Proceedings Institution of Mechanical Engineers:
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Volume 166 (1952)
Considerations on bogie design, with particular reference to electric railways. 217-27. Disc. 227-36. 27 figs.
An examination was made of the dynamic characteristics of wheel sets and bogies, and of the various forces which act upon a bogie under service conditions. The fundamentals of bogie design are considered, and particular mention is made of recent developments in methods of body suspension. Problems of frame construction, braking, and power transmission are also considered. The paper concludes with a survey of the development of bogie design on the railways of London Transport Executive and elsewhere, and a restatement of the basic problems in the relation of bogie to track. At that time a set of bogies was running experimentally on London Transport in which the bolster springs, spring plank, and hangers were replaced by a pair of rubber springs in shear, disposed at appropriate angles between an extended bolster and the outside of the bogie frame. These springs were proportioned to give the same characteristics as their more normal predecessor and the riding is the same. The springs deflect vertically to correspond with the bolster springs, and horizontally to correspond with the effects of the bolster hangers with their normal centring action. The advantages are the elimination of all wearing parts and a saving in weight at a capital and maintenance cost certainly not higher than normal.
Sir William Stanier (227) opened the discussion, said that at the time of his first association with the railways, the rolling stock had four or six wheels; but soon afterwards Dean had introduced the bogie, Fig. 3, with the suspension bolts at the corner of the bogie frame, and had then developed the suspension bolts between the wheels. That bogie had given the best riding vehicles that had ever been known at that time; it was so good that a man from the Great Western Railway had made a big reputation in India by introducing the bogie that gave the best riding ever known there. Fig. 3b did not show the more usual form, which had two suspension bolts at each end on the suspension bar, so that the bogie frame had a suspension bolt on each side of it, which prevented it from twisting. That bogie was of very light construction, and with up to 48 feet stock certainly gave better riding than any other bogie. Unfortunately, traffic conditions had necessitated the building of coaches of 60 feet or over, and the angling of the suspension bolts with the longer vehicles made very uncomfortable riding. Ever since, the railways had been in trouble with bogie design.
He knew that one design had pneumatic tyres under the centre. For the main line, it was important to prevent the wheels from developing a double flange; carriage wheels, with more than 1/16-inch hollow, always led to bad riding. To make two wheels of exactly the same diameter of a cylindrical form was precision work which was not usually obtainable in a wheel shop, and it had been found, after making a number of experiments on the Liverpool and Southport line, when a rapid cinematographic camera had been used to photograph the movement of wheels on the rail, that the cylindrical wheel had the disadvantage that if the flange got against the rail it stopped there until it struck points. The solution was to alter the wheel to a 1 in 100 cone instead of the 1 in 20 cone, which was usual. That gave exceedingly good riding. It had not the same tolerance for wear as the 1 in 20 cone, but it had sufficient tolerance for carriage stock. There was a movement on the railways to build lighter stock. He believed that with lighter stock it would be increasingly necessary to reduce the coning of the wheels, because the sinusoidal movement with a 1 in 20 cone could react seriously on the carriage body. With a light stock the 1 in 100 cone might be a solution.
The equalizer body gave a nice riding bogie when it was new, but it was very apt, because there was no control on the bogie frame except in the middle, for it to rise up and down, which meant very heavy wear and tear on the parts.
He asked whether the author had found a composition brake block which would maintain its characteristic for braking wheels running in wet weather.
J.S. Tritton said that the photographs showed twenty-four ways of making a bogie, and the text showed that there were many more. The author had said that vertical irregularities on the track must be absorbed by the bogie without being transmitted to the body. Ideally, what was wanted in dealing with vertical irregularities (by which was meant rail-joint shocks) was to absorb them where they occurred, i.e., at the point of contact between the tyre and the rail. The best practical method so far evolved for doing that was the pneumatic tyre, with its swallowing action, but its application to railway practice was limited.
There was, however, a compromise-the resilient wheel. Many of those present would have had an opportunity of riding in the American PCC. car, streetcars fitted with resilient wheels in which the tyre carried a thin inner steel flange on either side of which was mounted a pair of heavy rubber rings. The rubber rings were bonded to the inner flange, and the tyre was held in position by through bolts and dowels on to the wheel centre, but was completely insulated from it. The effectiveness of the resilient wheel in damping the rail-joint shocks was extraordinarycars could not be heard coming until they were within 80 or 100 yards. There had, indeed, been complaints that the cars were dangerous on that account, but the complaints were an effective proof of the efficiency of the resilient wheel. Another resilient wheel, developed some twenty-five years previously by the Sentinel company, had been fitted to light rail cars run in the Channel Islands. So far as he knew, that type of wheel had been very effective, and he believed that some of them were still running. That wheel was of a different type, in which the rubber was in compression and not in shear and bonded. He realized that the resilient wheel had severe limitations. The PCC cars had an axle load of 6 tons and a tare weight of 16 tons, but they carried up to sixty seated passengers, and had very easy springingso much so, that one passenger stepping off the car was sufficient to sway the whole car to an extent noticed by other passengers.
So far, the wheels had not been developed beyond that stage, but he thought limitation to a 6-ton axle load could not be contemplated. Sufficient volume of rubber could be incorporated in the resilient type of wheel to give, in due course, an axle load up to railway requirements.
In regard to the transverse oscillations and shocks a bogie had to withstand, he agreed with the author's assessment of the amount of the transverse forces; but he had not brought out the fact that if the forces were of a cyclic nature their peaks were usually of momentary duration. He had himself examined many diagrams of flange forces on bogies in the previous few years, and all were characterized by very sharp peaks rising a long way above the normal maximum stresses of the flange forces which occurred. The view was now being taken that the peaks, because they were only of a momentary duration, did not impose nearly such severe stresses as had at first been thought.
Volume 167 (1953)
Development of the engineer in railway practice. 141-5 + 6 plates. 24 illus., 3 diagrs., table.
|Locomotive||Route||Average train load, tons||Unit cost of power or fuel as delivered to locomotive||Thermal efficiency, fuel to drawbar||Fuel cost: Pence per mile||Fuel cost: Pence per dbhp/h|
|Electric: S.R. locomotive No. 20003||Victoria-Newhaven||
|1.06d. per kW. per hr. at third rail||
|Diesel-electric: S.R. locomotive No. 10202||Waterloo-Exeter||
|1.51d per lb||
|Gas turbine : W.R. locomotive No.15000||Paddington-Plymouth||
|1.10d per lb||
|Steam : W.R. Castle Class,||Paddington-Plymouth||
|0.37d per lb||
Volume 169 (1954)
Mordell, Donald L.
An experimental coal-burning gas turbine. 163-71. Discussion: 171-80 + 4 plates
Part of a programme which should have led to a coal burning gas turbine locomotive, but never progressed beyond a static turbine. The discussion is notable for the absence of. locomotive engineers other than L.G. Copestake (174), A.T. Bowden who stated that he and his colleagues were building an exhaust-cycle gas-turbine-driven locomotive and naturally many of thc problems which they had encountered had already been dealt with or were being dealt with by the author and his colleagues. The paper was indicative of the pressure which was being put not only on Britain but also on other countries to use coal to better advantage. That was the keynote of the paper and certainly in Britain pressure was even higher than it was in Canada and the United States. It was for that reason that, with the Ministry of Fuel and Power, they had become engaged 011 the design and construction of a cycle which operated very largely on the lines which the author had described. He wished to acknowledge all that they owed to the author because, since the design had started, they had been greatly in his debt.
In Britain the attempt was being made to double the efficiency which was obtained from the steam locomotive by that cycle. That was not a very extravagant hope, but even if that could effectively be done on even a certain number of locomotives, it was a!l to the good, provided that the price of doing so was not prohibitive.
The author, of course, was dealing with granulated coal and not with pulverized coal as, no doubt, he would have preferred to do had conditions allowed. In Britain, distances were short and pulverized-coal stations could be set up at regular intervals along the railway system, and in their design he and his colleagues had, in fact, used pulverized coal instead of granulated but, of course, it was not possible for the author to do that and the solution which he had proposed of the cyclone type of furnace with its associated equipment was probably a unique one for the conditions under which his turbine would have to operate. The size of the project was one which was not normally undertaken in universities. It was more like a commercial project than an acedemic one and he considered that every credit was due to the author. He wished to asked the author something about the economics of the matter in Canada. He would like to know the local cost of oil fuel and coal such as he proposed to use, so that it would be possible to gauge what sort of efficiency level had to be aimed at to gain an advantage and what sort of efficiency might be expected when a project of that nature was developed to the full.
R.J. Welsh (172), said that the paper was an outstanding one. The author had come a long way and had given a paper which was in the best traditions of the Institution. He had described in a very frank and detailed way novel and original work which was going to prove of considerable importance in the future.
He knew that there were many people in Britain who were rather against the idea of coal burning, because they said that in Britain the position already obtained where the demand for coal was much greater than the supply, and that therefore no encouragement whatever should be given to any device which burnt coal and raised the demand without raising the supply. The answer was that the authors machine burnt low-grade fuel, and low-grade coal was something of which Britain and almost everyone else had not exactly inexhaustible supplies but supplies which, by all reports, would probably last 200 years, whereas oil supplies were liable to run out in about fifty years. He was probably one of the few people present at the meeting who had actually seen that plant, and he would like to confirm that it was every bit as workmanlike as it looked in the diagrams. Incidentally, he believed that he was the only person in that hall, apart from the author, who had actually seen the plant running. If those present were to see it they would be impressed by the whole manner in which that experiment had been carried out. It was a type of work which was not normally associated with outlying parts of the British Commonwealth, and he considered that the Canadian authorities, and in particular the Department of Mines and Technical Surveys, deserved to be congratulated for having brought a project of that sort so far forward. One example of the excellent way in which the project had been handled was provided in the paper, where the author had mentioned the cold heat exchanger. What he had called the cold heat exchanger was the normal heat exchanger which was in use in the gas-turbine world every day, and in Britain everyone had a good deal of trouble in trying to make heat exchangers which would stand up to their job; but the author thought that that was nothing, and had said, in effect: This was normal, and so we just made it and put it in. That was typical of the way in which he had tackled those problems.
The author had now convincingly shown that his cycle was completely feasible technically, and in the forthcoming runs which he was going to make and in any redesign which he did he would simply underline that conclusion. The point which was not yet established was whether it would be economically feasible. In Britain investigations had been made on that type of cycle, and those who had made them had found that the cost was completely prohibitive; the figures which had emerged had been beyond all reason. The heat exchangers had not been designed quite so intelligently as those of the author, and it might be that with that intelligence and with further redesign he might reduce the cost; but, undoubtedly, that was the one factor which still remained to be proved. He was sorry to finish on a pessimistic note, but he had to reserve judgement on the scheme as a whole until it had been shown to be economic.
The hear exchanger, as the author had pointed out, was the keynote of the trouble. They had transferred the trouble from the turbine to the heat exchanger. They knew, and had already confirmed in the operation of the authors plant, where they had gone wrong in a number of instances and, fortunately, it was not too late for them to act on that knowledge.
and F. Johnson was concerned with railway locomotives, steam, Diesel, electric, and so forth, and he wished to ask whether it was intended to use an electric drive for the locomotive. Furthermore, whether the locomotive was to carry a starting engine which he presumed would be petrol, whether it was to have cooling water which would possibly be circulated through another heat exchanger, and whether the driver would have to do the starting up. It appeared to be rather complicated as compared with a Diesel electric or a steam locomotive, and he wondered whether it would be possible to accommodate all those items on a locomotive chassis. Finally, he asked whether any complication was envisaged if the locomotive was stopped away from its shed At ILocoE meeting where Tuplin set out his design criteria: Johnson seemed to prefer narrow fireboxes and low boiler pressures..
Fuel consumption and the speed of railway transport. 811-19
Mathematician at English Electric, Bradford. One of the major factors affecting the fuel consumption of transport is speed. This paper describes an analytical method by which the effect of variations in speed on fuel consumption can be calculated. The calculation is based on the fuel-power characteristics of the power unit and the resistance to motion of the vehicle obtained from testing plant or bench-test results. The applications of this method are described, with particular reference to steam-railway traction, and the problems of operating trains so that fuel is used as economically as possible, or so that costs are minimized, are discussed, as well as associated design problems. A mathematical solution of the problem of running a train from point A to point B so that the fuel used is a minimum is given in Appendix I.
eight important factors affecting fuel consumption
(1) To compare the fuel used and the time taken by a given train on a given journey when the locomotive is worked at different constant steam rates;
(2) to find a method of running a train from point A to point B so that the fuel used.is a minimum;
(3) to find a method of running a train from point A to point B in a given time so that the fuel used is a minimum;
(4) to find a method of running a train from point A to point B so that the total cost is a minimum;
(5) to consider any alterations in the fuel characteristics of a locomotive which will reduce consumption;
(6) to determine the best type of locomotive for a particular task.
An experimental turbo-diesel locomotive. 820-8. Discussion 829-
Author was head of research at Renault.
R.C. Bond (829), in opening the discussion, said that it was some time since any railway papers had been presented to the Institution. It would be seen from Mr. Gilmours paper that the more intensive utilization of steam locomotives was a subject which had not been neglected. Mr. Picards paper was to be welcomed as was any paper dealing with Diesel locomotives. Both papers laid emphasis on fuel economy. Mr. Gilmour had rightly said that fuel economy was a matter of vital concern to any railway undertaking. It was becoming of even greater concern than it had been ten to twenty years earlier, although it was a subject which had never been neglected.
Whereas express passenger locomotives formerly used coal at a rate of 4.5-5 lb. per drawbar h.p. hr., a figure of 3 lb. was currently much more representative. That improvement in coal consumption had been contributed to very largely by extensive locomotive testing. The equipment now available for those engaged in that work on British Railways was unequalled anywhere in the world. In the past, dynamometer car tests on revenue-earning trains had been the principal source of information. At the present, however, there were two locomotive testing plants at Rugby and Swindon respectively, supplemented by tests on the line under scientifically controlled conditions with mobile units and dynamometer cars.
Locomotive testing could conveniently be regarded as falling under two main heads. First, there was testing leading to improvements in the detailed design of locomotives. Secondly, there was testing directed mainly to provide data leading to more efficient use of locomotives in traffic. It was from the latter standpoint that Mr. Gilmour had written his paper which had dealt in some detail with the possibilities of effecting fuel economy by modifying the loads and timings laid down in the working time-tables.
Extensive tests had already been conducted on three classes of 4-6-0 mixed traffic locomotives on the London Midland, Eastern, and Western Regions, hauling trains of widely varying loads and speeds over particular routes. It had been shown that with the combination of speeds and loads normally assigned to them the locomotives were working well within their most efficient range.
On p. 813 Mr. Gilmour had enumerated eight important factors which affected fuel consumption in the running of trains. Although the situation in regard to items (5)-(8) might not be known in detail they were, nevertheless, vital matters for which allowance had to be made if timekeeping was to be reliable. On the same page Gilmour had emphasized the that there would be differences in fuel consumption as between one crew and another. That was indeed very true. Some work had been done recently at a Motive Power Depot in which every shovelful of coal used over a week had been reported. It had been shown that the difference between a good crew and an average one might amount to 25 per cent in fuel consumption.
On p. 817 Gilmour had drawn attention to two special features of his method of economic timing of trains. One was the apparent need to work the locomotive heavily during the initial part of a journey, the other was the need to anticipate changes in gradient. There were, however, so many practical factors affecting the performance of a locomotive in the early part of a journey that it would scarcely be possible to persuade drivers to force the pace until everything had become thoroughly warmed up and conditions stabilized. While some men might anticipate changes in gradient and adjust their regulator opening and cut-off accordingly, he himself was not to be persuaded that a driver going up to Shap summit with a heavy train would ease his regulator before reaching the top in order that he might, theoretically, save a few shovelfuls of coal. It was necessary to pay due regard to the day-to-day practical conditions under which locomotives operated.
Coal consumptions of a Class 7 and a Class 4 locomotive respectively, when working under identical conditions of load and speed, did not perhaps differ so much as might be inferred from an examination of Fig. 7. No doubt the author had drawn the graph to emphasize his point but the difference in total coal consumed by the two locomotives under the conditions in question amounted to only 140 Ib. in 16 miles-equal to approximately ten shovelfuls. In the same way the position of the areas of maximum thermal efficiency depicted in Fig. 8 was determined mainly by the weight of the two locomotives in relation to any given horsepower output. One was a large locomotive and the other was not. It was not always possible exactly to match the capacity of a locomotive to the power output required on any specific journey because it might be necessary to work a much heavier load on the return trip. One of the vital factors in efficient operation was utilization of locomotives, namely, the achievement of maximum mileage per day per locomotive in use. That frequently dictated the employment of a locomotive which might not, purely on the grounds of thermal efficiency, necessarily be the best but which, having regard to the total cost of running the railway, was the most suitable.
In regard to the paper by Picard, he had not so far been able to see the locomotive described. Any new development of that sort, however, was of great interest. The locomotive described, to be known as a Turbo-Diesel, was, in fact, a Diesel locomotive that happened not to have a crankshaft. It would be judged by the same standards as those by which any other Diesel locomotive would have ultimately to be judged. Reliability would be an important point in any final assessment. The fuel consumption over the whole power range would be also a matter of special concern. It should be appreciated that a locomotive was by no means a constant-output machine. Much of the work required would be at power outputs considerably below the maximum and a good showing under part-load conditions would be a matter of some importance.
Picard had done well to include in his paper a note as to the troubles which had so far been experienced. Only by a frank discussion of that kind would it be possible to ensure that the best results would be obtained from that interesting and novel form of locomotive.
D.R. Carling confined his remarks to the Gilmour paper. The author had done well to emphasize not only that the amount of a major item in the cost of moving traffic could be accurately assessed only when the performance characteristics of the motive power were known, but also that correct loading and scheduling depended on those characteristics, on the resistances to motion and on the fundamental laws of nature which ships, aircraft and road vehicles, and even railway trains, had to obey.
One of the most interesting results of the authors work was that it would rarely, if ever, be necessary to repeat it in full. That was because he had shown that the difference between the relatively simple so-called constant steam rate method of operation and the outcome of a vast amount of computation was so small that it was rarely likely to lead to over 5 per cent difference in the calculation of the basic fuel consumption of a locomotive, to which a variety of extras had to be added in practical day-to-day operation.
That was fortunate because the constant steam rate method was so much simpler both for scheduling purposes and for the crew to apply approximately in practice on a locomotive. That feature was likely to be even more marked when forms of railway motive power other than steam were concerned, and it became a matter of driving on one or other of a number of controller notches.
There was one criticism of the work which must be made. All the relations on which it had been based were the results of testing at constant steaming rates, and they might not be entirely valid for other conditions. The amount of the difference was unlikely to be more than a few per cent for any reasonable method of operation, but it might greatly reduce, or even reverse, the difference between the constant steam rate method and the maximum economy method as worked out by the author.
Railway operation, in most cases, involved some departures from a truly constant steaming rate over the whole of a journey, but the fewer those were, and the less in extent, the more nearly would the results in practice approach the standard set in testing, since optimum combustion conditions could then be most nearly attained.
There were many other considerations in the allocation of motive power to particular duties besides fuel economy whilst running, but it would help to have a valid assessment of the basic fuel consumption for each of the various units that might be selected. It would also be helpful to know how far the actual consumption departed from the basic one. The actual consumption would exceed the basic for many reasons but the amount of the excess should be kept within reasonable bounds.
P.C. Dewhurst (), wrote that although somewhat beyond the strict limits of the paper and therefore no shortcoming on the part of Gilmour, he believed that an extension into the realm of public efficiency was desirable. He asked what about the man-hours consumed by passengers being immobilized in a train and so being a loss to national production. He had noticed an instance-not by any means unusual just after the 1939-45 war-where bad connexion timing, originating as a war-time saving measure! had caused an unnecessary waiting loss of 35 minutes on one train every weekday; since the total number of passengers varied around 500, the total manhours lost, allowing two-thirds as production effectives and onethird women and children, was of the order of 200. At 8 working hours per day that meant the productive potential of no less than 25 people per day throughout the year permanently rendered unavailable. Therefore, conversely, the acceleration of a train running between point A and point B by 35 minutes, as could be done in many cases such as between London and Manchester, London and Leeds, etc., was equivalent to 25 more producers upon the nations working-books. The implications embodied in the foregoing, capable of application in varying degrees, appeared to have been lost sight of in Britain in recent years, and it was time that it became recognized.
S.O. Ell (Swindon, Wilts.), wrote that Mr. Gilmours mathematical treatment of the effect of variation in speed on fuel consumption was of considerable value and great interest. But a disciplined valuation of that part of the paper virtually amounted to a vindication of the constant-steam-rate method (as properly applied) rather than to the contrary, which latter effect the author had endeavoured to prove. A great deal of the paper had rightly been devoted to the comparison between the predominately mathematical economic method and the constantsteam- rate method, and the interest of the railway engineer was, naturally, particularly centred on the practical example in Fig. 5. A critical examination of that, however, showed that the author had failed to establish that any significant part of the 5 per cent greater economy which he had claimed for the economic method was obtained when the constant-steam-rate was strictly applicable, i.e. as far as the summit, about 9h miles from the start of the 16-mile journey.
The traditional and only practical method of control over the working rate was by the passing times, which formed part of the traffic-control system. The train in question might, in practice, be timed to pass Kibworth North Box (9 miles 30 chains from Leicester) 13+ minutes from the departure, which was the practical interpretation of the 13.6 minutes calculated on the constant-steam-rate method or the 13.5 minutes calculated on the economic method. Variation obviously could and did appear between the actual and any assumed rate of working during the passage within the section, and that might be to the extent represented by a cylinder feed of 500 lb. per hr. So long as the schedule was maintained, that did not matter, for the excellent reason that the steam rate in respect to efficiency was not critical to anything like that extent, as the Bulletins referred to by the author brought out very clearly. Since the difference between the two curves, either of which might well represent the actual working, was of that order in steam rate, there could not possibly be any tangible difference between them in effect. The characteristics of the constant-steam-rate method were capable of demonstration by the Controlled Road Testing System as evolved by the originators of the method. Many of the Bulletins referred to (for example, Bulletin No. 8) carried examples which showed, without the complications of higher mathematics, the efficiency with which thermal energy was converted to the mechanical energy which was absorbed by the trailing load at every moment during the progress of a representative train over a representative route. The subject had been more comprehensively treated by Ell (1953)*.
The author had paid to the constant-steam-rate method a compliment in singling it out as the only method worthy of comparison with his own. It would have beenmeet, therefore, if he had presented the method, as generally understood by railway engineers, together with its background, in a much better way than in fact he had. He would, for instance, have explained that it was so called, for brevitys sake, from its main feature (as exhibited on the first part of the journey); in practical application it was clearly necessary to introduce transitions between periods of constant-steam-rate working when track or locomotive features made it necessary temporarily to relax the nominal rate of working. Assuming no undisclosed restriction, a transition on a train not stopping at Market Harborough would scarcely be warranted, if hauled by a locomotive suited to that particular duty. The standard of economy of the first part would therefore continue over the second part, and the author would have been unable then to show any superiority for his economic method. But even assuming a restriction on the down grade, making a transition necessary, the qualified practitioner in the constant-steam- rate method would assume a change in engine working at the summit (not + mile beyond) to early cut-off with the steam rate reduced to the quantity required to ensure atmospheric exhaust pressure (thus preventing flue gases entering the cylinders). The steam rate would subsequently be increased as speed permitted until the second period of constant-steam-rate was attained. The author had chosen to assume a stop at Market Harborough, however, and the second period would not have been reached. The sectional time from Kibworth North Box was exactly the same as the authors time by his economic method and he invited him to show that that had any tangible advantage in economy over the constant-steam-rate method as applied above. The conditions assumed by the author, together with his imaginative interpretation of the rival method, had enabled him to obscure the source of the 5 per cent greater economy claimed for his own.
The author appeared to have over-assessed the significance of that mathematical analysis, valuable as it was. He had felt impelled to claim that it led to something new in economic train operating and in economic design. In the latter part of the paper he had given the impression that hitherto those matters had had no science. In that he was less than just to the railway engineer. His omission of any reference to the work of Lomonosoff, for instance, was itself a silent rebuke. Lomonosoff (1933)f had proposed, as a criterion in those matters, the cost of the net tonmile. It might well be that statisticians and accountants could improve upon the statistical terms of his equation. Rut one term remained basically unalterable-the essential cost of energy term which lay wholly within the sphere of economic design and the mechanics of the train. The contemporary railway engineer could readily supply that term for any locomotive class of whatever type of motive power and for all duties within its capacity. That, inserted in an equation of the Lomonosoff type would enable a railway organization to assess comprehensively those matters in economic operation and design with which the author had so much difficulty. A straightforward cost-of-energy diagram (Fig. 33) was given given as an example. It concerned a steam locomotive design now 27 years old and applied to through journeys over a particular route, but as that happened to be over 170 miles in length, containing within it a representative mixture of track features, it had been found to be also representative of other routes. The cost of fuel was based on current prices.and included haulage 295 per cent, charges in respect to fuelhandling appliances 0.3 per cent and wages 1.7 per cent. It implied the acceptance of the constant-steam-rate method of scheduling the individual journeys, the nominal steam rate being connected with the nominal input (fuel) by the characteristics of the locomotive. Examination of its form, however, showed that locomotives of other types of motive power could be represented in exactly the same way, the various input rates corresponding, in a Diesel, to the full-load and part-load fuel ratings. He suggested that that treatment was immensely superior to that proposed by the author for settling questions of economic design and operation. He invited the author to consider, for example, the possibilities offered by a comparison of Fig. 33 with similar diagrams for (a) the recent British Railways Class 8 steam locomotive which embodied all the latest design improvements, (b) a representative 2000-h.p. Diesel-electric and (c) a representative 2000-h.p. Diesel-hydraulic.
The cost of energy to a railway concerned the cost of displacing net tons over a giveri route in a given time by way of the cost of displacing gross tons (tare weight plus load) over the route in the same time (the relation between the gross and net tons being provided by statistics). Hence the cost was statistical by nature and the term energy was used then in its commercial sense. It stemmed from the efficiency with which thermal energy was converted into the mechanical energy used in displacing the train of vehicles, energy there having the engineers definition. It was therefore the actual horsepower which was transmitted to the trailing load, in relation to fuel consumption, which was significant. Yet the author had obscurely used in Figs. 6 and 8 the equivalent horsepower, which had been defined as the horsepower on the level at constant speed, and which was merely a convention. The values of the so-called efficiency given in those figures were based on the equivalent horsepower and were not to be compared with values measurable by a dynamometer car, which were also those of the cost-of-energy diagram. The engineer would find in the authors methods no ready means of linking the output necessary to displace effectively a given train in a given time with the effective and efficient output of the locomotive. Both steam and Diesel locomotives, working on a constant steam-rate or fuel-input schedule, produced a sensibly constant output of energy on the train of vehicles. That the author had himself indicated, in of Fig. 5b, where, for a constant steam rate, the horsepower appeared sensibly constant over a wide speed range. The fuel rate being constant, the efficiency with which the train of vehicles was moved was thus also sensibly constant irrespective of gradient, acceleration and speed. It tended to be even more so in the case of Diesel engines. Hence the train itself might be identified by the nominal horsepower required to displace it in the required dlistance in the given time. The locomotive must be capable of exerting that horsepower effectively and efficiently whatever its type of motive power (in practice it must also have a margin above the nominal.) By the characteristics of the locomotive the nominal horsepower was connected with nominal steam rate and/or fuel input. Thus the constant-steam-rate system, criticized by the author, with its counterpart of constant fuel rate for Diesel engines, possessed additional advantages which lifted it above the obscurities of mathematics. Its advantages, especially in relation to the change in motive power that was taking place, were fully exploited by the users of the constant-steam-rate method which (to repair an omission by the author) had been associated with the former Great Western Railway, later the Western Region of British Railways, by origin, development and application.
Developments in high capacity shock absorbers and buffers. 845-52
Testing hydraulic, hydropneumatic and other buffers for service in railway stations (Liverpool Street is mentioned) and for passenger lifts and pit acges.
Volume 173 (1959)
Gent, A.N. and Lindley, P.B.
The compression of bonded rubber blocks. 111-22.
Volume 174 (1960)
Carter, H. Desmond
Presidential Address: the engineer, life and diesel engines. 1-14. 7 figs. (illus. and diagrs.).
Chairman and Managing Director of Crossley Brothers Ltd, Manchester. Address included the application of the Crossley diesel engine to railway locomotives.
The high-speed heavy-duty diesel engine, its development, design and application (James Clayton Lecture). 1007-22.
Author was with Daimler-Benz A.G., and application to railway locomotive traction was considered.
Volume 175 (1961)
Economic results of diesel electric motive power on the railways of the United States of America. 257-75. Discussion: 275-317.
There is no formal cpnclusion to this paper as presented, but the final paragraphs are as follows:
During the period since 1940, railway management has been beset with many serious problems, including increased competition with subsidized carriers, loss of traffic, rising costs, and higher operating ratios. To solve these problems management has changed operating methods, made large investments in new motive power, cars, and facilities? in improved freight ternlinals and yards, in new signals and dispatching systems, and in general improvements in way, and in maintenance methods.
In this period the total investment in the classes I and I1 railways has been increased $9 billion, or more than onethird. Of this increase, motive power and facilities have accounted for $2-5 billion; new cars, $4 billion; with all other improvements accounting for the balance of $2.5 billion. The investment in diesel motive power has been the most spectacular, and has had the greatest amount of publicity.
To claim, however, that the diesel is responsible for all the operating economies made since 1935, or even 1945, is to belittle the skill of management, and to expropriate the credits due to these other investments.
Such claims cannot be made equitably for any one factor. All have made their contribution.
This study simply states that the all-embracing economies claimed for diesel motive power on the class I railways of the United States, as a whole, do not appear in the statistical record
The diesel locomotive has not revolutionized American railway economics. In road service, diesel motive power has added to the financial burden of the railways.
Brown was Consulting Engineer, Gibbs and Hill, Inc., New York, N.Y. In his concluding summary, following the discussion, Brown noted that the railways of the United States must think for themselves about more economic motive power as manufacturers had no incentive or obligation to think for them: they were in business to make profits, and had been far cleverer than the railways during the past quarter century. For every millon ton-miles the railways lost to automotive traffic on the highways (and that was where most of it had gone and was still going), the automotive industry made possibly fewer diesel locomotives, but a great many more automotive highway vehicles. They could not lose, nor was it really necessary for them to change the status quo, unless some of the railways started to wake up and decide they really did require some more economic, longer life, single-units with higher capacity ar all speeds, that cost much less to maintain and much less in first cost. Motive power was not sold to the railways in Europe. They studied their needs, specified their desires, and bought their motive power. There was a large difference. The same was true in the United States until there was no further demand for steam. The American railways could, if they really wanted to, put themselves back into that position again
His concluding remarks were: He could not refrain from stating that as a result of the study, he was more than ever convinced that the diesel had been misapplied to a considerable amount of milage of the American railways. It was well known that 50 per cent of the traffic was handled on about 10 per cent of the American railway milage. That required also about 50 per cent of the motive power capacity. That traffic could be handled, just as it was in Europe, far more economically with electric operation. Fifty per cent of the traffic, handled more economically, was really something to think about and to look for. But the railroads would nor be able to get any American locomotive manufacturer to help them in their search for that. There was no real incentive in that for any such manufacturer, and for some, it could be to their disadvantage. The railways must make that search for themselves, as they had in every country in Europe, and as England was doing today. If the paper stimulated any serious thinking along those lines at home, it would have served a furrher, unexpected purpose.
He could nor feel otherwise.
S.B. Warder (276-) said that as he understood it, the conclusion from the paper was that for the conditions applying in the United States of America and on their main lines dieselization was no cheaper than steam, and the optimum period for retiring locomotives 12-14 years; after 15 years the cost of dieselization increased. That was very contrary to anything Britain had experienced and he could not believe that Britain could justify diesel traction on a similar basis.
He had visited America in 1946 and in 1954. He had studied traction and covered approximately the same ground on both occasions. On the first occasion the dieselization programme was in full spate and locomotives were being turned out rapidly, but the troubles in service were similar to those experienced in Britain in the past two years. A great future was, however, promised, though there were still a few doubters; he had been told once or twice Wait a bit! We have something new round the corner; look at our gas turbines. On his return eight years later they had still been optimistic, but only four locomotives a day were being turned out and various ideas were being propounded for keeping the plants employed. He had then observed the rising costs of repair and operation, and the views which he had expressed at that time were corroborated in the paper to a far greater extent than he had ever imagined they would be. Previous speakers had questioned them, but the trend was there. He had seen the trend in 1954, but it was now, according to the authors statistics, far in excess of anything that he imagined could ever happen. He would like to ask whether the author had any information on the average numbers of unserviceable locomotives, not available for traffic, on any of the important American railroads. For many years he had been advocating the merits of electrical operation, and it was therefore very encouraging to him to observe that since it became evident that steam motive power was no longer popular in Britain a growing body of technical opinion preferred the alternative of electric rather than diesel for the main trunk routes. The modernization plan looked to electrification as the ultimate o5jective, with dieselization as a half-way stage. The facts disclosed in the paper were therefore of the greatest importance in Britain. There was accurate knowledge of the operating costs of steam traction and also of electric, and the ratio of the two could be of the order of 2/1, which corresponded to the experience of many other countries. Very many countries-France, Italy, Germany, Belgium, Holland, Sweden, Spain, Portugal, Russia, Japan, China, South Africa, and others were more interested in electrification than in diesel traction and they had decided that for themselves on nztional grounds. North America seemed to be different in that respect. The American railroads were offered a 30 per cent saving. That was the figure which was recognized in Britain and there were certain schemes estimated on a similar basis. It had come as a shock to learn that that figure might not be correct. There were, however, circumstances which made dieselization more favourable. Britain had a very high proportion of diesel railcar sets, and planning could be done in such a way that there was more certainty of a return than the statistics in the paper would suggest. The paper presented one of the most powerful cases he had ever seen for electrification, and a justification for all that was being planned for Britain, and in fact of what other people were doing throughout the world in finding a solution for their problems. Perhaps the author could say whether the realization was growing in the United States that a more effective use of the natural resources of the country might have to be directed on a national basis. If so, what were the prospects of its implementation? He suggested that when the paper was printed in the PROCEEDINGS the author might include in Figs. 17 and 18 the corresponding characteristic curves for electric locomotives. Fig. 24, taken from Fig. 18, showed what he suggested. The author had not given a scale, but he had taken two locomotives of equal weight, 78 tons, one diesel hydraulic and the other electric. It would be seen that there was the same factor of adhesion and it would be noticed that the tractive effort fell off very rapidly on the diesel after a certain speed, whereas it could be maintained until over 50 mile/h with the electric locomotive, and still further if desired, so that there was all that available horsepower for traction. That was why electrification could provide a punctual and reliable service with locomotives of different characteristics. He was strongly in favour, therefore, of electric traction.
W.J.A. Sykes (282) said that his interest was mainly electrification, but he was also concerned with diesel maintenance. On p. 268 the author had drawn attention to the fact that availability was of no great importance if it could not be fully utilized. That, of course, was a truism, but he wondered whether there was more behind it; whether the author was implying that American traffic operators were not making the fullest possible use of diesel locomotive availability. Diesel power should have been in use for a sufficient length of rime for the traffic people to know precisely what they could do with it. He wondered whether the author had any ulterior motive in making the statement to which he had referred.
On p. 265 the author had stated that diesel locomotives had been discovered to have an economic life of 12-14 years. That had been dealt with by previous speakers, but he must echo their amazement. It was a most remarkable statement. He would have thought that the difference between a diesel-electric locomotive and an electric locomotive of similar performance lay in the presence of the diesel engine itself. He wondered how it was that. that should make such an outstanding difference to its life, in view of the fact that the inherent overload capacity of the electric locomotive must produce greater wear and rear on the mechanical parts. He was concerned with the maintenance of three 1500-h,p. Co-Co mixed-traffic electric locomotives built between the years 1941 and 1948, so that the oldest had almost 20 years service. They ran on an average 67 000 miles/year per locomotive, mainly on freight services. The cost of running repairs at maintenance depots during the past eight years had increased from 5½d. to 6½d./mile, mainly accounted for by the normal rise in costs during that period. In other words, there had been practically no increase whatever in the cost of depot maintenance. During the same period the amount of heavy overhauls in main workshops had been about 7d. per locomotive mile, so that it would be seen that there had been no upward trend whatever in the maintenance costs of the mechanical parts. It seemed to him that the statement in the paper about the upward trend of costs in the repair of diesel locomotives was very hard to understand.
It was assumed, of course, rhat the reference to the extremely short life of the American diesel locomotives related to the whole locomotive and not only to the diesel engine. Fig. 21 showed a comparison of steam, diesel, and electric locomotive repair costs on the basis of the 1953 price level,. and there was the astonishing conclusion that repair costs for diesel locomotives had gone up in the ratio of 4/1 over a period of 10-12 yeas. In view of the relatively less sreep rises in the repair costs of electric and steam locomotives it was assumed that that was due to heavy repairs and renewals required on diesel locomotives, but that seemed to him to be quite unaccountable. It might be, of course, that the American diesel locomotive tended to run at a much higher speed than those in Britain. He noted from Table 3 that the train-miles per train-hours for both freight and passenger service were considerably higher than were normally achieved in Britain even with electric haulage. He assumed that the train-hours were total trainhours and not merely those hours during which the train was in motion. Perhaps the author would comment on that..
Volume 176 (1962)
Some speculations on the future of railway mechanical engineering. 61-106.
Volume 177 (1963)
The diesel engine on rail. (Summer Meeting 1963: Symposium on Prime Movers). 1025-32.
(1) Power rating of traction diesel engines is far from being an exact science especially when related as it must be to most economical maintenance in service. Judgement rather than exact engineering determination is so far the only yardstick.
(2) Whatever the level of defects and casualties be it good or bad, strict interpretation of the meaning of these terms is essential before statistics can be used comparatively and conclusions drawn.
(3) As every railway must for policy-making purposes use available experience for assessment of relative worth of different power units both in ownership and prospective use, the effects of load factor, maintenance standards, time, supervision and development have to be carefully weighed, before true comparisons become available.
(4) Many non-engineering considerations have a bearing on diesel reliability and repair costs. Of these, organization of responsibility and supervision is the principal with financial provision for sufficient and efficient maintenance facilities as a close second.
(5) The engine itself is not the least reliable of all the components of diesel traction, and accounts for only one-fifth of total defects in service. As with other types of prime mover, any given diesel engine on rail calls for painstaking development and trouble shooting before it levels out with time at the full reliability of which it is inherently capable. As in most other diesel traction aspects, the difference between the best and the worst in this respect is wide.
(6) Sensible and practical standardization is the aim of both railways and manufacturers, here and abroad. The obstacles to its achievement are formidable, however, largely because of the dynamic upsurge of technique and development in all aspects of engineering associated with diesel traction. One form of this is the proliferation of different makes of equipment for the same purpose.
Volume 178 (1963-4)
The Napier Deltic diesel engine in main-line locomotives. 53-73. 30 diagrs.
Chief Engineer, Deltic Division, D. Napier & Son Limited. Details of operating experience with the Deltic engine in railway service, the troubles and defects encountered, and the design changes introduced to overcome them, together with details of subsequent service experience
Volume 179 (1964)
The application of an analogue computer to a problem of pantograph and overhead line dynamics. 782-808
Calculating the behaviour of an overhead catenary system for railway electrification. 809-46.
Volume 181 (1966)
Technical limitations of conventional railways. Part 3G: 8-12.
Developments in the means of increasing speeds on railways are still proceeding, and it is not as yet possible to say that work carried out to date has indicated any precise upper limits imposed by engineering considerations. On old-established railway systems, such as exist in Britain, with relatively close spacing of towns and frequent occurrence of junctions imposing speed restrictions which cannot be eased, it seems doubtful whether it will be worthwhile to prepare special sections of track for speeds over 125 mile/h. Higher speeds may be achievable for short distances but financial justification will be difficult having regard to the very high installed power cost and the energy and time wastage already mentioned in reducing speed for the more restricted sections of track. Experience to date shows that very high standards of design and maintenance are achievable in both track and vehicle, and on railway systems with uninterrupted endto- end running characteristics speeds up to 250 mile/h may well be possible. Ultimately, however, it is suspected that the practical limitation is likely to be imposed by cost, coupled perhaps with some diffidence on the part of the public in facing too-rapid changes of scenery.
Volume 187 (1973)
Presidential address. Matching technology to the market. 601-13.
Unlike some of my predecessors, I had no special desire during schooldays to become an engineer. It happened, however, that straight from school I joined Yarrow & Co. at Scotstoun as an apprentice engineer and remained with them for eight years. The first three years were spent in the workshops and on sea trials; for the remainder of my apprenticeship and for a further three years, I trained in the Engine Drawing Office. Yarrow were, and still are, shipbuilders of high repute specializing in warships and shallow-draught vessels. On the engineering side, they built water-tube boilers for ships and power stations and steam turbines for ship propulsion. The company had a fine reputation for standards of workmanship and performance and it is hard to imagine a better environment in which to serve an apprenticeship. Yarrow were always active in trying out new ideas. I recall, for example, a development programme lasting several years devoted to pulverized-coal burning. As a member of the small team involved in that work, I learned a lot about boiler operation, apart altogether from the problems of using pulverized coal. Another interesting project in the 1930s was a high-pressure water-tube bailer (Fig. 1) designed in collaboration with a former President of this Institution, Sir Nigel Gresley, who at that time was Chief Engineer of the LNER. The object of the exercise was to develop a water-tube boiler capable of operating under the special conditions of railway service and I recall being a member of the trials squad when the boiler was steam-tested on the locomotive outside the boiler shop at Scotstoun. I look back on my apprenticeship as a period of great interest, both in the workshops and the drawing office. There was always something new happening, and although I doubt whether Yarrow would have claimed they were running a highly geared training scheme, they certainly knew how to handle young men. The time spent with Yarrow gave me a good start to my career and I continue to be grateful for the experience I gained. During these years, I attended evening classes at the Royal Technical College, Glasgow, gained a Higher National Certificate in Mechanical Engineering, and had my first introduction to the Institution through the Scottish Branch, which this year is celebrating its 50th anniversary. It so happened that the Branch Chairman and the Branch Secretary were members of the College staff, and since the Chairman was also the Professor of Mechanical Engineering evening meetings of the Branch, which were held in the College, were well attended. This was achieved by the simple device of cancelling some of the evening lectures to enable students to attend the Institution meetings. These meetings were my first introduction to the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in the early 1930s. In 1935 I made the somewhat unusual decision, at least for those days, to leave Yarrow and, with the support of scholarships, go off to the Royal Technical College for full-time studies leading to the College Associateship. In 1937 I was accepted as a research student at the University of Cambridge where I had the good fortune to work under Professor Sir Charles Inglis, studying railtrack behaviour, which was one of his many interests. I like to think that the research work, done at Cambridge just before the war, made a significant contribution to the improved track now in use on our main-line railways
Volume 189 (1975)
Bond. R.C. and Nock, O.S.
150 years of uninterrupted progress in railway engineering. 589-622.
Interesting juxtaposition of authors. Landmarks in mechanical engineering were judged to include Markham's innovation of the brick arch in association with the deflector plate. Typical express locomotives of "100 years ago" were the 2-4-0 designs introduced by Kirtley, Webb and Fletcher, and Stirling's 4-2-2. The use of steel was increasing, especially at Crewe where the Bessemer process was introduced in 1864 and the Siemens-Martin system followed in 1868. The quest for higher speeds is noted in the 1895 race from London to Aberdeen and in the exploits of City of Truro. The introduction of larger boilers was pursued by J.F. McIntosh, Ivatt in his Atlantics. The development of superheating was pursued by Hughes and by Bowen Cooke where the superheated King George V showed a fuel economy of 27%. Compounding is considered. Electrification; centralised signalling systems; stsationary locomotive testing; automatic train control.
Volume 190 (1976)
Tomorrow is too late (Chairman's Address). 31-44.
1. The High Speed Train design is complete, although a recent change in catering needs has necessitated some alteration to the buffet car layout
2. The design of the prototype Advanced Passenger suitable for operation at 25 kV A.C. on services on the West Coast Main Line is nearing completion. Some further work will be met required depending on the results of prototype testing and commercial operation to convert the design for quantity production.
3. One basic design of suburban multiple unit train has been accepted by the Passenger business to meet the needs of British Railways and jointly with the Passenger Transport Executives for those rail services which lie within their conurbation areas. Whilst the design was originally conceived for the Southern Region commuter services at 120 km/hr, it has already been adopted for the Great Northern Inner Suburban Lines from Welwyn Garden City and Hertford North to Moorgate, operating at 25 kV A.C. except in the tunnel between Drayton Park and Moorgate, where it will operate at 650 v. D.C. third rail. The design is suitable for three or four-car units at any existing standard A.C. or D.C. voltage. An outer suburban version capable of 145 km/h will be available to operate as an electric multiple unit train on overhead line A.C. 25 kV or 6.25 kV or on 3rd rail D.C. at 650/750 v. A diesel engined version is being designed to replace the present DMU trains.
4. Diesel freight locomotive requirements will be met by the 3250 hp Class 56, which will be in service this year.
5. There is an immediate need for an electric freight locomotive for operation at 25 kV and the design work has commenced.
6. Mark III coach design is complete as part of the High Speed Train, but is available as the standard locomotive hauled coach.
Lack of standardization in the design of equipment introduced during the period of the Modernization Plan in the late 50s has created unnecessary supply difficulties.
Volume 191 (1977)
Price of safety. (Fifteenth Sir Seymour Biscoe Tritton Lecture). 1-9.
Safety was driven by public demand: notes the significance of the Newark brake trials and the effect of the Armagh disaster. During the Victorian period it became clearly established that the railway companies were responsible for safety.
Duncan, I.G.T., McCann, J.B.C. and Brown, A.
The investigation of derailments. 323-
Derailment Investigation Service maintained by Research & Development Division of British Railways. Rise in accidents of four-wheeled wagons during 1960s.
Volume 195 (1981)
J.T. van Riemsdijk. The
hero as engineer (George Stephenson Bicentenary
It would be surprising if the Institution which George Stephenson founded would have encouraged a bicentenary lecture to be less than fully supportive of its geat founder's stature, but unfortunately the lecturer took a long ramble through the foothills before showing just how great his subject was (and this part will be reproduced virtually in full). The lecturer considered that many considered Stephenson to be the inventor of the steam engine, but this is incorrect; however, most consider him to be the father of railways "and this is surely a judgement which would only be contested by the most perverse of historians."
Stephenson's place as a folk hero seemed to be "firmly established by what he did, and this distinguishes him from almost all other folk heroes" apart from Shakespeare.
Thomas Carlyle's definition of a hero is then examined: 'They were the leaders of men, these great ones; the modellers. patterns and in a wide sense creators. of whatsoever the general mass of men contrived to do or to attain; all things that we see standing accomplished in the world are properly the outer material result. the practical realisation and embodiment, of thoughts that dwelt in the great men sent into the world'.
It is interesting that Carlyle's definition of the hero is in fact almost the perfect definition of the engineer. But there is one essential ingredient missing, necessary alike for hero and engineer, and that is surely courage. The popular idea of the hero is centred on courage and a very great number of the world's feats of engineering are monuments to courage no less than to skill. Courage goes band in hand with imagination. Indeed, without imagination there is no real courage, though there may be foolhardiness. But the brave man is the one that sees the dangers and faces them. with his eyes open and to see dangers requires imagination. Imaginatlion is surely the hallmark of Stevenson's early career. To imagine that an industrial conveyor system might one day spread over all the countries of all the continents was a feat which can all too easily be taken for granted today. We are apt to conceal our embarassment at greatness by saying '"if he hadn't thought of it. or done it, somebody else would have done so. It was the inevitable result of the time, the place, the climate of opinion'. Personally, I believe this view of events to be frequently a false one, On the very grandest scaIe of human affairs there may be an inevitability about the way things go. but this can only really be demonstrated convincingly when we consider such things as population growth. mass migrations. famines and the like. The details of human history, even the large details. cannot be demonstrated to be subject to the same inevitabilities. If George Stephenson had not had the imagination to conceive large railway systems, if he had lacked the tenacity to pursue his idea, the courage to risk his peace, his reputation and, when he had it, his wealth, to this great end, and if he had lacked the personal power of advocacy and the priceless gift of being liked and respected, then it is quite possible that the transport system which this country gave to the world might have been very different, or it might indeed not have been Britain's gift at all.
George Stephensoo establihed himself as a man to be listened to exactly by showing that he could do something that the others could not. In 1810 the Grand Allies, the most powerful group of colliery owners in England, installed a Newcomen type pumping engine in the new Killingworth High Pit. This engine represented the most advanced kind of Newcomen engine of the period, as it incorporated tbe improvements due to Smeaton. Even so, it was quite unable to do the necessary work and moreover Stephenson predicted that this would be the case. He talked freely of this engine among his colleagues and said that he reckoned he knew how to make it work properly. The Grand Allies were his employers but his status at the time was lowly, he was only a brakesman, and there were plenty of nominally more skilled enginewrights who were unable to make this pumping engine work. When his employers got wind of what Stephenson was saying they invited him to prove himself. Of course, he succeeded and the real point of this story is threefold: he won the confidence of his superiors to the point where they would let him try; he had the support of his equals who certainly carried the story of his ideas to the ears of his superiors, and who clearly wanted him to succeed; and lastly by demonstrating that he was cleverer than others, and had a better understanding of the principles of the engine, he qualified himself to be a leader.
As always with great men, there have been detractors, and it has often been suggested that George Stepbenson was not a man of outstanding technical ability, certainly as compared with his son Robert. This is plainly nonsense. The modification that transformed the engine of Killingworth High Pit was carried out in about three days and in those three days there was no experimenting at all. Stephenson knew exactly what he wanted to do, and what he wanted to do was inspired by an intellectual process of a high order, considering the state of scientific knowledge of the time. He wanted to improve the vacuum created under the piston, having calculated that, in order to do the work, the piston had to have an unprecedented pressure difference between its two sides. To obtain this, the efficiency of condensation had to be greatly improved and so he modified the water jet inside the cylinder, making it deliver more water more effectively and so greatly speeding up the production of the required vacuum. It is quite obvious that this represents something very different from the rather rudimentary skills, such as mending simple docks and repairing boots, with which much play has been made in some books about him. And this scientific cast of mind showed itself many times in the next twenty years of his career. His conception of the miner's safety lamp shows the same ability to observe and deduce in non-mechanical areas. His study of the nature of the flame and his develop- ment of the lamp, at first with a single central tube, and then with perforated plates, eventually led to a solution which was technically much the same as that arrived at by a traiIied scientist, Sir Humphrey Davy, though the actual form of the lamp was slightly different. Later he experimented with some sort of steam jet in the firebox of a locomotive as a means of improving the completeness of combustion. Though this experiment did not produce any effect better than the induced draft which Trevithick had remarked upon already in 1804, it is worth pointing out that forced draft was to appear in Marc Seguin's engines on the St. Etienne-Lyon Railway, that the Novelty's fire was activated by a bellows driven off the engine, and that in much more recent years steam in the firebox has been used as a smoke consuming device and has, of course, been an unavoidable but possibly beneficial feature of mechanical stoking of Iocomotives.
Between 1815 and 1825 George Stephenson seems to have been the only exponent of the steam locomotive. There were survivors from the earlier period, on the Middleton Railway, and at Wylam, but only Stephenson was doing anything new. In fact he was showing extraordinary ingenuity and in those years he tried out many of the devices which were later to be widely applied in locomotive engineering. He seems to have made about sixteen locomotives, and in addition was of course heavily involved with stationary engines. He anticipated some of the earlier ideas for articulated locomotives by coupling the front wheels of the tender to the rear wheels of the engine by means of chain. Years later this was done in the Bavaria built by Maffei for the Semmering trials of 1852; and of course the same idea, though with different transmission, characterized tlle long line of Engerth locomotives that were used for so long on heavily graded routes in Europe. He invented coupling rods, with their cranks set at right angles, but at first he planned to use these inside, necessitating two crank axles. In fact, when he actually used coupling rods he fitted them outside, but the original idea was not as far-fetched as it may seem: in the late 1930s there appeared in France a series of extremely successful ten-coupled heavy freight locomotives in which the four compounded cylinders were all outside the high and low pressure engines apparently driving separate groups of wheels, but in fact inside coupling rods maintained the synchronism and transmitted a small amount of the power. These inside coupling rods gave no trouble and the engines gave distinguished service until the end of steam traction on the SNFC.
This fruitful period of mechanical invention coincided with the formative years of the young Robert Stephenson and culminated in the opening of the Stockton and Darlington Railway. It is surely entirely admirable in George Stephenson that he decided at that point to give major engineering responsibility to his son and to devote himself to the advocacy, surveying and construction of the railways themselves. Some of the debunking of George Stephenson has centred round the Rocket, which undoubtedly is the locomotive most closely associated with the name of Stephenson. It is now widely stated that the credit for this machine is due to Robert Stephenson and to Henry Booth. But this is mere nit-picking. Without George there would have been no Rocket; there probably would have been no Liverpool and Manchester Railway and if there had it would probably have been worked by fixed engines. Moreover Stepbenson had trained, encouraged and in fact been quite hard upon his son in order to equip him for the great role he was assuming. and we may look upon the Rocket as Robert's first and George's last looomotive, so much was it a family affair.
Stephenson did not give up his interests in mechanical matters when he left so much of the business of routine manufacture to his son and their other associates. He wrote many letters on technical matters around the period that the Rocket was being built, and retained the liveliest interest in other forms of mechanism: Quite late in his life, in 1847, he proposed a type of railway brake which was applied on the vehicles by the pressure on the buffers occasioned by the train piling up behind the locomotive when the driver shut off steam or put on a tender brake. He saw that this would make possible a very rapid automatic application of brakes throughout the train in an emergency, far more rapid than that posstble by the application of a few brakes within the train by brakesmen or guards alerted by frantic toots on the looomotive whistle. His mind ceaselessly occupied itself. even in old age, with scientific principles and practical mechanisms, but it was above all in the engineering of the railway itself - rather than in what ran upon it that he occupied the last twenty years of his life.
The great feats of civil engineering are well remembered. They are mostly still there, they have been much illustrated, at first in lithographs, later in photographs and frequently shown on film and on television. But while the great monuments are there, there is probably very little appreciation of the whole process of creating a railway. One knows that railway routes had to be surveyed in advance, and one has read of the physical hazards confronted by the railway surveyor who showed his face, let alone bis surveying instruments, on the land of a hostile proprietor or a hostile tenant farmer. Many engineers did this work, but there is no doubt that George Stephenson was supreme. This feeling slowly grows upon anybody who studies the letters and other accounts, the sketches and plans of this period. Stephenson had a talent for grasping the essentials of the geography in a very short time. He could tell, more or less by riding over the land, the sort of gradients that would be demanded by a particular route, the minimum curvature. the amounts and nature of soil or rock to be moved. His feeling was not just for the surface of the land. He had a considerable geological sense and would rapidly size up the qualities of the rock, the sand or the clay, see what might usefully be quarried for railway purposes and what might in future be quarried and thereby provide traffic for the railway. He had an instinct of the potential growth of towns and the growth of traffic that this would bring, so his routes have stood the test of time better than those selected by other engineers. and his railways have enjoyed a longer spell of usefulness and even prosperity.
This kind of instinct is of profound importance to the engineer. It amounts to understanding the raw material. To Stephenson, the landscape and geography were in a sense a raw material of his railway and to understand their grain and structure was as important to a designer of railways as understanding the grain and structure of a metal is to the designer of a component made from it. And once again, the element of getting one's hands dirty, metaphorically speaking. is present. There is no way of learning characteristics of raw materials as effective as machining them, or bending them, breaking them up, testing them to destruction until one feels an almost instinctive appreciation of their qualities. This may not be very scientific, because I am not talking here of precise measurement and precise analysis which is the scientists' province. I am talking of the creation of that familiarity which enables the engineer to make a sensible and economic decision without having to spend the time and money required for absolutely precise information. George Stephenson, riding the countryside, was familiarizing himself with his materials in a way which enabled him, quickly and at small cost. to choose something like the best route for his railway. There was no question, at that stage of precise trigonometrical survey: there was no question of running a computer program, and there was no question of claiming that the chosen route represented perfection. But the French have a good saying which should be close to the heart of all engineers, 'The best is the enemy of the good'. Perhaps one of the reasons why everything nowadays takes so much longer and costs so much more than the original estimates is just that we no longer train people sufficiently in the art of reasonable approximation and we no longer give them the opportunity of getting to know their materials. George Stephenson, surveying the lie of the land on horseback, Is still a good example for us to follow, provided that we do not make the mistake of believing that history ever repeats itself exactly.
The other side of this struggle to lay the foundations of a railway system was of course political. Stephenson must have been an extraordinarily tough fighter. First of all he had to fight to get the steam locomotive adopted for railways, against some very strong opposition. If he had not succeeded in this there can be no doubt that the development of a national system would have been greatly delayed. In 1829, stationary engines were completely reliable after more than a century of development, but locomotives were still in a very ramshackle stage. Another attraction of the use of fixed engines was that the track did not have to bear the heavy weight of a moving locomotive. Stephenson had contnbuted largely to the improvement of track, but it was inescapable that the track could be much cheaper if it only had to bear the weight of the vehicles. It is only in very recent years that vehicle axle loads have begun to equal those of the looomotive. There was also a question of gradients, for which stationary engines have continued to be used in some places. It could be argued that the use of locomotives imposed greater construction costs on the whole railway just because gradients had to be kept to a moderate inclination. There was opposition to the whole idea of the railway from those concerned with water transport. In fact, the canals of England were still quite few, and the navigable rivers did not offer posslbilities that they offer in continental Europe. In Europe there were many pitched battles between railway constructors and boatmen. Many constructors' camps were set ablaze, many vessels were sunk, many heads were broken. In England this particular conflict was less violent but much political opposition which Stephenson had to overcome came from the interests of water borne transport, inland and coastwise.
There were also the stage coach and the turnpike interests and it is worth remembering that in the very year 1829 Sir Goldsworthy Gurney was operating a steam carriage of a technically advanced design which appeared able to replace the work of fifty horses with that of one steam engine. (The fifty horses were required to provide for four horses at a time, changed every fifteen miles, and a reserve for cast shoes, sickness, etc.) Gurney, of course, met with his own opposition from horse breeders, turnpike trusts and others, and was unable to continue, but there is no doubt that the economic arguments, affecting the viability of a railway line could have been drastically inftuenced by this early essay in the mechanization of road travel.
The greatest resolution was required when dealing with the actual passage of Bills through Parliament. There are accounts in plenty of the endless sessions in committee rooms, of the constant attempts to undermine the reasons for the route selected, of the introduction of other engineers at crucial moments in the debate who might conceivably undermine Stephenson's authority, and to gibes about his lack of professional standing. Stephenson was as solid as a rock. He knew he understood the business of railway construction better than anybody else, but he was not arrogant. He was just immovable. He faced the acknowledged leaders of the engineering profession more than once: men such as Telford, who checked the survey of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, the Rennies and others. After all, this had started with Smeaton at the Killingworth High Pit. But in the end Stephenson's vision, his courage and tenacity, his intellectual qualities, profound technical knowledge, in short his heroic personality, won through, and he, above all, gave the railway as we understand it to the world. As Carlyle put it, 'Things that we see standing accomplished in the world are the result, the practical realization and embodiment of thoughts that dwelt in the great ...
Volume 196 (1982)
K.H. Spring. Railways and energy a strategic view. 357-61.
The arguments presented above pose a number of serious implications for railways as carriers and also as users of energy. British Rails fuel and power costs amount to about 6.5 per cent of total railway operating costs, but are an order of magnitude less than labour costs (61 per cent). Nevertheless, these costs amount to over £100M p.a. and are rising in real terms. Pressure, therefore, needs to be kept up to pursue the electrification option, and in parallel to pursue every practicable means of reducing energy consumption and maximum demand, by conservation, vehicle improvements and system optimization. From a marketing point of view, there will need to be inducements to influence the modal split in favour of rail-increasing customer care, perhaps developing an improved form of motorail or the extended provision of small (electric?) city hire cars.
It is perhaps for railways as freight carriers that there are the most serious implications. The rising price of energy has had, and is likely to continue to have, a depressing effect on world, EEC and even UK, gross domestic product. Secondly, any growth is likely to be attained with a less than proportional energy growth. Thirdly, the UK is becoming a less industrially oriented nation. Fourthly, changes are taking place in modes of energy supply and distribution.
It seems to the author that the current plans for expansion of nuclear capacity are too optimistic in timescale and in extent. For this reason, electricity from coal in particular should hold up quite well for a decade or so, but there are probably few who now subscribe to ambitious, longer term forecasts. It is too early to be certain whether reduction in electricity from coal will be offset by direct industrial use or balanced in a similar timescale by increased use as a chemical, oil or gas feedstock. Railways, as energy carriers and users, will need some robust strategies to survive. Increasing congestion, the need for leisure, concern for the environment and the rising price of energy are factors on which they can build.
Boocock, D. and B.L. King.
The development of the Prototype Advanced Passenger Train. 35-46. Disc. 821-34. 11 diagrs.
The development and performance of British Railways three prototype Advanced Passenger Trains (APT-Ps) were discussed. The progression from design concept to construction, commissioning and testing prior to entry into passenger service was described. Performance aspects of the train an4 its sub-systems were assessed in relation to technical objectives. The commissioning programme and highlights of the track proving trials were described. Important test results were discussed, including those relating to body tilt systems, ride quality, lateral track forces, braking performance, current collection, and thyristor interference. Account was given of various development problems which arose during commissioning trials and endurance running. Concluded with a brief description of the design of the production train (APT-S), which was planned for fleet operation on BRs electrified West Coast routes.
The railway family. 1 -11.
Chairman's Address of the Railway Division. Autobiographical with a clear delight in the steam locomotive, but this did not inhibit a thorough approach to the development of electric traction. Initial experience was with the Glasgow Blue Trains which encountered serious problems on their introduction : these were traced to inadequate cooling of the mercury-arc rectifiers resulting in back-fires which in turn imposed large shortcircuit currents on the transformer windings thus leading to explosions.
Thameslink which joined the St. Pancras-Bedford line with the Southern Region via Snow Hill Tunnel and Blackfriars Bridge to provide a cross Thames link required multiple-unit trains that could run on 25 kV a.c. overhead and 750 V d.c. third rail. The bold decision was taken to install electrical equipment using gate-turn-off thyristors (GTOs) under the control of a microprocessor to give the required performances on the two systems. The Class 319 GTOs were from a British manufacturer and require efficient cooling systems.
The Class 90 locomotive represented the first fleet of thyristor-controlled locomotives introduced to BR. Although such locomotives had been supplied to Pakistan Railways by a British manufacturer in the late 1960s and a prototype 87101 has been running on BR since 1975, no opportunity has arisen for the introduction of a thyristor fleet until then. The electrical equipment of the Class 91 is similar in many respects to the Class 90, although the thyristor converter is oil cooled, which reduces the size of the power pack. Full electrical braking is provided rheostatically over the speed range of 240 km/h down to 45 km/h. A single disc brake is mounted on the non-drive end of each motor with its calipers suspended from the vehicle body. This disc brake supplements the wheeltread brake to provide an emergency system pairs and wheels event to be logged.
Ended by commending the railway enthusiast work on the restoration of the unique Pacific Duke of Gloucester which languished at Crewe and, Barry Island for some 12 years, during which time major components were removed. One cylinder and its Caprotti valve gear was prepared for display in the Science Museum. This included sectioning the cylinder such that it could never be used again. The other cylinder, together with many parts of the motion disappeared without trace. Drawings also were mislaid for a time and so the rebuilders had to produce these from measurements of similar existing parts together with a great deal of speculation. When the original drawings were ultimately found it was remarkable how closely they compared to the new drawings. In renewing the ashpan it was discovered that the forward-facing damper doors were considerably smaller than shown in the drawing and it is believed that this was a major contribution toward the poor combustion of the fire at high boiler outputs. This deficiency has been corrected and together with a new exhaust system makes one wonder whether this locomotive would not now fulfil the expectations of its designers. Unfortunately, under present conditions it is unlikely to be tested at the upper limits of its performance.