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Class 50 why fifty.


D854_Tiger
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This is from Class 47 50 Years of Locomotive History and will answer some of the points raised here.

 

Although orders had been placed for a total of 512 Brush Type 4 locomotives, the BR Board/Industry Policy Committee, a body comprising representatives from BR and manufacturers such as Brush, were advised by BR of a possible requirement for a further 150 Type 4 locomotives at their March 1964 meeting. This number was later reduced by the BR Board to 100. Both Brush and English Electric provided the Board with prices for 110 locomotives, which were summarised in a memo to the Supply Committee in July 1965. The prices quoted did not include the provision of a train heating boiler, although they allowed for the appropriate fittings should one be required.  Of the options proposed, the CE (T&RS) considered that the provision of an English Electric engine in a Brush Type 4 locomotive was technically unacceptable for several reasons. It would produce a locomotive with an untried combination of engine and electrical components, some of the equipment and mechanical parts would need redesigning, and development work was likely to be required before production could begin. In their offer English Electric said they were prepared to enter into a hire arrangement, while Brush said they were considering the terms on which they would be prepared to hire locomotives to BR. Brush’s schedule would see locomotives delivered between September 1966 and February 1967 if a Sulzer engine was required, and between October 1966 to November 1967 if the English Electric engine was chosen. English Electric’s schedule was to deliver fifty locomotives to their design between January 1967 and January 1968.

 

Table 4: Results of 1965 tender for Type 4 locomotives

 

a) Brush Design

No of Locomotives Estimated Prices per Locomotive
  Sulzer engine                 English Electric engine

Brush

25 £122,200 £111,200
50/55 £121,200 £109,800
110 £120,000 £108,300
BR Workshops 25 £121,700 £109,600
55 £121,200 £108,800

b) English Electric Design

No of Locomotives Estimated Prices per Locomotive
Type 4 DP2
50 £105,400 £106,100
110 £102,400 £103,300

John Ratter, the BR Board Member for Engineering, presented a paper on the availability of Sulzer-powered Type 4s, and the options for future Type 4 locomotive purchases, for the Board to consider in October 1965. He set out details of availability plus a summary of the main technical issues associated with not only the Brush Type 4s but also with the three variants of BR/Sulzer Type 4.  At the time, 402 Brush Type 4s had been delivered, returning an average availability of 75%. The main concern with them was the cracking of the Sulzer engines, the full extent of which was only just becoming known. Ratter’s view was that the Board had two options, the first of which was to purchase a further quantity of Brush Type 4s. These would incorporate all the modifications found necessary during the three years’ experience of operating the fleet. The second option was to purchase a quantity of what he described as ‘DP2 locomotives’ from English Electric. While both options had their advantages, his preference would be for the English Electric design. The BR Board accepted his recommendation, although they were only able to gain permission from the Ministry of Transport to hire 50 new locomotives. With this acquisition, BR’s Type 4 locomotive fleet was completed. In October 1965, BR entered into an agreement with English Electric for the construction and hire of 50 locomotives based upon DP2. The first of these entered service in September 1967, and were later designated Class 50.

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A deafening silence fell over the poor quality performance of the 47s in the 60s/70s.

 

It had to, because after 512 had been ordered by the gung-ho management, it would have been a shock to most people to find, that after engine de-rating, they were hardly any more powerful than a Peak.

 

I do wonder if that was a contributory factor to the lack of interest in Kestrel? Did they wonder if 4000hp was a step too far for Brush at that early stage, when 2750hp had been proved problematic?

 

if yoou want to know why BR was lukewarm about HS4000 there is a Railways Illustrated article on that by me from about 4 or 5 years ago which sets out all the reasons why.

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Hmm, rubbish is a bit strong... I was referring to the fifty ETH 45/1s in the early 1980s. My observations at Derby in the early 80s for example, had predominantly non-ETH 45s and 46s as well as some 47s on the NE/SW services, while I think the use of 45/1s on the Trans-Pennines was somewhat later, after the 45/1s had been mostly displaced from St Pancras workings by the HSTs. 

I'll have a look at a "loco-hauled travel" book later, and see what was rostered for the 45/1s.

 

Totally agree.  As a Birmingham spotter through the seventies, 45/1s were positively exotic - whereas we had a steady diet of 45/0s and 46s.  One of the highlights of a trip to Derby was that every Class 1 from the Leicester direction had an ETH Peak on the front.

 

And it's relatively obvious why - all 45/1s were TO, while the NE-SW services through New St generally had booked power from TI, HO, GD, YK, (CF, BR) and LA.

Edited by 'CHARD
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Interesting that they mentioned an English Electric engine in a brush bodyshell, essentially what happened a decade later with the 56. Which would have been an easier locomotive to service if it had had the class 50 bodyshell.

Class 50s with alternators were mentioned earlier was this ever considered? The class 50/1 project would have given BR a loco similar to a 56 if it had done and sands had been retained. I do wonder however if there was room in the loco for a rectifier cubicle

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" At the time, 402 Brush Type 4s had been delivered, returning an average availability of 75%". 

 

That means only 300 were available for traffic at a given time. When availability sometimes fell to 60% from 512 locos there were still only 300 available. No privately owned railway company in the world would contemplate such poor availability figures. Look at it from the other direction; in order to run a service requiring 300 locos they had to order 500 to cover for non-availability. 

 

PS. Correct me if my sums are wrong.

Edited by Ohmisterporter
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By comparison, the Class 159 units have been absolute gems for (frighteningly) almost a quarter of a century. First traction on the line since the Bulleid Pacifics that wasn't somebody else's cast-offs and boy does it show.............  

 

John

I heartily agree and the resulting increase in service frequency has completely revitalised the entire route to the extent that people drive miles to small places like Grateley - 75 minutes to Waterloo etc  etc - it's just a shame the WR saw fit to vandalise the infrastructure west of Salisbury so badly that it has taken 40 odd years to recover even as far as it has.

 

Hats off to Lord Denning too for saving the intermediate stations between Basing & Salisbury back in the 1980's.

 

However, there was nothing quite like going to see the folks in Plymouth for the weekend and deliberately picking the 13:10 / 15:10 out of Waterloo just for the thrill of a Class 50 thrash start from each station down to ESD, front coach, sliding window vent open .................. :D

Edited by Southernman46
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Interesting that they mentioned an English Electric engine in a brush bodyshell, essentially what happened a decade later with the 56. Which would have been an easier locomotive to service if it had had the class 50 bodyshell.

Class 50s with alternators were mentioned earlier was this ever considered? The class 50/1 project would have given BR a loco similar to a 56 if it had done and sands had been retained. I do wonder however if there was room in the loco for a rectifier cubicle

 

A Brush body with an EE engine is nearly what BR got in 1960 with the first Type 4 tender exercise. Class 47 50 Years of Locomotive History has a drawing of the proposed Brush loco. Incidently cheaper than a Brush loco with a Sulzer engine.

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if yoou want to know why BR was lukewarm about HS4000 there is a Railways Illustrated article on that by me from about 4 or 5 years ago which sets out all the reasons why.

 

Thanks Simon.

 

It is May 2011, and I have managed to download a digital back issue.

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Given the availability of the 'Duffs' around 1965-6, 50 locos would mean an average of 37.5 available for traffic.

IIRC there were about 12 diagrams which needed double headers when the WCML North accelerated timetable was first introduced taking up 24 locos or 32 at 75% availability. Add to that the number of WCML Parcels and Freightliner trains the 50s turned up on along with runs along the North Wales Coast and to Blackpool and even Barrow the number would have been quite realistic without a big increase in availability.

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Going back to the 45/1s. the earliest "Loco-Hauled Travel" I could find was the Oct 1982 May 1983 edition, i.e after the HSTs had taken over some St Pancras workings. The intro for the 45/1 diagrams says "A new venture is a large number of workings in Liverpool-Scarborough/Newcastle ... and it is understood ... Manchester-North Wales from May 1983".

Anyway, SX 45/1 diagrams were: 23 x Midland Main Line; 2 x NE/SW; 7x Liverpool-York-Scarborough & Newcastle. In other words 32 diagrams for 50 locos.

 

In the same book (winter 1982-83), there were SX diagrams for the 50s as follows: 15x Paddington-Oxford-(Birmingham) and Padd-Newbury-Plymouth; 4x Padd-Gloucester-(Hereford); 5x Cross-Country via Birmingham; 4x West of England; 6x Waterloo-Exeter. i.e. 34 diagrams for 50 locos.

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Going back to the 45/1s. the earliest "Loco-Hauled Travel" I could find was the Oct 1982 May 1983 edition, i.e after the HSTs had taken over some St Pancras workings. The intro for the 45/1 diagrams says "A new venture is a large number of workings in Liverpool-Scarborough/Newcastle ... and it is understood ... Manchester-North Wales from May 1983".

Anyway, SX 45/1 diagrams were: 23 x Midland Main Line; 2 x NE/SW; 7x Liverpool-York-Scarborough & Newcastle. In other words 32 diagrams for 50 locos.

 

In the same book (winter 1982-83), there were SX diagrams for the 50s as follows: 15x Paddington-Oxford-(Birmingham) and Padd-Newbury-Plymouth; 4x Padd-Gloucester-(Hereford); 5x Cross-Country via Birmingham; 4x West of England; 6x Waterloo-Exeter. i.e. 34 diagrams for 50 locos.

I knew I had some old WR Control Log appendices among my paperwork (junk) and having found them they relate to January and February 1986

when all 50 class 50s were still in traffic allocated to the WR.

 

The planned daily requirement for class 50s was still 34 locos, and a quick scan through the pages shows that most days 34 were available

plus or minus 1. The number of restricted locos though was between 6 and 10,

 

cheers

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I remember well the double headed 50's (D400'ers to us) sailing through Wigan back in the early 70's. While I had stopped "Trainspotting" I was (and allways have been) interested in railways. Hence when taking the dog for a walk it was always alongside the WCML, Ince to Springs Branch. They were noisy both going north (engines idling and braking for the S curve through Wigan North western) and south (engines under power accelerating). Always an impressive sight with a full rake of tnen new air conditioned Mk 2 blue / grey coaches - a modern livery never bettered in my opinion.

 

I missed the 50's when we went electric around 1973. They disappeared very quickly.

 

Brit15

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The 400s reliability was hampered from early on by having certain electronics fitted that EE said they didn't need but BR insisted on. 

Good point, and perhaps explains why Portugal (CP) did well with just ten look-alikes (Class 1800) which were fitted with tried and tested conventional control gear.

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The most incredible thing about the 50s is the proportion of them that have survived, despite their apparent many technical problems

Yes, but only about 60% (possibly 50% depending on which source you read) are operational..................plus ça change.

Edited by TheSignalEngineer
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" At the time, 402 Brush Type 4s had been delivered, returning an average availability of 75%". 

 

That means only 300 were available for traffic at a given time. When availability sometimes fell to 60% from 512 locos there were still only 300 available. No privately owned railway company in the world would contemplate such poor availability figures. Look at it from the other direction; in order to run a service requiring 300 locos they had to order 500 to cover for non-availability. 

 

PS. Correct me if my sums are wrong.

 

I won't tell you your sums are wrong, Geoff, but I do have a concern over definitions of availability. In my BR experience, if a unit or loco entered a T&RS depot, it was automatically "stopped" and unable to re-enter service until it had been examined. If nothing needed to be done, fine, but it would still be shown as "stopped" until the checks had been completed. This might be a very different criterion from other railways where locos only entered maintenance facilities when they were needing attention. 

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Interesting that they mentioned an English Electric engine in a brush bodyshell, essentially what happened a decade later with the 56. Which would have been an easier locomotive to service if it had had the class 50 bodyshell.

Class 50s with alternators were mentioned earlier was this ever considered? The class 50/1 project would have given BR a loco similar to a 56 if it had done and sands had been retained. I do wonder however if there was room in the loco for a rectifier cubicle

Plenty of space at No.2 end once the rheostatic braking gear was removed.

 

I knew I had some old WR Control Log appendices among my paperwork (junk) and having found them they relate to January and February 1986

when all 50 class 50s were still in traffic allocated to the WR.

 

The planned daily requirement for class 50s was still 34 locos, and a quick scan through the pages shows that most days 34 were available

plus or minus 1. The number of restricted locos though was between 6 and 10,

 

cheers

That number of restricted use locos is quite high, but I remember taking three out in one night on light test runs OC - Slough, mostly low power issues. I guess if both OC and LA had a couple each awaiting an HQI loaded run, that is four straight away. Loaded runs requiring two crews didn't happen immediately.

Restricted use though could be merely having had traction motor brushes replaced during an exam, and just bedding in.

 

Dave

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When introduced, didn't the Class 50s get to places way off the electrified WCML route as well, so I'm pretty sure they got to Perth, Passenger and Freightliner services to North Wales?, Barrow, Heysham, Blackpool and would they not have appeared on the Glasgow/Edinburgh - Liverpool/Manchester services too?

 

and would they have ordered extras for the additional travel time for diversions away from the WCML route to go via Dumfries?

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When introduced, didn't the Class 50s get to places way off the electrified WCML route as well, so I'm pretty sure they got to Perth, Passenger and Freightliner services to North Wales?, Barrow, Heysham, Blackpool and would they not have appeared on the Glasgow/Edinburgh - Liverpool/Manchester services too?

 

and would they have ordered extras for the additional travel time for diversions away from the WCML route to go via Dumfries?

Im sure iv seen a pic of one working an mgr train to a powerstation too, i think they had slow speed control when built so could have been a test??

Cheers

James

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