The Asia Express: was it a forward-looking project or merely a copycat?

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The Asia Express: was it a forward-looking project or merely a copycat?
Posted by Jones1945 on Saturday, August 04, 2018 6:45 AM

Asia ExpressBackground history, quote from wiki: "the Asia Express (Japaneseあじあ号translit. Ajia-gō, simplified Chinese亚细亚号traditional Chinese亞細亞號pinyinYàxìyà hào) was an express passenger train operated by the South Manchuria Railway (Mantetsu) from 1934 until 1943. This limited express, which began operation in November 1934 and was Mantetsu's most iconic train, operated in Manchukuobetween Dalian and Xinjing, and was extended to Harbin in 1935.

Comparable to the fastest express trains in Europe and the United States, the Asia Express featured several world firsts, such as fully enclosed, air-conditioned carriages......"


(Another version of the engine, note the overall design of the streamlining shrouding, the metal wing decoration behind the headlight, the running board, looks like a scuffed replica of 
Milwaukee Road Hiawatha Class A)

The chief designer of the whole project was Shintaro Yoshina who studied and worked in Alco for 2.5 years. The Asia Express had many similar things with Milwaukee Road Hiawatha Class A and the Hiawatha trainset, except the design of streamlined train car with foldable skirt for maintenance, which looks almost exactly like the streamlined passenger coaches or sleeper designed and made by Pullman. MILW's class A 4-4-0 was built by Alco in 1935-37, one year after the Asia Express were put into service, so if plagiarism did happen, who copied who? Did Shintaro Yoshina "used" the blueprint he got from Alco and made the train for the South Manchuria Railway? The whole thing was just a coincidance? 


obs car

Quote from Wiki: "Planning and development was carried out in a relatively short period of time between 1933 and 1934. A contest was held to name the new train, and Asia Express was selected from amongst 30,066 submitted entries." The whole trainset was using 3 axles trucks with full width diaphragms between the cars, almost looks identical to Pullman's pre-war L/W sleeper. The consist of Asia Express also inculded a PRO car.


The observation Lounge of Asia Express. 

At least two engines (SL 7 Pacific) of Asia Express preserved in a museum in China, these train keep serving China after the war until 1980s. Note the color (light blue) and the streamline shrouding of the engine and the tender looks very similar to New York Central's Mercury .

Please feel free to share your thoughts. Thumbs Up

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Posted by Jones1945 on Saturday, August 04, 2018 4:02 PM

One of the reason I started this post was because I found quite a lot of railfan in Japan brag and boast about this train a lot, I have seen a tweet, probably written by someone who know nothing about train outside Japan, saying that this is the "fastest train" at the time, more advanced than US and Europe blah blah blah, a lot of "hometown proud" stuff. So I dig deeper on its historical background and found some suspicious thing. It is just a sharing post, don't expect too much.Smile, Wink & Grin

(The consist)


Another example: South Manchuria Railway ダブサ500, this one is too obvious. 


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Posted by Overmod on Sunday, August 05, 2018 10:01 AM

It should probably be noted that top speed for this class of locomotive was 75mph, with peak speed of the train being given as about 83mph and average speed (with a restricted number of stops on what is probably a comparatively unrestricted line) only slightly above 50mph, which is well below anything using 'streamlining' scientifically in the West in that era, but of course well above anything domestic Japan could provide, then or later, before the advent of Old Man Thunder's completely new railroads.

 

The South Manchuria company (abbreviated 'Mantetsu') is an interesting thing to examine.  Here's the route (the extension to Harbin coming after the sort of heroic regauging effort we periodically saw in the United States in the era of gauge consolidation, from Russian to standard, in 1935):

 

A bit more somberly, the company and the train were associated with the Manchukuo puppet state, and I have to wonder if at least some of the enthusiasm for it on the part of Japanese railfans represents nostalgia for the failed co-prosperity sphere for which it was a flagship into 1943.  Considering how advanced the railroad was said to be, as early as 1913, by a knowledgeable and 'neutral' railroad source, I would leave the politics out of assessing the value of the train just as we do for, say, the Henschel-Wegmann-Zug.

I do think the claim made for this being the 'first' production lightweight sealed-window-air-conditioned train could be substantiated.  Absent seeing the detail design of the three-axle trucks (which probably provided stable riding on low-axle-load tolerant track) I cannot say whether these trains actually bore out any kind of high-speed promise; they are certainly nothing like either the engineering or the outcome provided by, say, Nystrom on Milwaukee in this era, or the strange 'throw engineers at it' development of high-speed trucks on Union Pacific's early Streamliners.

I do think the train deserves better recognition and understanding, particularly in demonstrating how the Japanese conducted an important project supporting their imperialist interests in this era.  Presumably there are Japanese 'enthusiast' histories that look at things like the the rolling-stock and streamlining design in the right ways, and since one of the very few decent 'public' versions of Google Translate is "Japanese" to English there is some hope that Japanese-language railfan pages could be read by us essentially firsthand for both the detailed information and the attitude.

The 'dabusa' (meaning double-ended; the Japanese word for tank engines) 500 and 501 deserve more attention than you're giving them.  Perhaps someone here knows why they were not produced with larger bunker and tank capacity on the 'originally specified' six-wheel trailing truck, and how much of the design was natively done by Kawasaki vs. derived from Henschel plans.

These are a real-world illustration of problems with oil co-firing or adaptation; they were initially intended for shale-oil overfiring (Mantetsu being involved in shale-oil production) but thermal distortion in the firebox was said to be an insoluble issue. (it would be highly interesting to see exactly how this was done, and why the problems were deemed insurmountable at that relatively advanced time) -- I do not recall any sort of difficulty with the original streamlined light tanks on LBE in the early Thirties, which were set up to burn oil.

The LD1s were said to persist in (communist) China quite late, references to them having their number Romanization changed as late as 1959.  I would be highly interested if one has survived.

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Posted by Miningman on Monday, August 06, 2018 1:10 AM

1/6

「Asia Express」
By Neill James
from
「Trains」
April, 1942
Vol. 2 No. 6

Some readers may think it out of place, but we devote our lead article 
this month to the railways of our enemy, Japan, and 
Japanese puppet state, Manchoukuo. 
I believe the biggest mistake of this war is that we know too little 
about our enemies. We need a more widespread knowledge of 
the strength as well as the weakness of the Japanese, and 
if there is any time when the railroads of a foreign country should 
be of vital interest to Americans, it is when Americans are fighting 
against that country. . . . 

この記事は、米国婦人記者が1940年に体験した「あじあ号」に関する記事である。

この米国婦人記者のように当時の日本の鉄道に精通したアメリカ人であれば、1964年に開通した東海道新幹線など、戦後の日本における著しい鉄道の発展は、決して、驚かされる、予想外のものではなかっただろう。

この記事は、当時の鉄道状況の他にも、
“I found Japan spy-conscious.” (p. 6)
と、日米間の戦争が始まる以前に、スパイがいるかと非常に敏感になっていた状況が記されている。
電車内にも、私服の “traveling police” による執拗な検査がある事が書かれている。

While the train stood in Fusan Station at 7 a. m., a siren sounded, 
the signal for every employees and passengers to stand, face in 
the direction of Tokyo, and bow in silent prayer for one minute. 
(pp. 7 – 8)

On a visit to the Fushun coal mine in Manchoukuo, a largest open-cut 
coal mine in the world, owned in part by the South Manchuria Railway, 
I noticed the employees bowed, but not in the direction of their own 
capital in Hsinking where Emperor Kang Teh lives. They too bowed 
in the direction of Tokyo. (p. 8)

など、徹底した大日本帝国主義による統治に関しても記されている。

これは、記事「BarbieとPost-Occupationの世代」の為の参考文献。
http://blogs.yahoo.co.jp/drmusou/folder/1795550.html

この事に関しては、下記で触れている。
http://blogs.yahoo.co.jp/drmusou/58294569.html

1から6まである。

この記事に

 
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Posted by Miningman on Monday, August 06, 2018 1:26 AM

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Posted by Miningman on Monday, August 06, 2018 1:29 AM

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Posted by Miningman on Monday, August 06, 2018 1:33 AM

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Posted by Miningman on Monday, August 06, 2018 1:35 AM

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Posted by Miningman on Monday, August 06, 2018 1:39 AM

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Posted by Miningman on Monday, August 06, 2018 1:41 AM

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Posted by Miningman on Monday, August 06, 2018 1:49 AM

https://i.imgur.com/agG1wwH.jpg

The last page for some reason I can only link.

 

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Posted by M636C on Monday, August 06, 2018 2:40 AM

Jones1945

 

At least two engines (SL 7 Pacific) of Asia Express preserved in a museum in China, these train keep serving China after the war until 1980s. Note the color (light blue) and the streamline shrouding of the engine and the tender looks very similar to New York Central's Mercury .

Please feel free to share your thoughts. Thumbs Up

 
While the SL7 (Chinese class) was definitely built first, we don't know whether the subsequent design of the "Mercury" engines copied the design or produced it independently.
 
My own book "Locomotives in China" (1984) gives a reasonable background to locomotive development on the SMR but the material on Wikipedia now gives much more detail, although some points on the web may be incorrect or at least misinterpreted.
 
I think the two streamlined Pacifics are in Shenyang. I've seen both of these there in 1985, and in 1980 I saw another without streamlining.
 
The Pashina was much more like an enlarged JNR C59 than any USA locomotive, and this showed up without the streamlined casing.
 
The "Asia" was of course an all coach train with reclining and rotating seats.
 
There was a night sleeping car train on the same route called "The Continent".
 
Peter 
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Posted by Jones1945 on Monday, August 06, 2018 2:44 AM
Overmod
It should probably be noted that top speed for this class of locomotive was 75mph, with peak speed of the train being given as about 83mph and average speed (with a restricted number of stops on what is probably a comparatively unrestricted line) only slightly above 50mph, which is well below anything using 'streamlining' scientifically in the West in that era, but of course well above anything domestic Japan could provide, then or later, before the advent of Old Man Thunder's completely new railroads.

Thank you very much for the thorough reply, Overmod, you enriched the content of this post a lot! 

Speaking of average speed, the “race track” between Chicago, Illinois
 to Crestline, (here we go again Stick out tongue) Ohio of the PRR Fort Wayne Division was 283 miles long, but according to the schedule in 40s, express train like the Broadway limited needed to take about 5 hours or more to finish it, the average speed of this section was 57mph, not a great difference compared to the average speed of Asia Express, even the average speed of Milwaukee Road Hiawatha was only slightly above 60mph. This make me think that streamlining of steam locomotive was only a gimmick, image or fashion thing in that era (especially after the war?).

S1 and T1 didn’t even subjected to wind tunnel test (please correct me if I am wrong) for improvement of their performance by adjusting its streamline shrouding base on the knowledge of Aerodynamics, like what PRR did to K4s #3768 in the mid-30s or the design of Le Couplage Bugatti in France of 1934 (My daughter suggested, 
during a conservration between us, that the Broadway limited should used the Le Couplage Bugatti in 1938 instead of  new L/W Pullman consist)
The “race track” in PRR Fort Wayne Division probably had the best geological conditions to improve the average speed of through trains serving between NYC and Chicago, but it seems that PRR was happy with the 16 hours schedule. I don’t know how long a T1 or a K4s can run continuously at 80mph or above, if the average speed could be raised from 57mph to 77mph or even more, The total travel time between NY to Chi Town would be reduced to 14.5 hours or less.

Unfortunately, the S2 direct drive steam turbine didn’t made it......without using conventional gears like a 
reciprocating engine and with its whole gear bathing in a “oil tank”, it might had a better endurance at high speed. Imagine the average speed between Chicago to Pittsburgh increased to 95mph or more, it still couldn’t beat the airline (of course) but at least the competitiveness raised, frequency could also be raised.

(PRR S2 #6200)
S2
 
 
Overmod

I do think the claim made for this being the 'first' production lightweight sealed-window-air-conditioned train could be substantiated.  Absent seeing the detail design of the three-axle trucks (which probably provided stable riding on low-axle-load tolerant track) I cannot say whether these trains actually bore out any kind of high-speed promise; they are certainly nothing like either the engineering or the outcome provided by, say, Nystrom on Milwaukee in this era, or the strange 'throw engineers at it' development of high-speed trucks on Union Pacific's early Streamliners.
 


This is one of the thing “triggered” me when I found this claim in wiki, I felt like reading some propaganda material. I don’t have more historical information about the axle load regulation of this puppet state of Japan. But the car of Asia Express really looked bloat and heavy which needed a pair of “old school” style 3-axle truck (probably base on Pullman’s design) to handle its weight. It had a Pullman light weight car design 
appearance but it doesn’t mean that it was a light weight in America’s standard (maybe it was a Japan standard?) But some Japanese railfans are wholesome and honest, they pointed out in their website that the air-conditioner of Asia Express were always out of order, some people even wrote a poem about this problem.
 
Overmod
 The 'dabusa' (meaning double-ended; the Japanese word for tank engines) 500 and 501 deserve more attention than you're giving them.  Perhaps someone here knows why they were not produced with larger bunker and tank capacity on the 'originally specified' six-wheel trailing truck, and how much of the design was natively done by Kawasaki vs. derived from Henschel plans

Overmod
 
The LD1s were said to persist in (communist) China quite late, references to them having their number Romanization changed as late as 1959.  I would be highly interested if one has survived.


I bet they served as switcher until 70s. Those much bigger Streamlined Pacific were also seen as war trophy, some of them towed international trains (Beijing to Moscow or Pyongyang) by the PRC government, some served between Beijing and Shenyang. Ironically, when PRC and Japan agreed to reestablish diplomatic relations in 1973, SL 751 and 757 played some roles for public diplomacy between people, especially railfan, from China and Japan. Actually, both of them are still playing this role.
(SL 751 in PRC, 1980s)
SL 751
Tags: LD1s , SL 751 , SL 757
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Posted by M636C on Monday, August 06, 2018 4:35 AM

"The 'dabusa' (meaning double-ended; the Japanese word for tank engines) 500 and 501 deserve more attention than you're giving them."

Clearly you haven't read my 1984 book, "Locomotives in China" specifically not page 5 "Classification of Chinese locomotives".

The South Manchurian Railway was, in its early days, partly funded by Harriman interests and as a result they adopted an abbreviation of the USA locomotive type names to describe locomotive types with numerical suffixes to separate classes, much as the Southern Pacific did.

2-6-4 tank locomotives (of which a number were obtained by the SMR from Alco) were called "Double Enders" which was abbreviated in the Japanese Katakana script as "Da Bu". The Alcos became Da Bu I and later Japanese locomotives became Da Bu Ni (I for one, Ni for two). When the 4-4-4Ts arrived, rather than give them a new class they became Da Bu Sa, (where Sa = 3). 

The Katakana script is used to phonetically represent foreign words in Japanese.

The Chinese couldn't put up with this classification and selected the class "Reading", a type name drived from Reading tender locomotives which were soon converted to 4-4-2 with twelve inches cut off the length of the fireboxes.

This was transliterated as LD in the Chinese Pinyin Roman script (there was a script form of Pinyin used during the Kuomintang and early Communist eras) but there was not a Katakana version.

There is an excellent HO scale model of the LD1, available in purple and yellow SMR colours, and imaginary Chinese blue and military camouflage colours. My model is in the SMR scheme.

I understood that these locomotives were intended to work a connecting service from the "Asia" between Shenyang and the coal mining town of Fushun. and wouldn't have needed to be fast nor to have a long range.

The only photo I've seen of a 4-4-4T on a train showed it coupled to the three trailer cars associated with a streamlined Sulzer engined diesel electric power car. It seems that they gave even more trouble than the 4-4-4T.

Peter

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Posted by Jones1945 on Monday, August 06, 2018 4:42 AM

M636C

While the SL7 (Chinese class) was definitely built first, we don't know whether the subsequent design of the "Mercury" engines copied the design or produced it independently.

Thank you Miningman and Peter for joining the discussion!Thumbs Up

The similarity of them reminds me of the case of NYC #5344 Commodore Vanderbilt and Soviet Class IS20-16 , PRR S1 and Soviet 2-3-2V!




This is a pic of JNR Class C55 Streamlined. The Design of the shrouding demonstrated the industrial aesthetic of Japan in 1930s.
C55

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Posted by M636C on Monday, August 06, 2018 4:57 AM

 

I bet they served as switcher until 70s. Those much bigger Streamlined Pacific were also seen as war trophy, some of them towed international trains (Beijing to Moscow or Pyongyang) by the PRC government, some served between Beijing and Shenyang. Ironically, when PRC and Japan agreed to reestablish diplomatic relations in 1973, SL 751 and 757 played some roles for public diplomacy between people, especially railfan, from China and Japan. Actually, both of them are still playing this role.

(SL 751 in PRC, 1980s)
SL 751

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I don't think that the 4-4-4Ts lasted as long as the SL7...

There are no reported sightings of the LD1 from any of the early railfan visits to China. There was an official list of locomotives dated in the early 1970s that listed LD1 as one of the classes that had been removed from service.

The photo of 751 looks like the locomotive as it was first restored to operation by the workshops at Sujiatun. Certainly I have slides from 1981 (not my own) showing it in that condition in steam for a visting railfan group.

757, which I saw in 1985 was basically the colour of rust and I was not sure that it would be preserved. I don't think 757 was ever restored to working order.

Peter

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Posted by M636C on Monday, August 06, 2018 5:07 AM

 

 

 

The Pashina 981 was built long after the others and it was said to be based on the Milwaukee F-7s. It was the only locomotive with that shrouding.

The later Pashiha locomotives, with 1850 mm driving wheels rather than 2000mm, had a streamlined casing reminiscent of the PRR K4 3768. I've seen photos of these departing Beijing on express trains, but I've never seen a photo of a Pashina operating for the chinese Railways.

Peter 

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Posted by Jones1945 on Monday, August 06, 2018 7:19 AM

M636C
The Pashina 981 was built long after the others and it was said to be based on the Milwaukee F-7s. It was the only locomotive with that shrouding.

The later Pashiha locomotives, with 1850 mm driving wheels rather than 2000mm, had a streamlined casing reminiscent of the PRR K4 3768. I've seen photos of these departing Beijing on express trains, but I've never seen a photo of a Pashina operating for the chinese Railways.

Peter 



Thank you for providing more informations about the trains, Peter.
IIRC, SL8 4-6-2 was the engine which had a streamlined casing reminiscent of the PRR Streamlined K4s? Not many pic I could find, here is one of them from wiki: 



Preseved in Shenyang Railway Exhibition Hall

"SL 8 hauling an international express, leaving the Beijing Ternimal" (1950s)

 


 Shenyang Railway Exhibition Hall

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Posted by Jones1945 on Monday, August 06, 2018 7:43 AM

M636C

757, which I saw in 1985 was basically the colour of rust and I was not sure that it would be preserved. I don't think 757 was ever restored to working order.

Peter 

This is 751 in early 80s, not many people expected that these massive pacific would be well preserved by the Local government of PRC at that time. Time flies and things changed a lot...... 



30 years later......

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Posted by Overmod on Monday, August 06, 2018 3:34 PM

M636C
2-6-4 tank locomotives (of which a number were obtained by the SMR from Alco) were called "Double Enders" which was abbreviated in the Japanese Katakana script as "Da Bu".

This is standard practice for many words in Japan that are phonetic representations of Western equivalents -- one example being the term for 'rush hour' and another being the official name of the Deming Prize.

I appreciate the correction on number; I had confused it with '-sa' as in 'shibusa'.

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Posted by Jones1945 on Tuesday, August 07, 2018 9:47 AM

Speaking of plagiarism, after World War II and the Chinese Civil war (1946-1950), the PRC government constructed their first Pacific 4-6-2 (Class RM) base on the design of SL 6, Class RM became Class SL's successor after 1958. Total 258 Class RM were manufactured for passenger services. With improved engineering design, RM was 29% more powerful than SL, manage to hauling a 800 ton consists at 59mph. Not bad for a developing country.  

 

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Posted by M636C on Wednesday, August 08, 2018 10:29 PM

Jones1945
 
M636C

757, which I saw in 1985 was basically the colour of rust and I was not sure that it would be preserved. I don't think 757 was ever restored to working order.

Peter 

 

 

This is 751 in early 80s, not many people expected that these massive pacific would be well preserved by the Local government of PRC at that time. Time flies and things changed a lot...... 



30 years later......

 

Sadly, that first photo is not from the early 1980s, but probably from the very late 1980s or early 1990s, after the locomotive's first restoration.

I was there in December 1985, which in my view counts as the end of the early 1980s and 751 was gleaming in fresh light blue paint, much as it looks now. Since it was out in the weather, however, it deteriorated to the stage shown in the upper photo before being restored again after the museum building was built. For most of the early 1980s it was green, as shown in the earlier photos, like 757 is now. And trust me, 757 looked much sadder than that view.

Peter

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Posted by Jones1945 on Thursday, August 09, 2018 4:00 AM

M636C
Sadly, that first photo is not from the early 1980s, but probably from the very late 1980s or early 1990s, after the locomotive's first restoration.

Peter

Thanks for correcting me, Peter.  By the way, I found some "new old pic" on the internet via google, showing the foldable shrouding of the Streamlined SL, please take a look. 

 Not sure when the photo was taken, but it seems that it was under repair with some of its shrouding lifted up. Looks like a smart design. CB&Q Aeolus 4000 had the similar foldable shrouding next to the fire box, but it created a lot of noise during high speed operation, crews gave her a nickname “the tin can”.

 Speaking of SL in China, have you ever heard about the 4-8-2 or 4-8-4 project of PRC proposed just before the Sino-Soviet Split? I heard from people who saw the blueprint that It looks like a class P36 (Russian: П36), they were supposed to replace SL and RM since they were not powerful enough to haul longer train. The proposal was dropped during Sino-Soviet Split. Freight engine like Class QJ and Diesels were used to haul heavy passenger consist until 70s instead.

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Posted by M636C on Thursday, August 09, 2018 8:41 AM

 Speaking of SL in China, have you ever heard about the 4-8-2 or 4-8-4 project of PRC proposed just before the Sino-Soviet Split? I heard from people who saw the blueprint that It looks like a class P36 (Russian: П36), they were supposed to replace SL and RM since they were not powerful enough to haul longer train. The proposal was dropped during Sino-Soviet Split. Freight engine like Class QJ and Diesels were used to haul heavy passenger consist until 70s instead.

There was a reference to the 4-8-4 in an article about the first QJ 2-10-2 in the British magazine "Railway Gazette" in 1958 which I think was written by Colonel Ken Cantlie, who was responsible for the design of the pre war 4-8-4 class KF1. Cantlie's father was a friend of Sun Yat-Sen.

Anyway the theory was that the 4-8-4 would use the same boiler as the QJ (which was known as class "Heping" (Peace) at that time). The original boiler on the HP had no combustion chamber, and the actual barrel was identical to Lebedyanski's SZD P34 2-6-6-2, but the firbox was deeper and shorter since it didn't have to sit above the trailing coupled axle. The chassis of the HP was similar to that of the SZD LV. I assume that the 4-8-4 would have used the P36 chassis unaltered. The Chinese locomotives had a 20 ton axleload, while the LV and P36 were both limited to 18 tons axleload. The P36 in particular has a short boiler barrel and long smokebox to cut down on the weight on the coupled axles.

I had afternoon tea with Cantlie in London in 1984. I think we talked about the 4-8-4. He showed me the original drawings of the pre-war 4-8-4. 

Peter

 

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Posted by Jones1945 on Thursday, August 09, 2018 12:37 PM

M636C

I had afternoon tea with Cantlie in London in 1984. I think we talked about the 4-8-4. He showed me the original drawings of the pre-war 4-8-4. 

Peter

That's awesome, Peter! Thank you so much for your thorough reply!
There were 24 pre-war 4-8-4 (Class KF) locomotives built for the Guangzhou–Hankou Railway from 1935 to 1936, according to Wiki, Tractive effort was 43,390lbf, maximum speed was 75 mph, probably the most powerful steam locomotive ROC and PRC ever had, a fantastic machine designed by UK and China! 
I heard from my Chinese railfans that the National Government of the Republic of China had a plan to use KF type as the standard express passenger train for the whole country before the war. After PRC established, the Communist party of China didn’t follow up and used Class SL or RM (4-6-2 Pacific) for passenger train services instead. These 24 powerful engines were used in Shanghai–Nanjing Railway, the better part of PRC, until late 70s! My Chinese railfans said that people at the time was impressed by these engines, they even gave them a nickname, but I forgot what it was. Many railfans from Shanghai enjoyed watching these engines running at high speed in 60s/70s. (75mph was considered as very fast in China back in the day)  


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Posted by Overmod on Thursday, August 09, 2018 4:24 PM

Cantlie's 4-8-4 is one of the finest export locomotives ever designed, and I would have valued the ability to talk to him concerning the KF class equally with Mr. Bruce for the Milwaukee As or Paul Kiefer for the C1a or S2a.

One notable thing (which Peter can probably confirm better than I remember it) is that the KFs were given back their Roman-character abbreviations to the end, quite a commendation during the era of the Cultural Revolution.

(Note that in this brief window of time, the accepted "British" nickname for a 4-8-4 followed Canadian practice with 'Confederation' and that is how Cantlie's locomotives were later known, KF as I recall being for the first two syllables in Chinese pronunciation.)

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Posted by M636C on Thursday, August 09, 2018 9:40 PM

I guess I'll have to describe my visit with Ken Cantlie...

He wrote a very small but good history of Chinese Railways published in London by The China Society in about 1980. As an appendix, he describes a trip he made to investigate Japanese preparations for the invasion of North China in the 1930s. This reads a bit like a "James Bond" novel, with Cantlie avoiding the Japanese soldiers searching the train for him by riding the locomotive.

Anyway, I rang Cantlie, quoted the names of his friends that had suggested I call and asked could I visit. He invited me for afternoon tea at 4.00 pm on the following day. I mentioned that I had just been to York where the KF1 was on display.

I turned up on time and was greeted by an elderly Chinese maid (who could have come from Central Casting, or at least appeared in "Shanghai Express"). The home was a typical London Town House, narrow with maybe four floors and a basement. I was shown to the living room on the "first floor" (second level). Cantlie shook hands and showed me to a table where he had arranged a number of things relevant to Chinese locomotives, principally the drawing of the KF1, but also, a hard covered copy of my book "Locomotives in China". The hard cover copies were only sold by one bookshop in Australia, so I was immediately impressed.

We talked generally about a number of related topics about Chinese locomotives generally. He asked had I had any official Chinese help in preparing my book. I said no, and he smiled and said "I didn't expect that you would have got any help".

At this stage, he announced that afternoon tea had been served. I looked around and a dumbwaiter device had risen through a flap in the floor, with an elegant silver teapot, two cups and saucers, and a plate of cupcakes and sandwiches.

After tea we moved across to the table and examined the drawings. The loco as drawn differed from the as-built locomotive because the running boards/footplating above the coupled wheels was lower. Cantlie indicated that he preferred to attach the footplating by brackets from the frame, but the loco as built had the footplating attached to the boiler.

Cantlie indicated that he had been responsible for the ET6 class 0-8-0, which he said was not designed as a switcher, but as a locomotive for use in constructing new main lines. That was why it had a relatively large superheater, which would be wasted in a switcher. Looking at the locomotive, it was clear that it shared many details with the KF1 and I was surprised I hadn't noticed the similarity before.

One thing I regret was that he offered me a small photo of a KF1 taken in the 1950s, but I was too embarrased to acceot anything from him. That photo was taken at the same time as a similar illustration in the 1958 Railway Gazette article I mentioned above, hence my assumption about the authorship of the article.

At one stage I was talking about Stewart Cox, who had been partly responsible for the British Standard steam locomotives. I said "Cox was opposed to grease lubrication". Cantlie looked at me and said "that was very well put, Cox was opposed to grease lubrication..." I have no idea why that seemed important. Perhaps the Brits don't give critiques on their "betters".

Anyway, that's about all I remember from a couple of hours 34 years ago...

Peter

  • Member since
    April, 2018
  • 413 posts
Posted by Jones1945 on Friday, August 10, 2018 9:17 AM

I admire you for having a chance to meet Mr. Cantlie, Peter.
I found a tiny picture of KF/600 series in 
Guangzhou–Hankou Railway livery, looks clean and sharp!



 

  • Member since
    January, 2002
  • 3,476 posts
Posted by M636C on Saturday, August 11, 2018 11:02 PM

"SL 8 hauling an international express, leaving the Beijing Ternimal" (1950s)

 

When I first looked at this shot, I thought "I didn't think that Chinese 22 series passenger cars were in use that early".  On closer inspection, I realised that the three passenger cars visible after the two vans were in fact through Russian cars for the Beijing Moscow service as indicated by the light coloured "patches" on the waist at the centre of the cars. These are Russian destination boards, not used on Chinese trains, indicating "Beijing-Moscow" in Russian and Chinese languages. So that really is an international train.

Peter

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