Edward Thompson. Good or Bad

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silverfox
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Re: Edward Thompson. Good or Bad

Post by silverfox » Thu Sep 24, 2015 9:39 am

Conspiracy Theories Part 195!

One that i havent yet seen is the the reason why Thompson took the actions he did.

And i only offer this forward as food for the Thompson haters, Of which i am NOT one, I just feel like putting forward a totally stupid and crass possibility to see if someone wearing his tinfoil hat takes it as gospel

So The reason Thompson did what he did to 4470 and the P2 is that the new LNER company overlooked Sir Vincent Raven and chose Gresley.
As He was married to Ravens daughter, he took this as a personal slight on him and his family and as they say revenge is best served cold

Totally complete and utter 100% hogwash and just thought up this minute, but someone will grab hold of it.

Just off to see 61306 through Crowthorne
Ron

jwealleans
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Re: Edward Thompson. Good or Bad

Post by jwealleans » Thu Sep 24, 2015 9:59 am

I'm very loath to dig this debate up - it never goes anywhere and no-one changes their mind. Those who were there are long departed in the main and we only have their written accounts to look to. In the main, though, those accounts give a negative impression of Thompson the man, who clearly never engendered the affection in colleagues and subordinates which Gresley did before him and Peppercorn after.

It is my understanding that 4470 simply happened to be the next A1 in line for upgrading to A3. Depending whose accounts you read, either Thompson was advised of the symbolic implication of rebuilding it and chose to go ahead anyway or the then Works Manager insisted that that locomotive had to be used either because he was anti-GN or anti-Gresley or both. It seems to me that Thompson must have been aware of the ramifications and went ahead anyway. Had it been a roaring success, maybe history would have judged him differently.

What is less in doubt is the uproar from the Scottish Area when the P2s were called in for rebuilding and the fact that they were overruled and the locomotives taken away anyway. Leaving aside the engineering merits or otherwise of the rebuilds, that was not a move which was ever going to make the man popular.

Thompson clearly wasn't terribly bothered what others thought of him and maybe has suffered the posthumous effects of that where others - deliberately or instinctively - were more politically adept.

S.A.C. Martin
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Re: Edward Thompson. Good or Bad

Post by S.A.C. Martin » Thu Sep 24, 2015 12:13 pm

I'm sorry to disagree with you both, but the research I've done has - without a shadow of a doubt - removed any doubts I had over 4470's choice.

The locomotive selected for rebuilding was not Thompson's choice or decision to make aside from starting the project to experimentally rebuild an A10 in the first place.

The choice of the oldest A10 came from a different source, and Thompson had no bearing on whether or not the choice was settled.

It has been described to me thusly as a "happy coincidence" for Thompson: he himself had affinity with the Great Northern, and felt if his ideas were sound, then it was at least a worthy locomotive on which to showcase these.

4470 herself was not a bad locomotive by any means - hamstrung by the Thompson front end, like all of his Pacifics, but otherwise superior to the A10s and both A3s and majority of the A4s before the mass fitting of Kylchaps.

The constant and wearying conspiracy theories regarding her choice are made by those who are always in the Gresley camp, and by those who haven't looked into how the department of the CME was run. They seem to think the CME had powers beyond that they actually had, and if they cared to look into it further they'd discover just how acropyphal these stories are.

Regarding the P2s - I've had delivery of a few contemporary documents this week regarding the P2s and the idea that the operating department in Scotland was aghast at the rebuilding and taking away the P2s is both inaccurate and ludicrous given the locomotives' fuel consumptions and failure rate in wartime.

No.2005 was compared to the originals for nearly a year before they were all authorised for rebuilding and the results of 2005's work were given to the board for approval.

Unfortunately we have only had one, very loud, side of the story for so long and it may well be it takes a younger and more receptive generation for the damage to Thompson's reputation to be fixed.

65447
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Re: Edward Thompson. Good or Bad

Post by 65447 » Thu Sep 24, 2015 12:45 pm

S.A.C. Martin wrote: Regarding the P2s - I've had delivery of a few contemporary documents this week regarding the P2s and the idea that the operating department in Scotland was aghast at the rebuilding and taking away the P2s is both inaccurate and ludicrous given the locomotives' fuel consumptions and failure rate in wartime.
Missing from that argument is their operating schedules, where the P2s were rostered to workings so inefficiently that ANY locomotive would exhibit dire returns of coal and water consumption per mile, failure rates and all the other meaningful in-service performance measures. They were treated much of the time as stationary boilers but with no means of consuming the power being generated; no locomotives should have been so abused.
Unfortunately we have only had one, very loud, side of the story for so long and it may well be it takes a younger and more receptive generation for the damage to Thompson's reputation to be fixed.
As the person who has most to gain by promoting this debate and the book that you are working on - and does so unremittingly on various forums - surely it would be appropriate for you to hold back and observe the points put for and against? Do you not realise that the more you shout, the more likely the pro-Gresley camp will shout back?

Further, the 'compare and contrast' exercise should surely be continued with Peppercorn's short term as CME and what he changed with respect to Thompson's oeuvre? Then it might be a truly genuine comparison between the LNER CMEs.

S.A.C. Martin
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Re: Edward Thompson. Good or Bad

Post by S.A.C. Martin » Thu Sep 24, 2015 1:04 pm

65447 wrote: Missing from that argument is their operating schedules, where the P2s were rostered to workings so inefficiently that ANY locomotive would exhibit dire returns of coal and water consumption per mile, failure rates and all the other meaningful in-service performance measures. They were treated much of the time as stationary boilers but with no means of consuming the power being generated; no locomotives should have been so abused.
Of course you must appreciate the above was not a detailed look and a summation: and of course (and I say as much in my current draft) that the fuel consumption figures quoted do not often take this into account.
As the person who has most to gain by promoting this debate and the book that you are working on - and does so unremittingly on various forums - surely it would be appropriate for you to hold back and observe the points put for and against? Do you not realise that the more you shout, the more likely the pro-Gresley camp will shout back?
It's interesting how often people cite the book as "most to gain". I have no interest in the monetary value of publishing a book whatsoever: that I published my last one off my own bat and out of my own pocket (and subsequently donated a number of them to good railway related causes) should be proof enough of that.

I'm not shouting: I'm putting forward the alternative. The pro-Gresley camp has had seventy years and more of putting forward their view, and it is time for more of the whole story to be told and for an examination of why it has been told the way it is too. I suggest that I have less to gain than the pro-Gresley camp has to lose by publishing my book and I am in no doubt I will ruffle a huge number of feathers. That's the point, partly: for too long it has been a one sided argument and some awful untruths have been made about the man.
Further, the 'compare and contrast' exercise should surely be continued with Peppercorn's short term as CME and what he changed with respect to Thompson's oeuvre? Then it might be a truly genuine comparison between the LNER CMEs.
He changed very little as it happens: aside from the Pacific outline and some minor modifications to the K1 and L1 designs.

All other ventures continued as planned including finishing the building of the B1s and the continued rebuilding of certain classes, as and when the boilers came up for renewal (see O4 to O1 and similar).

S.A.C. Martin
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Re: Edward Thompson. Good or Bad

Post by S.A.C. Martin » Mon Oct 05, 2020 10:44 am

Good morning everyone,

I just wanted to drop everyone a thank you for the discussion over the years on ET. I will be putting the forum in my "special thanks" for the book I have now completed on Edward Thompson. I hope to be able to let you know of publishing details in due course.

Since this thread was started, and in the subsequent five years since the last post (one of mine!) a huge amount of evidence has been uncovered in a variety of locations. It has taken me three years, for instance, to fully collate into a spreadsheet the "Use of Engine Power" document that gives the mileages and availability for the entire LNER fleet, 1942-1946. Over 1500 lines of formulas and statistics...! Some letters have been uncovered, more documents, I have examined the Engine Record Cards at York, and more.

It has been a significant journey for me, and I only hope the published book puts to bed many of the myths surrounding Gresley and Thompson, once and for all, with an evidence based approach.

Best wishes

Simon

harvester
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Re: Edward Thompson. Good or Bad

Post by harvester » Sat Oct 10, 2020 8:07 am

Simon,
From a personal view I have always preferred Gresley's designs but I look forward to your book being published and hope it will be as well balanced as your correspondence has been on the subject .

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Re: Edward Thompson. Good or Bad

Post by Hatfield Shed » Wed Oct 14, 2020 1:49 pm

Good and bad.

His undoubted forte was organisation, and the analysis of the reliability and maintenance demands of the LNER locomotive stock bears this out, among much else he achieved.

The effective use of existing design standards and component layouts to economically produce the B1 an acknowledged success, and the continuation of the established rebuild process of the O4 into his O4/8 and O1 class parts very sound.

The attempt to overcome the weaknesses he perceived in the large 3 cylinder designs, a serious failure, due to the novel features he introduced. No gains in the reliability, performance and utilisation that was the justification for this work. There's no reasonable doubt about this, Peppercorn took the same core power producing components which were all Doncaster standard, and reverted to the frame layout that made the first Doncaster pacific the template for all subsequent successful UK pacifics: and thereby produced two classes of superior locomotives which delivered the sought after advances in reliability, performance and utilisation compared to the earlier Doncaster pacific designs.

As for the L1 'Concrete mixer' there is plentiful evidence from experienced staff that had to operate the services they worked on, and maintain those allocated to their care, concerning their defects. It doesn't make happy reading.

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Re: Edward Thompson. Good or Bad

Post by mick b » Thu Oct 15, 2020 8:58 am

So who was the mystery figure(s) that authorised Great Northern for the rebuild. If the CME doesnt have the final say who does ???.
Perhaps I would have to buy the book to find out ?? :lol: :lol:


What was his thinking? ,in the abject failures and/or the total waste of money and resources on the rebuilds of the D20, D49, J11 etc. The decisions were made during a World War ,hardly the time for tinkering , LNER always broke , lack of material etc etc. Perhaps he was bored ? no logic at all, what did he ever hope to achieve.

I still cannot understand why the P2 was not simply moved onto the ECML , it needed a front bogie redesign , and after that a crank redesign if that did not cure that very dangerous defect. A scrapping because that is what it was, of Engines less than 10 years old was simply ludricous. From what I have read the engines werent helped by poor maintenance, in the Scottish sheds as well.


Thompson.
He was very obviously disliked by the majority of his staff , hardly surprising the daggers were drawn on his retirement. He certainly did himself no favours !!

60027Merlin
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Re: Edward Thompson. Good or Bad

Post by 60027Merlin » Fri Oct 16, 2020 1:48 pm

The P2s were on the ECML - Edinburgh to Aberdeen and vice versa.

When Haymarket used them for Newcastle turns Edward Thompson was most displeased and ordered that these turns cease. When Haymarket then continued these Newcastle turns later on Thompson sent A. H. Peppercorn up to Edinburgh to “read the riot act” about this. For a most gentlemanly man this may have been impossible.

Regarding maintenance, the three Scottish Sheds were able to maintain them satisfactorily having the experience of the A1/3s and V2s, however, for visits to the works for more major repairs they were sent to Cowlairs who did not have the relevant experience of bigger loco classes which led to problems.

After they were rebuilt they could not cope with the Aberdeen road and Haymarket soon got rid of them getting Peppercorn locos in return.

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NZRedBaron
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Re: Edward Thompson. Good or Bad

Post by NZRedBaron » Mon Oct 19, 2020 12:54 am

On a somewhat lighter note, I had a not very serious idea just now, of marrying a body shell from one of Hornby's new Thompson Pacifics to either a Gresley A1/3 or A4; or a Peppercorn A1/A2 chassis, just see how it might look. Any thoughts on how that might look?

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Re: Edward Thompson. Good or Bad

Post by neilgow » Mon Oct 19, 2020 5:46 pm

Being of an age, I can remember all the post WW2 LNER 4-6-2's and have read more than my share of books on the subject, I cannot offer so much as a penny's worth of sensible comment to the debate. Except at York on Easter Saturday 1958 my very first Pacific was 60524 Herringbone, my friends and I were much impressed. Needless to say, the day went well given that very few diesels were noted, steam everywhere. A joy to eleven year olds.

Mind you, a pair of DB 043's 2-10-0's with a 4000 ton iron ore train climbing south out of Lathen to Meppen takes some beating but then again an A4 racing through Thirsk had an attraction all of its own.

Keep safe.

NG

S.A.C. Martin
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Re: Edward Thompson. Good or Bad

Post by S.A.C. Martin » Mon Oct 26, 2020 12:39 pm

Morning all,

I have read the most recent messages and I will try to respond as best as I can to the questions.

To Mick specifically - there is no "mystery man" - the name of the man who selected Great Northern for rebuilding was G.A. Musgrave, who was a locomotive superintendent for the L.N.E.R., and was responsible for shopping requests for locomotive maintenance, overhauls and rebuilds.

R.H.N. Hardy - a Doncaster apprentice who worked on the Thompson A1 design - confirmed this in writing on a number of occasions: and from reading the LNER board minutes, locomotive committee meetings, and looking at the organisational structure, I can confirm this to be true.

So this repeated myth that Thompson specifically selected 4470 must end. And I say as much in the book when I explain the process by which locomotives get selected for shopping - a responsibility that is not in the hands of the C.M.E., who is much removed from such decisions.

The C.M.E. role is a much misunderstood one: it is a policy making and administrative role, not a pure design role, and it certainly did not have the authority to select individual locomotives from classes for specific rebuilding. The actual responsibilities of the C.M.E. are all high level ones and the details to which things have been attributed to Thompson, or Gresley, or Peppercorn are born out of a complete misunderstanding - or a willful one - of what the job actually entails.

The things written about the P2s above are not true and I can state for the record that much of what has been written by L.N.E.R writers on the P2 rebuilds has been shown to be demonstrably false. I cover this at length in the book with a lot of primary evidence including several reports.

One thing that has been claimed is that the rebuilds were not capable of doing the work of the P2s. The reverse is true. The P2s were not capable of doing the work the A2/2s did: because they were frequently unavailable for service for a multitude of reasons, whereas the Pacifics did the work and did it well and were consistently available for traffic. They were not "banished" from Scotland, they were replaced by newer traction and then focused in one location as was always the intention for that line.

And yes Mick - buy the book. Support the work done to provide you with the full facts and story.

I have worked hard for eight years to uncover much and have collated it for you and others to read. I did offer on Nat Pres the opportunity for some to read a copy and provide feedback this year, which has been duly noted and helped to make it more accurate and more reflective of the evidence we now have.

Included within the body of the book are the statistics from the L.N.E.R.'s "Use of Engine Power" document, 1942-1946. This was a three year sub project within the work I have done towards the book which shows precisely why Thompson did the work he did. I go into explicit detail on each of the engine class designs and explain why they were thought necessary.

The book also includes numerous newspaper articles from the time, contemporary board minutes (accurately reflecting by law what was happening on the railway at the time) and more.

The course of my research into Thompson has left me feeling strongly that a number of L.N.E.R. writers and some groups have deliberately muddied the waters to suit a line of thinking that is always placing Thompson as a bad guy. The research I have done and the evidence produced shows this to be the case, and I feel that when published (whether by those currently looking at it, or myself if needs be) it has the potential to revise the record to accurately reflect how things happened, how the L.N.E.R. worked as a company, and to show that many of the things that we previously believed to be true are in fact total bunkum.

It is always disappointing to me that the accepted truths of years past get said without thinking at times. Hopefully my book will redress the balance and allow a much more rounded look at the whole of L.N.E.R. history.

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Re: Edward Thompson. Good or Bad

Post by mick b » Mon Oct 26, 2020 7:23 pm

Well I can safely say this the first words I have ever read anywhere praising the A2/2 . Poor reliablity from day one ,excessive times in for repair, smokebox retaining nuts falling out the saddle due to excessive vibration , frames cracking due to excessive front end length and the resultant forces etc etc. A A2/2 better than a P2 really ??

Taking the word of (no offence to him ) an apprentice, as to what was being decided is at best questionable.As to what actually happended at Board meetings etc . What possible first hand knowledge would he actually have, I would imagine minimal if anything at all, other than rumours and gossip. Dont forget not everything is writtten down in minutes at any meeting .

Surely a CME has the final decision and /or influence to his staff as to what designs are being put forward to the Board. It is well known GN was next inline for conversion to a A3. There was however nothing to stop Thompson saying use the next Loco up for conversion instead of GN either. Musgrave would have informed Thompson of what he had decided. Such rebuilding or in this case scrapping of the P2's and a A3. Have huge financial commitments and approval by the Company and their shareholders, they would have the final say .

No, I dont think I will be buying the book. It is all becoming somewhat ancient history, heading towards 80 plus years ago, and decisions by whoever they were or not they all are now part of history as well . Nothing written in one book now ,will change many entrenched attitudes to Thompson or his designs and decisions, good or bad.

60027Merlin
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Re: Edward Thompson. Good or Bad

Post by 60027Merlin » Mon Oct 26, 2020 8:23 pm

With reference to the A2/2s working in Scotland out of Haymarket, Dundee Tay Bridge and Aberdeen Ferryhill Sheds. Sooner, rather then later, they were found to be unreliable on a regular basis, resulting in loco availability problems. They could not cope with the allotted passenger turns especially being prone to slip and eventually Peppercorn A2s were drafted in to take over their work.

It was not a case of being banished from Scotland, they were simply not up to the job required on this section of the ECML.

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