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the purpose of the BR locomotive exchange trials


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14 minutes ago, Philou said:

But we all know that a GWR loco could pull any other two backwards - or so it has been said (runs and hides) :P

Tell that to Cadbury's, the chocolate makers.

 

H.C.H. Burgess (Working with LMS Steam (1983) Bradford Barton ISBN 0 85153 450 3). Cadbury's used to hold an annual shindig where all their agents from all over the country came by train for factory tour and slap-up meal. The contingent from South Wales in their heavy train were always conveyed by ex-LNWR power, very successfully for many years. Then the Western Region took over and insisted on ex-GWR motive power. After many tribulations, the train arrived after the festivities were over and just in time to return to South Wales. Next year they went by road.

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I'm inclined to agree with Graham_Muz. Not out of any tangible evidence, just supposition.

 

This was more to do with breaking down the corporate barriers that existing- people with loyalty to 'their' railway and 'their' way of doing things. Is it not true that in addition to the well-known loco exchanges there were countless other exchanges- staff swapping between regions to 'learn and report back' on procedures?

 

Given that little ever really changes when people are involved and knowing the way that the 'powers that be' work, I'd suggest this is a far more likely reason.

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1968, seems like yesterday, and here we are are debating the same old points that were debated all those years ago.  I was 13 then and now w're all a bit older and wiser, every thing has changed on the railways and now a whole new set of problems have emerged.  If only the 1948 trials had been adhered to and politics ignored, instead of building a whole series of not so good diesels, importing them from the US would have saved a bundle, even with the added cost of fuel.  The trials should have proved that point!   What kind of money would have been saved by not prolonging the life of aging steamers;  instead of thousands, replace them with a few hundred diesels.  Having lived through the  whole transitional period and while my only credential was a locospotter at the time, I've heard all the reasons both pro and con over the years, which left the country muddling through until someone thought of - importing diesels from the US.  Must have been a good idea as it is still happening and has worked well since its introduction. 

     Brian.

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8 hours ago, brianusa said:

1968, seems like yesterday, and here we are are debating the same old points that were debated all those years ago.  I was 13 then and now w're all a bit older and wiser, every thing has changed on the railways and now a whole new set of problems have emerged.  If only the 1948 trials had been adhered to and politics ignored, instead of building a whole series of not so good diesels, importing them from the US would have saved a bundle, even with the added cost of fuel.  The trials should have proved that point!   What kind of money would have been saved by not prolonging the life of aging steamers;  instead of thousands, replace them with a few hundred diesels.  Having lived through the  whole transitional period and while my only credential was a locospotter at the time, I've heard all the reasons both pro and con over the years, which left the country muddling through until someone thought of - importing diesels from the US.  Must have been a good idea as it is still happening and has worked well since its introduction. 

     Brian.

Simply: (i) post-war we didn't have enough money to buy diesels (or anything else) from abroad; (ii) we couldn't afford to import oil for diesels or, as it turned out, to fire steam locos; (iii) we needed to produce at home to return the economy to a peace-time footing.

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That was what the Ground Nut Scheme was all about, of course: part of a plan for peanut-fired locomotives.


Some experimental peanut hoppers were actually built at Exmouth Junction shed, because it was thought that Bulleid Pacific’s were particularly suitable for this fuel, but they were demolished without ever being used in the early 1960s (coal was too chunky to go through the dispensers).

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10 hours ago, brianusa said:

1968, seems like yesterday, and here we are are debating the same old points that were debated all those years ago.  I was 13 then and now w're all a bit older and wiser, every thing has changed on the railways and now a whole new set of problems have emerged.  If only the 1948 trials had been adhered to and politics ignored, instead of building a whole series of not so good diesels, importing them from the US would have saved a bundle, even with the added cost of fuel.  The trials should have proved that point!   What kind of money would have been saved by not prolonging the life of aging steamers;  instead of thousands, replace them with a few hundred diesels.  Having lived through the  whole transitional period and while my only credential was a locospotter at the time, I've heard all the reasons both pro and con over the years, which left the country muddling through until someone thought of - importing diesels from the US.  Must have been a good idea as it is still happening and has worked well since its introduction. 

     Brian.

Aside of the economic considerations, and GM's refusal to allow licence building of its engines, wholesale dieselisation of Britain's railways wasn't in the BR plan until the politicians interfered. The long term plan was for electrification, as the rest of Western Europe was doing. The Pilot Scheme was an eminently sensible plan for establishing what did, and did not, work in getting diesel traction on the railways and was, arguably, going perfectly well until the government decided that the railways had to be modernised, there and then and threw money at the industry, with instructions to spend it.

 

Jim

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19 hours ago, Steven B said:

The Big Four (and the pre-grouping companies that went before them) built locos for their routes & coal. The GWR had a flat & straight(ish) mainline between London and Bristol and access to good quality steam coal from South Wales. The LMS on the otherhand had a route between London and Scotland that was hillier and had more curves and so built locos to suite.

 

There was vastly more to the locomotive requirements of both Groups than the operation of the GW and WC main lines. Express passenger operations over those routes was the work of a minute fraction of either group's locomotives; at nationalisation, those few locomotives were still very much on top of the job, so the requirements of those workings can hardly have been uppermost when it came to design considerations for standard locomotives.

 

18 hours ago, Edge said:

As said above, the standards eventually followed established LMS practice, with a few features thrown in from the SR for crew comfort and ease of maintenance. 

 

That's not what was said above:

 

18 hours ago, The Johnster said:

Of the Standard classes, the Britannia, Clan, and 9F could be described as completely new ideas, the 5MT was held to be based on the Black 5, but had larger driving wheels which to my view make it a new type of loco, the 4MT 4-6-0 used a domed version of the GW no.14 Manor boiler, the 4MT mogul was very much a restyled Ivatt Flying PIg, the 3MT mogul used a domed Swindon no.2 boiler and was a new type altogether, and the 2MT mogul was another Ivatt clone.  Of the tank engines, the 4MT was development of the 2-cylinder LMS 2-6-4T, the 3MT used the domed Swindon no.2 boiler and was in many ways a Swindon large prairie built out of BR standard parts, and the 2MT an Ivatt clone.  

 

So, of 12 classes, 3 could be called completely new, 3 were almost direct copies of Ivatt LMS locos, 2 'owed much' to LMS practice, and 3 could be said to 'owe much' to GW practice.  LMS practice under Ivatt was probably the most adaptable to modern conditions and most suitable for a standard range; the Southern had gone all esoteric and experimental, the LNER had not covered itself in glory under Thompson and Peppercorn had not made that much impact, and the GW was stuck in an 'improved Edwardian' time warp.  

 

... though that did get modified wrt to the 4MT boiler.

 

It's hardly surprising, though, that LMS thinking would dominate. The LMS was by a good margin the largest Group with, by nationalisation, the most modern locomotive fleet across the board; the best of the GWR's early 20th century innovation had been thoroughly assimilated. I do think, though, that one strand of influence that is consistently neglected - for rather obvious reasons - is 1930s DR practice under Richard Wagner. Stanier and Wagner had a very friendly relationship; Riddles was a member of at least one LMS LDO party visiting Germany at that time. I think subsequent events demonstrate that he cannot but have been deeply influenced by the DR's standardisation policy that gave rise to large classes of functionally-designed locomotives - on a scale not seen in Britain since Ramsbottom's time at Crewe. 

 

12 hours ago, Philou said:

But we all know that a GWR loco could pull any other two backwards - or so it has been said (runs and hides) :P

 

Churchward was referring rather specifically to the Star class, compared to LNWR locomotives - I think the Experiment class in particular. He had been challenged to justify the very much greater first cost of locomotives built at Swindon compared to those built at Crewe. I wouldn't back a 14xx against a couple of G2s.

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10 minutes ago, Compound2632 said:

Churchward was referring rather specifically to the Star class, compared to LNWR locomotives - I think the Experiment class in particular. He had been challenged to justify the very much greater first cost of locomotives built at Swindon compared to those built at Crewe. I wouldn't back a 14xx against a couple of G2s.

Indeed, and the 'Experiment' provided was not in the best of condition and of a class not particularly well regarded, chosen possibly because it wouldn't be missed too much by its home shed. The LNWR was not the least bit interested in the exchange.

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20 hours ago, Nearholmer said:

 

Starting with your final point: the Deltics were very specifically asked-for in order to markedly improve performance, not equal that of the A4s.

 

The question about steam vs diesel performance is interesting though, and what eventuated seemed to hint that the BR engineers and train performance bods thought that by very dependably, uphill and down dale, being able to match or exceed the average or possibly sustained power outputs of the big express steamers the biggest practicable diesels would be able to maintain the same schedules with the same loads, and that their thinking may not have given due weight to the short-term capability of steam locos, whereby they could tackle the worst climbs using the exhaustable reserve of energy held in a boiler at full pressure.

 

OTH, it may be that everyone was clued-up to the limitations of the initial diesels, but was equally clued-up to how shockingly expensive steam locos were to operate.

 

What I doubt is that the test-plant obtained the wrong figures, the physics involved in measuring instantaneous power were very well understood and had been for a long time, and fairly simple calculations could be used to check that the values being obtained were within the bounds of expectations, not suspisciouly low or suspiciously high. More likely that what they did with the numbers was mildly off-beam, than that the numbers themselves were wrong.

Rugby test plant was the outcome of a suggestion made by Sir Nigel Gresley back in 1927 and in 1937 the LNER and LMS jointly agreed to construct a plant at Riugby/.  Construction befa gan in 1938 and was well in hand before the outbrak of the war - which delayed completion until October 1948.

 

For anyone (not you 'Nearholmer') to suggest it was built as a result of the 1948 loco exchanges is odd to say the least.  the exchange trials ran from late April to very early September in 1948 and the Rugby plant opened in mid October undertaking - according to one source - its first 'live' test programme in November that year.

20 hours ago, The Johnster said:

A well known tale on the WR in the 70s.  DB had been using V200s very successfully on secondary main lines which had not yet been electrified, but with lighter loads with easier timings, and largely at lower speeds, than the WR, which put them on it’s heaviest and fastest expresses where they had to thrashed to keep time, resulting in much more maintenance and downtime than the Germans were experiencing.  

But definitely a tale (or total invention) rather than fact as anybody who worked in the WR Dieselisation Section who had studied DB loco utilisation would have told you.  The V200s were working heavy main line express services from new with few problems (yes, they did have some but not due to the work they were carrying out).  Some of the WR diagrams daily mileages were possibly greater than some of the DB diagrams, and no doubt vice versa, and there is no doubt that DB maintenance facilities and some aspects of training were ahead of BR (such as the extensive tool kits carried on some cases which allowed Drivers to deal with minor faults).  

 

However the big difference between WR use and DB use was the amount of mileage worked by WR locos on non-passenger train turns which meant very different cycles of work for both the engines and the transmissions.

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2 hours ago, Compound2632 said:

 

That's not what was said above:


and that wasn’t the post I was referring to. In fact I believe that that post was written more or less at the moment mine was and I didn’t see it until after mine was uploaded

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2 hours ago, Compound2632 said:

 

 

It's hardly surprising, though, that LMS thinking would dominate. The LMS was by a good margin the largest Group with, by nationalisation, the most modern locomotive fleet across the board; the best of the GWR's early 20th century innovation had been thoroughly assimilated. I do think, though, that one strand of influence that is consistently neglected - for rather obvious reasons - is 1930s DR practice under Richard Wagner. Stanier and Wagner had a very friendly relationship; Riddles was a member of at least one LMS LDO party visiting Germany at that time. I think subsequent events demonstrate that he cannot but have been deeply influenced by the DR's standardisation policy that gave rise to large classes of functionally-designed locomotives - on a scale not seen in Britain since Ramsbottom's time at Crewe. 

 

You forgot to point out that all the senior motive power jobs at 'the centre' went to ex LMS men - who obviously took their ideas, plus some new ones, with them.  

 

As far as detailed components were concerned however the situation was rather different with a series of committees  to establish what was the best practice among the four grouped companies.  This, in turn, led to items of non LMS origin becoming standard components across most of the range of standard engines.  Similr arly detail design was dealt with at four different regional drawing offices - for example among other parts - Derby designed frames and springing, Swindon designed boilers and steam fittings, Doncaster designed coupling and connecting rods while Brighton designed the brake gear.  In some cases original detail was often continued on engines which were very little different from their company built predecessors

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Yes, and one would imagine that where locos were drawn up at workshops off the LMS, a good bit of 'practice' from those workshops found it's way on to the locos; Brighton for the 4MT 2-6-4Ts and Swindon for the 4MT 4-6-0 and 3MT prairie and mogul.  There were detail differences that might be regarded as 'non-standard' practices as well, such as different double chimneys for 4MT 4-6-0 from the Western and Southern Regions, and smoke deflectors without handrails from the WR and LMR for Britannias, the WR being a new design altogether and the LMR using the handholds that they had previously used on their Patriots, Royal Scots, and Duchesses.  

 

In other words workshops did what they'd always done in terms of interpreting the blueprints, and built it their way, to the detriment of exhaust performance on Duke of Gloucester...

 

It is actually very difficult to achieve standardisation of railway locomotives because they will be altered in service to deal with specific types of duty or even specific duties better than the standard design can.  If you look at the very large classes of locos that are supposed to be to one design so as to be included in the class in the first place, you will find numerous variations in major components, never mind the finer detail.  57xx, Black 5s, Class 47 for example.  It sort of doesn't matter so long as your workshop has a supply of spare parts.

Edited by The Johnster
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I've read through this thread with interest and I've come up with a few ideas of my own.  The 1948 trials probably started out with the best of intentions but they were probably given to crews who were unfamiliar to them, so therefore the best couldn't be obtained from them.  Agreed that in 1948, the UK was broke and the national debit was more than it is now, so anything of value steel wise not nailed down was sold off, the navy was reduced and a lot of famous warships went for scrap to put into the nation's coughers. 

 

Someone said that EMD refused licensing which isn't true (I have a cousin who worked for EMD), you only have to look at NOHAB, Australian railways as well as in Ireland.  EMD even gave the BRB a design proposal of a GP7/9 shrunk to fit the UK loading gauge which was rejected.  I think there was general feeling at that time of "we're the best in the world and we'll build, Johnny Foreigner be damned".

 

The 1955 modernisation plan was a unmitigated disaster as it really had no clear direction and pitted region against region.  I feel the only successes were the Kent as well as the West Coast electrification as far as Weaver Junction.  I think one of the best ideas was when BR was broken up into business sectors in the 80's, shame it wasn't done earlier. 

 

These are just my opinions and feel free to agree or disagree.

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Drifting a bit, I'm just wondering how well an Alco 244 would have been built "under licence" over here. They were flakey enough when Alco built them. But there was a version of the RS1/RS3 designed for running on British railways. That would have been fun.

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Drifting a lot ........ do you recall that in an old thread about diesels around this period I mocked a drawing of an Alco MRS1 with LMS lettering? EMD also built a few MRS1, so you get a choice of US power plant in the British loading gauge, at roughly the right date.

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Just a couple of points. The Brits were all built with handrails on the smoke deflectors. These were removed (from most but not all) following the Milton derailment of 1956, the LMR and WR using different types of handholds. And all locos involved in the Exchanges were manned by drivers and firemen from their home regions with a conductor driver from the region over which they were operated. They were therefore familiar with the loco but not the route, and a couple of familiarisation runs prior to the actual test would have been of marginal assistance only.

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You have aroused my inner pedant, not that it takes much.  The Milton derailment was 20th November 1955, not 6.  The driver complained that a contributory factor was that his view of signals was compromised by the deflector handrail, and this was noted in the BoT report.  The WR and LMR began replacing these handrails on Britannias as they went through works, the WR using rectangular brass edged cutouts as handholds and the LMR using it's home grown design of round recesses with a diagonal bar across the diameter.  Not all the class were dealt with before being withdrawn over the next 12 and a bit years.  

 

Moreover, similar handrails on Clans, 9Fs, and DoG, not to mention LNER pacifics, seem to have not caused any such issues, and one would think that somebody would have drawn the attention of authority to such a potentially dangerous situation, and that handrails on these classes would be removed as well.  A large number of 9Fs were built with the original style of handrails after the Milton report.

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1 hour ago, The Johnster said:

You have aroused my inner pedant, not that it takes much.  The Milton derailment was 20th November 1955, not 6.  The driver complained that a contributory factor was that his view of signals was compromised by the deflector handrail, and this was noted in the BoT report.  The WR and LMR began replacing these handrails on Britannias as they went through works, the WR using rectangular brass edged cutouts as handholds and the LMR using it's home grown design of round recesses with a diagonal bar across the diameter.  Not all the class were dealt with before being withdrawn over the next 12 and a bit years.  

 

Moreover, similar handrails on Clans, 9Fs, and DoG, not to mention LNER pacifics, seem to have not caused any such issues, and one would think that somebody would have drawn the attention of authority to such a potentially dangerous situation, and that handrails on these classes would be removed as well.  A large number of 9Fs were built with the original style of handrails after the Milton report.

 

I agree with most of this but wasn't it the ER who fitted their Brits with the two handhold smoke deflector system (as per various other LM classes including Royal Scot, Coronation etc)?

 

I too am surprised about the change to some of the Brits in the light of other locos being built and running around with handrails in place later. Isn't the job of the fireman also to look for signals (on the right on a Brit)? It all seems a bit surprising but of course the WR was very anti 9F until the later 50s, so had little experience other than with the Ebbw Vale batch. 

 

What is more surprising is the difference in approach between the ER and WR systems of hand holds - it's surprising Swindon was permitted to come up with the solution they did - not only did it look odd but must have been significantly more expensive to implement.

 

I am guessing the loco trials were to an extent a PR and morale exercise as well as a technical one - with the background of such ingrained ideas and processes inherited from the previous companies an exercise to use the best of each ofher's ideas would achieve this to a point. 

 

The fact it took another 15 yrs and a reorganisation to focus people on a unified nationwide rail system is quite interesting, some regions often doing their own thing until then - as indicated by the Brit smoke deflector issue and 'solution'. Anyone know why the ER saw the need to change their's (but none of their numerous 9Fs)?

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1 hour ago, Nearholmer said:

Drifting a lot ........ do you recall that in an old thread about diesels around this period I mocked a drawing of an Alco MRS1 with LMS lettering? EMD also built a few MRS1, so you get a choice of US power plant in the British loading gauge, at roughly the right date.

I thought this engine was built for the US Army c1954. Isn't it a bit late?

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1 hour ago, The Johnster said:

You have aroused my inner pedant, not that it takes much.  The Milton derailment was 20th November 1955, not 6.  The driver complained that a contributory factor was that his view of signals was compromised by the deflector handrail, and this was noted in the BoT report.  The WR and LMR began replacing these handrails on Britannias as they went through works, the WR using rectangular brass edged cutouts as handholds and the LMR using it's home grown design of round recesses with a diagonal bar across the diameter.  Not all the class were dealt with before being withdrawn over the next 12 and a bit years.  

Actually Driver Wheeler did not say anything about the handrails but stated the Milton Up Main Home Signasl were difficult to see from the left hand side of the driving cab due to the curvature of the iine and he did not see either them or the Distant Signal and neither did the Fireman (not his regular mate) help with the sighting of those signals on the day of the derailment (Para 28 of the Report).

 

However in his Report (Paras 6, 51, and 66) Brigadier Langley  did draw attention to five things which interfered with signal sighting from the driving position and otwo of those five were  the smoke deflectors and the handrails/. He recommended remoival of the handrails on the smoke deflectors and commented on a change on the ejector - which was also on his list of five items likely to obstruct the view of signals. 

Quote

 

Moreover, similar handrails on Clans, 9Fs, and DoG, not to mention LNER pacifics, seem to have not caused any such issues, and one would think that somebody would have drawn the attention of authority to such a potentially dangerous situation, and that handrails on these classes would be removed as well.  A large number of 9Fs were built with the original style of handrails after the Milton report.

 

Edited by The Stationmaster
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7 minutes ago, MidlandRed said:

Anyone know why the ER saw the need to change their's (but none of their numerous 9Fs)?

AFAIK the ER did not change any of their Britannia smoke deflector handrails and neither did the Southern on their two.  All of the class ended up on the LMR in the early 60s and some ex ER locos may well have had their handrails replaced with the LMR type after that, an it is possible that ex WR locos were also given the LMR treatment but I do not know this to be a fact and can't think of an example.  Certainly some WR Brits, by then concentrated at Canton, were xfer to LMR with the original handrails still in place having not been dealt with yet.

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32 minutes ago, The Johnster said:

AFAIK the ER did not change any of their Britannia smoke deflector handrails and neither did the Southern on their two.  All of the class ended up on the LMR in the early 60s and some ex ER locos may well have had their handrails replaced with the LMR type after that, an it is possible that ex WR locos were also given the LMR treatment but I do not know this to be a fact and can't think of an example.  Certainly some WR Brits, by then concentrated at Canton, were xfer to LMR with the original handrails still in place having not been dealt with yet.

 

It appears most if not all the ER ones were changed from photos I can find - this photo shows 70000 at Liverpool St, whilst allocated to Norwich, so fitted.

 

https://flic.kr/p/dByaGH

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Someone may have already pointed this out, but wasn't the issue in the Milton accident that the Western Region signals were set up for RH drive locos whereas the Britannias were LH drive leading to sighting problems. The other regions all used LH drive so the signals were positioned for that and, therefore, the problem didn't generally occur, so there wouldn't be the perceived need to alter the handrails.

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