46009 - Modifications for Operation Smash Hit

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HMS Ark Royal

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I was watching the crash test involving 46009 and I was wondering what modifications were made to the locomotive before its last booked run... Can anybody give a full list of modifications and disablements?

I presume that the same modifications were done to 46023 also
 
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theageofthetra

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If the conspiracy theorists are to be believed one mod was that the engine mounts were cut through to throw it out and lessen the impact! Can anyone confirm or deny? I would also imagine it had the absolute minimum of fuel to again reduce weight (and fire risk), not sure if the mk1's were stripped out?

One aspect which always surprised when compared to other crashes involving mk1's is how well they stayed in line-no telescoping, overiding etc which is what I understood was a weakness in the design. Were there any experimental coupling mods e.g cup and cone which were also tested as part of this experiment?
 

HMS Ark Royal

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If the conspiracy theorists are to be believed one mod was that the engine mounts were cut through to throw it out and lessen the impact! Can anyone confirm or deny? I would also imagine it had the absolute minimum of fuel to again reduce weight (and fire risk), not sure if the mk1's were stripped out?

One aspect which always surprised when compared to other crashes involving mk1's is how well they stayed in line-no telescoping, overiding etc which is what I understood was a weakness in the design. Were there any experimental coupling mods e.g cup and cone which were also tested as part of this experiment?

The MK1s were not stripped out - there is a great picture of all the seats and tables from one of them piled in a heap from the collision
 

theageofthetra

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Actually further research suggests the engine mount conspiracy has been discounted. How those mk1's stayed together so well is still worth investigating. I would be amazed if BR didn't use this opportunity to test other equipment which only a real world crash would allow- I doubt computer modelling was that advanced in the early 80's?
 

Ash Bridge

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Well those pictures seem to prove that the Sulzer diesel/generator stayed exactly where it should be after the impact, I remember reading at the time that when the loco initially hit the obstruction it launched both the wagon and flask into the air, I think when the flask dropped down to earth it rolled to the side but did the wagon drop back on top of the train inflicting further damage I wonder? I recall in early 1985 both the twisted wreck of the wagon and battered flask were put on display at the NRM, I have a slide or two somewhere in my collection.
 

gimmea50anyday

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There is definately something seen to be ejected from the top of the loco and over the impact zone. Plenty of footage on youtube of the crash test itself include slowed down footage of the impact

This appears to be an offocial documentary about the crash test

http://youtu.be/2jzugX2NMnk

This is a compilation of news footage of the event

http://youtu.be/Byl_fTbsbjQ

The last shot at the end of this vid shows the remains of the loco cabless and missing a significant bulkhead possibly where the cooler group is Im guessing but the engine bay clearly still intact. The cooler group is at the rear of the loco when it crashes into the flask. Edit- its NOT the crash loco. Image was taken from another website where a comparison was shown of another loco

http://youtu.be/VPhELx2GxVE

Greenpeace conspiracy theories!

http://youtu.be/yo22l4wJdx8
 
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theageofthetra

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From what I have read the blazing item seen flying out the front was the steam heat boiler. Does anyone have anything on the mk1 & their couplings and why they stayed so in line and undamaged despite the high speed impact? Were they conventional couplings or enhanced in some way?
 

HMS Ark Royal

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There is definately something seen to be ejected from the top of the loco and over the impact zone. Plenty of footage on youtube of the crash test itself include slowed down footage of the impact

This appears to be an offocial documentary about the crash test

http://youtu.be/2jzugX2NMnk

This is a compilation of news footage of the event

http://youtu.be/Byl_fTbsbjQ

The last shot at the end of this vid shows the remains of the loco cabless and missing a significant bulkhead possibly where the cooler group is Im guessing but the engine bay clearly still intact. The cooler group is at the rear of the loco when it crashes into the flask.

http://youtu.be/VPhELx2GxVE

Greenpeace conspiracy theories!

http://youtu.be/yo22l4wJdx8

I have some footage not included in the compilation where its from a studio and John Suchet (I think) says they had a view from onboard

"It was, of course, an automatic camera" which always makes me laugh

I wonder if what people think is the engine is actually number 2 end detaching and rising over the nose.

Another question:- what modifications where made to disable the DMD and to allow the brake to be released by the driver after he climbed down from the engine. I can clearly see him turning a handle of some sort, but can anyone explain how it worked?

One side note that is never mentioned is that the CEGB purchased the 46 - making them the 2nd operator of a Peak pre-nationalisation!:D:D:D
 

Ash Bridge

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I wonder if what people think is the engine is actually number 2 end detaching and rising over the nose.

sd0733 provided a link to some interesting shots, one of which was taken in the engine room of 46009 after the crash which shows the power unit is definitely still in place, so I would think this could be now discounted.
 

gimmea50anyday

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Engine bay still intact! Other images of that website show the interior of the engine and coaches. The Mk1's stayed remarkably well intact considering their reputation for poor crashworthiness

Image courtesy of http://www.nigeltout.com/
 

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gimmea50anyday

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So did anyone ever figure out what actually was seen being "ejected" from the top of the train as it destroyed itself against the flask?
 

Western Lord

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As I recall, the loco was modified to run at 100mph. The opportunity was taken to use the crash for some kind of investigation into the crashworthiness of rolling stock. The Mark 1's reputation for poor crashworthiness is almost entirely down to Southern Region multiple units which, A: had a lot of doors down each side, reducing body side strength and B: did not have a large locomotive in front to absorb most of the impact. The crashworthiness of hauled Mark 1 stock was, in fact, very good, especially in comparison to what they replaced.
 

HMS Ark Royal

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So did anyone ever figure out what actually was seen being "ejected" from the top of the train as it destroyed itself against the flask?

Depending on what you mean, it was either Number 2 end detaching from the loco body (it was that end leading) or the film from the automatic camera
 

jp4712

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Western Lord is right. At the time as a young man I worked in the PR team at British Nuclear Fuels plc. The governor was opened up to allow a top speed of 100 mph, if I recall correctly this was so that the kinetic energy of the Peak and carriages would be the same as an HST at 125. I think the deadman's handle was disabled, but there was no power 'control' as such outside: but there was a brake control at frame level on the exterior.

My memory may be playing games, but I'm sure I read an internal document at the time that said the power was to be raised to 100% from within the cab with brakes full on: then the brakes were to be released from the external control. No doubt this would do the traction motors no good at all but it wasn't as if they'd be needed again.

The flask was positioned so that the coupling hook would - depending on sway and hunting - hit the flask's most vulnerable point, being the join between the lid and the main case of the Magnox flask.

That was it - no seats removed, stuff like that. I don't recall anyone saying anything about fuel but I imagine that it had the minimum although in the overall context of things its weight wouldn't have made any significant difference.

Over the years I have seen several conspiracy theorists saying that the test was somehow faked, or the engine mounts were loosened and what have you - and these stories have irritated me because it was all fair and above board, there was no cheating. In fact my ultimate boss at the time, Jeff Preece was there and he said that although he had no doubt that the flask would survive, it was still a gut-wrenching day for him and the CEGB/BR bods on site.
 

Ash Bridge

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Western Lord is right. At the time as a young man I worked in the PR team at British Nuclear Fuels plc. The governor was opened up to allow a top speed of 100 mph, if I recall correctly this was so that the kinetic energy of the Peak and carriages would be the same as an HST at 125. I think the deadman's handle was disabled, but there was no power 'control' as such outside: but there was a brake control at frame level on the exterior.

My memory may be playing games, but I'm sure I read an internal document at the time that said the power was to be raised to 100% from within the cab with brakes full on: then the brakes were to be released from the external control. No doubt this would do the traction motors no good at all but it wasn't as if they'd be needed again.

The flask was positioned so that the coupling hook would - depending on sway and hunting - hit the flask's most vulnerable point, being the join between the lid and the main case of the Magnox flask.

That was it - no seats removed, stuff like that. I don't recall anyone saying anything about fuel but I imagine that it had the minimum although in the overall context of things its weight wouldn't have made any significant difference.

Over the years I have seen several conspiracy theorists saying that the test was somehow faked, or the engine mounts were loosened and what have you - and these stories have irritated me because it was all fair and above board, there was no cheating. In fact my ultimate boss at the time, Jeff Preece was there and he said that although he had no doubt that the flask would survive, it was still a gut-wrenching day for him and the CEGB/BR bods on site.


Many thanks for this info, very interesting.
 

HMS Ark Royal

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Western Lord is right. At the time as a young man I worked in the PR team at British Nuclear Fuels plc. The governor was opened up to allow a top speed of 100 mph, if I recall correctly this was so that the kinetic energy of the Peak and carriages would be the same as an HST at 125. I think the deadman's handle was disabled, but there was no power 'control' as such outside: but there was a brake control at frame level on the exterior.

My memory may be playing games, but I'm sure I read an internal document at the time that said the power was to be raised to 100% from within the cab with brakes full on: then the brakes were to be released from the external control. No doubt this would do the traction motors no good at all but it wasn't as if they'd be needed again.

The flask was positioned so that the coupling hook would - depending on sway and hunting - hit the flask's most vulnerable point, being the join between the lid and the main case of the Magnox flask.

That was it - no seats removed, stuff like that. I don't recall anyone saying anything about fuel but I imagine that it had the minimum although in the overall context of things its weight wouldn't have made any significant difference.

Over the years I have seen several conspiracy theorists saying that the test was somehow faked, or the engine mounts were loosened and what have you - and these stories have irritated me because it was all fair and above board, there was no cheating. In fact my ultimate boss at the time, Jeff Preece was there and he said that although he had no doubt that the flask would survive, it was still a gut-wrenching day for him and the CEGB/BR bods on site.

Many thanks for this info, very interesting.


Me too - very interesting indeed. I wonder if the files still exist somewhere... Maybe the National Archives
 

theageofthetra

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Do we still not have any info on the type of coupling used and if BR conducted any other experiments that day?
 
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