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RLBH

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  1. Living in a second-floor flat, my garden railway musings are largely unconstrained by considerations such as the available land. I've realised that an N-gauge garage sized track plan will take up a large garden if modelled in 45mm gauge. Almost exactly the size of my shared back court, in fact. I'm not sure that the owners of the other eleven flats would agree that it's a fortunate coincidence. Coming the other way, a CJF 00-gauge plan built to the original sizes but in N gauge will take care of points growing over 50 years and mitigate the issue of cramming lots of track into a layout. In N, it's the same amount of track, but it's not nearly so overcrowded!
  2. The numbers will always be the important part, but branding gets your firm a chance to present its' numbers. Granted, if I've got two hundred thousand tonnes of coal to move from Gascoigne Wood to Didcot, I'm never really going to look anywhere other then the railway and due diligence means that I'll send out the RFQ to all the usual candidates. For that kind of work, it really doesn't matter what colour the trains are painted, as long as they pick up and drop off the load at the appointed times. On the other hand, if I've got ten containers of widgets to be moved from Motherwell to Birmingham, my normal instinct might very well be to use a road haulier. If EWS (or whoever) can get me to notice them, I can request a brochure. If I like what I see in the brochure, I can invite them to submit a bid. And if it turns out to be a competitive tender, the branding helps create an image - a bold and dynamic brand will be treated very differently to a conservative, safe brand. Of course, an American department store owner did once say 'Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don't know which half'.
  3. In the days before continuous brakes, end, European and American railways provided a number of brakemen along the length of the train to set the brakes on their wagons in motion. I don't know if it was done much in the UK, although Ffestiniog gravity slate trains were worked this way. Obviously gives finer control than a brake van, but considerably more railwaymen to pay and rather worse conditions for them!
  4. Steam and blue/grey coaches is one of those combinations that looks better than it has any right to, in my book at least!
  5. The electrification study was published in (IIRC) 1937, and was predicated largely on trying to avoid high coal costs west of Newton Abbot. Similar considerations were behind the original GWR oil-firing scheme for the West Country (using war surplus fuel and facilities built for the Royal Navy) and I believe a scheme for diesel traction early in the BR years.
  6. I don't know about 0-6-2s, but there were 0-8-2 and 0-10-2 tender locomotives used in North America for switching purposes. They were generally older 2-x-2s with the leading truck removed to increase weight on the drivers. Presumably the trailing truck was still needed to support a large firebox.
  7. It may have been the influence of the landowner – Killiecrankie tunnel between Pitlochry and Perth is very shallow and could easily have been a cutting, but the Duke of Atholl didn't want a railway line spoiling the view. The resultant tunnel limits loading gauge on the Highland Main Line.
  8. Extremely disappointing if that's the case - this was used once and then fell apart when I got it out for a second use.
  9. This is because a gas turbine engine needs to run the compressor stage, which uses something like 70% of the power developed in the turbine stage at full power. As a consequence, even at idle the engine is running at about a 70% throttle setting yet produces no net power - it's all used up running itself.
  10. Finally got around to starting construction on my layout yesterday, was soldering wires and track joints without any undue difficulty and no severely singed fingertips. Came back to finish the job today and found the tip of my iron, including attachment bolt, had come loose. There's no obvious means of attachment between the bolt and the iron itself - am I missing something or has the iron gone unserviceable? Hopefully this is an acceptable subforum for this question, it seemed most appropriate!
  11. It's worth noting in this context some figures from the first Beeching report: in an average trip, a coal wagon spent 3.7 days in terminal working (loading and unloading), 1.7 days moving whilst loaded, and just 1.2 days moving whilst empty. Meanwhile, it spent 4 days sitting idle somewhere that wasn't either terminal!
  12. Not terribly au fait with valve gear, but I would imagine that reducing reciprocating movement would be beneficial in terms of reducing wear and thereby keeping consistent valve events. I have a notion, though, that the main point was rotary valve gear allowing for more finely controlled valve events. I'm sure someone more knowledgable will correct me!
  13. If the railways were (are?) anything like the Armed Forces, no disaster would have come without an opportunity. Someone worked out after the ATLANTIC CONVEYOR had been sunk in 1982 that the weight of all the equipment that various units claimed to have been lost aboard her was about four times the maximum capacity of the ship.
  14. Bearing speed is also an issue in principle, but in practice the driving wheels don't see the highest bearing speed so won't normally be a limitation. There are of course a whole host of boiler and steam circuit issues. But if you hook a locomotive up to a rolling road with an effectively unlimited steam supply, eventually the piston speed will become a limit. I've got a very rough classification scheme for locomotives based on the ratio of driving wheel diameter to piston stroke, which is proportional to piston speed. It's a bit crude, but actually works quite well – there are clear ranges for express passenger and heavy freight locomotives, with a fairly fuzzy region in the middle for express freight and mixed traffic stuff.
  15. In principle yes, provided the piston speed was kept low enough for the technology of the day. The other approach is duplex locomotives, which allow you to make a four-cylinder locomotive with all cylinders outside the wheels. Unfortunately the results have never been entirely satisfactory. I personally suspect that a simplex three- or four-cylinder version of any of the PRR duplexes would have worked equally well.
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