Scientists (chemists, physicists, metallurgists,
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Chief chemical analyst, Derby from 1928: Locomotive Mag., 1928, 34, 203.
Professor of Engineering at Aberdeen University and member of British Transport Commission's Scientific Advisory Council (Locomotive Mag., 1957, 63, 20).
The Department of Engineering had been founded in 1923. Until 1946 it focussed on the teaching of undergraduates, and on some contacts with engineering companies in the Aberdeen area. It was equipped with a multi-purpose laboratory for teaching solid and fluid mechanics (incompressible flows only) in quite large scale fixed equipment. In 1946, after a wartime period in which the Department was led by Dr James Grassie and the sole Engineering Chair was left vacant, Dr Jack Allenwas appointed to the Jackson Chair. He remained Head of Department until 1970 and began a strong tradition in civil engineering hydraulics in Aberdeen. His approach to the subject was based on techniques learnt at Manchester University as a student and lecturer there. He had been taught by A.H. Gibson who had himself been a pupil of Osborne Reynolds (1842 1912). Allens primary interest was in the application of dimensional analysis to practical engineering problems, usually via physical hydraulic models. Professor Allen dedicated a lot of time and laboratory space to studies of Aberdeen harbour and to shoaling in the estuary of the River Tay (he was engineering advisor to the River Tay Commissioners for some years). The work on Aberdeen harbour was limited in its impact on engineering work there because the accommodation available for model studies constrained the model scales that could be chosen and this, to some extent, undermined the authority of the findings. When he began work on the Tay estuary problem, he undertook the supervision of a very large model of the estuary located in the premises of the Dundee Harbour Board and operated a second, smaller model in parallel in his department at Aberdeen. The second model was used to examine the difficulty of appropriate scaling, in particular the scaling of sediment movements in the estuary.
Born in London pn 2 April 1858; died 28 April 1935. Archbutt was appointed chemist by Samuel Johnson, the Midland Railway locomotive superintendent, in 1881. Archbutt became a major figure among railway chemists and held office for 40 years. Archbutt was possibly fortunate in marrying the daughter of the next locomotive superintendent of the Midland, R.M. Deeley, but whether it was because of his marriage or as a true reflection of his ability is unknown, although he was paid the extraordinary salary for the time of £1,000 per annum. However, his achievements were many and not all confined to railway chemistry. For example, in 1890 he was co-author of a paper on the Thermodynamics of the Vacuum Brake, then co-inventor with Deeley of a water softening process and joint author (again with Deeley) of a standard text book on Lubrication and lubricants, first published in 1899 (Griffin & Co.). Third edition reviewed Loco. Mag., 1912, 18, 135. Fifth edition reviewed Locomotive Mag., 1927, 33, 203. He became a Fellow of the Institute of Chemistry in 1888 and was a distinguished member of both the Society of Chemical Industry and the Institute of Metals. Wise Railway Research. Russell.
Auld, Samuel James Manson
Noted that was on the Board of the American Locomotive Export Co. Inc. (Locomotive Mag., 1949, 55, 144). Botn on 25 July 1884; died 19 August 1949. Chemical engineer who had trained at Queen Mary College and Uniiversities of Wurtzberg and Leipzig. Involved in gas and fire warfare during WW1. With Anglo-Persian Oil Co. 1919-1928 and with Vacuum Oil Co. 1930-52. O.B.E. MC, D.Sc.
Chemist from Crewe who moved to Stonebridge Park and thence to Derby. Involved in fuel combution research and in producer gas prior to WW2. Wise Railway Research
Chemist from Crewe: worked with Bairstow on combustion reseach. Wise Railway Research
Chief chemist at Swindon Works from 1900; member of Railway Clearing House Committee (photograph of him thereat in Russell.: succeeded F.W. Harris..
Chief chemist at Midland Railway, Derby, between 1879 and 1880, in succession to Day and prior to appointment of well-known Archbutt.. Russell.
Chief chemist, Egyptian State Railways. Expertise on lubricants and bearing metals. Publication: The railway chemist and his work. Chemistry & Industry, 1936, 55, 740-3.
Byrne, Basil R.
Appointed to the LBSCR Test House at Brighton which under the Southern Railway the work was moved to Ashford. Byrne and his boss Taylor did not frequently communicate by the spoken word, this system suited Byrne since his work load was light; he thus had plenty of time in which to pursue his reading and to conduct his own experiments. Physics led him into more advanced optics and then to the subject of photoelasticity, newly described by M Frocht and by Coker and Filon. It now becomes necessary to attempt a brief description of this rather complex phenomenon. Photoelasticity derives from the fact that certain transparent "plastic" materials such as celluloid, perspex and some epoxy resins show the phenomenon of "birefringence" when viewed in polarised light while subject at the same time to stress. If, therefore, a two dimensional model of an engineering component made in, say, perspex is loaded as it would be in service (to scale) and examined in a beam of polarised light, a pattern of coloured interference fringes will be seen, particularly in the more highly stressed areas of the model. The colours and the number of fringes are proportional to the level of stress and also indicate the direction of stress. Thus a survey of the whole model can be used as a study of the stress distribution in magnitude and direction.
Byrne built his own polariscope, principally from second-hand lenses and odds and ends bought at his own expense. He was soon able to perform photoelastic tests, but without attracting any interest from his superiors until the CME, O.V.S Bulleid, learned of his work. It was apparent that the availability of this stress procedure was very timely as Bulleid, then engaged on the design of the Merchant Navy class locomotives, decided to move away from the classic spoked driving wheel in favour of a double plate type wheel similar to those used in the USA. He had a design ready, the BFB wheel (joint with Firth Brown) but before finally committing himself he wished to be satisfied that the BFB wheel was superior in terms of the level of stress. Here the problem and the new technique came together: Byrne was invited or instructed to make the comparison on his new-fangled and home made polariscope. Byrne, with the assistance of the Works toolroom, produced beautiful 1110 scale models in celluloid of the two wheels and, in a scientific "tour de force", a detailed comparison of the stresses was completed, reaching the safe conclusion that the BFB wheel was greatly superior.
This brought Byrne very much to the attention of Bulleid so that other projects and enquiries came his way. Meanwhile Taylor retired; Byrne became "Materials Supervisor" which meant that in addition to his scientific work he had to administer the inspection organisation. However, the new post gave him more power and also access to Southern Railway money for the purchase of equipment. This enabled him to pursue another great personal interest, X-radiography and its industrial applications. In furtherance of this enthusiasm he was fortunate to learn of a general practitioner in the West Country who was about to retire and wished to sell his diagnostic X-ray set of 150 kY capacity. Byrne was able to purchase it for £40; installation in the Ashford Physical Laboratory was very much more expensive because of its complex and elderly power and control system. It was very slow in use on engineering materials as well as being dangerous since it was neither ray nor shockproof. But it would penetrate ¾-inch of steel plate and could be used on realistically sized welded joints, simulating those being designed for the Merchant Navy boilers. The acquisition of this X-ray unit was superbly timed. It made an immediate impression on the quality of welding at Ashford, demonstrated without question the value of the procedure and caused a new Philips 150 kY set to be purchased for use at Eastleigh on the Merchant Navy boilers constructed there, Hargreaves being one of the principal beneficiaries. It is interesting to recall that at about the same period a Phillips X-ray unit of the same type was acquired by the Metallurgical Section of the LMS Research Department. Meanwhile Byrne contrived to have a greatly superior 250 kY X-ray unit imported from the USA for use in his laboratory and subsequently at Brighton when construction of West Country class locomotives started there in 1944.
Byrne was fortunate in that his personal scientific interests led to his ability to make major contributions to the Southern; his timing was also first class. These qualities paid personal dividends as in 1944 he was appointed Bulleid's Research Assistant and allowed to recruit staff (previously he had had one technical assistant and about ten inspectors scattered across the industrial North) and to acquire the basic necessities in laboratory equipment. The Physical Laboratory then became not only the home of the inspection service but also provided a metallurgical service to Ashford, Brighton and Lancing Works and advice on, and control of, welding in the same works and in some of the larger sheds and depots. (Hargreaves provided a similar service at Eastleigh and to the old LSWR steam sheds). But the principal activity in the Ashford Laboratory was research into a variety of problems, mostly of a metallurgical nature, and the development of apparatus and techniques for the measurement of stress. The photoelastic bench was upgraded with proper optical equipment, much work was done on the use of hand-held mechanical extensometers and of course there was the new wonder tool, the electric resistance strain gauge, for which the measuring apparatus had to be made and the techniques of application mastered. In the middle of all this activity the new science of ultrasonic testing (then known as supersonic testing) burst upon the scene as a potential solution to the problem of detecting cracks in carriage axles. It became instantly essential to understand the principles behind this process, to work out the procedures for application to Southern carriage axles, to train staff to operate equipment, and to install the method in Lancing and Eastleigh Works and the electric stock depots around London. Meanwhile, metallurgical research was being concentrated on the cause of the relatively frequent fracture of tyres on the driving wheels of electric multiple unit suburban trains, and on the cause and possible cure of corrosion fatigue cracking of inner firebox plates and stays in Merchant Navy boilers. This problem was in fact cured simply and elegantly by Bulleid's decision to apply the TIA water treatment to these locomotives In the first years of peace after 1945, applied science seemed to stand high in public opinion; most industries were setting up research groups and because of this atmosphere and of his successes Byrne's star was in the ascendant within the CME Department. He was transferred to Brighton to be available to Bulleid and the Design Office, leaving his staff, now ten in number, qualified or semiqualified, to carry out the laboratory work at Ashford. Outside the railway, in learned society circles he was regarded as an authority on industrial radiography and, a little later, on non-destructive testing in general.
Unfortunately, there was a snag, in that the laboratory had no formal or established existence as seen by Southern Railway management, nor did it receive any official instructions on policy or on projects to investigate. Much of the work was based on the inclinations and interests of the staff, so that the situation could arise in which one member of the staff was engaged in high vacuum technology in order to make measurements of internal stress by X -ray diffraction methods, while another was, at the request of Ashford Works, setting up a system for the training and testing of welders and a third was busy trying to find out why, reputedly, the tail lamp on the up Golden Arrow train was, much too frequently, going out on the stretch between Ashford and Tonbridge.
The bubble burst in 1949 when O V S Bulleid retired. His successor was S B Warder, an electrical engineer, whose appointment foreshadowed the future traction policy of the Southern Region. Warder soon showed that those who had been close to Bulleid were no longer in favour; Byrne was sent back to Ashford and the special connection between the Physical Laboratory and CME headquarters was broken. Fortunately, requests for work were now coming from other departments or from officers of the new Railway Executive; the laboratory had to concentrate on a variety of carriage and wagon studies, on sub-contracted fatigue testing of rails and on a major examination of the propagation of ultrasound in objects like axles in order to understand the peculiar results being obtained wherever ultrasonic testing was practised.
On the 1 January 1951 the British Railways Research Department came into being and the Ashford Laboratory became part of its Engineering Division, Byrne being given the title of Assistant Superintendent. An exciting and valuable era subsided into more orthodox activities, probably of greater value to the railway industry.. Wise Railway Research. noted that he was eventually moved to Derby where he was introduced to the Duke of Edinburgh when the new laboratory opened.
Chemist Rugby Locomotive Testing Station. Steam Wld., 2005, (215) 8.
Clark, Thomas (replacement entry)
Born in Ayr on 30 March 1801; died in Glasgow on 27 November 1867. Son of a shipmaster, he was educated at Ayr Academy and exhibited a gift for mathematics. In 1816 he began work as an accountant in the firm owned by Charles Macintosh, the inventor of rubberized waterproof cloth. Macintosh was associated with Charles Tennant, another of Glasgow's principal industrialists, and when Macintosh realized that Clark was far more interested in chemistry than in accountancy he recommended his transfer to Tennant's employ. In 1826 Clark was appointed lecturer in chemistry at the Glasgow Mechanics' Institution. In 1827 Clark became a medical student at Glasgow University with the aim of teaching chemistry in medical schools. In 1829 he became an apothecary at Glasgow Infirmary and two years later obtained his MD degree. He published a few papers on pharmacy and in 1833 became professor of chemistry in the Marischal College, Aberdeen. He was a founder member of the Chemical Society. ODNB biography by E.L. Scott Russell and Hudson in their excellent Early railway chemistry show that Clark's patented system of water softening (UK 8875/1841 Purifying znd softening certain waters, for the use of manufactories, villages, town and cities 8 March 1841 via Woodcroft) although rejected by Brunel was to become important, especially when enhanced by J.H. Porter to filter out the precipitate.
Paper (suspect one of several) of PhD metallurgist. Copper and copper alloys for locomotive firebox construction. J. Instn Loco. Engrs., 1938, 28, 609-42. Disc.: 642-7. 25 diagrams., 7 tables. (Paper No. 393). presented at Fifth Ordinary General Meeting of the Birmingham Centre held at the Queens Hotel, Birmingham, on Wednesday, 16 February 1938, at 7.0 p.m., the chair being taken by G.T. Owen. Metallurgical paper which pointed towards higher quality copper with lower oxygen and arsenic contents.
Co-author of British Railway stinks: work included oil analysis for the high speed trains power car engines.
Had died by 1947 and had been at Crewe where succeeded by G.E. Wilson (Locomotive Mag, 1947, 53, 15), but had been head chemist, St. Rollox from 1928: Locomotive Mag., 1928, 34, 203.
Works Metallurgist at St. Rollox Works, but had been trained at Horwich. In 1935 moved to Derby under O'Neill, Chief Metallurgist. Dearden stated;" If a component wore badly it was replaced; if it broke in service it was made heavier and stronger. Failure by fatigue was regarded as death by natural causes". Wise Railway Research.: John Dearden who had been appointed to the post to replace O'Neill as Chief Metallurgist in 1947. The formation in 1950 of the Office for Research and Experiments (ORE), a subsidiary of the Union Internationale des Chemins de Fer (UIC). ORE was based in Utrecht and was intended to be staffed on the basis of having engineers or scientists from member railways seconded to it for a period of one or two years. John Dearden went to Utrecht in February 1951 and became a foundation member of ORE and the first British "Conseiller Technique" at Utrecht,
Dines, John Somers
Born in the Cuckfield district, of West Sussex on 18 June 1885; died 15 May 1980. Son of meteorologist William Henry Dines and grandson of meteorologist George Dines. He graduated from Cambridge in 1906, with a degree in mathematics. He worked with his father, at Pyrton Hill, Oxfordshire, for a year, carrying out investigations of the upper atmosphere. In September 1907, Dines became employed by the Met Office. In 1912, he became responsible for the new branch of the Met Office at South Farnborough, where investigations of wind structure for the Advisory Committee for Aeronautics were conducted. Accompanied by Gordon Miller Bourne Dobson in autumn 1913, he visited six stations in Germany to see how they dealt with forecasting and aviation work (KPJ and presumably on ozone in the Harz Moutains). Dines had transferred to the Forecast Division by March 1916, and remained there for many years. John Somers Dines was also the brother of Lewen Henry George Dines, also a meteorologist and engineer. In 1935 (12 April) he wrote a letter to The Engineer (reproduced in Backtrack, 2018, 32, 472) in hich he comments on the report of A3 Pacific No. 2750 Papyrus achieving 108 mile/h on 5 March 1936 and compared this with his records of locomotive performance on the Cheltenham Flyer leaving Swindon in terms of acceleration
Chemist at Wimbledon on LSWR from 1903 until after the Grouping. Russell..
First professional chemist on the Midland Railway at Derby. Fellow of the Institute of Chamistry, but only served Midland for two years: 1877-8. Russell.
Chemist at Nine Elms on LSWR from 1914 until after the Grouping. Russell.
Egerton, Alfred Charles Glyn
Born 11 October 1886 in Glyn Cywarch, near Talsarnau, Gwynedd, Wales; died 7 September 1959 in Mouans-Sartoux, France. Educated at Eton College from 1900 to 1904, then entered University College, London, where he read chemistry under the tutelage of Sir William Ramsay. He graduated in 1908 with first-class honours, and went to Nancy University to perform post-graduate work. He intended to then proceed to Germany, but this was cut short in 1909 by an offer of a position as an instructor at the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich. His research there was largely devoted to nitrogen oxides, on which he published three papers in 1913 and 1914. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant on 1 July 1909 in University of London contingent of the Officers' Training Corps. In 1913 he went to Berlin to work in the laboratory of Walther Nernst. Frederick Lindemann was also there at this time, and the two became friends. During the July Crisis in 1914, Nernst helped Egerton and his wife leave Germany. They arrived back in England on 3 August 1914. Egerton joined the Coldstream Guards, but was soon seconded to the Department of Explosives Supply in the Ministry of Munitions, where he helped with the design and construction of the chain of National Explosives Factories in response to the Shell Crisis of 1915. Two of his brothers were killed in the war. During the final stages of the war, he was engaged in studying the problem of synthetic ammonia production. In January 1919, soon after the war ended, he joined an Inter-Allied mission under Harold Hartley, the Controller of the Chemical Warfare Department in the Ministry of Munitions, to study the German chemical industry. He found that the Germans had been able to produce vast quantities of synthetic ammonia using the Haber process.
He joined the Clarendon Laboratory at Oxford University, where he succeeded Henry Tizard as Reader in Thermodynamics in 1923. He resumed work that he had commenced in Berlin on the vapour pressure of metals. He wrote seven papers on the topic in 1923, but by 1935 he discontinued research in the area, having measured the vapour pressure, heat of vapourisation and specific heat ratios of cadmium, lead, magnesium, potassium, sodium, thallium and zinc. From 1924 on, he had become increasingly interested in combustion. He was particularly interested in the phenomenon of engine knocking, and how it might be prevented. He studied the propagation of flames, the mechanism of hydrocarbon oxidation, and the role of peroxides in their combustion. For his research, he created a special kind of burner that could create a stationary plane flame front for the purpose of examining the flame's properties.
Egerton was elected a fellow of the Royal Society in 1925, and served on its council from 1931 to 1933, and as its Physical Secretary from 1938 to 1948. He also served on several quangos, including the Scientific and Advisory Committee of Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, the Fuel Research Board, the Heating and Ventilating Research Committee, the Engine Committee of the Aeronautical Research Council, the Water Pollution Board and the Advisory Committee of the London, Midland and Scottish Railway. In 1936, he assumed the chair of Chemical Technology at the Imperial College of Science. During the Second World War he pioneered the use of liquid methane as an alternative to petrol as a fuel for motor vehicles. Trials were carried out with a bus on a route in the Midlands. He was a member of the War Cabinet's Scientific Advisory Committee, and was Chairman of the Admiralty's Fuel and Propulsion Committee. In 1943, he was sent to Washington, DC, to reorganise the British Central Scientific Office there, and to improve scientific liaison with the Americans. In this, he was successful, establishing good relations with American scientific administrators such as Vannevar Bush and James Conant He was knighted for his services on 1 January 1943, an honour which King George VI conferred on him in a ceremony at Buckingham Palace on 9 February 1943. After the war he was awarded the Rumford medal in 1946. He was the Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Council of the Ministry of Fuel and Power from 1948 to 1953, and was director of the Salters' Institute of Industrial Chemistry from 1949 to 1959. Between 1948 and his retirement from the Imperial College of Science in 1952, he published seventeen papers. Mainly off website for him. Wise Railway Research. noted that he was on DSIR Committee which examined case for a Locomotive Testing Station.
Elliott, Archibald Campbell
Born Glasgow, 19 February 1861; died 21 April 1913 when Professor of Engineering at the University College of South Wales and Monmouthshire, a constituent college of the University of Wales. Educated Universities of Glasgow and of Edinburgh (BSc 1885; DSc 1888). Pupil and subsequently Assistant in the Engineering Department of the Glasgow & South-Western Railway, 187681; Assistant to Sir William Thomson (Lord Kelvin) and Professor Fleeming Jenkin, FRS, MInstCE, engineers for the Commercial Cable Companys undertaking, 1884; Assistant to the Professor of Engineering in the University of Edinburgh, 188590; Vice-President, South Wales Institute of Engineers; Member of the Royal Commission on Accidents to Railway Servants, 1899; President, Institution of Locomotive Engineers
Chief chemist Wolverton Works from 1920, and remained in position after the Grouping. Russell..
Frankland, Sir Edward (replacement entry)
Born on 18 January 1825 at Garstang, Lancashire; died on 9 August 1899 at Golaa Gudbrandsdal, Norway, and buried in Reigate churchyard on 22 August. These biographical details come from an extremely long ODNB entry by Colin A. Russell. Russell and Hudson in their excellent Early railway chemistry introduce Frankland in their first chapter together with a portrait of him, noting that his career had started with a train journey from Lancaster in October 1845, and that Frankland eventually played a pivotal role in the development of the chemistry profession which relied greatly on railway transport and that the railway industry needed chemists to improve lubricants, the raw materials used for locomotives and rolling stock, and in a vast number of other ways.
Chief chemist at Caledonian Railway St. Rollox Works in Glasgow from 1891 to 1921. Russell.
Final initial may be "P" (Wise uses this) Chemist at Horwich Works: appointed in 1887. Wise Railway Research.. Russell.
Senior chemist, Water Treatment Section, LNER in 1937: contribution to discussion on Hancock's ILocoE paper
Chief chemist at Gorton Works, from 1888 during MS&LR, GCR and into Grouping period. Russell. Appoined Deputy Chemist LNER (Locomotive Mag., 1924, 30, 186)
Chemist at Ashford Works, South Eastern & Chatham Railway from 1915 until after the Grouping. Russell.
Assistant chemist Ashford Works. Locomotive. Mag., 1932, 38, 75. was description of his position when he presented a paper to the Locomotivemen's Craft Guild. T Henry Turner noted that Hargreaves was a "first-rate man" and was at Eastleigh examining the steel firerboxes of the Bulleid Pacifics. Wise Railway Research adds that Frank Hargreaves was a chemist/metallurgist whose career commenced on the South Eastern & Chatham Railway in the Chemical Laboratory at Ashford, where in the 1920s he did excellent and original research into the physical and metallurgical properties of the white metal alloys used to form anti-friction bearing surfaces in axleboxes and connecting rod big ends, etc., for locomotives, carriages and wagons. These alloys were extremely important in the running of railways prior to the introduction of roller bearings; there were, however, many "hot boxes". Hargreaves' work, although published, got little official recognition but because he added to the knowledge of the load carrying capacity of white metals it is probable that the thickness and shape of the bearing metal inserts used on the Southern were influenced by his work.
In 1937 a new semi-automated iron foundry came into production at Eastleigh and Hargreaves was sent there as metallurgist-in-charge. Additionally he extended his work to the provision of general laboratory facilities covering metal analysis and testing, control of welding, etc., and generally filled successfully the role of "tame scientist" or "trouble shooter" for the whole of the ex-London & South Western area of the Southern Railway (still far from being an integrated unit). The construction of Merchant Navy locomotives at Eastleigh gave him an opportunity to extend further his activities, particularly with the radiographic examination of welds. Later he developed a very successful specialised technique for the repair welding of severe cracks that were frequently to be found in the inner steel firebox plates of these engines. He continued his service to Eastleigh during the epic problems of the building of the Leader class locomotives. Hargreaves had considerable scientific talents and the ability to use them to solve practical engineering problems. He could have advanced in the CME organisation to much wider responsibilities but for his personality. Unfortunately he was opinionated, rather quarrelsome and unable to suffer gladly fools or even those of a different opinion; these characteristics helped to keep him at Eastleigh.
Hargreaves published his fundamental studies on soft-metal properties in a series of papers in the J. Inst. Metals between 1927 and 1930, for example Effect of work and annealing on the lead-tin eutectic, J. Inst. Metals, 1927, 38, 315-39; see also Vol. 37 (1927) pp 103-110, Vol. 39 (1928) pp 301-327, Vol. 40 (1928) pp 41-54, Vol. 41 (1929) pp 257-288 and Vol. 44 (1930) pp 149-174.
First chemist employed at Swindon Works: from 1882-1900. Russell
LMS chemist who specialised in jnsect infestation such as grain and cotton in transit and storage: monograph published by Chapman & Hall in 1940, revised 1942. Wise Railway Research.
Chemist at Glasgow St. Rollox Works from 1921 initially under Caledonian Railway and then on LMS. Russell.Head chemist, Horwich from 1928: Locomotive Mag., 1928, 34, 203.
Henry, [William] Charles
Born in Manchester on 31 March 1804; died at Haffield on 7 January 1892. He was educated at William Johns' Unitarian Seminary (with some private tuition from John Dalton) and at Edinburgh University. He graduated MD, unimpressively, and spent short periods in other universities in Britain and Europe. In 1828 he took up an honorary post in the Manchester Infirmary (observing, inter alia, the cholera epidemic of 1832). ODNB entry by Frank Greenaway. Russell. notes that fortune made from manufacturing medicinal magnesia qnd performed water analyses for Liverpool & Manchester RailwayScientists (chemists, physicists, metallurgists, analysts)
Herbert, T. Martin
Had reported on firebox stays on LNWR 0-8-0 locomotives at Springs Branch in January 1930. (Talbot Eight-coupled). Also fuller data in Cook's Raising steam: see Belpaire boilers. Ran LMS Research Department from its inception until his retirement in 1961.(Cox Locomotive panorama V.2). Wise Railway Research (see entry for Merritt).
Co-author of British Railway stinks. Occupatioal health and safety.
Inglis, Colin C.
Chief Research Officer, British Transport Commission. Appointed in 1952 whilst Martin Herbert was in charge of British Railways' Research Department. Inglis joined the BTC from the Ministry of Supply Armament Design Establishment: he was an electrical engineer. Encountered by Roland C. Bond whilst both working on Ghats electrification project in 1930. Inglis retired in summer of 1964..
Jackson, Sir Herbert
Born in Whitechapel on 17 March 1863; died at his home in Hampstead, on 10 December 1936. Attended King's College School, and in 1879 entered King's College, London, where he worked for thirty-nine years, becoming successively demonstrator, lecturer, and professor of organic chemistry (1905), and Daniell professor of chemistry (1914). He was elected a fellow of the college in 1907, and became emeritus professor in 1918. In 1900 he married Amy, elder daughter of James Collister. They had no children. Jackson covered an immense field in his investigations, but his publications give an entirely inadequate impression of the extent and importance of his work. About 1890, in the course of experiments on the excitation of phosphorescence by means of discharge tubes, he discovered that by using a concave cathode he could concentrate the phosphorescent response of material at the anti-cathode to a small area about the centre of curvature of the cathode. He also observed that phosphorescence was excited in screens held outside the tube, leading others to speculate on how near he had come to anticipating W.K. Röntgen's discovery of X-rays in 1895. With a discharge tube having a concave cathode and inclined anti-cathode, Jackson found that he was able in 1896 to reproduce all Röntgen's effects. This original Jackson focus-tube became the prototype of later X-ray tubes. Besides numerous investigations in pure chemistry, Jackson's enquiries extended to such subjects as the weathering of stone, and the action of soaps and solvents in laundry work; his advice on chemical matters was frequently sought by manufacturers. He was greatly interested in oriental ceramics, and his determinations of the colouring agents in glasses and glazes and reproduction of the effects gave much assistance to archaeologists and connoisseurs. He was an expert photographer, a skilled spectroscopist and user of optical instruments, and a master of microscope technique; his wide experience in the interpretation of microscopic observations was often the key to his success. At the beginning of the First World War, British industry lacked the ability to produce glasses for special purposes, having previously imported supplies from Germany and France. Jackson headed an advisory committee appointed in October 1914 to define formulae for the scarcest types of laboratory, heat-resisting, and other glasses, including a full range of optical glasses. Formulae for the most crucial glasses were produced within six months, and published in Nature (1915). Working with his team at King's College and in his private laboratory, Jackson developed over seventy successful formulae. He also advised the glass manufacturers, and helped them to eliminate production problems. For these and other invaluable war services he was appointed KBE in 1917. In the same year he was elected a fellow of the Royal Society. In 1918 he resigned his professorship on being appointed the first director of research of the British Scientific Instrument Research Association, a post that he held successfully until his retirement in 1933. Through it, he became the friend and scientific adviser of the optical glass industry, which had been firmly established in Britain as a result of the war. He was president of the Röntgen Society (190103) and of the Institute of Chemistry (191821), a member of the senate of the University of London, and a governor of the Imperial College of Science; he gave valuable service on many government and scientific committees.
Jackson was a man of infinite resource, of very varied accomplishments, and great personal charm. As a young man he was a notable athlete. He was an entertaining talker, with a wealth of information on lesser known subjects. To those who worked with him, particularly younger colleagues, his help and encouragement were unfailing.
He served on the Advisory Committee on Scientific Research established by the LMS in 1930 until his death. The Board of the LMS instituted the Davidson Award (the first recipient was A.S. Davidson in 1938. Mostly from ODNB entry by Thomas Martin, rev. K. D. Watson and Wise. Also Ellis London Midland & Scottish. KPJ (who is moderately familiar with natural rubber research): it should be noted that the LMS was in the vanguard of scientific researh and researchers should be careful in interpretting Cox's views.
Born in October 1849 in Grange, Banffshire, the son of Rev George Jamieson DD, minister of St Machar's Cathedral, and his wife, Jane Wallace. He went to school at the Gymnasium in Old Aberdeen. He was apprenticed to Hall, Russell & Company, shipbuiklders in Aberdeen, around 1864, at its foundation. He then studied Mathematics and Engineering at Aberdeen University. From 1880 to 1882 he was President of the Institute of Engineers and Shipbuilders in Scotland . From 1880 to 1887 he was Principal of the Glasgow College of Science and Arts. At this time he lived at 38 Bath Street in Glasgow. In 1887 he accepted the role of Professor of Engineering at the West of Scotland Technical College. In 1882 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. His proposers were William Thomson, Lord Kelvin, Fleeming Jenkin, John Gray McKendrick, and George Chrystal. In 1902 he was the consultant engineer on the electrification of Glasgow tramways. He died at 16 Rosslyn Terrace in Glasgow on 4 December 1912. He wrote several major textbooks or treatises on heat engines: see Locomotive Mag., 1919, 25, 138 for review of part of 18th edition partially revised by Ewart S. Andrews who is better known as a strurural engineer. See Locomotive Mag., 1919, 25, 119 for long review of Elementary Manual on heat engines
Chief chemist at Cowlairs Works, Glasgow, NBR from 1900 to 1922 and into post-Grouping period. Russell. Alan Dunbar worked for him as a lad and paints an interesting picture of him living in Bishopbriggs, wearing a Gladstone collar and being rather fastidious and straight-laced and a (worms eye) view of what was being analysed..
Jenkins, John H.B.
Chief chemist at Stratford Works, Great Eastern Railway from 1896 until after the Grouping. Russell. which includes photograph of him at Railway Clearing House meeting in 1916. After Groúping Chief Chemist LNER (Locomotive Mag., 1924, 30, 186). Obituary Locomotive Mag., 1929, 35, 26: died on 11 December 1928 whilst presiding over meeting at Railway Clearing House when aged 62. Served his time at Swindon under William Dean; after studying chemistry under F.W. Harris, chemist of the GWR he moved onto the chemical laboratory. In 1892 appointed chemist of the Great Eastern Railway in succession to H.J. Phillips who had established a chemical laboratory at Stratford under James Holden.
Born 18 June 1911; died 21 February 1990. Educated Cyfarthfa Castle Grammar School; Cardiff Technical College; Cardiff University College; Birmingham University. BSc 1st class honours (London) 1932; PhD (London) 1951. Employed by General Electric Co., Witton, 193336; teaching in Birmingham, 193640; Scientific Civil Service at HQ, Royal Radar Establishment, Malvern, and Royal Aircraft Establishment, Farnborough, 194058; Director of Applications Research, Central Electricity Generating Board, 195861; Technical Director, R.B. Pullin, Ltd, 196162. Director of Research, BR Board, 196265, Member of Board, British Railways, 196576, part-time, 197576. Chairman, SIRA Instruments Ltd, 197078. Chairman, Transport Advisory Committee, Transport and Road Research Laboratory, 197277; Independent Consultant, Ground Transport Technology, 1978. Chairman, Conformable Wheel Co., from 1981. Publications: Introductory Applied Science, 1942; papers on automatic control, railways and variable geometry elastic wheels. CBE 1971. (Who Was Who)
Employed by British Railways, but probably a refugee from Lithuania. Has been visible on rubber page of steamindex for a long time. See Locomotive Mag., 1935, 41, 61 for railcar which was powered by wood gas produced on board from charcoal: the gas consisted of carbon monoxide, hydrogen, methane and nitrogen. ILocoE Paper 682 was savaged by Lindley and Payne of MRPRA
Chief Chemist, LMS, formerly of LNWR at Crewe Works from 1920: see Paper 295 J. Instn Loco. Engrs. 1932, 22 (the chemist in relation to railway engineering). Russell. Stated as "Assistant Chief Chemist, Crewe in Locomotive Mag., 1928, 34, 203..
Littlewood. John H.
Worked on ride problems of rebuilt Scots see Locomotive Mag., 1958, 64, 91
Co-author of British Railway stinks. Surface chemistry and tribology.
First known chemist at Doncaster, GNR from 1886 or earlier. Wise Railway Research. Russell.
Senior Research Chemisst with PhD appointed to take charge of Crewe Laborartory in 1938. Wise Railway Research.
Mansfield, Peter H.
Worked on ride problems of rebuilt Scots see Locomotive Mag., 1958, 64, 91
Born in 1899; died 1974. Appointed as Chief Research Ofice at the British Transport Commission on 30 May 1948. Joined Vickers in 1915; later a Research Engineer at John Brown & Sons (so may have known Tuplin). During WW2 worked on Churchill tank and other track-laying vehicles. Gourvish. Wise stated that "neither of these [the other was Herbert] was a particularly happy appointment. Herbert had years of experience and some success in building up a viable research department on the LMS: while officially reporting to the Chairman he received little support from Riddles who felt no great sympathy or need for engineering research and studiously avoided any public mention of the Research Department. But Herbert was also to a degree subordinate to Merritt, a scientist who had everything to learn about railway problems. On the other hand Merritt soon found that almost no research activity existed on any of the other Executives except London Transport and that had only the traditional railway type chemical laboratory. Admittedly the ex-LMS Hotels had from time to time drawn on the assistance of the Chemists and had regularly also used the Textiles Division, practices which they proposed to continue; similarly the ex-LMS owned Canals and Docks had simple testing done by the Engineering Division but as for engaging in research they saw little need. Merritt therefore found himself to be a king without a kingdom, except for one province from which he was fairly excluded by the local prince. Nevertheless he made some progress in promoting research by the publication of Transport Research Quarterly (although this closed down in 1952) and particularly through the meetings and activities of the Co-ordination Committee. But it was still an unsatisfactory position from which Merritt resigned in 1951. He was replaced by C C Inglis who was formerly Deputy Chief Engineer of the Armament Design Establishment.
Chief metallurgist (akthough neither a trained nor a qualified metallurgist), LMS: introduced mechanised foundries to LMS at Horwich. Retired 1935 (see Bond Lifertime). Wise Railway Research.
Co-author of British Railway stinks. Graduate of University of Kent: main interest forensic work and eventually became an expert witness
Metallurgist, ex Manchester University.recruited to Derby in 1934. Wise Railway Research.
Page, Alex Henderson Campbell
Chief metallurgist at Derby, LMS from 1935: I.Loco.E. paper 399 Wise Railway Research.
American scintist who investigated the fusibility of coal ash in Belgian coals in 1895 and developed a formula for this. Report published by the United Stats Government Printing Office
Co-author of British Railway stinks: Sketch portrait in book, Main speciality lubricants, but also cleaning agents.
Member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers for 38 years, Prof. James Small, DSc, PhD (Member), Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Glasgow, died on the 9 January 1968 at the age of 70. Prof. Small was elected to the Chair of Heat Engines at Glasgow University in 1938; it was renamed the James Watt Chair of Mechanical Engineering in 1951. He was also appointed Director of the James Watt Engineering Laboratories and was responsible for establishment of a Hospital Engineering Research Unit which was sponsored jointly by the Nuffield Provincial Hospital Trust and the University. His drive and enterprise strengthened the position of the engineering faculty and his wide experience guided the department through difficult periods of change and growth. He also took a keen interest in Institution activities and was for a time Chairman of the Scottish Branch. A former president of the Institution of Engineers and Shipbuilders in Scotland, Prof. Small was a President of the Royal Philosophical Society of Glasgow
Co-author of British Railway stinks which he claims was written for his grandchildren. One of his grandfathers was a senior chemist at Steel, Peach & T9zers in Sheffield. He was brought up in Normanton, near Derby and after the skills of bbeing a chemist at British Railways Calvert Street Laboratory in Derby he became involved in Standards, both British and International for thos related to railway technology.Sketch portrait in book,
Swann, E. (re[acement entry)
Appointed at Crewe Works in 1864, former student of Chester College, as an analytical chemist at a salary of £2 per week. Swann was put to work in a hut in the works; his primary duties were in connection with the Bessemer plant, but he was soon involved in the analysis of other things, particularly oil, coal, coke, paint and non-ferrous metals. Water continued also to be an important problem especially when there were further outbreaks of cholera due to inadequate sewers. After one year Swann was given an assistant because of the volume of work, but in 1867. Railway Research. Hunt LMS Journal (17) 37. See also Russell and Hudson.
Thomsen, Thomas Christian
Born in Denmark in 1882; moved to United Kingom and worked for Vacuum Oil Co. Patented atomizer for locomotive mechanical lubrication. See Locomotive Mag., 1918, 24, 8-9
Tipler, Francis C.
Chief chemist at Crewe Works, 1899-1920.. Russell. Wise states that he became invokved in photography to the extent that he produced publicity photographs of many of the places served by the LNWR as well as special activities in Crewe Works. Tipler advised the medical doctor at the Works on the installation of diagnostic X-ray in the hospital, and investigated smells in the dining rooms
Conventionally trained graduate civil engineer. Initially he became known following the speedy and efficient way in which he organised the repair and re-opening to traffic of the viaduct in Brighton, which carries the Newhaven and Hastings line, after it had been severely damaged by a German bomb. However, Toms' main interest was in research and particularly in soil mechanics, the science of the load carrying capacity and modes of failure of the whole range of subsoils from chalk through rocks, sands and gravels to the various forms of clay. Toms was made the Chief Civil Engineer's Research Assistant about 1945 and took on the responsibility for soil mechanics research and for the Wimbledon laboratory which dealt mainly with problems of rails and civil engineering materials. In that position he conducted a noteworthy investigation into the problems of Folkestone Warren, a narrow stretch of land lying between the sea and the chalk cliffs on which runs the main line from Folkestone to Dover. The towering cliffs, about 500 ft high, are based on a layer of gault, a form of clay, which is relatively weak. Periodically the gault has failed by shear and slips away, leaving the chalk cliff undermined locally which may cause a major chalk fall which in turn cuts the railway line.
Major slips, all of which interrupted rail traffic for long periods, occurred in 1897, in 1915 (a great embarrassment at the time) and in 1937. The investigation showed the relationship between periods of heavy rain and the probability of slip, measured the shear strength of the gault in various states and calculated the most likely surfaces and directions on which slip in the gault would occur. Since the vertical face of the cliffs lay in a curve it was also possible to determine a focal point for all the slip directions. This focus lay just offshore and Toms proposed to lock the system by the construction of a massive block of concrete on the focal point. This was done about 1948-50 and appears to have been wholly successful in that there were no further interruptions of rail traffic in the Warren during the next forty years.
Toms was also concerned with soil failures, usually in clay formations, under the running lines. On a weak clay subsoil the dynamic forces produced by trains, particularly at rail joints, cause shear failure in the clay which "puddles" in wet weather and pumps up between the sleepers leaving voids underneath. Toms (like some others) was developing a remedial system called "blanketing" in which the clay beneath the track is removed to a depth of, say, one metre and is replaced by sand or other granular material upon which the track is relaid. To design such works effectively requires not only a knowledge of the strength of the infill materials but also of the stress levels to be expected in the soil at various depths as known wheel loads are applied. To determine these stresses Toms had designed new and elegant pressure cells to measure sub-surface stress; this gave rise to some valuable co-operation between the Civil and Mechanical research groups, as the Ashford Laboratory was called in to provide the strain gauging expertise and the electronic recording apparatus - not always with the reliability that Toms would have wished.
Later Toms developed an interest in the problem of rail head corrugation which, he was able to show, was related both to the metallurgical treatment of the rail head, the so-called Sorbitic process, and to a critical level of traffic density. When the new BR Research Department was formed, it was decided that Toms and his little team should stay with the Regional Civil Engineer and that research and development work on soil mechanics should remain a regional activity, which it did for a number of years. The Southern was later joined in this type of work by the Western Region and it was not until 1965 that the Derby Laboratories finally took over responsibility for soil mechanics research. Wise Railway Research..
Turner, T. Henry
Appointed Chief Chemist & Metallurgist to LNER in 1931. Significant contributor to discussions of Institution of Locomtive Engineers. In discussion on Glascodine's (J. Instn Loco. Engrs, 1936, 26 ,Paper 350) paper on buffing Turner advocated the use of rubber in shear. He could be very sharp in his response to what he regarded as poor metallurgical practice: for instance, he was highly crritical of some of the techniques advocated by Cox in his paper on Locomotive wheels, tyres and axles (J. Instn Loco. Enrgs, Paper 346) in a long contribution to the discussion where he noted the inappropriate use of copper, rather than zinc, as an interlayer between the tyre and rim and noted the destructive nature of molten white metal with hot steel where it cut like a knife. His interests were exceptionally broad: he contributed to a not very exciting paper on railcar development on British Railways noting that the front end should be sloping to avoid turbulence when two units passed at speed. He was also damning of the failure to employ Buck-eye couplings on the railcars. Wise Railway Research had much to contribute to Turner's somewhat ambivalent status on British Railways
said that the Author had omitted two conditions of operation which should be mentioned, in view of the statement that the public motor coach did "ride rather well" Surely there was no public motor coach in which a passenger could write at 60 m.p.h., as was done regularly in the ordinary mainline coaches of a train.
Discussion on Papers
Cox Paper 457
T. Henry Turner (151) said the Author's paper helped us to study the way we had come, with a view to our deciding where to go from here. After considering what had been done in other forms of transport as a guide to what -night have been done with railway steam locomotives, he concluded that liquid fuel, high speed engines, rotary motion and reduction gears stood out as a challenge. It was notable, therefore, that the paper referred to no experiments to replace crude run of mine coal during a decade when ships, buses, cars and aeroplanes turned to liquid fuels. Perhaps the next paper before the Institution would make it possible to follow two other such features-rotary motion and reduction gears-on the L.M.S. turbine locomotive.
Sanford, D.W. (Paper 451) The relationship between smokebox and boiler proportions. 40-53. J. Instn Loco Engrs., 1945, 35, 60
Theory may be likened to a candle and experience to the sunlight, said it would be desirable to know something more about what had been found by experiment, and therefore he would like to ask the Author, with the aid of the Research Department or the Institution staff, to add to the Paper a bibliography, and line sketches of typical blast systems. There were so many that it might be difficult to choose representative ones, but he felt that the Institution should be able to present some historical background to a Paper of this kind. He would like to ask what had been found with regard to the need for circularity, and to what extent it was possible to depart from circular chimney or nozzle without getting into trouble. If it were possible to depart from it, then it would be very simple experimentally-and possibly the testing plant at Rugby would undertake it later-to arrange a locomotive with manual control of the size of the nozzle and of the chimney. If it were possible to depart from complete circularity an arrangement of the type shown in the accompanying sketch (Fig. 5) might be tried. That would be simple with the chimney, but not so simple with the blast nozzle. He would like to ask what was known with regard to the need for circularity of locomotive chimneys and blast nozzles and whether tests had been carried out with manually-controlled variable ones; H. Holcroft (61-2) asked why quite small leaks into the smokebox had such a major influence on steaming and Sanford in reply could give no sound reason;
Graff-Baker, W.S. Considerations on bogie design with particular reference to electric railways. J. Instn Loco Engrs., 1952, 42, 349-50. (Paper 513)
Discussion: 350-1: The Author had rightly said that the problem must be considered in regard to the bogie plus the rail. The road vehicle never had to go backwards for the same distance and at the same speed, and that was one of the features which had to be considered in the design of the bogie. The "toe-ing in" or castoring action possible with some other types of vehicle could not be considered in bogie design for rail vehicles. A train feature that applied to the electrical bogies for two-thirds of the systems in Britain was that thev must'conduct electricity. Four-rail systems were relatively few in Britain; so that the current was likely to flow through the components of the bogie.
Uneveness over rail joints and lateral track irregularities could both be reduced by butt-welding the rails. At the time he had joined the railway service, civil engineers had been afraid of lateral deformation of the track and catastrophic deformation of the track in hot weather. It had been definitely proved that they were dangers about which there need be no worry, where long welded rails were used. He knew of no case where the long welded rail had been catastrophically deformed. The only rails that had so deformed, in railway experience, were those in which there were expansion joints. From French work which had been done on the subject, it would be seen that use of the expansion joint was courting catastrophic deformation under thermal expansion in the hotter parts of the year. Hence, there was no reason why rail joint bumps should be considered inevitable. The Author had spoken of axles having lasted longer than they should have done according to theory. Probably that was due to the absence of corrosion. Experience had shown that the average mainline axle would fail by corrosion fatigue in a relatively few years, if it weFe machined. Experience equally showed that thorough painting would preserve it for very many years. Corrosion could shorten the service life to a quarter of what it might have been. Before very expensive pneumatic tyres were adopted, with their greatly increased friction, he hoped that Mr. Trittons recommendation would bear fruit, and that the rubber-spring wheel-centre would be considered. With that there was little friction and little unsprung weight. Four or five years previously, when he had approached the biggest rubber undertaking in Britain, they had seen no reason why the success which had been achieved in the tramcars in the United States, Switzerland, and Sweden should not be matched in largerscale wheels, or why the trouble with heat from braking should not be overcome.
The lateral stability of the bogie deserved further experiment. Vertical rigidity was obviously necessary, but by design of the sides so that the one would contract and the other expand (which was possible), he was certain that the winding up which took place in the frame at the expense of abrasion of the rail could be avoided. If roller bearings were used, however, provision would have to be made in the shops to ensure that electric currents did not pass, because it was clear that, in certain of the electrified lines, arcing had been occurring from the race to the rollers.
Vandy, W. The production of steel wagons. J. Instn Loco. Engrs.,, 1953, 43, 534.. (Paper No. 526) .
Turner was in his element commending LNER welding practice
Wise, S. Why metals break. Rly Div. J., 1971, 2, 182-3.
T. Henry Turner, M.Sc. (182-3) raised the following points:
1. Transverse Fissures. The slide of a rail fracture shown by the Author, concerning which Professor A. G. Smith had asked for information, should be classified as a transverse crack or two-stage failure. (Four illustrations typical of these failures can be seen on page 25 of the Rail Failures booklet that Mr. Turner produced in 1944 to standardise reporting, description and classification. The printed booklet was later issued to all British Railways' civil engineers by the Railway Executive in 1948.) This transverse fissure had a smooth, round or kidney-shaped patch which sometimes exhibited a silvery centre. Its nucleus may be a 'shatter crack' or inclusion, or the fissure may be associated with wheel burn or weld deposit.
2. Clinks. Mr. Wise's illustration that interested Professor Smith was comparable with the 'clink' rightly feared by steelmakers and engineers. Turner had worked with the huge masses of steel needed for the electrical generator 'rotors' in the early 1920s. Cooling from molten state and forging to machine shop temperatures, the outside steel solidified and hardened while the middle of the mass had still to lose heat and shrink. Thus it sometimes happened, if the cooling was not very slow indeed, that contraction stresses, concentrating on ingot centre impurity weaknesses, caused the formation of an internal, transverse, convexo-convex lens-shaped fissure by a sudden 'clink'. This could occur when the large steel forging was at rest, and was in no way affected by external forces. Consequently the practice of trepanning a three-inch hole right through the centre of the longitudinal axis was adopted. If the core came out in one piece there was probably no clink, but to add certainty they developed a long-range microscope that was subsequently named a boroscope.
American rails had so many of these transverse, at first invisible, fractures that special railcars were made by Sperry to detect invisible fissures in rails in their tracks so that they could be removed before fracture. Continental rails had less of this type of rail failure, their rail heads having relatively smaller masses of steel. In Britain where rails were mainly made from open-hearth steel, and where climatic extremes of temperature were less on steelmaker's rail banks than in America, there were extremely few transverse fissures in steel rails.
3. Nature of Metals. When puzzling about why metals break engineers must try, like metallurgists, to have in mind the fundamental nature of metals. With the very rare exception of noble metals like gold, the Creator made our metals to have strong affinity for oxygen, sulphur and other elements. Found in nature as earthy material compounds of several elements together, metals were only extracted with much difficulty from their earthy or stoney ores. Metals used by engineers naturally reverted to brittle compounds; dissolving in acids, corroding in moisture, tarnishing and blackening in sulphur fumes, oxidising at flame temperatures. Although nickel and copper differed in their modes of straining, the Author had rightly concentrated on what he had observed in steels because most mechanical engineering was steel, ca~t) iron or their alloys.
4. Rail Bolt Hole. The Author's illustration of a fracture at a steel mil fish-plate bolt hole could be a memorable lesson. The civil engineer had drilled a hole in the rail web leaving a sharp edge that concentrated rail impact stresses. More important it concentrated corrosion because moist sulphurous air corroded the sharp-edged steel from both sides. It was foolish to expect paint, tar or oil to sit protectively on any sharp edge. Smoothly rounding-off the bolt hole edge increased the life of the essential zinc, paint or other anti-corrosive, and so reduced the loss of steel at a stress concentration area that was no longer a point. That was an important lesson, but since 1933 we have known that flash-butt welding of rails avoids bolt-hole corrosion, stress concentration and 70 per cent of rail failures.
5. The Environment Matters. In considering "Why Metals' Break", Turner said engineers must now remember that during the past 30 years many outstanding advances in practice have been brought about by altering the environment in which metals work.
There is much less metal loss in furnaces and machine shops because control of furnace atmospheres has revolutionised heat treatment of metals.
Control of boiler water chemical treatment made Mr. Bulleid's famous locomotives' steel fireboxes last for more than a dozen years instead of failing in six months. Control of ships' boiler waters greatly increased the availability of warships and merchant vessels. Control of the chemical treatment of land boilers made possible the present giant electricity generating plant boilers on which we all depend.
Control of anti-corrosive in summer as well as winter coolants for internal combustion engines has done more than anything else to increase the useful life of road vehicle motors. Control of air pollution brightened towns, increased their sunlight and also appreciably reduced the atmospheric corrosion of our metals.
Robson, A.E. Railcar development on British Railways.. J. Instn Loco Engrs., 1962, 52, 113-114. refers to Renault railcars and its influnce on A4 and bluntness of BR product, also it lack of Buckeye couplers.
In response to Paper No. 686 om automatic train operation he proposed automatic passenger operation: Automatic Train operation was obviously the first step, but then somehow it had to be arranged for a "slug of passengers" to be shot into it. Why not fence the edge of the platform and have sliding doors if the stopping of the train could be arranged accurately? At present, the eight-deep crowd was most dangerous, especially for those standing on the edge of the platform.
Mr. Turner did not think it was impossible that the aircraft system of taking a bus-load of people from the ticket office to the plane in which they were going to travel, could be adopted at some stations in the future. At present, the journey from St. Pancras to Charing Cross, for example, necessitated a very long walk in station passages, and quite clearly this was not what the paying passengers wanted. If we could not have passengers "containerised", he thought there was probably something we could do in automatic passenger operation to match automatic trains.
Lynes, L. and Simmons, A.W. Brake equipment and braking tests of Southern Railway C.C. electric locomotive. J. Instn Loco. Engrs., 1944, 34, 345-95. (Paper No. 448) Turner asked whether the Authors could add to the most interesting data they had already given, the chemical composition of the brake blocks and tyres, and also the chemical composition and hardness of the rails over which the trials were run. There were many sorbitic rails on the Southern Railway and some of them might have hardnesses approaching those of the Continental martensitic rails on which wheels readily skid. There were some unusual American brake blocks now on locomotives in this country, and they were producing strange results in wear on tyres ; but he assumed that in the Authors case ordinary grey cast iron brake blocks had been used. Both the chemical composition and the hardness of brake blocks, tyres and rails should therefore be added for completeness of the record if possible. He was very interested in the simple tumbler shock recording instrument described in the Paper. He did not remember having seen anything like it before, and if it was new, perhaps the Authors would say who invented it. As for the noise of vehicle impacts on braking, this was not a good advertisement for the railways, as anyone who slept within sound of goods trains bumping their wagons together would be well aware. Perhaps one day a Noise Abatement Society would force the railways to abolish the three-link coupling, even if nothing else could do so. The damage to freight of such noiseycreating bumping was often overlooked, but the department with which he was concerned frequently had to investigate cases where either rough shunts or abnormally hurried stoppages at signals caused damage to valuable freight. That point should he borne in mind by anybody who was trying to develop better braking systems. There was need for improvement in the whole of the train, and he hoped that the Authors, spurred on by Mr. Bulleid, would not stop at the locomotive, but would go on to deal with the continuous braking of freight trains.
Warder. S.B. Electric traction prospects for British Railways. J. Instn Loco. Engrs., 1951, 41, 38. (Paper No. 498)
asked whether the Authors could add to the most interesting data they had already given, the chemical composition of the brake blocks and tyres, and also the chemical composition and hardness of the rails over which the trials were run. There were many sorbitic rails on the Southern Railway and some of them might have hardnesses approaching those of the Continental martensitic rails on which wheels readily skid. There were some unusual American brake blocks now on locomotives in this country, and they were producing strange results in wear on tyres ; but he assumed that in the Authors case ordinary grey cast iron brake blocks had been used. Both the chemical composition and the hardness of brake blocks, tyres and rails should therefore be added for completeness of the record if possible. He was very interested in the simple tumbler shock recording instrument described in the Paper. He did not remember having seen anything like it before, and if it was new, perhaps the Authors would say who invented it. As for the noise of vehicle impacts on braking, this was not a good advertisement for the railways, as anyone who slept within sound of goods trains bumping their wagons together would be well aware. Perhaps one day a Noise Abatement Society would force the railways to abolish the three-link coupling, even if nothing else could do so. The damage to freight of such noiseycreating bumping was often overlooked, but the department with which he was concerned frequently had to investigate cases where either rough shunts or abnormally hurried stoppages at signals caused damage to valuable freight. That point should he borne in mind by anybody who was trying to develop better braking systems. There was need for improvement in the whole of the train, and he hoped that the Authors, spurred on by Mr. Bulleid, would not stop at the locomotive, but would go on to deal with the continuous braking of freight trains.
Robson, A.E. (Paper No. 632) Railcar development
on British Railways. J. Instn Loo. Engrs, 1962, 52, 60-99.
T. Henry Turner.(113-14) stated that the front end of the railcar should have a slope backwards at the top. It should be recalled that when two steam locomotives passed one another at high speed there was nothing like the usual shock to the passengers or to the driver when the engines were Gresley streamlined Pacifics. If higher speed running was to be operated blunt-ended trains would not be good. The Gresley design was derived from Sir Nigels noting the chisel-shaped ends of the early French Renault railcars. Instead of hitting the passing train an alarming bump the air, displaced by the train, was deflected upwards. The newer Midland Pullman had a handsome if somewhat less effective slope back. Could the Author say how many steam engines had been displaced by his 4,600 railcars? The year that the report was presented to the Railway Executive, on the scope for the employment of lightweight trains, was that in which London suffered the tragic smog that quickly led to the Clean Air Act. But for the railcars there would have been one to two thousand more steam locomotives bringing disrepute to the railways on account of the steam, black smoke, sulphur and tarry grit that they emitted. The railcar programme had had a useful psychological effect on many passengers as had been mentioned, but the railcars had also been a very welcome boost to the railwaymens morale: they saw new tools coming into use and no longer needed to feel hopelessly out of date. Would the Author say why there was the little dotted line in the diagram of the new cooling system (Fig. 23) that appeared to indicate that the hot coolant was led from the cylinder into an air space? There it would become aerated and in the absence of an inhibitor would accelerate corrosion of the cooling system. Was the dotted line pipe essential to the system? In 1956 he had been chairman at a session of a symposium dealing with the internal corrosion of internal combustion engines. Three systems of anti-freeze corrosion inhibition for the cooling water were there described that soon after became recognised in British Standards. Each of them was good but aeration did not help to prevent corrosion. Was it really necessary to keep the screw coupling for these railcars? He had fought hard to get the Buck-eye type of coupling at the time of Nationalisation because he knew from his work in charge of the LNER laboratories that it had frequently saved many lives. He therefore felt disappointed that the screw coupling had been allowed to creep in again in the early railcars. In addition to the centre coupling of the former LNER being safer he beIieved that it helped to use the mass of the vehicles to damp down the lateral vibration from hunting bogies which was so unpopular with f are-paying passengers.
Botham, G.J.M. (Paper No. 684) Practical aspects
of primary suspension design. J.
Instn Loo. Engrs, 1966, 56, 495-535, Discussion page 530
asked if one started off with passenger or the load and worked downwards, or from the rail contact and worked upwardsif it was the wheel which required "primary" suspension?
If we were going to have very high speeds, it seemed to Turner that we just cannot have a "large mass waving about in the air." It was a fearsome sight to see a big "Pacific" steam locomotive roll laterally, and if we were going to double the speeds he did not think we could tolerate that, therefore, the "primary" may have to reverting to be something between the axle centre and the track. Followowing this line of thought, the term suspension, generally speaking, was quite wrong. We have hardly got it in the Schlieren which has been under discussion. It is a sprung support. Mr. Turner thought that "suspension" was a term used because the old carriages had "C" springs, and leather straps; like a suspension bridgethe carriages were actually hungthey were suspended. In the Schlieren type there was no suspension, unless it was that the spring was carried slightly below the centre of the axle. It was a sprung support. The former Midland Railway had a sprung support between the tyre and the centre of wheelit was wooden planksmuch quieter than any of the solid steel wheels now used. Modern trams had rubber-sprung wheel centres; so if we were going to have very high speeds, should we not regard the "primary" suspension as that between the steel tyre and the centre the axle?
Boiler water treatment: a general review. Corrosion Prevention & Control, 1956, 3, 37-40..
Langridge, E.A. Under ten
CMEs. 2011. page 135
Refers to THT as "a great talker, guaranteed to finish with a eulogy of all things LNER"
Phil Atkins e-mail to KPJ on 17 June 2009
I did meet THT just after I started at the NRM, and he was very elderly then. He turned up out of the blue and I think expected red carpet treatment, unfortunately and exceptionally on that particular day I had to dash out into to York to meet someone. I remember him saying he'd done research into rail life, and that rails lasted no time at all in the acidic conditions prevailing in Woodhead Tunnel. For years he worked on a biography of Gresley, which formed the acknowledged basis of Geoffrey Hughes biog of HNG.
T Henry Turner took charge, with the title Chief Chemist and Metallurgist, LNER. With his office in Doncaster, he reported directly to the CME, Mr H (later Sir) Nigel Gresley, at King's Cross. An early action under the Turner regime was a comprehensive attack on the problem of locomotive boiler water quality. This involved chemical analysis of all the points of supply, a study of physical and financial data to determine priorities, and then the progressive building of water treatment plants. The chemists subsequently monitored performance. This was pioneering work at the time and produced excellent financial benefits. It was later extended to static boilers and ships and was influential in the drafting of British Standards
T. Henry Turner was also active in smoke abatement and in supporting the other officers of the LNER, including the Civil Engineer. Meanwhile his staff were busy with the usual chemical analyses, with metallurgy, paintthe Forth Bridge was an LNER responsibility and with the carriage of perishable goods, such as the express fish traffic from Aberdeen.
Henry Turner, Chief Chemist and Metallurgist, E & NE Regions.
He had held this same position on the LNER and claimed a close relationship
in the past with Sir Nigel Gresley. T H Turner was sufficiently senior to
have a very strong claim to the post of Chief Chemist, BR, but he had very
many outside technical interests, lacked the confidence of the post-Gresley
CMEs and was barred from access to the Eastern Region Works. Herbert remained
adamant that Fancutt should become "Chief Chemist", but a senior position
had to be found for Turner. In the event it was decided to place Turner in
the position of Superintendent of the Metallurgy Division, a post which,
when occupied by Dr O'Neill, had carried the title of Chief Metallurgist.
Here again there was a sitting tenant in the person of John Dearden who had
been appointed to the post to replace O'Neill in 1947. However, a neat if
temporary solution was found thanks to the formation in 1950 of the Office
for Research and Experiments (ORE), a subsidiary of the Union Internationale
des Chemins de Fer (UIC). ORE was based in Utrecht and was intended to be
staffed on the basis of having engineers or scientists from member railways
seconded to it for a period of one or two years. John Dearden went to Utrecht
in February 1951 and became a foundation member of ORE and the first British
"Conseiller Technique" at Utrecht, thus giving T H Turner the opportunity
to accustomise himself to his new role. Dearden's substantive post meanwhile
was Assistant Superintendent of the Metallurgy Division.
T H Turner himself gives an account of his work on boiler water treatment in the Gresley Observer No. 58, Autumn/Winter 1976. He gives a very full description of his work for the Civil Engineer in "Permanent Way Metallurgy", J. Permanent Way Inst., 57, 1939, 179-213.
In 1947 he succeeded the late W. Darcy at the Scientific Research Department, Crewe (Locomotive Mag, 1947, 53, 15)
Laboratories; research stations, etc
Railway Technical Centre, Derby
Gareth Bayer. Locos of the RTC. Rail Express, 2020 (No. 287
Channce acquisition: units included prototype HST power cars; classews 47, 31, 40, 46 (destroyed in 17 July 1984 nuclear flask crash test); Sulzer type 2, Class 16, Class 28 and Baby Deltic.
The Scientific Research Department of the L.M.S.
Brochure prepared for the guidance and information of visitors to its scientific research laboratory at Derby. "Received" Locomotive Mag., 1948, 54, 48
Colin Marsden. 25 years of railway
research. Sparkford: Haynes Publishing, 1989. 112pp.
This book and its author are also listed in the photographer section
Russell, Colin Archibald and John Hudson
Early railway chemistry and its legacy. Cambridge: Royal Society of Chemistry, c2012. xiii, 193 pp.
Requested from Norfolk County Library and purchased for KPJ who has found his notes and never added them to Steamindex. Supposedly in Sheringham Library!!
It is a pity that this excellent book has a slightly ambiguous title: "early railway" tends to be associated with events before 1830, and certainly not latter than 1840, whereas the formal employment of chemists did not start until far later. The book has been seen on two visits to the National Railway Museum and it is certainly an excellent book in itself and is capable of being read by anyone who is able to read a historical study. Absolutely no knowledge is required of chemistry, nor of its various notations. Anyone who is interested in the overall study of railways, and too many so-called authorities have failed to grasp that railways, no matter how they organized or disorganized by political whims, remain engineering-based systems. If this vital fundamental is ignored then Hatfield, Ladbroke Grove and other disasters disrupt the too economic targets being sought. Thus anyone with a real interest in railways should be able to appreciate this book. There follows a review which appeared in Chemistry World and this will be augmented if any reviews follow in appropriate railway historical journals, plus KPJ's own notes based upon a somewhat brief inspection which has been dominated by the dicates of steamindex.
Chemists in locomotion: review in Chemistry World 5 June 2012
Reviewed by Simon Cotton
Coinciding with the development of chemistry as a scientific discipline (and chemists as a profession), the Industrial Revolution saw an outpouring of technology that created much of the infrastructure that we take for granted today, of which railways are one facet. The authors of this book postulate and show that there were important links between the two.
This book traces the chemistry involved in railways, starting with Stephensons Rocket and leading to the present. Successive chapters trace the role of the chemist; originally as consultants, but from 1864 when the London and North Western Railway was the first of numerous railway companies to appoint a railway chemist, as direct employees.
The construction and operation of a national railway network over an amazingly short timescale relied upon several vital chemicals. The use of steel as a strong construction material was paramount, but other significant substances include oil for lubrication, and of course water. Finding pure water to use was vitally important, as the formation of boiler scale posed considerable problems, and water treatment was expensive.
It was only during the 19th century that chemists became able to determine the composition of the substances that they and their predecessors made. As that century went on, the profession of railway chemist grew in importance, not least because of their ability to carry out accurate analyses, whether to determine the composition of steel, or the purity of water. The properties of steel in particular depend sharply upon its composition, and railway chemists devised analytical methods for this, such as determining manganese by oxidation to permanganate, followed by (the now familiar) titration with hydrogen peroxide.
It was the chemists who showed that the presence of a small amount of arsenic substantially improved the metallurgical properties of copper used for construction of locomotive fireboxes and boiler tubes, just one of many examples given of their role in materials testing in two meaty chapters. Throughout the book, the authors refer frequently to original documents, whether at Kew, in county archives or at the National Railway Museum.
The work of railway chemists has always been unspectacular, in the shadow of the engineers. Nevertheless, as the book clearly demonstrates, the railway system would simply not have been possible without chemical inputs. A fascinating book.
KPJ's notes: Also the reference to the "great locomotive works at York" was one of declining significance with the concentration of locomotive building at Darlington. There is only one reference to rubber and that relates to rubber springs and Aspinall's claim that it was difficult to establiish a relaible analysis of rubber. This is at variance with the rapid strides made in rubber technology, most of which were broadly "chemistry-based", during the nineteenth century. The development of reliable railway braking and heating systems were critically related to the employment of vulcanized rubber.
British Railways stinks: the life and work of Britain's last railway chemists. Horncastle: Gresley Books, 2019. 208pp + 32 plates
Reviewed by KPJ (but not yet published). The other authors are John Sheldon, Ian McEwen, Vince Morris (deceased), Ian Cotter and Geoff Hunt. See separate entry for his own scientific work.
Institute of Railway Studies Working papers in railway studies, number eight British railway research - the first hundred years
Text by Sam Wise; edited by A. O. Gilchrist and with a biographical note by E. S. Burdon
The whole document is available online at several locations. This is a very brief precis based on Alastair Gilchrist's Preface.
Following his retirement, Sam Wise undertook a labour of love: the writing of the history of railway research in Britain. Unhappily he did not live to complete his self-appointed task. However, Sid Burdon, his professional colleague and a family friend, recovered the surviving typescript and word-processor discs, and these show that Sam had largely completed his work to 1960, and was drafting the chapter that brought the story to about 1964. In preparing this material for publication Gilchrist tried to preserve all of Sam' s finished, or nearly finished, text as the earlier period was well researched and reliable; it also benefited from information and advice from colleagues no longer alive. The later sections have the colour and authority of a narrative written at first hand.
In editing the text Gilchrist made a large number of small corrections of the sort that Sam himself would have found necessary: removing duplications, clarifying constructions and making links. This included reversing the sequence of the original Chapters 4 and 5. In Chapter 2 Gilchrist added a few paragraphs to record the continuity of research effort, mainly in chemistry, on the Great Western and London and North Eastern Railways; thanks to Eric Henley's advice, more detail is possible in the LNER case. Then in later chapters Gilchrist supplied the text describing the LMS Physics Section that was missing from Chapter 8, being helped in this by Leslie Thyer, Roy Bickerstaffe and Douglas Wright. From Chapter 10 onwards Gilchrist added several paragraphs to strengthen the description of activities in subjects other than Engineering. Gilchrist also clarified the organisational background, a task which was made much easier for me by the availability of Gourvish's British Railways 1948-1973. Chapter 13 was basically Gilchrist's own composition, but includes substantial elements from "rough notes" left by Sam, for example relating to the Western Region's Soil Mechanics Laboratory, the strengthening of project control in the Engineering Division and the opening of the new Engineering Laboratories. Finally a Postscript by Gilchrist summarised the situation already described and sketched very briefly the subsequent history of British Railways Research Department up to its sale under the Privatisation initiative in 1996.
Gilchrist checked numerous facts throughout the text against primary sources held in Derby, at the BRE Record Centre in Paddington, at the Public Record Office in Kew and at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, and was aided by many helpful telephone conversations with colleagues. Sam did not leave a record of his sources; however Gilchrist added an Appendix listing relevant documents that Gilchrist was aware of and used in checking the text. When certain of his ground, Gilchrist altered the text accordingly. Of course some errors may remain, but hopefully few. Derby, January 2000.