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A tough meeting....

Posted: Sat Sep 14, 2013 10:38 am
by drmditch
RCTS 2A refers to a meeting arranged at York soon after A1s were allocated to the North Eastern Region (1924?) between HNG and 'representatives of the men', to discuss the 'lack of enthusiasm' of the 'men' for the new Doncaster designed engines. According to RCTS 'no punches were pulled at this meeting which appeared to clear the air somewhat. Before long many excellent performances were being recorded by Newcastle men......'

There are references to this meeting elsewhere, some I think by OS Nock, but I've never found a more detailed account of it, which is a shame! It would have been very interesting to be a fly-on-the-wall!

Has anybody any further information?

Re: A tough meeting....

Posted: Mon Jan 14, 2019 10:40 am
by drmditch
Sorry for the long gap on this thread.

There are some comments on page 79 of F.A.S. Brown's biography of Gresley.
Apparently, 'through the kindness' of J.H. Smeddle, a keenly interested senior boy from Boothams School, York, later well known as Dr. P. Ransome-Wallis was 'permitted to attend'.

Mr Brown relates that Dr Ransome-Wallis remembers that 'it was quite a stormy meeting.
Complaints included the stiffness of the regulator on the (Gresley) engines, and the continuous 'ponkity-think aka the Gresley 'knock'.

I thought I had seen an actual account by Ransome-Wallis but can't locate it at present. Could anyone else help locate this, if it exists?

Re: A tough meeting....

Posted: Mon Jan 14, 2019 1:20 pm
by drmditch
Michael Bonavia, in his history of the LNER, vol1 page 8, in discussing the CGM, R.L. Wedgwood, refers to 'one or two early trials of strength with C.L. Edwards, the Chief Accountant, and H.N. Gresley, the CME, which were resolved in Wedgwood's favour; his subsequent relations with Gresley were always cordial.'

I have not found any other reference to this; has anyone else?

Wedgwood, for all his classically trained balance and impartiality, was of course a North Eastern man!

(Edited to overcome spelling problems created by W10 on this tablet computer.)

Re: A tough meeting....

Posted: Tue Jan 15, 2019 3:19 pm
by Hatfield Shed
'Wedgwood' please!

Might have been an account in 'The Gresley Observer' that I recollect. Problem mainly put down to some of the management of the former NER, not guiding their employees into appreciation of the new tools (not just the A1) the new group supplied. Particularly for those with engineering ambitions, it must have been galling to find themselves 'demoted' from being the leaders of one of the UK's largest engineering outfits, to subordinate to the engineering establishment of a 'Junior Partner'. (That messed with Thompson's head for all his subsequent career in my opinion.)

Re: A tough meeting....

Posted: Tue Jan 15, 2019 5:48 pm
by john coffin
I think another thing to consider is what happened earlier on the NER with MacDonnell and his attempts to change the habits of
the engine crews. Not least with the various items within the cab for actually operating the engine. It lead to MacDonnell having to
leave, and the interim where the Tennant locos were built, not least the 1463 class.

Plainly the positioning of various people in positions of power at the beginning was going to be difficult, all the companies being taken over had to feel that they had a role to play. At least the LNER did not experience the strife that the LMS did, with the least modern plant being in charge of loco design very quickly. Also, of course we still to this day not know whether or not the NER pacifics were as bad as they have been painted by contemporary commentators.

Personally, I always have felt that apart from his work in Electrical Engines, Raven was a very conservative engineer, rather like
Robinson of the GCR, and many of the Raven locos were not particularly successful, being designed, not from scratch, but rather
as an incremental improvement (?) on what had gone before. Thus his Pacifics were from the outside at least, only an extension
of the C6/7 etc. Gresley was lucky enough to have Ivatt Atlantics to try new ideas on, before his foray into the Pacific, and of
course he followed the K4 experience from America. It is strange that during the Worsdell era, American ideas were well adapted
by the NER, but that seemed to change with Raven. It is also of course worth considering that the Gresley Pacifics were designed
with travelling greater distances than the GNR main line, ie up toward Edinburgh.

I tend to feel that the Raven Pacifics compared to the Gresley ones, in the same way as Aspinalls Atlantic compared with the Ivatt ones.
Although the first Ivatt Atlantic was a careful evolution of the 4-4-0's the larger ones were certainly a big stride forward for the GNR.


Re: A tough meeting....

Posted: Wed Jan 16, 2019 8:06 am
by drmditch
Hatfield Shed wrote:
Tue Jan 15, 2019 3:19 pm
'Wedgwood' please!
Sorry about that. Problems with working with this tablet computer while convalescent. I have managed to correct the original!

Re: A tough meeting....

Posted: Wed Jan 16, 2019 3:48 pm
by Hatfield Shed
You have my sympathy on both counts. I will have a proper buttons keyboard over any of the touch screen junk that is now so fashionable, any day of the week. Every hope for a swift return to full health.

Re: A tough meeting....

Posted: Wed Jan 16, 2019 5:23 pm
by Majormagna
Regarding the Raven Atlantics, from what I've read it seems the entire reason for them was the NER boardmembers wanting a "last hurrah", I feel that Raven would much rather have made the supposed S4 design (a 4-6-0 based on the S3 and T3 boiler, with 6'8" wheels) than the 4-6-2s that were just elongated Atlantics.

Calling Raven conservative may be somewhat apt, but don't forget that it was during his tenure as CME that the NER started using Ross Pop safety valves, began extensive experiments with superheating, and tested the Stumpf 'Uniflow' cylinder design.

Re: A tough meeting....

Posted: Thu Jan 17, 2019 12:01 pm
by billbedford
I think this meeting must have been mild compared with what could have happened in Scotland. The NB men were willing to strike rather than take out an A1 until Gresley promised to redesign them with the driver's controls on the correct, logical, Scottish side of the engine.