fredag 1. april 2011

Crystal Balling UK Motive Power 2012-2022

Well now you really have to put the final curtain down on the first generation production diesel electrics (c1950-1970). Be Happy! On secluded branch lines their straigth-through decibels will roar on, and you can get involved with their maintainance, maybe even retrain as a driver!

Now the second generation 1970s locos are coming to their swan song too, with re-engining and rationalisation of classes now the way forward.
So what do I predict in my crystal ball? Will we see a new type three?

The way forward is the old-new way. Trams, zings, call IC125 power cars what you like they saved the credibility of the railway through the 70s and 80s and floated GWRs boat in the 1990s and 00s. Now they are in their swansong, with new power-units. The next thing I predict here is that either class 92s will be hauling them "Under the wires" on the long distance routes using signigicant portions of the West and East CML's, or a dedicated power car being made to be dragged around the extremities and the western region. A move towards a "Unit" based train run with IC 125 power cars is unlilely given HST2 and the current franchise set up ( see my critique of this earlier blogg)

Dual and triple mode ( triple being over head 25kv, third rail and DEMU) multiple units will probably evolve soon in at least cross london guises. Given a real committment in some kind of public-private set up for offering better services while reducing the carbon footprint of those very trains, then this type of unit could find use in many more areas, Scotland , the NW, the branches running off the ECML and of course many cross-pennine services.

New locos? Well we will probably see the new "High" powered, of over 3600 hp and 4000 tonne plus haulage capapbilities coming onto BR; and I would dare to say that we will see the following: the oil sloshing voith maximas
which are actually not really any better than class 60s IMHO. Which brings me to the second: Class 60s with new PUs: either the GM 645 derived unit at its new higher rating, aroudn 3600hp, or the v16 RK215 at over 3600 hp at least. The latter would be the preference of the enthusiast, the former that of the accountants.

At some point we will need to see a replacement for the 57s and 67s in a lighter, better performing locomotive. This is probably some time off, and will take some major in- or de- centive to push the owners off their ageing trash!

As for our old chesnuts, the wonderful type 3s and type two and half "goils". Well this would come down to fuel economy and track access charges legitimising a lighter loco for sub 1000 tonne trains. Also on the topic of fuel economy it may become so expenisve to run locos that using the US / Canadian Robot system where extra power is only taken when needed, may see a return to multiple working. We just haven't seen the type of trains so far that can't be hauled by 66s. This would mean also a diesel-under-the-wires charge coming in so that dragging electric units to places like Lincoln and Sunderland becomes attractive: step in the dual mode train though here!

Type three was great for hauling around 500 tonne frieghts at less than 50mph or 250 to 300 tonne passenger services at up and down to 70mph. These trains still exist, and smaller, but are rare enough not to merit moving away from the EMD- GM monotomy of class 66 and 67/57.

In the future though, the gridlock and the battery car will have us more on trains and rightly so. Rolling on steel rails has always been one of the best transport systems. Don't forget that bitumen is a happy biproduct of the oil industry, and as oil starts to go dry, they will start to make more "coker" products ie broken down bitumen into smaller carbon chains including the octanes we crave. This will excaerbate the cost of driving by making the roads we drive on far more expensive to build and maintain. Road surface makes for poor recycled material, where as track can be smelted and concrete sleepers used in embankements, ships ballast and sea defences.

The new transport model will include little hire electric cars to zoom you around cities and industrial estates from rail hubs, while we will succumb to collective "dial a busses" or "taxi-shares" for many more of ventures over our own thresholds.

All this will mean far more "permanent way" building and upgrading, where a type 3 would be ideal. Also some routes like Barrow, Stranraer, Lincoln-Hull, Scarborough and so on may become more attractive for dragging el-units to, or portions of bigger route trains: a blast from the past!

fredag 11. mars 2011

The Secrets of the Class 37s Success

For the "first generation" of major dieselision, there is no doubt that the EE Type 3, later class 37, was the most successful on many counts, and this is best reflected in their longevity and the usefulness the class offered into the 2000s.

The only other comparable locomotives are ....also English electric, being the venerable 08 and the class 20, although the latter is most often used in pairs, a somewhat wasteful formation both at the time to erradicated steam and later in their lives. However, they too prove to have their niches.

The main failings of the first generation type 4s were the 1CoCo1 wheel arrangement and the overall wieght. Coupled to the class 40 and 44 being underpowered for their intended duties, and the lack of reliability from the class 45, then these locos were a heavy, expensive experiment. The class 46 was reputadely a more reliable unit, as were of course the class 40s, some of which were in completely working order when cut up in 1985-6.

Of the second generation, there were only three classes eventually ordered: 35 being the first, then 47 and 50. Once again it was actually the type 3 which prove to be the most reliable and "designed for task, delivered to design" . Both the 50s and the 47s required extremely expensive refurbishment to overcome their reliability issues, and in effect the 47s in particular did not live up to their design missive.

Brush Traction then had a pragmatic approach to what was still fairly experimental machinery. They had already shown this in re-engining the problematic and underpowered type 2 AIAs, and took a sensible decision to de-rate the new type 4s after rectifiying the terrible problems with the Sulzer units. One of the key issues was most likely caused by sulzer sub contracting production of the LDA series engines out, and thus quality control at various levels was not fulfilled.

In life, however, the sulzer 12LDA twin bank engine prove easy to both rectify and "keep on top of" with regular, specific maintainance. It is a single turbo engine with otherwise good access to components and inspection points. This contrasted with its own cousin, the 12 and 16 LVAs which had "blind" spots in the crank cases which lead to catastrophic failure due to a simple locating pin tool being ill machined! The 12LDA units could be hammered back into service rapidly, and given the amount of idle service duffs seemed to get in some areas when the more powerful 56s and 8s came in or when pairs of class 37s or 31s were needed to start heavy loads the 47 couldn't cope with in its solo existence, then class availability was kept artificially high. A better measure is MPC: miles per casualty, and for the same high speed services as the 50s, the 47s faired no better in fact!

The 47's legacy really lived on because Brush won the lions share of the two next generations of locomotive orders in the class 56 and 60. The nickname "duff" has cast a long shadow in UK locomotive history.

In the mean time however, GEC had gone into Alsthom and had concentrated on mainly AC locos for mainland europe with only relatively small orders for the "prima" units, tha majority of those for France and the UK, with the rebuild of the 333s being just that. It was the USA who had kept advancing diesel loco technology in heavier RA7 + freight locomotives, and actually could offer units down to under 120 tonnes based around the GM 645 line of PUs and CoCo format.

The failure of the 56s to haul the heaviest trains in the UK, lead to the class 59 outshining all but the "tugs" when they came on the scene. Major teething problems once again with the 60s meant that in the soon-to-be private world the EMD class 66 would rule the rails. ( although as a footnote, the USA proiduced Class 70 has had its share of teething problems)

So in a way, the perpetual under-delivery by Brush and compacency by GEC Alsthom opened the gates for the very competent N.American GM-EMD to swing in. WIth the Class 60s likely to be withdrawn or rationalised, we will one day soon see the end of UK produced locomotives on British metals.

lørdag 5. mars 2011

The British Rail Class 38.......that never was

The class 38 was perhaps quite near to being a signed deal, but the new reduced cylinder type 4 or 5 freight loco was what actually transpired from the successful 37/9 trial.

But what would the class 38 have actually looked like? How would it perform? Would it be like the 60 - freight dedicated -or like it's type 3 cousins, a jack of all trades?

Historical Context

All of the type threes and the nearly type three class 31, had shown that their superior punch in a small package made them winners over the under powered type 2s. At this approximate power banding, 1.4kw, it was deemed potentially useful to continue with newer locomotives which would work medium freight services, track maintainance and perhaps passenger trains. Another main purpose of the 37/9 trial was to estabish if reduced number of cylinders could be effective in operation: ie the far higher power per cylinder offerings in fewer and in line cylinder arrangements would be as reliable as the somewhat over engineered V12 and V16s of the 1950s,60s and 70s which were to be replaced.

The obvious choice of test bed for the proposed class 38 was of course the class 37. The engine compartment and radiator surface-area could accomodate a wide range of power units (PU's) : all from the two straight sixes chosen, through the GM645 unit and even up to the v16s in valenta/ Vp 185 or perhaps an RK 270 v16 - remember the portugeuse C1800s where shorter and lighter than the cl. 50.

At the time though the principle cost concern was what diesel mechanics call "unit man hours", a unit being a single cylinder and thus a multiple of these being considered the key cost driver. Heavy maintainance on the RK16 was costly, and the newer RK 12 has often been quoted as "over powered" and relatively unreilable by drivers and enthusiasts.

The eventual move to fewer cylinder "units" prove not to be quite as smooth as the 37/9 trial, with the expensive mistakes made on the class 60 with the MB275T/ 8 PU. However, no matter the teething issues with the PU in the "tugs", man hours and replacement components are indeed the major cost in maintaining a PU. Thus both straight 6 PUs chosen fulfill this criteria and establish if higher pressure PUs could operate at least as reliably as the best examples of the class 37s at Cardiff Canton where the trial was initiated.

What Form for the Class 38 ?

The class 38 would of course have been a standard "slab end" loco and would have followed the conventions at the time in being either similar or even standard in some elemetns to the two other UK locos viz. 56/58 or the US built class 59 perhaps. Given the contract had been placed with Brush Traction Ltd, as per the class 60, then the appearance would have been no doubt standard to the front end of the 60s. In essence the class 60 body is just a reworking of the 47 and 56 stressed frame.

One variation could have been employing a "Bone" format akin to class 20 and 58: at the time of the 60 order, the bone format had been clearly shunned on BR with a preference for walk through bodies allowing all weather access for inspection. With the whole design strategy being based on in line PUs, then a good deal of inspection and repair could be achieved in situ within a full width body. Furthermore, this would allow for more space for inclusion of a (redesigned!) silencer unit.

To Co or not To CoCo....

The MB275 unit is despite being only 5 mm wider in cylinder bore, considerably heavier than the RK270-6Tt unit, and in fact heavier than the original 18 tonne 12CSVT fitted in the Class 37. Being two stroke, the engine has longer stroke than the RK 270 (mm) and in general is far sturdier built to accomodate higher compression. In addition the crank case is a larger volume with large inspection ports for each "big end/con rod" connection to the crank shaft.

Therefore if the MB275 had been chosen then the loco would almost certainly have been a CoCo.

Power Unit Deciding Ultimate Bogie Arrangement

BRB had been somewhat dissatisfied with the RK reliability and service costs and also the delivered performance in classes 56 and 58. The PUs required more servicing than desirable, and it was seen that less cylinder units could offer cheaper servicing. Dissatisfaction was also all too evident at some customers like Foster Yeoman who ordered the GM 645 based class 59s as a result of poor class 56 performance, the road to GM EMD being paved and the UK industry's fate being more or less sealed as 'also ran'. I actually saw a FS stone test train with double class 56s in 1985 at Bristol Temple Meads Station, a service which a single 59 could tackle. So the Ruston RK 6 (or eventually 8) engine was not perhaps the lead runner.

In the final reckoning of course,m the superior power rating of the the MB 275 stratight 8 over the RK 8 lead to the former being chosen for the type 5 project, the class 60. The RK 8 in traction set up would be at a maximum rating of about 2800hp in the late 1980s, probably being favoured at a lower 2500hp to extend service interval. Coupled to SEPEX or GEC-Alsthoms latest power delivery & wheel slip control at the time, then a 2500 rating would have outperformed all the 12LDA locos and probably the standard class 56s and 58s.

On the other hand, in defence of the Rustons offering, there were several classes existing at the time which had a longevity expected with their RK / C/ SVT power units: 08, 20, 31, 37, 50, 56 and 58. Many components were "backwards compatible" eg new pistons from 58s into 37s, engine blocks from withdrawn 56s in class 50 life extension and so on. The MB 275 was completely unproven in a traction environment at that time, and Mirrlees had not enjoyed a very enviable reputation for their other traction power units, being swapped out of at least two types of brush locomtives and not favoured in the HST/ IC125 contract despite being trialled.

The RK 6 is four stroke and therefore uses less lubrication oil and probably has a longer heavy-refurbishment programme than the 6 cyl, MB275. Class 37s had proven to be masters of the type 3 power range, over-shadowing performance of their heavy and sluggish big sisters the 40s and providing more reliable service than all other type 4s. So this also stood in favour of Ruston's offering.

Details of the 37/9 trial are not fully released to the public, but however several commentators at the time stated better delivery with the MB but better service interval on the RK. The RK unit was fitted with some complex turbo lag synchronisation control, delivering fuel slowly until the turbo pressure was achieved. Hence the name "slugs".

With the smaller and much lighter RK6 being chosen form of the locomotive, the class 38 layout could then be left a little bit more open: Co Co configuration with the compact RK270 6T would have necessitated ballasting for heavy freight allocation, or indeed in any intended guise over six axels, as it weighs several tonnes less than the 12 CSVT, being essentially a single bank of that v12 engine and more like a class 08 RK footprint! This ballasting could have been a usefulk feature, with variable axel loading facilitated by lifting out the ballast depending on route and train type allocations.

An alternative just for the sake of arguement, could have been an AIA configurations: this could free up the trailing axel for advanced hydraulic braking or a dedicated rheostatic brake "motor". There are some electrical advantages in having only four traction motors to feed at this ampage/ voltage range in traction power application: these are much speculated upon by class 31 enthusiasts in comparison to the more powerful 37s. Also given the advanced SEPEX traction motors being a likely part of the order, then this electro-mechanical advantage could have rendered CoCo uneconomic: ie utilising a maximum kilo newton starting and continuous effort for the total power out put and axel loading over two SEPEX thus negating using standard TMs or bothering to employ six such advanced TMs.

The obvious option for reduced cost though would have been to produce a BoBo locomotive: Less materials in a shorter locomotive. The RK 6 engine is only slightly larger and heavier than the 280mm bore 6LDA 28 engines engines fitted to so many type 2s on BR and further a field. Although I find no interwebie quote for the type 3 rated 8LDA unit from the class 33, It is probably slightly heavier than the RK 6.

The success of the class 33 could have pointed to a SEPEX based locomotive being a sensible BoBo "Little sister" to the class 60 project. In fact the entire class 38 project had already been achieved by Brush traction when they re-engined their own "mini grids" : a class of BoBo locomotives made for Rhodesia / Zimbabwe. These were fitted latterly with RK 8 cylinder engines with a rating IIRC of around 1800 to 2000 hp and a tonnage under 80 gross. These suprising cousins to the 56s did have some good web listings and images a few years ago, an excellent british export locomotive site being amongst them. However, due no doubt to both copyright issues on images used and sources, and the closed nature of Zimbabwe as far as the internet goes, details of these locos are beyond my patience to find. I would be grateful for any links to provide some providence in this case. I would be very grateful for any links placed in "comments" below, by means of providing providence for this class of loco!

Total wieght at under 78 tonnes would later be advantagous for track access charging. However, there are several stumbling blocks for this BoBo arrangement: firstly the type of duties expected of a type 3 would include the torturous routes negotiated by 37s:

One reason 37s were introduced to the WHL and FNL/Kyle routes was to both accelerate trains while reducing corner wear over the type 2 bobos. By 1986 though, articulated CP5 bogies had been deemed a success though so a BoBo could have been practical in a new build. So this is one factor to consider: route availability and effective wear and tear.

The RK 270 is a longer unit than the 6lda, thus taking up much of the space in a locomotive as in the class 33. This would mean that features like rheostatic heat dissapators or indeed an auxilliary ETH generator would be excluded. One final factor I come upon to negate the use of Bobo is that a modern CoCo is in effect an AAA configurations: each traction motor can be independently removed or supplied less power ( in fact any 37 TM could be bumped out of connection, so they were in fact not a series connected CoCo) Heat dissapation is also a major consideration in a 1.4kw plus PU system and 37s had proven that their high ampage and resulting power delivery at low speeds was ideal for the CoCo configuration. So given the demands of heavy frieght and gradient work as a replacment to the 37s and 40s etc, and supplement to type 4s and 5s, the 38s would have done well to benefit from wheel slip / traction control in CoCo set up.

Final comment on CoCo: if the loco was to be a true mixed traffic entitity then the fitting of a 400- 600 hp auxiallary would have rendered a 2000hp prime mover with SEPEX TMS in a modern loco more effective than any of the then current sulzer type 4s when hauling ETH stock. A CoCo would allow for both this and space to carry ballast, while most likely offering better wheel slip and power delivery management than a bobo at the time of potential ordering in the late 80s.

Conclusion on Format:

At the end of the day, given the class 38 order went ahead in the same time
frame as the actual class 60 order, , then the Mb engine would be the choice to offer standardisation between the type 5 and type 3 erm, 3.5. Hence the loco would really need to be a CoCo to carry the weight and no doubt tackle the thumping torque -amps delivery of the big two stroke PU. It may have even been desirable to use the exact same body shell to give even more standardisation.

Had the order been put out to tender a little later in hypothetical time, then one tendering partner would have been the GEC altsthom with their Prima format, which has by in large been manufactured in BoBo format in both electric locos and the GM 645 based builds including the class 67s. With the light RK in their portfolio, then the loco would almost certainly have been a bobo and perhaps run alongside the royal mail /BRB build of the rather horrid class 67s.

Had BR decided to be rid of the underpowered type 2 fleet at an earlier date when their obselecense was clear, say 1976, then they could have looked to rationalise over to 8lda and ETH for a great number of class 25s and then build a new BoBo with brush at the time of the 56 order, as per the Rhodesian mini-grids discussed above.

Workings for the Proposed Class 38

What would they have worked? Well of course they would have worked all those mid wieght, mid speed services and track maintainance duties which class 37s have only now been by-in-large withdrawn from. Thus the class 38 would have lead to an earlier demise of the majority of the class 37 and probably all other type 2 and 3s, if they lived up to their promise of longer service hours, lower MPC and faster HGR turn around.

The 38s would have offered the opportunity to replace the earlier sulzer 45/46s from freight duties and supplement 47 freights, perhaps offering a heavier over all standing lift. In pairs they would have outperformed all the single type 4s and 5s of the early 1980s ( a pair of 37s would out perform 56s and 58 in sinlge unit operations according to motherwell depot). In the rush to dieselise in a post war britain still having materials rationing, pairing locomotives was seen as wasteful. However it is common practice in most long haul countries, where by larger "robot" multiples are often only engaged for gradients or actually switched off when running the wagons on "light" return journeys. Given that a pair of 38s would put out "type 6" power with 12 cylinders and be able to run light journeys on one unit, there may well have been an ongoing appeal from managers at depots like motherwell, Eastfield, Immingham, gateshead and Cardiff Canton.

Passenger wise, the 38s would have seen some employment even if they were nominally a freight ony locomotive given the same developments in the private era as transpired. However any potential order would probably have kept an eye on WHL sleeper services, routes like bangor, scarborough, Hull, Aberystwyth, Welsh Border Route and the potential for electric units / forwarding services to be operated by a light and fuel efficient loco.

If the class had been ordered as a freight only, this would have been under the BR sector scheme and so there would have been some debate upon privitisation and the ubiquity of class 66s as to the class 38's utilitity.

Now we see that the class 15x series multiple units are seeing the end of their effective lives and indeed the later generation units are showing signs of deminishing reliability, the 38s could have picked up where the 37s left off, working long distance semi expresses and hauling both de-engined 156s etc and things like 318s on services to say Lincoln, Hull, Bangor, Abersysthwyhth and in Scotland.

Fleet Size and Order-Number ?

Given BRB were serious in replacing earlier loco types 2 and -3, then the order could have been in the region of 150 to 200 examples. The author considers that both a super low geared and a higher geared "stroke 4" passenger dedicated variant sub class could have been subsequent orders upon successful experiences in core frieghts.

However the type of sub 1000 tonne traffic was drying up and becoming uneconomic. Also passenger traffic was strategically set over to multiple units: there was hope on a larger degree of standardisation, economic viability and reliability, all of which have proven dubious and probably not of any benefit if you compared the second or third generation DMUs with running class 31,33 and 37 (with 35 in there for historical noeworthyness!)

In the privatisation period, then private owners would have been very happy to exclude everything from class 20 to class 37 and rather own a single type 3 for lighter workings where a class 66 burns a lot of diesel! However, they were otherwise delivered fleets of pretty reliable "legacy" locos at bargain basement prices: some speculate that the acquisition of locos was less than scrap value in the total equation. There was no impetus for a new type 3 post privatisation due to this and now with network rail being national they struggle on with legacy 37s etc while 66s and 60s are often seen on rather puny track maintainance or even weed killer trains, and class 67s have appeared on many services which were otherwise completely adequately delivered by class 37/4s. In 2008, a large number of class 60s were stored as were many 67s and even 92s. It was claimed that there was not the demand for these locomotives.

As of time or writing, with no credible incentive to reduce axel weights or introduce locomotives on semi-fast services poorly served by DMUs, then there is little sign of any possible replacement to the recently pensioned type 3s.


The worrying issue for us at the time of the 37/9 trial, was if class 37s would routinely become "slugs". However, the refurbishment and "reallocation" programme showed the 12 CSVT to be a venerable and over engineered item which would last at least another ten years as planned, and of course nearly three decades in profit making service in reality.

If the RK 6 was chosen, then the loco would have almost certainly taken a BoBo format, while the MB275 lump would necessitate six axels. Intriguingly, the RK 8 could also be fitted into an RA6 / 7 Bo Bo loco as brush had done some years earlier to their Zimbabwe-Rhodesian "mini grid" bobos. My speculation ends there.

From all accounts however, the straight sixes were always planned to go in a new loco or be a test bed for reduced "unit" cylinder practicality for the larger "8s", and the latter was the project goal which prove desirable and came to fruition.

mandag 14. februar 2011

The Last Year of Bashing 1985

My last year of bashing, and I suspect that by numbers, this was probably the single biggest year of retirals I dare say.

Why? Well the only dinosaurs were falling since 1979: 24s, 55s, 44s, 46s etc. Now the 40s were to go and boilered services to stop.

Also I feel my day was up. I had taken up cycling and venture scouts and kept an interest in mountain walking. Girls too, who had been a bigger thing in 1982 actually.

The social side of bashing was going down hill: all the bitter little rat bashers slagging the 40s ..etc. The top men didn't bother much to speak to us, and the gen also seemed to dry up a bit.

All and all I grew out of it, but I had one last big bang: the cambrians. More to the point, the first day of the cambrians under decent power!

Almost thirty years on I find the older me looks back and says, yeah a bit of a thrash, some great cameraderie and I got to see most of the UK. A sense of freedom, a taste for logistics, talking to strangers all the time, statyin out of trouble. Egalitarianism, which was brought out most of all by the range of people turning out for the first Cambrians: trashy scousers in pork pie hats, public school boys, scots, taffs, londoners, skinheads ( well at least one notable Fred the skin head)

The older me looks back and thinks he could have spent his time more productively: studied to be a doctor or a computer nerd, been a pro rugby player, done the cross country running to get into the marines, climbed all the Munro mountains, made some other "list of achievements" which other people might respect.

But the real me knows, if I landed back in 1978 then I would become a die hard fan of English Electric Locomotives.

One I do Remember : 40 118 over Settle-Carlisle 5th January 1985

January 1985. Forties are due to be gone by the summer. 37/4s are on the way, and also there are rumours of units after them. Steaming days, a charming anachronism by 1972 let alone the 1980s, were numbered as ETH stock would take over. Already the WHL had many dual heat stock including a couple of Mrk IIs.

So how do we start 1985 then?

Transcard up the west highland line?

Nope, family rail card, with "Rupert" at the helm of ticketing to York for me, Reidy, dobbie, carlisle and possible Tunes to make the 6 people split IIRC.

I called up the train crew office at Carlisle and the loco rostered for the week was a bloody 47/0 or/ 4, but the gen was it would be steam with 16 wheels. Right enough, after an electric duff, an 86, we were treated to 16 wheels and 16 pipes of glory both ways, with top notch steam heat.

Despite the short day, it being almost dark on arrival at Leeds, the sun was out at Carlisle making it crisp with a warm expectation of the boiler on the 40. Suprisingly for a saturday, the southbound 10:40 Carlisle - Leeds has maybe only one coach of four or five filled with enthusiasts.

Phot's taken, nose a little overexposed in the winter sun with the Fujica at f1.7, we were off. A quite lively run was made south over, with a larger gang of neds and tweed jacket pseuds coming on at Skipton. There it took off like a well healed thirty seven in the snow flurries and got well underway for a drab arrival at Leeds.

For some reason we shot up to York, probably because Leeds in 1985 was a rough place. York by 1985 was losing any appeal, being wagon, duff, ped and on ly the odd 40 left. After you have seen 55002 static once, and miss its roar, then you can't be bothered again. We didn't have time for the museum. Back on another wagon / 1 and off . This time of course, the whole nation of 40 bashers are out because you could really count the saturdays left for forty bashing on one hand by then.

Once crowd coming on at Skipton with a monster carry out attracted Brian Reids Scorn and I ruined some poor sods recording. We got a compo, being on nice and early, which was coach two: near enough for thrash at any bridge or tunnel to be fantastic.

The 40 really lifted her skirts and ran that saturday evening and showed what EE could deliver.
A big crowd at Carlisle, probably buggered for anything but an overnight back to Yorkshire via Manchester. And it was over. I think this was my second last 40.

As a last touch of nostalgia we got a roarer up the line, which I think limped into Carstairs to be replaced by a leccie duff. ( this was the third or more roarer failure over Beattock northwards, we had since 1982)

We knew it was a big day then, and we put it behind us with pride and nostalgia.

09:10:00 Glasgow C Carlise 86217
10:40:00 Carlisle Leeds 40118
14:00:00 Leeds York 45124
14:53:00 York Leeds 45116
15:55:00 Leeds Carlise 40118
20:50:00 Carlisle Carstairs 81002

Glasgow C 86233

By this time we were all maybe starting to meet girls of all things, and take up other hobbies apart from fondling. We didn't like the idea much of 37/4s and with the forties going, then we kind of knew that this day was our last classic steam heat day of 5 years of a misspent youth.

However, 1985 prove to be another classic year and maybe the biggest turn out year for members of the thrashier d6700 class!

This was my last year bashing and I am glad I put a stop to it to go off to healthier pursuits. If I had a time machine, then I would do more bashing.....

Bashing Class 37s 1st Dec 1984

01.12.1984 Trannie restricted area maybe

09:06:00 Home Arrochar 37033
09:45:00 Arrochar Glasgow QS 37184
12:20:00 Glasgow QS (Oban) Crianlarich 37191
14:15:00 Crianlarich Glasgow QS 37033
16:50:00 Glasgow QS Crianlarich 37112
19:xx Crianlarich Arrochar 37191
19:45:00 Arrochar Ardlui 37033
20:01:00 Ardlui Home 37027

Well all very hum drum, while I dare say that many readers would give their right arm to have done this little lot of ED boilered syphons las saturday.

A bit of a trip I just don't quite remember: i remember going over Sloch just a couple of overnight times, and at Kyle just once in the winter, and this must have been it. Pretty unremarkable, I wonder if 033 was on a Dundee train or a Perth: units had been displaced by several more locohauled in 84 -85 and this was down to "perth man" in control. 37s were regulars.

7 to 8th Dec 1984 Mini Freedom of Scotland

02:50:00 Home Glasgow QS 37026

23:30:00 Glasgow QS Perth 47546

Inverness 47614
06:55:00 Inverness Kyle-of-Loch Alsh 37260
11:10:00 Kyle-of-Loch Alsh Inverness 37260
14:32:00 Inverness Aberdeen 47012
17:05:00 Aberdeen Perth 47522
19:13:00 Perth Glasgow QS 37039
20:59:00 Glasgow QS low level Home 303
Back to more of the mundane WHL; But 37 265 was a bit large IIRC. I think it was NB by then.

19th Dec 1984 Trannie

09:06:00 Home
Arrochar 37051
09:45:00 Arrochar Glasgow QS 37265 (012 had failed,dead on train)
12:20:00 Glasgow QS (Oban) Crianlarich 27052
14:15:00 Crianlarich Home 37051

27th Dec 1984 Trannie ( WHL train times an hour or more late)

10:3x Home Garelochhead 37033
10.xx Garelochhead Glasgow QS 37090
12:20:00 Glasgow QS (Oban) Helensburgh Upper 37184
14:54:00 Helensbugh Central Glasgow QS Low Level 303
16:50:00 Glasgow QS Crianlarich 37051
19:xx Crianlarich Home

Once again, from above, a boring day, but maybe a line in the book for an itinerant 37090 which was probably GD allocated iirc, but later moved up to ED.

mandag 3. januar 2011

Deltic possibilities

These days engines are ever more clean and lean, while their exhaust gases are being scrubbed down to remove unwanted particles, and reduce their carbon footprint.

The latter of the two is threatening the economics of actually building DE locomotives, and the EU directives are being fought apparently. The contention is that "scrubbing" and majority-removal of CO2 in locomotives requires such a large volume of space and weight that they squeeze out the traditional low emission "mid speed" marine derived units ( Read CSVT / RK 270/ 215) in favour of the hotter, lower service interval higher speed ( in fact "mid speed too" ) of above 1100rpm.

The americans are going back to the future, by adding a tender to locomotive prototypes in the aim of having Zero emissions.

In all this scrubbing and need for a small, super powered engine ( ie Power Unit in railway talk) there is a little hope for the most wonderful PU of them all; the Napier (rustons) Deltic.

The engine was horribly smokey because of its two stroke, swept port format and rather low compression for a two stroke not helped by primitive "blowing" in the non turbo version.

However, if you need to scrub it all out anyway, then in fact all this "clag" ( a good deal of which is actually steam anyway) is not such a hindrance. In amonia CO2 recovery, the solutuion is usually recycled many times until the load of carbonates is high enough to render further use of the solution inefficient.

Other things could be done to the deltic unit to make it leaner and cleaner:

1) use of ceramics to replace high tolerance piston rings and other components.
2) Common rail to reduce fuel use and inefficient combustion on run down and idle
3) Rotating cam actuated valve gear for the exhuast port: meaning the port is closed as the oiled section behind the final piston ring sweeps past
4) high pressure super charging with intercooling : used prior to full turbo engagement, this would increase the manifold pressure and apparent compression and reduce inefficient low rpm combustion

If we track the advances in the valenta-ventura-VP series of engines, then we could perhaps expect a specific power increase per cylinder enabling a four bank, 12 cylinder deltic blown by both super-and turbo-charging to produce in excess of 2000hp/ 1.4kw.