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RAILWAY MANIA Podcast - Ep.4 'The Longest Day Return - Railroads to Victory in WW2'

Posted: Sun Jun 23, 2019 1:22 pm
by Corbs
Episode 4 is out now!

WAR. Conflict is at the heart of this episode, which focuses on the US Army Transportation Corps and the War Department's railways during the build up to the invasion of Normandy in 1944, and the challenge of how to land hundreds of trains in hostile territory, ready to roll.

Click HERE to listen to Episode 4 on Audioboom

https://audioboom.com/posts/7295838-the ... day-return

Click HERE to watch Episode 4 on YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K72LCi336tM

For the first time I have added imagery to the YouTube version as a visual aid for those who prefer watching on that channel.
RMPod-Ep4-SMALLHeader1b.jpg

Re: RAILWAY MANIA Podcast - Ep.4 'The Longest Day Return - Railroads to Victory in WW2'

Posted: Mon Jun 24, 2019 5:01 pm
by Corbs
I was in London over the weekend and managed to accomplish several things, including an interview with the delightful Simon Martin for a future (very LNER-centric) podcast episode. I also managed to capture some video of the 'District 150' specials that ran between Ealing Broadway and Kensington High Street, which may be the final time we see steam on the District Line.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ziq-JDP2jLc

District 150 YT Thumb 1 SMALL.jpg

Re: RAILWAY MANIA Ep.5 - 'Edward Thompson, Hero or Villain? (with Simon A.C. Martin)'

Posted: Sat Jul 06, 2019 9:02 am
by Corbs
Episode 5

Edward Thompson, Hero or Villain?


Every story from history has its 'goodies' and 'baddies', but how much of our perception of these events is influenced by the storytellers? Today I'm joined by Simon A.C. Martin, who is working on a book about the engineer Edward Thompson, who took over from Sir Nigel Gresley as Chief Mechanical Engineer on the London and North Eastern Railway at the height of World War Two. Thompson has often been criticised for his designs and decisions, but how much of this is justified? Simon is looking to set the record straight using contemporary reference material.

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Click HERE for Audioboom link
https://audioboom.com/posts/7304683-edw ... a-c-martin

Click HERE for YouTube (has the added extra of images to show what we're talking about)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AsY6AW5 ... e=youtu.be

Re: RAILWAY MANIA Ep.5 - 'Edward Thompson, Hero or Villain? (with Simon A.C. Martin)'

Posted: Mon Jul 08, 2019 3:51 pm
by Trestrol
An excellent episode of podcast well worth a listen. I learnt loads of information I didn’t know. One slight observation it would have been nice to have slightly more on his coaching stock designs. Simon has obviously done a lot of research and spoke with great knowledge on the subject. Can you get him back for a second part.

Re: RAILWAY MANIA Ep.5 - 'Edward Thompson, Hero or Villain? (with Simon A.C. Martin)'

Posted: Tue Jul 09, 2019 10:59 pm
by Corbs
Thank you Trestrol, I absolutely would love to get Simon back on the podcast again!

We had originally intended to talk more about coaching stock, but what happened on the day was that we had a 'hard stop' time on the interview as we both had to shoot off in the afternoon, and locos dominated the chat as they tend to do :D

Re: RAILWAY MANIA Ep.5 - 'Edward Thompson, Hero or Villain? (with Simon A.C. Martin)'

Posted: Wed Jul 10, 2019 11:30 am
by Trestrol
Then all the more reason to get him back to talk about Carriages😄

Re: RAILWAY MANIA Ep.5 - 'Edward Thompson, Hero or Villain? (with Simon A.C. Martin)'

Posted: Wed Jul 17, 2019 10:27 am
by S.A.C. Martin
Trestrol wrote:
Mon Jul 08, 2019 3:51 pm
An excellent episode of podcast well worth a listen. I learnt loads of information I didn’t know. One slight observation it would have been nice to have slightly more on his coaching stock designs. Simon has obviously done a lot of research and spoke with great knowledge on the subject. Can you get him back for a second part.
Most kind - thank you for listening. I know it is a long listen!!! Over an hour of me talking, good grief. Enough to make anyone's ears bleed...!

I did want to talk more about the coaching stock, and if we can arrange it I'll do a follow up podcast later in the year. Thompson's coaching stock is a fascinating subject all in itself, as the designers behind it were given some very exacting briefs.

I personally think they were some of the best looking coaches of that period, and though it has Thompson's name to it, we must remember as CME he applied broad brush strokes approach - credit to the Doncaster drawing office and their employees, together with the craftsmanship of the works building the coaches to deliver the vision.

I claim no special knowledge: but I have spent nearly a decade researching Thompson and the last few years new information has snowballed. It's been exciting for me and at times stressful when writing, but it's almost over now.

I will be doing a lecture for the Gresley society in October if anyone cares to drop into York for a listen.

Re: RAILWAY MANIA Ep.5 - 'Edward Thompson, Hero or Villain? (with Simon A.C. Martin)'

Posted: Wed Jul 17, 2019 1:17 pm
by Trestrol
Simon we may have to agree to disagree on Thompson carriages being good looking. You do wonder if he could have spent more time on some of the poorer details that plague the design. Also if Thompson wanted to use standard parts why didn’t he use Gresley standard sliding window assembly which would have reduced costs. He could also have re designed the troublesome toilet flushing tanks used by Gresley. He had no choice on bogies as they couldn’t be bettered. He should have learnt about problems with square cornered windows from Gresley carriages. His design was hampered by poor quality materials that they were built from. The amount of work that went into TK 1623 ( I volunteer with LNERCA on the NYMR)to replace the frame is remarkable. CK 18477 had similar problems. I look forward to your book.

Re: RAILWAY MANIA Ep.5 - 'Edward Thompson, Hero or Villain? (with Simon A.C. Martin)'

Posted: Sun Jul 21, 2019 4:25 pm
by S.A.C. Martin
Trestrol wrote:
Wed Jul 17, 2019 1:17 pm
Simon we may have to agree to disagree on Thompson carriages being good looking.
We can agree to disagree of course, but I think they are inherently good looking and I am not alone in that.
You do wonder if he could have spent more time on some of the poorer details that plague the design.
What do you think Thompson's exact role was as CME? He didn't do exacting detailed design, he made specifications which draughtsmen and engineers then tailored to that spec - as did Gresley. Thompson's remit during WW2 was to use minimal materials, take up minimal foundry time, increase availability of rolling stock, organise the various works, and apply re-design/rebuilding minimally where required.
Also if Thompson wanted to use standard parts why didn’t he use Gresley standard sliding window assembly which would have reduced costs.
No idea. But then he may or may not have been the one who specced that - Gresley's coaches had their own issues of course.
He could also have re designed the troublesome toilet flushing tanks used by Gresley.
Were they troublesome when new, or are they troublesome now? One might ask whether redesigning an adequate, if unspectacular, toilet tank is the best use of resources in wartime.
He had no choice on bogies as they couldn’t be bettered.
Not sure that is true - at all - there are many bogie types that give a better ride in the modern day, and some of the other types found on other railways were at least equal if not better. The Gresley type (derived from an earlier GNR type) was indeed good and a modified design exists as part of Thompson's legacy, for which many Thompson bogies still exist - under Pullman coaches...
He should have learnt about problems with square cornered windows from Gresley carriages.

They did didn't they, later on? And Thompson coaches received rounded windows. Hardly a shooting offence. If the coaches worked between 1941-1946 when he was CME, he could have affected that, after 1946 I am not sure what you think he should have done?
His design was hampered by poor quality materials that they were built from.
His designs were mostly built after he had retired in 1946. So is that Thompson's fault directly? Also - Britain was suffering from austerity measures from 1939 up until the 50s particularly where raw materials were concerned. This is evidence in pretty much everything built and manufactured across the railways (not just LNER).
The amount of work that went into TK 1623 ( I volunteer with LNERCA on the NYMR)to replace the frame is remarkable. CK 18477 had similar problems.
But then those coaches are over 60 years old, were in daily service, then went into different trains, patterns, and eventually preservation from which they will have had to be restored (but then they were only intended for a working life of around 20-30 years?) so...? Is that really a criticism or a statement on a Thompson coach requiring restoration?
I look forward to your book.
Much appreciated, I hope you like it and aren't put off by the above! :)

Re: RAILWAY MANIA Ep.6 - '100mph Tornado (with Huw Parker)'

Posted: Mon Jul 22, 2019 11:49 am
by Corbs
Episode 6
100mph Tornado (with Huw Parker)


In 2017, 60163 Tornado made history by being the first steam locomotive to officially hit 100mph in the UK since 1967. Huw Parker of the A1 Steam Locomotive Trust tells how this came about, what it was like on the night, and what's been going on since the speed run.
RMPod-Ep6Tornado-SMALLHeader1a.jpg
Click HERE for AudioBoom audio-only version
https://audioboom.com/posts/7321690-100 ... huw-parker

Click HERE to watch on YouTube
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-kmw3Q8xtSY

Re: RAILWAY MANIA Ep.6 - '100mph Tornado (with Huw Parker)'

Posted: Mon Aug 05, 2019 3:22 am
by Pyewipe Junction
I viewed the episode on Edward Thompson at the weekend. I may have missed it, but I don't recall any reference to Peter Grafton's book 'Edward Thompson of the LNER' (Oakwood Press). Grafton also tries to take a balanced approach to Thompson.

I hope that when Mr Martin's book comes out it doesn't concentrate on the 'low-hanging fruit' of the Pacifics. I am interested in Thompson's lesser-known projects. For example, why did he think the LNER needed a heavy shunter such as the Q1? And why didn't he use piston valves and 21 x26" cylinders (as Robinson may well have done) to give a TE of 31,000 lbs? Was the B3 conversion really a failure? I've read the the loco itself performed well and was let down by inadequate frames. Was Thompson intending to rebuild the rest? What happened to Thompson's plan to rebuild the B7s as two-cylinder locos with 220 lb boilers? (Presumably the success of the B1s made this unnecessary.)

Finally, what was Thompson's rationale for believing that a tank engine with 5' 2" wheels could successfully tackle all types of work from slow stop-start suburban duties to fast outer-suburban and intermediate passenger work?

Re: RAILWAY MANIA Ep.6 - '100mph Tornado (with Huw Parker)'

Posted: Mon Aug 05, 2019 10:40 pm
by burnie
I enjoyed that, thankyou, in particular the comments about Edinburgh and beyond, with Aberdeen now having a turntable I hope to see a lot more steam hauled trains up here, indeed I will be out photographing Tornado again this Thursday.

Re: RAILWAY MANIA Ep.6 - '100mph Tornado (with Huw Parker)'

Posted: Sat Aug 10, 2019 12:19 am
by Corbs
Pyewipe Junction wrote:
Mon Aug 05, 2019 3:22 am
I viewed the episode on Edward Thompson at the weekend. I may have missed it, but I don't recall any reference to Peter Grafton's book 'Edward Thompson of the LNER' (Oakwood Press). Grafton also tries to take a balanced approach to Thompson.

I hope that when Mr Martin's book comes out it doesn't concentrate on the 'low-hanging fruit' of the Pacifics. I am interested in Thompson's lesser-known projects. For example, why did he think the LNER needed a heavy shunter such as the Q1? And why didn't he use piston valves and 21 x26" cylinders (as Robinson may well have done) to give a TE of 31,000 lbs? Was the B3 conversion really a failure? I've read the the loco itself performed well and was let down by inadequate frames. Was Thompson intending to rebuild the rest? What happened to Thompson's plan to rebuild the B7s as two-cylinder locos with 220 lb boilers? (Presumably the success of the B1s made this unnecessary.)

Finally, what was Thompson's rationale for believing that a tank engine with 5' 2" wheels could successfully tackle all types of work from slow stop-start suburban duties to fast outer-suburban and intermediate passenger work?
Thanks so much! Simon did reference Peter Grafton but my memory escapes me where, it's been a few weeks since I last listened to it!
Possibly in reference to an anecdote. Hopefully Simon will be along to talk about Thompson's other projects, or maybe that'll be Volume 2?

Burnie - thank you too for your comments and of course for listening in. I certainly hope we see Tornado running north of the border a lot more too.

Re: RAILWAY MANIA Ep.6 - '100mph Tornado (with Huw Parker)'

Posted: Sun Aug 11, 2019 3:44 am
by Pyewipe Junction
I don't know why people are banging on about Tornado doing 100mph. Let's face it, it leads a cossetted life and is subject to much more inspection and general compliance than locos were in the 1960s.

I wish there was more available on the exploits of the Southern men who, in the dying days of steam and with run-down Merchant Navys, achieved the 'ton' on several occasions in regular fare-paying service - and with 6' 2" locos as well!

Re: RAILWAY MANIA Ep.7 - 'Best Job in the World? (with Will Stratford)'

Posted: Sun Aug 11, 2019 11:00 am
by Corbs
I imagine because it's pretty cool that a steam loco was able to do 100mph on a British Railway in the 21st century. :D
I don't know why that wouldn't be something worth celebrating! It may not actually make the sun rise in the morning but it certainly makes me happy.

Episode 7

Best Job in the World? (with Will Stratford)


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Steam railways are often run by armies of volunteers, but some people can be paid for it! Today we're talking to Will Stratford, who has been working on the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways (often branded as 'best railway in the world') on his day-to-day experiences.

Click HERE to watch the enhanced version on YouTube:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SBHyIV1cSEc

Alternatively click HERE to listen to the audio-only version on AudioBoom
https://audioboom.com/posts/7338391-bes ... -stratford