W1, speed demon ?

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manna
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W1, speed demon ?

Post by manna » Sun Mar 05, 2017 8:47 am

G'day Gents

Seeing that W1 was a beefed up A4 in all but name, was it as fast as a A4 ?????.

manna
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Hatfield Shed
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Re: W1, speed demon ?

Post by Hatfield Shed » Sun Mar 05, 2017 11:47 am

Don't be fooled by external appearances. The proportion of valve ports to cylinder volume was more like that of the A3, and it performed akin in speed terms. The machine overall is a glimpse ahead to the Peppercorn A1, with its 50 sq ft grate using a boiler closely related to that of the P2, but the detail design is nothing like as thorough as required to exploit its power output potential for high speed. Just the extra distance the fireman had to move through compared to the regular Gresley wide firebox cab layout would be a disincentive for keeping that grate supplied; and that arose from doing the job 'economically' by not reducing the frame length.

Potentially: reworked with a stoking engine using the extra space at the back of the frame, the A4's cylinders and valve gear, more superheater area, it probably wouldn't have gone faster but the fireman's job of maintaining the steam supply would have been sorted. Just the inside big end design shortcoming to sort out, but that's not going to happen until much later...

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manna
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Re: W1, speed demon ?

Post by manna » Sun Mar 05, 2017 9:43 pm

G'day Gents

Thanks, Hatfield Shed. I've always wondered why a large and powerful engine ended up on mundane semi type express's, when it seemed to have the potential to haul heavy trains.

manna
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Pebbles
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Re: W1, speed demon ?

Post by Pebbles » Wed Mar 08, 2017 9:59 am

I am guilty of digressing, but here goes. The rebuilding of the W1 is somewhat of a conundrum as the work required was extensive. To merely use the frames could have been an option indeed removing the rear frame extensions and replacing with A1/3 frame extensions or indeed, if it was proposed to test the layout of the 50 sq ft firebox, with P2 extensions would appear to have been entirely practical. So in the circumstances retaining the 4-6-4 layout, which after all was only required for the water tube boiler, appears strange. However frames do not an engine make. If 20inch diameter cylinders with 8inch piston valves were required simply using the existing A1 cylinders would have been an option, but that was not the case and cylinders of a revised pattern, but with the same cylinder and piston valve diameters, that eliminated the outside steam pipes were produced. The wheels and crank axle; not a simple case of slapping new cylinders on to the frames. As originally the W1 had been a four cylinder engine to change to a three cylinder layout required re-setting the wheels or possibly producing a new set of wheels and of course a new crank axle was essential. So new cylinders, boiler/firebox and wheels/crank axle, but keeping the 6ft 6inch Darlington type front bogie and of course the tender. When taking into account the work required to modify the frames - apparently extensive welding - a completely new engine must have been an option.

Why re-build? well to justify an expensive failure and claim that all had not been lost. Alternatively to use the engine as a test bed for future boilers which is why the 4-6-4 configuration was retained. Why new cylinders? I have no idea of the technical issues, but RCTS states that the valve port opening areas of the A1/A3 with 8inch diameter valves were very close to A4 with 9inch diameter valves. Was it the intention to use the new W1 cylinders lined to 19inches on A1/3s when new cylinders were required. Eventually when new boilers were required by the A1/3s 107 boilers could have been used and the cylinders lined to 18.5inches. Alternative history!

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Re: W1, speed demon ?

Post by Eightpot » Thu Mar 09, 2017 12:39 am

A quibble perhaps, but when on a Diesel course at Doncaster Works in 1965 the question came up in that was the W1 a 4-6-4 or a 4-6-2-2? Our Instructor/Lecturer said he would ask the Drawing Office for a definitive answer. The reply - it is a 4-6-2=2 because it is not a bogie under the firebox, but a combination of an axle with outside axle boxes as a Pacific with the addition of a reversed Bissel truck behind it.

It wasn't regarded as especially fast, but was considered powerful which is why it was on a regular turn on heavy trains between Leeds and Kings Cross and back, being shedded at Doncaster (36A) during that time.

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Re: W1, speed demon ?

Post by Hatfield Shed » Fri Mar 10, 2017 9:51 am

The Whyte notation is not explicit on this point. Gresley said 4-6-4, and outranks any latter day academic I would suggest.

Stafnes
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Re: W1, speed demon ?

Post by Stafnes » Mon Jun 12, 2017 2:21 pm

Having only just come across this subject it reminded me of a day some years ago whilst tinkering with telephone lines in Mablethorpe,Lincs. Anyway, when I had a cable joint open a bloke came up to me and started chatting. As they do! Then he told me he used to work on the railway as a fireman on the main line and out of interest I asked him if he ever fired 60700. That "****** thing"!! Was his immediate reaction. "Running up and down the footplate with great shovelfulls of coal all *****Y day wasn't my idea of a good days work, it was the worse turn we could get". Not a popular loco with firemen to all accounts then! Mind you, he loved the pick goods with a J6 on a fine day up the east lincs line. Regards.

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Re: W1, speed demon ?

Post by Hatfield Shed » Mon Jun 12, 2017 8:59 pm

Much the same story is told of the Peppercorn pacific fireman who on arrival at KX and being asked by Mr Peppercorn what he thought of the loco told him that he picked up the shovel at the start of the run and only put it down at the end.

Quite simply other than the enthusiasts for the job, steam railway locomotive work was of diminishing attractiveness through the final forty years or thereabouts of UK steam. Declining coal quality was a particular trial from WWII on, didn't matter how good the loco, with poor coal the fireman's task became purgatory. Implementation of power stoking on large UK locomotives was attempted too late in the day, this should have been taken in hand once the 50 sq ft grate came into service, but this was a casualty of the war.

(For comparison in effort. Before I entered my teens one of the DeHavilland model railway club people had let me move the throttles of the displayed and parked Trident prototype at an open day, which was very easy to do. I asked how much power that represented and was told up to 90,000 shaft horsepower. So I asked for that in steam loco equivalent, and was told 30 pacifics running at full chat.)

Stafnes
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Re: W1, speed demon ?

Post by Stafnes » Tue Jun 13, 2017 1:17 pm

I do apologise "Hatfield Shed" for the lack of clarity in my post but the chap in question was bemoaning the fact that the distance from the tender shovel plate to the firebox door was almost the length of a "b""""y football pitch"! Otherwise he genuinely appeared to have enjoyed working on the footplate.

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richard
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Re: W1, speed demon ?

Post by richard » Tue Jun 13, 2017 4:26 pm

From memory, I think the rebuilt W1 had a longer shovel due to the length of the footplate?

Only helps so much, though.
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Hatfield Shed
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Re: W1, speed demon ?

Post by Hatfield Shed » Wed Jun 14, 2017 4:08 pm

Stafnes wrote:
Tue Jun 13, 2017 1:17 pm
I do apologise "Hatfield Shed" for the lack of clarity in my post but the chap in question was bemoaning the fact that the distance from the tender shovel plate to the firebox door was almost the length of a "b""""y football pitch"! Otherwise he genuinely appeared to have enjoyed working on the footplate.
Have no fear, I did understand that, and have heard similar at a talk given by Peter Townend, on the subsequent complaints of a Top Shed fireman replacing the fireman who had gone sick on the up journey to KX.

I think it amazing that BR got away with handfiring big engines as late as 1967 when much better paid, clean, 'nine to five' jobs requiring little physical effort were readily available to anyone with any ability. During my short spell in industrial supervision (before becoming a lounge lizard) I had two chargehands ex-railway footplate service. Excellent men, (one of whom I particularly recommended for supervisory training and ongoing career development) who reflected on how they just 'gave away' their labour on the railway. Very high workload, endless personal inconvenience accepted, far greater responsibility: all for a much slimmer pay packet than they were now receiving for 'cushty work'.

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