If early BR policy had been a little different.......

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strang steel
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Re: If early BR policy had been a little different.......

Post by strang steel » Sat May 25, 2019 1:23 pm

Mickey wrote:
Sat May 25, 2019 11:28 am

Who actually took the decision to abolish steam on B.R. in August 1968 I have occasionally wondered was it the British Railways Board who made the decision to run down steam and finally abolish it and also more importantly was there an individual person to blame?.
I don't know who that was, but I suspect it must have been the BRB in their decision around 1958 when they abolished the sensible Pilot Scheme idea and decided to order as many diesels as they could without evaluating the prototypes properly.

I suppose they were lucky that a few designs actually ended up being very reliable with no prototype, but it could have been a more expensive gamble had the EE Type 3s (for instance) been a disaster.

However, I'm not sure why they chose 1968, unless it was a simple 10 years in the future. Whatever it was, to reduce 15000 steam locos to razor blades in that time was a rather wasteful misuse of taxpayers money.
John

Mickey
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Re: If early BR policy had been a little different.......

Post by Mickey » Sat May 25, 2019 3:27 pm

Leading on from the demise of steam was a dvd that I was watching last week about B.R. modernisation of freight handling facilities with the building of huge purpose built hump marshalling yards around the country to handle the huge amounts of wagon load freight that the railways still carried during the late 1950s and early 1960s and there gradual demise through the 1970s as traffic slackened off and fully braked container traffic (Freightliner) and block loaded trains that didn't require re-marshalling to often dominated the freight scene so ultimately by the early 1980s marshalling yards like the 40 roads Carlisle Kingmoor, Temple Mills, Healy Mills, Toton, Tinsley and another dozen or so other yards around the country had all either closed completely or had been reduced in size to just a handful of flat empty sidings with vegetation growing in between the rusty rails and sleepers. The dvd commentary ended by saying that in the space of 20 years all those huge freight marshalling yards all ended up as huge white elephants!.

MartinWales
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Re: If early BR policy had been a little different.......

Post by MartinWales » Tue Jun 04, 2019 8:21 pm

You could argue that some of the Standard 2MT/3MT/4MT's were necessary as they were meant to replace life expired or worn out pre grouping or grouping classes. Certainly the 4MT 2-6-4T/2-6-0's were somewhat sucessfull in the varied tasks they undertook.

Hatfield Shed
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Re: If early BR policy had been a little different.......

Post by Hatfield Shed » Wed Jun 05, 2019 1:21 pm

strang steel wrote:
Sat May 25, 2019 11:02 am
...Most early diesels cost a lot of money (I believe each Brush type 2 cost around £70,000). Take a depot such as Shirebrook which was sitting on a coal field. I'm not sure how many Brush 2s they had initially; but let's say for argument's sake - 30.

That is a capital cost of 30 x £70,000 = £2.1 million (a lot of money in the early 1960s). If the depot had been given £2.1 million and then asked the staff if they would rather spend it on shiny new diesels but no extra pay, or bonuses for everyone stretched over the next 15 years in order to continue working with 9Fs (and O1s, WDs and 8Fs for as long as they remained serviceable), I wonder what the majority decision would have been? ...
It's entirely rational to propose a scheme whereby BR could have modernised much as the Germans did, retaining steam for freight traffic in the Northern half of the country, where the coalfields are; and thus extracting full economic life from their existing pool of successful steam heavy freight designs.

But politically, it was untenable. The party of the oppressed Northerners would have raised hell over the North being made to endure 'dirty and dangerous steam', while down South it was all progress toward cleaner and safer diesel and electric traction.

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strang steel
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Re: If early BR policy had been a little different.......

Post by strang steel » Wed Jul 03, 2019 8:47 am

Yes, I take your point (although the problem still remains to this day with Pacers on northern services - imagine Pacers working Twyford-Henley).

I think the general establishment view by then, was that steam equated to Victorian technology and diesel/electric was the way to go in order to present a modern forward looking image to the world. My mother always used to tell me that by the end of the century we would be flying everywhere in jet cars and taking holidays to the moon - and I think many of her generation actually believed that.

Nuclear power had been harnessed to give what (at the time) seemed like limitless ultra cheap electricity (although the defence by-products were probably the driving force for the government) and the world appeared to be on the brink of the space age, where anything powered by steam would soon become laughable.

A society was being created which cared so little for its past that it would draw up serious proposals to bulldoze St Pancras and replace it with a concrete monstrosity.

Steam locomotives stood no chance, really.
John

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Re: If early BR policy had been a little different.......

Post by Hatfield Shed » Thu Jul 04, 2019 11:01 am

strang steel wrote:
Wed Jul 03, 2019 8:47 am
...I think the general establishment view by then, was that steam equated to Victorian technology and diesel/electric was the way to go in order to present a modern forward looking image to the world. My mother always used to tell me that by the end of the century we would be flying everywhere in jet cars and taking holidays to the moon - and I think many of her generation actually believed that. Nuclear power had been harnessed to give what (at the time) seemed like limitless ultra cheap electricity ...
Very true - my home was built on the premise that electricity would be 'too cheap to meter' on the prospect of fusion power by developments of the ZETA, and was profligate in energy requirements before significant modification - the consequence of a country where the top posts are all for arts graduates who have no technical competence but rather tendencies to the gift of the gab, an excess of imagination, topped off with a god complex... (Consider our only modern PM with a genuine science degree, M Thatcher, rubbing the establishment up the wrong way.)
... anything powered by steam would soon become laughable. Steam locomotives stood no chance, really...
Outwardly perhaps. But the steam engine in turbine, piston and reaction form is still with us for the foreseeable future. I was informed of this at about age 10 as my technical appreciation developed. (Family of technically well qualified people.) That the railway steam locomotive had to go was clear enough; very low thermal efficiency, high water and lubricant demand and the filth factors, between them all 'killers'. I was taught to appreciate the steam engine as the simple first step in large scale mechanically generated power, that had been practically possible to achieve with fairly basic equipment, materials and know how, that had got us started on serious technical progress.
...A society was being created which cared so little for its past that it would draw up serious proposals to bulldoze St Pancras and replace it with a concrete monstrosity...
An attempt at such a society, the dream child of (again) arts graduates with no technical competence but rather tendencies to the gift of the gab, an excess of imagination, topped off with a god complex. Happily for us, they failed.

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