RAILWAY MANIA Ep.9 - 'Great Model Railway Challengers (with Callum Willcox and Adam Ashford)'

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

Post by S.A.C. Martin » Mon Sep 02, 2019 10:28 am

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 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
I hope that when Mr Martin's book comes out it doesn't concentrate on the 'low-hanging fruit' of the Pacifics.
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 am interested in Thompson's lesser-known projects. For example, why did he think the LNER needed a heavy shunter such as the Q1?
Good question, with a very complicated answer that I will try my best to address.

-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
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?
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.
Was the B3 conversion really a failure?
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 Thompson intending to rebuild the rest?
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).
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.)
Can you quote a source for this - never seen this mentioned off the top of my head.
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?
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.

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.

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

Post by Pyewipe Junction » Fri Sep 06, 2019 11:49 am

The reference to the rebuilding of the B7s is, in fact, in the 'Locomotives' section of the LNER Encyclopedia! I assume that whoever wrote this entry had access to authoritative information.

As far as the L1s are concerned, I am afraid that you will have to work hard to make a case for their being anything more than 'passable'. You seem to want to shift the blame away from faults inherent in the design to poor construction. If it hadn't been for the Railway Executive's undertaking to allow planned construction of 'Big Four' types to run its course, I doubt whether they would have been built and we would have seen them substituted by ex-LMS 2-6-4Ts. In fact, this was already taking place at Neasden by the mid-1950s; ex-LMS types had already made serious inroads into Neasden's L1 allocation by 1 January 1957 (a year before the LMR took over) and by 1 January 1960 there were no L1s left (source: BR Database).

I remember the L1s well in the early 1960s; by that time AFAIK the only routes on which they were regularly used for passenger service were Palace Gates to North Woolwich and Grantham to Nottingham Victoria and Derby Friargate. I'm not sure if they were still used regularly from Darlington to Middlesborough and Saltburn and on services into and out of King's Cross and Liverpool Street.
Last edited by Pyewipe Junction on Sat Sep 07, 2019 3:29 am, edited 1 time in total.

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

Post by Darryl Tooley » Fri Sep 06, 2019 4:27 pm

The RCTS 'Locomotives of the LNER' Part 2B includes a brief paragraph on the proposed rebuilding of the B7s (p38) and an outline diagram (p166) dated November 1941.

D

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

Post by Pyewipe Junction » Sat Sep 07, 2019 3:30 am

Darryl Tooley wrote:
Fri Sep 06, 2019 4:27 pm
The RCTS 'Locomotives of the LNER' Part 2B includes a brief paragraph on the proposed rebuilding of the B7s (p38) and an outline diagram (p166) dated November 1941.

D
What does it look like? A 5' 8" B1? I wonder why Thompson chose a 220 lb boiler, instead of the 225 lb boiler he used for the B3/3?
Last edited by Pyewipe Junction on Sat Sep 07, 2019 11:24 am, edited 1 time in total.

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

Post by Darryl Tooley » Sat Sep 07, 2019 10:48 am

Mostly it looks like a B1 with smaller wheels and a lower running plate; the cab, however, with full-depth sidesheets and a cut-out aft of the windows, is pure Gresley. It is drawn with a GC tender.

The diagram 100A boiler had its origins in Gresley's intention to fit the B17s with 220lb boilers. It was not until 1942 that Thompson decided that the boilers should be 225lb.

D

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

Post by Pyewipe Junction » Sun Sep 08, 2019 2:57 am

Darryl Tooley wrote:
Sat Sep 07, 2019 10:48 am
The diagram 100A boiler had its origins in Gresley's intention to fit the B17s with 220lb boilers. It was not until 1942 that Thompson decided that the boilers should be 225lb.

D
So were the B1s, originally. I expect the B3s would have appeared with 225 lb boilers had they been rebuilt.

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

Post by kudu » Mon Sep 09, 2019 6:26 am

A couple of small points on the L1s:

1 - If my memory is correct L1s continued on Kings Cross workings, and I believe Liverpool Street as well, into the 1960s until dmus arrived.

2 - I'm doubtful whether LMS types began ousting the L1s from Marylebone before the route was transferred to the LMR. This would have meant inter-regional transfers and I'm fairly certain (admittedly, relying on memory again) the only LMS 2-6-4Ts on the ER were those on the LTS line. There were never any at 34E, only 14D, though the changeover was pretty quick as I recall once the LMR had taken over, many if not all the Staniers coming from the Central Division eg Bolton, presumably released by dmus.

None of this should be construed as a defence of the L1s.

Kudu

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

Post by Pyewipe Junction » Mon Sep 09, 2019 6:47 am

kudu wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 6:26 am
A couple of small points on the L1s:

2 - I'm doubtful whether LMS types began ousting the L1s from Marylebone before the route was transferred to the LMR. This would have meant inter-regional transfers and I'm fairly certain (admittedly, relying on memory again) the only LMS 2-6-4Ts on the ER were those on the LTS line. There were never any at 34E, only 14D, though the changeover was pretty quick as I recall once the LMR had taken over, many if not all the Staniers coming from the Central Division eg Bolton, presumably released by dmus.

None of this should be construed as a defence of the L1s.

Kudu
According to BR Database, the first LMS 2-6-4Ts arrived at Neasden in 1954, followed by a larger number in early 1955, all from Plaistow, no doubt displaced by Standard 2-6-4Ts.

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

Post by kudu » Thu Sep 12, 2019 9:08 am

Thank you for correcting me, Pyewipe Jnct. For some reason I can remember the Staniers arriving at Neasden but have no recollection of the Fairburns already there, though I must have seen them.

Kudu

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Re: RAILWAY MANIA Ep.8 - 'Making a Scene (with Gordon Gravett)'

Post by Corbs » Thu Sep 12, 2019 9:35 pm

That's right everyone, it's time for another episode of RAILWAY MANIA.

Episode 8

Making a Scene (with Gordon Gravett)



Episode 8's special guest is expert modeller Gordon Gravett, who joins us in this episode of Railway Mania as we discuss scenery on model railways, how to construct a scene, good methods and tips, what to do when a project goes wrong, among many other topics...

YouTube:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dM-5ZpMN4dE

Audioboom
https://audioboom.com/posts/7367500-mak ... on-gravett
RMPod-Ep8-SMALLSQUAREHeader1.jpg

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

Post by S.A.C. Martin » Mon Sep 16, 2019 11:14 am

Pyewipe Junction wrote:
Fri Sep 06, 2019 11:49 am
The reference to the rebuilding of the B7s is, in fact, in the 'Locomotives' section of the LNER Encyclopedia! I assume that whoever wrote this entry had access to authoritative information.
There was a proposal and no B7s were actually rebuilt. A single B3 became B3/3.
As far as the L1s are concerned, I am afraid that you will have to work hard to make a case for their being anything more than 'passable'. You seem to want to shift the blame away from faults inherent in the design to poor construction. If it hadn't been for the Railway Executive's undertaking to allow planned construction of 'Big Four' types to run its course, I doubt whether they would have been built and we would have seen them substituted by ex-LMS 2-6-4Ts. In fact, this was already taking place at Neasden by the mid-1950s; ex-LMS types had already made serious inroads into Neasden's L1 allocation by 1 January 1957 (a year before the LMR took over) and by 1 January 1960 there were no L1s left (source: BR Database).
Thompson's prototype L1 emerged in 1945 and he, Thompson, retired in 1946. Almost all of the production batch were built under Arthur Peppercorn and then British Railways. This is factual.

I think you are confusing design with construction techniques. There was nothing wrong with the prototype L1, whose exploits under testing are a matter of public record and available for viewing in the national archives. It was one of the LNER's most heavily tested prototypes, in fact.

The production L1s had a number of issues in the axlebox area and in the welded areas of the tanks. The former arises from the use of fabrications rather than castings - an austerity measure and a hangover from WW2's impact on the LNER's foundry capacity, the latter is construction.

I don't believe I am elevating their design by pointing out that they did the work of asked them. There are far worse classes than the L1s that did not last the course to the dieselisation days.
I remember the L1s well in the early 1960s; by that time AFAIK the only routes on which they were regularly used for passenger service were Palace Gates to North Woolwich and Grantham to Nottingham Victoria and Derby Friargate. I'm not sure if they were still used regularly from Darlington to Middlesborough and Saltburn and on services into and out of King's Cross and Liverpool Street.
By 1960 most routes of that ilk were being dieselised. Whether Thompson, Gresley, or whatever, steam locomotives were not the future and teir withdrawal from service in favour of diesels is not a reflection on Thompson, his design, or the locomotives concerned. Fact.

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Re: RAILWAY MANIA Ep.8 - 'Making a Scene (with Gordon Gravett)'

Post by richard » Mon Sep 16, 2019 4:54 pm

Is this the Thompson plan to rebuild the B7s? I've just checked my text: The plan is mentioned but it says none were actually rebuilt.

My source would have been the relevant RCTS 'Greenie'.
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Re: RAILWAY MANIA Ep.6 - '100mph Tornado (with Huw Parker)'

Post by Hatfield Shed » Mon Sep 16, 2019 6:11 pm

S.A.C. Martin wrote:
Mon Sep 02, 2019 10:28 am

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.
Sunshine, if you ever want to be taken seriously, you don't want to go against the opinion of one of the most celebrated running shed engineers: DW 'Bill' Harvey. Success is the last word you will find him using in respect of the L1.

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

Post by S.A.C. Martin » Tue Sep 17, 2019 11:57 am

Hatfield Shed wrote:
Mon Sep 16, 2019 6:11 pm
Sunshine
Here we go...
if you ever want to be taken seriously
Whether you take me seriously or not, you do not address people you do not know as "Sunshine", so I will thank you to either address me by my forum handle, as above, or as "Simon" and perhaps consider how you address people in future.
you don't want to go against the opinion of one of the most celebrated running shed engineers: DW 'Bill' Harvey. Success is the last word you will find him using in respect of the L1.
One person's view does not an educated viewpoint make.

I am working from LNER reports, statistics, comparative trials, and a wide range of opinions and views on the matter.

There are different levels of "success". One does not need to be a record holder to be "successful". I judge a class on its own merit and it is factual that they did the work asked of them for well over a decade until dieselisation put paid to steam - period.

I did not say they were well liked; I did not say they were amazing locomotives. I merely pointed out that relative success is putting a class to work and for that class to do its work without major drama, which is true. Whether they were perfect or not does not take away from the fact that they worked.

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Re: RAILWAY MANIA Ep.8 - 'Making a Scene (with Gordon Gravett)'

Post by S.A.C. Martin » Tue Sep 17, 2019 11:59 am

richard wrote:
Mon Sep 16, 2019 4:54 pm
Is this the Thompson plan to rebuild the B7s? I've just checked my text: The plan is mentioned but it says none were actually rebuilt.

My source would have been the relevant RCTS 'Greenie'.
Thompson did look at rebuilding a number of the GCR classes as per the B3/3, but that idea seems to have gone away with the decision to build more B1s. Which was, lets face it, more expedient and fundamentally more sensible in terms of standardisation than part rebuilding multiple classes that were already past their sell by date at that point.

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