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JimC

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Everything posted by JimC

  1. Not really, the GWR design was very different and I believe rather more sophisticated. AIUI the MR design didn't have the "scissors" part which made for more even valve timing.
  2. I guess the question mark would be how well the GWR design would have survived LMS standards and practices of shed maintenance etc. Its documented that there were a number of GW specialities that didn't travel well. Would Castles have prospered in the "treat 'em rough" ethos of the ex LNWR sheds? GW locomotives benefited from high but expensive standards of maintenance and a definite esprit de corps that isn't always evident from loco crews of other lines, and one of the key attributes of a successful design is that it should fit well in the environment it finds itself in.
  3. Well then, it would be helpful if you were to say what the scholarly analysis concluded - especially if you are completely confident its free from the preconceptions and biases which are evident in the primary sources I've seen...
  4. My guess is that there was a lot of internal politics involved, and what the traffic department thought they were going to get was a nice safe copy of a known good design, but clearly that didn't happen. How much of it was a semi Lord Nelson copy, how much North British own design (presumably developed from export designs) and how much Derby is difficult to ascertain, because every commentator seems to reflect their own preconceptions/biases.
  5. I don't believe there were any GWR classes that didn't receive the shirtbutton. As you say, new and overhauled (=repainted) alike would received it. There's nothing I've seen which suggests there was any policy to prioritise different classes, though one may guess that older and absorbed stock that ran low mileages might be the longer survivors. Absorbed stock might not be branded at all.
  6. You're forgetting that Fowler's team already had a compound Pacific well progressed on the drawing board. Its probably a fair bet though, that like other early Pacifics, it wouldn't have been any more capable than a Castle.
  7. For sure. And everyone will have their own slant, some more credible than others. Its enough to say that under Collett the GWR was notably progressive in engineering matters, but less so in designing new locomotives.
  8. I guess as big an argument as anything against excess conservatism on the GWR is ATC. How many preventable accidents were there on other lines?
  9. The GWR for one. Felix Pole's (general manager of the GWR in the 1920s) book is full of the importance he places on what he calls (jarringly to modern ears) propaganda.
  10. All the railway companies suffered from a terrible complacency in some respects, different for each one. The trouble is unless we have the whole picture, maybe we don't have any. Collett, for example, would never have tolerated the level of big end failure that Gresley's team seemed unable to cure, and when the LNER big ends were finally sorted out it was with concepts that went back to Collett's work when King big end bearings were looking less than adequate in service. Gresley led a more innovative design team than Collett, but Collett led a better engineering team. High superheat is an odd one. Its such a top trumps figure. There's no doubt that high superheat brings greater efficiency, but it also comes with a price tag in increased oil consumption, wear and other disadvantages. Is anyone in a position to say where the business case lay? And at what date? I understand there was a big jump in lubrication technology in the 1930s. Its pretty well documented that Stanier introduced higher superheat on his early classes not for economy, but because his design team couldn't get the boilers to steam adequately without it. Its obvious that this was not a problem the GWR boilers suffered from, at least until coal supply intervened WW2 and after. But its possible to exaggerate coal supply too. When Castles embarrassed the local locomotives on the LNER and LMS they were using local coal, not Welsh. Doubtless it was top quality local coal, not the sort of low quality material that plagued post WW2 operation, but even so. One of the most interesting, perhaps, is boilers. There's an obvious difference in design philosophy between the north eastern stream of very large diameter parallel boilers with round top fireboxes and wide grates, cheaper and easier to construct, and the western philosophy of much more complex and expensive tapered boilers with narrow belpaire fireboxes. Both design schools had some practical experience of the other style, but a consensus was never reached. I wonder who was right? Can we ever know? Did it have anything to do with works capability rather than paper design? There was that lovely example in BR days when they established that machining costs at Works A were cheaper than Works B, and casting costs at Works B were cheaper than Works A. So they did the obvious thing, and got Works B to do the casting, and Works A to do the machining. End result - more expensive than either, since Works A's costs machining Works Bs castings were through the roof. And while the Cheltenham flyer was the Worlds fastest train, its also documented that the typical GWR service was a quick acceleration up to 60mph, then a gentle trundle along until it was time for the next station, where they'd probably spend about five minutes on the station work.
  11. That's the same photo that's in RCTS, but big enough to actually see!
  12. Photo G35 in RCTS part 7 shows 3306 Armorel with a standard 3 boiler, and you can definitely see that the smokebox is longer. The casing that covers the various pipes leading into the smokebox has moved back too. So although the differences are subtle, they are visible. The boiler cladding appears to me (although the background and small size of the photo doesn't make it easy to judge) to have the small parallel section at the front, its not a single cone of cladding like the 2251s etc. It surprises me that there aren't any enterprising souls 3d printing GW standard boilers sans fittings. I reckon you'd get a better result putting separate chimneys and safety valve covers on, and given a range of standard boilers all sorts of plastic bashing is made much easier.
  13. The Stellas had moved to Chester in good numbers by 1915 according to RCTS, so one around 1910 doesn't seem impossible. So you could save up for two Finney kits!
  14. Unfortunately that one shows a 1915 Swindon boiler with top feed, so you'll need to do a bit of bringing together for your period. The drawing in Russell is from Maskelyne's Locomotives I have known, where its reproduced on a larger scale and more readably.
  15. Basically yes. There is the caveat though that what we look at is of course the boiler cladding, not the boiler, and the one doesn't always follow the other. The Std 10, for example, with the same barrel as the Std 3, was usually clothed with a taper extending all the way to the smokebox, whereas the barrel underneath had a short parallel section.
  16. In the absence of a post with better detail, Cox, in "Chronicles of steam" notes that at the time of WW1 Chester and Birkenhead saw "a weird assortment of Dean and other products whose main characteristics seemed to be outside frames, huge domes and incredibly narrow cabs." Various 2-4-0s seems likely, RCTS is not ideal for allocation detail, but your date range seems to be the sort of period where the last of the much renewed early absorbed stock was going, together with the earlier Armstrong classes. The 111 class is specifically mentioned for working to Birkenhead, but they went 03-05. Thereafter the book notes 3226, 439 and 3201s as having representatives in the Chester area. Not much help I'm afraid, sorry.
  17. Interesting. Fig 498 in Russell is of course 2080, and to my eyes that's also the locomotive that Templar has drawn as 5400 in fig 497. Fig 193, on the other hand, would seem to be a different locomotive - not just the brakes, but also the footplate, steps bunker etc are all different. That tends to back up the RCTS suggestion that 5400 mk1 is a different locomotive to 2080. RCTS is consistent as they list 2062 withdrawn in 1930 - and few or no other pre war withdrawals of the class - and 2080 in 1952. In addition Cook - and who would know better - is quite firm that 5400 was rebuilt/renewed from 2062, not 2080. A post 1932 photo of 2080 might be interesting.
  18. RCTS says 2080 carried the 5'2 wheels for a few months, and that there is no evidence she ever carried the number 5400. It states 2062 was the locomotive which became the first 5400, and that it was also fitted with 4'7.5 wheels in November 1930. Its not clear to me from RCTS whether 5400/ex 2062 kept the 4'7 wheels until it was withdrawn, or whether the 5'2 wheels were replaced. Is there any better source than Gibson for the 5600 slide bar story? Gibson does like his conspiracy theories about Collett's supposed incompetence as a locomotive designer, but of course Collett didn't design the locomotives anyway. A number of Gibson's stories/theories look rather suspect if you examine them in detail.
  19. Back to Bulldogs: are any of you planning a visit to the NRM archives in the near future? I've spotted an interesting description in the NRM Swindon drawings list. It runs 31381, 1906/10/xx, "Cab & Splashers, No 2 boiler in Lot 102 Frames", "Bulldog boiler in Duke frames i.e Bulldog New cab & Screw reversing gear lot 118." Assuing the data and descriptions are all correct that seems to suggest that a month after the last Bulldog rolled out of the works they were designing screw reverse for the early ones. It would be a very interesting drawing to get a sight of. Sadly the drawing is listed as grade 4 - the worst condition.
  20. Or the S Wales iron ore traffic...
  21. Not really, AIUI Wright was very influenced by locos that were already in existence in the North eastern quarter of the country.
  22. I am not at all sure its as simple as that. If the photo library has the wrong data then how practical is it to go round hundreds of books in search of an alternative? For every photo in the book? If you don't even know that its wrong? If another author spotted the error did they notify the photo library? Has more than one photo library got copies of the photo? Just because one has the correct information it doesn't mean another does. Photographs were the single thing that caused me most stress (with the possible exception of arguing with the editor about commas and footnotes) and I only used about a dozen of them!
  23. Which says something quite interesting about locomotive policies don't you think?
  24. I'm sure they do. Trust me on this, you can spend days checking and rechecking and still things slip through. Its incredibly annoying. And if you're trying to make any kind of living the clock is ticking... I have never added up the time I spent writing my book, but I greatly fear that the hourly rate on what I was paid was at best pennies... And when you're using photographic libraries in quantity what feels like the lions share ends up with the libraries. Fair dos, it costs serious money to obtain, store and maintain a photographic library, but its another big chunk off what what you might get to take home.
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