Class 50 start up woes?

Status
Not open for further replies.

Inversnecky

Member
Joined
1 Jan 2021
Messages
457
Location
Scotland
Came across this video on YT:

Is this normal for a 50, or is there some kind of problem in getting it going?

Sorry, I’ve no mechanical knowledge, and would like to hear from those who know of which they speak :)

 
Sponsor Post - registered members do not see these adverts; click here to register, or click here to log in
R

RailUK Forums

Richard Scott

Established Member
Joined
13 Dec 2018
Messages
2,620
Came across this video on YT:

Is this normal for a 50, or is there some kind of problem in getting it going?

Sorry, I’ve no mechanical knowledge, and would like to hear from those who know of which they speak :)

That's pretty standard EE from cold start up. You'll find 20s, 37s, 40s etc. do the same. Certainly seen 37s produce flames on a very cold start. Best thing to do with an EE is fit a preheater if planning on many cold starts.
 

hexagon789

Veteran Member
Joined
2 Sep 2016
Messages
12,002
Location
Glasgow
Came across this video on YT:

Is this normal for a 50, or is there some kind of problem in getting it going?

Sorry, I’ve no mechanical knowledge, and would like to hear from those who know of which they speak :)

Seems common with a lot of older diesels, there's a good video of a French CC72000 doing exactly this on a cold start on YouTube.
 

DarloRich

Veteran Member
Joined
12 Oct 2010
Messages
25,717
Location
Fenny Stratford
Is this normal for a 50, or is there some kind of problem in getting it going?

I have no mechanical knowledge but the fact the blokes in orange are stood around with hands in their pockets having a chat seems like a give a way that they aren't concerned. I would be worried if they were running about madly and looking for a fire extinguisher!
 

Cowley

Forum Staff
Staff Member
Global Moderator
Joined
15 Apr 2016
Messages
11,383
Location
Devon
I have no mechanical knowledge but the fact the blokes in orange are stood around with hands in their pockets having a chat seems like a give a way that they aren't concerned. I would be worried if they were running about madly and looking for a fire extinguisher!
Definitely. I’ve read an apocryphal tale about a load of class 31s being started up at Bescot and the smoke causing the police to temporarily shut the M6 on one occasion.
 

DarloRich

Veteran Member
Joined
12 Oct 2010
Messages
25,717
Location
Fenny Stratford
Definitely. I’ve read an apocryphal tale about a load of class 31s being started up at Bescot and the smoke causing the police to temporarily shut the M6 on one occasion.
Not quite the same but I have seen 56's put out more smoke than a tiger tank!
 

Richard Scott

Established Member
Joined
13 Dec 2018
Messages
2,620
Why does one side produce predominantly white smoke, and the other mostly grey/black?
All down to temperature in the cylinder, white smoke is unburnt fuel vapour, darker smoke is unburnt carbon produced in combustion process. On starting usually one or two cylinders will catch so heat up sooner, takes a while for all to fire. Not good for the engine!
 

ABB125

Established Member
Joined
23 Jul 2016
Messages
2,580
Location
University of Birmingham
All down to temperature in the cylinder, white smoke is unburnt fuel vapour, darker smoke is unburnt carbon produced in combustion process. On starting usually one or two cylinders will catch so heat up sooner, takes a while for all to fire. Not good for the engine!
Thanks.
 

theblackwatch

Established Member
Joined
15 Feb 2006
Messages
10,549
Even in BR service, 50033 was referred to by Laira staff as 'Smokey Joe' - so I don't think this is anything new!
 

davetheguard

Established Member
Joined
10 Apr 2013
Messages
1,387
That has to be just about the best advertisement for further railway electrification I've ever seen! The smoke rings were definitely Glorious though.
 

apinnard

Member
Joined
2 Aug 2017
Messages
187
Came across this video on YT:

Is this normal for a 50, or is there some kind of problem in getting it going?

Sorry, I’ve no mechanical knowledge, and would like to hear from those who know of which they speak :)

It’s an English Electric “thing.” No preheat on those engines. Same as cl37 etc. In times gone past they were left idling all night to prevent wear on the engines having to start from cold.
 

Grumpy

Member
Joined
8 Nov 2010
Messages
800
Perhaps they should nip along to Screwfix and buy some immersion heaters
 

Clarence Yard

Established Member
Joined
18 Dec 2014
Messages
1,495
I used to watch the start up of cl.50’s around the table at the Oak, from my portacabin by the servicing shed. On a cold day the grey smoke used to black out the view behind them. It is an EE thing, the cl.31 at FP used to do exactly the same.

‘33 can’t have started in quite a while to get flames like that coming out of it. The only EE locos I used to regularly see flames coming out of when “hot” were the cl.40 locos on the ECML, when their drivers opened them up sharply.
 

Tynwald

Member
Joined
18 Mar 2016
Messages
113
Normal EE very cold start. Paxman Valentas were just as bad. Sulzers just the opposite.
 

DB

Guest
Joined
18 Nov 2009
Messages
5,036
Normal EE very cold start. Paxman Valentas were just as bad. Sulzers just the opposite.

I've seen VP185 HST power cars produce quite a lot of smoke too. The MTU ones have to be pre-heated under normal circumstances and don't do this.
 

37114

Member
Joined
4 Jul 2019
Messages
175
Normal EE cold start, not good for the engine though, unburnt fuel washes down the bores which then dilutes the engine oil.
 

Taunton

Established Member
Joined
1 Aug 2013
Messages
6,660
Even 1950s-design Warships had preheaters. When parked and shut down you could hear them periodically clicking on and off inside the loco.
 

Cowley

Forum Staff
Staff Member
Global Moderator
Joined
15 Apr 2016
Messages
11,383
Location
Devon
Even 1950s-design Warships had preheaters. When parked and shut down you could hear them periodically clicking on and off inside the loco.
Interesting. A new little bit of information learnt tonight there. ;)

Even in BR service, 50033 was referred to by Laira staff as 'Smokey Joe' - so I don't think this is anything new!
I was trying to remember which of the 50s smoked excessively back then and I thought it was 5003- something...
I seem to recall that it was something to do with either liner seals or worn valve guides/seals but that it was only on one bank of the vee maybe?
It was a long time ago now!
 

JohnMcL7

Member
Joined
18 Apr 2018
Messages
571
What exactly is happening during the startup, is it similar to a car engine with the engine being turned electrically while fuel is being injected? In which case why does it take such a long time to start?
 

DustyBin

Established Member
Joined
20 Sep 2020
Messages
1,804
Location
First Class
What exactly is happening during the startup, is it similar to a car engine with the engine being turned electrically while fuel is being injected? In which case why does it take such a long time to start?

Pretty much, yes, although in this case the main generator is used to turn the engine over (as opposed to a starter motor). As for why it takes so long to start, low compression (by design) and lack of pre-heat are the main factors. Add in freezing temperatures, a bit of wear and tear further lowering compression, and possibly less than perfect batteries and it’s going to take a bit of effort!

Older diesel cars had a position on the starting switch to pre-heat the glow plugs, if you tried to start the engine without doing so it would struggle. Modern diesel cars do this automatically (you may notice a slight delay in the starter engaging on a cold day).
 

atsf_fT

Member
Joined
12 Jul 2011
Messages
229
Location
planet earth
The english electric 16 csvt is one very large engine' imagine the loco sitting out of winter how cold and damp the engine block and injecters are. It take one heck of along time start from cold ' even longer to complety warm up this is why BR kept them idling on dept plus the fact BR did not like or use antifreeze.
Has mententied class 42'52 had preheaters and had engine blocks less than half the size of the EE class 40/50 to warm up.
I do believe there has been talk of fitting preheaters to the class 50s on the S.V.R to help save wear and tear on the locos and give the local neighbor's less smokey mornings !
 

Taunton

Established Member
Joined
1 Aug 2013
Messages
6,660
In both the USA and Russia locos are (or were) left running for weeks (at least) in the winter, because of both the difficulties of starting them in the cold and also to overcome the use of plain water in the coolant, which would otherwise freeze in the block and everywhere else. The old GM 567B engine, universal in 1940s-50s US GM diesels, used to get through gallons of water per hour, all over the engine room floor which had drain holes, it was a known water leak problem that took GM ages to overcome in this otherwise extremely well-regarded prime mover (hence why costly anti-freeze was not practical), so you had to watch it when the engine was ticking over as well. They had an auto stop if coolant ran low, and in some cold places where this could then lead to the freezing problem of what remained, a device called an "engine watcher", which was a microphone on a pole alongside where the loco was parked, was installed, which listened to the thrum of it ticking over and sent a message to the dispatcher far away if all went quiet. Trains Magazine ran a couple of stories about these.

Pre-heaters, as I understand them (and I'm not mechanically trained so please help out) are an electric heater, run off the batteries, which warm up and circulate the cooling water, bringing the engine block up to a certain temperature, which aids starting up. Do the Class 50 enthusiasts have to drain the coolant after each use in winter, and refill before starting?

Old aircraft piston engines were far more of a problem, they of course have to cope with a huge range of temperatures, and the thermal expansion of the components that goes with that, from starting at +40C in the tropics to running in -50C when at altitude. The common type of air-cooled "radial" engine, with the cylinders arranged star-shape, maybe nine of them around the central crankshaft, would suffer from lubricating oil penetrating past the piston rings of the lower cylinders when parked, starting them up would burn off this oil with huge clouds of smoke.
 
Last edited:

Ted633

Member
Joined
15 Mar 2018
Messages
95
Interesting. A new little bit of information learnt tonight there. ;)


I was trying to remember which of the 50s smoked excessively back then and I thought it was 5003- something...
I seem to recall that it was something to do with either liner seals or worn valve guides/seals but that it was only on one bank of the vee maybe?
It was a long time ago now!

 

Richard Scott

Established Member
Joined
13 Dec 2018
Messages
2,620
Didn't 50033 have a fairly high hours engine in it? Also I was told by a fitter that the oil scraper ring was removed as was too efficient, this led to oil by pass into combustion chamber and hence these engines always had a tendency to smoke.
 

Cowley

Forum Staff
Staff Member
Global Moderator
Joined
15 Apr 2016
Messages
11,383
Location
Devon
Didn't 50033 have a fairly high hours engine in it? Also I was told by a fitter that the oil scraper ring was removed as was too efficient, this led to oil by pass into combustion chamber and hence these engines always had a tendency to smoke.
That’s what it was. I’m sure that you’re absolutely right about that.
 

DarloRich

Veteran Member
Joined
12 Oct 2010
Messages
25,717
Location
Fenny Stratford
hmmmmmmmmmmmm yes. YES - the oil scraper ring. Of course! I should have seen it sooner. it is CLEARLY allowing oil to bypass into the combustion chamber.

( i have no idea what that is or does)
 

Richard Scott

Established Member
Joined
13 Dec 2018
Messages
2,620
hmmmmmmmmmmmm yes. YES - the oil scraper ring. Of course! I should have seen it sooner. it is CLEARLY allowing oil to bypass into the combustion chamber.

( i have no idea what that is or does)
It's to remove excess oil from the bore but worked too well in that engine leading to lack of lubrication so was removed, the downside being the engines used more oil and smoked more than they should.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Top