Category Archives: Ted Talbot

Building a full head of steam!

On the 3rd August, the LNWR Society held its 40th anniversary celebrations at Kidderminster Railway Museum, kindly hosted by the Severn Valley Railway. The event was well attended and proved to be enjoyable and informative with a good deal of lively discussion and debate ensuing on all matters ‘Premier Line’. The presentations included the Crewe to Shrewbury Line by Bob Yate (author of The Shropshire Union Railway, The South Staffordshire Railway volumes 1 and 2 among other titles) and the restoration and operation on ‘Coal Tank 1054‘ by Peter Skellon (who wrote the book on the Coal Tanks, Bashers, Gadgets and Mourners.)

Trustee Paul Hibberd and young Trust supporter Tom Mainprize were also there presenting the project and outlining the plans to the gathering in an hour-long Q&A session, which was warmly received. Indeed, I think we can safely say that the response we received far exceeded our expectations – to wit, thanks to the generosity of the members of the LNWR Society and other visitors, on the day we received in excess of £3,000 excluding the Gift Aid that will arise from the bulk of these donations. This places us in a position to order the frame plates.

On behalf of the LNWR George the Fifth Steam Locomotive Trust, we would like to humbly thank the many individuals who gave their financial and moral support for the project on the day. We firmly believe that this day constitutes a real inflection point for the project and a gathering of momentum, and that with your support, together we will build a new LNWR George the Fifth! As to the progress on the door and the intention to commence fabrication of the frames-plates, we hope to make further announcements soon. We also hope that we can soon confirm a number of other related developments underway that will no doubt please our members and supporters and provide a real filip to the project.

Watch this space as they say.

It should be noted that since the inception of the LNWR George the Fifth Steam Locomotive Trust, we have enjoyed a strong working relationship with the 700 strong membership of the LNWR Society, who have been tremendously supportive of our endeavours. That support arose under the auspices of the previous Chairman, Peter Stanton and continues with the personal support of the current Chairman, Brian Hayes.

We were of course, very happy to be a part of the LNWR Society’s 40th anniversary celebrations and we heartedly recommend becoming a member to anyone with in interest in the London & North Western Railway or even in Britain’s rich railway history and heritage generally. Membership provides direct access to a wealth of knowledge, artifacts and rare archival material – material that has been painstakingly preserved and collated over the years by the Society’s members to become the largest single repository of information and relics pertaining to the London & North Western Railway and its constituents. This tremendous depth of knowledge also extends to the membership and social events are a regular occurrence. More information on the LNWR Society can be found on their website here.

A sample of this rich collection was showcased on the day with the LNWR Society displaying a number of artifacts including nameplates, which helped to bring a past era alive again. The nameplates included Sirocco, the last LNWR 4-4-0 (a Precursor rebuilt to the George specification) – an engine that our trustee Bruce Nixon snapped as a young lad at Chester in 1949.

As mentioned, the bonds between the LNWR Society and the LNWR George the Fifth Steam Locomotive Trust are strong and abiding. The previous Chairman of the LNWR Society, Peter Stanton has been a redoubtable supporter of the project since its inception.  As a member of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers and a Chartered Engineer, Peter has been actively involved with the minutiae and the nuts and bolts of the project particularly in relation to mainline access. He is our ”Competent Independent Person’.

In addition to Peter Stanton and Richard Coleby, who was the subject in February 2013 of this post on this very blog, Peter Skellon of the Coal Tank Group (mentioned above) has long been tirelessly at hand in answering our many inquiries (and trust me, we’ve had a few in relation to the fabrication of the smokebox door!). Finally, it would be remiss of us not to again mention the invaluable support provided by Ted Talbot, who only recently has made available to the Trust a copy of the June 1911 pamphlet produced by Schmidt’s Superheating Co (1910) Ltd. entitled ‘The Application of Highly Superheated Steam to Locomotives‘ which specifically refers to the successful results achieved with the Georges. We would like to thank these gentlemen for their efforts and in bringing their great experience and knowledge to bear on this project.

All our members and supporters whether that support be financial, knowledge and expertise or moral are the very lifeblood of this project and we again thank you. Support which I should hasten to add, increasingly extends far and wide, including Australia and New Zealand, where notably one benefactor ‘downunder’ recently donating the sum of £500 to the project! So to our supporters (financial and otherwise) in Australia, New Zealand and elsewhere, we also extend a warm thanks. Wherever you are in the world, you are a part of the LNWR George the Fifth Steam Locomotive Trust family. Momentum grows and with it, so does our support-base, which is now widespread extending to all corners of the globe and across a broad-cross-section of the community in terms of age and profession.

Finally, here is a collection of photos from the LNWR Society day at Kidderminster. The first shows young Trust member, Tom Mainprize manning our  booth surrounded by the magnificent artwork of  Gerald Broom, Roger Markland, John Wardle and others. The second shows two LNWR nameplates including that of the LNWR George the Fifth class ‘Coronation‘, a photo of which can be seen on our main website. The third shows Peter Stanton while the fourth shows Mrs Muriel Higgs, is the widow of a driver/fireman.

 

 

 

Posted in Australia, Coal Tank, Fabrication, Frames, Fundraising, General News, LNWRS Society, New Zealand, Peter Stanton, Public Events, Richard Coleby, Social Media, Tad Talbot, Ted Talbot | Leave a comment

Richard Coleby

As fabrication finally gets underway we’ve been critically assessing the designs and pouring over reports of the engine’s performance whilst in service to identify flaws and investigate where and how to incorporate the best of modern practice while remaining as true as possible to the original design. To this end Ted Talbot, Peter Stanton and Jamie Keyte among others are dedicating their invaluable time and expertise to the task, and we hope to report more on their involvement as the project progresses.

A task of building a new-build of an extinct class is a fine balancing act – that is, how to be true to the original design while ensuring that any design flaws when identified, aren’t repeated or are at least mitigated. In the case of the LNWR George the Fifth class, we are dealing with a design that is over 100 years old. We have the benefit of hindsight arising from reports into the service life of the class (which themselves have to be investigated for their veracity or potential bias – take the reports of ‘flimsy frames‘ for example, which appears to have been unwarranted) and of 100 years of subsequent practice in locomotive engineering specifically and engineering and metallurgy more generally.

And so in addition to the tremendous pool of expertise and knowledge mentioned above we are also pleased to announce the critical assistance of Derby-trained Richard Coleby who has kindly agreed to investigate reports of possible valve-gear errors in the original George the Fifth design. Richard’s impressive resume includes serving an Engineering Apprenticeship at Derby Loco Works in the final years of steam during which he gained an in-depth knowledge of the repair and maintenance of steam locomotives.

After leaving BR in 1969 he established a partnership dedicated to building large scale miniature steam locomotives and was responsible for the design of several engines including the famous Stapleford Nickel Plate Berkshire (at the time the most powerful 1/5th scale locomotive in the world) and the 59 class Garratt now residing at the NRM.

In the 1980s he was responsible for a rebuild of the Stapleford Curwen Atlantic ‘John of Gaunt’ which included many features designed to reduce maintenance requirements, such as the enclosed toary-driven valve gear, roller crossheads and big-ends and balanced slide valves. In 2009 he led the project to build ‘Norfolk Heroine’ the second Garratt on the Wells & Walsingham Light Railway and is currently working on a completely new Garratt incorporating as much modern practice as possible into a large miniature engine design.

We humbly thank Richard for his invaluable contribution, helping to ensure that this new-build George the Fifth, while a true member of the class and externally indistinguishable from its siblings will nonetheless incorporate the best of modern practice where absolutely critical so that maintenance can be minimised and service-life extended. We aim to build-to-last – an engine that will well outlast us – ensuring many decades of enjoyment for all who see her and ride behind her.

Posted in Fabrication, General News, Research, Richard Coleby, Ted Talbot, Valve Gear, Volunteers | 2 Comments

Those ‘flimsy frames’?

2013? Hard to believe. We hope you are all well and wish you all the best for the coming year. We also hope to have some news for you in the coming weeks now that Christmas is out of the way.

In the meantime we’d like to bring an article written by Ted Talbot for the January edition of ‘Back Track‘ entitled “Centre Bearings, Weak Frames and all that” to your attention. It concerns the removal of the Centre Bearings and frames from LNWR engines, which was authorised in 1923 and had a deleterious effect on the reliability, maintenance costs etc of the engines. Ted’s article looks at the consequences, assesses the reputation that LNWR engines subsequently received, that of having ‘flimsy-frames’ (undeserved argues Ted) and the likely motivations of this removal (a decision emanating from the smoke-filled rooms of Crewe’s old rival, Derby perhaps?)

The Centre Bearing was a feature of LNWR engines employing Joy valve gear where the space on the driving axle typically occupied by the eccentrics driving the steam chests found with Stephensons gear was instead occupied by a centre bearing in addition to the axle box bearings, which served to lessen the fore & aft shocks on the crank axle. To illustrate what a Centre Bearing and frame was, Ted has kindly provided us with a photograph of between the frames on a 5in gauge model of a D class 0-8-0 (the unsuperheated Whale 0-8-0 with large boiler). Note the central plate or frame and the Central Bearing between the connecting rods and cranks. Note too that the steam-chest linkages to the con-rods known as the valve rods and the reverse gear linkages have been removed here for clarity.

We heartedly recommending Ted’s fascinating article. We also recommend the Back Track journal for anyone interested in the rich and endlessly fascinating history of Britain’s railways.

Posted in BackTrack Journal, Fabrication, General News, History, Research, Ted Talbot, Uncategorized, Valve Gear | 1 Comment