Jump to content




Photo
* - - - - 1 votes

R A Riddles - your thoughts.




  • Please log in to reply
148 replies to this topic

#51 AndyD

AndyD

    Registered Member


  • Members
  • Pip
  • 17 posts

Posted 18 February 2016 - 01:26

Apologies for moving off topic somewhat, "bunker" fuel has been discussed, there's an interesting topic here...

 

http://utahrails.net/up/bunker-c.php

 

slightly back on to topic, with regards to buying of fuel "oil" way back in those far off times, were we buying crude oil and refining, or buying the refined product?

 

Andy.





#52 bike2steam

bike2steam

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 3,508 posts
  • Locationnear Blandford

Posted 18 February 2016 - 09:35

However, no one has explained Riddles' submission of plans to build steam push-pull trains in the early 1950s when the BTC had suggested expanding the DMU idea for rural branch lines.

 

I have difficulty believing this was the action of a CME with all his faculties still intact.

Just caught up with this thread, but. Between 1950 and 1954, oil imports were seriously curtailed, not just to help the still poor state of the balance of payments where exports were everything, but also the crisis in Iran ( our main oil supplier then) known as the 'Abadan crisis'.



#53 Poggy1165

Poggy1165

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 1,800 posts
  • LocationNorth of Annesley Junction (Near Manchester, actually.)

Posted 18 February 2016 - 09:44

For much of the period in question, Britain was close to economic crisis. The country was still, obviously, recovering from WW2, but we also had vast commitments overseas, most of which should have been dumped by a pragmatic government, but were not, for prestige reasons.

 

Also, don't forget BR was public sector. There was - and still is - huge concern about the macro-economic impact of the Public Sector Borrowing Requirement being too large. In short, there was only so much capital to allocate, and a lot of it was spent on bombs and other military toys as we tried to remain a Great Power.

 

I suspect that the attitude was that the railways could jolly well muddle through on minimum expenditure. As the road network was also neglected for the first half of the 1950s, I think we can safely say that successive governments did not have transport as a high priority. Whether that attitude was good for the country's economy in the medium to long term is another matter. But the same argument could be advanced for higher and further education, and certainly for general investment in industrial productivity.


Edited by Poggy1165, 18 February 2016 - 09:45 .


#54 bike2steam

bike2steam

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 3,508 posts
  • Locationnear Blandford

Posted 18 February 2016 - 11:36

 

I suspect that the attitude was that the railways could jolly well muddle through on minimum expenditure. As the road network was also neglected for the first half of the 1950s, I think we can safely say that successive governments did not have transport as a high priority. Whether that attitude was good for the country's economy in the medium to long term is another matter. But the same argument could be advanced for higher and further education, and certainly for general investment in industrial productivity.

Sort of, but this makes an interesting read.

  http://reocities.com...27/railways.htm


  • Informative/Useful x 3

#55 Old Gringo

Old Gringo

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 998 posts
  • LocationStaffordshire, U.K.

Posted 28 March 2016 - 10:54

Currently (March 2016), there are three topics on RMweb, where you can find discussions regarding Robert Riddles (1892 - 1983) and the policies, decisions and products of the last five years of his railway engineering career, which began in 1909.

 

The topics, in which you can find these discussions are:

 

This one, 'R.A. Riddles, your thoughts?' started by Jonny 777, February 09, 2016 in Prototype  Discussions. http://www.rmweb.co....-your-thoughts/

 

'Modernisation Plan Diesels' begun by Nearholmer, January 2016, also in Prototype Discussions, (and from which around post 400 the R.A.Riddles, your thoughts, topic was started by Jonny).  http://www.rmweb.co....n-plan-diesels/

 

And,  'If you were in Riddles position?' started by Coachmann, September 23, 2010, in Modelling Musings & Miscellany, which was originally begun to discuss the liveries applied to the locomotives, on the newly Nationalised railway network.
http://www.rmweb.co....dles-position/ 

 

However, by opening the topic with those six emotive words, this last discussion has veered off into discussing the policy and products of the last 'Chief Mechanical Engineer', to be responsible for the design of steam locomotives on British railways.

 

All three topics have some rational and informed debate, hidden in among all the posts criticising Riddles apparent attitude towards diesel power, at the time when the rest of the world began to worship the heavy-oil engine.

 

However, there has also been a great deal of speculation and misinformation, between the excellent and accurate evidence from a few contributors; including as always Mike, (The Stationmaster) who must spend countless hours trying to educate us all on what it was really like to work on the 'joined up' railways.


  • Like x 1

#56 Old Gringo

Old Gringo

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 998 posts
  • LocationStaffordshire, U.K.

Posted 28 March 2016 - 10:56

Having read through all three topics and IMO to understand the factors faced by Robert Riddles in his new job between 1948 and his early retirement in 1953, we need to look at the bigger picture.

 

Almost all the factors listed below are somewhere here on RMweb, but not altogether as below.
I'll also post some biographical detail of Robert Arthur Riddles in this topic.  IMO, information relevant to his attitude to the tasks in hand is missing from all the discussions.

 

1. During the period of Riddles tenure of office (1948 - 1952) Britain was broke and borrowing from the U.S.A. to aid recovery from the 1939 - 1945 World War.  Many commodities were in short supply and some items continued to be rationed throughout the period.  The Government had restrictions on investment and in 1950 we joined the U.S.A. in fighting the Korean War. (See notes in posts 31 and 53 by Poggy1156 for more on these situations).

 

2. Within a 30 year period (1914 - 1945), the railways had been sacrificed twice to help Britain survive two World Wars.

Perhaps there's even a book here if somebody cares to write it?

 

At the cessation of the First World War (1914 - 1918), the railways should have been Nationalised to help provide the Country with a better, unified transport system.  And they would have been as both the majority of both the public and political opinion was in favour in 1918 (see other topics on the Grouping for details), until the Strike of 1919 changed the governing political stance.  (Lloyd George and Eric Geddes had already begun to set up many of the necessary functions for a unified network in a government dept, the A.R.L.E. had drafted a set of standard designs, etc.).

 

The U-turn and resulting compromise contained in the 1921 Act created the 'Big Four' conglomerates, which made the best of the 'controlled' railway situation.  Eventually the four railway companies would give their all again during WW2.

 

3. By 1947, they were classed as "a poor bag of assets" in run-down condition; with many worn out locomotives and rolling stock, damaged infrastructure, massive maintenance arrears in all areas, speed restrictions on many sections of permanent way, dirty and unkempt buildings, etc. All due to over use and under maintenance throughout the war years.

 

4. The Transport Act of 1947 created a Nationalized railway network.  British Railways was a huge organisation: in round figures, 50,000 track miles, 20,000 route miles, 6,700 stations, 20,000 steam locomotives, 40,000 coaches, over a million goods wagons and 625,000 employees.  Plus there were 20 engineering works, hotels, ports, docks and ships and thousands of road vehicles, etc.

 

5. Because of the way the British railway companies had evolved, in-house manufacture of most of their transport connected requirements was also the norm.  This was unusual (world-wide) and whilst being good for local employment was not the most efficient way for the country to produce the locomotives, wagons, coaches, etc. for its railway network.

Being first in the railway industry had not produced the ideal, or the most economical methods and/or standards as a whole.

 

6.  Neither had being first produced the ideal network for the British Isles.  'Laissez-faire' Victorian Governments had encouraged rampant competition, producing a spiders web of duplication and just too many lines for two small islands.  Many had been built to different standards; local and territorial economics imposing different restrictions on loading gauge, axle loadings, etc.

 

7. As early as WW1, all competent railway engineers knew that electricity was the most effective and economical power for concentrated networks in industrialized nations and could increase line capacity by up to 30% (Riddles knew this from his days as an apprentice).  

But the initial infrastructure installation cost for electricity was high and between 1923 - 1947, only one of the Big Four companies had been in a position to take the bold step of employing a co-ordinated electricity programme (The Southern under the leadership of Sir Herbert Walker) . 

 

The Government sponsored Weir report of 1931 had said electrification was the railways' 'holy grail', but did not suggest a practical way of achieving this benefit.  Plus, after the slump, there was no money available for the significant installation costs, although capital was put into other projects.

 

8.  As the head of the Electrical & Mechanical division within the newly formed British Railways (with responsibility for the largest share of the total workforce of 625,000 employees - split between operations and manufacture), Robert Riddles first task on 1st January 1948 was to keep the country's unified railway network running without incurring significant extra costs.

 

Next job, to begin to build a team of people who could work together for the common good and common goals of the newly created organisation.  High ideals in a Britain deep in austerity measures; borrowing to the hilt to stay afloat and imposing restrictions on investments.

 

9.  By 1948 (as Jonny points out), the diesel engine had been around for some considerable time and was in the process of rapidly replacing steam locomotion in the western and central railways of the U.S.A.  However, it was not the economic first choice for the British railway network, with over 90% of operations and infrastructure designed to be provided by steam locomotives.

 

Diesel-electric power worked well over long distances of the western U.S.A., with light-weight consists and by 1948 the conversion to diesel was well under way west of Chicago.  Undeniably the Class A roads could stand the high capital costs per unit and balance the economics of greater time in traffic and minimal infrastructure changes against eventual profit returns.

 

However, immediately post-WW2, diesel power was not the only choice for all the eastern U.S. roads, where coal was cheap and some electric power already working alongside the latest steam engines.  (Peach) James refers us to the 1947 reports, where the latest NYC locomotives were used on intensive schedules and came very close to the running costs of the comparative diesel units - but at around one third to one half of the capital cost per equivalent horse-power unit.

 

Both the NYC and PRR had plenty of experience with electricity and the Norfolk & Western owned its own mines, so the economics of dieselization were not so clear cut.

 

10.  Many areas of the British Isles virtually 'floated' on coal seams and in 1948 all our crude oil was imported.  Logic suggests that it was better to use our own raw materials and organise production within the nationalised framework, rather than import oil, over which we had little control of production or price.  (An experiment in 1947 on a few steam locomotives was soon reversed).

 

If you've got this far, those are some of the raw facts and hard economics facing the U.K., the railway network and Robert Riddles as he accepted the new job in 1948.


  • Like x 4
  • Agree x 2

#57 Old Gringo

Old Gringo

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 998 posts
  • LocationStaffordshire, U.K.

Posted 28 March 2016 - 10:58

So, what about the man who had to work in the management structure of the new nationalised railway industry from 1948 and within the economic framework set out previously; and then from 1950/1951, under a change of Government, which brought along a completely different ideology on how the railways, transport and production should be managed ?

 

Robert Arthur Riddles (1892 - 1983) - a brief biography up to 1948. [R/ =  "Riddles", by Rogers, see references, below]

 

Riddles began work on the LNWR at Crewe in 1909 as a premium apprentice and amongst many other highlights during his successful career was responsible for the introduction of the progressive repair system on the London Midland & Scottish Railway.

 

Thus, he understood the necessity of easy maintenance at shed level and hence several features were later incorporated in the somewhat austere simplicity of the final British Railways family of locomotive designs: all having just two outside cylinders mounted beneath a high running plate (excepting the final experimental pacific, 'The Duke'; was this really his design?).

 

At Crewe, whilst apprenticed in the Works he studied electrical engineering and "ever since learning that electric traction could increase line capacity by 30%, he had become an enthusiast for electrification" (R/p31).  Riddles was at Rugby shed in August 1914 and enlisted almost immediately.  He served in the Royal Engineers on the Western Front throughout WW1 and was both commissioned and badly wounded. (R/p33).

 

After WW1, he returned to Rugby and following the 1919 Strike (which had effectively disrupted the Government plans for Nationalisation, resulting in the Big Four compromise) Riddles was transferred to Crewe, where he developed the progressive repair system under Beames and the re-organisation of Crewe Works (published in Railway Engineer, 1929, R/p44).

 

In 1928, Riddles went to Derby to introduce the progressive repair system, where he would meet and work for Ivatt (R/p53).  Returning to Crewe in 1931, he became one of Stanier's team and in 1933 moved to the London Offices, becoming Principal Assistant to the C.M.E. in 1935 (R/p77).

 

AFAIK, Riddles made at least three visits to the U.S.A. during his railway career.  The first was in 1937, with the LMS Vice President for Finance, reference the Inland Revenue's revised tax system for the railways, which had proposed to include the U.S. policy on locomotives for new construction and capital assets on the Big Four (R/p81).

 

Upon his return from the U.S.A. Riddles was involved in the 'Coronation Scot' high-speed debut and later transferred to St. Rollox  (R/p87), as Fairburn became Deputy CME and Electrical Engineer.

Riddles second visit to the U.S.A. was with the 'Coronation Scot' tour in 1939; Travelling 3,100 miles over 9 U.S. rail-roads, visiting 38 towns and cities, including Baltimore, New York (display at the New York World's Fair), Washington and Chicago, with exhibitions, etc. Schedule (R/p96/97).

 

Having witnessed the ultimate in steam railway operations, Riddles returned to a country at War. Within a month he was working for the Ministry of Supply and War department, as Director of Transportation, placing orders for Stanier 2-8-0s (from Workshops on each of the Big Four) amongst a long list of war equipments.

 

1940 and a third visit to U.S.A. on M.o.S. business (R/p103) and also organising the return of 6220.  Back at the Ministry, Riddles organised designs for the W.D. Austerity locomotives with the North British Company. From schemes worked up by Frank Carrier and Ted Fox, production of the Austerities, of which 935 were built, was rapid (partly) owing to the simplicity of the design and the use of more readily available materials (R/p115). Compare the British design to the S160/2-8-0, a U.S. design from 1918, which was updated for WW2 production.

 

Whilst working as Deputy Director General, Royal Engineering Equipment at the Ministry of Supply (between 1940 - 1943), Riddles later tested out the idea of a 2-10-0, with thirty 2-cylindered locomotives of lighter axle loading.

 

[Later, a much better design by the Riddles B.R. team became the excellent 9F Class, 2-10-0, which was introduced in early 1954 after Riddles had retired.  An engine that perhaps has its roots way back in Jean Flamme's giant Edwardian locomotive of 1909, which Riddles may well have seen in Hughes notebooks, during his time at Horwich in 1925, whilst studying the initial inspection system of locomotives coming in for repair (R/p40)].

 

Following WW2, Riddles returned to railway service with the LMS as Vice President for Engineering.  And at the time of Nationalisation in 1948, he was the highest ranking and best candidate for the responsibilities of the new job; directing motive power policy and managing the production on the unified railway network, under the post WW2 economic position and Government budget policies (viz: introduction of the NHS, new housing required following war damage, education policy after the Act of 1944, etc, etc..).

 

Sources: 'The last steam locomotive engineer: R.A. Riddles' H.C.B. Rogers, London, 1970. 'Biographical Dictionary of Railway Engineers' John Marshall, 2nd edition, 2003, RCHS.


  • Informative/Useful x 4
  • Like x 1

#58 Old Gringo

Old Gringo

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 998 posts
  • LocationStaffordshire, U.K.

Posted 28 March 2016 - 11:00

In conclusion, I'll take a stab at answering the questions posed by Jonny in post 1:

 

"I am not against Riddles, and I congratulate him for producing some of my favourite locos . . ."

 

1. Agree with Jonny's statement regarding the Standard Locomotives, designed by Riddles superb team of Cox, Carrier, Fox and Langridge.  See post 25 for Mike's breakdown of the detail of each of the designs.

 

"I also understand his theory that electrification ought to be the main goal . ."

 

2. Electrification of the main lines was I believe Riddles first objective, however, in order to keep to Government budgets his options were severely limited.

 

"However, was his exclusion of diesels, etc . . "

 

3. Diesels were not a realistic option on costs balanced against budgets and allowed investments and against the available 'in-house' production facilities. 20 railway works, all equipped to repair and build steam locomotives - and lacking the expertise, skills and equipment to build diesels.  Plus, with the exception of the minimal suburban electrification, the rest of the operational infrastructure was geared to service the steam locomotive.

 

"And I think that a small diesel project, etc.  . ."

 

4. An experiment was probably justified on gaining experience and properly understanding the 'new' technology, following Ivatt's success with 10000, again involving Eric Langridge, Fox and Carrier.  However, Riddles needed these men to help with the supply of the new designs urgently required by the operating department.

 

"But was he right to create so many new classes?"

 

5.  IMO too many Standard steam classes were produced.  Better research could have reduced the build to just six classes: 7MT/4-6-2, 5MT/4-6-0, 4MT/2-6-4T & 4MT/2-6-0, 2MT/2-6-0 & 9F/2-10-0 or 2-8-2, which would have satisfied most if not all post-war duties.

 

"Was he really justified in trying to halt the DMU programme?"

 

6. Was he really responsible for this decision, as he was out of post in 1953, or was Bonavia crediting the decision to the wrong man?

 

Happy Easter, I'm off to watch some trains!

 

Edit: "When the Lightweight Diesel Trains Committee wanted to build the first of the lightweight DMU's, it was Riddles who campaigned for money to build a bunch of new steam push-pull stock as an "alternative" to the diesels." by Vanders (Laurence) in post 85 of the topic 'If you were in Riddles position?'  I'd be interested to know where this information is from?


  • Like x 3
  • Informative/Useful x 1

#59 The Stationmaster

The Stationmaster

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 31,917 posts

Posted 28 March 2016 - 11:16

An excellent series of summary posts John, all credit to you for tackling the wider implications and background of the subject in such a way.


  • Agree x 8
  • Thanks x 1

#60 cheesysmith

cheesysmith

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 1,700 posts
  • Locationescafield

Posted 28 March 2016 - 11:57

I think the biggest problem that faced the newly nationalised railway was not so much the continued building of steam locos, but a failier of unified planning as to what the goals were. What was realy required was for the heads of all the departmants to sit together ahd decide what was actually required. It`s all well and good deciding to standardise but you have to decide what those standards will be in the first place. The BTC was probably a poor choice for this.Riddles did what was asked of him, using the assets he had and at minimal cost to the country.

 

For example,why did he propose a small steam loco and new push pull coaches? He had the old locos and push pull sets in service and cold see how a modern replacement would have been cheaper. But he was not in charge of the DMUs, so could not see how these would negate the need for such trains, therefore the continued use of the old stock until replaced by the DMU was the better idea.

 

You can also take into account the freight stock, where after nationalisation large numbers of single bolster 4 wheeled wagons were built, but were never used in traffic. These were build to replace old wagons with new built to new standards, but a bogie bolster design would have been better.

 

Or look at EMUs, were the southern ideas went on to become the national standard, with the backwards idea of a door to every compartment to speed loading and unloading. But the LMS and LNER had introduced modern sliding door stock, and the underground in London had sliding door stock used to move large numbers of people very quickly.

 

Riddles did what was asked of him at a very difficult time, with the railways finances in poor shape. The question should have been what were the goals of the railway and these should have been decided by the BTC, with proper standards implemented to take the railways forward, not just to replace what was with newer versions.


  • Agree x 1

#61 Peter Kazmierczak

Peter Kazmierczak

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 6,450 posts
  • LocationDorset, England

Posted 28 March 2016 - 13:17

Having read Rogers' biography of Riddles ("The Last Steam Locomotive Engineer: R A Riddles CBE" Col H C B Rogers [1970] London - George Allen & Unwin), whilst a sympathetic view of the man, it does show that Riddles wasn't the out-and-out steam man as sometimes imagined.

 

Hurcomb (at the BTC) was frustrated by the lack of action at the RE over future motive power policy. Everyone (Riddles included) appeared to want to move directly from steam to electrc power, but lack of £££ and other resources prevented a wholesale electrification programme.

 

Looking back it's easy to see that all the time and effort expended on producing 999 standard steam engines might've been better spent if:

1. The Beeching reassessment of what the railways were expected to do (and the overall size of the network) had happened directly after nationalisation rather than carrying on the same old way.

2. Proven steam designs had been built in limited numbers to fill in the gap before wholesale electrification. By "proven designs" I mean largely the modern ex-LMS types (which many of the standards basically were anyway). GW designs were at the end of the road, Bulleid was in fantasy land and the LNER had such a hotch-potch of classes.


Edited by Peter Kazmierczak, 28 March 2016 - 13:17 .

  • Agree x 2

#62 bike2steam

bike2steam

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 3,508 posts
  • Locationnear Blandford

Posted 28 March 2016 - 13:18

"But was he right to create so many new classes?"
 
6.  IMO too many Standard steam classes were produced.  Better research could have reduced the build to just six classes: 7MT/4-6-2, 5MT/4-6-0, 4MT/2-6-4T & 4MT/2-6-0, 2MT/2-6-0 & 9F/2-10-0 or 2-8-2, which would have satisfied most if not all post-war duties.


Hindsight is a wonderful thing, given the time taken between sketchbook, and completed locos coming out of the works, the traffic demand had changed considerably.
  • Agree x 2

#63 The Stationmaster

The Stationmaster

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 31,917 posts

Posted 28 March 2016 - 15:10

Having read Rogers' biography of Riddles ("The Last Steam Locomotive Engineer: R A Riddles CBE" Col H C B Rogers [1970] London - George Allen & Unwin), whilst a sympathetic view of the man, it does show that Riddles wasn't the out-and-out steam man as sometimes imagined.

 

Hurcomb (at the BTC) was frustrated by the lack of action at the RE over future motive power policy. Everyone (Riddles included) appeared to want to move directly from steam to electrc power, but lack of £££ and other resources prevented a wholesale electrification programme.

 

Looking back it's easy to see that all the time and effort expended on producing 999 standard steam engines might've been better spent if:

1. The Beeching reassessment of what the railways were expected to do (and the overall size of the network) had happened directly after nationalisation rather than carrying on the same old way.

2. Proven steam designs had been built in limited numbers to fill in the gap before wholesale electrification. By "proven designs" I mean largely the modern ex-LMS types (which many of the standards basically were anyway). GW designs were at the end of the road, Bulleid was in fantasy land and the LNER had such a hotch-potch of classes.

 

But the fact is that what the railways were 'expected to do' in 1948 was a long way removed from what they were expected to do when Beeching came on the scene.  By Beeching's time the nature of what the railway was about was beginning to change considerably - most critically of all freight was in its long decline hastened by the ravages of the 1955 ASLE&F strike piled onto a degree of post-war road haulage growth (including the spurt of denationalisation), the decline of heavy industry, and a growth of consumerism and its impact on the distribution element.

 

From a  railway which had always been heavily supported by its freight revenues there was a  change towards greater reliance on passenger traffic.  But that too was beginning to change rapidly as car ownership increased and lots of traditional passenger traffic areas went into decline.

 

I doubt a pragmatic Beeching were he around in 1948 would have made much in the way of different decisions from those which were made because the choices were so limited.


Edited by The Stationmaster, 28 March 2016 - 15:10 .

  • Like x 1

#64 lmsforever

lmsforever

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 3,585 posts
  • Locationaylesbury

Posted 28 March 2016 - 15:34

I have always thought the standards a good overall design for steam in an era of lack of money and of everything ,it was a shame that they only lasted on average twenty years.If oil had been available at reasonable prices ie dirt cheap a requirement in the forties and fifties the BTC might have decided on diesel loco,s probably from the USA .If this had happened the railway would have been totally different although with the balance of payments problem it still would not have happened.

#65 Peter Kazmierczak

Peter Kazmierczak

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 6,450 posts
  • LocationDorset, England

Posted 28 March 2016 - 16:18

But the fact is that what the railways were 'expected to do' in 1948 was a long way removed from what they were expected to do when Beeching came on the scene............................................

Totally agree that the 1955 strike (and de-nationalisation of road freight) was a turning point in so many ways. But, as far as I've been able to see, there was no clear reassessment of what railways were for (or were not for) in the immediate post-nationalisation period. 

 

It was that lack of foresight (political, economic, social, you name it) which resulted in a virtual like-for-like over-replacement of (largely the wrong) assets.



#66 jonny777

jonny777

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 3,843 posts
  • LocationSomerset (but exiled yellowbelly)

Posted 28 March 2016 - 16:22


Edit: "When the Lightweight Diesel Trains Committee wanted to build the first of the lightweight DMU's, it was Riddles who campaigned for money to build a bunch of new steam push-pull stock as an "alternative" to the diesels." by Vanders (Laurence) in post 85 of the topic 'If you were in Riddles position?'  I'd be interested to know where this information is from?

 

This is also from Bonavia in 'BR The First 25 Years', where he talks about F A Pope (ex-UTA Chairman) being appointed a member of the BTC in 1951.

 

Pope had introduced diesel railcars in N Ireland and was convinced of their ability to revolutionise rural train services. He was instrumental in the setting up of the Lightweight Diesel Trains Committee, which concluded its investigations in spring 1952 with a report recommending trial schemes in Lincs, W. Yorks, Cumberland, and both the Carlisle to Newcastle, and Edinburgh routes.

 

Bonavia maintains that the BTC were annoyed that the RE delayed implementing these DMU schemes; and in W Yorks, after the scheme had been started the Chief Regional Officer, H A Short suddenl;y performed an about-turn in 1953 and decided that he would prefer to drop the idea.

 

Bonavia the goes on to state that earlier in 1953 , a submission had been received from the RE for the construction of push-pull steam locomotives for branch line services rather than diesel ralicars, which had infuriated F A Pope.

 

The inference to be drawn from all this, is that Riddles was responsible for every attempt to thwart the introduction of any diesel power on BR.

 

Now, Bonavia may or may not have disliked Riddles and his policy; he may not have been as truthful as E S Cox and may be using hindsight to his advantage; he may have been more of a manager than an engineer; and he may have retained some pro-LNER bias from his short time with that company. However, whatever the oil situation, his summary is rather pointed,  quote:-

 

"There is plenty of room for controversy about the Railway Executive's traction policy up to 1953. On the one hand, it can be argued that the pre-occupation with designing standard steam locomotives was a disaster; it was irrelevant to the needs of the day, and was an exercise in nostalgia, which wasted valuable time and created many difficulties for the Executive's successors."

 

"On the other hand, it can be said that the RE inherited a number of diesel prototypes from the companies, none of which yet constituted a fully satisfactory type of main line locomotive; that these were tested over an extended period with results that were far from conclusive."


  • Informative/Useful x 1

#67 2750Papyrus

2750Papyrus

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 198 posts

Posted 28 March 2016 - 18:02

My understanding was that, in the latter days of the LNER, the Board authorised the construction of 22 main line diesel locomotives as a large-scale experimental development.  Do we know when and by whom these were cancelled?



#68 bike2steam

bike2steam

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 3,508 posts
  • Locationnear Blandford

Posted 28 March 2016 - 18:12

The inference to be drawn from all this, is that Riddles was responsible for every attempt to thwart the introduction of any diesel power on BR.


I doubt it, all major decisions to do with the nationalised British railways were made at government level. The main aims were to export as much as possible, and import as little. The import of oil was a difficult problem at the time, Britain's main source was Persia/Iran which was proving awkward, or the USA to whom we owed too much as it was.

Edited by bike2steam, 28 March 2016 - 18:48 .

  • Agree x 2

#69 Dunsignalling

Dunsignalling

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 6,235 posts
  • LocationMilepost 154 3/4

Posted 28 March 2016 - 18:25

Totally agree that the 1955 strike (and de-nationalisation of road freight) was a turning point in so many ways. But, as far as I've been able to see, there was no clear reassessment of what railways were for (or were not for) in the immediate post-nationalisation period. 

 

It was that lack of foresight (political, economic, social, you name it) which resulted in a virtual like-for-like over-replacement of (largely the wrong) assets.

But, if the UK foreign exchange position precluded buying oil to burn in steam locomotives in 1947/8, was it so much different in 1951/2 when the construction of the BR Standards could have been, in the main, cancelled?

 

If it had been, the early stages of the dieselisation programme would have taken place sooner and even more of the Pilot Scheme locos might have been half-baked near-disasters. 

 

The only source of proven diesel locomotives was the USA and, at the time, political and economic factors intervened. However, the US diesels of the day were only rated at 1500hp and BR wanted 2000hp units to avoid multiple working which would have incurred even greater expense in purchase and running costs.

 

The BR dieselisation might well have gone more smoothly if it had begun a couple of years later. Perhaps Riddles was right, but for the wrong reasons.....   

 

John


Edited by Dunsignalling, 28 March 2016 - 18:27 .

  • Like x 1

#70 lanchester

lanchester

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 99 posts

Posted 28 March 2016 - 19:29

Like anyone else, Riddles inherited a situation.

 

According to the RCTS LNER Green Book part 10A, p59. a 'Locomotive Standards Committee' was appointed on 8 Jan 1948 (ie just a week after Nationalisation) to plan the 1950 build programme . I'd love to know the membership, but I think it is safe to assume that they would have been working, albeit unofficially, since nationalisation had become a known fact some time before.

 

Anyway, apparently the preferred designs, until BR Standards could be developed, were:

Mixed Traffic tender, large wheels - LNER B1 4-6-0

Mixed Traffic tender, medium wheels - LMS '3000' class 2-6-0

Heavy Mixed Traffic Tank - LNER class L1

Light Mixed Traffic Tank - GWR '4575' 2-6-2T

Light Freight Tender - LMS '6400' class 2-6-0

 

And an unspecified Dock Tank

 

RCTS goes on to say that the committee rapidly realised that this merely introduced more complexity in designs and spares, and it was probably better for each Region to continue building its own 'best of breed' until such time as Standards could be agreed and designed (as ex LNER did particularly with B1s, ex SR with Bulleid Light Pacifics, and more bizarrely and for the longest time, exGWR with assorted panniers).

 

I don't know if Riddles was formally involved at this early stage, but nonetheless the suggestions are interesting:

 

 

1) No apparent need for a standard 6P/7P/8P - we aren't going to be able to accelerate expresses beyond current capabilities any time soon 

2) TWO Thompson designs preferred (which given some of the anti-Thompson propaganda even before his retirement, is quite interesting!)

3) In the event, these slots were based on LMS designs., the 73XXX as a development of the black five, and the 80XXX as a version of the Stanier/Fairburn 2-6-4T. Probably can't fault the latter choice, given some (solvable) problems with the L1s were just emerging. B1 or Black Five? Nicely poised, but given the other choices made the Black Five would win).

4)LMS 3000 series leads directly to BR 76XXX (and were themselves rapidly being manufactured at eg Darlington, so this bit of the scheme seems to have been applied)

5) '4575' does suggest the 82XXX standards which were definitely Western- influenced, especially I believe in boiler proportions

6) the '6400' 2-6-0 obviously translates to the 78XXX series.

7) No apparent need for a more powerful freight engine (eg the 9F) but then, modernising the wagon fleet, although essential, doesn't seem to have been a high priority (You could start a separate thread on how the, nationalised, NCB wouldn't rebuild colliery screens to allow the, also nationalised, BR to use more effective wagons - but then the NER had been fighting those battles with colliery owners for 40 years!)

 

So of the five 'continuations of existing designs as a standard', two actually became the basis for BR standards, one (the 4575) certainly influenced, and the other two - hey, someone didn't like Thompson (or more realistically, said we are going taper bolier, Belpaire firebox etc as standard features).

 

What I don't know is how far Riddles was involved in this initial snap assessment,or merely inherited a fairly clear direction. If it is the latter, I would say he made a pretty good fist of adapting this initial assessment to a workable group of standard designs.

 

There are, of course, questions. Why the Clans, has often been asked, but actually was there really any need for the Britannias - as a system standard, not as a special solution to eg the Great Eastern lines (in which case we are back in that territory of criticising Gresley for creating special designs for special situations). The 75XXX turned out to be darned good, but it isn't obvious what the need was seen to be at the time. Someone must have yelled for the 77XXX - but who and why, and was it worth building a non-standard standard class? The 84XXX also look unneccessary but only if you look just a few years ahead to DMUs etc.

 

I just have the feeling that Riddles may have been inheriting a position where the fundamental decisions had to some extent already been laid out. Where his 'extra' designs, especially Brits and Clans,just because this was an area where his path had NOT alread been laid down for him?



#71 Grovenor

Grovenor

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 3,411 posts

Posted 28 March 2016 - 19:43

E S Cox covers all these issues in his books.

Regards


  • Agree x 1

#72 jonny777

jonny777

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 3,843 posts
  • LocationSomerset (but exiled yellowbelly)

Posted 28 March 2016 - 20:12

Are we expected to purchase these books immediately? Or nip down to our library and order them out of hours?

 

Or maybe we are to be admonished for not having the intelligence to have them in our personal libraries already?

 

One thing seems to be certain - that is until we do one or more of these noble activities, the gospel according to E S Cox appears to be a closely guarded secret, known only to the "chosen ones"?



#73 Grovenor

Grovenor

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 3,411 posts

Posted 28 March 2016 - 20:19

Do whatever you like with the information, I don't expect anything! I'm not going to get my copies back from the people I sold them to in order to type out the content. You are either interested enough to dig out the info or you aren't. And it will all happily keep until after the bank holiday, it's history after all, it doesn't have an expiry date.

Regards


Edited by Grovenor, 28 March 2016 - 20:21 .


#74 jonny777

jonny777

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 3,843 posts
  • LocationSomerset (but exiled yellowbelly)

Posted 28 March 2016 - 20:35

Thanks for your help in this matter.

 

 

Edit, this is not a good start

 

http://www.amazon.co...eywords=e s cox

 

£64.49?

 

I think that I will stick with the Bonavia version.


Edited by jonny777, 28 March 2016 - 20:37 .


#75 rockershovel

rockershovel

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 1,850 posts

Posted 28 March 2016 - 22:00

There's a very important point half-concealed within the text above, about Britain spending very large sums of American aid on maintaining unsustainable foreign commitments "for reasons of prestige".

Only eleven years after a war which we had certainly not won, despite lining up with those who had, our supposed allies in America made it quite clear to the world that our ability to sustain such a position was quite at an end. Only six years after that, our last major colony received its independence and we had concluded our last colonisl war of any consequence (the Malayan Emergency), to no obvious benefit. Our African Dominions were embarking on their long, slow slide into fundamental change. We spent prodigious sums on a nuclear deterrent whose use was never realistically defined, much of which technological development was handed over to hostile powers by a series of traitors.

I've never understood how any of this contributed to "prestige".

Edited by rockershovel, 28 March 2016 - 22:07 .

  • Agree x 1