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If you were in Riddles position......




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#1 coachmann

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Posted 23 September 2010 - 17:44

From New Years day 1948, the newly formed Railway Executive with R.A Riddles, member of the railway executive for Mechanical and Electrical Engineering, were charged with selecting liveries and deciding future motive power for BR. Riddles was an old LNWR man and had personally persuaded the Crewe paint shop to finish a Black Five in full lined LNWR black livery. While the executive were gazing at hree Black Fives painted in various greens, the 'LNWR' variant was trotted out! Everyone agreed that this looked very smart.

LNWR loco livery was simple and as we know was one of the liveries adopted. LNWR coach livery could not be simplified. It was tried by BR and failed miserably. Blood & Custard became the chosen livery for corridor coaches together with Caley blue for class 8P locos and GWR Green for other express passenger types, although blue was soon eliminated by 1952. Riddles was in a fantastic position and probably better placed than any previous CME as he could influence liveries and loco design.

What would you have done in his position?

To kick this off, I'd have chosen LNWR lined black too. And GWR lined green, extended to 'Schools' and V2's from the outset as well as ex SR 'Remembrance' class. But just as it was more convenient to allow ex GWR locos to retain their old running numbers, it would have made more sense to keep ex LNER teak coaches in varnished teak seeing as painting on top of varnished wood was folly.
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#2 Removed a/c_Max Stafford

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Posted 23 September 2010 - 18:57

Personally, I would have retained the blue for the top link and a few special applications (an L1 might have looked interesting in blue!)although I would have encouraged the paint boffins to find a way of making it more stable. Swindon Green I can take or leave and I think I would have confined its use to the Western where it truly belonged. I would have adopted the LNWR black without a moment's hesitation. V2s would have stayed in lined black - it suited them far better than lamp post green. Lined Black for all standards except the 9s and 71000s which would have also received blue.

Dave.

#3 Ravenser

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Posted 23 September 2010 - 19:03

Dead easy. I'd have built on the modern traction programme I inherited. How about half a dozen follow-ons to LMS 10000 and 10001 (I don't buy the argument "it was too difficult " - Ivatt got two built in short order). How about taking 1500V out from Shenfield to Ipswich and giving useful employment to some more EM2s? Electrify the Cheshire Lines main line?
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#4 Kris

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Posted 23 September 2010 - 19:23

I tend to agreed with Ravenser about the modern traction, but I may have gone further and rather than spending money on developing new steam engines (to me it seems fairly evident that the world was moving beyond steam at this point) I would have ordered the minimal amount of new traction to cover needs from existing successful designs. This could have freed up money (spent on developing new steam) to develop diesel loco's. I recognise that the money was not available in the country to significantly expand the electric network at this time so whilst ultimately (and with hindsight) electrification would have been a better route to go down I would not have spent money in this area. The exception to this rule might have been the Southern network given that this was already extensively (compared to elsewhere) electrified.

#5 Mallard60022

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Posted 23 September 2010 - 19:27

Got a grip with oil fired boilers! However, this might have back fired (arrrghh - bad pun) in the 70's!
I would also have tried very hard to work with the Unions on more than just footplate/cab design and guard's compartments.
I would also have insisted that post war railway regeneration involved the rebuilding/modernisation of many more main STEAM loco depots and the closure (sorry!) of a lot of old, small and duplicate depots. However, having seen the Thornaby site in the 70s 80s (1958 built roundhouse) that would seem to have been a waste of money BUT had I still been alive and the Government hadn't all been a load of a******s then the oil fired standards would/could have lived for far longer side by side with diesels in a fairly clean environment(like the 'new Thornaby) until electrification was far more extensive.
OK a bit confused, but that's my age.;)

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#6 APOLLO

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Posted 23 September 2010 - 19:57

Oil firing became a No-No with the suez crisis.

I think Riddles & his team could have taken steam development alot further. The 9F's were his masterpiece, and surely could have been improved on similar to the improvements made to the Gresley A3's, i.e. Kylchap exhaust,& gas flowing. Also roller bearings all round, fluidised bed combustion, auto stokers (Yank ones worked !!), power reversers, etc, etc.

Steam still had alot of development potential in the 50's, and could have been cost effective well into the 80's & 90's in heavy long haul block freight until replaced directly by electrification, thus avoiding the costly mass diesel mistake. (Think GC windcutter type services).

Perhaps one day, steam WILL make a comeback. Wishfull thinking ? we will see, for in the next 5-10 years the world's oil starts to rapidly deplete, and becomes mega-expensive.

Brit15
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#7 Karhedron

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Posted 23 September 2010 - 20:04

I agree with above posters. Traction replacement needs could have been fulfilled by allowing the regions to continue building existing designs (as happened to some extent anyway).

The time, money and effort spent on the standard steamers could have been invested in diesel or (prefferably) electric traction. The rest of Europe used the rebuilding after WW2 as an opportunity to massively modernise their infrastructure while Britain stayed stuck in the past.
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#8 Tim H

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Posted 23 September 2010 - 20:31

* Start a rolling program of electrification with the intention of covering all the major inter-city and busier suburban routes
* Partial dieselisation beginning with further builds of the LMS "Twins" and a DMU fleet based on the GWR "Flying Bananas" to be used all over the country.
* Construction of new steam locomotives to cease as soon as practically possible, with no new designs to be built. Set a proposed end-of-steam date (1975?) at the outset.
* Finally, begin the move towards higher-capacity freight wagons designed to run at higher speeds, all with continuous brakes. Don't build hundreds of thousands of unfitted short-wheelbase wagons to essentially 19th-century designs.
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#9 trisonic

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Posted 23 September 2010 - 20:36

The writing was on the wall for steam power post WW1. Use coal to generate electricity. The line to Shenfield is a good example - it just held off the inevitable.
Mind you we all have the benefit of hindsight.......

Best, Pete.



#10 Peter Kazmierczak

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Posted 23 September 2010 - 20:45

Wouldn't have bothered with mainline diesels at all; just used them for shunters and DMU's. Shunters to be standardised into two classes - 350hp diesel electric and 200hp diesel mechanical. DMU's of two types too - high density suburban and low density cross- country.

Electric locos would've been 1,500v DC overhead, probably more EM1's and EM2's for eventual whole network use. EMU's for suburban use - 750v DC 3rd rail for SR of three designs (inner suburban, outer suburban and express). 1,500v DC derivatives of these for overhead lines.

Steam - retain modern pre nationalisation designs (notably Stanier (LMS), Collett (GW), and Gresley/Thompson/Peppercorn (LNER). New construction to cover period before electrification: 9F 2-10-0, 8MT 2-8-2 and 7MT 4-6-2. All with potential for air-braking.

New design of standardised coaching stock (dual braked and ETH). Wagons with potential of dual brakes too). Reduce number of specialised types.

Liveries - Steam: Express/mixed traffic types = Brunswick green (no lining)
Freight = black
Electric: Express/mixed traffic = electric blue
Freight = black
Diesel shunters = black

Passenger stock (Coaches/DMU's/EMU's) = Maroon

Wagons = Grey (all types)
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#11 298

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Posted 23 September 2010 - 20:50

Going slightly OT, i'd have started a pre-Beeching Axe to remove un-necessary duplication and invested in the remaining lines to avoid the mass cull that happened later on. This would have kept important diversion routes such as the Waverley, Great Central and the Withered Arm open and allowed easier electrification of the important main lines. And as for the Standards and pilot scheme diesels, i'd have gone straight to Alco and have UK workshops build American designs under licence. After all, we did give them the Jet engine & let them claim the sound barrier....
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#12 Edwin_m

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Posted 23 September 2010 - 21:05

Though I don't remember any of it, I've always thought the LNWR black suited most locos pretty well and I would probably have gone for that for everything. Likewise (with hindsight) maroon from the start for coaching stock, though I think the blood and custard looked pretty good when fresh. Or would choosing two "LMS" colours have been politically unacceptable?

I think oil-fired steam locos were largely a blind alley. One of the valid reasons to continue with steam was to use the domestic fuel supply - so why rebuild them to use an imported fueal which could be used more effectively for diesels? And why didn't Suez kill the Modernisation Plan? I don't have a view on whether the decision to go for steam in 1948 was the right one in the light of what was known at the time - it seems to me that politics played at least as much part as engineering in the decisions BR made in its first couple of decades.

In the Beeching era many routes were fully staffed and retained lots of unnecessary track and signalling right up to closure (though DMUs had replaced steam on many of them). It would have been good to see infrastructure rationalised in the 50s at a time when the labour market could have absorbed the excess staff, including elimination of some duplicate routes as suggested above. If the Beeching process was truly driven by economics (that's a separate question), this could have saved quite a few routes in the 60s. But it's getting OT from the role of Riddles!

#13 60B

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Posted 23 September 2010 - 21:13

If I was Riddles? Its dead simple, invest in diesel and electric power earlier (and on a larger scale) and only build a few steam locos to fill in for those that were life-expired. To save money, these would be to existing or modified designs of less powerful mixed traffic locos(a 3MT version of the Stanier Crab, a few more Collet goods (built with a more common cab layout) or a tender version of the Austerity tank and perhaps some Class 4 based on the HR Clans). Express locos came off alright so they wouldn't need an immediate steam-based replacement But if they were needed, if a Castle could be narrower and lighter, that would be my first choice. Replacement stock? BR were on the ball there with the MK1 and standard goods vehicles.

For liveries, the green and black worked well and (I assume) less prone to fade. Cream and plum would be implented for all standard coaching stock. The Royal Train in Black/ Plum and a loco permanetly allocated for the duty, personally i'd want a T9 with a tender cab in a light green and chrome fittings. I would have 2 crews ready to call up when HM wanted to travel permanetly based in Wolverhampton with the train. Why a tender cab? Because of the permanent allocation in the Midlands, the crew would need an accompaniment on un-familiar routes (though they would be trained for runs to Balmoral and Sandringham from London). This would require accomodation for both crews which would be provided seperately from train staff in a vehicle that can be marshalled at either end.

If I was feeling particularly (or looking for a little extra income), the workshops could be utilised to build replacement locos for the countries whose engineering facilities were obliterated in the war (like "Tommy" for the Dutch but on a larger scale).

Before I move onto diesels, any building work would be carried out by BRs workshops with all the works sharing the work equally.
Whether the diesel designs would be out-sourced, i'm not sure looking back at the failures. Tight controls would be put on numbers and quality to advoid cases like the CL 17. Ultimately, I would have more locos round less amd more common designs. However, demonstrator locos would be encouraged before all this to evaluate design requirements. Dual power would be considered and a handful built for cross-country work. Both the ECML and WCML would be electrified at roughly the same time. The GWML would done at a later date.

The GC had the right idea with a larger loading guage for traffic from the continent so a freight corridor for such flows would be established between Dover, London, Brimingham and Glasgow.

For branchlines, I would stick with the railbus idea but based more around the 121 with some railbus features (vacuum operated steps, bi-directional chairs and less doors). Freight traffic would be made more competitive with investment in container traffic and speeding up the slower traffic.

Apologies for delving more into the operations but I just kept typing.
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#14 Removed a/c_Max Stafford

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Posted 23 September 2010 - 21:13

I echo previous thoughts here regarding electrification. I would have given this as high a priority as could have been afforded, bearing in mind we were also trying to maintain a credible defence against Stalin at this point. One situation I would have taken advantage of was the Northern hydro Electric board's offer to BR to assist in the electrification of the Highland system. If such projects were viable in Scandinavia, there was nothing to prevent BR getting in on the act given the will. Progressive electrification would have been carried out with some diesel infil, but full use of existing modern steam designs as in Germany until the wires were ready. Such a situation would surely have made more long-term sense than the evolutionary dead end that was mass dieselisation. Black would still be the colour for the new traction though with silver/aluminium trim.
A big licence build of Silver Princess coaches for Premier services would also be given serious consideration - wouldn't they look good behind a pair of black EM2s or 10000s? B)

Dave.

#15 coachmann

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Posted 23 September 2010 - 21:35

Whatever I would have done if in Riddles position, I would still have had to work witin the strictures of life as it stood in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Nationalisation was supposed to give the newly formed BR access to funds for rebuilding and modernisation, but by this time the Yanks had lost their patience with us spending money we hadn't got when we owed the USA money. They called in their debts and in one fell swoop nationalisation was turned on its head. The railways would never really recover and dieselisation was stopped in its tracks.

I wouldn't have built all those Standard locos though. The Brits, Class 4 4-6-0s and 9F's yes. They were very useful and needed, but as for the rest, Riddles might as well have used existing flanging blocks and presses for turning out more existing designs like Peppercorn A1's, Ivatt 2-6-4Ts, Ivatt 2-6-0s and Black Fives, all with rocking grates and ashpans. Sad as it is, GWR, LNER and SR loco designs had come to a dead end.

Is there a back way out of here....? :P

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Posted 23 September 2010 - 21:58

"...but by this time the Yanks had lost their patience with us spending money we hadn't got when we owed the USA money. They called in their debts and in one fell swoop nationalisation was turned on its head..."

I've got my own more cynical thoughts on that bit concerning export markets Larry, but that's for another discussion I reckon.

I agree fully though in your selection of "retained" standards although I suspect their aesthetic appearance would be more akin to the Ivatt 2-6-0s, but stretched.

Not that this would be a bad thing - possibly a good opportunity for some 'cut and shut' images from some suitably skilled individual! :)

Dave.

#17 PhilJ W

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Posted 23 September 2010 - 21:59

The problem facing not just British Railways but the whole country was that the country was effectively bankrupt. Imports had to be paid for in US dollars, that includes oil and metals such as copper, needed for electrification. Also Britain did not receive any help under the Marshall plan unlike countries such as France. Steam was the only serious alternative in 1948, however by 1952 the situation had changed and the steam building program should have been reconsidered. There were Oil burning experiments about 1949 that were quite successful in some cases then some one done the maths! The pioneer diesels were continued with but at a very slow pace, the Peaks were a direct descendant of the Bullied diesels. What should have happened is that the change from steam to diesel (and electric) should have started sooner. The problem lies with Riddles himself, he was a die hard steam man who carried on with steam far to long.

#18 number6

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Posted 23 September 2010 - 22:38

Seeing as I had already given it the benefit of doubt once I'd have got Brighton to put the boiler down the middle of the remaining three Leaders so they didn't need tons of balancing weight. Then turn the first two into razor blades [waste not want not] and paint the new improved ones LNWR lined black. Maybe with one in Malachite green?!

#19 Flying Pig

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Posted 23 September 2010 - 22:41

The problem lies with Riddles himself, he was a die hard steam man who carried on with steam far to long.

It's very hard to believe that traction policy was dictated entirely by one man's indulging his fancy. He was after all spending public money and someone must have been watching.

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Posted 23 September 2010 - 23:09

It's very hard to believe that traction policy was dictated entirely by one man's indulging his fancy. He was after all spending public money and someone must have been watching.


In the 1940s, public accountability was a concept very much in its infancy. Your ordinary taxpayer in 1948-9 still trusted the 'powers that be' to be making the right decisions for the benefit of the nation - no hint of people like Ernest Marples back then...!

Dave.

#21 Baby Deltic

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Posted 23 September 2010 - 23:45

I would have developed standard diesel loco's based on either Sulzer or EE power units. I wouldn't have let the WR order diesel hydraulics, and, with the exception of the Type 5 deltics, I wouldn't have allowed two stroke or four stroke quick running engines to be used in mainline locomotives;).

#22 AMJ

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Posted 24 September 2010 - 02:13

The development of steam in this country still had quite a way to go espescially when you compare it to Andre Chapelon just over the channel. I'd have built selected loco types and included many of the AC features and improved existing designs with better draughting etc. I think that if the ultimate design concepts as applied to the Austerity tanks had gone fully main line we could have had one man operated steam locos. A modern computer controlled boiler/firebox burning coal (powdered?) would make steam more practical - cab forward modern design.

Steam Electric locos, prehaps even with a pan so that under the wires would be a pure electric loco.

We have ample supplies of coal so until the powerstations like Drax were built and main lines electrified I'd have gone with electro steam.

Liveries
Special express - garter blue
Apple green for passenger locos - lined for express
Coaches - the LNER tourist train green & cream
Lined black - mixed traffic
Unlined black - goods

In some respects because we were a bit slow getting the OHLE up it has meant that we got it right by using 25kVAC rather than 1500vDC.

#23 Bloodnok

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Posted 24 September 2010 - 05:57

I'm not entirely sure how much influence Riddles had - and whether some of these ideas are beyond what would have been his influence.

But:

I'd perform a review of Diesel shunters - all of the big four were building and using them, and I'd use the experience of all these types to make a production series of 'light' 0-4-0dm (circa 200hp) locos and 'heavy' 0-6-0de (circa 350-400hp) locos. I'd try and make the heavy shunters capable of doing short trip working, but not at the expense of compromising their ability as shunters. I'd farm them out across the network as fast as they could be built. This would displace a lot of small steam locos. The best of these would run the local freights that the shunters weren't fast enough for, and the rest would be retired.

I'd start a project akin to the Mk1 coach project to build a fleet of standard DMUs. Three different styles would be required - a high density commuter DMU with good acceleration and wide doorways, a low density long distance DMU with a good turn of speed, and a small rural service DMU with low operating cost. These would replace swathes more steam locos - some of which would also cascade into freight working, others would be retired. I'd be looking to use the low cost DMU as part of a package of measures to reduce the cost of running branch line passenger services.

I'd supervise any projects (whether steam, diesel, electric, gas turbine, whatever) started by the big four, and see the prototypes through to completion. Supervision would hopefully provide the opportunity to fix a few whoopsies, like off balance locos...

'leader' was a bold idea, and a powerful steamer - but had some serious flaws.
10000/1 were successful.
10100 wasn't, and was rightly dropped as a design route.
10201/2 were successful but heavy and relatively underpowered.
10203 added more power, but was still heavy.
10800 was successful to an extent - enough that BR ordered further locos as part of the modernisation plan. With hindsight, both this loco and those ordered were significantly underpowered.
18000 and 18100 proved to need excessive maintenance and were overly expensive to run.

For mixed traffic, 10000/1 stands out. I'd place a significant order for more of those. The only change would be to add air braking in addition to vacuum braking. I would use them singly in place of larger mixed traffic steam locos - things like Standard 4s and 5s. I'd also use them to introduce fast freight services like the 'condor' - only earlier and to more places.

For heavy freight, I'd consider the leader design due to it's high tractive effort - but probably play it safe and build 2-10-0s, as Leader had a number of restrictions placed on it's design (i.e. length) which would not apply to this build. I may learn some boiler lessons from 'Leader' though, as it seems upon researching it to have been rather good (280psi?). Overall they'd probably come out looking like an improved WD with some 9F style elements added. Oh, and air braking would be a part of this design.

I'd then set about building two more diesel classes.

The introduction of the DMU fleet would see the requirement that type 1s be mixed traffic capable dropped - and I'd pursue a no heat version of 10800. I'd use the space not taken up by the heating equipment to add power. I'd add MU capability and air braking. Basically - shortcut my way to something akin to a class 20, without taking so many wrong turns first. These would work singly on smaller freight trains, and in multiple on larger ones.

I'd also work on lightening 10203. The objective being to try and get it's power from a 6 axle package. Part of this would be removing steam heat entirely (I'd also go air brake only), but savings would be needed elsewhere too. I'd build a class of these, and sets of ETH/AirBrake Mk1 coaches to go with them. These would be rolled out as express trains on intercity routes, and would allow cascading of existing express steam locos and coaches.

Any money available for electrification I'd take, but I doubt this would dramatically increase the amount of electrification done overall or the speed of it. I would try to resist disconnected "me too" schemes popping up in different places, concentrating on network expansions instead.

I'd create a standard set of EMUs. Existing EMUs in service varied, but the LMS Wirral stock and the SR W&C stock caught my eye - looking rather modern with double sliding doors. I'd want my standard commuter EMU to have this arrangement. I'd also want a longer distance design with more seating and less doorway space - this could be much more Mk1 derived, and looked a lot like a 4-CEP. It would have a pantograph well - as I'd want the ability to fit one standard shell out for either 3rd rail or overhead electrification. These would operate mid distance services (and intercity services on the Southern).

As far as electric locos go, 20001/2/3 were successful platforms let down by the 3rd rail, and suffering from all the stuff they had to have to deal with it going away at regular intervals.
26000 was sound electrically, but shown to have mechanical design problems in service in the Netherlands relating to the bogies - particularly riding problems at speed.

I wouldn't build any more EM1s, I'd take the chassis and bogie design from 20003, but the electrical equipment (suitably uprated for a 6 axle loco) for the standard DC electric loco build. This may well have turned out quite like an EM2...

For coaching stock, there are some knock-on changes to the Mk1 coach project in the number of vehicles built of specific types - DMUs and EMUs would remove the need for Mk1 suburbans, and more ETH/air vehicles would be needed to work with the ETH only locomotives proposed.

For freight stock, I'd set a policy to build fewer and larger wagons, and that those wagons should be fitted. Converting a basically vacuum express freight network to air braking won't happen overnight, but block trains, particularly coal, will go straight to air brake sets hauled by the new 2-10-0s as the wagons are constructed.

Into the future, and the search for the ultimate type 2 will be conducted by asking for demonstrators, rather than ordering batches of 10 or more unseen from the drawing board. Oh, and the winner of that particular competition will look a lot like the class 33...

#24 Flying Pig

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Posted 24 September 2010 - 06:20

In the 1940s, public accountability was a concept very much in its infancy. Your ordinary taxpayer in 1948-9 still trusted the 'powers that be' to be making the right decisions for the benefit of the nation - no hint of people like Ernest Marples back then...!

Dave.

I wasn't thinking of the public, rather of the bodies supposedly in charge: the British Transport Commission, the Ministry of Transport and (ultimately as always) the Treasury.

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Posted 24 September 2010 - 06:46

I don't think I would have done anything much different to what Riddles actually did do. Most points have been aired above, but the over-riding consideration was cost. There was no money available. By the standards of Europe Great Britain's railways had suffered relatively little damage in the war and there was no requirement to rebuild from scratch, which was the driving force for the electrification of many Continental railways. The British infrastructure was still geared to steam and Riddles initially perpetuated the Big Four companies' designs: remember that 1,538 locomotives were built to existing designs whilst only 999 Standard engines were built.

Riddles accepted that electrification was the way forward as that also used indiginous fuel supplies (the disastrous steam oil-firing experiment had shown that reliance on overseas supplies was both politically and practically naive) but that funds would not be available for some time. His steam policy was for a 25-year period, quite logical at the time, allowing gradual electrification to make the oldest steam locomotive redundant without like-for-like replacement. The only logical areas for diesels were the ones he took, building diesel shunters as electrification of goods yards could never be totally satisfactory, and DNUs for local lines that would never justify the electrification investment.

Unless he was clairvoyant, he could not forsee the total change in society of the 1950s which resulted in the way that the steam railway was to be viewed and which resulted in the Modernisation Plan and its cack-handed revision. We associate the DMU programme with that Plan, but it had already started under Riddles. Even so, the Southern Region's modernisation was barely affected, other than its timetable, for full electrification rather than dieselisation, witnessed by the fact that the Southern only had a total of 99 main line diesels built.

Riddles only introduced the Standard classes to fullfill the requirements of more modern locomotives, easier and cheaper to maintain. Part of the objective was to make them suitable across the network, so that they could be transferred to other parts of it as each area became electrified. Don't forget there was no reason at the time to doubt the long-term timescale.

Returning to Larry's original points, regarding liveries, Riddles conducted experiments and only the blue failed to be effective: maybe a brighter green (LNER or Southern) would have been more acceptable, but that's about it!

JE