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 Post subject: British steam?
PostPosted: Tue May 09, 2006 2:22 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 1:05 am
Posts: 1140
Location: San Francisco
Ran across an article in an old Railway Review that talks about a steam powered Interurban that was getting a new from scratch steam engine and truck built for it.

The museum that was doing the project was the Great Western Railway at Swinton, which was a major engine building site for both the railway and other industrial users.

Anybody seen anything recent on the project?

To the best of my knowledge no preservation group in the USA has done a steam locomotive from scratch.

And then the Brits are also doing a large replica Pacific for mainline service. Way to go guys!

Ted Miles


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 Post subject: Re: British steam?
PostPosted: Tue May 09, 2006 3:17 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:19 am
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Location: southeastern USA
Hi ted - when I was last in England a few years ago, i spent a few very fine hours visiting this museum. I was one of maybe 4 visitors in a very well conceived and executed expensively finished facility that would do the Smithsonian proud. The museum occupies a portion of the old Swindon Works, the remainder of which is adaptively reused as a discount shopping mall. Bus tours brought in shoppers, who never found their way into the museum. Access to the museum was down the street, and through a tiny tunnel-like passage that wasn't well marked.

I believe the museum has since fallen on even harder times, and perhaps has closed? Maybe Sandy or Mr. Churchward can bring us up to date. If so, it is a damnable shame.

Every discussion about replication on this list has degenerated into a popularity contest about what to replicate. I'd like to suggest we agree on building a new generation of generic steam power suitable for tourist railroad operation, since we already have more mainline steam dressed up and ready to go than opportunities to run them, if in fact we build new engines at all.

dave

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Corollary: "He who does is doomed to watch those who don't repeat it anyway."


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 Post subject: Re: British steam?
PostPosted: Tue May 09, 2006 3:38 pm 

Joined: Sat Aug 21, 2004 10:49 pm
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Location: The Pinewoods of South Jersey
The STEAM Museum in Swindon is indeed worth the 6 quid for admission! We visited the museum in Swindon a couple years ago and they did a bangup job. One of the best displays is the the King Class engine over a pit that you can walk in the see all the monkey motion in between the frames. It's still open as far as I know. Check' em out @ http://www.steam-museum.org.uk/

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 Post subject: Re: British steam?
PostPosted: Tue May 09, 2006 3:45 pm 

Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 9:43 am
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Location: Near Bath, UK
Actually the project is in the hands of the Great Western Society at Didcot. Things are coming along gradually. See http://www.didcotrailwaycentre.org.uk/g ... otor.shtml

For those who know the Vale of Rheidol Railway in Wales you might be interested to hear parts of the narrow gauge locos the GWR built for the line were salvaged from withdrawn railmotors.

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 Post subject: God's Wonderful Railway
PostPosted: Tue May 09, 2006 3:59 pm 

Joined: Mon Oct 11, 2004 8:42 am
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Location: Haslett, Michigan USA
I presume the Swindon Works museum is still going, but have no news newer than about three years ago, when Rod Crawford and I spent an equally fine couple hours there. I don't recall any project for a steam rail car. They did have one of the fabulous streamlined gas railcars of the GWR, though.

This museum is indeed gorgeous, in a big fragment of the GWR main shops. Swindon is, or was, a company town on a scale that makes Altoona look like a West Virginia mining camp. There were twin locomotive backshops stretching over maybe a mile and a half along the main line. Walking to that tunnel from the depot was no small hike. There were many, many blocks of company housing, all still standing. Most of the old works are gone, but much of the arched facade was purposely left standing facing the tracks, propped up by big, expensive girders.

The subject of the museum is the Great Western, and the principle locomotive classes are all there, including the King George V with its presentation bell from the B&O. There is one whole storeroom/exhibit hall of fabulous GWR junk - the stuff that's too weird or trivial to build an exhibit around, but which is too cool to leave off display. Things like sectioned pieces of hardware for schooling purposes and experimental prototypes. Most fun thing: the lifesize statue of the Little Giant that greets visitors as they enter. There are exhibits communicating the life of the GWR shop worker, which is another thing that will make you think of West Virginia coal miners, if you haven't already read The Road to Wigan Pier.

One building is devoted to working restorations by one or more groups of people restoring excursion engines. Pieces of 4-6-2's were scattered about in such profusion I couldn't tell how many big Pacifics they'll make when they're done. In England, you get used to seeing 4-6-2's under steam or under repair by the side of the road, like Burger Kings in this country.

Most cool fact about Swindon: the local radio station is Radio GWR.

The next day we left for the "other" GWR museum, at Didcot, an equally fabulous place in a different way. This is an operating railway with a big facility crammed into the wye at the junction for Oxford. Everything GWR that wasn't at Swindon is here, including the 4-6-0 being revised into an extinct 4-4-2, and a lot of dual-gauge trackage: 8-foot and narrow. We mentioned to the ticket clerk that we'd been at Swindon, and were treated to several minutes of invective against public-financed museums that the most vituperative Steamtown-basher would be proud of. So division among museum societies isn't just an American thing.

Most cool thing at Didcot: one of the coaches that were routinely dutch-dropped, loaded with passengers, from 70-mph passenger trains and handbraked to a stop into sidings at rural stations, to save on station stops.

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 Post subject: Re: British steam?
PostPosted: Tue May 09, 2006 4:19 pm 

Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 6:12 pm
Posts: 94
The so-called "STEAM" museum in part of the former Swindon Works is still in existance, as far as I am aware. It was opened to much fanfare a few years back, and the items displayed consist primarily of the exhibits formerly located in the old museum in the one-time Railwayman's Institute building. These include the last "Dean Goods" 0-6-0, the express passenger 4-6-0 "King George V" which incidently appeared at the Baltimore and Ohio RR "Fair of the Iron Horse" in 1927, and a number of other GWR locomotives. Attendance has never been as high as projected, leading to budget shortfalls.

The great shame at Swindon is that railway engineering work at the 170-year old site has recently ended for good, with the eviction of a contract steam restoration business in favor of expanded factory outlet space. This severs the last real link with the historic Swindon Works, which was closed by BR about 1985.

The "steam interurban" referred to by Ted is a project of an entirely seperate concern, the Great Western Society, located at Didcot. This site, containing a former GWR locomotive shed, houses an example of very nearly every remaining 20th-century GWR steam locomotive type, as well as numerous passenger and goods vehicles. The project in question is a Steam Railmotor, consisting of a boiler and power bogie housed within one end of a conventional passenger car. Similar vehicles also appeared on a number of American railroads around the turn of the 20th century. In practice, the design presented maintenance-related difficulties, as the entire vehicle had to be taken out of service when work was required, as opposed to an ordinary engine and seperate passenger cars. The Didcot example was de-powered in the 1930s and converted to other uses; Ted is correct that a replica boiler and power bogie are now being built as part of a full restoration to original condition.

This is not necessarily the most ambitious project at Didcot. The Great Western Society is also well along in its conversion of one of the numerous surviving "Hall" 4-6-0s into a replica "Saint" (new, larger drivers, new inside steam pipe cylinder block, lowered boiler, and appropriate earlier tender), as well as the recreation of a "County" 4-6-0 from the frames of a later "Modified Hall" (new wheelsets, new cylinders, and a boiler being made from a firebox and one "correct" course from another engine. Another group elsewhere is using the surplus "Modified Hall" boiler, some drivers from a scrapped 2-6-2T, and new frames and cylinders to produce a "Grange" class 4-6-0. The original "Saints" were gone by the early 1950s; the "County" and "Grange" types lasted longer but were all sent for scrapping to locations other than Barry and hence none survived. Since there are a dozen and a half or more complete "Halls" and "Modified Halls" still existing, the dismantling of these two is no great loss by comparison with the opportunities for replication presented by widespread standardization on the Great Western.

G.J.C.


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 Post subject: Re: British steam?
PostPosted: Tue May 09, 2006 4:21 pm 

the Didcot steam center in the 'Wye' at Didcot is indeed one of the 'poster-child' preserved steam sites in the UK, they seem to be able to achieve anything including repatriating a GWR tender loco from Australia back around 2000 IIRC. Complete with a coating of red Aussie sand.

in the past they've recreated an "auto" mailbag drop into a net (I forget the technical phrase) - impressive to see the thottle opened wide from a standing start to get the speed for this to work.

they have a cameraderie with current state passenger loco drivers as well - as the Didcot site is in a Wye, their main running line is against the boundary fence to the state network, and the respective drivers will whistle/blow the horn respectively to each other in passing.

good times.

on a slightly negative note, the Tornado ( new build pacific) crowd have argued over money in the past which has slowed them down. I don't know if they got to court over it.


John B.


  
 
 Post subject: Re: British steam?
PostPosted: Tue May 09, 2006 4:50 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:19 am
Posts: 5512
Location: southeastern USA
George Jackson Churchward wrote:
The project in question is a Steam Railmotor, consisting of a boiler and power bogie housed within one end of a conventional passenger car. Similar vehicles also appeared on a number of American railroads around the turn of the 20th century.
G.J.C.


A 15" gage version was on the boards for the Anacortes railway before the death of their principal several years ago, with an upright fire tube boiler if I recall correctly, and one powered axle under the heavy end of the car.

dave

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Corollary: "He who does is doomed to watch those who don't repeat it anyway."


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 Post subject: Steam Railcars
PostPosted: Tue May 09, 2006 6:23 pm 
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Location: Beaumont, Texas
George Jackson Churchward wrote:
The project in question is a Steam Railmotor, consisting of a boiler and power bogie housed within one end of a conventional passenger car. Similar vehicles also appeared on a number of American railroads around the turn of the 20th century. In practice, the design presented maintenance-related difficulties, as the entire vehicle had to be taken out of service when work was required, as opposed to an ordinary engine and seperate passenger cars. The Didcot example was de-powered in the 1930s and converted to other uses; Ted is correct that a replica boiler and power bogie are now being built as part of a full restoration to original condition.


I assume (please correct me if I am wrong) that this is also the same thing as a steam railcar. Besides those built for the GWR (I believe they were named after racehorses, with such names as Bang Up?), they were also built by the Sentinel Waggon Works in Shewsbury and exported elsewhere. 13 of the 21 steam railcars I have listed in my Surviving World Steam Locomotive CD-ROM were built by Sentinel; one on the island of Sri Lanka is operational; five were recently found in Peru (all five converted to diesel.) Another example built by Esslingen is operational at the Swiss National Transport Museum in Luzern. Also pictured on the CD is an example built in Japan; railway photographer Colin Garrett photographed another one built by Clayton Wagons Ltd. and looking rather forlorn derelict in the sands of the Sudan.

Another operational restoration is a Kitson-built example named "Coffee Pot" at the Pichi Richi Railway Preservation Society in Australia. I believe in that case the engine was seperated from the coach and operated stand-alone; a new coach was built (maybe the old one restored; not sure) and mated back with it.

-James Hefner
Hebrews 10:20a

Surviving World Steam Project


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 Post subject: Re: Steam Railcars
PostPosted: Tue May 09, 2006 7:59 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 6:28 pm
Posts: 17
There are actually two basic types of steam railmotor - the type being discussed here (and the Australian Kitson example), which are essentially a small locomotive and coach combined, and the sentinel type which are more like an underfloor powered diesel railcar in that the power unit(s) are self contained (like a stoker motor) and drive through shafts and gears onto the bogies. The Egyptian units, the one in steam in Sri Lanka, a number in Australia, and those on the LNER in the UK are of that type.

FWIW, a number of the Australian examples survive in preservation as carriages, having been de-engined around 1950.


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 Post subject: Re: Steam Railcars
PostPosted: Tue May 09, 2006 8:03 pm 

Joined: Sat Sep 18, 2004 6:19 pm
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Location: Belgrave, AUSTRALIA
"Another operational restoration is a Kitson-built example named "Coffee Pot" at the Pichi Richi Railway Preservation Society in Australia. I believe in that case the engine was seperated from the coach and operated stand-alone; a new coach was built (maybe the old one restored; not sure) and mated back with it. "

For more info (and some wonderful photos) of the restored "Coffee Pot" see http://www.prr.org.au

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 Post subject: Re: Steam Railcars
PostPosted: Sun May 14, 2006 4:50 pm 

Joined: Sun Dec 26, 2004 10:13 pm
Posts: 348
Location: Metropolis
The Market Street Railway began with (two, I believe) steam cars about 1860. Given their arrival pre-dated even the start of the San Francisco & San Jose, these cars could have been the first steam in San Francisco altogether.

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 Post subject: Re: British steam?
PostPosted: Tue May 16, 2006 11:38 am 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 1:05 am
Posts: 1140
Location: San Francisco
You guys really gave me more than i asked for on this responce! It it good to hear that the project is still on track and the organization has some other interesting preservation projects in the works!

Imagine bringing a locomotive home to England from Australia!

Last month was I.K. Brunel's 200th birthday. You can be sure that thaose at the GWR Trust are putting a smile on his face.

Ted Miles


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