: European railways had already demonstrated that diesel/electric was
: way to go - the only real question is why BR built any steam engines
: all, except that Riddles fancied having a go at doing one or two.
: was indeed a revolutionary idea, but would have had to be
: to cover the costs of coal distribution and handling alone, never
Wrong, you forget that the infrastructure already existed for the
servicing of coal fired locos, the same was not the case for servicing
diesel locos and the only mass electrification scheme was the
Southern's suburban and two mainline schemes - unlike mainland Europe
the UK's railway system was largely, although grossly under
maintained, intact and did not need wholesale rebuilding after WW2. To
have built diesel or electric locos instead of the BR Standard's would
have cost vastly more, and we would have had to import more oil (at a
time when we simple didn't have the currency reserves (as has been
pointed out), it was only with some crafty Govt. accounting in the mid
1950s that money was found to fund the 1955 'modernisation plan' (the
money was a loan to BR, that had to be paid back later, thus didn't
really show up as Govt spending...).
: the operating costs (BR never intended having double manning on
: electric, it was the Unions that forced that) and the huge support
: network required simply to run the engines, never mind the trains.
Rubbish, if not perhaps you can tell us how the driver could both
drive the train and maintain the steam heating boiler, indeed the
early diesel locos still had water scoops to replenish the steam
heating water tank...
: The steam era was a great "romantic" era (except for those who had
: work every day with it, especially the unsung ones like the boiler
: cleaners who had a life expectancy of diddly-squat)
Total bollocks, the railway personal who had the most dangerous jobs
were the train shunter, track worker and (in hind-sight) the boiler
makers. locomotive cleaners were well down the order of things,
otherwise it would not have been part of the career ladder towards
Fireman and ultimately driver...
but it's day had
: already passed before WWII (LMS 10000 etc).
Err, LMS 10000 and 10001 were both post war designs!
: [snip of claim that the fireman of an oil fired engine can work from
: reote cab]
: >: Have you ever ridden in the cab of an oil fired engine?
: [dishonest snip of why the fireman needs to be next to the firebox
: instead of in a remote cab]
: >Your point being what exactly?...
Just to put your comments in context I'll quote from the message you
"Also, had it been possible to use oil firing
(as intended) the firebox end of the boiler
could have been placed so it backed onto one
of the cabs - unfortunately having to manually
stoke the firebox with coal meant the fire-hole
door had to be placed 'amidships', next to the
and then your reply to the above;
"Have you ever ridden in the cab of an oil fired
When I lived in California one of my closest friends
fired oil-fired engines regularly and I often rode with
him. Because it wasn't a common skill he was in regular
demand for visiting engines.
And I saw what he did. He constantly monitored the fire,
before adjusting the flame which required opening and
closing the fire door. Otherwise it would be like adding
coal without bothering to check the condition of the fire."
So I'll ask again, your point was what - exactly...
To deviate from the Leader topic - if oil-fired steam still existed as a
everyday form of traction, would it have been possible to replace the
fireman by a computer ? Program the load & route details, and a computer
ought to be able to monitor the fire & boiler conditions, and ensure that an
optimum amount of fuel was provided for a complete trip .
(Just a dream, I know it will never happen in real life..)
Nice to see him properly defended. Whats the new biog - would like to read
Believe Webb produced some good engines and some dogs, the problem is the
dogs were mostly left to continue to run as dogs. Did he know ? was everyone
afraid to tell him ? Or was he to important to acknowledge that mistakes had
been made ?
His legacy could be described as a stable of underpowered engines with some
really dodgy ones, but all Whale had to do was to put together a set of new
engines using the best features from Webbs designs to give an excellent set
So perhaps Webbs only error was that he didnt appear to learn from mistakes.
A feature of the position and time perhaps.
F.W. Webb: In the right place at the right time (Chacksfield, pub.
Oakwood, 2007). Strongly recommended.
Badly served by his outside staff, maybe? Not uncommon back when, though
few seem to have been as ignorant of what was happening as Whitelegg on
The "underpowered" (more "undersized", really) is perhaps more down to Sir
Richard Moon and his passion for keeping things cheap. Whale, of course,
came is as the Moon was waning.
Interesting that the running superintendent who made a clean sweep of
Webb's 3-cyl passenger compounds went straight from "next CME" to power
station manager in Siberia (or the L&NW's equivalent) in very short order.
Not uncommon in that era, again! The same accusation could have been
levelled at Pat Stirling..
The Unions wanted the boiler looking after, it was never intended to need
The Second Man, in the 70's/80's, was only there when required, i.e the
driver didn't get a break between the 3rd and 5th hours of a turn - he
had to be a passed man. The boiler, when present, only required a minimum
of a Traction Trainee who had passed out on boilers. With it taking
around 4 to 5 years for a driver to become fully qualified then, trainees
were aplenty. The exception being where speeds were over 100mph, where
the Second Man had to have route knowledge as well. This was imposed by
the Unions. Surprisingly, when OMO and Flexible Rostering came in the
Unions grudingly went along with it.