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.G.N.R. and .G.C.R. drawing rooms

Posted: Sun Jun 06, 2021 7:14 pm
by GCR11F
I've been working on a research paper since the start of the last lockdown and have hit a wall regarding finding any information about he 1919 to 1920 .G.N.R. Doncaster, "Plant" and .G.C.R. Gorton, "Tank" drawing rooms. Specifically I'm looking for information on the folowing three aspects:
1.What were their general attitudes? (eg: How secretive were they?)
2.Howmuch control did Gresley and Robinson have over locomotive designs?
3.Did they ever exchange personell? / Is anyone known to have transfered from one to the other?

Re: .G.N.R. and .G.C.R. drawing rooms

Posted: Fri Jun 11, 2021 1:43 am
by john coffin
Whilst I cannot provide specific information of either site at that time, not quite that old to have been there, however, there
are some general comments I can make.

1/ It is unlikely that either drawing office exchanged information to a direct competitor. Remember by then the GC had reached London
for more than 20 years, and certainly from Manchester was competing directly with the GN. However, Robinson and Gresley knew each
other, they had almost certainly worked together in WW1 as part of the work they did for the war department, with Robinson providing
the 2-8-0 for the ROD. However, for instance when Earle Marsh went to the LBSCR from Doncaster he was allowed to borrow the drawings
of the Ivatt Atlantic, which he then modified to create the H1/2.
Gresley and Robinson were both members of ARLE and often exchanged data at the meetings.
When many of the books that were written in the 50's 60's and even early 70's the authors had to get approval from BR to release certain details
like wages and so on, so there was still a high level of secrecy.

2/ Basically both made the general idea available, one needs to understand how the drawing offices worked at that time.
One way to understand more is to study the NRM lists and you will see how many different items were drawn. All these items
were drawn under the auspices of a Lead Draftsman, who was instructed by the Chief Draftsman, following the instruction from the Chief.
Worth studying is the history of the B17, which Doncaster was unable to make fit within constrictions of the GE part of the LNER, and the
were finally designed by NBL who were more able to fit things within the layout demanded. Does that mean the draftsmen were no good,
no, it means that NBL produced many more locos on a yearly basis, and had more experience in fitting things in small spaces.

3/ Yes personnel did move, but the way the railway worked, most people at the lower level stayed in the company they started with.
But, let's be honest, a trained draftsman was a useful asset to other companies. IN earlier days, for instance Sturrock and many of
his staff left the GWR to go to the GNR. Stanier moved from the GWR to the LMS, so it was not unusual.


Re: .G.N.R. and .G.C.R. drawing rooms

Posted: Mon Jun 21, 2021 12:34 pm
by Hatfield Shed
GCR11F wrote: Sun Jun 06, 2021 7:14 pm 1.What were their general attitudes? (eg: How secretive were they?)
You need to appreciate the social mores and situation of the time. The railway was structured on the same lines as the military. Officers in command, 'other ranks' ordered to perform as required, and a significant social distance maintained between them. The officers were expected to behave as gentlemen, (you certainly didn't pry into another's activities, nor was it polite to critically question another's claimed results when information was shared) and had all the benefit of good education, access to information and social connections. The other ranks: relatively limited education, information and mobility, earned very little and were typically dependent on their kith and kin as a support network to make a tolerable life possible. Made it very risky for most to move around, because that would typically mean moving a distance from your support network.
2.How much control did Gresley and Robinson have over locomotive designs?
Technically absolute, in the sense that the design wasn't approved for use until signed off by the CME. The CME would define the principles to be used, and the design was then 'worked up' over multiple iterations as already described.
3.Did they ever exchange personel? / Is anyone known to have transferred from one to the other?
The officers could go where they chose - subject to having the right connections. Gresley trained at Crewe, then went to Horwich, and moved on to the GNR. Robinson trained at Swindon, then moved to the Waterford and Limerick, from where he moved to be CME of the GCR on Pollitt's retirement.

Re: .G.N.R. and .G.C.R. drawing rooms

Posted: Fri Jun 25, 2021 10:30 pm
by john coffin
I would suggest that you get to read a copy of the Tim Hillier Graves book Gresley and His Locomotives.

I am about half way through my recently purchased copy, and whilst I do not like the way in which they colourised some
of the photos, I have learnt some interesting facts.