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The Architecture The Railways Built - Series 3 starts 13 September on Yesterday


Paul.Uni
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I suspect that steam locomotives are one of a number of things that a number of people could lay claim to inventing (or inventing different refinements that made them workable). How do you define "inventing steam locomotives" - the basic concept of using a steam engine on wheels, to pull trains - superheated boilers - or perhaps something else?

 

In a sense, this reminds me of television. Who invented that - Baird ( whose original system was soon rendered obsolete) - or perhaps one of the other pioneers connected with TV?

 

 

Huw.

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On 21/09/2021 at 09:56, Pacific231G said:

Many thanks to Tim for yesterday evening's excellent programme on the Wharncliffe Viaduct and the Windmill Bridge. I know them both quite well but sometime I really must visit Lisbon!

 

I used to drive past the Wharncliffe Viaduct and over the Windmill Bridge a couple of times a week at least and,at one time, it was on my daily commute but, from the road, you don't really appreciate either. For the Windmill Bridge it's s worth dropping down to the canal towpath where the Hanwell flight of locks is also fascinating.   Knowing that the programme was coming up I did walk down to the Wharncliffe on Saturday from the Brent River Park, not for the first time, and it is magnificent. I think the reason it's not better known is largely because it's so well hidden by trees. imagine Stonehenge in the middle of forest. From the hilly ground to the north, where you would expect to have a good view down on it, you can only see a couple of arches as the rest are totally screened so you're not really aware of it until you're paractically walking under it.

Unfortunately, the trees have grown a lot higher since this photo was taken, looking from the bandstand now (which is still there though not in great condition) you can probably see just the arch the loco is crossing and part of the one to the right (I'll check that next time I'm there)  

Viaduct_hanwell.jpg.5ae0c85dbf546aa959138f994b3c5243.jpg

 

From the south, there's a good view of it from some of the upper level wards in Ealing Hospital (which I discovered when a friend was in there)   but you still can't see the full length of the viaduct. Otherwise you're looking up at it from Brent Meadow (the field behind the viaduct in the postcard) and you only get a clear view of five of the eight arches.   From the train, you're not really that aware of it at all unless you know it's there.

It woild be good to see the Brentford branch reopened to passengers, not least because Brentford could do with an extra transport link but, for Greater London, it also passes through some attractive scenery. I had no idea so much of the trade from the London Docks went via Brentford but it makes sense given how many ships were discharged into barges rather than onto the quayside.

I'm afraid that this is the view from the same spot now (I checked with the 25inch OS maps in the NLS and Google maps and it is the same location)

1283327584_BrentRiverParkBandstand.jpg.d586c08e0608fcef4cd6c6fbeeff666a.jpg

 

Even if you go past the trees beyond the banstand so closer to the viaduct  this is all you see.

662158394_BrentRiverParkViaduct.jpg.23dd5df15ccdeb390a8f1d4bb13250da.jpg

I'm told though that it is more impressive in winter when the trees are bare.

I took these images yesterday just before twelve and the train on the viaduct was stuck there for well over an hour due-I've since discovered -  to a passenger or trespasser incident on the GWML or near the viaduct that closed it at that time- though I did see some trains running on the fast lines about fifteen minutes later-  and apparently cloed it again later in the afternoon. A woman was struck by a train though apaprently wasn't seriously injured. There were hordes of BTP, ambulance and fire service vehicles around Hanwell station which is is a few hundred metres up from the viaduct.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I watched both the Charing Cross and Bramhope tunnel episodes yesterday.

 

The Bramhope tunnel one was great and the bit about William MaCalpine implied how much unstructured enthusiasm he showed in person. Unfortunately the lavish praise about the Ordsal bridge in the Charing X program was hard to take given that if you want to go to Man Pic from Leeds we have a slower, less frequent and much less reliable service than before. There was a funny bit where it suggested that weathering steel is low maintenance (if only!) .

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2 hours ago, Bomag said:

I There was a funny bit where it suggested that weathering steel is low maintenance (if only!) .

Seems to be a fact if this web site is correct

https://www.steelconstruction.info/Weathering_steel

Quote

In suitable environments weathering steel forms an adherent protective rust ‘patina’, that inhibits further corrosion. The corrosion rate is so low that bridges fabricated from unpainted weathering steel can achieve a 120 year design life with only nominal maintenance. Hence, a well-detailed weathering steel bridge in an appropriate environment provides an attractive, very low maintenance, economic solution.

 

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The quote facility doesn't seem to be working but this is a question to Bomag. Do I take it that the quoted virtues of weathering steel are perhaps not quite as wonderful as was originally hoped?  I'm sort of familiar with the idea of self limiting corrosion from aluminium  but aircraft are usually painted and you do get corrosion where the paint fails (That may be a function of the actual alloy used which needs to be stronger than pure aluminium) 

 

I enjoyed the latest programme about the Bramhope Tunnel, Dresden Hbf. and Fawley Hill. I'm intrigued by the blocked up apartment in the tunnel portal- was it part of the estate or used by the railway? 

 

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The durability of weathering steel is dependent on the integrity of the oxidised layer. Which is fine, but when used on a bridge as opposed to let say a building, there are significant and regular live loads which causes strain in the surface layer which has a different Young's modulus than the underlying steel. The can create weekness and a way in for internal corrosion. The problem is detecting it (or inability to detect it) .

 

My understanding is that north portal was occupied at some point by a railway employee looking after 'lamps'; whether this was lamps in the tunnel or not is not certain. 

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7 hours ago, Pacific231G said:

 I'm intrigued by the blocked up apartment in the tunnel portal- was it part of the estate or used by the railway? 

 

It was said in the programme that it was the house for the Railway's Lampman and was properly fiitted out with lath & plaster ceilings etc.

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I really enjoyed the Bramhope tunnel programme - it brought back memories of being on site there in summer 2003 when the drainage and track were being replaced (it looks as though the stonework on the tower has been tidied-up a bit since then).

bramhope001.jpg.c90dc3c3c5497fa449d4dcc921d6f063.jpg

 

bramhope003.jpg.e3634c69acb386e950743c4627739bab.jpg

 

The Leeds portal is not quite as architecturally imposing as the Harrogate portal, but still quite impressive. A shame that both are pretty inaccessible to all but railway workers (or TV presenters!). Apologies for the rather poor photo.

bramhope002.jpg.f337b9bef51b0862bfcc44e90c2cf27f.jpg

 

Notice the carved figure on the keystone. We always reckoned that the young chap at the Leeds end represented the engineer at the start of the job, and the old bearded man on the Harrogate portal was the same chap at the end!

 

Nice to see mention of the monument in Otley churchyard too. I visited it on my way to site one day - a bit sobering to then go into the very tunnel where so many of those commemorated perished. The plaque on the memorial is actually a replica - the original being in the NRM at York;

https://collection.sciencemuseumgroup.org.uk/objects/co209196/arthington-tunnel-memorial-plaque-1849-memorial-plaque

 

Andy

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21 hours ago, Bomag said:

The durability of weathering steel is dependent on the integrity of the oxidised layer. Which is fine, but when used on a bridge as opposed to let say a building, there are significant and regular live loads which causes strain in the surface layer which has a different Young's modulus than the underlying steel. The can create weekness and a way in for internal corrosion. The problem is detecting it (or inability to detect it) .

 

My understanding is that north portal was occupied at some point by a railway employee looking after 'lamps'; whether this was lamps in the tunnel or not is not certain. 

Thanks Bomag

I missed the ref. to the lampman. It must have been a rather lonely place to live.  I couldn't see whether the entrance was at rail level or from above the tunnel mouth. 

 

What you say about differential Young's modulus makes sense but if the oxidised layer hides corrosion that creates cracks.....need I say more!  It does rather suggest that weathering steel may be fine for lightly loaded structures but maybe not for those handling significant or varying loads.

 

This has reminded me that our mechanical engineering professorat Sussex in the 1970 -Prof. Fred Bailey - used to talk a lot about the Comet 1 fatigue failure, It seemed almost an obsession of his- though fatigue failures are a good thing for structural engineers to obsess about- and I 'd always wondered whether he was in some way involved with it. I have though just found his obituary* - he died last year aged ninety one- and it includes this phrase "After a period of work at the Royal Aircraft Establishment in Farnborough, he returned to King’s College (that later became Newcastle University)  to teach and research."   That would explain it and I think thre dates might well have put him at the RAE  at or soon after the time when they were researching the Comet's failure. 

 

*http://www.sussex.ac.uk/suss-ex/Newsletter54.html

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18 minutes ago, Pacific231G said:

if the oxidised layer hides corrosion that creates cracks

 

Not my area of expertise but isn't Rust/Iron Oxide actually corrosion anyway?

 

BTW some years ago it was reckoned ex-factory Vauxhall cars had one of the best paint finishes.

This was due to the paint being applied to the lightly oxidised steel surface, which it adhered to better.

However after some years the metal would have corroded more than if not oxidised when painted.

 

It may be only hearsay but was quite well spread "knowledge" back in the day.

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On 23/09/2021 at 09:48, melmerby said:

There were steam powered road vehicles long before someone stuck one on rails.

 

On 23/09/2021 at 05:11, Huw Griffiths said:

I suspect that steam locomotives are one of a number of things that a number of people could lay claim to inventing (or inventing different refinements that made them workable). How do you define "inventing steam locomotives" - the basic concept of using a steam engine on wheels, to pull trains - superheated boilers - or perhaps something else?

 

In a sense, this reminds me of television. Who invented that - Baird ( whose original system was soon rendered obsolete) - or perhaps one of the other pioneers connected with TV?

 

 

Huw.

It's interesting. Some inventions are just that where you can identify an actual inventor whose work made something possible that can trace itself back to that invention. Sometimes that may be a patentable invention. The Wright Bros. for example  didn't invent the aeroplane of heavier than air flight but they did invent and patent the control system that made powered heavier than air flight practicable and which every commercial  and most other aeroplanes flying today still employs. Similarly Sir Christopher Cockerell (I made a programme about him in the 1980s) didn't come up with the idea of using an air cushion to support a vehicle but he did invent the method of using a curtain of air around the cushion to contain it and that made the hovercraft a practical proposition (though later commercial hovercraft used a flexible skirt, to fulfill the same fuinction but i think he also patented that)

There are other "inventions" equally important that assemble other existing ideas to creat something that is practical. I think the "Rocket" was one such that. by bringing together the waterclad firebox, multi tube boiler and blastpipe, made the steam locomotive a practical proposition for high speed transport as well as moving coal around at slow speeds.

It's interesting that the use of steam power on roads did indeed come before Trevithick put one on rails but, with the power available to early steam engines- even high pressure ones- the rolling resistance of a road vehicle- especially a solid tyred one- made them relatively impractical. Put thgem on rails (once the problem of creating rails they didn't smash was solved) and they could do a great deal that was useful.   By then of course steam powered vessels were already operaitng on rivers and canals- where resistance is even less (at least at slow speeds)   

John Logie Baird did invent an early television system but it wasn't the system that made television a practical form of broadcasting and it was already obsolete by the time the BBC first broadcast television (They alternated transmissions from Allly Pally between the Baird electro mechanical  and the EMI  electronic system to avoid accusations of being unfair to Baird   but it was completely obvious which one would go forward) . 

 

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20 hours ago, 2mm Andy said:

Notice the carved figure on the keystone. We always reckoned that the young chap at the Leeds end represented the engineer at the start of the job, and the old bearded man on the Harrogate portal was the same chap at the end!

 

 

I heard that theory too, when I worked as a Guard on the Harrogate line.

 

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4 hours ago, Pacific231G said:

Thanks Bomag

I missed the ref. to the lampman. It must have been a rather lonely place to live.  I couldn't see whether the entrance was at rail level or from above the tunnel mouth. 

 

Both track level and above the portal - Network Rail have recently published some archive drawings which show details of the portal; 

https://www.networkrail.co.uk/stories/the-architecture-the-railway-built-bramhope-tunnel/

 

Andy

Edited by 2mm Andy
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4 hours ago, melmerby said:

Not my area of expertise but isn't Rust/Iron Oxide actually corrosion anyway?

 

BTW some years ago it was reckoned ex-factory Vauxhall cars had one of the best paint finishes.

This was due to the paint being applied to the lightly oxidised steel surface, which it adhered to better.

However after some years the metal would have corroded more than if not oxidised when painted.

 

It may be only hearsay but was quite well spread "knowledge" back in the day.

 

Having an oxide layer can improve corrosion resistance as long as it is even, continuous and unbroken. If the oxide layer is broken at any point then corrosion will then occur at a much faster rate because the point becomes an anode and all the corrosive potential is concentrated on that anode, resulting in pitting, which penetrates through the steel rather quicker than a general rust/oxide layer. 

 

This may explain why those cars showed up with rust problems after a few years.

 

Graham    

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