I can't recall exactly if I did mention Grafton but I have several copies of the book spanning around 30 years of its publishing history - very much familiar with it. Grafton did a good job but didn't go far enough
They will be in there to be fair. They are the most controversial therefore they will need to be addressed. Much of Thompson's reputation stems from this (unfairly in my view).I hope that when Mr Martin's book comes out it doesn't concentrate on the 'low-hanging fruit' of the Pacifics.
Good question, with a very complicated answer that I will try my best to address.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?
-The Q4s were at the end of their useful lives as tender engines
-the tenders were of reasonable condition
-a batch of J50s had been cancelled due to a change in conditions for the LNER, and their parts were spare
-there was demonstrably a need for an additional shunting engine of higher power than the J50 at some locations, albeit they eventually ended up at Frodingham where they did good work
-withdrawing the Q4s and converting them allowed good tenders to go behind existing locomotives which required them
-as much material as possible was retained of the Q4s including the cylinders - Thompson and LNER were restricted by wartime executive as to what they could build new/and what capacity to actually carry out work was available
As above, was restricted by Wartime executive on new builds - would have required additional resources for a more intensive re-design, which was not necessary. Q1s were virtually Q4s with the J50 tanks and cabs attached, with minor rebuilding of boilers and refurbishment of some parts.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?
No, it was not. Freddy Harrison described as one of Thompson's most beautiful conversions. It was well thought of, but restricted somewhat by its original GCR frames. It was to prove a prototype for the B2 rebuildings.Was the B3 conversion really a failure?
I have not found any evidence that Thompson intended to rebuild the rest - in fact the standardisation plan was to withdraw as many pre-grouping classes as possible that were life expired, LNER was intended to have just 19 classes (down from around 170).Was Thompson intending to rebuild the rest?
Can you quote a source for this - never seen this mentioned off the top of my head.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.)
Because similar locomotives on other railways had done this work successfully elsewhere. No.9000 was produced as a prototype under Thompson and proved fully capable of the work described above. The production L1s had issues in manufacturing (foundry capacity was at a minimum as was building munitions for war effort, so many parts such as axleboxes were fabricated or welded such as the tanks), but they did do all of the work you describe and did so until the end of steam in their areas.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?
What is "not successful" about the L1s? They might have been poor runners when run down (as all two cylinder machines are) but they did all of the work you describe from 1945-1960.
In any event - as the production variants were largely built under British Railways, when Thompson had long retired, who is responsible for any perceived failings? Thompson - whose prototype had proven excellent - Peppercorn, who approved the building of new L1s, but was also retired by their building of most of the class, or the chaps in charge of British Railways, Eastern Region, at Doncaster works/NBL/Gorton and elsewhere who built the production L1s?
I would challenge the assertion the L1s were "not successful". On the contrary - they were a successful class if the definition of successful is that they did the work intended of them over a long period of time. Were they excellent machines? No probably not. Average? Yes probably. Like the vast majority of steam locomotives ever built. That's not failure, given their wartime origins and austerity time building. That's a success.