fredag 9. november 2012

Class 37 and Load 5 vs Sprinter Boredome

Sprinters came with obvious economies......or did they?


Firstly you are comparing a completely new capital investment with refurbishment of stock and locos, which actually happened anyway, but in the early 80s fixing stuff was still cheaper than buying it new (from China as is now)

Secondly, while on the comparison, there was an ageing fleet of locos.....well a lot of poorly made 6LDA mass produced locos which were underpowered. Also there were many non standard classes of this inferior power around. Take 37s and in particular refurbished 37/4s out of this equaiton and the economic comparison gets a lot better.

Then there is flexibility of capacity: a sprinter allegedly increases seating: but take 9 seats away from 163 as billed, which makes 76 per coach versus 56 in a mark I: but the mark one has more luggage room , and more toilets.  A sprinter you have a large capital asset lying about if you lay up stock outside peak periods because motive power is "integral" and they are quite expensive. Mark I's were all built with public money and along with mark IIs lasted actually to 2010 in public service. So were sprinters, and then sold off at a rate which is difficult to calculate.

In other words you can leave a coach or rake of coaches lying around or make up and break up sets for what ever reason at a far lower "loss overhead" and then you can mothball or sell them as a private company. So a sprinter will be say load 4 a notional 300 seats, seemingly you need load six to cover this. But with load 5 and a brake and parcels van you can carry more bikes, luggage, sea food on ice etc.

Now if a loco fails you may have on hand one loco spare to cover several trains at a given reliability ( miles per casualty, local allocation class availability, number of loco hauled trains, risk of failure in service, average time to mid route, hours per on so on a big nasty calculation and algorythm)

When a sprinter fails then there is no loco to swap and you need a loco or usually now a nother sprinter to pick it up.

The lack of flexibility is the crux on this. WhileA 37 on load 2 still probably pops out 1000hp and not 560 odd, while on load 8 or 9 as in the usual summer trains to Oban and Ft Bill and load 10 to Inverness often, then a 37 produces 1750hp : you would then be doing the same as 1716hp in three sprinters lined up.

Also each coach then has 286 horse power and a 75mph top speed ( okay 37/4s top out about 75-80) so load 4 has 4 engines and a little over a thousand hourse power. But when Ideling you have four engines at a higher RPM than a single v12 mid engine sitting at 400rpm.

So I have set out on my own little debate with yours truly, and on fuel and absolute seating capacity a 37 on load 5 fails. But on flexibility, reliability relative to cancellation and getting stuck somewhere for a very long time.ha

Lastly though in this rant, sprinters were trialled and despite having eventually the same hp on load 6 as a 37 on 8 , they still needed 20 minutes to 30 minutes longer .  Slower in fact as the type 2s which could if thrashed to death and failure, could keep up with the 37 diagrams on load 3 at least. Those diagrams having actually a good percentage of slack with 37s coming in early to GSQst or meeting signals at Singer especially for getting ahead of themselves at 80mph! A 37 on ETHEL ( 350 tonnes nett haul) made up 40 nminutes between Crianlarich and Dumbarton ( see other blog on 37014 and Peter Walker). The outgoing timetable for 37s had 40minutes added Dumbarton- Glasgow to make the new sprinter time table look quicker! Of course the actual diagram was business as usual and the syphons probably delighted Ada and Bert by being in so darn early!!!

I did about 15,000 miles off 37s, mainly boilered ED ones and mainly on the WHL. 35mph average. I had maybe one fail on me underway and a few failures causing delays, also probably there were a few more failures prior to dropping on the train wheere another loco had to stand in. After rail faires went up so much, I was skint once and coming from Edinbra to Oban and saw that the bus went via Calendar and was therefore shorter and faster. It was ok the bus. Then I did via Inveraray and it was kind of a better route if not just for the novelty. It was cheaper and just about as quick as a plastic sprinter and on the more modern busses with a shitter and good suspension and sound proofing, it was actually more comfortable than doing plastic up the WHL.

So sprinters were slower and more cramped than mrk Is with a syphon G on the front, but saved maybe on fuel, and some degree of modernity and standard parts. Virgin have the figures on running the modernised class 37/4s on mrk IIs in comparison to their units and data on sprinters is probabkly about. They key thing is that you can't do load one or load 10 effectivly with a sprinter; They are notably slower; for a 37/6 or /0 then they cannot go  as fast ( 105mph trail on the Edinburgh-Glasgow route ) There is less space for baggage and bikes; the windows do not all align with seating; there are fewer toilets;They cannot work freights or recover other types  trains in the way in front of them; neother can they sod off for a bit of overtime on the night shift and do freights and PWAY trains at night There is relatively less space for getting on and off, although the doors are wider; they use more fuel on idling due to the higher speed engine and the local demand for electricity; But the real show stopper for sprinters - if one fails then you have to put people on a bus, and if one is not available then you mess up your whole day. They lack substitutability. A fail is a major fail, possibly for a six car train.

For us of course, there was no thrash and no getting away from the bright lights and wedged in masses. No sticking your head out the windaes. No dossing in an empty Comp'o. Frankly on most routes they cover now I would rather take the bus and on the 170/ 1xx /2xx routes it is often cheaper and quicker for a family of four to hire a focus sized car. Micky and Mousey Air are cheaper and a lot quicker in most of the dildolino routes, and the ECML is tethered back to 125mph anyway. So I avoid the big railway now : it is a plasticy brave new world, but with enough ghosts from a glorious past of public ownership with blue sides  and yellow ends.

fredag 26. oktober 2012

The Missing Link....Csvt to RK

I feel a bit like I have uncovered piltdown man. The mythical  evolutionary link between the pulsing csvt and the rather dull RK 16 and 12 in traction form.

This is the ktm class 22 Malaysian locomotives. Built by AEI austrailia in 1971-2, these prove to be reliable and as for all type 3s on sub 500 tonne trains, a star performer.

At 1760 hp it is 220 hp per cylinder. This would make the v12 2640hp and the vee sixteen, 3520. There it is, the missing link between the "ten by 12" csvt and the rk 270 which found its highest traction rating in the class 58.

But...the csvt still dubs, whistles, growls and whines rather than screetching !

Well anyway the last of its kind was the lighter rk 215 which still sounds like an EE rustons machine. I hope a series of. 6, 8, 12 and 16 locos sees the light of day in europe.

søndag 14. oktober 2012

The Class 38 Connundrum

BR / BTC came very close to having class thirty eights. You can trace this back to the very development of the CSVT engine which was the obvious successor to the SVT even by the time the first D200s had completed commissioning.

Further the last orders for 37s were seen as being largely a freight dedicated batch and EE apparently offered the "bone" cabbed 2000hp locos they sent to east africa ( now sudan and somalia)

What form would the class 38s or class 40/1s have taken though ?

This is a fascinating flight of fancy in fact. There are several possibilities.

Firstly the earliest solution would have been a production run of 2000hp D6700s. There may have been radiator modifications, perhaps a higher capacity boiler. One option EE may have taken up though could have been dual heat with a boiler space and space for a straight six 450 hp auxiallry motor ( a duplicaiton of the boiler / Engine space as penned in the sales panphlet to BR for D6700) . This would have needed more legnth to fit the additional equipment and allow for longer range fuel tanks. Weight would have then pushed up about 6-8 tonnes for the frame and tanks and 2 tonnes for the engine : thus making an RA6 loco. EE would have kept the proven deltic/D6700 gearing although fitted cast bogie frames and stronger armature equipment to tackle the extra thrashing.

EE also offered the v16 CSVT at the then "safe" 2350hp rail de-rating, approximately the same as the D6700 as lowered from marine / power station rating per cylinder. This rating ended up in the successful C1800s of Portuguese railways. Brush were also in the picture here as locomotive manufacturer! This before the class 31 type was re-engined with the 1470hp SVT version of the v12.

There were several precedents for brush being asked in: one they had produced a 2000hp class 31 with a air charge cooled Mirlees unit, and they had worked on peaks by that time in the very early 60s. The other being that BTC/BRB did want a degree of standardisation but wanted some wider perespective in delivery-solution and not being too bound to one supplier.

However neither were to be, and it took EE making DP2 and BRCW's Lion to move things forward for more modern, lighter weight type 4s to start appearing in production by the mid 1960s.

By then EE had more experience of the CSVT engine and were confident that the then full marine rating was just as applicable to rail traction. It wasn't long after D449 was delivered that the RK engine gained over 3000 hp for marine application and went on to 3250 and more in the mid seventies.

So EE offered the 2000hp in the "east african railways" design, probably with ETH as an option. However BRB declined and stayed with the same strategy as the D200 order- it is standard as a class by numbers now, don't fix if it aint broken.

Type 3s and the newly ruston re-engined almost type 3 Brush type 2, were proving themselves to be very useful: tackling especially freight diagrams previously larger or multiple steam locos were seen on, and also taking over the diagrams of mid powered steamers like the black 5 and castles in generally excellent fashion.

Meanwhile the type two investment showed itself already to be a folly because the underpowered "rats" were often needed paired up to work even 300 ton trains and the single unit traffic they had been built to command, was drying up post Beechings and the rise of the lorry and motorway. There are enough "standard gauge" railways in the world at that time for the standard LDA6 loco fleet to have been decimated down by sale to needy railways with less ambitious speeds and a requirement for low gross weight of locos over poorer trackbeds and bridging. Some of the "rat" classes should have been upgraded to the far superior LDA 8 engine as type threes to join their more successful cousins as type 3s, which became the Class 33.

 350 to 1000 tonne freight was where the railway excelled and on the passenger side, the intercity and express cross country and commuting services were also the economic area the railway could win in, and these diagrams remain so today and will become more so in future . Type 3s could command the lower end of this tonnage  in single units, and the larger end would prove to be economic for a long time as double units until the advent of SEPEX and the american creep control systems enabling single units to start 1000 tonne plus trains.

So in 1964 to 65 the BRB could have decided to take up EE's offer for a 2000hp 12 CSVT based, slab end loco.  However rather than being a substitute for the last 40 or so D6700s, an order for a new loco class, to be the "little sister" to the then planned EE type 4 production run from the success of DP2.  What form then a "syphon Super G!"  ??

Well by then the order for a new class would have been with slab ends but most likely with internal walk through for driver safety and inspection "on platform" of internal mechanism failures. An extended order of D6600s to 2000hp with ETH fitting could have been another tantalising possibility. However there was also a dwindeling number of RA5 lines. Perhaps a new 2000hp loco would have been given higher weight and for freight dedication, a lower gearing like the 20s and later CP7 bogies?

I like to think that an EE super-syphon would have been in effect a mini fifty with pleasing tumble home sides. It would have probably retained blue star, buffer level multiple working and hence, as the original d400, with an elegant roof level horn box and route indicator below cab window. Thus it may have resembled a cross between the D400 and the shorter, lighter C1800 exported to Portugal.

What gap in the haulage requirements of the mid to late 60s would this loco have filled ? Well given a full dual heated, stretched RA6 variant then it could have been employed on the then rather common expresses to reginional cities and towns from the then partly electrified WCML which were then served in the early 60s still by steam, d200s and peaks: the latter being total overkill for hauling load 6 to 8 on a 40 to 70mph route. The first generation DMUs were already proving troublesome on trans penine and other express and semi fast services so there was another chance to displace these to their rightful place on regional stopping services. Other diagrams and routes for an ETH / dual heat class could have been cross london with Southern region stock, and dragging southern region units around like 33/1s but maybe on routes like the MULE or as above, cross london or SE to SW services.

 A 2000hp loco at RA5 with ETH and standard gearing would have as an alternative, been a very useful bit of kit replacing for example type two double headers on ex WCML route5 s to Aberystwyth and the WHL. We must also remember that the crown prince of passenger traction weighed in at a humble 105 tonnes, the supreme Deltic. Light weight was seen as the key to good power to weight delivery and high speed by EE despite the tendency to wheel spin.

This is another little issue on the electrcial power delivery : EE were ready with AAA arrangement for traction motors with independent current reduction per motor as implemented on the class 50. How much use would this have been on a class 37  with even more horse power ?

The final tantalas I present is then also a matter of electro-mechanics: 1) would the locos have the KV10 style sensibility 2) would EE have dared to use a fourth field diversion to a final, higher voltage enabling 95-100mph "cruising" ? Post 1995 bashers don't believe that the humble 37 could top 100mph in single form. They would have day-in-day out on the Glasgow-Edinburgh run and in pairs on the Super west country services (replacing and supplementing Westerns). The Kv10 could have rendered the locos actually more reliable or with a cheaper service because in theory it reduces driver demanded overloads and hence wheel slip. At the same time it would have deminished the real strong point of 37s- being able to groan up gradients on high amps at decreasing speed.

The one over riding question would be if the CSVT unit in the 1960s form should have ever gone to the rating of 167 hp per cylinder : 50s were experiencing engine block cracks in the 1980s, while 37s rode on and could have remained as a class of over 150 locos today given the traffic for them on Ra5 routes. Inherently a multiple of three , 120', is a smoother engine for an equivalent per cylinder rating because the power delivery pulses are more balanced ; this is the dub in the fifties. 37 292 was a lame machine when I had it, but was that due to the uprating or to a lack of up-rated maintainance on the valves and timing chain ? I think a fleet of 2000hp super syphons could have seen their wings clipped by dertaing to 1850 or all the way to D6700, but also they would have been standard enough, new enought and useful enough to have gone through HGR and received alternators and CP7 bogies.

In the 1970s there was no stomach in reality but for the highest performance end of freight and passenger ( HST) and the ECML was still planned to be electrified. Had we never had diesel hydraulics or so many vermin type 2 sulzer slugs then there would have been an obvious gap for a light type 3 / 4: Sulzer offered the v8 version of the LDV engine for example or derated v12s to various customers. Also the fuel crisis could have set the scene for the reduction of type two multiple working and the slowing of type 4 diagrams. Type 3s and the Brush 2, have all been quoted as being the best fuel economic locomotives relative to the broad duties they tackled.

At least EE fans can look back at the various machines: the ever ready 08's and 20s, the magnificent stop gap deltics which long out lived their design missive, the duplicitous 50s- soveriegn when working but flawed in original complexity and even HGR remodellign, the robust class 40 and finally the ubiquitous, all conquering class 37 : a locomotive which spanned 50 years of railway history, working the legnth of breadth of the Uk, tackling everything from the heaviest freights, the most challenging routes and even propelling the APT on speed trials on the ECML : the most renown and resolute of all classes by nature of their ability to take on more than they were designed for and to live longer than anticipated to the joy of railway fans the legnth of Blighty!!!

søndag 30. september 2012

The 2350 bhp big sister never was on BR

It was fascinating to hear that in the race fora type four power over essentially type two double headers, that brush were also in the game with a design featuring an EE power unit.

The timing is what could be quite the crux of the whole matter: EE proposed the csvt and co-co construction be adopted for later runs of the EE type four D200. This was maybe as early as 1959 by which time ee had sold some 12CSVT locos to africa and no doubt fully evaluated the power unit at upto 2000bhp and even beyond for a marine constant output rating.

Btc/brb in their wisdom knew the d200 proved a useful design and reliable. It is still strange that they did not opt for a lighter RA6 co-co with the svt engine because bogies are life time items with probably little to gain in purchase and maintainance costs over the life of a loco. One hundred and twenty forty 'zeros' would have been a significant class in its own right by 1960. A subsequent csvt class in co co would have followed even more standardisation with the EE type 3 : bogies and many other features like cabs, noses and boilers. For a loco with no boiler space required the 16 csvt can actually be fitted into a 37, with the c1800s exported to portugal being the same weight range as the venerable 37s.

The ee outcome would have been an ra6 syphon with 100mph capability if ordered to a 1960 design, nose end and no KV10.

But what of brush?

Well in 1960 it would have no doubt been a stretched class 30, but probably without a corridor door . Incidentally the mirlees engines of the brush type 2 were not swapped out until 1964, so it is interesting that earlier cooperation was aired, probably under the proposed stipulation of standard power units being employed across manufacturers. Sulzer being swiss were expensive and left brush and btc/brb exposed to any weakness in the pound. Also as happened later, brush lacked capacity to meet demand from european railways and began using various sub contractors to build major components or even complete power units and the fiasco with the uprated 'duff' PU was somewhat inevitable.

EE rustons scaled their work well in the 1950s and had a successful expert sub contractor in Robert Stephenson and Hawthornes in derby.

A later order would have resulted in the BTC stipulated slab end lion and then hymeks and later variants. Probably with under window indicator opanels but at 2350bhp brb may have wanted multiple working with high side connection. The same fate befell the d400s rather clean initial design while the duffs escaped multiple working which would in fact have extended their utility on freight immensely and on the larger midland and west country passengers and sleepers.

What ever the body design, the design outcome of the mechanical electrcal traction gearings chosen would have fascinating. Would brush have opted their preference for high amps on a somewhat lower torque, higher rpm engine than the 12LDA they had some exposure to in the peaks  by then. Or would they have opted for acheiving the same as EE, a higher voltage set up with effectively lower gearing but arguably more progressive delivery of electical power from the longer rpm range of the ruston big vee.

If this had come to be in 1960 then you could bet that brush would have made a relaible locomotive with performance better than the Peak heavy weight on expresses. There after a further uprating to 2700 hp and two or three suppliers would have made the big dubber the standatd PU and far more push back against BtC for all the prototype gadgetry emloyed in the first ten years of class 50 life.

On many types of services the non KV10 delivery or higher amps a brush loco may have employed, the locos at the 2350 hp would have given the class 50 more than a run for their money head-to-head, and tackled freights better at low speed and gradients due to the over caution excised by the kv10 controller. Furthermore as with the 37s, 31and C 1800s of portugal, the reliability would have been far better than either the EE dubbers or the Brush sulzer duffers which came to pass into railway legend for their idiosyncracies.

tirsdag 6. mars 2012

Wasted Youth?

I often think what a waste of time all that running about after locos was. Then i remember a big loco dropping on and a desperate bail for it.

One i always come back to was on my first freedom-of-scotland. July 1983. I think we were due to do the overnight anyhows to be able to cover some super early glasgow moves or as it happened go further north. Anyway if I remember right there were a couple of 40s ganging about ecs and the 22 something edinburgh mail. We got the gen that a duff had a windscreen smashed. The 2345 1N05 was going to be late.
David baker and perhaps peter walker were on board mo less than a whistler. 40 170 had 'produced'.

Just a few year earlier not an eye lid would have batted at a forty on this train, but now 40s were no longer allocated on ScR. Duffs reigned on all expresses just about. And 40s were, like the big sister deltics, for the cutting torch. Generally more reliable than duffs and peaks, their charming chortle was not enough to save them even by a rationalisation. To be withdrawn upon failure pretty much.

My point being it was darn exciting to get this 133 tonnes of whistling, grumbling EE music on the service. Probably the second forty i ever did, having been the only basher on 40001 on the carlisle newcastle that week.  

At gleneagles the infamous bradford bender and gang came shreaking on board and infected us with their mad west yorkshire enthusiasm for the old girls.

At some point at night there was so me banter about queen street control or some other BR digniatries had accused rail enthusiasts of bricking the duff. Bradford and co had been on the shed that day. I suppose 40 170 was xo so not popular despite it being a mildish july night. Anyway it became an instant platform myth.

The truth is the forty lacked a window too. David baker had a rotten run up to perth with a broken 2nd mans cab side window. Springburn 'neds' had doen a few of the locos sitting on pole position, the forty probably being allocated ecs down the tunnel. In fact i think it banked out the 1650 ft bill.

So back to my point, loco type aside. Was it all a misspent youth? Well yes and no of course. It taught me to be independent and positive to making new friends with like minded strangers. It taught me to be far more egalitarian, in fact pretty socialist.  Most bashers I met came from terraced houses in the midlands, owned one denim jacket and one rabbit trimmed parka and spent every spare penny on bashing.

Socialism is about to be a really useful skill set as we move into economic catastrophe, having been a ridiculed political stand point why we all raan up bigger debts than under any actual socialist government.

There are downsides- it is not good for your health and there is a large amount of passiveness about being taken evverywhere on someone elses system and timetable.

Other skills you acquire though? Independence and self reliance. Communication. And above all planning, logistics and risk management in doing moves like Kilmarnock or Cærsws.

That and seeing scotland in particular from the relaxing arm chair seat that was the mark I corridor carraige of BR. That was worth it all.

The biggest of them All

Well this is the biggest of them all for me personally. Despite being a syphon basher I loved 40s too.

It was big because it was a drop: the duff had its windscreen smashed, the 40 had its second man cab side window also smashed but there were no other type 4s available ( think it ran NB ?)

40170 1N05 2330 Glasgow QS - Inverness, to Perth 26 July 1983

Bradford Bender and co came on at Gleneagles - guess they took the euston -inverness sleeper or a local service or perhaps the edingburgh portion went that way.

40170 was in great nick and gave a superb run, perhaps Peter Walker and Davey Baker in control.

It then worked the down service, piloting a 47 south as far as stirling for the QS-Waverly split at the time.

40 170 down service