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European Railroad Discussion > A. E. Brown in the Presence of Kings


Date: 03/03/21 14:22
A. E. Brown in the Presence of Kings
Author: gbmott

The different ways that steam evolved in the US and UK has always fascinated me.  The appearance of a US steam locomotive built in, say, 1950 would look nothing like one built in 1900.  By contrast, a GWR 'Star' of 1902 could, to the untrained eye, easily be confused with a 'Castle' of 1950.  Likewise, need for more powerful locomotives occasioned by larger and heavier wagons and steel coaches was met in the US by  simply making bigger and heavier locomotives while in the UK (largely influenced by restrictive clearances, I assume) the need was met by less visible refinements and frequent reliance on three- and four-cylinder designs.  I have always been intrigued by GWR Kings and thought to myself what a typical US Roundhouse Foreman would think if a King suddenly appeared -- the old solution of just getting a bigger hammer might not work!  Anyway, I like Brown's detail photo of King James I.

1 and 2 - BR 6011 King James I - Old Oak Common 5-23-56
3.  BR 6010 King Charles I - near Newbury 5-56 with the Cornish Riviera Express

Gordon








Date: 03/04/21 02:04
Re: A. E. Brown in the Presence of Kings
Author: 86235

Lovely, in many ways the Kings were twentieth century locomotives in nineteenth century clothing!

Under George Churchward and, later Charles Collett, Great Western locomotive practise was the most technologically advanced in the UK for the first quarter of the twentieth century. In the hit and miss world of British locomotive design both before and after WW1, the GWR consistently produced superior locomotives in terms of power and economy and all with a series of common features, which saved on maintenance. Churchward was the GWR's Chief Mechanical Engineer (CME) for 20 years from 1902 to 1922, although as Chief Assistant to his predecessor William Dean, during the latter's failing years, he'd been the power behind the Swindon throne since 1897. Churchward's engines were expensive to build, when asked by GWR directors why the LNWR could turn out three 4-6-0s for the price of two of Churchward's four cylinder Star class 4-6-0s he is supposed to have answered "because one of mine could tow two of their bloody things backwards". I hope that's true. Churchward took technology from Belgium, France and North America and used them harmoniously in his designs, he certainly was no Little Englander when it came to locomotives. If there is one criticism it might be that he didn't really put any value in compounding, despite buying three four cylinder compound Atlantics from France for evaluation.

The Kings represented the apogee of the Churchward 4 cylinder express design, but sadly after the Kings GWR design practise sort of stood still and it was left to Gresley on the LNER and Stanier on the LMS to move British locomotive design forward.

Gresley had been stung by the locomotive exchanges of 1925 when a Collett designed Castle class 4-6-0 had comprehensively out performed his A1 Pacific design in terms of power output and economy. Indeed when looking for a new express locomotive in 1927 the LMS did consider asking the GWR for the drawings of the Castle class to build LMS Castles. In fact they went to North British and the Royal Scots were the result. William Stanier who became LMS design chief in 1932 came from Swindon and brought GWR practises with him, which were happily (for the most part) incorporated into distinctly LMS designs. 

So thanks for these pictures, and thanks to Mr Brown for taking them.



Date: 03/04/21 11:02
Re: A. E. Brown in the Presence of Kings
Author: dwatry

On most steam locomotives with a two-axle lead truck, the cylinders are usually centered between the 2 axles.  On the Kings - why are the cylinders moved backward? 



Date: 03/04/21 11:07
Re: A. E. Brown in the Presence of Kings
Author: King_Coal

I am not an expert in steam design, but the closeup of the lead truck is absolutely fascinating.

This series is a continuing reason to subscribe to TO. Thanks for sharing.



Date: 03/04/21 13:11
Re: A. E. Brown in the Presence of Kings
Author: Hexagon789

dwatry Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> On most steam locomotives with a two-axle lead
> truck, the cylinders are usually centered between
> the 2 axles.  On the Kings - why are the
> cylinders moved backward? 

Three reasons because of one reason you might say.

The GWR wanted to achieve a 40,000lbs tractive effort primarily as a PR stunt really, part of the way they a curved this is with a larger cylinder block than on the "Castles" the Kings are based on, the larger cylinder block is lower slung and further back to accommodate smaller drivers as well.

The unusual leading pony truck design is as it is because otherwise it wouldn't clear the cylinder block I believe.

Posted from Android



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/04/21 13:14 by Hexagon789.



Date: 03/04/21 13:14
Re: A. E. Brown in the Presence of Kings
Author: Hexagon789

King_Coal Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I am not an expert in steam design, but the
> closeup of the lead truck is absolutely
> fascinating.
>
> This series is a continuing reason to subscribe to
> TO. Thanks for sharing.

Basically a half-inside, half-outside design. The outside frame at the back allows the larger boiler to dip lower and curve round in the vicinity wuile allowing allow space for the inside motion.

Posted from Android



Date: 03/04/21 17:38
Re: A. E. Brown in the Presence of Kings
Author: dwatry

OK that makes sense - thanks!



Date: 03/05/21 02:34
Re: A. E. Brown in the Presence of Kings
Author: 86235

dwatry Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> On most steam locomotives with a two-axle lead
> truck, the cylinders are usually centered between
> the 2 axles.  On the Kings - why are the
> cylinders moved backward? 

Duncan - all three GWR four cylinder 4-6-0 classes, the solitary 4 cylinder Atlantic North Star and the only GWR Pacific, The Great Bear, had similarly placed cylinders. They were a design feature of the three French-built compound Atlantics the GWR bought in 1904 and 1905 for assessment. The French Atlantics and the GWR four cylinder classes had a divided drive, the inside cylinders under the smokebox driving the leading coupled axle and the outside cylinders driving the middle coupled axle. The cylinder arrangement, with the outside cylinders placed behind the inside cylinders, produced a very smooth riding design. As you can see there's no outside valve gear, like almost all GWR locomotives the valve gear was between the frames, the four cylinder locomotives using a modified version of Walshaerts gear, two sets for four cylinders.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/05/21 02:52 by 86235.



Date: 03/05/21 05:33
Re: A. E. Brown in the Presence of Kings
Author: gbmott

Now you've told me something that I didn't know.  I had no idea there were two sets of Walschaerts hidden inside there -- I had always just assumed that locomotives with inside motion used some form of Stephenson's.  From your overall description above I will modify my assessment of a U.S. roundhouse foreman's response to the sudden appearance of a King -- panic followed by a fatal heart attack!
Gordon



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/05/21 05:35 by gbmott.



Date: 03/05/21 09:30
Re: A. E. Brown in the Presence of Kings
Author: 86235

gbmott Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Now you've told me something that I didn't know.
>  I had no idea there were two sets of Walschaerts
> hidden inside there -- I had always just assumed
> that locomotives with inside motion used some form
> of Stephenson's.  From your overall description
> above I will modify my assessment of a U.S.
> roundhouse foreman's response to the sudden
> appearance of a King -- panic followed by a fatal
> heart attack!
> Gordon

The GWR two cylinder locomotives certainly used Stephensons link motion, but the four cylinder ones used Walschaerts. And don't forget that along with the valve gear itself there were associated rocking shafts which allowed a single set of valve gear to operate valves on two cylinders. You can see them clearly in the close up of the cylinder and leading bogie. With all that machinery between the frames there was very little space in which to work, your roundhouse foreman would probably have a nervous breakdown as well.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/05/21 10:05 by 86235.



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