Rough Riders

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Pyewipe Junction
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Rough Riders

Post by Pyewipe Junction » Wed May 05, 2010 10:14 pm

I frequently read about such and such class of loco being a 'rough rider'.

LNER locos I have read described as rough riders include (in chronological order): D49, B17, B1 and A1. I am sure there are more. Note that the last two are from the 1940s at the virtual end of steam development.

Are there certain factors in a loco's design that tend it towards rough riding? If so, why hadn't these been recognised and eliminated (or at least minimised) by the time the B1s and A1s were built?

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52D
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Re: Rough Riders

Post by 52D » Thu May 06, 2010 2:09 am

K2s & K3s were known as ragtimers and Jazzers on account of thier dancing. Were tangos named for the same reason.
Hi interested in the area served by 52D. also researching colliery wagonways from same area.

stembok
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Re: Rough Riders

Post by stembok » Thu May 06, 2010 12:24 pm

Pyewipe Junction:
"why hadn't these been recognised and eliminated?"
Good question and applicable to a whole range of loco related subjects! In general locos without trailing wheels would ride more roughly than a Pacific or V2, yet on the other hand there were vociferous complaints about the Peppercorn and Thompson Pacific's riding qualities. Special attention was paid to this point in the building of "Tornado", which reportedly rides well, so why was so little apparently done in the years 1948-66? The three cylinder B17s and D49s should, on account of this, have rode better than the two cylinder B1s, but were extremely rough riding. Another factor is maintenence and in general goods and mixed traffic locos might not be as well maintained as express locos and also the variable state of the permanent way. You cannot help but feel that there was often a 'gap' between the thinking of the Works and the Running Department. Also, for all that Gresley was a forward thinking and very progressive designer, his lieutenants have stated that he was at times reluctant to make changes once having designed a locomotive. It took considerable and patient pressure to get him to make alterations to the valve gear on his A1s, which transformed them.

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Mr Bunt
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Re: Rough Riders

Post by Mr Bunt » Sat May 08, 2010 6:01 pm

Pyewipe Junction wrote: Are there certain factors in a loco's design that tend it towards rough riding?
Bulleid always used to put it down to undue stiffness in the springing and poor balance in the motion.

His pacifics after they were rebuilt used to ride awfully, probably because Ron Jarvis had stiffened the springs on the coupled wheels in an attempt to curb wheel slip on starting caused by weight transferance. The new valve gear and motion was also difficult to balance properly and had a lot more reciprocating mass than Bulleid's orginal chain driven gear.

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bricam5
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Re: Rough Riders

Post by bricam5 » Wed May 12, 2010 9:32 pm

The D49's were mentioned as rough riders and I wholeheartedly agree with that in respect of the "Shires" but oddly enough the "Hunts" with their rotary cam valves were very much quieter and their riding was a great deal easier.

For all that,I did not like the Hunt class as there was very little choice for valve cut off.
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61070
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Re: Rough Riders

Post by 61070 » Wed May 12, 2010 11:37 pm

When I learned a bit about vibration theory, many years ago, we were told that a basic suspension system required both elasticity (springing) and energy absorbtion (dashpot, damper or shock absorber). Coil springs provide very little energy absorbtion (damping), but laminated leaf springs do provide some because, in flexing, the leaves slide upon each other and, being tightly clamped by the buckle, energy is absorbed through friction. However, the damping characteristics of a leaf spring can be very variable, depending on such factors as the techniques used in manufacturing it, its age and how it's been used, whether or not there is lubricant between the leaves, and so on. Thus in a conventional steam loco's suspension, whether it has leaf or coil springs, there is little control of damping and hence a tendency to oscillation of the suspension. A far better suspension system is achievable by separating the two functions (elasticity and energy absorbtion) as is done on modern vehicles - rail and road - by using coil springs and shock absorbers in combination. That way the characteristics of both components can be optimised.

Similar considerations apply to lateral control. Whether the centring force is provided by horizontal springs or by raising the centre of gravity (eg by using swing links or inclined bearing surfaces), without energy absorbtion somewhere in the system oscillation will occur.

It seems to me that, with some exceptions, there was relatively little attention given in the design of most British steam locos to a damping arrangement in the suspension or lateral control which was controllable, either in terms of new specification or as wear and tear set in. Thus the riding characteristics of a locomotive at any point in its working life might sometimes depend on quite arbitrary factors, such as the skill of the blacksmith(s) who had made its set of leaf springs, or whether lubricating oil had been spilt on them recently.
Last edited by 61070 on Sat May 15, 2010 9:51 am, edited 1 time in total.

James Brodie
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Re: Rough Riders

Post by James Brodie » Sat May 15, 2010 8:36 am

it were ruff
my roughest ride was a black5 on an EP from York to Donc, every time the big ends came round the cab front showed daylight between the casing -cab front/firebox top cladding. we all had headaches when we got off at Donc. The engine steamed well and held her water alright so no problems there. maybe the axlebox wedges needed taking up I don't know. We left the fitters to mend them we just bent them!
There was a point with a WD 2-8-0 fro 45mph down to 35mph where you got a rough ride infact we rode on the tender footplate as that was the steadiest part. It certainly trimmed the coal for the fireman.
One point I havn't heard mentioned with the riding quality on any engine towards the late 50s onwards was the track bed. With ash ballast the sleepers and track bed flexed and you got an easy ride. With stone ballast and hard tamping the engine springs wrked harder hence a rougher ride. The Vee or frog of a trailing crossover certainly made you roll with stone ballast and at 80/90mph the fireman used to tuck his bottom into the drivers seat for stability or you finished up out of balance. I've caught a fireman from going backwards towards the cab door opening when he has been new to the road.
Jim Brodie Potential boiler tube cleaner until I got my hair cut!

52A
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Re: Rough Riders

Post by 52A » Sat May 15, 2010 11:03 am

Then of course came the 24s and 86s, both of which left a lot to be desired.

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Mr Bunt
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Re: Rough Riders

Post by Mr Bunt » Sun May 16, 2010 8:14 am

52A wrote:Then of course came the 24s and 86s, both of which left a lot to be desired.
Don't forget the 87s either. I remember watching 87027 "Wolf of Badenoch" bouncing around in all sorts of funny ways on the WCML before a possibly sea sick driver wrote it off at Winsford in 1999.

James Brodie
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Re: Rough Riders

Post by James Brodie » Sun May 16, 2010 9:42 am

in army reserve days the lads from the wcml area preferred lizzies and were quite honest infact some left the job over it- the rough riding of the AL6s....
Now a really rough ride is on a Drewry running light engine over points and crossings at 20mph (line speed) when ferrying the changeover men at teesport refinery. The engines bounced so hard that sometimes the springs dislodged themselves.
Times were so hard in the North East that the shadow of the shed clock pendelum wore a hole in the wall behind it!!
Jim Brodie.

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61070
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Re: Rough Riders

Post by 61070 » Sun May 16, 2010 4:54 pm

From a spotter's perspective I remember being amazed at the sight of some of the WCML electric locos, including the the AL6 class, as they bounced along at high speed through Nuneaton - our station of choice on the WCML as Grantham was on the east coast (though we went many more times to Grantham). We wondered how they remained on the track - without perhaps giving too much thought then to conditions for the occupants of the cab, which must have been appalling.

hq1hitchin
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Re: Rough Riders

Post by hq1hitchin » Sun May 16, 2010 5:37 pm

Mr Bunt wrote:
52A wrote:Then of course came the 24s and 86s, both of which left a lot to be desired.
Don't forget the 87s either. I remember watching 87027 "Wolf of Badenoch" bouncing around in all sorts of funny ways on the WCML before a possibly sea sick driver wrote it off at Winsford in 1999.
87s rode like coaches compared to the 85s. The 90s, the 87s and 86/2s were the only a.c. locos to give you a relatively comfortable ride at any sort of speed on the WCML . A Euston driver once described a 86/0 as having a similar ride quality to a brick! Mind you, a lot of them hanker for those days and would prefer to be handling a proper leccie instead of a Pendalino
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bricam5
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Re: Rough Riders

Post by bricam5 » Mon May 17, 2010 9:41 pm

One of the weirdest riding engine type was the old C12 GN tanky.
To be honest,the ride wasn't rough but all of them used to bounce at the front end to quite an alarming degree regardless of their mileage.

When I was in "Tanky Link" "our" engine was 7397 and to watch the front end as it came down the incline after Drewton tunnel on the old H & B line was like a trawler in rough sea.
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coachmann
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Re: Rough Riders

Post by coachmann » Mon May 17, 2010 10:07 pm

I must say I wasn't suprised when someone mentioned the Austerity 2-8-0. Side to side thrusts were by no means unusual but at "speed" the Austerity's rods added a considerable knock as if they were hitting balance weights at every revolution. Then the tender would start banging against the loco in a fore and aft movement, coal would be all over the place, fire irons could spring out of the Tender frame if not put back properly, and we'd let our legs take the shocks while trying not to let any of the cab hit our ribs!

A couple of years ago I was convinced the leading coach we were travelling in had a flat on one wheel but it was the Industrial loco hauling us that was knocking badly and this was transmitted through the drawbar and buffers.

Regarding the rough post-war Pacifics, wasn't the preceding Gresley bogie considered to be a better unit?

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