The rise of the 4-6-0 and why were there none on the GNR

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dlester
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Re: The rise of the 4-6-0 and why were there none on the GNR

Post by dlester » Wed Jan 18, 2017 9:45 pm

john coffin wrote:I do not try to pontificate, but look at all the data that is available, and seek to interpret the data. This is an interesting thread, but many people have not looked at the situation on the GNR during the relevant period. Also many of us may not have looked at the whole picture.
John,

I too, have enjoyed this thread! I'm not sure it's down to continuity through the drawing office as much as the existence of patterns and stores inventory.

I've been looking at both the General Arrangements and the detailed drawings of Ivatt and early Gresley GNR locomotives at York (NRM).

So the Stephenson's link motion in Gresley's J6, D1 and N2 locomotives are piston valve variations on Stirling's Standard Goods locomotive (LNER J3/4). The valve motion is identical (and really, really, not very efficient). Similarly, they have the same motion plates -- more or less -- and the same boiler: LNER #7 and #8.

I've been contemplating writing this up in the GNR News letter under the title of "Standardisation of GNR Locomotives under Ivatt"

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Re: The rise of the 4-6-0 and why were there none on the GNR

Post by john coffin » Wed Feb 01, 2017 7:56 pm

I agree that there is much to be said for the lack of suitability of the valve gear, but not sure that Gresley ever made a D1,
presume you mean O1 :roll:

The real problem for many years was the lack of proper lubrication knowledge and information particularly in relation to such
conditions. It is really only in the post Space programme era that we have had chemicals that could work witout breaking down
at the temperatures that were working at the beginning of the 20th Century.

I am always surprised by how Gresley and Thompson would make detail variations, ie change the size of a bolt, but use quite old
technology for quite important bits. Steam passages are a particular area where few engineer really got it right, mainly due to the
narrow space between the cylinders. In hindsight, piston valves are certainly an evolution of the flat face valves, and probably
much more effective, but perhaps still not the right way to go.

To expand my knowledge, I am reading the definitive volumes about the famous BRM V16 racing cars, like many here I am also interested
in other forms of transportation. The errors which occurred in that project are amazing in light of what we know now, and more importantly
show the overwhelming influence one man can have on a project, even though others in the organisation might well know better, but
are bullied to accept the "boss's words"

Paul

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Re: The rise of the 4-6-0 and why were there none on the GNR

Post by drmditch » Mon Feb 13, 2017 3:46 pm

Thank you to everybody who has contributed to this thread.

I think that my conclusions would be:-

1. The GNR did not develop fast freight/mixed traffic 4-6-0s because 2-6-0s did the job at a lower first cost - and had a greater proportion of adhesion weight.

2. The GNR did not need express passenger 4-6-0s because the 4-4-2s were doing a god job anyway, especially after further developed under HNG.

3. The 4-6-2/wide-firebox format gave greater scope for heavy end-to-end traffic, and that is what the LNER developed.

There were a couple of points in the posts above that I would like to ask about:-

'John Coffin' spoke about Doncaster works preparing for WW1 before August 1914. Apart from the provision of wagons for heavy naval gun barrels, I can't see what else would have been likely to be worked on. Perhaps Paul has more evidence?

I think the relatively unsatisfactory performance of the NER S class was made apparent by the very successful Rs before the Vs and Zs were developed. Again, if anyone has evidence otherwise it would be interesting.

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Re: The rise of the 4-6-0 and why were there none on the GNR

Post by Rlangham » Mon Feb 13, 2017 4:51 pm

Although the NER's S Class wasn't as good on passenger service as would have been hoped for, it did prove useful for goods, hence the building of further 4-6-0 classes by the NER.

During WW1, in November 1917 and in June 1918 meetings were held by the Association of Railway Mechanical Engineers attended by the Chief Mechanical Engineers of most of the railways in Great Britain to discuss the possibility of three standard classes of locomotives to be built across all railways – the categories for the engine classes would be passenger, goods and mineral. The CME of the North Eastern Railway, Vincent Raven, was unable to attend due to his war work with the Ministry of Munitions and so acting CME Arthur Stamer attended on behalf of both the North Eastern Railway and the Great Northern Railway, as Nigel Gresley was also unable to attend. This forward thinking idea unfortunately did not result in any standard classes for all of Britain's railway companies (another thirty years or so until that happened), however, the meetings did result in George Heppell, the Chief Draughtsman of the North Eastern Railway, being asked to look into the design of three standard classes of locomotives, ideally with duplication of parts where possible for standardisation between the three.

Of the three designs, two were built and entered service – the mineral locomotive was the T3 Class 0-8-0. The goods engine was to be the S3, a 4-6-0 which was successfully used for many years on both goods and passenger traffic. The first order for the S3 Class was placed in November 1918, and the passenger engine design was designated the S4 but was never built. I don't recall seeing any drawings but presumably was a 4-6-0 following NER locomotive class designation protocol
Author of 'The North Eastern Railway in the First World War' - now available in paperback!

http://www.amazon.co.uk/North-Eastern-R ... 781554552/

Happy to help with anything relating to the railways in the First World War, just ask

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Re: The rise of the 4-6-0 and why were there none on the GNR

Post by drmditch » Mon Feb 13, 2017 8:02 pm

Rlangham wrote: Of the three designs, two were built and entered service – the mineral locomotive was the T3 Class 0-8-0. The goods engine was to be the S3, a 4-6-0 which was successfully used for many years on both goods and passenger traffic. The first order for the S3 Class was placed in November 1918, and the passenger engine design was designated the S4 but was never built. I don't recall seeing any drawings but presumably was a 4-6-0 following NER locomotive class designation protocol
I am sure I have seen an outline sketch of this large-wheeled locomotive somewhere, it is probably in NERA Express. I need to sort out my copies rather than browsing through everything when I want to fins something!

It is referred to in the NERA publication of George Heppel's memoirs. (Perhaps you were referring to this in your post?) Heppel claims that:-

'I have no hesitation in saying that the Class T.3 Mineral engines and Class S.3 Goods engines stand out the premier engines of their class and had the design which I left for the passenger class been carried out the L.N.E. Railway (sic) would have had as powerful an engine as they have with the huge engines which they are building at the present time.......the passenger engines (had they been built)..... would have had over 60 tons on the drivers and most of the parts duplicate with the Classes T.3 and S.3 They would also have been about 20 tons lighter altogether (than the Pacifics) altogether and 20 tons at the price per ton at the present day would mean a great saving.'

Much though I like the S3s, I don't think they represented the height of steam locomotive design in 1919. With the congested leading axle of the Raven 4-6-2s, and with a much smaller grate area and ash-pan I'm not sure that the 'S.4.' could have done the work of a Gresley Pacific!

Heppel's memoirs are very interesting. They illustrate how engineering policy and construction could proceed in a 19th and early 20th century organisation. He was obviously an idiosyncratic designer of strong opinions!

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Re: The rise of the 4-6-0 and why were there none on the GNR

Post by drmditch » Mon Feb 13, 2017 8:33 pm

Rlangham wrote:Although the NER's S Class wasn't as good on passenger service as would have been hoped for, it did prove useful for goods, hence the building of further 4-6-0 classes by the NER.

I said 'relatively unsatisfactory performance'. and I should have further qualified that with 'on express passenger traffic'!

What a shame that 1699 (the counter-pressure locomotive) didn't survive just a few years more. It would look splendid in preservation!
I read recently (and can't find where just at the moment) that it was specially polished up for it's final photograph in 1951 by junior staff - to the surprise of senior authority!

I'm also unable to find the account of the last trip of No.759 failing completely in it's last trip in 1938 and having to be dumped in a siding!

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Re: The rise of the 4-6-0 and why were there none on the GNR

Post by Hatfield Shed » Tue Feb 14, 2017 11:23 am

drmditch wrote:
Rlangham wrote: ...'had the design which I left for the passenger class been carried out the L.N.E. Railway (sic) would have had as powerful an engine as they have with the huge engines which they are building at the present time.......the passenger engines (had they been built)..... would have had over 60 tons on the drivers and most of the parts duplicate with the Classes T.3 and S.3 They would also have been about 20 tons lighter altogether (than the Pacifics) altogether and 20 tons at the price per ton at the present day would mean a great saving.'
What Heppel doesn't say is that while his large passenger 4-6-0 might well have as powerful an engine as the Gresley pacific, the boiler power to feed that engine would have been limited by the grate size of the 4-6-0 format, which was already reaching the end of its development potential for express service in the UK; to engineers with their eye on the future express traction power demands likely to be made. Churchward didn't build his 'Bear' on a trivial whim, he was already acutely aware of the limitations of the narrow grate when it came to the greater sustained boiler outputs which mgiht be demanded by the operators.

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Re: The rise of the 4-6-0 and why were there none on the GNR

Post by john coffin » Tue Feb 14, 2017 12:29 pm

As Hatfield shed says, the 4-6-0 was only capable of limited development in terms of ultimate power, and the delivery of it. I can imagine the difficulties of such engines pulling out of KX on the really long heavily laden trains that the Gresley Pacifics ultimately pulled. I know that the early K3's pulled vast loads during WW!, but there were some reported problems with them starting out from KX.

I think though that the real reason the GNR did not develop such locos was that it was really a main line railway, whereas if you study the GWR, the most prolific user of the 4-6-0's they had a lot of branches for which a Pacific would have been too long, which brings me to not quite understanding the logic of the P2's for the Aberdeen Road. I tend to class that in the same way as the fact that all the 0-8-2, and 0-10-0T's which were designed for the London suburban railways, by the GNR and GER were in fact not very successful. Although they were fast and pulled big loads, they were too long for many of the sharp curves.

The Great Bear was really only limited to the main line from London to Bristol because of its lack of flexibility and length. Interestingly, Kenneth Leech who was well known as a GNR Stirling single enthusiast, felt that the GWR Kings were the best riding of all the steam engines he had been lucky enough to footplate ride on, much better than the Gresley Pacifics.

The Gresley locos gave the best bang for the buck at the time in view of the impending grouping where long runs including the whole London to Scotland traffic was likely to require a more modern approach. The later Atlantics on the GNR were, once superheated as powerful as many other 4-6-0's so why spend the money?

Paul

Mickey

Re: The rise of the 4-6-0 and why were there none on the GNR

Post by Mickey » Thu Feb 16, 2017 8:24 am

If anyone's interested there is a Transport Video Publishing dvd called Power of the Eastern Region 4-6-0s and features B12s, B16s, B17s, & B1s in archive film footage from the late 1950s & 1960s and also featured in the dvd are contributions from Ron White, Peter Coster and Dick Hardy former shedmaster at Stewarts Lane Battersea on his personal memories of all the previously mentioned classes.

Price £9.95 and runs for 85 minutes.

Mickey
Last edited by Mickey on Thu Feb 16, 2017 11:43 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The rise of the 4-6-0 and why were there none on the GNR

Post by Pebbles » Thu Feb 16, 2017 11:38 am

My mind wanders, but didn't the K3s appeared after WW1.

Mickey

Re: The rise of the 4-6-0 and why were there none on the GNR

Post by Mickey » Thu Feb 16, 2017 12:05 pm

Mickey wrote:If anyone's interested there is a Transport Video Publishing dvd called Power of the Eastern Region 4-6-0s and features B12s, B16s, B17s, & B1s in archive film footage from the late 1950s & 1960s and also featured in the dvd are contributions from Ron White, Peter Coster and Dick Hardy former shedmaster at Stewarts Lane Battersea on his personal memories of all the previously mentioned classes.
Dick Hardy was asked the question (by Ron White off camera) what locomotive did he think was the better locomotive between the Stanier Black 5 and the Thompson B1?.

The answer was basically with all things considered between both locomotives they were pretty much equal in every way but Ron White thought the Black 5 could be handled a bit more roughly by there crews than the B1s could be which Dick Hardy appeared to agree with.

Mickey

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Re: The rise of the 4-6-0 and why were there none on the GNR

Post by john coffin » Thu Feb 16, 2017 12:58 pm

yes Pebbles, I misplaced the timetable, I meant the H3., not H4.

But certainly the K3's pulled some amazing trains during WW2.

Still nice to see you are still reading it through :cry:

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Re: The rise of the 4-6-0 and why were there none on the GNR

Post by Pebbles » Thu Feb 16, 2017 1:26 pm

Yes Paul I may be reading it, but I have no idea where its going. Certainly Chapelon would have had a view on the wide versus narrow firebox, didn't he convert one wide firebox boiler to a narrow firebox?

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Re: The rise of the 4-6-0 and why were there none on the GNR

Post by john coffin » Thu Feb 16, 2017 1:59 pm

I think we may well have come to the point that we are indeed going round in circles, but that is the joy of amateurs looking back at things they do not have all the experience to understand, because we were not there and did not take part in the discussions.

If Chapelon changed things around he was able, because his railway was a state railway and in France, to experiment much more than anyone in the UK. Remember there were talks about a National Rolling road quite soon after the First War, yet it was not actually built until around the end of the Second War, when most people were considering replacing steam with another propulsion method.

I think the important thing is that many of the areas of research investigated post the First War only created tiny improvements in the efficiency of the steam engine, and certainly were not worth the expense for hard pressed, financially British Railways who still had easy access to lots of local coal, even if it was decreasing in quality.

I return to the original point, why no 4-6-0 on the GNR, well, Ivatt saw no need, his large Atlantics seemed to work well, and could go over most of the main line routes on the GNR, including getting into Leeds, which was a problem later for a long time for the Gresley Pacifics. It is difficult to understand why the L&Y chose a 4-6-0 for their routes, but then their main business was not moving passengers and freight along a road to Yorkshire and then off to Scotland which was that of the GNR. A long straight road, and a difficult exit from KX were I think the main reasons for Gresley choosing the Pacific route for his first real passenger engine design. Thus no real need for him to create a 4-6-0 until quite late into the LNER, when the need became great for the ex GER traffic with its road limitations.

Paul

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Re: The rise of the 4-6-0 and why were there none on the GNR

Post by Hatfield Shed » Thu Feb 16, 2017 2:16 pm

Chapelon's preference was narrow (or trapezoidal at need) firebox up to about 4 sq m. Wide firebox for any further increase in grate area, because the grate length of the narrow firebox type with such a grate area then exceeded what it was possible to feed coal onto reliably, and the resulting growth of overall boiler length was also becoming a hindrance. He was convinced that even with the UK loading gauge restrictions a successful narrow firebox 4-8-0 was possible; and would have particularly suited the GWR's operation. (Mind, it would have required a major shift in Swindon's thinking in respect of superheater ratios and temperatures, and an ejector exhaust.) It's all in his 'La Locomotive a Vapeur', ideal holiday reading should you be made to lie on some vile beach far from home.

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