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R A Riddles - your thoughts.




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#126 Nearholmer

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Posted 16 December 2016 - 18:27

FC

It was the 12000 series that I was thinking of, they being the pioneers of 25kV, and you are right, they were designed for 120kph maximum, but the brief also included schlepping 2000 tonne trains over very steep gradients. I'd actually forgotten the really slow ones, which used rotary-converters and three-phase motors, so are a bit off-track from the rectifier discussion.

K



#127 Fat Controller

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Posted 16 December 2016 - 22:24

FC

It was the 12000 series that I was thinking of, they being the pioneers of 25kV, and you are right, they were designed for 120kph maximum, but the brief also included schlepping 2000 tonne trains over very steep gradients. I'd actually forgotten the really slow ones, which used rotary-converters and three-phase motors, so are a bit off-track from the rectifier discussion.

K

When I first started at Eurotunnel, in 1995, I used to see the 12000s on a daily basis, as they hauled the mixed freights from Frethun to Lille/ Somain, which would be standing in Frethun yard when we used to be on the second outbound  working on a morning shift (so about 08:00 UK time.)



#128 jjb1970

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Posted 17 December 2016 - 10:24

The real failure in my view was not the post war steam program but the modernisation programme. Whilst I believe some of the economic difficulties which meant we had little choice but to continue with steam were the result of our own government's choices and bad financial decisions the railways had to live within the circumstances they found themselves in. The modernisation plan however squandered huge sums and was hopelessly optimistic and badly implemented IMO. And the fact that what should have been a transitional technology (diesel traction) became a long term solution was a great disappointment.
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#129 PenrithBeacon

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Posted 17 December 2016 - 11:20

...

there was probably no real choice but to build steamers to deal with the immediate problems, and the "real questions" are probably around:

...


American railroads and railways carried on building steam into the 1950s and I believe that there were some that were still operating steam after 1968 (but I can't remember an example, sorry).

Regards

#130 Zomboid

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Posted 17 December 2016 - 11:49

American railroads and railways carried on building steam into the 1950s and I believe that there were some that were still operating steam after 1968 (but I can't remember an example, sorry).

Regards

It was either 2014 or 2015 which was the first year in the history of the company that the Union Pacific didn't run a steam locomotive (after they stopped the challenger and 4-8-4). There's videos online of the Challenger on intermodals, but it would be pushing it to say they were a steam road after the 50s...
N&W was the last class 1 to dieselise, I believe - they missed the whole first generation. The Duluth Yellowstones held out quite late too, IIRC.

#131 number6

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Posted 17 December 2016 - 11:54

I imagine the interpretation of recent political developments on either side of the pond and what ensues will spawn entire new university departments in the fullness of time.

John


That's if there are any universities or people able to afford them at that time.

Splendid thread this. Very enjoyable and thought provoking.
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#132 Dr Gerbil-Fritters

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Posted 17 December 2016 - 14:19

American railroads and railways carried on building steam into the 1950s and I believe that there were some that were still operating steam after 1968 (but I can't remember an example, sorry).

Regards

 

The last regular user of steam in the USA retired its last steamers in 1980.... Northwestern Steel and Wire in Sterling, Illinois.

 

NS&W_80.jpg

 

The Norfolk and Western built the last new steam in the USA, 3 J1s in 1950, along with the last of the A class, some Y6s in 1952 and the very last one of all, an S1 0-8-0 switcher in 1953.


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#133 jjb1970

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Posted 17 December 2016 - 19:35

For those with an interest in the American transition from steam to diesel I recommend the following book:

 

https://www.amazon.c...82003145&sr=1-3

 

A very interesting book, Albert Churella's history of the Pennsylvania RR is also a fantastic book, probably the definitive work on the subject.



#134 coachmann

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Posted 18 December 2016 - 12:29

The Pennsy seemingly tried the wares of every diesel manufacturer in its effort to eliminate steam, and didn't do its balance sheet any favours. When I was 'into' USA railroads, this was the one I followed with mostly steam rail videos. They had a brilliant range of standard steam locos. 


Edited by coachmann, 18 December 2016 - 12:31 .

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#135 Nearholmer

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Posted 18 December 2016 - 16:22

And, a fascinating programme of electrics too.

K
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#136 jjb1970

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Posted 18 December 2016 - 16:40

I'm an enthusiast of the PRR and have been eagerly awaiting the second volume of Churella's history since reading the first volume shortly after it was published. Sadly the company is now remembered more for the catastrophe of Penn Central and being nationalised when the NE roads were consolidated into Conrail yet in its prime the PRR was the GE or Apple of its day, an industrial and financial powerhouse. They had some wonderful steamers, especially the glorious looking T1's but their dieselisation program illustrated the truism that any idea, no matter how good, can end up a bit of a mess if implemented badly enough. A bit like our own dieselisation program which bred all sorts of locomotive designs, a good many of which were junk and which should never have gone past the prototype stage.



#137 jjb1970

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Posted 19 December 2016 - 10:48

In terms of design expertise I think EE were fully capable of producing designs that were as good as rival overseas offerings in the post war period. I think it became obvious in the pilot scheme and mass production phase that EE could design and build a first class locomotive. That diesel engine and electrical engineering expertise was there in the steam standard era of Riddles. Unfortunately the fact that designing and building diesel and electric locomotives was not the same as building steamers and that many traditional builders struggled with the transition (including in the USA) has tended to make some think that British builders were incapable of building diesel locomotives. Some weren't but companies like EE were and it was less that the technology was new (it wasn't) but that as in many other fields some (but not all) of British industry struggled to adapt to change.
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#138 coachmann

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Posted 19 December 2016 - 13:06

British Railways was a busy place in 1950. It was carrying goods of every description as well as a public that was still very dependant on public road and rail transport. Speed restrictions were still being lifted and locomotives that would have been withdrawn had it not been for war were still required to work. Trying to introduce diesel locomotives and taking men off duties for training on the new motive power and setting up fuelling points would have been a logistical nightmare at this time even if dollars for oil had been available. What would the Unions have said as well?  History is what it is. I know people like to say what they would have done had they been there, but Britain might as well have been on another planet 66 years ago. 


Edited by coachmann, 19 December 2016 - 13:08 .

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#139 EddieB

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Posted 19 December 2016 - 15:45

It's unfair to judge Riddles by whether alternative forms of traction could have been considered, when surely that would have been beyond the brief he was given.  The question should be the extent to which his steam designs met their specifications and were appropriate to the duties and operating constraints prevailing at that time.

 

As far as it goes, Riddles' classes were an adaptation of existing technology via easier maintenance and standardisation.  In many ways a simplification of designs inherited from the Big Four.  All things considered, the Riddles locomotives can be seen as rather conservative - the Duke/Capriotti Fives and Franco-Crosti experiments notwithstanding.  Those countries that were still building steam for their national systems tended to follow similar paths, with the notable exceptions of the Czechoslovak State Railways and some late designs for East and West Germany (e.g. class 50.40 and class 10 Pacifics, respectively). For all his technological advances, it is worth noting that the SNCF management largely ignored Chapelon's work in pursuit of rebuilding their system and main-line electrification.



#140 cheesysmith

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Posted 19 December 2016 - 16:55

When people want to compare the railways then to now, how about this fact from the british railways marshaling yards book. In 1961 there was 1695000 tons of general merchandise traffic, 71% of which was direct siding to siding/port traffic. The other 29% would have been in wagons where the load was transshipped at either/both ends to/from railway goods depots. Within 10 years, this had gone due to the roads and lorries introduced. The railway that the steam trains were built to work on had just dissapeared.


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#141 Reorte

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Posted 19 December 2016 - 17:41

When people want to compare the railways then to now, how about this fact from the british railways marshaling yards book. In 1961 there was 1695000 tons of general merchandise traffic, 71% of which was direct siding to siding/port traffic. The other 29% would have been in wagons where the load was transshipped at either/both ends to/from railway goods depots. Within 10 years, this had gone due to the roads and lorries introduced. The railway that the steam trains were built to work on had just dissapeared.

That's probably the most significant change in the nature of the railways in the last century, far more than the more visible one of steam ending. The railway that some of those steam locomotives were built to work on had disappeared, but the same is true for quite a few diesels. From that point of view does the method of powering it matter that much? If a larger, earlier move towards electrification had happened how much time and money would've been spent electrifying yards and sidings, let alone whole lines, that would end up surplus to requirements not long after? Maybe that should've been anticipated at the time (easy to say with hindsight), maybe a bullet was fortunately dodged.


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#142 coachmann

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Posted 19 December 2016 - 18:41

As regards the standard locos, I feel Ivatt of the LMS prepared the ground with the rocking grate, just one small item, but what a difference it made. When enthusiasts pay for an hours firing on a heritage line, I wish an extra half hour was added for them to dispose an engine!  But of course the damage they could inflict on themselves would not be tolerated. As for design, standardisation already existed on the Big Four except for the LNER which had adopted it too late, and sheds were already well stocked with renewable items. What was more simple than giving the GWR more 'Manors', the LMS more Black Fives and 8F's and the Southern and LNER the locos they really needed ......LMS engines! The introduction of standard classes meant carrying stocks of even more items. They often preceded the engines they were copied off to the scrapheap.


Edited by coachmann, 19 December 2016 - 18:43 .

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#143 2750Papyrus

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Posted 19 December 2016 - 20:10

So why wouldn't introducing LMS engines to the LNER & SR mean carrying stocks of just as many new items as BR engines?  Why not just build (for the LNER) more of their standard A1s, A2s, B1s, K1s (etc?



#144 The Stationmaster

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Posted 19 December 2016 - 20:13

That's probably the most significant change in the nature of the railways in the last century, far more than the more visible one of steam ending. The railway that some of those steam locomotives were built to work on had disappeared, but the same is true for quite a few diesels. From that point of view does the method of powering it matter that much? If a larger, earlier move towards electrification had happened how much time and money would've been spent electrifying yards and sidings, let alone whole lines, that would end up surplus to requirements not long after? Maybe that should've been anticipated at the time (easy to say with hindsight), maybe a bullet was fortunately dodged.

 

The amount of siding electrification on the Crewe-Manchester part of the WCML always surprised me, even as a young lad watching through train windows at the time



#145 coachmann

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Posted 19 December 2016 - 20:40

So why wouldn't introducing LMS engines to the LNER & SR mean carrying stocks of just as many new items as BR engines?  Why not just build (for the LNER) more of their standard A1s, A2s, B1s, K1s (etc?

Yes it would, but it's what happened in reality anyway. Ivatt engines and their derivatives and Fairburn tanks ended up on the E. Region and they were the saviors of many S.Region branchlines right after nationalisation.  K1's were good machines and they continued to be built in BR days anyway. No matter how good the B1 may have been, it would still make sense to standardise on the LMS 5 which had proven itself since 1934 and throughout the arduous 1939-45 conflict rather than a relatively unproven B1 of 1945.


Edited by coachmann, 19 December 2016 - 22:55 .

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#146 RJD

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Posted 19 December 2016 - 21:26

Does anyone know why Robert Riddles was hired (presumably by Lord Hurcomb) rather than, say, George Ivatt of the LMS?   Would it have made a difference? 

 

I understand it was Ivatt who completed Charles Fariburn's diesel electrics.    From what I can gather, Riddles was a steam man and perhaps his ego required a range of steam locomotives in his name. 


Edited by RJD, 19 December 2016 - 21:28 .

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#147 Old Gringo

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Posted 19 December 2016 - 23:37

Does anyone know why Robert Riddles was hired (presumably by Lord Hurcomb) rather than, say, George Ivatt of the LMS?   Would it have made a difference? 
 
I understand it was Ivatt who completed Charles Fariburn's diesel electrics.    From what I can gather, Riddles was a steam man and perhaps his ego required a range of steam locomotives in his name.


See post 57 (last paragraph).

 

Riddles was the senior man and Ivatt was in fact working for him in January 1948. It appears that both men favoured electrification, but there was no money available.


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#148 The Stationmaster

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Posted 20 December 2016 - 11:45

As regards the standard locos, I feel Ivatt of the LMS prepared the ground with the rocking grate, just one small item, but what a difference it made. When enthusiasts pay for an hours firing on a heritage line, I wish an extra half hour was added for them to dispose an engine!  But of course the damage they could inflict on themselves would not be tolerated. As for design, standardisation already existed on the Big Four except for the LNER which had adopted it too late, and sheds were already well stocked with renewable items. What was more simple than giving the GWR more 'Manors', the LMS more Black Fives and 8F's and the Southern and LNER the locos they really needed ......LMS engines! The introduction of standard classes meant carrying stocks of even more items. They often preceded the engines they were copied off to the scrapheap.

 

One point Coach is don't forget the S160s which introduced many a Fireman to the idea of a rocking grate and, at times, (unfortunately) a drop grate during the war.   More than a few GW Firemen got caught out in their early days with S160s by pulling the lever too far and accidentally dropping part of the fire.  But overall, especially with a hopper ashpan,a far nicer way of disposing an engine.


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#149 coachmann

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Posted 20 December 2016 - 12:43

One point Coach is don't forget the S160s which introduced many a Fireman to the idea of a rocking grate and, at times, (unfortunately) a drop grate during the war.   More than a few GW Firemen got caught out in their early days with S160s by pulling the lever too far and accidentally dropping part of the fire.  But overall, especially with a hopper ashpan,a far nicer way of disposing an engine.

Spot on. I have a USA video covering Main Central's Mountain division in the late 1940's. Early 20th Century 2-6-0's, 4-6-0's, Pacifics and small 2-8-2's mainly covered the roster and they had rocking ashpans etc.  As usual, little 'ol "England" was where it always is.....


Edited by coachmann, 20 December 2016 - 12:44 .

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