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NBL Warship’s - were they really that bad?


TravisM
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2 hours ago, Phil Bullock said:


Yes that is strange! Perhaps their recent overhauls paradoxically  made them more attractive Christmas trees? There were plainly attempts to get the operational survivors worth saving down to the West Country…. D6331/6/56 travelled down in convoy from Bristol in May 71 but unfortunately D6331 caught fire and was dumped at Exeter and never saw further use.

 

Yes it was a shame D6331 erupted during transit since the last of the local green-liveried 22s were all withdrawn on 22/5/71 so D6331 would probably have been the last green one in service. Actually if the movement took place after that date it must have been - just!

 

32 minutes ago, Mike_Walker said:

I've always understood that there was an "understanding" that NBL would get a follow on order after the D600 batch but that these were subsequently changed to the Swindon design but with NBL MAN and Voith transmissions.  Not sure if the final five Swindon ones were for "levelling up" but they were ordered late after the names had been originally allocated to the entire class.  In order to keep the strict alphabetical order some reallocation of names on the last NBL examples (not actually built by then) was required.  The WR were lucky we had such a large Navy back then with plenty of "Zs" to choose from!

 

 

Agreed, but it still looked very odd in yer Ian Allan combo to have seven names beginning with 'Z' when (hang on, I'm thinking..............🙄🤔👍) 'B', 'E', 'I', 'J', 'K', 'O', 'U' & 'W' only got one each!!

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On 11/03/2023 at 13:26, Halvarras said:

 

Indeed, the last two overhauls were 861 released 8/3/71 and 835 released 8/4/71 so no wonder they were still in good nick that summer.......and at withdrawal!

 

It was no surprise that those 43s which survived past the March & May 71 culls were the most recent overhauls. So why didn't this logic apply to the Class 22s? Overhauls of these Type 2s ceased at the end of 1967 and recommenced over 2 years later when 6308/19/26/30/38/48/52/56 were put through works, so when the final rundown started one would have expected these eight to be the last survivors - yet only 6338 of this batch made it into the final four. Perhaps 6319, belatedly released in June 1971 and withdrawn exactly 3 months later, suggested all was not well with these final overhauls. If the Class was known to have a very limited future perhaps engine hours were not reset?

 

Interesting,wasn't aware that 861 Vigilant was overhauled that late in the day. I have 861 logged on 23rd January 1971,when my mate and I made a trip from Southall to Slough,why we thought a trip to Slough would be worthwhile is lost in the mists of time....So from your info,it seems Swindon must have cracked on with Vigilant's overhaul for her to be released on 8.3.71!

My first sight of 835 Pegasus that year was on 19th June,on the occasion of the Reading Open Day.Quite likely she was still looking fresh from Swindon.(Eight Warships recorded that day..)

Yes,the further 22 overhauls seem odd,though there have been many quotes to the effect that the WR had expected replacement loco's from elsewhere,these taking longer to arrive than anticipated.

Pure conjecture and wishful thinking on my part,I wonder if those recently-overhauled 43's would have been suitable power for the start of the increase in Mendip quarry traffic at that time...

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Despite having 'cleared' the NBL my spotting notes pre 1970 sadly disappeared many moons ago.

.

My 'surviving sightings' of the Cl.43's in the final years were as follows;

.

833    07/11/1970    Canton (Open Day)    
833    16/03/1971    Ely Main Line    
833    23/10/1971    Bristol, Marsh Jct.    Stored, Cond. 03/10/71
833    01/01/1972    Bristol, Marsh Jct.    Stored, Cond 03/10/71
837    02/03/1971    Ely Main Line    
839    22/08/1971    Newton Abbott 83A    
839    01/01/1972    Bristol, Marsh Jct.    Stored, Cond 03/10/71
840    25/04/1970    Swindon    
841    05/04/1971    Cardiff General    
841    08/04/1971    Cardiff General    
842    22/08/1971    Newton Abbott 83A    
842    22/08/1971    Teignmouth-Torquay    
843    23/10/1971    Bristol, Marsh Jct.    Stored, Cond. 22/05/71
843    01/01/1972    Bristol, Marsh Jct.    Stored, Cond 22/05/71
843    04/04/1972    Swindon Works       Cond 22/05/71
844    10/03/1971    Ely Main Line    
844    29/05/1971    Cardiff General    
844    18/09/1971    Lydney    
844    23/10/1971    Bristol, Marsh Jct.    Stored
845    14/08/1971    Cardiff General    
845    22/08/1971    Torquay    
845    23/10/1971    Bristol, Marsh Jct.    Stored
846    22/02/1971    Severn Tunnel Jct.    
846    26/02/1971    Ely Main Line    
846    27/02/1971    Cardiff General    
848    25/04/1970    Swindon    
849    22/02/1971    Bristol, Bath Rd.    
849    04/04/1972    Swindon Works    Cond 22/05/71
851    22/08/1971    Newton Abbott 83A    
852    13/04/1971    Newport    
853    08/04/1971    Cardiff General    
853    22/08/1971    Newton Abbott 83A    
854    12/05/1971    Ely Main Line    
854    23/10/1971    Bristol, Marsh Jct.    Stored
854    01/01/1972    Bristol, Marsh Jct.    Stored, Cond 03/10/71
854    04/04/1972    Swindon Works        Cond 03/10/71
855    30/06/1971    Cardiff General    
855    21/08/1971    Cardiff General    
855    22/08/1971    Newton Abbott 83A    
855    23/10/1971    Bristol, Marsh Jct.    Stored
855    01/01/1972    Bristol, Marsh Jct.    Stored, Cond 03/10/71
855    04/04/1972    Swindon Works    Cond 03/10/71
856    22/02/1971    Severn Tunnel Jct.    
857    13/03/1971    Cardiff General    
857    15/03/1971    Ely Main Line    
857    13/04/1971    Newport High St.    
857    23/10/1971    Bristol, Marsh Jct.    Stored
857    01/01/1972    Bristol, Marsh Jct.    Stored, Cond 03/10/71
857    04/04/1972    Swindon Works    Cond 03/10/71
858    23/10/1971    Bristol, Marsh Jct.    Stored
859    23/03/1971    Ely Main Line    
861    01/01/1972    Bristol, Marsh Jct.    Stored, Cond 03/10/71
862    24/06/1971    Cardiff General    
862    22/08/1971    Patchway    
864    25/02/1971    Ely Main Line    
865    25/02/1971    Ely Main Line    
865    05/03/1971    Ely Main Line    
865    23/10/1971    Bristol, Marsh Jct.    Stored

.

Those Cl.43s recorded at Ely (Main Line) were invariably working (what I took to be) the 8F37 12:10 Severn Tunnel Jcn. - Margam.

.


 

 

 

image.png

Edited by br2975
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858 was the last to work a passenger train …. And 861 the last to move under her own power when she ran OEO light engine from Worcester to Bristol 2nd October 71 IIRC to be withdrawn.

 

Not the last move however as following withdrawal 844 ran back up to Worcester in November for a stint of carriage warming before returning to Swindon and the inevitable. 
 

Can you remember what she was doing at Lydney Brian @br2975?

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3 hours ago, Phil Bullock said:

858 was the last to work a passenger train ….
 

Can you remember what she was doing at Lydney Brian @br2975?

.

Sorry Phil I can't.

on that date, Saturday 18th September, 1971 - I was on the  2B17 07:05 Cardiff - Gloucester, a Swindon Cross Country set which puts us at Lydney around 07:55.

My notes also show that we passed 1664 at/near Lydney, immediately after sighting the Warship.

.

My notes for that day also show the following, which may interest you ?

Gloucester (outward):- 1066, 1607, 1835, 4025,  we changed here for a SW-NE working, behind 158.

85B Horton Road :-  3114, 3989, 3992, 3994,7012, 7039, 7045, PWM654

Cheltenham:- 27

Bromsgrove:- 7022, 7023, 7024.

85B Horton Road (return):- 93, 102, 6906, 7520, 7623+7641.

.

Edited by br2975
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3 hours ago, br2975 said:

.

Sorry Phil I can't.

on that date, Saturday 18th September, 1971 - I was on the  2B17 07:05 Cardiff - Gloucester, a Swindon Cross Country set which puts us at Lydney around 07:55.

My notes also show that we passed 1664 at/near Lydney, immediately after sighting the Warship.

.

My notes for that day also show the following, which may interest you ?

Gloucester (outward):- 1066, 1607, 1835, 4025,  we changed here for a SW-NE working, behind 158.

85B Horton Road :-  3114, 3989, 3992, 3994,7012, 7039, 7045, PWM654

Cheltenham:- 27

Bromsgrove:- 7022, 7023, 7024.

85B Horton Road (return):- 93, 102, 6906, 7520, 7623+7641.

.


Great gen thanks for sharing….Nice trio of Sulzer 2s at Gloucester on the return including this one… 60AC20EB-2479-4D9C-B6E6-23DCBD005E27.jpeg.d791786d7e97bcefe62bf40cb4d0c137.jpeg

Edited by Phil Bullock
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To my eternal shame I didn't take many photos of Warships when I saw them every time I went lineside, but here are a couple of b&w Instamatic shots from my yoof - 

 

D843 Sharpshooter on the clays at Par in April 1969.......

1541831031_690400_D843Parnp.jpg.6fb11636b6dfc4e3a3288218d3c0f9f8.jpg

 

......and 861 Vigilant on the down 'Cornishman' at Penwithers Junction, date unrecorded but I assume no later than mid-March 1971 since, according to 'The Book of the Warships' (Irwell Press) it was outshopped by Swindon 8/3/71 - since it was still in maroon livery when it went in it was only possible to see it in blue livery for a little under 7 months in 1971 (835 released 8/4/71 in this livery style had been blue with 4 arrows previously). Sorry it's a bit blurred, must have been the excitement!

5705776_710300_D861PenwithersJcnp.jpg.ea7dc0c817419ca2bfc729c513cbcf46.jpg

 

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11 minutes ago, Halvarras said:

To my eternal shame I didn't take many photos of Warships when I saw them every time I went lineside, but here are a couple of b&w Instamatic shots from my yoof - 

 

D843 Sharpshooter on the clays at Par in April 1969.......

1541831031_690400_D843Parnp.jpg.6fb11636b6dfc4e3a3288218d3c0f9f8.jpg

 

......and 861 Vigilant on the down 'Cornishman' at Penwithers Junction, date unrecorded but I assume no later than mid-March 1971 since, according to 'The Book of the Warships' (Irwell Press) it was outshopped by Swindon 8/3/71 - since it was still in maroon livery when it went in it was only possible to see it in blue livery for a little under 7 months in 1971 (835 released 8/4/71 in this livery style had been blue with 4 arrows previously). Sorry it's a bit blurred, must have been the excitement!

5705776_710300_D861PenwithersJcnp.jpg.ea7dc0c817419ca2bfc729c513cbcf46.jpg

 

861 looking very smart there! Great photos thanks for sharing 

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861 had an advantage for modellers of Class 43 based on the Bachmann Class 42 - it had Swindon type roof fan grilles (but you'll already know this Phil!)

 

I think my reluctance to photograph Warships back then was because I didn't find them very attractive to look at, with their bulbous noses (the D600s looked OK to me, but I didn't get a camera until 1968 😕!) It was obvious to the teenage me that the Western class was an updated and enlarged version of the Warship, as confirmed by the intro years in my Ian Allan ABC, but the Western and Hymek were more modern and visually appealing, as was the Brush Type 4 when I first clapped eyes on one in 1967, which was also why I'd choose to use my hard-won film on these rather than Warships. There was also a natural inclination at the time to record stuff one didn't see every day in preference to the stuff one did. The mistake was not taking heed of withdrawals of the familiar, no matter how visually unappealing, and realising that one day I'd be taking nostalgic retrospectives and wishing I'd ignored some of those 47s (which are still here, just about) and photographed more Warships (which bowed out half a century ago), because I got to appreciate them more with the passage of time. Follies of youth n all........

It may have been a slightly different matter if the designers had had their way and the Warship had looked more like a shortened Western with the corners rounded off, as illustrated by the model produced, but they were overruled. Ah well, it's all water under the bridge now, as the say......

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I came to the WR late I.e. 1971, whilst not a 43 I can remember seeing 806 at Bristol my first Warship and I still remember it so clear. Whilst lucky to see the back end of the WR Hydraulics I still wish I had my digital camera that I have now and those days. 😩

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5 minutes ago, younGGuns7 said:

I came to the WR late I.e. 1971, whilst not a 43 I can remember seeing 806 at Bristol my first Warship and I still remember it so clear. Whilst lucky to see the back end of the WR Hydraulics I still wish I had my digital camera that I have now and those days. 😩

 

Oh yes, absolutely agree! I wish I'd upgraded from my Instamatic to a Zenit-E sooner than I did and not bothered with the disappointing Halina in between at all. But digital, wow - what a revolution that has been! imagine being able to shoot all the stuff running back then - not just hydraulics - without having to worry about the cost of film and developing exceeding one's pocket money and/or Saturday job earnings! I'd have gone bonkers with it😜!!

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3 minutes ago, Halvarras said:

 

Oh yes, absolutely agree! I wish I'd upgraded from my Instamatic to a Zenit-E sooner than I did and not bothered with the disappointing Halina in between at all. But digital, wow - what a revolution that has been! imagine being able to shoot all the stuff running back then - not just hydraulics - without having to worry about the cost of film and developing exceeding one's pocket money and/or Saturday job earnings! I'd have gone bonkers with it😜!!

36 shots and that was your lot 🤦‍♂️ I went to the Manx International Rally in 1982 just two reels of film as that’s what I could afford, went to Sardinia WRC 2013 with my Canon 6 and took 32 shots of the same car on one bend on for a Time Machine 

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On 16/03/2023 at 15:15, Phil Bullock said:


Great gen thanks for sharing….Nice trio of Sulzer 2s at Gloucester on the return including this one… 60AC20EB-2479-4D9C-B6E6-23DCBD005E27.jpeg.d791786d7e97bcefe62bf40cb4d0c137.jpeg

.

And what a great choice it is;

 

8E46 the erstwhile 12:50 Radyr (Quarry) - Normanby Park block coal for A.F.S.Co.

.

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24 minutes ago, br2975 said:

.

And what a great choice it is;

 

8E46 the erstwhile 12:50 Radyr (Quarry) - Normanby Park block coal for A.F.S.Co.

.


Thats a very convenient thing about modelling the Birmingham to Gloucester line…. Plenty of coal flows in both directions! Steel too…

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On 23/03/2023 at 18:11, Phil Bullock said:


Thats a very convenient thing about modelling the Birmingham to Gloucester line…. Plenty of coal flows in both directions! Steel too…

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Shrewd move Phil.

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I'll have to check my notes, but I believe 8E46 was the balance of 6V55 a Scunthorpe - Tidal or Long Dyke (as required) steel working, billets for rolling at the GKN 'Castle Works'

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I have only just stumbled across this, but I did write a piece for Railways Illustrated in their April 2012 issue on NBL's demise. Researching at the National Archives, I found all sorts of archive material on their demise, the loans from the GIvernment, Clydesdale bank, and GEC and all sorts.

 

The company was not wound up until 1969.

 

Simon

Edited by slilley
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2 hours ago, slilley said:

I have only just stumbled across this, but I did write a piece for Railways Illustrated in their April 2012 issue on NBL's demise. Researching at the national Archives, I found all sorts of archive material on their demise, the loans from the GIvernment, Clydesdale bank, and GEC and all sorts.

 

The company wa not would up until 1969.

 

Simon


Am sure I remember that one Simon … an informative piece.

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On 31/01/2023 at 09:18, D860 VICTORIOUS said:

Awful-really??

I'm fairly sure the 43's were not used on the Waterloo-Exeter route to simplify crew training/knowledge.

The 43's,like every other diesel class,had faults and were not perfect,and as has been repeated many times,at the time of their withdrawal BR had more diesels than it needed.

I can recall the 43's in their last year of operation,still in front-line service,with several of them having been re-instated to traffic,and outwardly looking very smart.

Generalisations like "awful" remind me of the same tag being given to the 22's for years on end,when in fact their availability level was pretty good,and I think that particular myth was put to bed some time ago.

Neil.


If they weren't awful, why did NBL go bankrupt? 

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58 minutes ago, OnTheBranchline said:


If they weren't awful, why did NBL go bankrupt? 

 

Please explain how one less-than-perfect product managed to bankrupt a company that had been producing locos for the UK, and the rest of the world, for a very long time.

 

There were many things wrong with NB when it finally collapsed, but the pioneer 'Warships' were far from being the primary cause.

 

Simplistic statements such as that last one are meaningless.

 

CJI.

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On 29/05/2023 at 18:21, OnTheBranchline said:


If they weren't awful, why did NBL go bankrupt? 

Read my article on NBL and its financial woes in the April 2012 Railways Illustrated. Gives you the full story. 

 

Simon

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My understanding is that NBL failed to make the transition from steam locomotive building to diesel locomotives which needed a step change in engineering capabilities (machining, tolerances, material etc).  I think they also failed to design and built the monocoque bodies required for the WR hydraulics which then came in seriously overweight.  I suspect the warranty claims by the WR played a major part in them going out of business.  I've just downloaded but not yet read this:

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/331114601_Business_History_The_Decline_and_Fall_of_the_North_British_Locomotive_Company_1940-62_Technological_and_Financial_Mismanagement_or_Institutional_Failure

Peterfgf

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18 minutes ago, peterfgf said:

My understanding is that NBL failed to make the transition from steam locomotive building to diesel locomotives which needed a step change in engineering capabilities (machining, tolerances, material etc).  I think they also failed to design and built the monocoque bodies required for the WR hydraulics which then came in seriously overweight.  I suspect the warranty claims by the WR played a major part in them going out of business.  I've just downloaded but not yet read this:

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/331114601_Business_History_The_Decline_and_Fall_of_the_North_British_Locomotive_Company_1940-62_Technological_and_Financial_Mismanagement_or_Institutional_Failure

Peterfgf

 

The D600s were 'seriously overweight' compared to the D800s and didn't fulfil the WR's ambitions for their diesel-hydraulic fleet, but these were constructed along conventional lines with the bodywork assembled on a heavy steel underframe, coming in at a diesel-electric-like 117 tons. NBL had to learn how to build load-bearing 'stress-skinned' monocoque bodies for their D800s and thus went through the same learning curve as Swindon - since both D800 types came in below 80 tons this aspect at least was accomplished.

But I agree with your 'step-change' comment - it would appear that NBL failed to cope as well as Beyer-Peacock, who had also been a very active steam locomotive builder. From the title I suspect your download may shed some light on the reasons......

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The D600's cannot have been overweight, as the BTC wouldn't have accepted them. The fact that they weren't designed to make advantage of the lightweightness that could be achieved with hydraulic power is a different matter. Interestingly they were probably better placed to work the freight trains of the period, as they had sufficient weight to be able to control unbraked trains (unlike the later Warships).

 

Andy G 

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19 hours ago, peterfgf said:

My understanding is that NBL failed to make the transition from steam locomotive building to diesel locomotives which needed a step change in engineering capabilities (machining, tolerances, material etc).  I think they also failed to design and built the monocoque bodies required for the WR hydraulics which then came in seriously overweight.  I suspect the warranty claims by the WR played a major part in them going out of business.  I've just downloaded but not yet read this:

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/331114601_Business_History_The_Decline_and_Fall_of_the_North_British_Locomotive_Company_1940-62_Technological_and_Financial_Mismanagement_or_Institutional_Failure

Peterfgf

I got round to reading the business history paper (as opposed to just downloading it and filing it away).  I thought it was an interesting. well informed, sympathetic and well balanced history of the company.  It's strength is the financial and organisation of NBL rather than engineering (the author gets power-to weight ratio the wrong way round in one sentence). I can recommend it (especially as the down load is free). 

Peterfgf

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