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Shaggy Sheep Driver
13th Dec 2014, 12:05
The building of steam locomotive 'Princess Arthur of Connaught' at Crewe in 1935. They made everything they needed at Crewe, even the gas for the furnaces!

The locomotive was withdrawn in 1961.

No. 6207 A Study in Steel - Free Full Length Film (http://silodrome.com/a-study-in-steel-film/)

ZOOKER
13th Dec 2014, 12:44
Great stuff Shaggy Sheep.
The narrator is Grayson, of Mr. Cholmonley-Warner Fame. :ok:

tony draper
13th Dec 2014, 13:05
Yer great stuff Mr Shaggy,giants walked our land back then,our land is peopled by pigmies now.:(

Daysleeper
13th Dec 2014, 13:20
Not a hard hat or yellow jacket in sight....

Of course the death rate from factory accidents was around 100 times greater than today. And no one even bothered to count the life changing injuries which would condemn families to lives of utter poverty.

oldpax
13th Dec 2014, 13:31
I worked in a locomotive factory for almost a year before joining the RAF as a boy entrant .It was built about 1840 and most of it had not changed ,yes there were accidents and a few due to lack of guards on machines.I worked on centre lathes and after a month or so was left unsupervised doing all sorts of parts .One apprentice (almost time served)got caught in a machine for turning down wheels and was crushed to death ,this was one reason I left!British railways may have been better .

wings folded
13th Dec 2014, 13:58
How did the commentator learn how to speak like Harry Enfield, 26 years before Enfield's birth?

"Guid" luck and "guid" running says he at the end, creating a magnificent new pair of diphthongs.

So, hurrah for 6207 and hurrah for talking in a weird way. :D

Fox3WheresMyBanana
13th Dec 2014, 14:32
Many thanks for posting SSD :ok:

There are a few "giants" still left - Goggle "building new locomotive" and quite a few come up, e.g.
April 2014 - a big month for new-build steam locomotive projects | Rail.co.uk (http://www.rail.co.uk/rail-news/2014/april-2014-a-big-month-for-new-build-steam-locomotive-projects/)
P2 Steam Locomotive Company - P2 Steam Locomotive Company (http://www.p2steam.com/)
The 82045 Steam Locomotive Trust : Help build the next BR Class 3MT tank loco. (http://www.82045.org.uk/)

I first drove a steam train aged 6 - 100 feet down Preston station with the Driver holding me up to grasp the lever. All illegal now :{

Mind you, service in the RAF nearly resulted in my death at least 4 times - Weather, weather, mid-air, tech failure.

wings folded
13th Dec 2014, 14:55
All illegal now

Was then.

See the 1950 British Railways Rulebook..

I have it somewhere, but can't just lay my hands on it for now, so can't quote the rule, but I am sure there was one.

funfly
13th Dec 2014, 15:14
I came up in heavy engineering, The film reminds us of just how much work was done by hand with skilled workmen. Most men had waistcoats and many were wearing ties - those were the days.
Thanks for the film mate, reaally enjoyed it.

Fox3WheresMyBanana
13th Dec 2014, 15:16
Yeh, but in those days there was illegal, and illegal. ;)

I ended up doing an engineering degree after getting fascinated by the Walschaerts valve gear as a lad.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/55/Walschaert_static.png
1. Fly Crank 2. Fly-Crank Rod 3. Reach Rod 4. Lifting Link 5. Lifting Arm
6. Reverse Arm 7. Expansion Link 8. Radius Bar 9. Crosshead Arm 10. Valve Stem Guide
11. Union Link 12. Combination Lever 13. Valve Stem 14. Piston Valve

hint: It's why a choo-choo train goes "choo choo" ;)

wings folded
13th Dec 2014, 15:26
Yeh, but in those days there was illegal, and illegal. Working a signal box while the signalman went for a pint in the pub opposite was probably not entirely legal, neither for him nor his "substitute".

goudie
13th Dec 2014, 15:42
Lovely to watch those skilled men going about their work in such a matter of fact way.
I hope they had a well deserved pint on the way home!

Flash2001
13th Dec 2014, 16:17
I agree with many of the sentiments expressed here but: The lack of eye protection scares me silly! I once took a tour of a shipbuilder that had about the same safety standards as the film exhibits. I noticed that:
1) Drill press operators wore ties.
2) There were no old drill press operators.

Coincidence? Maybe.

After an excellent landing etc...

joy ride
13th Dec 2014, 18:20
Great video! Whoever wrote the explanatory notes definitely does NOT have a lot of feel for this subject....the locomotive is described as a "train" but far worse, it is apparently all made of sheet steel!

tony draper
13th Dec 2014, 18:46
Now we get them in flatpacks from feckin Japan and import Eastern Europeans to glue the buggas together for us, we should hang our heads in bloody shame.:(

Shaggy Sheep Driver
13th Dec 2014, 19:50
....the locomotive is described as a "train" but far worse, it is apparently all made of sheet steel!

You develop a tough skin for that sort of ignorance. On the footplate of the replica 'Planet' (original - 1830) which has a wooden-clad boiler I've often heard "oh look, that train's got a wooden boiler!" I'm often tempted to comment how careful the fireman has to be in managing his fire on such a locomotive. :rolleyes:

And it carries, along with its 1992 builders plates commemorating its actual build year, replica 1830 Robert Stephenson plates. I once heard in loud US accent say "Oh look at that cute train! And it was made by that Robert Louis Stevenson, the same guy who wrote treesure island!"

joy ride
13th Dec 2014, 21:17
Ah, ignorance is bliss! I was looking at films of the Planet replica on YT a while back, the diver was describing getting it into reverse, but did a good job of it.

Shaggy Sheep Driver
13th Dec 2014, 22:02
Quite an art to start 'Planet', and to reverse direction. She has slip eccentric valve gear and hand levers to work the valves, locking levers to lock the valve events to the eccentric-driven rods, and a reversing pedal to transfer those rods from the the 'forward' to the 'reverse' eccentric dogs (or vice versa) on the driving axle.

One can only make such a change while the locomotive is moving, as the eccentrics will only re-engage their dogs while the axle is rotating - and rotating at just the right speed! Too slow and the dogs won't engage before the loco stops, too fast and the dogs just skip over the detent holes in the axle.

If the loco stops 'out of gear' (dogs not engaged or engaged in the wrong direction), one has to 'hand valve' it using the hand levers (which are always connected to the valves) to get the train (yes, it will be a train, not just the loco) moving in the correct direction, then close the regulator* and engage the locking levers while it's rolling (easier downhill!) and 'wiggle' the hand levers back and forth a couple of times to engage the eccentric dogs.

It's a great test of skill to drive the locomotive on the hand levers (hand selecting the valve events) for more than several seconds before your arms start to mis-time the valve events and she goes from chuffing ahead to slowing and stopping!

So much easier on a 'modern' steam loco to just wang the reverser lever or rotate the screw reverser into the required valve setting!

*With the regulator open, moving the hand levers which are connected to slide vales, is very difficult due steam pressure.

Tankertrashnav
14th Dec 2014, 00:32
I once took a tour of a shipbuilder that had about the same safety standards as the film exhibits.

My brother served his apprenticeship and subsequently worked in shipyards on the Clyde in the 50s and 60s. Although he didnt work directly with the stuff there was always asbestos dust floating around as it was used for boiler lagging and of course no notice was taken of it. Mesothelioma (asbestos related lung cancer) killed him 5 years ago - he never smoked. Dont talk to me about those good old days - I'd rather have my brother around enjoying his retirement.

Solar
14th Dec 2014, 05:15
Great clip SSD
There is a lot to be said for HSE both good and bad, it's not the safety that is the problem it's the percentage of little Hitlers that nowadays seem to gravitate to job.

India Four Two
14th Dec 2014, 06:46
SSD,

Thanks for posting. A great video. I loved the foundry foreman in his bowler hat and using workers as counter-weights when inserting plates into the furnace.

I had forgotten you were an engine driver as well as a Chipmunk driver. Your description of reversing the Planet is fascinating. Of course, for someone who has mastered the brakes on a Chipmunk and the art of changing hands on final to put the flaps down, changing gear on a locomotive should be a piece of cake. :ok:

India Four Two
14th Dec 2014, 07:48
after getting fascinated by the Walschaerts valve gear as a ladMe too, although I only saw it occasionally on Britannias and 8Fs when visiting my grandparents in Essex, since I grew up on God's Wonderful Railway in the 60s and all those marvellous Kings and Castles, that were pulled out of retirement to replace failing diesels, had their valve gear tastefully hidden between the frames.

What always struck me was how would you design that geometry, starting with a clean sheet of paper?

joy ride
14th Dec 2014, 08:19
This sort of engineering and mechanics always impresses me. I have learned how to disassemble and reassemble Sturmey Archer epicyclic gear boxes, and even try to customise them to enable reversing. It takes a fair time to learn how to do this, and another fair time to understand exactly how they work - two of the ratios are obvious, but how the 3rd is enabled took me a bit longer ( 1 and 3 slip past each to create 2). That is the easy bit, how does anyone manage to dream this sort of device up?!

Let's not even get started on the Antikythera mechanism!

goudie
14th Dec 2014, 10:00
[QUOTE]
Let's not even get started on the Antikythera mechanism[/QUO

The Antikythera mechanism - Decoding The Heavens (http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=2&ved=0CCgQFjAB&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.decodingtheheavens.com%2Fthedevice.aspx&ei=A1-NVNiuC4aBU6S7gfgD&usg=AFQjCNHiHreDmX4MeiygFLa71IXe6jhKLw&sig2=hv1QIrq0t1o50TuoBdkYow&bvm=bv.81828268,d.d24&cad=rja)

Well you've got me started!

Windy Militant
14th Dec 2014, 10:27
What always struck me was how would you design that geometry, starting with a clean sheet of paper?

In them days they probably started by drawing out the motion of the wheel crank and the valve slide. Then spent a looooong time drawing out Loci (Or should that be locuses) of the bits in between to get the action right. Did it in a basic way for my O Levels. Came in handy some thirty years later when I used it to set up a drive belt to connect a generator to a flywheel with a toothed drive belt system. For some reason I can't recall now there were two drive ratios. The Gradute engineer sandwich student had spent six months designing the system using calculus and the admittedly basic CAD package we had at the time and when he put the thing together it didn't work.
At the time I had a proper drawing board in my office and a couple of hours work using my O level drawing skills along with three cardboard circles and a bit of string soon had the position for the admittedly very nice idler pulley he'd designed placed. A bit of steel plate and an hour with the site welder and we were good to go. I suspect that CAD systems are a bit more capable now but the almost infinite positions that arise in that sort of case may still cause them headaches. ;)

Yamagata ken
14th Dec 2014, 12:31
Thanks for that SSD.

I showed it to No1 son (who fancies himself as an historian), and he was stunned at the power of the machinery (presses, forges, lifts). Also forging that connecting rod by hand and eye, with the help of a template. Impressive stuff.

radeng
14th Dec 2014, 13:04
One day many years ago on the Severn Valley Railway. Radeng was busy cleaning some loco - I think it was the Collet 0-6-0, 3205 - when a school party appears. Next to 3205 was the WD 'Gordon' Austerity 2-10-0 in blue with 'LMR' (for 'Longmoor Military Railway') on the tender. The teacher in charge of the party knew everything there was to know about locomotives, culminating in - "Look, children, LMR is for London Midland Region'.

Two cleaners rapidly disappeared round to the other side of 3205 bursting with laughter........

Mechta
14th Dec 2014, 15:00
Radeng, I never thought I would see a mention of LMR on Pprune. There are still a few signs of it in and around Bordon.

You might like this:
Schools Open Day For Longmoor Military Railway - British Pathé (http://www.britishpathe.com/video/schools-open-day-for-longmoor-military-railway)

joy ride
14th Dec 2014, 16:09
In the 60s I was at a boarding school not too far from Longmoor, and I think it must have been there that occasional night exercises caused flashes of light and booms which we could see. If anyone asked what it all was the stock answer was "The Army throwing porridge."

Gazelle is now at the museum at KESR, Tenterden Kent, a charming little loco.

While watching the scene of the wheel-tapping lad our plumbing started knocking exactly in time and or a moment I thought there WAS a soundtrack!

Not that great on locos, but the heavy one at the end with 10 driving wheels, would that be a 9F or summat from that there foreign? The tender does not look normal to me, perhaps it's just an unfamiliar angle and my small screen.

B Fraser
14th Dec 2014, 16:10
Aaaaaaah, inside admission valves Mr Fox !

I am very tempted to drop into conversation that I have a 50 mile route learning turn on 7828 Norton Manor on New Year's eve. The last hour will be mostly uphill in the dark. :E

Zeus
14th Dec 2014, 18:46
Some of these giants of steam still run on the mainline.

Take a look at

Merchant Navy Clan Line (http://www.clan-line.org.uk/)

Regrettably due a major (cat D type) rebuild later next year.

Shaggy Sheep Driver
14th Dec 2014, 19:07
Not that great on locos, but the heavy one at the end with 10 driving wheels, would that be a 9F or summat from that there foreign? The tender does not look normal to me, perhaps it's just an unfamiliar angle and my small screen.

It's an Austerity 2-10-0, a for-runner of the magnificent 9F (my 2nd favorite loco after the Princes Coronation, surely the ultimate in steam locomotives.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/dc-7c/9584380785/

The 9F was the last of the 'BR Standard' designs by Riddles, most based on former LMS designs though the Britannias owe something to Mr Bullied's pacifics, which proved to be superb engines once they'd been rebuilt with 'proper' valve gear and no spam-can casings, though the West Countrys were always a bit too light on their feet.

Here's 9F:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/2741819300

joy ride
14th Dec 2014, 20:00
Cheers SSD!

India Four Two
14th Dec 2014, 20:50
Here's a nice video of Walschaerts valve gear in motion, with some lovely scenery and steam clouds at Lake Louise, 200 km west of where I'm typing.

1Z8MIXXDPls

Shaggy Sheep Driver
14th Dec 2014, 22:22
Very nice, even if it's not easy to see the valve gear through the steam from the open cylinder drain cocks. ;)

Fox3WheresMyBanana
14th Dec 2014, 23:32
Here's an excellent animation. Slow it down to 0.1 Train Speed

Walschaerts Valve Gear (http://www.mekanizmalar.com/walschaerts_valve_gear.html)

Stanwell
15th Dec 2014, 01:58
Beautiful.
Ah just loves steam!

I'd found, through my working life, that there are three essentials..

1. Commonsense.
2. Situational awareness.
3. The ability to listen to and learn from those older and more experienced than you.

India Four Two
15th Dec 2014, 05:52
it's not easy to see the valve gear through the steamSSD,

Yes, I knew some smart alec (;)) would make that comment, but it does make for a wonderful video. I thought there was something wrong with the audio, because I couldn't initially hear the exhaust sounds.

Why would the engineer leave the drain cocks open for so long? Cylinders too cold?

hoofie
15th Dec 2014, 07:19
Great skills indeed but your chances of getting maimed or killed in these places was bloody high. Your safety equipment was a cloth cap and a lit woodbine.

No hard hats, no eye protection, no guarding on machines. No thanks, I'll take today's environment. I know someone who lost the sight in one eye using an improperly guarded machine not that long ago.

One of the differences between then and now is way things were built. A steam engine was put together bit by bit, literally hammered out of raw material.

Now locomotives are modular with electric drive rather than direct via pistons and cranks. The only bit of heavy engineering are the frames - the bogies and powerpacks are designed to be swapped out.

It's also faster, more efficient, safer, cheaper and more accurate to let a computer do all the machining now rather than a time-served man.

Probably the only repository left in the UK of real engineering is the Formula One business although it's all about design and precision rather than massive forgings.

Even ships are now built in modules.

mad_jock
15th Dec 2014, 08:01
there are a few more areas that have old style engineering skill being used.

Mostly bespoke system with low volume of production.

jimtherev
15th Dec 2014, 09:11
No hard hats, no eye protection, no guarding on machines. No thanks, I'll take today's environment. I know someone who lost the sight in one eye using an improperly guarded machine not that long ago.

Yup. I have a slightly dodgy right eye due to a hot steel swarflet hitting it when I was about 20. I was lucky.
But then as hoofie says, we didn't have lathe guards, and wouldn't have used 'em if we did have 'em.
That would have been considered cissy.

joy ride
15th Dec 2014, 09:30
When I was developing prototypes at an Innovation Centre I was once asked to show the Inspector around for the annual H&S check. We expected it and had already checked everything and ensured that all guards were correctly secured particularly on the Balding Beaver milling machine and the big pillar drill, and these guards were a PITA. They got in the way of the work piece and could scatter swarf in bad directions. There was a real chance of swarf and fingers getting trapped together beneath the guards.

When examining these machines I told the Inspector what I thought of them, and he replied that they were needed. We completed the inspection amiably and I showed him to the door.

As soon as he stepped outside he said that he completely agreed that those guards were useless and potentially dangerous and that I was now welcome to remove them as long as they were back in place before his next visit.

Shaggy Sheep Driver
15th Dec 2014, 11:20
Why would the engineer leave the drain cocks open for so long? Cylinders too cold?

Having seen the results of hydraulic locking on a steam loco, I wouldn't take any chances with cold cylinders. Drivers (as we call them in UK) with an engine that's on shed and ready for traffic will heat the cylinders before starting by gently opening the regulator with the taps (drain cocks) open and let steam issue through with the loco not moving, then reverse the valve gear, and perhaps open the regulator a bit more to move the pistons to the other end of the cylinders and repeat the process until all the cylinders are hot at both ends.

Then he'll proceed with great caution initially with the taps open because it takes a while for those massive cylinder castings to get properly heat soaked and you don't want to risk any steam condensing in the cylinders. There's also the danger of 'carry-over' or 'priming' where water is carried over in the steam perhaps from an over-full boiler. This isn't a problem when the loco is fully up to temperature as such water will turn to steam anyway before reaching the cylinders, but in a cold engine it might not.

Once the driver is happy that the cylinders are nice and hot, the taps can be closed. On a big engine like the one in the video that could take a while! And of course every time the loco stops there's a chance of the cylinders cooling, so drivers have an ingrained practice generally of starting every time with the taps open.

If you do get water in the cylinder, it's incompressible (pretty much) so the end of the cylinder gets blown off as the piston moves towards it, often wrecking the cylinder casting. So no driver wishes to risk that!

Shaggy Sheep Driver
15th Dec 2014, 11:30
Probably the only repository left in the UK of real engineering is the Formula One business although it's all about design and precision rather than massive forgings.

We do quite a lot of precision hi tech engineering in UK. I always point to Rolls Royce at Derby who design and manufacture world-class aircraft gas turbine engines. Real leading-edge engineering!

G-CPTN
15th Dec 2014, 11:52
How do these cylinder drains operate?
Presumably the control is in the cab, yet the venting occurs from the cylinders mounted on the front of the engine - a significant distance away.

radeng
15th Dec 2014, 11:53
>If you do get water in the cylinder, it's incompressible (pretty much) so the end of the cylinder gets blown off as the piston moves towards it, often wrecking the cylinder casting.<

Although many locos had pressure relief valves on the cylinders to guard against such eventualities, they didn't always work to relieve excess pressure and they didn't always stay closed well enough to prevent loss of steam.

Opening the cylinder cocks at speed produced enough noise and steam that it could frighten animals (especially stray sheep and the hounds of a hunt!)to get off the track and avoid being run over.

I prefer safety glasses to guards on my lathe and mill and have industrial toughened glass in spectacles anyway.

radeng
15th Dec 2014, 11:55
>Presumably the control is in the cab, yet the venting occurs from the cylinders mounted on the front of the engine - a significant distance away. <

Generally with a mechanical linkage of levers, but Bowden cables and even steam operation have been used at various times.

joy ride
15th Dec 2014, 12:15
Last year I took my Dad to the Watercress Line. On the return journey from Alton I thought we were going a bit slower, and as we alighted at Alresford I heard the driver saying to the station master that a cylinder had blown.

I once made a demonstration model of an atmospheric engine for TV, and the researcher wanted a Perspex cylinder so viewers could see the water vapour and condensation inside. Great idea, but Perspex melts at 98 degrees!

The good news was that it was a windy day, so despite a distinct smell of hot Perspex it softened but was kept cool enough not enough to distort.

The bad news was that wind was carrying the heat away from the boiler so it took a while to heat up, and instead of waiting for it to work, the TV Land folks kept wandering off to film other shots and did not return in time to film it working. I finally had to get quite shirty with them and say that it was a simple model of a very primitive machine and follows its own time, not TV Land Time and they MUST remain close on hand for when it works. An "outsider" pulling rank on TV Land people....dangerous! but it worked!

Shaggy Sheep Driver
15th Dec 2014, 12:41
Yes, drain cocks are just taps with (usually) a mechanical linkage back to the cab. On something like a Coronation Pacific there are 4 cylinders, with a drain cock on each end, so 8 taps. It's not unknown on that class of loco for one of the taps to stick open with a characteristic 'hiss' and blast of steam once per wheel revolution.

There is only one lever in the cab operating all the taps together.

The real danger of 'hydraulicing' occurs with locos equipped with piston valves. Many small locos have slide valves, and in the event of hydraulicing the slide valve will be forced to lift away from the valve chest and provide an escape route for the trapped water. Nonetheless, we always use the taps when driving these locos as I wouldn't want to rely on that!

With piston valve locos there's even a danger of hydraulicing within the valve chamber - the piston valve coming up against trapped water against the end of the valve chest. To obviate this, some locos have valve pistons which are free to slide back on the valve stem up to a limit; they are normally held against the end stop of their valve stem by steam pressure, but on coming into contact with water they can be forced back along the stem against steam pressure instead of bashing out the end of the valve chest!

India Four Two
15th Dec 2014, 20:38
Fascinating stuff, SSD. Thanks.

My only exposure to hydraulicing has been turning the props on radials. I must try driving an engine one day - preferably Brunswick Green. :ok:

Yes, I know the difference between driver and engineer, but when in Rome, etc.

Two anecdotes:

A women I knew in Calgary signed up with a dating service and requested a date with an engineer. That's what she got - a CP Rail diesel engineer with a pony tail and a Harley. They got on extremely well, much to everyone's surprise.

Drivers in a Welsh shed (may have been Cardiff) referred to Old Oak Common loco men as Quality Street drivers, because they were toffee nosed!

joy ride
17th Dec 2014, 08:32
No hard hats or yellow jackets in British train factories any more. In fact our "Government" seems intent to ensure that there will be no more train factories:

BBC News - Train contracts: Ministers criticised by MPs' committee (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-30504898)

At what point does a Government award SO many contracts to foreign companies that they get hanged for High Treason? I feel that point came and went a few decades ago! And how about corruption charges for all the back-handers, donations and career opportunities that those companies bribe our governments with?

Sorry, political rant over, but "a pox on all their houses"!

Shaggy Sheep Driver
17th Dec 2014, 09:20
It does make some sense to buy a proven design from abroad rather than re-invent the wheel here in UK. Remember the 'Modernisation Plan' when BR scattered orders for new diesels like confetti, instead of getting one or two types properly developed? The result was a multitude of different types for the sheds to maintain, and most of them undeveloped and unreliable. When rail was privatised, the new rail freight companies went to companies like GE and ordered proven off-the-shelf designs like the Class 66 to haul freight; far more cost effective, as private enterprise has to be.

We just don't have the volume of train building in UK to warrant in-house design and development, so we buy in proven designs like Pendolino. At least Hitachi is assembling in a UK plant in County Durham!

joy ride
17th Dec 2014, 10:38
SSD wrote:

We just don't have the volume of train building in UK to warrant in-house design and development, so we buy in proven designs like Pendolino.

Correct! But we used to, and my "A pox on all their Houses" means to all our Governments who for decades have fiddled while our Industry burned out!

Mechta
17th Dec 2014, 16:08
At what point does a Government award SO many contracts to foreign companies that they get hanged for High Treason? I feel that point came and went a few decades ago! And how about corruption charges for all the back-handers, donations and career opportunities that those companies bribe our governments with?

Joyride, do you remember this unsavoury individual, responsible for the loss of 450 jobs at a UK Ordnance factory? The government, or its appointed representatives, let him get away with £1.5M of the bribes he took, due to their ineptitude, so it is claimed:

The millionaire civil servant: Chris Blackhurst on how Gordon Foxley grew rich through backhanders from foreign munitions firms at Britain's expense - UK - News - The Independent (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/the-millionaire-civil-servant-chris-blackhurst-on-how-gordon-foxley-grew-rich-through-backhanders-from-foreign-munitions-firms-at-britains-expense-1466982.html)

Corrupt MoD official can keep £1.5m | UK news | The Guardian (http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2008/jan/18/military.ukcrime)

Shaggy Sheep Driver
17th Dec 2014, 16:30
Correct! But we used to [build lots of trains], and my "A pox on all their Houses" means to all our Governments who for decades have fiddled while our Industry burned out!

Um, I think it's simpler than that. Once upon a time only UK engineers could build railways, and they did, engineers like Thomas Brassey build lines all over the world. And UK largely built the trains to run on them, especially for 'our' Empire countries.

After a while other countries learned how to build railways and build locomotives, and when the Empire went away they were free so to do. It's a process we have seen a lot of in recent years - globalisation. Other countries doing stuff that only we used to be able to do.

Remember when Manchester was 'Cottonopolis' taking raw cotton from all over the world and turning it into cloth which it sold all over the world? Well guess what, those places we sold to woke up to the fact they could do it themselves and cut out the middle man! Same with shipbuilding and a multitude of other industries.

So we ceased to be the world's workshop. Then we lost the plot. We still thought we knew best how to 'do stuff', but other countries showed, by taking industries away from us, that they were better. A classic example is Japan and the motorcycle industry; we were still using 1920s methods and factories, worn out and no investment gone in, the Japanese re-invented manufacturing putting quality as number one. They invested in the latest machinery, training, and designs and wiped the floor with the British motorcycle industry.

The same happened in many other areas. British firms simply sat on the laurels of their early worldwide success while the rest of the world took the business away from us.

Don't blame governments - it wasn't them, though they make a handy scape goat.

Bergerie1
17th Dec 2014, 16:32
Aaah! Steam engines.


For some years I ran a steam launch on the Thames, it had a Stuart Turner 6a twin cylinder compound condensing engine. With a condenser you miss the lovely chuff chuff sound of a railway locomotive but save on water and gain a little efficiency from the vacuum.


When starting, I always warmed the engine as per big engine practice and then ran it with the drain cocks open for a while. Good practice for the reasons SSD has explained, but also nicely dramatic for visitors when I took them out on the river.


After all the steam and fuss was over, we then drifted along in near silence at around 3 to 4kts. Great fun and a great antidote after flying a 747.

Tankertrashnav
17th Dec 2014, 16:32
Yes, I know the difference between driver and engineer, but when in Rome, etc.

Re engineer/driver. When I was doing some family research I obtained my grandfather's birth certificate (he was born in 1876) and on the certificate his father, whose occupation was given as "engineer", had signed his name with a cross, as he was apparently illiterate. I couldnt imagine that an engineer (as we understand it) could be illiterate, but in fact it turned out that he operated a stationary steam pumping engine in a tin mine. Seems like another example of a word which crossed the Atlantic, then fell out of use here.

Shaggy Sheep Driver
17th Dec 2014, 16:40
When starting, I always warmed the engine as per big engine practice and then ran it with the drain cocks open for a while. Good practice for the reasons SSD has explained, but also nicely dramatic for visitors when I took them out on the river.

One of my many volunteering jobs since retirement involves running a large single-cylinder horizontal steam engine and a very old atmospheric beam engine in a National Trust former mill. The beam engine is a characterful machine making lots of interesting noises to amuse our visitors. The horizontal engine, when running, is almost silent and folk ask where the electric motor is that runs it.

To show it really IS a steam engine, running on live steam, I always leave the taps a tad open so it 'chuffs' a bit and surrounds itself in whisps of steam! No more questions about hidden motors then!

Mechta
17th Dec 2014, 19:23
So we ceased to be the world's workshop. Then we lost the plot. We still thought we knew best how to 'do stuff', but other countries showed, by taking industries away from us, that they were better. A classic example is Japan and the motorcycle industry; we were still using 1920s methods and factories, worn out and no investment gone in, the Japanese re-invented manufacturing putting quality as number one. They invested in the latest machinery, training, and designs and wiped the floor with the British motorcycle industry.


The (sort of) brother in law manages a workshop in Kilmarnock which overhauls and updates railway carriages. One problem they are faced with is that someone in their wisdom, some years ago, decided to build offices on three tracks in the middle of the building, which significantly reduces the capacity (ten tracks down to seven). What the place desperately needs is a crane which allows carriages to be moved across from one track to another. Currently everything has to be taken down to some points some distance away (and out in the Scottish weather) then bought back on another track. Given that there could be seven carriages on any one track in the workshop, its a logistical nightmare.

What amazes me is that they get carriages from all over the UK, yet despite where they are a significant number arrive by road.

Shaggy Sheep Driver
17th Dec 2014, 19:43
It's usually cheaper to send anything but a full train by road. TOCs have to pay access charges to use the railway. The railway has to provide and fund and maintain its own 'road' whereas the HGV operator gets his fully maintained and policed road effectively for free - we all pay for it through central taxation. Level playing field NOT!

I wonder if those offices were built over the tracks back in BR days, when the depot was far less busy? With our modern railway being about 3 times as busy as it was pre-privatisation a great deal of BR 'cost cutting' has had to be rectified in recent years - singled lines re-doubled, junctions and signalling put back in, closed lines re-opened etc. as well as wholly-new infrastructure built.

Mechta
17th Dec 2014, 20:23
I wonder if those offices were built over the tracks back in BR days, when the depot was far less busy?

SSD, I'm pretty sure that is the case.

Just another of the many examples of the destruction or vandalism of strategic assets in the UK.

Flash2001
17th Dec 2014, 21:28
One afternoon many years ago when I had little to do, I had the opportunity to browse a set of books published by the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1916 or so on how to run a railroad. One of the volumes was the Fireman Apprentice Training Manual. I was amazed at the knowledge required just to stoke one of these things. The level of detail extended to a form of notice, promising payment, to be nailed to a fence post in case an adjacent one had to be removed and cut up to block a damaged valve so that the locomotive could proceed on one side.

After an excellent landing etc...

ricardian
18th Dec 2014, 05:39
Firing a steam locomotive is not a trivial task
NHo860Q66Gw

Krystal n chips
18th Dec 2014, 06:04
A fascinating film in many ways, notably as many have said for showing the "how to get killed and maimed without really trying" aspect. I know the term gets used and abused, but the reality of why we need H & S couldn't be starker when you see documentaries of this nature.

However, this was in yesterdays Guardian ....

Eyewitness: the Watercress Line, Hampshire | World news | The Guardian (http://www.theguardian.com/world/picture/2014/dec/17/eyewitness-hampshire-steam-train-watercress-line)

Ancient Mariner
18th Dec 2014, 06:55
My third position in my multi-faceted career was Fireman on the proud Steam Trawler "Haukur" of Hammerfest at the age of 15. (First job was baiting long lines, second was Messboy).
I ended my seagoing career in 1985 as Chief Engineer, another variation on the engineer theme, somewhere between proper engineer and train "driver".
Hardhats or yellow jackets nowhere to be seen in the late Sixties, early Seventies.
I remember wearing Speedos (I kid you not, we all did) and open plastic shoes (good for ventilation and chemically resistant) in the engine room. No shirts, proven by burn scars on back and shoulders from touching steam or exhaust pipe flanges. To protect hearing we used asbestos yarn, and for eye protection we used eye lashes. :eek:
Most of us survived, sort of. I miss a bit of my right index finger, hearing could have been better on one ear, a number of scars here and there, but I'm otherwise as can be expected.
Happy to operate a desk and computer these days, but I miss certain elements of those days.
Santos, Rio De Janeiro, Fortaleza, Rio Grande del Sul, Recife............:(
Per

Caboclo
18th Dec 2014, 07:28
At 13:15 in the first video, there is a little self-powered cart. Would that have been electric? What sort of batteries were they using in those days?

No. 6207 was retired after less than 30 years; seems a bit short for something with that much steel. Was that due to the advent of the diesels? What was the average lifespan of a steam engine before that?

G-CPTN
18th Dec 2014, 07:41
At 13:15 in the first video, there is a little self-powered cart. Would that have been electric?Such vehicles were 'standard' at all railway stations and powered by electricity from lead-acid batteries.
IIRC they were manufactured by Lansing Bagnall.
ISTR a Dinky Toys model - but I cannot trace it ATM.

Edited to add:- it was a BEV vehicle:-
http://www.chezbois.com/non_corgi/dinky_toys/Model_1193.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Electric_Vehicles

Caboclo
18th Dec 2014, 08:09
Doesn't seem like train drivers ever achieved the same level of honor that ship captains and pilots enjoy. Wonder why?

Ancient Mariner
18th Dec 2014, 08:23
Not enough up-down, left-right, port-starboard decision making.
Per

Captain Dart
18th Dec 2014, 08:58
If I had not become a pilot, I would have become a merchant seaman or a train driver. I just could not imagine being anything else.

MagnusP
18th Dec 2014, 10:27
Good point, Caboclo, after all they just press GO and STOP, a bit like Airbus pilots. :p

Windy Militant
18th Dec 2014, 10:35
It's all relative Vasco De Gama, Columbus and Captain cook were the "Astronauts" of their day.
By the 1920s ships captains were more common and whilst highly respected much of the mystery had gone.
Speed had now become the big thing and in the UK Locomotive drivers were celebrities while airline Pilots were now becoming the "Astronauts" of the age.

Come 12 April 1961 Yuri Gagarin and those following became the real Cosmonauts and Airline Pilots became relegated to the more "common place" category.

In the US railroad engineers did not become as well known* as there wasn't the race to the North that became a big thing in the UK. The distances in both Europe and the USA lead to the need for endurance rather than short bursts of speed!

*Except for Casey Jones!

Stanwell
18th Dec 2014, 12:44
Having grown up in a railway family here in OZ, the subject has always fascinated me.
My footplate experience, though, is limited to being a 'supernumary' on a few memorable occasions.

One locomotive design that interested me is the 'Shay'.
We had a few of them working an interesting oil-shale mining route to the west of Sydney in the early part of last century.
They were Baldwin-built and the ruling grade was, in places, 1 in 25.

Anybody have any practical experience with this design?

Shaggy Sheep Driver
18th Dec 2014, 12:48
That's a great video on 'how to fire' It's spot-on; keep a hot thin fire, fire little and often, use the firehole doors to control top (or secondary) air. Never over-fire!

I think firing well is far more difficult than driving well, even though it's the driver who gets the kudos (and I do both!).

These days train driving is far less skilled than it used to be, but very well paid! More than many pilots get. I can only think the reason is it's a 'closed shop' not open to competition from 'self improvers'; you can't get a train driving qualification self-paid, then tout for work like pilots can self-fund an ATPL. All train drivers are trained by TOCs.

flying lid
18th Dec 2014, 13:00
Safety wear - what's that ?

Crewe works grinding shop, 1913.

http://www.nrm.org.uk/img/nrm/worksphotos/Euston/1997-7409_LMS_2939.jpg


Lid

RedhillPhil
18th Dec 2014, 13:22
At 13:15 in the first video, there is a little self-powered cart. Would that have been electric? What sort of batteries were they using in those days?

No. 6207 was retired after less than 30 years; seems a bit short for something with that much steel. Was that due to the advent of the diesels? What was the average lifespan of a steam engine before that?


A "modern" steam locomotive has a very long life. In the rush towards diesels and electrics in the sixties many locomotives were scrapped after a very - and I mean very - short life. The 9F in the picture of the Watercress Line that was posted had a life of 9 years in B.R. service. Some of the 9fs lasted just 4 years. The last one was built in 1960, three years after the first main line diesels were being built. Certainly a 35 - 40 year life in main line operation would be considered a normal service length.

Shaggy Sheep Driver
18th Dec 2014, 13:29
There has been much discussion in rail enthusiast circles as to the wisdom of BR building the 'Standard class' steam locos on the 1950s (the 9Fs were the last of the BR Standard classes, and so the shortest lived).

The argument is steam locos were relatively cheap to build but manpower-intensive to run, and labour was cheap. Also, we had a lot of coal and no oil, and of course back then we had a steam railway.

Obvious in hindsight we should have gone straight to electric or diesel, but not such an obvious choice at the time.

And anyway, the 'standards' have gifted us some wonderful locomotives; the magnificent 9F, the Britannia, and the oh-so-useful and well designed standard class 4 tank. Oh, and the strange but fantastic one-off 'Duke of Gloucester'; 3 cylinders where all the other standards had 2, and Caprotti poppet valve gear instead of Walchearts piston valves.

Stanwell
18th Dec 2014, 13:47
SSD,
The saga of the Trans-Australia Railway:
Poor local coal and heavily mineralised water.
The men that kept that service running were made of sturdy stuff!

The change to diesel was made as soon as we could afford to get mainline GMs from the US after the war.

flying lid
18th Dec 2014, 15:17
Britannia at speed - no words needed.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tVQPqd3n13c&feature=player_embedded#t=10

Lid

G-CPTN
18th Dec 2014, 15:30
At 13:15 in the first video, there is a little self-powered cart. Would that have been electric? What sort of batteries were they using in those days?
See:- http://www.pprune.org/8787897-post71.html

radeng
18th Dec 2014, 18:24
There was an argument that BR should take examples of every kind of diesel so that it could "be a showcase for British Industry". This was not what the railway people wanted of course, but was what the politicians wanted! The mad rush to get rid of steam was, it seems to me looking back, more an attempt to influence the higher ups and politicians that 'modernisation' needed getting rid of steam, whether it was justified or not. So an awful lot of money was wasted. Riddles and his men were figuring on a substantial 'rump' of steam until at least the 1980s. Of course, Beeching removed a lot of justification for motive power and rolling stock.......

I still find a nagging worry about the way that electrification can, once something goes wrong, see a vast amount of the network paralysed. A few years back, I was in the south of France. A major supply fault happened about 1000 one day: no electricity between Nice and Marseille and well inland and the railways were brought to halt. Wouldn't have happened with steam or diesel.....took until about 1500 before supplies were re-established.

The ECML doesn't seem that reliable now it's all electric....

Shaggy Sheep Driver
18th Dec 2014, 21:04
There was an argument that BR should take examples of every kind of diesel so that it could "be a showcase for British Industry". This was not what the railway people wanted of course, but was what the politicians wanted!

Yet another reason rail should not be in public ownership. The privatised rail companies had no such interference, and went out to the industry to buy proven 'off the shelf' diesels such as class 66, ditching where possible the unreliable old BR clunkers.

The ECML doesn't seem that reliable now it's all electric....

That's because it was done on the cheap, unlike the West Coast. Instead of steel gantries across the track to hold up the wires, ECML in many places uses wires across the track, from posts on one side to posts on the other, to hold up wires. This is much cheaper than using gantries, but in high winds is more likely to move the catenary away from where it should be allowing a passing train's pantograph to slip off the wire and bring the whole lot down - all 4 tracks, as it's all 'knitting'.

On West Coast not only is there less chance of the catenary being blown off line due proper gantries, but even if it is only one line is affected as the gantry still supports the others.

Yet another example of government penny-pinching in BR days.

No way should rail in UK ever again be subject to such treasury whims. Those who call for re-nationalisation really don't seem to remember what it was like!

RedhillPhil
20th Dec 2014, 11:05
As built the class 91 locos for the ECML weren't too clever either. They've had to have a 5h1t heap of money spent on them over the years to get them reliable.

cockney steve
20th Dec 2014, 22:55
The railway has to provide and fund and maintain its own 'road' whereas the HGV operator gets his fully maintained and policed road effectively for free

Unusual for you to make such an ill-considered statement, SSD

I was about tosay, "just look at the fee for a tax-disc,inthe window of a big Artic Tractor-unit.".....but they are still paying! then there's the niggling matter of ~40p A MILE in taxed road-fuel. (how much duty and VAT do train operators pay???)

When was the last time you used the inside-lane of the M6 up to Preston? The ruts are so deep that the vehicle steers itself......OH!
WAIT! It's a conspiracy by the rail Lobby,to convert motorways to a track-system :}

Caboclo
21st Dec 2014, 08:04
Right, you lot are turning me into an enthusiast!

Someone please explain the red wheel, something about 'putting it into gear'. Also, the frequent bells.

GHuYeYttBb8

radeng
21st Dec 2014, 09:42
The 'red wheel' is for adjusting the cut off. That is the point in the piston's movement where the entry of steam is shut off, the steam expands as it pushes the piston along and cools as it does so. A short cut off means maximum expansion, and at the same time, the other side of the piston needs a free opening to exhaust so the steam the other side can get out. A certain amount of pressure is required in the exhaust steam because it is exhausted up the chimney, and creates a blast which pulls air through the fire, but too high a back pressure reduces efficiency. Usually something like 5lb/sq in or so was needed. When an engine wouldn't steam, it was unknown for a 'jimmy' or a 'razor' to be put across the blast pipe to increase the blast by decreasing the cross sectional area, but it was, at least in the UK, frowned upon. In emergency, the spare coupling could be used with the bar used for rotating the screw dropped down the blast pipe and coupling laid across the top.

Steaming was very dependent on getting the blast pipe accurately lined up with the chimney and of the right size.

B Fraser
21st Dec 2014, 09:54
I was on the footplate of a Manor running light engine yesterday, the blast was quite something. :cool:

If memory serves me correctly, the vacuum created in the smokebox is about 300 mb which causes one hell of a draught. It is almost enough to pull the coal off the shovel.

India Four Two
21st Dec 2014, 09:59
Caboclo,

The bell is an indication from the Automatic Warning System that the train is passing a green signal. If the signal is not green, a horn sounds and if the driver does not cancel the horn, the brakes will be applied automatically.

Automatic Warning System - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Automatic_Warning_System)

An earlier system, involving ramps and contact-plungers on the locomotive rather than inductive loops, was introduced on the GWR in 1906!

The system allows high-speed running in foggy conditions.

... is about 300 mb

B Fraser,
Was that on QFE or QNH? ;)

radeng
21st Dec 2014, 10:02
RedhillPhil said

>As built the class 91 locos for the ECML weren't too clever either.,<

What about the Class 56s built in Romania that had to go for major modification in Doncaster works before they were considered safe to be let loose? And the Class 86s which had to be modified with Zebedee springs to stop the rolling....And these days, there's the on-going problems with EMUs' capabilities of detecting a hand or scarf trapped in the doors. There have been some nasty incidents - and a child's death - because of those failings.

The English Electric Type 4s - the D200s - were pretty reliable in one thing. They could be relied on to either fail or catch fire! - as was frequently seen when the Master Cutler was re-routed down the ECML. It took several years experience and development before the Class 47s were reliable, but they did end up as a good workhorse.

So the moral is, I guess, that railway traction development takes time and evaluation before committing to mass production if you don't want problems in service. As, for example, in the original Clyde Coast electrification. But governments, accountants and managers who want to seem to be ultra-efficient, don't like seeing the time taken to do the job properly.

The business with the ECML electrification method is interesting in that the Swiss use a similar method and they don't, AFAIK, have quite as many problems. Maybe they don't get the high winds we do.

I still feel that one unified railway company or perhaps the Big Four, free from government financial control, would be a better approach than what we have now.

B Fraser
21st Dec 2014, 10:05
A great little book is the "Handbook For Railway Steam Locomotive Enginemen". A quick browse on the South American river website will suffice. The book tells you how just about everything works and is the standard source.

Every real bloke should keep a copy in the bog. :ok:

QFE = Q Front End !

Note that I should have written a reduction in pressure of 300mb otherwise a static pressure of 300mb would lift the fire off the grate.

radeng
21st Dec 2014, 10:20
If we are pedantic, it's 300 hectopascals now! But that is about 5 lbs/sq inch...imperial units for steam locos! After all, for British locos, they are all BSW, BSF, BSP screw threads.....which are marginally stronger than the similarly sized metric threads.

Tankertrashnav
21st Dec 2014, 11:26
radeng is that wheel a feature of Caprotti valve gear? I dont recall seeing it in other loco footplates I have visited, most of which would have had Walschaerts valve gear.

Shaggy Sheep Driver
21st Dec 2014, 11:35
Valve cut-off as described by radeng is why steam locos 'chuff' when they start a heavy train, but at speed the sound is more like a modulated roar. When starting, the loco is in 'full forward' (or backward if running tender first) gear and full boiler pressure is applied to the pistons, and the exhaust pretty much comes out the chimney (via the blast pipe) at full boiler pressure, hence the loud 'chuff' for every exhaust valve opening event.

At speed the driver will be well notched up, with steam entry to the cylinders being cut off early in the inlet cycle, and allowed to expand in the cylinder extracting maximum 'worth' from the steam, so when it's exhausted up the chimney it has expanded considerably so it at quite a lot less than boiler pressure. Hence a softer exhaust note at speed.

Notching up is a bit like changing up to a higher gear in a road vehicle.

Cockney - What makes you think the railway is exempt from fuel duty and VAT? They are not, but they have other overheads that dwarf those. I'm well aware of the VED (not 'road tax - nothing to do with road funding) that HGVs pay, and the tax we all pay on fuel. We all pay VED and road tax, and if you want to look at the cost to the road system in terms of initial build (higher stronger, bridges for HGV use for instance) and ongoing repair caused by HGVs (a la M6 lane 1 you quote) as opposed to cars (who cause virtually no wear and tear in comparison and don't need such high and strong bridges), and then compare that to the revenue the gov gets in VED, you'll discover that despite very expensive VED for HGVs, they only pay a tiny fraction of their costs. Luckily for the gov, motorists pay way over their direct costs which more than compensates for the shortfall from the HGV and bus industries. And then we have policing, costs to NHS, social costs of HGVs in towns and cities and lost more that isn't even seen in a simple VED / cost of build / maintenace comparison - that' and lost more is on top! Like I said, not a level playing field!

Shaggy Sheep Driver
21st Dec 2014, 11:44
Tanker -

The wheel is the same for Caprotti or Walchearts or any other valve gear. Other locos have a lever instead.

Generally a big engine has a geared wheel for the reverser (the correct name for it) because the bits you are moving with it are heavy and steam pressure is greater. A lighter loco will have a lever, because it's easier and quicker to use than spinning a wheel, but would be too hard to operate on a heavy loco.

There are exceptions - I once drove a massive US built S160 2-8-0 which had a lever reverser. But it was power assisted (by steam).

It's important to remember to engage the lock on a wheel reverser. Lever reversers generally have a trigger operated detent that has to be released by squeezing it as you grasp the lever before you can move it, and which drops back in when you let go of the lever and trigger.

There was a very nasty fatal accident on the North York Moors Railway a couple of years ago where a guard had uncoupled a loco which ran forward off the train and the guard stepped back into the '4 foot' (the bit between the rails) to retract the buckeye coupling. The driver had not engaged the reverser lock and loco went into reverse and ran back into the train, crushing the unfortunate guard. You won't find a steam loco driver now who is not religious about engaging the lock on wheel reversers.

Shaggy Sheep Driver
21st Dec 2014, 12:10
Just watched the 'Duke' video. Another thing to note is at the beginning the driver is looking for 21" of vacuum, which means the train's vacuum brakes will be fully off. The 'Duke' itself has a steam brake and many locos have a combining system so the driver can operate both brakes with the same lever. The vacuum is created by an exhaust steam ejector which runs all the time using exhaust steam, or by the 'large ejector' the driver refers to which uses live steam.

Modern stock is air braked of course, which means locos that haul such stock have to be fitted with air pumps (US steam locos and a few UK ones had air pumps as standard, but pretty much every UK loco uses vacuum brakes as that was the standard back then).

It's interesting to listen to the Duke's odd 3-cylinder bark on starting; the only 'Standard' class loco to have more than 2 cylinders.

The Duke was unique - only one ever built, to replace pacific 'Princess Anne' destroyed in the Harrow accident in the early '50s. But it had a design fault in the fire draughting, and a build fault in the ash pan, so it was a very poor steamer and crews hated it. It was withdrawn from service early and one of its cylinders and valve gear ended up in the Science Museum.

It was restored over very many years by a group who had to get new bits made to replace those in the museum ,and who also discovered and rectified both the original faults. When it came into preservation service it came into its own - it was the super powerful loco it should have been but never was in BR service.

Unfortunately its owners recently ran into financial problems and the engine languishes at Crewe with an uncertain future, stripped of brass fittings and name and number plates so they won't be nicked!

But I'm confident it won't be too long before she's back on the main line. I've traveled behind her a few times, on the East lancs Railway, and on the re-opening of the Caudon Lowe branch off the Churnet Valley Railway, where she hauled 7 Mk1s and West County Pacific 'Eddystone' (on the back of the train but not assisting) up the 1 in 40 from Leek brook Junction! What a sound!

Yamagata ken
21st Dec 2014, 12:24
Great clip Caboclo. Thankee very much. Note the left-handed stoker. He can shovel with a twist, not a turn. Lets hear it for lefties :thumbsup:

joy ride
21st Dec 2014, 14:05
A new entry onto the most excellent Douglas Self Museum of Retro Technology site:

The Raub Central Power Locomotive. (http://www.douglas-self.com/MUSEUM/LOCOLOCO/centralpower/central.htm)

Tankertrashnav
21st Dec 2014, 15:55
SSD - thanks - I thought the reversers I had seen were lever operated, so that makes things clearer :ok:

radeng
21st Dec 2014, 16:15
TTN

The 'mangle wheel' for reversers was very much a BR idea. Cam from the idea that a housewife using a mangle for the laundry (I haven't a clue what a mangle was called in American!) had the rollers in front of her and turned a handle parallel to them, rather than LMS and later GWR practice of a handle that turned in clockwise or anticlockwise direction facing the driver. The Gresley A4, as I recall, had a handle on a vertical column. Locomotives with lever reverse (in US Terms, the 'Johnson bar') were common in the 19th and early 20th centuries: this was convenient for shunting engines, but some locos, like the GNR's Ivatt atlantics had so many joints in the various levers connecting lever to lifting rods on the valve gear that they were very hard to move. Additionally, with slide valves and Stephenson valve gear, it was all too easy for the engine to take charge and pull the lever out of the driver's hands as it dropped into full gear, and quite possibly took a large amount of fire out of the chimney! Even the GWR used lever reverse on quite large engines in Churchward's day. The use of steam for the reverser was common in the US, and not so much in the UK. One problem was that designers intended the reverser to be locked by a cataract cylinder: this was a cylinder with a piston connected to the valve gear. Normally, the two ends were connected when changing the cut off, and at other times, the taps between the ends were shut and the idea was that would lock the piston's position. Leakage meant that it tended not to: the Bulleid West Country and Merchant Navy classes were known to suffer reverser drift, but they weren't the only class to do so.

Steam locomotives generally did better without too many gimmicks: one has only to think of Bodmer's fully balanced locomotive, Padgett's 'prodigy', the LMS 'Fury' with its 1800 psi Schmidt boiler, Gresley's 'hush hush' 4-6-4 with a Yarrow water tube boiler and Bulleid's Leader class to see brilliant ideas that didn't work. Even Bulleid's West Country and Merchant Navy classes had some novel features that proved to be problem, such as them catching fire after heavy braking because of oil leakage from the sump getting into the fibreglass lagging and being ignited by hot brake splinters.

B Fraser
21st Dec 2014, 17:08
A mate of mine rescued The Duke from Barry. Well done Mike !

Back to vacuum brakes, GWR locos have a mechanical pump that keeps the system at 21 inch when moving so there is no need to run the small ejector. One can almost forgive them for abominations such as single gauge glasses and hydrostatic lubricators.

Shaggy Sheep Driver
21st Dec 2014, 17:43
I never understood the GW's insistence on just one gauge glass. If it or its pipework get blocked and show a false high reading that can be very very dangerous indeed. With 2 gauge glasses like every other loco has, if one develops a fault the difference in levels between the two will alert the crew to a problem.

The GW also had 'test cocks', one above and one below the ideal water level in the boiler, though of course these don't give a continuous display of water level like a gauge glass does so are of limited value in indicating a gauge glass faullt.

In theory, you should get steam out of the top test cock one and water out of the bottom one, but of course you get steam out of both, as water in the boiler being under a pressure of up to 250 psi is well above 100 degrees c, so immediately turns to steam if released into an unpressurised environment. I once asked the driver of a GW loco how he could use test cocks if both give steam even when the water level is correct. He replied that because the lower one allows the water to turn to steam and the upper one gives pure steam, "they sound different". Hmmm. Why not just do it properly and have 2 gauge glasses.

And the GWR have a whistle board at the trackside with 'SW' on it - Sound Whistle. Everyone else has a simple 'W' sign which seems far more sensible.

I agree steam locos are simple machines which should be kept simple. But two gauge glasses seems to me to be the minimum any engine should have!

But some non-standard features were dropped by BR or not widely adopted because they made a loco 'non standard'. Caprotti valve gear on a Black Five for instance means each shed has to have spares and staff trained in both Caprotti and conventional gear. Simpler to have the whole class with Walchearts. Screw auto-stokers failed on BR because the sheds were not set up to supply such locos with correctly graded coal. They got the same old mix of slack and lumps that every other 9F got, so the crew spent more time trying to un-jam the screw feed rather than firing the loco!

radeng
21st Dec 2014, 20:07
B. Fraser,

21 inches was the British standard vacuum. The GWR standard was 24 inches! This meant pulling the strings on the vacuum cylinders when handing a train over to another railway....

Crosshead driven vacuum pumps were used at one time on the LNWR and I believe, tried on the LMS, but weren't too successful. GWR engines at one time had steam brakes, but the problem was that they needed warming up to be really effective. Other railways managed it, though.

SSD, one of the claims of the Standards was that all sheds would be likely to have some spares, as some parts were from pre-nationalisation standards, an argument which ignored the fact that the likelihood of them having the one that was wanted was very low!

From the point of view of economy, it would have been cheaper to persist with the regional types since they didn't generally move between regions that much, and for a replacement for 46202 (Princess Anne, previously the 'Turbomotive') to have built another Stanier 'Duchess' to the latest version. That would have been more acceptable than Duke of Gloucester at Crewe North, too! For branch line stuff, the Ivatt Class 2s - which were basically the same as the BR versions - could have been built where necessary. At the same time, the central design staff could have looked at designing diesels and getting the bugs out of them before going mad on what proved for some years to be an unreliable from of traction. It cannot be coincidence that the Deltics were relatively trouble free AND that the prototype had done a lot of running on BR before production started. Although it didn't stop them on occasion 'putting a leg out of bed' as it was known. (A piston through the outside casing!)

Shaggy Sheep Driver
21st Dec 2014, 20:38
I had heard that the Deltics were not particularly reliable, and running on one of the two Napier Deltic engines fitted to each loco was not uncommon. The Deltic was conceived as a high revving marine engine and was complex compared to the basic low rpm thumpers in most other BR diesels of the era. It's worth taking a look at a sectioned Deltic to see how complex it is, and the immense work involved in stripping one down for repair.

One loco that impresses with its success is the humble class 20. Introduced in 1957 as the English Electric type 1, one of the many 'modernisation' diesels, this one is still in service today while most types rushed into service back then lasted only a few years before being withdrawn.

An undoubted advantage of the 'standards' over the older types from the 'big 4' was ease of maintenance. Common parts, just two cylinders, both of them outside the frames where they can be got at, same as the valve gear. Roller bearings, high running plate, and much more, including comfortable cabs for the crew.

I don't understand the thinking behind the 'Duke'. Why go to all the trouble and expense of design etc just to produce one loco? AFAIK there were never any plans to build more, even if the design and build faults that hobbled the 'Duke' in BR service hadn't happened. But I'm glad it was built! Even tough it would have been good to have another Stanier Coronation in service!

As an aside, it's a great shame there is only one Coronation pacific in working order today, Duchess of Sutherland. There's also a 'Princess', the Coronation's predecessor, and Duchess of Hamilton sits in York Museum beautifully streamlined but not 'in ticket'. And there's 'City of Birmingham' stuck in a museum in that city almost certainly never to steam again.

Compare that to all those A4s in steam (and others out of ticket), and an A1 in steam, an A2 soon to be in steam again, and an A3 bleeding the NRM dry but also soon to be in steam. And what are they building as 'new build' next? A bleedin P2!

A terrible loss, 'one that got away', was the penultimate Stanier pacific bearing the designer's name, 'Sir William A Stanier FRS'. It was, together with 'City of Salford' (the last Stanier Pacific) the ultimate development of the ultimate steam locomotive, incorporating many refinements of an excellent class. Both went to the torch in the 60s. Now one of those would really be a new-build worth doing! A new build 'Sir William'!

A P2 indeed! Pah!


.

Fox3WheresMyBanana
21st Dec 2014, 21:34
Throughout my childhood, I was serenaded to sleep by locomotives. Until age 6, I lived 150 yards from the ECML, about 15miles north of London. My mother would take us to watch the big steam locomotives go through; we were just about the place when they first achieved top speed after the climb up from London. Then we lived in Australia for two years, 60 yards from the Short North route out of Sydney, and I had Class 38s on the Newcastle Flyer to listen to. The windows were always open - no a.c. in those days!
MHMPeGkFXuc
Then back to the UK and the ECML, a third of a mile away, and that delicious howl of the Deltics again.

flying lid
21st Dec 2014, 22:06
Deltic 2 stroke engine

http://pigeonsnest.co.uk/stuff/deltic/napier_deltic_animation.gif

Lid

India Four Two
21st Dec 2014, 22:30
TTN,
Here's the cab of 7820 Dinmore Manor, with the more logical reverser handle that radeng described:

http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c309/india42/gwrcab7820DinmoreManor_zpsb4268172.jpg

Perhaps it's just old age creeping in, but I don't remember red regulators and reversers. Is this something new?


Note the left-handed stoker. He can shovel with a twist, not a turn. Lets hear it for lefties Yamagata ken,

Note that the driver is on the right on GWR locos, so no need for lefty fireman! The drawback is that since the signals are mainly on the left, the fireman had an added responsibility in looking out for signals.

Shaggy Sheep Driver
21st Dec 2014, 22:41
Yes, yet another GW anomaly - RH drive on a LH railway! What were they on!

Lest anyone deduce I'm anti-GW, I'm not. They were streets ahead in loco design (silly things like 1 gauge glass and RHD aside) up to the Kings. But that was 1927. Then they stopped. Never progressed beyond that.

Stanier of course started his career in Swindon and was head-hunted by the LMS. His first pacific ex-Crewe, the Princess which started this thread, was a 'super King'. His ultimate loco, the Princess Coronation, perhaps THE ultimate loco, has its roots in Swindon.

And of course the last BR locos, the 'standards', owe a lot to Stanier, and therefore to Swindon.

Interesting that Gresley stuff, so much in evidence in preservation (heaven knows why), had almost no influence on the 'standards.

G-CPTN
21st Dec 2014, 22:52
As a child I was aware of the name Gresley but not that of Stanier.

Maybe because I was born and grew up in North East England, so was exposed to LNER locomotives (though being on the Tyne Valley 'branch' line we didn't see the streaks).

India Four Two
21st Dec 2014, 23:14
It's interesting to listen to the Duke's odd 3-cylinder bark on startingSSD,

You reminded me of this marvellous video of Bittern running at over 90 mph. I saw many A4s at Kings Cross in my youth, but had never seen one at speed:

me1OfEEKk3I

Even at speed, the three cylinders make a distinctive sound, very different from the four-cylinder Kings and Castles and the two-cylinder Halls, Granges and Manors, that I was familiar with.

It's special for me that this video was shot at Taplow. My brother and I spent many a happy hour spotting at Taplow, where the station staff were very tolerant. At Maidenhead where we lived, spotters were banned, even if you had bought a platform ticket!

Caboclo
22nd Dec 2014, 01:14
Seems like the fireman on the Duke was shoveling a great deal more coal than was recommended on the instructional video posted previously. Was the Duke that much bigger than the one in that video? Also, the Duke man was just chucking it straight in, rather than placing it as per the instructional video. Must be a lefty thing. :}

Radeng, the American for 'mangle' is 'wringer', as in 'to be put through the wringer'.

Flash2001
22nd Dec 2014, 02:49
Napier & son must have employed one hell of a geometer. Think Deltic, think Sabre!

After an excellent landing etc...

B Fraser
22nd Dec 2014, 08:37
Lovely pic of Dinmore Manor. In the event of the single gauge glass blowing, you turn off the top and bottom cocks by thumping the lever found above and to the left. A shovel works well as there is significant risk of injury. The top and bottom levers on the right of the glass are test cocks. Crack them open and the trickle of steam and water gives you an idea of the level.

Two gauges would be a far better idea !

Shaggy Sheep Driver
22nd Dec 2014, 11:09
B Fraser - please read my post 106 re test cocks.

Tankertrashnav
22nd Dec 2014, 11:12
radeng and India Four two Thanks for the input on reversers - I'm learning a lot here. Yes the one on the Manor is the type
I'm familiar with, and I'm sure you are right, the red paint must be a recent innovation.

I saw many A4s at Kings Cross in my youth, but had never seen one at speed

Living in Carlisle we were over familiar with the LMS Coronations, which in our eyes lacked the exotic glamour of the A4s which we only saw on trips over to Newcastle. However on a train spotting tour of Scotland in 1962 we were lucky enough to be hauled by 60024 Kingfisher from Aberdeen to Edinburgh, which touched 90mph at times according to our stop watch and milepost timekeeping :ok:

In later years 60024 finished her days at Carlisle and could be seen pottering about on stopping trains over the Waverley route to Edinburgh and even on local freights, by that stage in a very dishevelled condition :(

vaqueroaero
22nd Dec 2014, 13:00
Maybe of interest to some here that Union Pacific has decided to refurbish the Big Boy. I first saw one in Dallas and how no idea what it was, but was amazed at the size of it and the engineering that must have gone into building it. They are using 4014. Although not an enthusiast if it comes our way on tour I shall definitely make time to go and see it.

http://i37.photobucket.com/albums/e81/Vaqueroaero/CIMG3999_zps8ada7101.jpg (http://s37.photobucket.com/user/Vaqueroaero/media/CIMG3999_zps8ada7101.jpg.html)

Stanwell
22nd Dec 2014, 13:17
The Canberra division of the Australian Railway Historical Society are close to
completing the full restoration of their NSWGR AD60 class Beyer Garratt.
Everybody's pretty excited.


EDIT: I'm a bit behind. She's up and running now. For details, goggle 'Project 6029'.

G-CPTN
22nd Dec 2014, 13:22
Kingfisher (http://http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LNER_Class_A4_4483_Kingfisher).

fleigle
22nd Dec 2014, 16:10
Fixed it for you G-CPTN
LNER Class A4 4483 Kingfisher - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LNER_Class_A4_4483_Kingfisher)

One too many
http's

f

radeng
22nd Dec 2014, 16:29
SSD,

The Black 5, the B1 and the small Ivatts had everything 'get at able' and cabs not that bad compared with the standards. They didn't have controls with long whippy rods and universal joints, leading to a lot of backlash, either. The 8F was another 2 cylinder 'puller': I wonder how often the 9F's 7000 odd pound extra tractive effort over the 8F was used? Admittedly the 9F had a lower axle load - 15.5 tons as opposed to 16 - but that is pretty minor.

It does seem that once the modernisation plan was decided upon, continued manufacture of Standards would appear to have been more of a political 'keep employment' thing than that useful an exercise.

Class 20s? Yes, and Class 37s - seeing use abroad as 'contractor's locos'. I believe that although the Deltics had a number of failures, in terms of failures per ton-mile, they were not that bad.

On wonders 'what if' the railway design centres had started designing and testing a few diesel classes in conjunction with say English Electric and Brush Sulzer? Could the railway workshops could have built and tested an had available a few reliable diesel to allow an orderly transition? Probably not - too many vested interests.....which is why a national railway company totally free from government intervention other than the government actually paying what they owed from WW2, rather than weaselling out of it, would have been better than nationalisation.

Shaggy Sheep Driver
22nd Dec 2014, 17:44
Indeed it would have been, radeng, but nationalisation was cheaper so that's what they did! It was no answer of course, which is why they re-privatised rail in 1993! I think it's called 'avoiding the issue', or, in modern parlance 'kicking the issue into the long grass'.

jimtherev
22nd Dec 2014, 18:33
The 8F was another 2 cylinder 'puller': I wonder how often the 9F's 7000 odd pound extra tractive effort over the 8F was used? Admittedly the 9F had a lower axle load - 15.5 tons as opposed to 16 - but that is pretty minor.
Every day over the Somerset and Dorset. Drivers loved it; firemen not so sure. Certainly gave them a wet back. But the 9F was smooth, powerful and well-balanced, preferred to any other loco on offer on that line, and would have put an end to the perpetual double-heading over the Mendips... except that it was never fitted for steam heating the carriages.
And then the Western took over the S&D, and, this being a joint Southern and Midland creation, closed it, and that was that.

Shaggy Sheep Driver
22nd Dec 2014, 19:23
As driver Don Beale said "the 9F, that's the engine fir the S&D". Don was rostered to drive the last 'Pines Express' over the Mendips with 'Evening Star' and he gave the driving turn to his former fireman, Peter Smith. What a gentleman!

I recommend Peter's book 'Mendip Engineman' as a great read. Early in his career Peter was firing for Don in a Midland 4F and struggling. Steam pressure was far too low yet the water level was down by the bottom nut so if he turned the injector on it'll reduce the pressure even more.

Don was well aware of the situation and turned to Peter "What's a matter, son? Toid gorn out, 'as she?".

B Fraser
22nd Dec 2014, 22:48
I may be getting some time on a 4F next year. To be honest, it appears to be a mixed blessing given their reputation.

:uhoh:

India Four Two
23rd Dec 2014, 04:07
vaqueroaero,
I've been following the progress of 4014 with interest. UP bought the loco in Pomona and moved it to their steam shop in Cheyenne - distance of 1100 miles!

http://www.cheyenne.org/articles/index.cfm?action=view&articleID=83§ionID=1&filter=1&menuID=38 (http://www.cheyenne.org/articles/index.cfm?action=view&articleID=83&sectionID=1&filter=1&menuID=38)


http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c309/india42/ScreenShot2014-12-22at195308_zpsb6fb6cab.png

There is a museum in Cheyenne (Cheyenne Depot Museum | (http://www.cheyennedepotmuseum.org/))
but the steam shop is only open to the public once a year. I am hoping to fly down there next year from Calgary to have a look.

PS The Big Boy has a tractive effort of 135,000 lbs - that's equivalent to four and a half BR 9Fs!

Shaggy Sheep Driver
23rd Dec 2014, 07:26
BF - good luck with the 4F! Not the best of steamers, by most (not all!) accounts!

cornish-stormrider
23rd Dec 2014, 11:40
This thread ROCKS......
I am but a humble spanner monkey willing to sit at the feet of such masters and learn

India Four Two
23rd Dec 2014, 18:32
I recommend Peter's book 'Mendip Engineman' as a great read.SSD,

Thanks. That's on my list. I had trouble with "Toid gorn out" until I tried it with a West Country accent! ;)

In return, I can recommend 'Signalman's Morning' and 'Signalman's Twilight' by Adrian Vaughan, a memoir of his time as a signalman at Challow near Didcot and his experiences as an unofficial driver and fireman on the Western Region.

I see there is a more recent book 'Signalman's Nightmare', which has received mixed reviews.

B Fraser
23rd Dec 2014, 18:43
"This thread ROCKS......"





In which case you may wish to look closely at the photo on post 111. The two vertical copper pipes are live steam feeds for the left and right injectors. This loco does not have an exhaust injector which makes it a bit of an oddity. The water feeds are on the tender and the cocks at the top of each pipe control the steam.

India Four Two
27th Dec 2014, 19:51
I was doing some research to try to find out the reason for GWR locos having the driving position on the right. I didn't find an answer, but I came across this interesting accident report:

GWR drivers? reports on 1920 fatal accident | Black Country Bugle (http://www.blackcountrybugle.co.uk/GWR-drivers-reports-1920-fatal-accident/story-20149155-detail/story.html)

It's worth a read, but here are the key points:

He made some remark to me and at the same time crossed over and got down off the engine on my side. I did not catch what he said, and before I could take any action, I heard the whistle of a down train running into Langley Green and looking down, saw my Fireman struck by the engine of this train.

... the Guard of my own train came and told me they had found my Fireman under the engine, pinned under the lifeguard, and life was almost extinct. I had previously informed Signalman what had happened, and after speaking to Guard, as mentioned above, and satisfying myself as to the condition of my Fireman, I returned to Signalman and made arrangements to get another Fireman.

radeng
28th Dec 2014, 11:16
Well, we will never know how well an 8F would have done on the S&D in comparison with a 9F: it probably would have been a coach weaker.

Not every company were keen on exhaust injectors: they didn't always have the highest reputation for reliability, and the GW was ever a law unto itself, even into BR days.

'Signalman's Nightmare' has been out for quite a time: I found it interesting as is 'Grub, Water and Relief' while his 'Railway Blunders' I found very good.

B Fraser
28th Dec 2014, 13:49
The 4F apparently struggles with 6 on the WSR in the dry. :uhoh:


Should any Ppruner be visiting the WSR on New Year's eve on the last out and back from Lydeard, I will be sharing the firing duty. If you would like to visit the footplate on the turnaround then you would be most welcome.

Shaggy Sheep Driver
28th Dec 2014, 14:58
Sharing the firing duty? You have two firemen on a 4F? Blummin 'eck, you get it easy on the WSR, innit! ;)

B Fraser
28th Dec 2014, 15:08
Nope, probably a Manor up a 1 in 80.

flying lid
28th Dec 2014, 15:23
Anyone get Hornbys new set for Christmas.

They were selling well at Finsbury Park yesterday !!! (Hat, coat)

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/B529ITtCcAAf7-7.jpg:large

Shaggy Sheep Driver
28th Dec 2014, 16:14
Nope, probably a Manor up a 1 in 80.

Manor up a 1 in 80? Pah! Come to the Churnet Valley and witness an S160 up a 1 in 40 out of Leekbrook! And only one guy on the shovel, too! :ok:

Stanwell
28th Dec 2014, 16:51
Sheer looxury,
Our ruling grades here were 1 in 33 - with only one guy on the shovel.

flying lid
29th Dec 2014, 22:22
45 min video - but superb.

British steam locos at speed on the mainline - superbly photographed - watch in HD.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6mcDsY0TwcA

And people knock the UK's railways !!!!!!!

Lid

Shaggy Sheep Driver
30th Dec 2014, 10:56
Very nice - except the most magnificent main line express engine of all makes only one brief appearance (at 42:44!).

radeng
31st Dec 2014, 23:51
The Durango and Silverton climbs some 3000+ feet in 40 miles. The 'there and back' is around 4 tons (doesn't matter if they are US tons or Imperial!). Starting at round 6000 feet and ending around 9000+ feet, there's no wonder the firemen are pretty slim guys!

That is one damn WONDERFUL railway...arguably, best in the US?

B Fraser
5th Jan 2015, 12:37
Here's a photo of my New Year's Eve treat, shovel in hand. The return run in the dark which was incredible. The glare from the firebox meant I was totally blind when shovelling and working the injectors had to be done by feel and sound.


www.wsr.org.uk/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?h=Snapshot&p=2014/12/284 (http://www.wsr.org.uk/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?h=Snapshot&p=2014/12/284)


Happy days !