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ex LNER Smokebox Numberplate/Handrail

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To many, the smokebox door is the face of a locomotive, perhaps just a personal observation or by pleasant childhood exposure to the works of the Rev Awdrey. In “real” terms, the fittings that adorn the front of an engine can have a markedly visual effect on the whole ensemble. 
Taking the ex LNER Pacific (excluding A4 for obvious reasons) and V2 classes as examples, the requirement in later BR days to lower the top lamp bracket led to the change in positions of the handrail and numberplate. 
I’m uncertain on which works visit this occurred for the individual locomotives and when, but retrospectively the result gives a much improved visual balance.
This perception becomes more apparent when the locomotives are viewed from a distance or as nowadays we scrutinise them in photographs.

 

It is hoped that Hornby will make these distinctions when theIr forthcoming Thompson engines.
 

 

 

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Moving the top lamp bracket was mainly on the ex-LMR locomotives and Standards. They had overhead wires first. I don't know of any ex LNER locos that had brackets moved. All photos I have of NE steam carried top brackets to the end of steam. As always go from photos of your chosen prototype  for guidance.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Yardman said:

Moving the top lamp bracket was mainly on the ex-LMR locomotives and Standards. They had overhead wires first. I don't know of any ex LNER locos that had brackets moved. All photos I have of NE steam carried top brackets to the end of steam. As always go from photos of your chosen prototype  for guidance.

A number of ex LNER locos had the top lamp bracket moved. No 60532 Blue Peter for example. The bracket was lowered and the hand rail which had been continuous was divided in two with the bracket between. The Yeadons Registers are very good on this sort of detail.

Edited by slilley

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23 minutes ago, slilley said:

A number of ex LNER locos had the top lamp bracket moved. No 60532 Blue Peter for example. The bracket was lowered and the hand rail which had been continuous was divided in two with the bracket between. The Yeadons Registers are very good on this sort of detail.

 

The top lamp bracket was moved lower down due to problems with drifting smoke caused when headboards were fitted, according to Tony Wright's thread if I remember correctly.

The LMR ones were moved to the side of the smokebox in response to the growing amount of electric string over the lines. At the same time the lower middle bracket was moved sideways so that a top above middle headlamp code would be correct. The growing amount of electrification also lead to the painting of yellow stripes on cabsides of certain locos due to their being overheight to work south of Crewe.

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All true, but they were moved for different reasons and in different ways either side of the Pennines. On the NER / ER the movement downwards was vertical by somewhere around a foot, so that any headboard's top edge was at or below the rim of the smokebox. On the LMR, the distance moved was much greater as it had to ensure that the fireman, if fitting a headlamp below the chimney, was well clear of overhead wires. It could no longer at the new height be kept central without interfering with the dart and handles, so was moved to the left hand side (looking from the cab). In theory, the lower middle iron should have followed it to be directly below; it usually did but there were a few cases where this particular lamp iron stubbornly refused to move and stayed in the middle.

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3 hours ago, slilley said:

A number of ex LNER locos had the top lamp bracket moved. No 60532 Blue Peter for example. The bracket was lowered and the hand rail which had been continuous was divided in two with the bracket between. The Yeadons Registers are very good on this sort of detail.

60532 was effectively a preserved locomotive when it was altered and doesn't really count. The dreaded health and safety had come into play by this point. Once BR disposed of locomotives anything could happen to them. You cannot rely on preserved locomotives for detail accuracy, unless you are modelling a preserved loco. I refer to my earlier comment of working from a photo of your chosen prototype.

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Did the LMR get overhead wires first?

 

I always thought it was the ER. The Great Eastern lines and Woodhead were well before the WCML.

 

However I don't think that electrification was even a factor as most GWR locomotives had the lamp iron moved from the smokebox top to the door and none of them were going under the wires.

 

 

 

Jason

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The Woodhead route was at 1500V dc; the LMR was the first wit 25oooV AC. Bit of a difference in the distance at which the two will bite you!

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2 minutes ago, LMS2968 said:

The Woodhead route was at 1500V dc; the LMR was the first wit 25oooV AC. Bit of a difference in the distance at which the two will bite you!

 

I know. But it's still relevant to who had electrified wires first. The SR even had some in the 1950s (but only in yards)

 

Even if you take out Woodhead, the GER section was 25KV. They were also the first to get the "flashes" attached.

 

 

Jason

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3 minutes ago, Steamport Southport said:

 

Even if you take out Woodhead, the GER section was 25KV. They were also the first to get the "flashes" attached.

 

 

No, the GE lines were also 1500vDC originally , converted to 25KvAC in early '60s

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39 minutes ago, Ken.W said:

 

No, the GE lines were also 1500vDC originally , converted to 25KvAC in early '60s

I think the GE, and LTS for that matter, were 6.25kV AC originally, as were the first of the Glasgow Blue Trains. Lots of other overhead oddities, like Lancaster- Heysham at 6.6 kV AC, and of course the MSJA was 1500V DC like, although independent of, the Woodhead.

 

Did any of these have equivalents to the warning flashes, or were they just a 25kV thing?

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1 hour ago, Yardman said:

60532 was effectively a preserved locomotive when it was altered and doesn't really count. The dreaded health and safety had come into play by this point. Once BR disposed of locomotives anything could happen to them. You cannot rely on preserved locomotives for detail accuracy, unless you are modelling a preserved loco. I refer to my earlier comment of working from a photo of your chosen prototype.

I am sorry but I have to disagree with you regarding 60532. it was altered by BR whilst in service with them. This picture of the loco is from "The Book of the A1 and A2 Pacifics" and clearly shows the lowered lamp bracket and divided handrail. The picture was taken well before it passed into private hands.

The locomotive was given the lowered bracket and divided handrail in 1962. Nos 60527,60528,60530,60532,60533, and 60536 were all modified like this. This information comes from Locomotive of the LNER Part 2A.

IMG_1130.jpg

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4 minutes ago, lanchester said:

I think the GE, and LTS for that matter, were 6.25kV AC originally, as were the first of the Glasgow Blue Trains. Lots of other overhead oddities, like Lancaster- Heysham at 6.6 kV AC, and of course the MSJA was 1500V DC like, although independent of, the Woodhead.

 

Did any of these have equivalents to the warning flashes, or were they just a 25kV thing?

Of course, I've mislead myself. GE etc were of course originally 1500V DC, but on conversion to AC the 6.25 kV system was used as the standard for suburban areas on safety grounds which subsequently proved unnecessary - presumably the lower voltage was still reasonably fatal. Units were dual voltage.

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7 minutes ago, lanchester said:

Of course, I've mislead myself. GE etc were of course originally 1500V DC, but on conversion to AC the 6.25 kV system was used as the standard for suburban areas on safety grounds which subsequently proved unnecessary - presumably the lower voltage was still reasonably fatal. Units were dual voltage.

 

As I understand it, on the GE lines on conversion to AC, the 25kV was standard and 6.25kV was used in certain sections, particularly into Liverpool St., where overhead bridge clearances were inadequate.

 

Getting back to lamp irons, the changes on LNER Pacifics had more to do with the BR numberplates than OHL.

The numberplates were originally fitted above the handrail, which resulted in the top lamp iron position being raised. This resulted in train headboards protruding above the smokebox, almost to the top of the chimney, and the resulting air turbulence around the chimney was found to cause problems with smoke clearance. Therefore a start was made from 1953 (so before OHL was of any concern) to fit the numberplate over the top hinge strap and the lamp iron revert to the original position. This change was to affect the Pacifics (except A4), the B1s, and V2s.

A further change occurred in 1962. The problem was exacerbated on the A3s, which hadn't been altered, when trough type deflectors were fitted. Two were modified as above, but then a change was made to the split handrail arrangement with the lamp iron between. This modification only seems to have affected locos shopped in '62, and Pacifics of other classes were also affected, including 60532 - so 4 years before it was withdrawn.

The pictures of 60532 posted above show the two lowered arrangements.

 

[Ref: RCTS Pt.2A]

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Posted (edited)
On 30/06/2020 at 09:08, Right Away said:

To many, the smokebox door is the face of a locomotive, perhaps just a personal observation or by pleasant childhood exposure to the works of the Rev Awdrey. In “real” terms, the fittings that adorn the front of an engine can have a markedly visual effect on the whole ensemble. 

 

 

Yes, I always find the numberplate looks too high on Gresley locos. It's as if their eyes are in their foreheads.

 

And Midland locos (and Maunsell Southern ones) look wrong because their eyes are where their noses ought to be.

Edited by Andy Kirkham
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