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NBL Warship’s - were they really that bad?


TravisM
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I find the 1955-1965 period on the UK railways a fascinating cocktail of engineering, business practices, politics  and a big trough full of taxpayer funding  So many aspects, so many complex developments going on at once.

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First trip recorded in my trip log is 13 July 1963 (aged 11), holiday in Ilfracombe.

 

Wigan to Manchester Victoria 42180 (2-6-4 tank)

Man Vic to Piccadilly Bus 3218

Manchester to Exeter St Davids through train - To Plymouth I think, Electric, Steam & Diesel haulage on same train !!

Picc to Crewe E3020

Crewe to Shrewsbury Unidentified Black 5

Shrewsbury to Exeter St Davids D809 Champion

Exeter to Ilfracombe WC 34069 Hawkinge

 

On 26/7 D831 Monarch took us home from Exeter to Crewe.

 

My only other trip behind a Warship was Worcester to Paddington behind a shiny clean newly blue painted NB Warship D839 Relentless on 18 September 1970 - with an LM region weekly rover ticket(that was NOT valid for this trip - but it was one of the last Warships, we decided to risk it and we got away with it !!!)

 

Nice locos, only ever saw a few.

 

Brit15

 

 

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21 hours ago, Halvarras said:

...it would appear that NBL failed to cope as well as Beyer-Peacock, who had also been a very active steam locomotive builder.

 

And who also went bust in the 60s

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2 hours ago, melmoth said:

 

And who also went bust in the 60s

 

True of course that they only lasted around 4 years longer, they were tough times for loco builders and with the switch from large numbers of steam locos to a far smaller requirement for replacement diesels a shake-out was inevitable. And of course the problem with the rapid replacement of one form of traction with another (and especially on a shrinking network) is that once the programme was complete no new builds would be required for a long time (unless a product proved to be so catastrophically bad that 100 replacements for those to a design harking back nearly 10 years became necessary, which must have only added to the embarrassment!) All new British diesel designs had their teething troubles, some more than others but B-P's products seemed to be very well-regarded. The Hymeks looked like a quality product and may have fared better in their early days if they hadn't been thrashed from new on workings formerly in the care of 'King' class 4-6-0s, and I've read that the B-P Class 25s D7624-59 were generally better finished than the BR works output. I wouldn't be at all surprised if the same were true of their batch of Clayton Class 17s D8588-616 but the power unit choice doomed them along with the rest.

 

Ultimately it came down to circumstances - BRCW also built sound locomotives, even showing Derby in 1958 that scattering ventilation louvres all over the sides of their Type 2s design wasn't necessary or desirable (they eventually took the hint) but BRCW didn't survive either.

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On 06/06/2023 at 13:08, 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

 

A fascinating read.

 

But clearly the worlds railways became very different places with the introduction of Diesel & Electric traction.

 

Worth making the point that the two big US Diesel Loco builders have no direct link with any of the Steam Loco builders while in the UK only Hunslet seemed to manage the change from Steam to Diesel and they basically only built 'Industrials'

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