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steam footplate experience taken today

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steam footplate experience taken today

Old 17th May 2022, 21:18
  #21 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by sycamore View Post
Was there any serious move to fit an `Automatic` mechanical coal feed to the later `big steamers`,or would that have been seen as too progressive,or just too difficult....?
I sem to remember 9fs being fitted with mechanical stokers, I.e. screw feeds. The problem arose when a piece of coal too large to be fed choked the screw which either caused the engine to be failed or the fireman having to hand feed the firebox which was a bit beyond their capabilities.

I remember a forum thread where a fireman on a trip from saltley to Carlisle had that problem and rather than fail the loco decided to hand feed which ended up with his hands being ripped to shreds as he tried to carry several tons of coal from the tender to the firebox.

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Old 17th May 2022, 22:42
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Originally Posted by sunnybunny View Post
I sem to remember 9fs being fitted with mechanical stokers, I.e. screw feeds. The problem arose when a piece of coal too large to be fed choked the screw which either caused the engine to be failed or the fireman having to hand feed the firebox which was a bit beyond their capabilities.

I remember a forum thread where a fireman on a trip from saltley to Carlisle had that problem and rather than fail the loco decided to hand feed which ended up with his hands being ripped to shreds as he tried to carry several tons of coal from the tender to the firebox.
Yup. 9Fs it was - about a dozen of them fitted with Archimedes Screw stokers. Failed as (a) the stoker engine not strong enough to break up those lumps, and (b) there shouldn't have been lumps at all: the supplied coat should have been screened and half the time it wasn't. Typical of Britain at that time: good schemes and excellent kit ruined by poor execution. Another cock-up was the placing of the new diesel servicing depots in the old steam sheds. A century's filth and soot and coal dust didn't agree with the new traction, and millions were wasted until 'they' got it right.
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Old 18th May 2022, 07:00
  #23 (permalink)  
 
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Some years ago, a friend of mine paid for a firing and driving experience on a Black Five, I think in Worcestershire. When he arrived, he was told that the Black Five was unserviceable, but the railway had a spare locomotive, that belonged to the National Railway Museum at York.

With suitable permission having been obtained from York, he was able to spend the day firing and driving City of Truro!
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Old 18th May 2022, 08:42
  #24 (permalink)  
 
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It's very noticeable in photographs that the big US locos (which by law had to have mechanical stokers if the firebox was 50 square feet or over) are always emitting a lot of smoke, probably in the form of unburnt coal dust. E.S. Cox was of the opinion that with the quality and price of the coal that the NCB were willing to supply, mechanical stokers on UK size locos were not that attractive. I read somewhere that only 3 of the 9F s had the mechanical stoker tenders, but that the three tenders got swapped around between engines..
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Old 18th May 2022, 11:33
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radeng
You are correct that there were only 3 fitted with Mechanical Stoker and they were not a success due to the issues with Coal size. As Sunny bunny says they were failed a lot due to jams with the coal size. There were some loco fitted with Coal Pushers that pushed coal from the rear of the tender which were more successful though not fitted to many locomotives. The large US locomotives used very fine Coal or were converted to Oil burning which never really caught on here, probably due to the fact that we had extensive coal fields but probably more likely the UK was in poor shape financially and therefore foreign exchange was needed for other items.

Cheers
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Old 18th May 2022, 17:00
  #26 (permalink)  
 
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The Swindon and Cricklade (near Blunsdon) used to do driving 'courses'.
I did my first in an 0-4-0 saddle tank; 4 light engine runs back and forth along their (approx) mile of track; you would then swap footplate occupants and fire whilst the other person drove.
Then when everyone had done that, 4 coaches were coupled on and we repeated it thankfullly with vacuum braking.
Did it all again about a year later with a GWR 0-6-0 pannier tank.
Great fun
Dropped in briefly at Quainton once to find them doing a similar thing.

Last edited by chevvron; 20th May 2022 at 14:50.
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Old 18th May 2022, 17:11
  #27 (permalink)  
 
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Mr. Mac
The large US locomotives used very fine Coal or were converted to Oil burning which never really caught on here
I heard that it was because the British firemen found it difficult to shovel the oil.
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Old 18th May 2022, 18:12
  #28 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by radeng View Post
Sadly, the present problem for many preservation groups is getting coal - especially decent stuff.
I read somewhere that they were looking to import coal from Newcastle.



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Old 18th May 2022, 21:13
  #29 (permalink)  
 
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Blues and Twos
I trust we were being a little tung in cheek there. You could also mention why UK steam engine drivers did not where Goggles like many of their European counterparts, and subsequently had more eye injuries and indeed Eye issues in old age. Grandfather worked on steam engines pre WW2 until 1971 though steam only until 1967 and he and his friends all had eye issues in later life, or when working at some stage, it was the only thing he liked about the move to diesel traction as I re call he liked.
Cheers
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Old 19th May 2022, 07:59
  #30 (permalink)  
 
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It has been widely reported that just after the war, with Britain being effectively bankrupt and a major export being coal, some bright dickheads in the government decided that to release more coal for export, the railways would go to oil firing. A lot of money was spent on making provision for this until the Treasury pointed out that the necessary foreign exchange to buy the oil just wasn't there, and the scheme was abandoned.. It's probably fair to say that every time the government has interfered with how the railways have been run, it has proved pretty disastrous - that's over the last 200 years. The thing they did get right were safety related, and that came mainly from the Railway Inspectors - who I. K. Brunel was firmly against, for much the same reasons as management have been against since the dawn of time....
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Old 19th May 2022, 15:15
  #31 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by radeng View Post
It has been widely reported that just after the war, with Britain being effectively bankrupt and a major export being coal, some bright dickheads in the government decided that to release more coal for export, the railways would go to oil firing. A lot of money was spent on making provision for this until the Treasury pointed out that the necessary foreign exchange to buy the oil just wasn't there, and the scheme was abandoned.. It's probably fair to say that every time the government has interfered with how the railways have been run, it has proved pretty disastrous - that's over the last 200 years. The thing they did get right were safety related, and that came mainly from the Railway Inspectors - who I. K. Brunel was firmly against, for much the same reasons as management have been against since the dawn of time....
It would be fair to say that about various Gov'ts "initiatives " but also fair to say when run by the private companies, profit came before all else...and certainly safety.

The fatality / serious life changing accident rate was notoriously high for many years until Regulations were finally introduced.

But it's funny you should mention "management" and safety concerns. After the first O.R,R formal visit, the M.D of the railway I've mentioned before, and for whom thick as mince and woefully incompetent would be an accolade, kindly sent an email saying, amongst other gems " who could have done this to our wonderful railway "...as in informed the O.R.R. because, well, the railway was operating as a happy little train spotters paradise, blissfully ignoring the various rules and regs applicable to other heritage lines. He was also noted for ranting at and vilifying volunteers...in public

Let's think bonehead....how about the numerous pax who raised concerns about the speed vs line speed as displayed on their phones?..or perhaps other volunteer train crew who raised concerns...which you ignored. Along with numerous issues, some directly safety related, others not quite as much.

Now you would think one formal visit would have been enough of a warning....nope !...a few token gestures, and, one year later, another visit which revealed not only had many deficiencies not been remedied, some new ones had emerged...such as falsification of competency records and "training " exam results...if the wrong answer was shown, just scribble it out and enter the correct one !...the different hand writing may have been a clue here.

You would have thought the Chairman would have taken an interest...nope ! he made a passing, and false, statement in the annual accounts report after the first visit before praising the very group of little boys who were responsible !...never even mentioned the second formal visit, and won't be around to mention the third formal visit.

Think of this as the CAA doing the same and then removing an AOC, which the prohibition notice is the equivalent of. THREE formal visits needs no clarification therefore.

As for the Chairman, well at one of those opportune moments one day, I did suggest maybe it would be a good idea if he "retired ", was given a suitably grandiose title, a bit of ornate bling to hang round his neck...and trotted out on ceremonial occasions thereafter when required....with a responsible adult in attendance .

I think this may have upset the more sensitive members of the "management " present.

Then there's the lack of, and for a very, very long time reluctance to carry out such, DBS checks...
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Old 20th May 2022, 11:01
  #32 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Krystal n chips View Post
It would be fair to say that about various Gov'ts "initiatives " but also fair to say when run by the private companies, profit came before all else...and certainly safety.

The fatality / serious life changing accident rate was notoriously high for many years until Regulations were finally introduced.
The perennial battle: entrepreneurs intent on making profits and maximising shareholder dividends versus government officials trying to improve safety. Three dreadful accidents were the catalysts for rail safety improvements:

In 1889 the Armagh disaster killed 80 persons, many of them children. This prompted mandatory installation of automatic continuous braking systems.

At Quintinshill (near Carlisle) in 1915 more than 200 passengers (mainly soldiers) died in a three-train pile up. This accelerated the installation of track circuiting on British railways.

The early morning three-train Harrow crash of 1952 was the result of several factors:

(i) lack of automatic brake application when a southbound LMR express passed a distant signal showing a 'danger' aspect with no crew cancellation; The GWR had already installed ATC (automatic train control) based on this principle on its main lines but the LMS had failed to follow suit;

(ii) fog obscuring signals;

(iii) possible crew fatigue, not acknowledged by the official enquiry, which said: 'In these circumstances I can only suggest that the driver must have relaxed his concentration on the signals for some unexplained reason'. The express crew had been on duty overnight and the train schedule had already been disrupted by fog, adding to their workload.

Last edited by Discorde; 4th Jun 2022 at 20:25.
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Old 20th May 2022, 11:24
  #33 (permalink)  
 
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Discorde: the 1952 Harrow crash to which you refer was on Nationalised BR. Not exactly a crowd of profit-maximising entrepreneurs. Rules were broken: had they been followed, the crash would not have happened
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Old 20th May 2022, 11:45
  #34 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Economics101 View Post
... Rules were broken: had they been followed, the crash would not have happened
If you mean the footplate crew should have obeyed the signals, then yes.
But as engineers, we know that even the most conscientious humans are fallible and not 100% reliable. Critical safety systems should be designed with this at the forefront of our minds.
The system should not have allowed the crash, which was why the report suggested the introduction of a link between the lineside signals and the footplate.
Later, of course, automatic braking was introduced.
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Old 20th May 2022, 12:16
  #35 (permalink)  
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[QUOTE=Discorde;11232741]At Quintinshill (near Carlisle) in 1915 more than 200 passengers (mainly soldiers) died in a three-train pile up. This accelerated the installation of track circuiting on British railways../QUOTE]

This event was the result of a signalman forgetting he had stopped one train on a section of track obscured by another stopped train. It was nothing at all to do with whether the operating company was private.. Many of the deaths resulted from the gas lighting in the carriages which were themselves, largely constructed from wood. IIRC, there was a perfectly good safety system in that having stopped the train in that section, a cover should have been placed on the lever of the signal that would allow another train into the same section. The chap forgot.

Roll the clock forward and we have airliners with more checks and balances built into the operating systems that you would ever believe. The downside is that skills have been eroded to the point where the crew of one recent attempt at taking off almost failed to do so, as the display didn't tell them to pull back on the stick.
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Old 20th May 2022, 14:21
  #36 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Mr Mac View Post
Blues and Twos
I trust we were being a little tung in cheek there. You could also mention why UK steam engine drivers did not where Goggles like many of their European counterparts, and subsequently had more eye injuries and indeed Eye issues in old age. Grandfather worked on steam engines pre WW2 until 1971 though steam only until 1967 and he and his friends all had eye issues in later life, or when working at some stage, it was the only thing he liked about the move to diesel traction as I re call he liked.
Cheers
Mr Mac
Not surprised.
I only worked as a volunteer fireman for three months odd and had, on one occasion, to visit the eye guy to get a fleck of something that burnt itself into my cornea removed. Was about 1963 though. We didn't think about safety glasses in those days.
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Old 20th May 2022, 18:53
  #37 (permalink)  
 
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.... there was a perfectly good safety system in that having stopped the train in that section, a cover should have been placed on the lever of the signal that would allow another train into the same section. The chap forgot.
A dangerously flawed safety system, demonstrated by the tragic consequences.
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Old 21st May 2022, 09:57
  #38 (permalink)  
 
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Quintinshill - not as simple as Blues&Twos suggests. You have to look at why the signalman forgot.

The day turn signalman came on a local train which got him to the signal box some 20 minutes after he was due on duty. This was usual and the night turn man would copy on a piece of paper all the train activity in between for the day turn man to enter in the trains register when he got there. While this was happening, fireman of one of the trains came to the box, there were other several people in the box talking about the war news and so there was an enormous amount of distraction to the day turn man at a time he was busily filling in the train register. The arrangement between the signalmen was strictly against the regulations, which is why there were prison sentences.

Yes, it was the Armagh disaster that led to automatic brakes becoming mandatory. but the railways had been working on braking systems for some time and the Newark brake trials were held in 1875: there the Westinghouse system was the most effective. But there is a drawback to the 'straight air' single pipe system and that is what is known in the US as 'Pissing away your air' where continued applying and releasing brakes leads to the pressure in the brake cylinders dropping because they can't get recharged quickly enough. Another problem is if for some reason the valves at the end of the coach somewhere in the train gets closed and brakes can't be applied. That led to the crash of the overnight 'Federal Express' from Boston when it reached the terminus of the Pennsylvania Rail Road in Washington DC in 1953 - the train couldn't, stop crashed through the buffers onto station concourse, which gave way and dropped the loco into the baggage hall underneath.. More recently - August 1st 2019 - a similar problem with a closed brake valve led to an overnight sleeper train being unable to stop at Edinburgh - see Rail Accident Investigation Branch Report 05/2020: Loss of brake control on a sleeper train approaching Edinburgh. The Westinghouse system with two pipes, one being a 'train' pipe with air pressure in it all the time allows avoidance of 'pissing away your air', while the higher pressure allows much better braking , especially when combined with disc brakes. Vacuum braking can only manage about 10 pounds per square inch while the Westinghouse can run at around 60 lbs/ sq. inch.

The GWR system of of Automatic Warning (AWS) relied on contact between the ramp and the contact shoe on the loco, and so required more maintenance than the non contact Hudd system adopted on the LT&S section of the LMS and subsequently in slightly different form as the BR AWS. It might have prevented the Harrow crash, or again, it might not - there have been a number of cases where a driver has received a warning and acknowledged it but taken no action for some reason. It has been suggested that on a heavily signalled line where the driver is constantly acknowledging the AWS, acknowledging and cancelling the aural warning becomes automatic.

Probably the worst companies for putting profits before spending on safety where the London Brighton and South Coast, who were at war on two fronts - with the LSWR in west and SER in the east, the London and North Western under Sir Richard Moon and the Great Central (erstwhile Manchester Sheffield and Lincolnshire) under Sir Alfred Watkin. The LNWR 'messing about' with brakes beggars belief: it appears that as FW Webb patented a new brake they started fitting it and and paying royalties to him only for it be changed. So they had the Clarke & Webb chain brake followed by the simple vacuum brake before being forced to the automatic vacuum brake. Watkin after the Penistone smash said that the engine was fitted with Smith's brake which was not automatic as the Board of Trade wished - as if that was in its favour!
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Old 21st May 2022, 10:35
  #39 (permalink)  
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And on the subject of brakes a certain railway I've mentioned before, demonstrated why 1 tonne of steel level crossing gate will stop a diesel loco hauled works train, un-guarded, rather than the braking system in February.

Strangely, possibly due to the influence of a certain Director, this incident has received very little media attention and even more so given the location was somewhere "not a lot happens "....an investigation is ongoing.
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Old 30th May 2022, 20:13
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Originally Posted by Economics101 View Post
Discorde: the 1952 Harrow crash to which you refer was on Nationalised BR. Not exactly a crowd of profit-maximising entrepreneurs. Rules were broken: had they been followed, the crash would not have happened
What rules would they be then ?
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