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Edward Thompson: Discussion & Analysis 2012 - Present

Discussion in 'Steam Traction' started by S.A.C. Martin, May 2, 2012.

  1. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Well-Known Member

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    I've asked this before, and I am reluctant to put the tin hat on again, but (being a sucker for punishment)...

    Was 60113 closer to being called into the main works - i.e. close to, or over 80,000 miles between classified repairs, at the time of your run? If so, this perhaps indicates the locomotive was particularly run down and therefore would be a more rough rider, like any of the LNER Pacifics.

    Was 60113 perhaps on a particularly bad stretch of track - the permanent way not helping matters with an already possibly rough rider? So in essence, one problem exacerbated by another?

    Do you think perhaps that the lack of care for 60113, as has been described by countless people in various books, has any bearing on whether or not it was fit for purpose when actually in service?

    Why do we only ever hear about the Thompson Pacifics being rough riders when, glancing over my books, O.S. Nock makes special mention of a Gresley A3 in an horrendous run down condition, and a specific Peppercorn A1 which zig-zagged markedly at speed?

    There are other examples too - reading Top Shed, there's a note on page 88 which states that the Gresley Pacifics were prone to problems with their driving axleboxes - something the later Pacifics, Thompson and Peppercorn, were not prone to.

    I guess what I am asking, is whether the above comment is a fair indication of the actual mechanical qualities of 60113? I ask this sincerely and with no intention to decry someone who actually experienced
    the locomotive in question, just to establish the full facts?

    Regarding the P2 and the track spreading - surely the whole emphasis on the permanent way on Network Rail (mainline wise) in the last twenty or so years, has been on streamlining tracks for high speed, in terms of removing tight curvature where possible? It was in an extreme case that the P2s were found to be wanting when in service, and they did not suffer that reputation, so far as the books tell us, when they were used out of King's Cross prior to their transfers to Scotland.

    I just wonder if there is something of a mindset in place which makes something to be true when it's not as clear cut at a first glance.
     
  2. Oakfield

    Oakfield Guest

    Re: New Build P2


    Good good man, why are you such an apologist for Thompson? You miss out the point that it is not just anecdotal evidence for Thompson Pacifics poor riding. Even when fresh from shopping the bolts retaining the smokebox saddle assembly worked loose from it. What further proof do you need. This is also documented in 'Top Shed'. Are you a selective reader?
     
  3. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Well-Known Member

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    Re: New Build P2

    The bolts to the cylinders, or to the boiler? There are several well documented cases where the Thompson Pacifics were described as being excellent at high speed - Nock and Cecil J. Allen amongst them. I am curious as to why a single, one off locomotive, which was never going to be perfect, is always absolutely castigated, and yet history shows was also never rebuilt from its original form, and remained a usable locomotive up until the end of its life.

    If it was such a poor locomotive, why did they continue running it?

    I guess if I am an apologist, it is because I simply cannot understand the amount of derision for the man, particularly when you understand he was working under extreme working conditions which neither Gresley nor Peppercorn found themselves under.

    I would sincerely hope not. Would you mind quoting the page number, as I have done, so I can take a further look?
     
  4. Oakfield

    Oakfield Guest

    Re: New Build P2

    Please just re-read top shed. I am not looking out my copy just to quote a page number to you. IIRC it is in the chapter 'Living with the pacifics' If you read it as it was written you will find that it is a very fair and honest appraisal from a man actually at the sharp end.
     
  5. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Nat Pres stalwart

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    Re: New Build P2

    @SAC MArtin
    1470/4470 was the first Gresley Pacific and the first production class Pacific in the UK. It was destined for the LNER's York Museum on retirement yet of all the A1s available for rebuilding Thompson chose Great Northern and robbed the nation of a significantly historic loco. And you can't understand why Thompson is vilified?
     
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  6. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Well-Known Member

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    Re: New Build P2

    Right, so this is two different problems at the front? Forgive me - as you have reminded me previously in this thread - I'm not an engineer. How does the saddle arrangement cause rough riding?

    Thank you very much.

    There is not a single word on any of the Thompson Pacifics in that chapter (of my edition, 1989). I take it by their very omission it is making a point?
     
  7. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Well-Known Member

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    Re: New Build P2

    Hang on - back up. Was it destined for the museum before, or after being rebuilt?

    So many people quote chapter on verse on how little X and Y original locomotive was still extant after overhaul this, overhaul that - why was it any different with Great Northern? How is that suddenly a special case, and Flying Scotsman apparently isn't?

    So the locomotive - well known as being run down - was dismantled and the name was transferred to a new locomotive. Is that a case of Thompson "destroying" Gresley or paying tribute to him?

    Because it seems to me it would have been a damn sight easier to "destroy" all things Gresley by ordering the rebuilding of the entire lot of Pacifics and removing the name Great Northern altogether. Why keep the name if the intention is to remove the memory of Gresley from the rails?

    I wonder if there is an underlying desire to misrepresent the man simply on the basis of seven locomotive rebuilds. All told, neither the P2s nor 4470 were oustanding locomotives, and yet where is the derision for the loss of Papyrus and Silver Link?

    I might seem biased towards Thompson - I'm certainly not anti-Gresley - but it seems to be a strikingly one sided debate with absolutely no acknowledgement that any alternate view exists.

    ---

    Getting back to P2s. I sincerely hope the A1 Trust doesn't move away too far from the original design, if only because I'm not convinced the arguments for drastic redesigns of the front end, bar the caprotti valve gear, hold much water.
     
  8. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Nat Pres stalwart

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    Re: New Build P2

    Strewth! It was destined for the old York museum before rebuilding? Are you deliberately dense?
     
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  9. paullad1984

    paullad1984 Member

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    Re: New Build P2

    i have to say i agree with you S.A.C martin, from all accounts when Great Northern went into the works it was a worn out old cart horse having done years of service, no sense of thompson trying to deliberatly destory it, just t was next in the queue so to speak.
     
  10. osprey

    osprey Part of the furniture

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    Re: New Build P2

    The ride from Leeds Central to Kings Cross was my first and only footplate ride, apart from the return journey. It was arranged by a relative who was in the BR hierarchy. We had an inspector with us who noted my concern and commented that this particular loco had a reutatation for poor riding at which I vividly recall seeing the driver swing round with a broad grin on his face. The loco seemed to snake a lot and that is all I can really comment on the matter. The loco, externally, looked in a very run down state as most were at that time. I recall it being in the spring of 1962 and Great Northern was withdrawn if I think later that year. My return journey was on the footplate of Silver Link which again was not particularly clean but was such a smooth ride. This loco was withdrawn later that same year as I recall, which has always left me bewildered as to why? It's performance "out of the box" on the Silver Jubilee was surely an historic feat. Please bear in mind that I was a young man then and did not take much notice of technicalities with regard of steam engines..............we were observers of all manner of steam trains. All now memories.......but nice memories
     
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  11. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Well-Known Member

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    Re: New Build P2

    No. I am trying to point out the problem with your statement. You are saying it was destined for the York museum.

    Therefore this must have been after rebuilding.

    So you are saying a unique locomotive, which represented the development of not one, but three locomotive classes in many respects (A1, A1/1, A1 in that order), was not chosen on the basis it was a "rebuild" (which nobody puts much stock in anyway and effectively calls it a new locomotive), but because Thompson rebuilt it?

    I have read somewhere that they - BR - were considering at some point "unrebuilding it" - which would have been a somewhat lengthy and pointless excercise given this particular locomotive probably shared little of the original anyway. If the bad feeling towards Thompson was so strong, why did the LNER not - as they did with Merry Hampton - just transfer the name to another Pacific (once Thompson had retired)?

    Why was the name kept on that engine - and why did they then cast new nameplates for it later on in BR days?!

    All of this vitriol is put on the one man when there were a dozen or so legitimate alternatives available to the people of the time. If all that was wanted was the Great Northern nameplates on an A1, it could have been done. It wasn't. Why not?

    There's so much wrong and hypocrticial with the idea that Thompson "robbed" people of Great Northern in preservation. Particularly when you have the same said people half the time bemoaning the fact Flying Scotsman isn't wholly original!

    I despair.

    How very kind.
     
  12. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Well-Known Member

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    Re: New Build P2

    Thank you Osprey - and may I also offer my apologies. Looking back through this thread, I have asked you this before! But thank you for the further detail on your experience, it is much appreciated.
     
  13. MuzTrem

    MuzTrem Member

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    Re: New Build P2

    Can you quote a source for this please? And - since I presume you read it in a book rather than a primary source in an archive - can you quote your source's source? This isn't something I've ever heard before.
    Besides, Thompson's job was to provide the LNER with efficient motive power for day-to-day use, not to conserve working engines so that they could be put into museums at a future date. Yes, he had very different ideas from his predecessor; but that was also the case with, for example, Bulleid and Maunsell, or Adams and the Beatties. Yet neither Bulleid nor Adams has ever been accused of some sort of personal vendetta.
     
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  14. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Nat Pres stalwart

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    Re: New Build P2

    A1/A10s continued to be converted to A3 spec after 4470's destruction so it wasn't as if Thompson had only 4470 to chose from. To quote one source "It is known that the Chief Draughtsman and a number of high up officials within the LNER unsuccessfully tried to deter Thompson from rebuilding this engine." Quod erat demonstrandum.
     
  15. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Well-Known Member

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    Re: New Build P2

    Yes, and another source also states that he chose the name "not so much that it destroyed Gresley, but if that his ideas were sound and worked, it would be appropriate that the name Great Northern would be chosen". I rather think it was more of a tribute to a man Thompson ultimately admired (disagreed with in engineering, but ultimately admired) and to the company he had been working with since the early 1910s. If he thought otherwise - to "destroy Gresley" - he would have removed the name altogether, surely?
     
  16. Oakfield

    Oakfield Guest

    Re: New Build P2

    If Thompson was motivated by such desires why then did Bert Spence say in interview with O S Nock when questioned about this and other matters that it was "Pure, bloody spite" on Thompson's behalf. O.S. Nock 'The Gresley Pacifics' (part two).
     
  17. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Well-Known Member

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    Re: New Build P2

    Why when interviewed directly by O.S. Nock did Edward Thompson say differently? (British Locomotive Performance).

    Peter Grafton's book quotes a range of sources - Bert Spence included - and Bert Spence is the only one who puts it down to spite, and nothing else.

    I cannot imagine any locomotive engineer would rebuild a locomotive, destined to be the prototype for his premier locomotive class - and deliberately designing it to be so ugly and out of proportion, to spite his deceased colleague. Why is that so believable about Thompson and no one else?

    It seems more logical to believe that Thompson wanted his locomotive to be successful - what locomotive engineer doesn't - and he also wanted it to be held in the same esteem the original Great Northern had been. If he was guilty of anything, it was perhaps choosing Great Northern as a way of ensuring his place in the history of the LNER.
     
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  18. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Well-Known Member

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    Re: New Build P2

    Sorry to double post.

    Maybe we should say "sod it" and start up a new thread regarding Thompson? I offer my sincere apologies for those wanting to partake in a pure P2 discussion, I've derailed this thread twice now with Thompson.
     
  19. Oakfield

    Oakfield Guest

    Re: New Build P2

    Edward Thompson was hardly likely to confess that spite drove his actions was he?

    If Thompson's designs were so good how come Peppercorn had the DO working on his designs (unbeknown to Thompson but known to the board) for over six months prior to Thompson''s retirement?

    It is also notable that the board did not wish to require Thompson's services for one day more than they had to and did not extend his employment past his official retirement date!
     
  20. osprey

    osprey Part of the furniture

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    Re: New Build P2

    We're all guilty of that.............
     

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