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Dear_one
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04 Dec 2022, 4:13 pm

The engineering of the later steam locomotives is very subtle and impressive in many ways. Conditions inside that boiler were pretty intense. Some of the old gasoline tractors here have radiators that were built by boilermakers, where the technology didn't apply well.
My father went to work at an iron foundry, where they cast those big driver wheels. The first week, he saw someone carrying the wooden pattern for sand-casting them across the yard on his back. Not knowing that it was painted wood, not iron, he decided to avoid all fights at work.



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04 Dec 2022, 6:17 pm

ToughDiamond wrote:
Good post (the long one), Mountain Goat. So could my model have been the "Royal Scot" like I seem to remember it was? It was very like the one in the photo except that it was green and the wheels weren't so detailed, though authenticity wouldn't have been terribly important to the makers. Still, they had very specific names on them, so they were clearly meant to represent something from the real British world, and I wish I could remember better. "Britannia" was definitely one of them, but the other could be false memory. And according to my research, "Britannia" was much more like my other engine, i.e. like this:
Image


After British Railways was formed in 1948 the "Big Four" companies it took over were in a bit of a mess after the war (WW2). There were a shortage of engines as some had not returned from abroad and just prior to the war, Britain had gone through a big financial depression which hit the USA in the 1920's, but here the knock on effect took place a decade later, so WW2 hit right whe the UK was just starting to pull out of its depression.
As a result, the railways British Railway inherited were in a bad way due not just thewar but a decade of underinvestment.
The new government owned national company faced a task of needing a great numbef of new locomotives. Some of the more successful designs from the past four companies carried on being made such as the Great Western Castles and the very similar LMS "Black 5's (The locomotive designer who designed the Black 5's learned his trade in Swindon as part of the Great Western Railway but then took a job with the LMS (London, Midland and Scottish Railway) which greatly influenced his designs.
However, the new British Railways directors wanted to build new locomotive designs which took ideas from the best of the locomotives from the older companies with the idea of combining these best ideas all in just a few new locomotives. These new designs were known as the BR (British Railways) "Standard class" locomotives and "Britania" is one of those which was one of the last few designs of steam locomotives in the UK before the government decided on another major investment in a large future effort to economize and to try to make the railways in britain make money and not beaburden to the taxpayer.
This new drive was to take a few ideas from abroad in Europe (And America) where they converted to either electric or diesel traction which saved on running costs, and by cutting all lines they no longer needed as the UK had been covered with railways where many were duplicated routes. Many rarely used station halts and stations were also closed if they were too close to other stations so they could keep the larger stations open to save the additional running costs involved with additional stops and starts, along with the savings on keeping them open.
A comittee was formed headed by a Dr Beeching, who many said had desicrated the British railways, but what people don't realized is his and the committee's ideas actually saved them because the railways were making such a loss. Most people were not aware that because Dr Beeching was looking at more then just the railways, but rather as a transportation system, he introduced the standard sizes of large metal containers that we use today. The idea being that these containers could be carried on the back of large lorries, on the back of trains (Known as Freightliner trains), and loaded and stacked on ships for transportation abroad. While the concept of containers was not new, never had it been dome with larger containers in such a large scale before. This greatly reduced train to ship loading times and train to lorry loading times as these containers simply needed an overhead crane or later very large forked lift trucks or similar vehickes with large"Grabs".
British Railways was not without its teething issues which mostly came from both government and railway comittees and various maagers refusing to talk to each other. Therefore steam locomotives were still being made only to be shortly scrapped as another department was responsible for converting everything to diesel orelectric traction, and there were a great many new diesels made in a hurry for railway lines which had been cut from the railway network so some brand new diesel locos which could not be sold either abroad or to private industries ended up being scrapped having rarely been used. Add to this that many new designs had hardly been tested and so many new diesel locos ended up being scrapped.
The Western Region of the new British Railways (Which was formally most of the old Great Western Railway decided to adopt diesel hydraulic traction as it gave a higher output for its size which was useful for some of the steep lines on their routes, later became classed as"Non-standard" as th rest of the British Railways designs adopted diesel electric traction which though less powerful, was found to be able to have a few hundred hours more time inbetween services. (Diesel mechanical was still use for little shunters and lightweight DMU railcars (DMU = Diesel Multiple Unit). So hasty decisions were made to scrap entire classes of diesel hydraulic locomotives which were not even ten years old! (Average diesel locomotive has a typical life of 40 years old with some designs lasting a good 60 years so ten years and they were still basically new! Some designs had just had a major investment to redesign their weak points (Normal for most new designs of loco as it takes a while to iron out any issues before the design becomes a success), and immediately after they were scrapped, so the 1950's , 60's and 70's ended up costing the taxpayers a lot of money,but by the time things settled in the 1980's the railways actually began to make the profit they deserved... Until the next decade came along and the railways were privatized again but this time in a different way.... And the rest is history!



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04 Dec 2022, 6:46 pm

There were American steam locomotives of the thirties that also had that art deco streamlining. Some had it stripped away later, or came in both versions (sheathed in the streamlining, or unsheathed).

My question is this: was that streamlining just for looks? Or did it actually help the locomotive's performance (in either speed, or fuel economy) by reducing wind resistance? Or did the extra weight hurt performance? Cancel out?

They sure looked cool though.



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04 Dec 2022, 7:29 pm

naturalplastic wrote:
There were American steam locomotives of the thirties that also had that art deco streamlining. Some had it stripped away later, or came in both versions (sheathed in the streamlining, or unsheathed).

My question is this: was that streamlining just for looks? Or did it actually help the locomotive's performance (in either speed, or fuel economy) by reducing wind resistance? Or did the extra weight hurt performance? Cancel out?

They sure looked cool though.


The answer is "Yes and no depending on the loco design and the weight of the streamlining.
Most designs gave an extra few mph top speed but could if the streamlining was heavy add to the running costs of the loco. (Just ammended to write this which is repeated in what I wrote below).

It actually depended on the loco, but it did work. Where the streamlining came into question is where the additional weight of the streamlining would cancel any aerodynamic advantages.

Even the more traditional thinking Great Western Railway had a go at streamlining a few of its locos and did extensive testing to measure the gains, but as their locos used tapered boilers (Origionally invented by Canadian Railways as a design to prevent boiler explosions if a loco became de-railed in a snow drift, as the tapered design would allow water to still be covering the firebox area as de-railed locomotives would nosedive when hitting a snowdrift, which is a design that the ever safety concious GWR also quickly adopted many years ago).
The GWR did more subtle stramlining by having a half ball shape fitted to the smokebox doors and re-designed the drivers cabs to be "V" shaped on the few locos they tried. They also filled in the wheel splashers if I recall to smooth the flow in those areas, but after trials the practical gains were so small (As their locos already had tapered boilers (Slightly cone shaped), that the GWR decided not to adpot stramlining to their locos apart from their fleet of lightweight diesel railcars they built in the 1930's onwards, but the LNER with their class A4 did along sith a similar looking but smaller 4-6-0 loco(s) were tried that looked similar, along with a few of their experimental "Hush-hush" locos which were largerthan theclass A4 having eight coupled driving wheels ad a longer boiler.
The LMS also streamlines their famous "Royal Scots"... For a while in the 1930's there were many such experiments with railway locomotives and motor cars to see if gains could be made. Car designs ended up with lovely flowing fenders to deflect the wind and some ended up with tapered hood designs.
Even the Southern Railway (UK) came out with its "Bullied pacifics" which were more than one class of loco (Though similar looking) which had special lightweight wheels, unusual chain operated valve gear and semi-streamlined bodies. In BR days some of these locos were totally rebuilt with conventional walshchaerts valve gear and they lost their streamlining, but still retained their lightweight drive wheels, and these re-built locos looked impressive!
With railway locomotives, there is also an "Odd" effect taking place with airflow which puzzled the experts for years, as flat fronted lorries and busses were able to travel at speeds that the more streamlined designs did and yet required no extra power to do so. It was later found out that it was due to the circling effect of the airflow acting as a form of streamlining as it built up its swirling airflow in front of the large flat fronted vehicles as they gained speed. It is an odd effect which also worked with flat fronted railway locomotives (Usually diesels or electrics).
There is also what is known as "The tandem effect" when it comes to powered paxsenger carrying railcar such as DMU's in that one single car unit may be capable of running flat outatits top speed of 75mph (E.g. class 153) but couple two of those single car units together and they can touch above 80mph as one has the same frontal wind area, but has two railcars pushing into the wind instead of one. (Class 153's used to be twin car sets known as class 155's, but were converted by adding small cabs at the non-cab end so they could run as single cars as it suited the railways needs better at the time. (More economical for working branch lines that had less passengers).



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04 Dec 2022, 8:11 pm

Unbelievable amount of detailed history regarding. The various railways and equipment TY Mountaingoat.
:D 8O :D 8O . Stuff I had no clue about. But interesting reading. :D :D


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04 Dec 2022, 10:00 pm

Mountain Goat wrote:
naturalplastic wrote:
My question is this: was that streamlining just for looks? Or did it actually help the locomotive's performance (in either speed, or fuel economy) by reducing wind resistance? Or did the extra weight hurt performance? Cancel out?

They sure looked cool though.


The answer is "Yes and no depending on the loco design and the weight of the streamlining.
Most designs gave an extra few mph top speed but could if the streamlining was heavy add to the running costs of the loco. (Just ammended to write this which is repeated in what I wrote below).

It actually depended on the loco, but it did work. Where the streamlining came into question is where the additional weight of the streamlining would cancel any aerodynamic advantages.


Referencing that,
this bit about US streamlined steam locos, https://streamlinermemories.info/?page_id=13253

Quote:
As previously noted, streamlining was for publicity purposes only. It didn’t particularly save energy, partly because it added thousands of pounds to the weight of the locomotive. It didn’t make the locomotives go faster, though other modifications such as roller bearings, lighter-weight driving rods, and improved balancing did.

Many railroads that introduced steamlined trains claimed higher ridership on the trains, much of which was due to faster speeds and more comfortable cars, but some likely due to the publicity earned by the improved appearances. In the end, streamlined steam played a small but significant part of the transition from heavyweight to lightweight passenger trains and from steam to Diesel power.


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05 Dec 2022, 6:07 am

When it came to locos and items of rolling stock, roller bearings have been a bit of a mixed blessing. The issue with roller bearings is that when they expire, they can go without warning and the vehicles wheels can literally come off causing a potentially major accident, so roller bearings, despite them lasting longer, need regular checks for their condition, where as the traditional white metal bearing axleboxes packed with grease gave a very visible indication to the traincrew when they became dry of grease as they would gi e off visible smoke and if pushed too far would be glowing red. A sight that no driver could ignore! The traditional axleboxes also avoided wheels coming off vehicles if they had a problem. The standard proceedure was to continue at the reduced speed of 5mph to reach a siding or point where the offending vehicle could be dropped off. They then would fit a wheel skate to move the vehicle (Can actually be done while being pulled in a train if needed) at a speed of 5mph so the vehicle can get to a depot to be seen to, but most of the time theoffending vehicle with the old axleboxes could be simply packed with grease again where it was (As long as its white metal bearing surface had retained intact), and off they went for another few thousand miles.
Roller bearings were far more problematic because the offending vehicle had to be taken back to a depot with a wheel skate fitted. They could not risk it with them. And like I said before, by the time a roller bearing started to give visual signs it was often already too late and the axle could risk coming out of its vehicle with disasterous results. The traditional axleboxes would not do this, so while roller bearings have been fitted to more and more vehicles (They last around two or three times what a traditional bearing used to last), they have to have more regular checks and be handled with respect, while the traditional axleboxes could be used and abused and they would survive to live another day.



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05 Dec 2022, 6:43 am

In North America, the rule is that if a Canadian RR car is sent to the US, the companies there can use the empty car as long as it winds up closer to the border. During WW II, they sometimes crossed the continent multiple times, and returned worn out.
I also heard about a batch of side frames, which connect the pairs of axles on freight cars, that were cast wrong. If they happened to be going around the maximum curve, and hit the maximum bump, there would be trouble, but they got used anyway.



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05 Dec 2022, 9:39 am

Is surprising how many things have to be modified or re-designed.



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05 Dec 2022, 10:01 am

And loved the spirit of cooperation between the two RR systems companies. From two different countries .
Now if just the entire world . Worked that well together.???? Then understanding that Railway things are built to Last and be maintained .. far better than the throw away economy . That Companies and Governments get away with these days.


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05 Dec 2022, 10:26 am

In Britain, companies used to help each other. Things didn't chann. ge until the 1970's came in when they started to see each other as compet :nerdy: tion and greed set in. Prior to this, if a company needed help, other companies would volunteer help as theyknew if they were in need, others would help them. This was the old British way. If a competiting company failed, they were genuinely sad. Greed wasn't an issue as they would not overcharge their customers as they genuinely valued them.



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05 Dec 2022, 1:28 pm

Mountain Goat wrote:
In Britain, companies used to help each other. Things didn't chann. ge until the 1970's came in when they started to see each other as compet :nerdy: tion and greed set in. Prior to this, if a company needed help, other companies would volunteer help as theyknew if they were in need, others would help them. This was the old British way. If a competiting company failed, they were genuinely sad. Greed wasn't an issue as they would not overcharge their customers as they genuinely valued them.


Some days, I wonder where that phrase came from , Change is for the best ?????. :|


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05 Dec 2022, 1:39 pm

Jakki wrote:
Some days, I wonder where that phrase came from , Change is for the best ?????. :|

"All generalizations are worthless, including this one."
- Mark Twain

However, overall, if there is no change, there is no life. Change is bad for the old and good for the new.



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07 Dec 2022, 10:29 am

I've always loved the sound of a distant train. Fortunately, every place I've lived was within several miles of tracks, so I'd be treated to the occasional whistle or tooting in the distance.

Currently there are tracks six miles from my new house. When I first moved here I thought there were no tracks within many miles due to the location. But I was so pleased one evening to hear the whistling far in the distance! Eventually I had to travel eastward and happened to notice the tracks.

It's such a soothing, lolling sound. But at some point, tracks can be too close (I don't know what the cutoff distance would be -- one mile maybe?).

I don't believe this love of a distant train sound is an autism thing. I'd gather that many people in general enjoy hearing a distant train.

Trains fascinate many people including NTs. This is why train sets have always been a mong the most popular toys and Christmas gifts even for older kids.

What would make one's interest in trains a true obsession in autism is if they go overboard TALKING about trains, like Sheldon did in "Young Sheldon" when he got a job as a guide at a train museum. He wouldn't shut up about trains to visitors, and was eventually let go.

What I HATE about trains is when I'm stuck in town waiting for a slowly moving one to go by.

There was once a train accident I became hyperfixated on. I was a proofreader for a court reporter. I had a case where a woman's family was suing the conductor and train company with the claim that he didn't toot the warning horn soon enough while the woman's car was stuck on the train tracks.

According to the conductor, she fled the vehicle before the train struck it. However, for reasons nobody will ever know, she fled AROUND the front of it rather than straight out to the side.

By the time the train struck, she was still in front. The car creamed into her, sending her airborne, resulting in catastrophic head injury.

The plaintiffs claimed that had the conductor tooted two seconds sooner, she would've fled the car two seconds sooner, and hence gotten clear out of the way before the train hit it.

This case enthralled me and I'd spend a lot of time analyzing it, reflecting on it, visualizing it, PRETENDING I WAS HER INSIDE THE CAR, imagining hearing the train bear down on me, suddenly SEEING it bearing down on me.

A human factors expert was the litigation witness, and he gave an EXTREMELY DETAILED analysis including quite a bit of time spent on the analysis of how long it takes someone to exit a car under emotional duress. Based on videos of people casually getting out of their cars (they didn't know they were being filmed), it takes seven seconds on average. If you add emotional duress, this could either quicken the process OR slow it down (the person may fumble with a seatbelt or trip over their feet getting out the door.) Footwear can also affect time it takes. I was SO FASCINATED by this case!!



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07 Dec 2022, 10:36 am

My wife's son used to live in a house only a few hundred feet from a railway station. The overpass heading out from the station was very much in view from his back window.



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07 Dec 2022, 11:05 am

Elgee wrote:
I've always loved the sound of a distant train. Fortunately, every place I've lived was within several miles of tracks, so I'd be treated to the occasional whistle or tooting in the distance.

Currently there are tracks six miles from my new house. When I first moved here I thought there were no tracks within many miles due to the location. But I was so pleased one evening to hear the whistling far in the distance! Eventually I had to travel eastward and happened to notice the tracks.

It's such a soothing, lolling sound. But at some point, tracks can be too close (I don't know what the cutoff distance would be -- one mile maybe?).

I don't believe this love of a distant train sound is an autism thing. I'd gather that many people in general enjoy hearing a distant train.

Trains fascinate many people including NTs. This is why train sets have always been a mong the most popular toys and Christmas gifts even for older kids.

What would make one's interest in trains a true obsession in autism is if they go overboard TALKING about trains, like Sheldon did in "Young Sheldon" when he got a job as a guide at a train museum. He wouldn't shut up about trains to visitors, and was eventually let go.

What I HATE about trains is when I'm stuck in town waiting for a slowly moving one to go by.

There was once a train accident I became hyperfixated on. I was a proofreader for a court reporter. I had a case where a woman's family was suing the conductor and train company with the claim that he didn't toot the warning horn soon enough while the woman's car was stuck on the train tracks.

According to the conductor, she fled the vehicle before the train struck it. However, for reasons nobody will ever know, she fled AROUND the front of it rather than straight out to the side.

By the time the train struck, she was still in front. The car creamed into her, sending her airborne, resulting in catastrophic head injury.

The plaintiffs claimed that had the conductor tooted two seconds sooner, she would've fled the car two seconds sooner, and hence gotten clear out of the way before the train hit it.

This case enthralled me and I'd spend a lot of time analyzing it, reflecting on it, visualizing it, PRETENDING I WAS HER INSIDE THE CAR, imagining hearing the train bear down on me, suddenly SEEING it bearing down on me.

A human factors expert was the litigation witness, and he gave an EXTREMELY DETAILED analysis including quite a bit of time spent on the analysis of how long it takes someone to exit a car under emotional duress. Based on videos of people casually getting out of their cars (they didn't know they were being filmed), it takes seven seconds on average. If you add emotional duress, this could either quicken the process OR slow it down (the person may fumble with a seatbelt or trip over their feet getting out the door.) Footwear can also affect time it takes. I was SO FASCINATED by this case!!



If you think of it, regardless of if the train horn sounded or not, it is up to the driver of a vehiclecrossing to do a quick look before they cross and they should not automatically rely on any crossing lights and warning bells to operate.
During my time while working trains (Not as a driver but as a guard so I was in charge of the driver and the train though todays UK railway rules have changed), we had a few close calls at railway crossings, and one very close call that I remember was when I felt the train brakes slam on and the driver was blowing the horn, and I slid down the back cab window to take a look to see a lady driving her little car and the train just miss the car by less than a foot! It was that close! Obviously the train could not stop so we came to a half after wehad passed thecrossing if I recall, but the lady had a young child in the back jumping up and down on the back seats... Not strapped into a child seat, and despite the loud train horn blowing and the flashing crossing lights, the lady was completely unaware that she had just driven across the path of the train and she didn't even look back in her mirrors, as I was that close to watching her! Due to the roads there she was going at around 20 to 25mph which is why I had such a good view of her in the car.

But to demonstrate how one "Should" look before crossing, I once with. a driver were travelling on a certain train one evening at a speed of 75mph and we went straight through a level crossing that still had thecrossing gates up on a major road through a small but populated country town. We had the green signal to proceed, but the signalman had not lowered the gates, and what really surprized me was that the crossing gates were NOT interlocked with the signal.
So ALWAYS check crossings if possible while driving.

Due to EU rules which we had to adopt here in the UK, be aware that train drivers here are NOT allowed to sound their horns after 7pm to 7am. Stupid EU rules that have caused quite a few deaths. I was working on the railways at the time these new rules came in, as it became a real danger for trackworkers who work at night who relied on the train horn to indicate that a work train was about to move. The horn rule was for SAFETY and the EU decided that peoples lives were less important than their anti-sound pollution policies which to me was an absolutely stupid idea, because if one moves to live next to a railway line, one can't claim one wasn't aware that there would be noise! It is like moving to live in the centre of a busy city or moving to live right next to an airport or to live right next to a church clock tower.



Last edited by Mountain Goat on 07 Dec 2022, 11:23 am, edited 3 times in total.