Unnecessary Steam Classes

Taunton

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As I wrote in another post recently, there wasn't the "heavy" freight traffic in those times, because most freight vehicles were unbraked and train sizes needed to be able to be controlled by the guard from the van in the event of a breakaway. Now the GWR were actually pioneers of fast freights, which each had special names, mostly overnight, which ran on the main routes, with vacuum-braked wagons, at least at the front, but these did not need that heavy power, and a Hall was adequate for many. "Fast", incidentally, was a bit of a misnomer, it was more just "doesn't stop constantly". You might get 50mph on the downhill; wagons of the era couldn't stand any more.

The 47xx, a very late Churchward prototype with the rest being built by Collett, allowed heavier loads for these trains, but they weren't a real necessity, and after the nine were built there wasn't seen a need for any more, although the nine were valuable for the next 40 years. There was a lot of freight traffic around, but the existing loco fleet were more than adequate for it.
 
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edwin_m

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GWR too - 2800s, Saints, Halls, Grange all used the same boiler. 4300s, big prairie tanks, 4200 tanks, Churchward's Counties all shared the same boiler also. I don't remember but I suspect they shared cylinders too. Churchward wanted to put the boiler from the 4700s on the Castle chassis but it'd have been too heavy.
The GWR's standardisation policy started a lot earlier than Stanier's tenure at the LMS, so had time to be extended right across the locomotive fleet. Stanier arrived to find plenty of indifferent but adequate smaller locos, but the top priority was the lack of good higher powered designs. Unlike the GWR he seems to have succeeded with the 8F in delivering a heavy freight locomotive based on standard components. Or was it just that there was less weight-sensitive infrastructure (or fewer weight-sensitive civil engineers?) on the LMS?
 

Irascible

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There wasn't much wrong with the 2800s, wasn't there? they were built for years without major changes. Probably worth a look at their performance in the 1948 exchanges. They are a freight version of the Saint/Halls just like the 8F is more or less a Black 5.
 

Dr_Paul

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One popular candidate for an unnecessary locomotive is the Standard Class 6, the Clan class. One of the common reasons for considering it unnecessary is that it was 12 tons heavier than the Standard Class 5, yet only very slightly more powerful; it was much the same weight as the Bulleid light pacific and the Castle classes, but considerably less powerful than either.

Was there any good reason to produce two Class 4 tender locos, a 4-6-0 and a 2-6-0; and for seven different loco designs in the Class 2, 3 and 4 categories? Perhaps BR should have kept to the 9F, 7P, 5MT, 4MT (4-6-0), 4MT tank and either 3MT or 2MT tank designs, six classes rather than the 12 actually produced.
 

coppercapped

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SNIPPED

Would be interesting to know how much operations modelling was done in the early c20, proliferation does tend to indicate decentralised decision making a bit.
Not as a specific activity in the early 20th century. Operations modelling, or operational research, as a structured activity was a child of the Second World War, specifically in the planning of D-Day when the logistics of getting some 150,000 men and all their equipment and support over 100 miles of sea onto 50 miles of beaches in the right sequence on one day demanded some serious prior planning.
 

Irascible

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Not as a specific activity in the early 20th century. Operations modelling, or operational research, as a structured activity was a child of the Second World War, specifically in the planning of D-Day when the logistics of getting some 150,000 men and all their equipment and support over 100 miles of sea onto 50 miles of beaches in the right sequence on one day demanded some serious prior planning.

OR is a little more complicated than I was considering ( also a child of the RAF ww2 bombing campaign's lack of apparent success, iirc ) - was really thinking more along the lines of proper central planning rather each division doing it's own thing & hoping it interfaces with the neighbours. At least the GWR had a head start there post-grouping...


One popular candidate for an unnecessary locomotive is the Standard Class 6, the Clan class. One of the common reasons for considering it unnecessary is that it was 12 tons heavier than the Standard Class 5, yet only very slightly more powerful; it was much the same weight as the Bulleid light pacific and the Castle classes, but considerably less powerful than either.

Was there any good reason to produce two Class 4 tender locos, a 4-6-0 and a 2-6-0; and for seven different loco designs in the Class 2, 3 and 4 categories? Perhaps BR should have kept to the 9F, 7P, 5MT, 4MT (4-6-0), 4MT tank and either 3MT or 2MT tank designs, six classes rather than the 12 actually produced.

The Clan was a Britannia lightened for route availability, wasn't it? might wonder why the Britannia class instead in that case. It was 2 cyl rather than the complicated & expensive ( maintenance wise ) Castle/Bullieds ( and by the late 40s the Castle was already an old design ). I don't know why so many others either, although presumably the logistics chain for the 5 axle & 4 axle classes was more or less the same so it didn't really matter. Why the Class 3 I have no idea.
 

Bevan Price

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OR is a little more complicated than I was considering ( also a child of the RAF ww2 bombing campaign's lack of apparent success, iirc ) - was really thinking more along the lines of proper central planning rather each division doing it's own thing & hoping it interfaces with the neighbours. At least the GWR had a head start there post-grouping...




The Clan was a Britannia lightened for route availability, wasn't it? might wonder why the Britannia class instead in that case. It was 2 cyl rather than the complicated & expensive ( maintenance wise ) Castle/Bullieds ( and by the late 40s the Castle was already an old design ). I don't know why so many others either, although presumably the logistics chain for the 5 axle & 4 axle classes was more or less the same so it didn't really matter. Why the Class 3 I have no idea.
According to the RCTS History of BR Standards, the 82xxx Class was needed for lines with 16 tons axleload (bridges), where 2-6-4 tanks were too heavy, but they needed something more powerful than a Class 2MT. They were fitted with a shortened version of the Swindon No. 4 boiler, as used on the GWR 45xx / 55xx 2-6-2T.
 

47296lastduff

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Surely the Duke of Gloucester (71000) must be hard to justify design and tooling costs. It was allegedly built to replace 46202, smashed in the Harrow disaster, rather than as a start of a mass build. Was the need for class 8 Pacifics by LMR so exactly measured as to require a replacement for 46202, rather than juggling existing assets?
 

Spamcan81

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I think the Merchant Navies were like the Kings, big powerful engines but just too heavy, perhaps publicity and prestige were involved. The light pacifics were much more useful and had much better route availability

I disagree. The MNs could work to Exeter, Weymouth and the Channel ports. Routes which saw the heaviest loads on the Southern and needed Class 8 power if timings were to be accelerated. The Light Pacifics were good and had very good route availability but they'd struggle to match theor bigger brothers on the heaviest trains.

Surely the Duke of Gloucester (71000) must be hard to justify design and tooling costs. It was allegedly built to replace 46202, smashed in the Harrow disaster, rather than as a start of a mass build. Was the need for class 8 Pacifics by LMR so exactly measured as to require a replacement for 46202, rather than juggling existing assets?

The LMR was arguably short of Class 8 power and I'm surprised more Pacifics weren't built in line with the Eastern Region carrying on with the Peppercorn A1s.
 

Merle Haggard

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Surely the Duke of Gloucester (71000) must be hard to justify design and tooling costs. It was allegedly built to replace 46202, smashed in the Harrow disaster, rather than as a start of a mass build. Was the need for class 8 Pacifics by LMR so exactly measured as to require a replacement for 46202, rather than juggling existing assets?

There were mysterious aspects...
46202 was not as damaged as badly 46242, but only the latter was rebuilt - pretty much a new engine. Some rebuilding work was carried out on the frames of 46202 at Crewe and it wasn't withdrawn until 6/54 - Windward Isles was withdrawn in 12/52 - so the original intention was to repair.
There's a conspiracy theory- that Buckingham Palace (more influential then!) objected to it being returned to service because it would tarnish the name of the Princess. And, not unrelated, there was the suggestion that 71000 was originally to be named Duke of Edinburgh, resulting in objections from the same source. The choice of someone a little way down the succession instead does seem odd.
But I think one faction of the BR CM&EE's department just wanted to build an LNER-style BR standard (3 cylinders) , after all the LMS based ones and the Swindon based Prairie (3MT). And scrapping 46202 gave them an excuse, perhaps when Mr Riddles' attention was elsewhere.
 

Taunton

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I suspect claiming that 71000 was a replacement rather than new build was an accounting exercise with different budgets. It was the only Standard to have a prototype; all the others just launched into production. Just for balance in my commentary, the GWR were part masters at this, assigning locos to the rebuilding budget when all that was not new was the brass numberplate. This included several Castles, theoretically rebuilt from Stars or even the Great Bear.

Not relevant by the 1950s, but before nationalisation there was a corporate taxation reason why rebuilds/repairs were treated more favourably than new capital stock.
 

Spartacus

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I’d go with the LMR already being short of top link motive power being a big driver behind 71000. One side had rebuilt Fowler types, while the other had rebuilt Gresley types, and new Pacifics from Thompson and Peppercorn. I suspect 46202 essentially being non-standard, even in non-turbo form, had a lot to do with it eventually being scrapped. Maybe the idea that it being wrecked so soon after being rebuilt put someone off too.

Initially the Duke wasn’t meant to be a solitary loco, but designing it had been more complex, lengthy, and expensive than expected, so that by the time it was built modernisation was already just over the horizon. It also resulted in it being rushed, it was fitted with a standard Swindon double chimney against Riddle’s wishes, and the dampers were constructed smaller than on the drawings, which combined ruined it’s performance and almost led to the loco’s total loss.
 

Dr_Paul

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I wonder if the official reason for building 71000 was just a cover to hide that BR wanted a new class of 8P locos, and the non-repair of the Stanier 8P served as a useful excuse. Once 71000 had been constructed and introduced, then (so long as it performed sufficiently well) that would give a sound reason for a batch of them to be produced. It's always seemed to me to be very odd to go to the lengths of designing a brand new locomotive merely to replace one written-off member of another class. Had steam continued on BR, perhaps we might have had a class of a dozen or a couple of dozen Standard 8Ps to replace the more elderly 8Ps.
 

chorleyjeff

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That's pretty much what Stanier did I think - 8F, Black 5 and Jubilee were the same boiler sitting on different wheel arrangements.
No. Black 5 and 5XP (jubilee) were not the same. Also within classes boilers were not standard with several variations in each class

I’d go with the LMR already being short of top link motive power being a big driver behind 71000. One side had rebuilt Fowler types, while the other had rebuilt Gresley types, and new Pacifics from Thompson and Peppercorn. I suspect 46202 essentially being non-standard, even in non-turbo form, had a lot to do with it eventually being scrapped. Maybe the idea that it being wrecked so soon after being rebuilt put someone off too.

Initially the Duke wasn’t meant to be a solitary loco, but designing it had been more complex, lengthy, and expensive than expected, so that by the time it was built modernisation was already just over the horizon. It also resulted in it being rushed, it was fitted with a standard Swindon double chimney against Riddle’s wishes, and the dampers were constructed smaller than on the drawings, which combined ruined it’s performance and almost led to the loco’s total loss.
71000 was an unecessary vanity project justified by the destruction of one of the LMS 8Ps.
There was much pointless building in the latter days of steam. Why build Britannias and rebuild Scots at the same time ?
 

randyrippley

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I've seen it suggested in print that the only reason 71000 was built was so that Riddles could boast a full house of designs from 1-9 power classes. He was described as really being that vain.
 

Dr_Paul

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71000 was an unnecessary vanity project justified by the destruction of one of the LMS 8Ps.
I've never seen this justification as valid: was the Midland Region that short of 8Ps that they needed a replacement, and especially one that was a completely new design? Could they not have borrowed a spare 8P from another region, or were they all also working to the limit?
 

geoffk

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I tend to agree about the BR Standards; the BR 2MT 2-6-0 was a near clone of the Ivatt LMS version. And some might wonder if they needed both 4-6-0s (75xxx) and 2-6-0 (76xxx) versions of 4MT locos.

Pre-BR, and pre-1923 Grouping, each railway had its own engineers, each with their own ideas. If more powerful locos were needed, they often "improved" or enlarged their previous designs -- although as history records, sometimes the changes proved to be "negative improvements", and it was necessary to introduce even more designs to do the required work. (e.g. LSWR, L&YR had some very good 4-4-0s for the time they were built, but early attempts to produce efficient, reliable 4-6-0s were unsatisfactory.)
If the BR standard series had included a 5'8" wheel 2-6-0 version of the 2-6-4 tank, then the 5'8" 4-6-0 (75000 class) and the 5'3" 2-6-0 (76000) would not have been needed. Before Grouping, most locomotive chiefs went their own way with relatively little interchange of ideas. Churchward on the GWR was an exception as he brought in ideas from both France and the USA. After grouping the GWR continued its policy of standardisation while the LMS sought to eliminate many unsatisfactory or numerically small classes.
 

Bevan Price

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No. Black 5 and 5XP (jubilee) were not the same. Also within classes boilers were not standard with several variations in each class


71000 was an unecessary vanity project justified by the destruction of one of the LMS 8Ps.
There was much pointless building in the latter days of steam. Why build Britannias and rebuild Scots at the same time ?
I think that many Scots had been rebuilt before any Britannias were built.
 

geoffk

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I think that many Scots had been rebuilt before any Britannias were built.
The LMS/LMR never seemed to have enough class 7 and 8 power for the heaviest expresses - at the maximum 50 pacifics and 91 rebuilt Scots/Patriots and (rebt) Jubilees, so that many heavy trains were in the hands of Jubilees, Patriots and Black 5s. The Britannias which went to the LMR and LMS lines in Scotland would have been much needed extra power. In contrast, the LNER and successor BR regions had a maximum of just over 200 pacifics and 184 V2s.
 

Spartacus

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I think that many Scots had been rebuilt before any Britannias were built.

There was a bit of overlap, but as said above the LMR was always short of top class locos, and rebuilds just gives you better locos, not more of them. The Britannias were needed by the LMR, but perhaps not as much as a fleet of type 8s, Stanier was reportedly never satisfied with the Coronations, believing he erred when it came to the driving wheels, which should have been smaller than the 6ft 6in ones of the Princess’, rather than 6ft 9in. The Duke’s are 6ft 2in.
 

Taunton

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Another unnecessary lot were all the WR Pannier Tank types, two completely new designs (15xx and 94xx), 210 of them, built well after nationalisation, including quite a number built after the first Class 08 diesel shunters had also started to be delivered to the WR. Notably the 200 94xx were all built by outside contractors, as if Swindon didn't have the capacity to do them. Last one delivered at the end of 1956. Hawksworth had done the first 10 94xx at Swindon just before nationalisation, then wisely given up. And quite how the ten 15xx even got approved, a completely non-GWR concept (outside Walschaerts valve gear - on a shunter) is lost now.
 

Merle Haggard

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The LMS Royal Scot rebuilding (it was called 'Conversion' on the LMS) was caused by the original boilers nearing the end of their economic life. Instead of building new boilers to the old design, the opportunity was taken to design a taper-boiler replacement. The 'engine' part was pretty much unchanged - unlike certain rebuilds elsewhere.
According to The Book of the Patriots. a memo. was sent to the Railway Executive (presumably by Riddles) in July 1949 proposing that any un-converted Scots or Patriots should be scrapped and replaced by the 'new standard Pacific'. In the event, all Scots were converted but the Patriot conversion stopped soon after. It's worth pointing out that, under the LMS classification, the converted Scots were 6P and unconverted Patriots, 5XP. Perhaps for this reason, the intended replacement for the Patriots was the proposed light Pacific, i.e., the 6MT version which became known as the Clans - not the 7P Britannias.
I have always been puzzled why the LNER needed so many Pacifics; there wasn't that many express departures from kings Cross on a weekday but a lot of trains had an engine change at Grantham...
The GWR's ordering of 200 shunting tank engines compares to the LMS, who had built no steam shunting engines (apart from a few special design ones) since 1932 and had amassed a fleet of diesel shunters. But then, the (G)WR was busily rebuilding Castles with double chimneys and new boilers into 1962 - a conversion as thorough as the Scot/Patriot conversions, which had ceased 10 years before.
 

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I always though that the ordering of so many panniers just before nationalisation was an attempt to put a Great Western stamp on the new nationalised company, while leaving it to pick up the bill. Somewhere I read something that said, or at least suggested, that the contracts agreed by the GWR for the locos were so written that BR would still have had to pay the full purchase price to the private builders if the locos were cancelled. If they had been built at Swindon it would have been much easier to cancel them.
 

Bevan Price

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There was a bit of overlap, but as said above the LMR was always short of top class locos, and rebuilds just gives you better locos, not more of them. The Britannias were needed by the LMR, but perhaps not as much as a fleet of type 8s, Stanier was reportedly never satisfied with the Coronations, believing he erred when it came to the driving wheels, which should have been smaller than the 6ft 6in ones of the Princess’, rather than 6ft 9in. The Duke’s are 6ft 2in.
LMSR (and BR) loco history might have been very different if Charles Fairburn had not died prematurely in 1945. A trained electrical engineer, who succeeded Stanier as CME of LMSR, it was his idea to build the main line diesels which became 10000/01 (implemented in the H.G. Ivatt era), and if he had lived longer, he might have become the first CME of BR, instead of Riddles.
 

Taunton

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I always though that the ordering of so many panniers just before nationalisation was an attempt to put a Great Western stamp on the new nationalised company, while leaving it to pick up the bill. Somewhere I read something that said, or at least suggested, that the contracts agreed by the GWR for the locos were so written that BR would still have had to pay the full purchase price to the private builders if the locos were cancelled. If they had been built at Swindon it would have been much easier to cancel them.
No, they were ordered by BR. The first Robert Stephenson-built ones did not turn up until 1950, nearly three years after nationalisation. The people at Swindon thought the whole thing mad!

The locos were built by Robert Stephenson (inner Newcastle), Yorkshire Engine (Rotherham) and Bagnall (Stafford). Two safe Labour seats and (from 1945) Stafford as a Labour marginal, where the company was on the skids ...
 
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30907

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The GWR's ordering of 200 shunting tank engines compares to the LMS, who had built no steam shunting engines (apart from a few special design ones) since 1932 and had amassed a fleet of diesel shunters.
To be fair, GWR Panniers were not just shunters - they were general purpose small locos used on passenger and local freight, I think far more than the 060Ts of the other three companies.
 

Taunton

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This is correct about the good old "anything, anywhere" 57xx Panniers. However the 94xx were almost wholly used on shunting - they were so heavy they were Red route availability which prevented their use on anything but main lines. The principal reason why their tanks did not go all the way to the front, unlike the 57xx, is that would have grossly overloaded the front axle. Collett, who had retired to London, where many of the 94xx (and all the bizarre 15xx were based) must have gone across to Paddington from time to time and raised his eyebrows.

Taunton, and pretty much the whole of the 83 loco division, managed to keep well clear of them.
 

30907

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This is correct about the good old "anything, anywhere" 57xx Panniers. However the 94xx were almost wholly used on shunting - they were so heavy they were Red route availability which prevented their use on anything but main lines.

Taunton, and pretty much the whole of the 83 loco division, managed to keep well clear of them.
TBH I'd forgotten that the bulk of the BR era build was 94xx - they were 4F which suggests rather more powerful than a D4××× (08), though I don't know enough about GWR marshalling yards and trip freights to know whether the extra power was of use.
 

Richard Scott

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TBH I'd forgotten that the bulk of the BR era build was 94xx - they were 4F which suggests rather more powerful than a D4××× (08), though I don't know enough about GWR marshalling yards and trip freights to know whether the extra power was of use.
Guessing they would have been a lot faster than 08s so more use on trip workings.
 

Bevan Price

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Swindon kept building its own equivalent of pannier tanks during the 1960s -- the D95xx class (Class 14), many of which spent less time with BR than the 94xx class they were built to replace.
 

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