How good was Gresley?

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1H was 2E
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Re: How good was Gresley?

Post by 1H was 2E » Sun Oct 27, 2013 10:23 am

Sorry if this seems pedantic Earlswood Nob but power (could be measured by HP) is rate of doing work. Work is done when a force (in this case at the drawbar) is moved through a distance. 25 coach trains indicate that a large amount of work is done; it's the rate at which this is done (velocity) that determines the horsepower. A 350HP shunter will also happily take 25 coaches. But not very quickly. Applied Physics lesson over.
And, of course (being really controversial) a train will accelerate if running downhill due to the effects of gravity.
PS My old dad travelled on those 25 coach trains in the war, coming home on leave from Northern Scotland. It put him off rail travel for life (3 draw-ups at every station when he just wanted to get home).

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Re: How good was Gresley?

Post by James Brodie » Sun Oct 27, 2013 10:44 am

What was wrong with the J39s ? Ours even clapped out were on top of their work steaming on freight depot coal (slack) good pullers equal to 90 L L with loose coupled wagons good brakes on loose coupled trains we never had the luxury of auto brakes and hanging on screwing up and coupling pipes would have been time consuming and incur lost bonus. maybe because ours all had the NER tenders behind them to give them a push or pull as the case may be. Once you opened the couplings out the acceleration was fantastic and you ran with just the regulator cracked. A full load of iron ore up from Saltburn to Brotton worked as easy as a WD and no problem braking down the other side, certainly no more wagon brakes pinned down than with a Q6 or WD.
Just curious ? James.
The V2s on fifty boxes of fertilizer was a day out as well but this also applied to a B1 or B16/1 or K3.

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Re: How good was Gresley?

Post by earlswood nob » Sun Oct 27, 2013 1:02 pm

G'day all
Your posting is noted 1H, however I did do a science degree; Applied Chemistry it may be, but I had to do two years supplementary Physics and Maths.
I did not want to wander into the theoretical and bore people. I am sure a train operator is interested in how many coaches it will pull at a reasonable operating speed, not on its HP figures.
I am sure the U1 Garratt had a vast amount of power, but it would have beeen useless on passenger trains out of Kings Cross, and pity the fireman if it were tried.
I'm not knocking the Duchess, which was a superb loco with an exceptional chassis, otherwise it would never have made it down Madeley Bank intact, but I prefer LNER locos.
Earlswood nob

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Re: How good was Gresley?

Post by 1H was 2E » Sun Oct 27, 2013 8:49 pm

Sorry if it was boring! I did spend time as a youth spotting at Roade on the WCML and got my first understanding of power there. Northbound was a climb of around 1 in 300 and LMS Pacifics with 14 hung on didn't seem to notice the grade romping through at about 70; when the shiny new 2000 or so HP diesels started work with the same loads they struggled past on absolutely full power, noisy and fuming, at about 40.
So obviously Princesses and Duchesses could produce well in excess of 2000 HP.It would be interesting if anyone has similar ECML memories; before the Deltics, there were both designs of 1 Co Co 1 to compare with steam. My recollection of the ECML at Peterboro' is that expresses, although not as lengthy as some WCML ones, were certainly not light. If a Gresley Pacific could only produce 2000 HP obviously a 1 Co Co 1 would perform about the same. Was this actually the case?
There was of course intense effort put into "proving" that diesels were better than steam; the WCML reduced train lengths. When the Deltics came out, there was some statistic about the large no of steam locos. were replaced by 22 Deltics. Sadly for the modernisers, when the diesels inevitably broke down one steam loco could follow the diesel diagram.

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Re: How good was Gresley?

Post by earlswood nob » Mon Oct 28, 2013 10:06 am

Good morning all
I'd heard stories that the Duchesses were withdrawn early as they were outperforming the diesel, and fro what you say it could be true.
The highest HP figures I've seen for an A4 was 2400 going up Stoke bank at 80mph. For a P2 2800HP has been quoted on test in France.
I've never seen HP figures for the W1.
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Re: How good was Gresley?

Post by strang steel » Mon Oct 28, 2013 6:34 pm

I have heard those stories about Duchesses as well, Earlswood Nob, and if you think about it there was probably some sense in concentrating them all north of Crewe with the electrification preceding rapidly to the south. They could have quite easily lasted until the class 50s appeared, that is if they had not been ousted by the ubiquitous Brush 4s.

However, it appears their excellent performance was an embarrassment to BR managers so they had to go.
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49413
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Re: How good was Gresley?

Post by 49413 » Mon Oct 28, 2013 9:38 pm

the authenticated record held by 6234 , of 3300 idhp does not represent the maximum possible output by a Duchess.
the most remarkable is that of 6244 when a figure of 4400 idhp was recorded.
I will give the full details ,which are - 28/01/1944 475 tons south of oxenholme to greyrigg summit. the recorder was m. hurst .and it was first reported in railway mag. of june 1944 page 130.
the train had been stopped at the foot of the bank .it is reasonable to assume a massive fire had been built together with an absolutely full boiler ,which the crew put to good use .I am amazed she kept her feet .she did tho, and went over the top at 50mph from a dead stand.
I have seen a figure of over 3600 credited to 6233,in preservation , but can,t say where I saw that so does,nt count ,unless somebody else knows.
2400 idhp by an A4 rings a bell. 2800 was recorded at Vitry when cock o the north was tested.

BR tried 71000 with 6225 during the 1950 s at steaming rates of up to 40000 lb. per hour ,on the settle & Carlisle,,but never published the results ,but one gathers Riddles was not too happy .anyway, it showed a duchess was better than a duke (still is) and a duchess can burn coal quicker than 2 men can throw it in .
finally , I have seen a wartime guards log quoted in a book I have ,but can,t find just now which states a speed IN EXCESS OF 110 mph was recorded on 6220 with over 600 tons on , north of Shap .I will find it if requested.

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Re: How good was Gresley?

Post by Andy W » Tue Oct 29, 2013 12:31 pm

It was the insane wish of the BRB to reduce the number of classes each region operated that saw them off. It became a bit of a macho-management culture at 222 with little or no financial benefit at all, despite warnings from the finance people. The LMR at that time targeted a number of classes for early demise, especially those that were relatively small in number.

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Re: How good was Gresley?

Post by 49413 » Tue Oct 29, 2013 1:31 pm

I wonder what cock o the north would have produced with 28" stroke & cylinders from 71000.(and a proper reverser)

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Re: How good was Gresley?

Post by DeCaso » Sun Nov 03, 2013 12:01 am

The answer is probably not very well in the light of all the problems that have afflicted 71000. Are poppet valves a solution to a non-existant problem?

Chapelon gave up on them. Some observers maintain this was purely down to the difficulties that would arise in having to train the maintenance staff. Given the high standard of training given to the people who worked on the French railways I am not too sure how much of a real problem this might have been. The leakage problem was real enough - flexible valve seats were developed in Germany to try to get over this problem. Achieving small enough clearance volumes was an issue with 2001, 2002 was much superior. It is easier to obtain a steam chest volume equal to the swept piston volume using piston valves.

Porta went so far as to argue against their use. He wanted a robust mechanism, well engineered, that would work for tens of thousands of miles without leakage being a factor.

Back to Gresley. Given the financial circumstances the LNE faced he did extremely well. Unlike his LM contemporary he did not have to take a raft of drawings with him from his previous employers.

For those that believe that other designers were better, some were, but not in the UK. Some choose the Princess Coronation class as an arguement. Looking more closely at this, let me see if there is any sense in it. Gresley designed his first Pacific, the A1. The LM chose to build a 4-6-0, the Royal Scot. They wanted an eqivalent of the GW Castle. The A1 in due course became the A3 and Fowler's Scots were rebuilt under Stanier. The Princess Royal was introduced in 1933 and two years later Gresley's original Pacific design was essentially modified again and became the A4. The Princess Coronation appeared in 1937. A Super A4 was proposed but was never built. The P2 was a solution to a very specific traffic problem. It was never fully developed. The "Hush-Hush" would have been the most powerful express passenger locomotive in the country. Gresley and Chapelon were walking very similar paths but the Frenchman achieved 242A1. Gresley was working as CME on a railway beset with problems. Chapelon was more of a free agent who could devote his life to steam locomotive development.
Gresley produced a range of standard components from which good engines could be built. The surviving K4 is a good example. He also introduces some trains of great thought whose influence is still felt today.
So Coronation or A4, I would take the A4 remembering that 60009 always had the 46229 support looking over its shoulders, not a case of if but when. However should a Chapelon Nord come into the mix, it would have to be the compound!

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Re: How good was Gresley?

Post by 49413 » Tue Nov 05, 2013 12:07 am

DeCaso wrote:The answer is probably not very well in the light of all the problems that have afflicted 71000. Are poppet valves a solution to a non-existant problem?

Chapelon gave up on them. Some observers maintain this was purely down to the difficulties that would arise in having to train the maintenance staff. Given the high standard of training given to the people who worked on the French railways I am not too sure how much of a real problem this might have been. The leakage problem was real enough - flexible valve seats were developed in Germany to try to get over this problem. Achieving small enough clearance volumes was an issue with 2001, 2002 was much superior. It is easier to obtain a steam chest volume equal to the swept piston volume using piston valves.

Porta went so far as to argue against their use. He wanted a robust mechanism, well engineered, that would work for tens of thousands of miles without leakage being a factor.

Back to Gresley. Given the financial circumstances the LNE faced he did extremely well. Unlike his LM contemporary he did not have to take a raft of drawings with him from his previous employers.

For those that believe that other designers were better, some were, but not in the UK. Some choose the Princess Coronation class as an arguement. Looking more closely at this, let me see if there is any sense in it. Gresley designed his first Pacific, the A1. The LM chose to build a 4-6-0, the Royal Scot. They wanted an eqivalent of the GW Castle. The A1 in due course became the A3 and Fowler's Scots were rebuilt under Stanier. The Princess Royal was introduced in 1933 and two years later Gresley's original Pacific design was essentially modified again and became the A4. The Princess Coronation appeared in 1937. A Super A4 was proposed but was never built. The P2 was a solution to a very specific traffic problem. It was never fully developed. The "Hush-Hush" would have been the most powerful express passenger locomotive in the country. Gresley and Chapelon were walking very similar paths but the Frenchman achieved 242A1. Gresley was working as CME on a railway beset with problems. Chapelon was more of a free agent who could devote his life to steam locomotive development.
Gresley produced a range of standard components from which good engines could be built. The surviving K4 is a good example. He also introduces some trains of great thought whose influence is still felt today.
So Coronation or A4, I would take the A4 remembering that 60009 always had the 46229 support looking over its shoulders, not a case of if but when. However should a Chapelon Nord come into the mix, it would have to be the compound!

a lot of good points there .

there were a lot of super locos mooted around the WW11 .GWR LMS & LNER all had locos on the drawing board at that time .
a pretty good case could be made for saying none of these were what the railways NEEDED,
I,m not really a fan of Stanier . he built a good team that put the past in the bin , but he made a lot of mistakes.
the boilers on the early engines were poor , and expensive to correct . I would imagine the LMS got a bit twitchy in the early days .
the 5XP and the Lizzies were never totally sorted .
your right about the portfolio he brought with him .
the duchess is a totally exceptional machine, but stanier was in India when the work was done,and can only really claim credit for the general arrangement.

it is probably true to say , the GWR stud would have been entirely satistfactory for 95 0/0 of uk traffic ,although I cant imagine Gateshead MPD coping with the valves on a castle!

it is, however not possible (IMO)to escape the conclusion, that Gresley,s 3 cyl, locos were heavy on maintenance and unreliable when that was not forthcoming .in fairness , the same could be said about the Scots, and to a lesser degree , the 5 XP.

I agree with your remarks on French compounds. Fowlers stillborn compound 4-6-2 would certainly have been better than the Scots if it was fitted with decent bearings

the trouble with Gresleys standard components was lack of multiplication & 3 cylinders & conjugated valve gear.

the Hush Hush was a waste of money the LNER did,nt have . it was never going to be a solution to anything .

I am not convinced Doncaster was capable of constructing a Caprotti gear to the necessary tolerances
the gear fitted to 2001 was a poor example

Gresleys time would have been better spent sorting out the issues with his existing Pacifics,but he never would because he would have had to admit he was wrong.

lastly if any of the post war ,high capacity had been built what fuel would have been used .?
one man cannot fire a duchess adequately
.for an engine of 20% higher capacity, oil was the only solution .and that was not going to happen in post war Britain

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Re: How good was Gresley?

Post by DeCaso » Tue Nov 05, 2013 2:40 am

If Porta did not believe that poppet valve gear was a reliable solution to the requirements of supplying steam to and exhausting steam from a cylinder under railway conditions, and this was for the C21, then the LNE was always going to be disappointed. 2001 had the Lentz gear, by the way, though the LNE did experiment with Caprotti.

The three cylinder system minimises the difference between peak and mean T.E. though compound systems are superior. The conjugated gear removes the need for eccentics between the frames and makes preparation and inspection rather more easy, grease it properly and it gives little trouble. At some GW sheds, towards the end of steam engines could get the bucket treatment. Oiling the inside valve gear on a filthy common user engine anyone?

For high power locomotives three cylinders are the way to go. There are good reasons for this.

The "Hush Hush" is a much misunderstood project. Did you know that it was never even driven properly? If you look at the test data the clues are there. Check on how the Chapelon compounds were driven, look at the data. Further work was needed but the engine had potential, the potential to be the UK 242A1.

On the question of maximum horsepower, be careful, are we talking ihp, dbhp, wheel rim hp, transitory or continuous efforts? Be wary of how people cherry pick the numbers. Also with steam a locomotive will not deliver its maximum output every day. An A4 will indicate over 3000hp, but realisically you would not expect that as a constant effort to be delivered on every trip, not given the vagarities that afflict the steam locomotive, poor fuel, fireman not particularly well, and there are so many others. Ask it to deliver 2000, and you are fine. (Let Porta loose on it and you would get your 3000 and more)

A Chapelon compound, a Du Bousquet Baltic, a Rio Turbio 2-10-2; these are exceptional machines. The Princess Coronation, no, not even close.

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Re: How good was Gresley?

Post by drmditch » Tue Nov 05, 2013 5:13 pm

One aspect that doesn't seem to be taken account of above (sorry if it was covered earlier in the thread) is the different requirements that locomotives were designed for.

PJ Coster in his book on the A1 and A2 Pacifics, (which incidentally has a very good account of the P2s) makes the point that Doncaster Pacifics were designed to be (and were) efficient at hauling fairly heavy loads at a fairly high speed on the ECML. Since three cylinders could transmit sufficient power to do this effectively, there was no need to employ four cylinders.

The requirement for WCML locomotives was different, since more power was required for the gradients north of Carnforth, hence the production of a four cylinder (and thus potentially more powerful) design.

Statements of power and 'efficiency' must surely be related to the task needing to be done.

As to the comments above on 'Hush Hush', may I recommend William Brown's recent book. This sets the record straight as what this experimental locomotive was designed to do, and what it actually did!

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Re: How good was Gresley?

Post by Bantamcock » Fri Apr 12, 2019 1:21 pm

49413 wrote:
Sat Oct 26, 2013 4:11 pm

his early assertion that he would only build 3 cyl. locos was foolish at best. my real feeling is that he got the job at too young an age .he had a massive personality that may well have dissuaded others, opinions being aired.

if NB loco works had been contracted to build a 2 cyl. class 5 instead of the B17, the LNER would have had a 6.2" 180lb mixed traffic Scotch Arthur with Thompson cylinders producing 26000 lbs. TE. and 85 to 90 mph top speed . eight years before the LMS.
what an engine that would have been .
and what an idea for a new build!

I wonder what Andre Chapelon,s terms were for collaboration on a compound .HNG was never keen to pay royalties on the Kylcap blastpipe.

enough has already been said about the middle big end .all I can say is it was never resolved until Cook dealt with it , and even then ,it could be a challenge (see P Townend . Top Shed)

this is sounding like a tirade , but it really is,nt intended that way.

the LNER was always strapped for cash, but he gave it expensive 3 cyl. power.
you have to say, Thompson was right, he just never had the personality to make it happen
he certainly got up the nose of O S Nock.
I think the wrong question has been asked. Certainly Gresley was good, but what at? His forte seems to have been research and experimentation rather than managing the engineering needs of the LNER. Not that he couldn’t have done that, had the means been available.

Standardisation across the system for simplicity and economy seem like a very good idea in hindsight. However, building large numbers of locomotives to replace older varieties and have a standard type was probably not within the feasibility of the LNER due to economics, hence the designed for a specific duty approach.

That said I do have to agree with the above quote that his insistence on 3 cylinders and conjugated motion appear to have been a bad choice in terms of engineering principles regardless of whether the war could have been foreseen or not. The fact that heavy maintenance was required is not ideal from an engineering point of view but then the question has to be asked, putting hindsight and all that aside, was it the norm for it’s time? If so then it shouldn’t be criticised. There did however, seem to be much simpler solutions to the problem.

I do agree that Thompson’s idea of two cylinders seemed an ideal response to the issues of the conjugated valve gear facing him, but his approach to seemingly destroy all things Gresley was unwise, even on engineering principles.

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Re: How good was Gresley?

Post by Hatfield Shed » Sat Apr 20, 2019 11:55 am

Bantamcock wrote:
Fri Apr 12, 2019 1:21 pm
I think the wrong question has been asked. Certainly Gresley was good, but what at? His forte seems to have been research and experimentation rather than managing the engineering needs of the LNER. Not that he couldn’t have done that, had the means been available.

Standardisation across the system for simplicity and economy seem like a very good idea in hindsight. However, building large numbers of locomotives to replace older varieties and have a standard type was probably not within the feasibility of the LNER due to economics, hence the designed for a specific duty approach.

That said I do have to agree with the above quote that his insistence on 3 cylinders and conjugated motion appear to have been a bad choice in terms of engineering principles regardless of whether the war could have been foreseen or not. The fact that heavy maintenance was required is not ideal from an engineering point of view but then the question has to be asked, putting hindsight and all that aside, was it the norm for it’s time? If so then it shouldn’t be criticised. There did however, seem to be much simpler solutions to the problem...
It helps in his career appraisal, if it begins with the work for the GNR. Modernisation of carriage design, running on the Moulton bogie with Pullman gangway and Gould coupler for gangwayed stock. That formula was decades ahead of the general run in the UK, and vehicles to this concept were running in BR blue. He was more constrained in wagons by the industrial infrastructure, but a continuously braked 50 ton bogie wagon for the London brick traffic (which could accept it) points to the way he thought.

The locomotive progression is all very logical. Some development of existing Ivatt 0-6-0 designs, before a raised footplate outside Walschaerts gear mixed traffic 2-6-0 appears. That's the UK's first modern mixed traffic loco, and is quickly developed with a larger boiler. And a 2-8-0 heavy goods on the same principles, both formats which will endure to the end of steam operation. Thinking to retain the advantage of outside Walschaerts gear with a third cylinder for larger power outputs leads to the derived drive for the inside valve, and fast heavy mixed traffic and high capacity heavy goods designs result. Experiments to improve the Ivatt large atlantic to exploit its full potential, inform a long researched pacific design: which establishes the format for a successful UK pacific, and proves to have sufficient development potential to last to the end of steam traction.

In this relatively brief time, from 1905 for C&W, from 1911 for locomotives - with a major war causing a hiatus of several years - the GNR reaches the grouping with a coherent set of proven locomotive designs for all its operations for years to come. Elsewhere that could only be said of the GWR. The Gresley difference is that the last GNR design has sufficient development potential that it wasn't fully exploited before steam design ended. This is not to suggest that all is perfect, but by the standards of the day he's the leader, succeeding Churchward.

What Gresley will then go on to do leading the integration of several independent minded engineering outfits that came into the LNER, is an achievement in a different sphere. Comparison to the comparable event of similar scale on the LMS is informative...

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