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Mikkel

Loco jacks - how did they work, and did all locos carry them?

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Photos from pre-grouping days shows many GWR locos carrying loco jacks. This has lead me to wonder how they actually worked in mechanical terms?

 

And I wonder if there was any principle/rule in terms of which locos carried them and which didn't... Looking at photos from the 1900s, many of the larger GWR passenger classes have them, whereas only some tank locos carry them. Does this mean that only some classes or even some particular locos (prone to derailing) carried them, while others never did...?

 

On the GWR, they seem originally to have been fitted vertically on the footplate, but later they were fitted horisontally. Many have them on the right hand side, a few on the left hand side, or could it be that some locos actually carried two....

 

So many questions, so little time, it's a wonder we modellers are able to sleep at night  :locomotive:

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This has always puzzled me.  Having, a long time ago, been involved in rerailing efforts using 'good old fashioned' jacks you rapidly get to understand that the jack is only one small part of the whole procedure because once the errant vehicle has been jacked up it has to be moved sideways.

 

Maybe the early idea was to give it a shove and hope it landed in the right place?  And then someone realised a few bits of old plate and some timbers would make a decent traverse bed so the jack could be accommodated on a traverser to move the lifted vehcle sideways - but never any sign of those on any photos of locos with jacks.

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Looking at the drawing of the jacks carried by Tilbury locos, which is the reference closest to hand, the base plate had a screw thread allowing the jack body to be traversed. How easy this would be to do when the jack was carrying the weight of the loco is another matter, not to mention sourcing the necessary packing and timber baulks.

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Thanks gents. I've had a look in my books and around the web, but information does seem to be scant on this topic.

 

I was intrigued by the wagon re-railing photos halfway down this page, although that is a very different time and place: http://www.farrail.net/pages/touren-engl/romania-viseu-de-sus-2009-09.html

 

Edit: If you fancy an original GWR loco jack, I see there's one for sale on ebay (no connection). Some interesting close-ups of the real thing, which shows the simplicity of it: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/G-W-R-35-TON-RE-RAILING-SCREW-JACK-Carried-on-the-Engine-/271929634405?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_3&hash=item3f5044ee65

Edited by Mikkel

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Thanks gents. I've had a look in my books and around the web, but information does seem to be scant on this topic.

 

I was intrigued by the wagon re-railing photos halfway down this page, although that is a very different time and place: http://www.farrail.net/pages/touren-engl/romania-viseu-de-sus-2009-09.html

 

Edit: If you fancy an original GWR loco jack, I see there's one for sale on ebay (no connection). Some interesting close-ups of the real thing, which shows the simplicity of it: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/G-W-R-35-TON-RE-RAILING-SCREW-JACK-Carried-on-the-Engine-/271929634405?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_3&hash=item3f5044ee65

That's a bog-standard GWR breakdown van jack - although more than likely the design was many years old.  That pattern was still in regular use until the MFD hydraulic gear arrived in the late ;60s/early '70s so unless it is dated I would think it debatavble that it was ever carried on an engine.

Looking at the drawing of the jacks carried by Tilbury locos, which is the reference closest to hand, the base plate had a screw thread allowing the jack body to be traversed. How easy this would be to do when the jack was carrying the weight of the loco is another matter, not to mention sourcing the necessary packing and timber baulks.

 

Very interesting, and useful to know.  It was normally not too difficult to find extra timber about for packing although breakdown vans carried copious quantities.  The real problem was finding something that would more reliably spread the weight and not give way (pieces of packing flying past your ear is probably the nearest you can get to the Nelsonian era of naval warfare when splinters were the things which did most damage to humans - not a nice experience when it gives way and flies in all directions).  So ideally you timber - which then gives a bit of give/flexibility - topped by nice tough steel plate which gives a firm base for the jack/traverse jack.  The heaviest thing I saw jacked and traversed that way was one end of a Mk1 coach but jacks were used to rerail engines - always much handier than using a crane.

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Hi Mike, thanks for that. However, that design on ebay does also  seem to be what was carried on pregrouping GWR engines - see eg a good deal of the loco photos in An Edwardian Album of GW Passenger Classes by Roger Carpenter, and the last photo in the ebay sellers photo gallery (showing the vertical mounting in early days). So maybe it was a design simply taken over from the engines and used on the breakdown vans.

 

The BGS do a nice version of it in 4mm:

 

post-738-0-53356400-1435782860_thumb.jpg

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This will be of no help, but it is interesting.  In about 1860, (I think) on the LCDR there was a train going on an excursion to the seaside.  There was a break in the fence and a cow wandered onto the line, it was duly hit by the train and killed but derailed the engine.  The train was full of dockers on a day's outing so they did no more than jump out of the train, and using the engines jack, re-railed it and off they went.  Her Majesties Inspector of Railways was not amused as I think they were not officially told about this.

 

The story came from the book about locomotives on the LCDR and I can find out precise details if you wish bu I would eed time to find them.

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Can't speak for the GWR, but they appeared on all Cambrian locos at the behest of the directors following the Welshampton accident in 1897. 

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Please can anyone tell me,Where these loco jacks just placed on the footplate or bolted down or on some sort of rail,Im building a mswjr loco (in 5 inch gauge)and this loco has one on the footplate ,Thankyou

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Please can anyone tell me,Where these loco jacks just placed on the footplate or bolted down or on some sort of rail,Im building a mswjr loco (in 5 inch gauge)and this loco has one on the footplate ,Thankyou

 

I can't speak for the MSWJR, but the horizontal mounting on the GWR seems to have been done using two vertical brackets at the rear of the jack, and another vertical bar protruding through the "head" of the jack at the front. A bit hard to explain and online photos are usually not very clear, but here are a couple which can hopefully give an idea:

 

https://www.flickr.com/photos/johnmightycat/5541077310

https://www.flickr.com/photos/johnmightycat/5541075058/

 

Edit: I have also seen photos where the front of the jack rests on a sort of small saddle, which presumably had a locking device of some sort.

Edited by Mikkel

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If it's of any use, on the County Donegal Railway, jacks were carried on the footplate and timber baulks were carried on top of the tanks.

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The BGS do a nice version of it in 4mm:

 

post-738-0-53356400-1435782860_thumb.jpg

Unfortunately the Jack by itself, BGS Ref.F085 at £1 each, is no longer available,

but together with the 5 lamp sockets it will soon be in stock at £4.75 + p&p.

As I was going to order 4 Jacks (£4), but have been advised by BGS of the current situation.

I think I may either have 2 Jacks and get rid of the sockets, or make my own jacks.

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