other nationalised industries. Once these industries were de-nationalised they were sold on to preservation, couldn't get rid of them fast enought!

I don't recollect Blue Circle and whoever owned the refinery in South Wales being state-owned. As for being got rid of, I think this was down to the places they were used closing; firstly the ore-mines around Corby, in the late 1970s, then the various pits and open-cast mines in Northumberland.
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#68 Titan

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Posted 13 January 2016 - 11:02

From what I understand the class 30 was reasonably reliable and successful in service. The problem with the power units only became apparent once they became due their first major overhaul - that being excessive cracks found in the crankcase. The cost of rectifying these cracks on top of the cost of overhaul meant that it would have been better to throw them away and buy a new power unit. As BR did not particularly want to repeat the situation next time the power unit was due overhaul, then an alternative power unit had to be found. Thus there was a campaign change to the proven EE unit as and when the class 30 fell due for works visits. I believe that a number of Mirlees units that still had some useful life in them were sold on and used in trawlers.


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#69 stewartingram

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Posted 13 January 2016 - 11:07

Engine changes did not always help, witness the class 29 (see comments above on North British locos) and class 29 Baby Deltic, a perennial problem child unlike the other EE successes also mentioned.

Dava

I've heard it said a few times from people in the know - usually speakers who have come to our railway circle giving lectures of their experiences operating them - that the Baby Deltics were not the failure that everyone thinks they were. When built, they were actually overweight and mods had to be done to lessen that. Initially they suffered failures which resulted in a rebuild ( ie the early disc to headcode panel time). After that they settled down to be as good as any others on the same duties. However, being a small class they were singled out for withdrawal in favour of the more numerous types. Also their "crack" duties on the KGX-CBG turns were only just attainable with any of the type 2s, which meant they had difficulty in keeping time, and were thus driven hard.

 

Stewart


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#70 jonny777

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Posted 13 January 2016 - 11:11

The ordering of the 14s and 17s in such numbers without evaluating a protoype of either was mostly the result of the idea that "we must eliminate steam as quickly as possible".

 

This is not an error discovered with the benefit of hindsight; it was pointed out in the contemporary railway magazines of the day, but fell on deaf ears.

 

What has always amazed me, is that parliament did not kick up a stink and demand that heads must roll due to the sheer waste of public money.

 

Perhaps few cared in those days?



#71 Fat Controller

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Posted 13 January 2016 - 11:22

BR were not the only ones to be caught out; SNCF ordered a class of centre-cab Bo-Bo diesels, the BB71000, just for trip working. Most were sold off to private industry within a year or two of going into service. They don't seem to have been particularly problematic, as these industries got thirty or more years out of them.

#72 The Stationmaster

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Posted 13 January 2016 - 11:39

There was plans laid just before the war, and we're included in the weir report on main line electrification that the ECML would be electrified at 1500volts dc from London to York, including the Leeds line and the cleethorpes/mablethorpe loop and the line to march. The LNER did look at diesels on paper, but concluded that a pair of EE diesels like what the LMS had would be required to match the performance of the pacific loco's they already had.

According to Michael Bonavia the LNER seriously considered purchasing a fleet of diesels from EMD in the late 1940s but were told by Govt there was no way the necessary US$ would be forthcoming so the idea was dropped.

 

I think most of the late Pre-Nationalisation diesel etc designs which did appear were very much in the experimental vein and looking for cost comparisons as much as anything else but I suspect widespread dieselisation would have been a non-starter then for economic reasons as much as anything else as oil would need to be paid for in US$ whereas coal came out of the ground underneath this country and involved no foreign exchange costs.  Diesel shunters worked in a rather different way as fuel consumption was very low compared with mainline operations and manpower and maintenance savings were immediate and considerable with minimal investment as the machine were so basic and shared at least some features with steam engine construction.

 

As we've already said - but perhaps worth repeating - is that where things went wrong on dieselisation was mass ordering before the Pilot Scheme had achieved much in the way of really indicative results.  This, like the failure to electrify more widely, was driven almost entirely by the economic situation - both of the railway and nationally although social change was exerting increasing pressure in some areas as it became more & more difficult to recruit people to work with steam, especially at depot level where the really filthy jobs were located. 

 

In many respects I don't see what could have happened differently when you consider the context of the time and the internal political situation in the railway industry.  No doubt various senior people influencing engineering decisions had their views and the 'favourites (Harrison has been mentioned alreadY) and that must have influenced how decisions were made.  No need for any thoughts about back-handers - some people liked what they liked and that inevitably coloured their thinking.  Politicians might well influence work going to certain places (I have always wondered if that was the case with North British but have never seen any evidence) and no doubt hints were dropped to the BR hierarchy if indeed it was the case but basically the decisions were internal.

 

The Pilot Scheme undoubtedly included some odd choices such as Crossley and Mirlees engines but I expect it was as much to get a broad range of things to try as anything else and the trial would mean useless lumps would not be ordered enmass.  But of course it all went wrong with the rush to save money and reduce costs.

 

The changing shape of the railway was in many respects near impossible to forecast and it really needed someone from outside - like Beeching - to start to discriminate the wood from the trees and make a sensible programme of rationalisation instead of the wild axe swinging which preceded his arrival on the scene.  But even in retrospect it takes a lot of unpicking to put together all the things which were causing change - the 1955 ASLE&F strike undoubtedly did massive and permanent harm to a lot of freight business while the final denationalisation of much of the BRS empire in 1956 gave a fillip to the road haulage business duly aided by easing lorry size & weight restrictions in 1955.  Road freight transport increasingly gained market share due to changes in legislation but especially the ending of C Licence restrictions in 1969/70.

 

In the meanwhile due to under-investment, and possibly a lot of traditional thinking(?), the railway could make relatively little radical change and this was further hindered by a it being such a large and diverse industry engaged in a huge range of activities - again the problem of seeing the wood for the trees.  For example BR was after 1956 - in terms of number of vehicles - the largest road haulier in Britain; when it lost its C&D fleet in 1967/68 it owned 29,000 vehicles.  the difficulty for large concerns is always trying to be innovative and radical enough to keep pace with change, especially if they are state owned, and even more so if the odds are increasingly being stacked against them. 


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#73 Nearholmer

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Posted 13 January 2016 - 11:47

Cheesy

Hot news from 'The Engineer' , August 15 1947, pp139 .........

"The Board of the LNER has approved plans for the construction of 25 diesel electric locomotives of 1600hp, which are to be used for hauling the principal Anglo-Scottish expresses ......"

Goes on to talk about the locos being used in pairs, operating at 100mph, and about new depots at Edinburgh and near Kings Cross.

So, it looks as if thinking had moved on, or moved into stop-gap mode, since the Weir Report in 1931, and in light of the LMS approach. I guess that the LNER didn't want to get left behind in the event of significant acceleration of WCML services.

Weirdly, I stumbled upon this by accident, not 24hrs after saying that I had never seen LNER intent in print.

Kevin
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#74 The Stationmaster

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Posted 13 January 2016 - 11:56

As late as 1975, during my brief and inglorious BR 'career', a BR Board member no less explained to us oiks that there was still genuine disagreement at high level as to whether it was better, both in terms of performance and perhaps more crucially maintenance costs, to use engines with a large number of small cylinders working at high rpm (ie the EE philosophy); or a small number of large cylinders working at low rpm (the Sulzer approach). I didn't understand then, and don't now, why this point had not been determined almost twenty years after the Modernisation Plan kicked off. They certainly had detailed cost figures, although I have seen suggestions that some Regions, possibly of a copper-capped tendency, may not have been scrupulously honest in their cost recording/allocation (a suspiciously similar accusation is made about the WR attitude to Standard steam classes so it may just be a gross libel). For what it's worth, we were told that Deltic maintenance costs were twice as much per annum as the Westerns, which themselves were about twice as expensive as the Sulzer engined 45/6/7. 

Probably a gross libel (someone from Derby I expect).  When the comparative costings were done for the Class 47 and Class 52) they were based on figures taken from two different Regions and of course they used different accountancy methods (as had always been the case).  While casualty figures were, I think, by then on a fairly common base availability figures - for example - very definitely weren't with the WR using a completely different (and more intrusive) measure than certain other Regions (WR availability was calculated against the total fleet of each class including those in works and undergoing major exam, at least one other region calculated availability based on booked number of locos actually capable of working and therefore excluding those in works or undergoing major exams).

 

Now the interesting thing is that at the time the comparisons were carried out one depot had a maintenance allocation of both the diesel hydraulics and the diesel electrics and therefore applied exactly the same basis of cost calculation to both while the Regional availability figure for both was calculated on the same basis.  Now it has to be understood that many BR diesel classes went through peaks & troughs of problems, availability and failures but on a direct comparison on just about every measure the 1000s came out better than the Brush Type/Class 47 and were in fact considerably cheaper to maintain particularly when days out of traffic waiting/undergoing attention were considered.  The comparison was set to return the results Derby - or someone at Derby - wanted, simple as that.

The nose on English Electric loco's is a lot stronger than the one on a peak.
I can speak with some experience on this having hit an obstruction which pierced a class 47 cab stopping just behind the desk a waist height. I wouldn't have got that far on a 37

There was a collision on Landore depot between an HST power car (nose end first) and a Class 47 - the HST nose end had a few scratches and needed a bit of touching up of paintwork and lost no additional time out of traffic.  The Class 47 was despatched to Crewe for a complete new cab and end rebuild and was out of traffic for some time.


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#75 'CHARD

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Posted 13 January 2016 - 12:50

Claytons finally persuaded BR to allow them to build 2 locos with Rolls Royce V8 engines and these were fine, but by that point BR had given up on the design and ordered EE type 2s. 

 

The RR locos were good beasts by all accounts, and anecdotally at least the Beyer-Peacock 17/3s were decent performers, being nicely nailed together in Gorton.  

 

It's a shame the Paxman lobby in Marsham Street ruined what did have the potential to be the standard Type 1, although the evidence suggests that with some simple mods to the powertrain, tweaks in maintenance practices and B-P build quality, the story could have been substantially different.

 

 

Anyway, about this EE Type 2 fleet of which you speak  :angel:


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