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29 minutes ago, jjb1970 said:

ÊUltimately the 5AT would be an exercise in futility insomuch as it would just confirm that if you designed and built a modern steam locomotive it would still be very inefficient and have high operating costs but it would still be interesting. Much more interesting than just building another facsimile of an old design. 

 

It's an interesting intellectual exercise but I'm not really sure what the point of it would be. It doesn't hit the mark for heritage due to being, well, modern, and it doesn't fit the mark for modern otherwise we'd already have a railway full of similar locos, which we don't for numerous practical reasons. If there's room for a modern design of steam locomotive anywhere I'd argue it's with the type of narrow gauge railway that's got a history of running steam and diesel and probably having the odd new loco built for it, a place where there's neither a specific nostalgia nor being driven entirely by practical concerns.

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Just to go back to superheating for a moment, my understanding is that back when it was being introduced in the UK, say circa 1900, the disincentive for 'run of the mill' locomotives was that it was a bit of a waste of effort if you were still using slide valves, and hot dry steam with (more complex/expensive) piston valves, given the poor, by modern standards, performance of the lube oils available, was problematic - so you needed yet more expense in the shape of mechanical lubricators etc. 

 

Rape oil performed better than quite a few mineral oils (and I believe was still favoured for big ends until quite late on?). Whale oil was called train oil, but that is a coincidental corruption of some Dutch word. But it was valued as a lubricant in precision toolmaking, and was included in fluids for automatic transmissions until the whaling ban came in (1966, I think).

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Based on what has been said (and what I've learned from this thread in the last few days) about superheating, why were the first ten Hawksworth Pannier tanks built with superheaters, while the remainder (built by BR) not superheated?  Was it the stop-start nature of their main role of heavy shunting or short distance empty stock movement/trip working?

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30 minutes ago, Northmoor said:

Based on what has been said (and what I've learned from this thread in the last few days) about superheating, why were the first ten Hawksworth Pannier tanks built with superheaters, while the remainder (built by BR) not superheated?  Was it the stop-start nature of their main role of heavy shunting or short distance empty stock movement/trip working?

I don't know definitively the answer but I would have thought that both duties described by Northmoor didn't require superheating so it was best to forgo the additional expense at a time when the economy was in a mess. Were the original 10 locomotives converted to being saturated?

Cheers  

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32 minutes ago, PenrithBeacon said:

I don't know definitively the answer but I would have thought that both duties described by Northmoor didn't require superheating so it was best to forgo the additional expense at a time when the economy was in a mess. Were the original 10 locomotives converted to being saturated?

Cheers  

I imagine that over time, boilers would be exchanged so unless there were specific instructions - the superheated engines might have a different lubrication system, for instance - the ten boilers would turn up on any other locos. Next time I'm at Bridgnorth - whenever that might be - I'll try to look in 1501's smokebox.

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53 minutes ago, LMS2968 said:

I imagine that over time, boilers would be exchanged so unless there were specific instructions - the superheated engines might have a different lubrication system, for instance - the ten boilers would turn up on any other locos. Next time I'm at Bridgnorth - whenever that might be - I'll try to look in 1501's smokebox.

I forgot about the 15xx tanks and was referring to the 94xx class.  9400-9409 were built by the GWR with superheating, the rest built by BR, weren't, although as you say boilers could have been swapped.  However, many of these Panniers were scrapped before their first boiler overhaul was due - what a waste!

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I appreciate that this comment might be controversial, but the waste was in building these engines in the first place they really should have been diesels. The LMS decided in the thirties that it would build no more small steam engines because diesels were far more effective for that class of work. For BR(W) to make around a thousand (?) 0-6-0T in the late forties and Into the fifties was a colossal waste of tax payers money.

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7 minutes ago, PenrithBeacon said:

I appreciate that this comment might be controversial, but the waste was in building these engines in the first place they really should have been diesels. The LMS decided in the thirties that it would build no more small steam engines because diesels were far more effective for that class of work. For BR(W) to make around a thousand (?) 0-6-0T in the late forties and Into the fifties was a colossal waste of tax payers money.

Not controversial to me at all.  Although these examples were basically just Big Four construction contracts that were honoured, British Railways built huge numbers of new steam locomotives to replace (almost) life expired classes, then immediately - and sometimes in parallel - built the diesel locos or units to replace them, on traffics that another department of BR was actually trying to get out of altogether.

BR's biggest mistake in the Modernisation Plan (which in 2020 money amounts to tens of £Bns) was building slightly newer versions of what they already had BEFORE they had reformed the operating practices, which in many cases were unchanged since the Victorian era but which once implemented, made so many of the new builds redundant.

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9 hours ago, Northmoor said:

I forgot about the 15xx tanks and was referring to the 94xx class.  9400-9409 were built by the GWR with superheating, the rest built by BR, weren't, although as you say boilers could have been swapped.  However, many of these Panniers were scrapped before their first boiler overhaul was due - what a waste!

I have to agree on that, but with reluctance!

9 hours ago, Northmoor said:

I forgot about the 15xx tanks and was referring to the 94xx class.  9400-9409 were built by the GWR with superheating, the rest built by BR, weren't, although as you say boilers could have been swapped.  However, many of these Panniers were scrapped before their first boiler overhaul was due - what a waste!

And I forgot about the 9400s! Saves me job at Bridgnorth anyway.

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8 hours ago, PenrithBeacon said:

I appreciate that this comment might be controversial, but the waste was in building these engines in the first place they really should have been diesels. The LMS decided in the thirties that it would build no more small steam engines because diesels were far more effective for that class of work. For BR(W) to make around a thousand (?) 0-6-0T in the late forties and Into the fifties was a colossal waste of tax payers money.

In turn to be replaced by D95xx 0-6-0 diesels, many of which were sold on (at scrap value) before they had done any useful work for BR - plus ça change.

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9 hours ago, PenrithBeacon said:

I appreciate that this comment might be controversial, but the waste was in building these engines in the first place they really should have been diesels. The LMS decided in the thirties that it would build no more small steam engines because diesels were far more effective for that class of work. For BR(W) to make around a thousand (?) 0-6-0T in the late forties and Into the fifties was a colossal waste of tax payers money.

I think the big 4 could all probably see that steam was on its way out, but at that time in those circumstances diesels weren't necessarily a practical alternative. I don't know about the GWR, but the LMS and LNER had both set off down the diesel & electric road, and the Southern was way ahead in terms of electrification.

 

But what was achievable in the UK in the late 40s wasn't necessarily the same as what they'd like to have done.

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23 hours ago, PenrithBeacon said:

I appreciate that this comment might be controversial, but the waste was in building these engines in the first place they really should have been diesels. The LMS decided in the thirties that it would build no more small steam engines because diesels were far more effective for that class of work. For BR(W) to make around a thousand (?) 0-6-0T in the late forties and Into the fifties was a colossal waste of tax payers money.

I've a vague memory of a series of articles, in Railway Bylines perhaps, many years back on the 9400 class. These stated that many of the 9400s were ordered from private firms early after the war but steel shortages delayed their delivery. By the time the steel was available BR had realised they were not needed (as diesel shunters were taking over in many cases, and they had lower route availability than the 5700 / 8750 types), and tried to cancel the orders, but were held to honour the commitment by the contractors. 

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On 30/04/2020 at 08:33, Zomboid said:

II don't know about the GWR, but the LMS and LNER had both set off down the diesel & electric road, and the Southern was way ahead in terms of electrification.

 

GWR was similar in that it had a couple 0-6-0 diesel shunters and ordered a bunch more just before nationalisation -- so it was the way they were going.   For mainline stuff, it was experimenting with the gas turbines (18000 & 18100) -- which turned out to be the wrong technology at least for UK operating practices.  They also had ~40 diesel railcars from the mid 1930s onward, and were used on some quite long runs, albeit lightly loaded (e.g. Birmingham->Cardiff had a 'businessman's railcar service') 

I'm sure there was also a (1920s?) plan to electrify west of Newton Abbot (due to the severe gradients on the south Devon banks) -- but I can't find any reference to it now :-\

 

So it was clear steam was on the way out -- but it still took diesel/electric design a while to catch up with the 100+years of knowledge on how to make steam engines work well.  Many of the early-build diesels had even shorter (and probably considerably less useful) lives than the late-build steam engines..

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On 28/04/2020 at 23:48, Reorte said:

 

It's an interesting intellectual exercise but I'm not really sure what the point of it would be. It doesn't hit the mark for heritage due to being, well, modern, and it doesn't fit the mark for modern otherwise we'd already have a railway full of similar locos, which we don't for numerous practical reasons. If there's room for a modern design of steam locomotive anywhere I'd argue it's with the type of narrow gauge railway that's got a history of running steam and diesel and probably having the odd new loco built for it, a place where there's neither a specific nostalgia nor being driven entirely by practical concerns.

 

I think the intellectual exercise bit is why I find it interesting. The premise of seeing what could be achieved if applying modern design tools, metallurgy and manufacturing to a steam locomotive is interesting to me. In some ways I'd go further and say it would be interesting to look beyond reciprocating engines and revisit the steam turbine, either with a mech drive or an e-drive, design it around the rankine cycle  with condensing (the condenser is the great engine of steam performance and efficiency). It wouldn't be nostalgic, and it would be a dead end but it would at least be interesting and challenging. We already have lots of preserved steam engines which lets be honest are pretty much of a muchness and I can't really see the point of building copies of old designs that never made it to preservation when we have plenty of examples of very similar machines preserved.

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1 hour ago, jjb1970 said:

 

I think the intellectual exercise bit is why I find it interesting. The premise of seeing what could be achieved if applying modern design tools, metallurgy and manufacturing to a steam locomotive is interesting to me. In some ways I'd go further and say it would be interesting to look beyond reciprocating engines and revisit the steam turbine, either with a mech drive or an e-drive, design it around the rankine cycle  with condensing (the condenser is the great engine of steam performance and efficiency). It wouldn't be nostalgic, and it would be a dead end but it would at least be interesting and challenging. We already have lots of preserved steam engines which lets be honest are pretty much of a muchness and I can't really see the point of building copies of old designs that never made it to preservation when we have plenty of examples of very similar machines preserved.

The engineer in me agrees, and for many years I have thought that 5AT's fundamental flaw was that, in the end, it was still Stephenson's Rocket grown up. But once you break away from this concept you move towards the 'powerhouse on wheels' idea: water-tube boiler driving a turbo-alternator, traction motors on the two bogies and the exhaust fed to a condenser. Fine in theory, but the practice might be a bit difficult, both in terms of size and weight - not to mention building costs.

 

And if, by a miracle, it all works, where do you go? Unless you add in nuclear power to overcome the environmental issues, which is an argument in itself, the railways are all geared to diesel and, increasingly, electric traction. So you have a very expensive, one-off loco all dressed up and nowhere to go, just to see if it can be done?

 

5AT wasn't taken up because it was neither one thing nor the other: it was still old technology without the benefit of history. But is there a steam powered alternative?

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22 hours ago, jjb1970 said:

 

I think the intellectual exercise bit is why I find it interesting.

 

I'd certainly find it interesting (there's a caveat there though that I can often find quite a lot of interest in things I really, really dislike - not that this is one of them), the problem is that I just can't see a place for it. Well, maybe one, as a PR mechanism for various special trains (a bit like the Tornado runs on the Settle-Carlisle the other year), it could work there perhaps.

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I also think the 5AT doesnt attract attention because it is not a romantic vision. A middle power, middle weight, middle speed, middle route availability mixed traffic loco. I understand the reasoning behind the choice of power and size, but the end result always struck me as being something as boring as another preserved black 5/hall but with questionable aesthetics. As a moving machine itd likely be less interesting than existing steam locos - lots of excess steam, smoke, sound, movement and visual interest removed as you increase its efficiency.

 

If they'd gone all out for a chapelon/porta esque 484, or a high efficiency version of the algerian double pacific garratts to break mallard's reciprocating speed record and really show what steam could have done with the uk loading gauge then it would have set more hearts and purses racing.

 

Anything moving away from the traditional stephensonian reciprocating loco may as well be a diesel or electric once you've removed the sight and sound of a steam loco. I appreciate it'd be interesting to see what could be done, but it seems the concept didnt appeal as much as building a P2 or such like.

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On 10/03/2020 at 16:10, Northmoor said:

I quite agree.

I will declare membership of the 82045 Trust.  It's the future and if I won the lottery I'd build 82046 and 82047.

82045 is the way forward... That was my plan way back in 1997 when I started the project.... check the history of this on the website to see my reasoning 

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On 08/03/2020 at 09:51, KeithHC said:

What about a scaled down Big Boy to fit UK loading gauge. You could then try that over Shap and the S&C.

 

Keith

Little Boy ?

 

I can see the Americans laughing all over that.

 

Besides we already have one... the 9f, and it will fit inside a Big Boys tender... a bit like a joey in a kangaroos pouch.

Edited by adb968008
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On ‎03‎/‎05‎/‎2020 at 14:38, LMS2968 said:

The engineer in me agrees, and for many years I have thought that 5AT's fundamental flaw was that, in the end, it was still Stephenson's Rocket grown up. But once you break away from this concept you move towards the 'powerhouse on wheels' idea: water-tube boiler driving a turbo-alternator, traction motors on the two bogies and the exhaust fed to a condenser. Fine in theory, but the practice might be a bit difficult, both in terms of size and weight - not to mention building costs.

 

And if, by a miracle, it all works, where do you go?

Comes down to economics.

 

There could be advantage with an efficient and reliable condensing steam turbine loco in a low infrastructure environment burning locally mined coal, vs the transport and refining costs of imported oil fuel to run diesel, or the infrastructure cost of coal fired generating plant and power distribution to electrify. If the numbers worked this would be FEAST: Feasible Economically, Advanced Steam Technology. (Other less grammatically tortured acronyms may well be possible.)

 

The modular construction of current diesel traction might well offer a cheap and proven rolling platform with traction control and safety systems, on which the fuel bunker, boiler, turbine and condenser systems are placed. It would neither look nor sound anything like a Stephenson locomotive. Apart from the whistle.

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1 hour ago, adb968008 said:

Little Boy

I suspect anyone announcing a fully functional new build 'little boy' might find the security services quite interested in their plan.

 

I've made one, but as a non functioning scale model. This also avoids the issue of finding and refining the yellowcake, which isn't really something you want to be doing in your house...

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I think a modern turbine electric locomotive would look much more like a diesel locomotive than a Stephenson engine. Whether using an electric transmission or an alternative such as a hydraulic transmission it would use conventional type bogies rather than coupled drivers and a modern body design, driving environment etc. Any new build steam locomotive would use either a liquid or gas fuel (coal is now pretty much the equivalent of toxic sludge in much of the world) and the boiler firing and controls would all be controlled by PLCs and a platform management system.. However, if the idea was to try and make something genuinely useful using a turbine drive then it would make far more sense to use a gas turbine, which would be lighter, simpler and could be more efficient (modern GTs aren't that far being diesel engines depending on duty cycle). One of the problems with rankine steam cycle plants is that maximum efficiency calls for very high superheat temperatures and associated high pressure (the high pressure is more a result of the need for high superheat rather than the other way around) and that acts against flexibility. In my final days in electricity the conflict between efficiency and flexibility was becoming ever more problematic as the remaining steam plants had to be flexible to peak manage and balance renewables yet at the same time the industry was facing ever more demands to reduce emissions which meant high efficiency. You can design a rankine steam plant for maximum efficiency or to be flexible, but not both.

A dead end intellectual exercise yes, but if I was a rich philanthropist I'd fund a project for graduates to design such a locomotive and for apprentices and craftspeople to build it as it'd be a great project for young people and provide a bit of employment doing something people could take a bit of pride in.

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