Experimental Locomotives of the Past from outside North America

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Experimental Locomotives of the Past from outside North America
Posted by Miningman on Thursday, March 14, 2019 12:26 AM

Is there any one making these bold and radical locomotives any longer. Of course we tinker with the insides and software but is anyone making some real eye popping total shifts in thinking and engineering as we did in the Classic past? 

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Posted by Overmod on Thursday, March 14, 2019 7:46 AM

You've got some acknowledged whoppers in there.  Leader is perhaps the best example of a wrong answer to a question nobody asked that exists -- and I speak as someone who appreciates much of the tech in the design that actually functioned ("worked" is really semantically wrong in context).  Gresley's 'hush-hush' even had problems with airflow under the shrouding; while you're on the topic of high-pressure designs with a curl in the middle of their forehead, be sure to mention the aptly-in-retrospect-named Fury.

The GT-1 is cuter than a bug's ear to a steam fan ... but as innovative motive power for actually pulling trains (let alone doing so in a cost-effective manner) not so good.  When I read about it I am somehow reminded of an old sailplane article discussing research in yaw strings (it mentioned the special alloy version for hypersonic gliders...)  At least the North American Alco A-100 had a legitimate reason for retaining the side-rod drive.  (My fingers, in a kind of Freudian slip, kept trying to type 'drivel' for that last word!)

As you probably know, I'm fond of immensely-overcomplicated motor locomotives, and the Sentinel probably qualifies in the top tier.  If you thought a McKeen car was interesting to keep running, try six of them in parallel, built in the best English shop-steward tradition, and then add all the fun of steam as a working fluid.  This for locomotives running at relatively slow speed on indifferent track, not mainline service.  Think "all the costs of a diesel locomotive, and few of the advantages".

I'm surprised you did not mention the Fell locomotive.  Perhaps because not steam?

One very good reference everyone interested in the topic of this thread should read is Fryer's book on experimental steam.  There is more stuff in there that will curl your hair if you are interested in innovation that did not always pass the conventional-wisdom test -- rightly or wrongly.

 

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Posted by Miningman on Thursday, March 14, 2019 9:44 AM

No not because it was not steam. Wasn't going to push my luck with another picture and it was late.

Not many great pics of it that I can find but I'm sure others can.

Derby works fell diesel geograph-2390424-by-Ben-Brooksbank.jpg

The Fell Diesel at Derby Works

 

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Posted by Overmod on Thursday, March 14, 2019 10:59 AM

A senior professor of economics at Columbia had as a hobby designed a regenerative 'transmission' for New York subway cars that featured some of the Fell gearbox action.  It was delightful to hear him explain all the different details, although he could never quite convince me that it would be cost-effective to put them on a large number of cars and keep them operating automatically and flawlessly after years of NYCTA maintenance... much the same sort of questions that "should" have been asked before building the Fell locomotive.

I spoze it's still a good idea, in theory, if you can afford to use multiple engines as ballast and are certain they can all be kept runnable and road-startable in all weathers.  My experience with British internal lack of combustion makes me more than usually nervous about the general idea; my experience with British quality control makes me wonder how many Baldwin-like aspects of the actual construction of the locomotive contributed toward the 'experience'.

The first engine class I'd nominate for actual groundbreaking astonishment is the original Tasmanian M: a double-four-cylindered Atlantic Garratt (among the very first of the type built).  Oh yes: four cylinders on Cape gauge, yet more fun to fit into the loading gage, although hard to sneeze at 60+mph on 42" drivers, not too possible otherwise...  even N-zed-R only put three cylinders in on their Garratt engines (which was probably one more than advisable, although similarly glorious).  Sharpe, who would certainly be one to know, said "the Class M was a bit bonkers, but rather cool anyway." If I had my druthers, this would be the next replica after finishing the 242 A1.  (We'll see if Mike can find some in-service pictures; these were on top of all the engineering splendidly painted and lined out!)

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Thursday, March 14, 2019 12:51 PM

Those things look strange.  

I'm not surprised they didn't catch on, nothing strange  ever seems to.

Maybe a "Classic Trains" article, or even a book titled "Too Weird To Work" concerning the same is called for?

Just strange.  

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Posted by Overmod on Thursday, March 14, 2019 1:46 PM

Flintlock76
Maybe a "Classic Trains" article, or even a book titled "Too Weird To Work" concerning the same is called for?

No, just a revival.  Remember Rosemary's "Would You Believe It"? 

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Posted by Jones1945 on Thursday, March 14, 2019 2:07 PM

UNITS OF THE EIGHT-CYLINDERED GARRATT LOCOMOTIVE

"(From top to bottom) Front engine unit; Boiler and frame; rear engine unit"

From Railway Wonders of the World:
https://railwaywondersoftheworld.com/beyer-garratt.html

 

From Railway Wonders of the World:
https://railwaywondersoftheworld.com/beyer-garratt.html

I really want to hear the surround sound of an 8-cylindered steam engine running at high speed. 

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Thursday, March 14, 2019 3:16 PM

Overmod

 

 
Flintlock76
Maybe a "Classic Trains" article, or even a book titled "Too Weird To Work" concerning the same is called for?

 

No, just a revival.  Remember Rosemary's "Would You Believe It"? 

 

Well, actually no.  I remember "Rosemary's Baby" Devil  and Ripley's "Believe It Or Not," but I've never heard of Rosemary's "Would You Believe it?"

Was she a railfan chronicler of the offbeat in motive power?  Whistling

Garrett's are kinda strange  too, but at least they worked.  Now that mini-Garrett in Tasmania's kinda strange.  Someone run it through a hot wash by mistake?  It's shrunk!

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Posted by M636C on Thursday, March 14, 2019 6:02 PM

How have we got this far without mentioning the name "Douglas Self?"

http://www.douglas-self.com/MUSEUM/LOCOLOCO/locoloco.htm

For example, even Sentinel realised that the Colombian loco was not the way to go and built a sort of Budd car with twin underfloor 250HP engines, although the water tube boiler and cab used up the space above the frame.

http://www.douglas-self.com/MUSEUM/LOCOLOCO/argmotor/argmotor.htm

No discussion of experimental steam locomotives should be carried out without reading this. I recommend...

http://www.douglas-self.com/MUSEUM/LOCOLOCO/russ/russrefr.htm

Particularly the Diesel-Steam opposed piston hybrids.

What could possibly go wrong....?

Peter

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Posted by Jones1945 on Thursday, March 14, 2019 10:09 PM

M636C

How have we got this far without mentioning the name "Douglas Self?"

http://www.douglas-self.com/MUSEUM/LOCOLOCO/locoloco.htm

...

Peter

Glad to see his website updated in 2016. I can see some new photos and drawings were added to different pages. His website always on my browser's bookmark. Reminds me of the good old days when people still using MS Frontpage Express to create their own website and hosted them on Geocities.com, even the local government used them.  Coffee

http://www.douglas-self.com/MUSEUM/LOCOLOCO/locoloco.htm

Tags: Douglas Self

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Posted by Jones1945 on Thursday, March 14, 2019 10:22 PM

 

The first diesel streamliner in PRC (not ROC), developed in 1958, an ill-fated product of the "Great Leap Forward" political movement in 1958.

She was *probably the first Push–pull double-decker train in Asia, but no surprise, it was a failure. The trainset served between Beijing and Tianjin in 1959, both engines were withdrawn from service in 1961, the double deck passenger car kept served in the network until the 1980s. 

The streamlined 600hp hydraulic transmission engine, one towing at the front, one pushing from the end of the consist with the rear cab facing backward; four double-deck passenger cars between both of them. Power output was 1200hp, capacity was 198 seats, design speed was 120kph but only could reach 90kph in "service".

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Posted by Overmod on Thursday, March 14, 2019 10:23 PM

Flintlock76
Well, actually no. I remember "Rosemary's Baby" and Ripley's "Believe It Or Not," but I've never heard of Rosemary's "Would You Believe it?"

Was she a railfan chronicler of the offbeat in motive power?

Oh. My. God.

Only one person was more famous at Trains Magazine than DPM, and that was Managing Editor Rosemary Entringer. 

"Would You Believe It?" was a regular feature by her, including in the '60s when I subscribed as a kid, one of my favorite things in the magazine.  If you have the Complete Collection, you can have some fun by reading through to see them.

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Posted by Miningman on Thursday, March 14, 2019 11:24 PM

Yeah.. I think Wayne just had a 'duh' moment, slapped his forehead. I could hear that all the way up here! 

It's ok Wayne, you were thinking in the wrong direction that's all. 

Heck I think I lost a contact lens in my eyeball tonight, now what do I do ? if it rolled up and over.?  Geez. 

Will your body push it out like a splinter after some time has past? 

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Posted by Jones1945 on Friday, March 15, 2019 12:49 AM

Miningman

Heck I think I lost a contact lens in my eyeball tonight, now what do I do ? if it rolled up and over.?  Geez. 

Will your body push it out like a splinter after some time has past

Tags: Heck

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Posted by Miningman on Friday, March 15, 2019 1:10 AM

Thank you Jones. I don't happen to have one of those handy around the house but I do have a portable bottle eyewash with a cup that fits over your entire eye. I don't 'feel' it in there and I'm hoping it simply fell out somewhere between the bathroom and the dining room. I've put in a new lens and restored vision but I hope the darn thing isn't stuck behind there somewhere.

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Posted by Miningman on Friday, March 15, 2019 1:46 AM

Anyone out there know what the heck these 2 are all about?

Can't figure these out.

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Posted by M636C on Friday, March 15, 2019 2:11 AM

Miningman

Anyone out there know what the heck these 2 are all about?

Can't figure these out.

 

The first one is the third Bullied "Leader" 36003 as it stood when work on completing it was cancelled. This view shows the smokebox (the oddly shaped box) boiler and forward cab and on the bogie the sprockets for the chain coupling of the coupled axles.

http://www.douglas-self.com/MUSEUM/LOCOLOCO/leader/leader.htm

The second photo is Bullied's Q1 0-6-0, in this view with the coupling rods removed. This was built during WWII, and was intended to provide maximum power for use on lightly built lines. The strange boiler cladding was intended to be self supporting and removable since it allowed the use of a particular type of expanded fibreglass insulation that could not be compressed as would occur under conventional cylindrical boiler cladding. While definitely odd in appearance, it was regarded as a success due to its high power to weight an flexibility in use. However, it could have been just as successful if completed with a conventional appearance.

Peter

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Friday, March 15, 2019 9:00 AM

Overmod

 

 
Flintlock76
Well, actually no. I remember "Rosemary's Baby" and Ripley's "Believe It Or Not," but I've never heard of Rosemary's "Would You Believe it?"

Was she a railfan chronicler of the offbeat in motive power?

 

Oh. My. God.

Only one person was more famous at Trains Magazine than DPM, and that was Managing Editor Rosemary Entringer. 

"Would You Believe It?" was a regular feature by her, including in the '60s when I subscribed as a kid, one of my favorite things in the magazine.  If you have the Complete Collection, you can have some fun by reading through to see them.

 

Ah, Rosemary Entringer!  OK, now I get it.

You see, my interest in trains, real and model, only started in 1989, after the David the Great and Rosemary Entringer years.  I only know her name by reputation, not first-hand experience.  I did have some railbooks before then but wasn't into it in a big way. 

My "Saul on the road to Damascus" moment came when two things happened that year, Lady Firestorm's desire to have a train under the Christmas tree that caused me to dig out the old Lionels I hadn't used in years, and THEN my seeing the N-Gauge empire my brother-in-law "Big B" built in the basement.  BOING!

It's been all "downhill" ever since.  Or uphill.  Or something. 

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Posted by Miningman on Friday, March 15, 2019 10:47 AM

M636C-- Thank you very much. Yes now I see the Leader taking shape. As for the 0-6-0 what puzzled me was that 'blockage' between driver one and two and then again between two and three.  I thought perhaps it has no rods at all ever, but apparently the rods will clear that. 

Fibreglass eh? Kind of makes sense. 

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Posted by Deggesty on Friday, March 15, 2019 10:55 AM

Flintlock76

 

 
Overmod

 

 
Flintlock76
Well, actually no. I remember "Rosemary's Baby" and Ripley's "Believe It Or Not," but I've never heard of Rosemary's "Would You Believe it?"

Was she a railfan chronicler of the offbeat in motive power?

 

Oh. My. God.

Only one person was more famous at Trains Magazine than DPM, and that was Managing Editor Rosemary Entringer. 

"Would You Believe It?" was a regular feature by her, including in the '60s when I subscribed as a kid, one of my favorite things in the magazine.  If you have the Complete Collection, you can have some fun by reading through to see them.

 

 

 

Ah, Rosemary Entringer!  OK, now I get it.

You see, my interest in trains, real and model, only started in 1989, after the David the Great and Rosemary Entringer years.  I only know her name by reputation, not first-hand experience.  I did have some railbooks before then but wasn't into it in a big way. 

My "Saul on the road to Damascus" moment came when two things happened that year, Lady Firestorm's desire to have a train under the Christmas tree that caused me to dig out the old Lionels I hadn't used in years, and THEN my seeing the N-Gauge empire my brother-in-law "Big B" built in the basement.  BOING!

It's been all "downhill" ever since.  Or uphill.  Or something. 

 

Wayne, you were certainly a late riser. I do not remember just what issue long, long ago, had a description, written by Miss Entringer, of a trip home on a Rock Island suburban train after a day of college classes. It was reprinted after her death. She also wrote an article in which she told of her experience in riding one of the Reading's famous locomotives.

Johnny

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Friday, March 15, 2019 12:49 PM

You know Johnny, we have a photo in the house here somewhere showing the moment of my "awakening,"  if you want to call it that.

Lady F took it while I was looking at "Big B's" N-gauge layout.  I'm standing there with my eyes like saucers and a big goofy smile on my face.  

"Creating a monster," "Awakening a sleeping giant," whatever you call it I was hooked all right!  Oh, brother...

Wayne

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Posted by Jones1945 on Friday, March 15, 2019 1:04 PM

Miningman

Thank you Jones. I don't happen to have one of those handy around the house but I do have a portable bottle eyewash with a cup that fits over your entire eye. I don't 'feel' it in there and I'm hoping it simply fell out somewhere between the bathroom and the dining room. I've put in a new lens and restored vision but I hope the darn thing isn't stuck behind there somewhere.

You are welcome, Vince. I thought you were kidding. I think you better go to the clinic for a checking asap if you are not sure the old lens is still inside your eyes or not; even though you can't feel it. 


I found the story of the "Chain drive" Bulleid Leader Class very interesting, here is a video showing its gear mechanism: 

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Posted by Miningman on Friday, March 15, 2019 1:28 PM

Re. The Leader film clip-- those 3 eccentric mannequins going through their motions is rather hilarious. Good grief those Brits come up with some real doozies.

As to the eye I've heard horror stories about incidents like that at clinics. I will hold fast and see what happens.  

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Friday, March 15, 2019 3:59 PM

That "Leader" film was interesting, to say the least.  I'm not sure what to think.  Was that an example of true "outside-the-box" thinking or a grandiose exercise in over-engineering?

Oh well, as the old saying goes "There's nothing wrong with thinking 'outside-the-box' as long as you remember sometimes 'the box' is there for a reason."

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Posted by Overmod on Saturday, March 16, 2019 11:10 AM

Flintlock76
That "Leader" film was interesting, to say the least. I'm not sure what to think. Was that an example of true "outside-the-box" thinking or a grandiose exercise in over-engineering?

Well, much of the problem was due to putting the works in a box (/rimshot) and much of the rest to various difficulties with available materials and dollar vs. pound material availability.

Leader was originally designed (as so many contemporary approaches, including Steins' designs of the Thirties, were) for oil firing.  That would have obviated most of the issues, including the offset weight issues, all the fireman-comfort and crew-integrity issues, and much of the tunnel-blowback (through all the little secondary-air hollow welded staybolts as well as the excuse for a firehole!)

Had coupling chains been used on both sides of each bogie, as Bulleid originally intended, most of the wear and binding issues with the drive would not have occurred.  Likewise, had one of the bogies not been 'crash-tested' on compressed air, and had assembly of the crank axle and wheelset not involved pressing with inadequate blocking of the crank webs, there would have been fewer "problems" with that end.

The real problem was that this thing was not a replacement for an M7 tank, which was the supposed raison d'etre of the design in the first place.  It was far too long, heavy, and complicated to do the necessary jobs -- let alone more economical by any sane analysis.

The sleeve valves were intended to have the absolute minimum of dead space for very large, but very quick port opening and closing, with high precision over steam-edge alignment and relatively low drive power requirement.  There was no particular reason why even 19th-century valve travel wouldn't produce the clean and quick valve events made possible on piston valves only with long-lap long-travel design.

Unfortunately, a Meehanite sleeve valve was already a difficult thing to produce in postwar Britain, and the great plurality of rings needed to seal the arrangement, along with the complex tribology arrangements to keep them unbroken and unseized, already begins to tell you where the story is going to go.  The 'fascinating' figure-8 motion is not nearly as difficult to derive as it might appear from first glance: all it's doing is keeping the sleeve rotating slightly whenever it is to be moved longitudinally to help in keeping it lubricated and unseized -- the problem here being that the motion is imparted through ears machined in the end of a nodular-iron sleeve only an inch thick, protruding through what is supposed to be steam-tight holes in the cylinder head, not something likely ever to be leak-tight.  All the issues were, I think, fully recognized during testing with Hartland Point, but there really wasn't any arrangement other than the sleeves that would have worked without cripplingly expensive redesign (I'm tempted to say that 'all you need to know' can be seen in the valve arrangement applied to the Turf Burner, but that locomotive was understood to require lower performance at high reciprocating speeds)

There was no hope for that dry-back boiler, no matter how interesting the welded staybolt design was.  The interesting part of this was that Bulleid was highly alert to crew comfort, and in fact was designing his contemporary diesel mainline engines with that in mind; if I remember correctly he was actually anguished that ASLEF would 'black' the testing of the first Leader.

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Posted by M636C on Saturday, March 16, 2019 9:11 PM

The real problem was that this thing was not a replacement for an M7 tank, which was the supposed raison d'etre of the design in the first place.  It was far too long, heavy, and complicated to do the necessary jobs -- let alone more economical by any sane analysis.

However, life went on:

The year after work on the five "Leaders" was abandoned at Brighton, work started on 41 LMS-design Fairburn 2-6-4Ts for use on the Southern Region. These were the final refinement of one of the most successful designs of the Grouping period and did the exact job the Leader had strayed from performing by requirements creep. 

The "Leader" name was intended to be a class title with locomotive names to suit.

As construction dragged on towards eventual cancellation, the names planned fot the "Leaders" found their way to the "Battle of Britain" class Pacifics, starting with "Winston Churchill", through senior RAF officers and others associated with aircraft production to "Sir Eustace Missenden, Southern Railway".

So it was all right in the end...

Peter

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Posted by SD70Dude on Sunday, March 17, 2019 12:15 PM

Overmod

There was no hope for that dry-back boiler, no matter how interesting the welded staybolt design was.  The interesting part of this was that Bulleid was highly alert to crew comfort, and in fact was designing his contemporary diesel mainline engines with that in mind; if I remember correctly he was actually anguished that ASLEF would 'black' the testing of the first Leader.

The photo of the Leader in the first post here perfectly illustrates why the Union was so opposed to it:  There is no centre door on the near side of the locomotive. 

If it were to overturn and come to rest with this side up the Fireman would be trapped inside. 

Oil firing might have resolved this problem, as the Fireman could then potentially have been located in one of the cabs at the ends of the locomotive.

Greetings from Alberta

-an Articulate Malcontent

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Posted by Jones1945 on Monday, March 18, 2019 4:02 AM

The first time I read about the Leader Class was probably when I was around 10 years old in the library of my primary school; before I read the description I thought it was some sort of construction equipment for the London Underground, because of the design of the cap. Back in those days, there are limited ways to dig deeper on such rare topic: keep searching other railroading books in the library, ask the teacher who knows nothing about train or goes to the reference book section of the Central Library of the city hall for thorough searching. But I was distracted by other steam engine and train, as well as other topics and forgot about the "Leader" Class until I saw it again on the internet. 

"Sometimes, things just don't work out as planned" 

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Posted by Jones1945 on Thursday, March 21, 2019 11:04 AM

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Posted by Jones1945 on Thursday, March 21, 2019 5:01 PM

L'Aérotrain Expérimental 02

L'Aérotrain



Aérotrain I80

Drinks

Wilted FlowerSurprise

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