Top Locomotives Never Built

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Andrew Boyd, Oct 21, 2018.

  1. fastmongrel Well-Known Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Lancashire UK
    Locomotive: Antelope class

    Configuration: 4-6-0 broad Gauge

    Company: Great Western Railway


    Years of production: 1892 to 1904

    The Antelope class were the first 4-6-0 locos to be built for the GWR and the first 10 wheelers built for a British railway company.

    The GWRs 7 foot broad gauge known as Brunel gauge allowed for bigger rolling stock than was possible on standard gauge but before 1870 the policy of the management had been to keep locos small and train loads light. Standard gauge being built by other companies had begun by 1870 to encroach on the GWRs territory in South-West England, South Midlands and South Wales, particulary the valuable coal traffic from Wales and the Forest of Dean. The GWR was not allowed to build any new Brunel gauge track outside its territory so gaining new traffic by extending its territory was out. The GWR was forced to change its small engine policy and decided to build new large rolling stock out to the maximum of its loading gauge and save money by running fewer larger trains.

    The first new big engines were fairly standard 4-4-0s and 0-6-0s but the locomotive design team saw how new 4-6-0 passenger and 2-8-0 freight locos were revolutionising transport in the USA, Canada, South Africa and Australia and decided this was the direction to go. In 1890 a new standard boiler was designed and tested at Swindon works it was big and with a much deeper firebox than any previous British engine. It was to be the standard for a new type of loco a 4-6-0 express passenger but would also be used for a mixed traffic 4-6-0 and heavy freight 2-8-0.

    In May 1892 the first of the new High Power locos rolled out of Swindon to the astonishment of the British press who were used to much smaller engines, it gleamed in GWR Brunswick Green with Crimson Lake underframes and Vermillion wheels it also had lots and lots and lots of shiny Brass. After running in on the Bristol to Exeter trains the day came in July when with the tender piled high with finest washed Welsh Steam coal usually kept for the Royal Train the Antelope steamed out of Cheltenham station at the head of the 10.06 Cheltenham Flyer to Paddington express which had until recently been the fastest regular train in the world a title recently lost to the New York Central line. The line was cleared of all slow trains and all signal boxes received a 5 bell code to not impede the Flyer a code usually reserved for the Royal Train. The Antelope built up speed steadily but by the time Swindon was reached the Flyer was touchinging 70mph and averaging 52mph. The rest of the line from Swindon to Maidenhead is known as Brunels billiard table and the driver was able to put the regulator on full and link up the Stephenson valve gear to maximum expansion. Between Swindon and the famous Maidenhead Viaduct the average speed was 72.5mph and even slowing into Paddington station only dropped the average speed from Cheltenham to 65mph.

    The Antelope was met in London with a lightning storm of flash bulbs and all the headlines across the world the next morning were of the astonishing new express locomotive. More 4-6-0 Express locos were built and the GWR gloried in the publicity of the fastest railway in the world for many years but the real locomotive that saved the GWR Brunel gauge was the dirty coal hauling 2-8-0 and 2-8-2Tanks.
     
  2. Andrew Boyd Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2018
    I severely doubt the Brunnell gauge would last much longer at all. After all, it did make for issues with transferring loads from other lines.
     
  3. fastmongrel Well-Known Member

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    Its unlikely to survive I know but a Brunel gauge 4-6-0 would have been a magnificent beast
     
  4. Lindseyman Am I a Northerner? I think that I am!

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    Near Lactodorum
    HS2 would already be there plus built to continental loading gauge!
     
  5. Killer in Well-Known Member

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    Sep 8, 2015
    Were there ever any designs for a British big 4-8-4 like was built in the US?
     
  6. fastmongrel Well-Known Member

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    Location:
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    There were designs for 2-8-4 and 4-8-2 but the big problem for British designers was always the loading gauge which is the maximum height width and length of the rolling stock. Basically the problem was Britain was the first to build a rail network by 1850 most of the current network was either built or being built compared to most countries which were barely started.

    1850 loco technology meant tiny 2-4-0 or 0-6-0 locos. Britain's designers have always struggled to get everything in to a small package it's why compounding, power stoking and feed water heaters never really took off because they needed extra room. Even something as simple and efficient as a new chimney design like a KylChap or Giesel could cause problems with the gauge.

    By size and weight British locos were very good often having power to weight ratios comparable to the best but they generally needed high quality coal and expert hand firing to make up for restricted grate sizes and restricted cylinder sizes. No point having big outside cylinders if they won't fit through a tunnel.
     
  7. Kaze Well-Known Member

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    Nov 12, 2017
    Galaxy Express 999

    Trains in space, space... space....ace... ace...
     
  8. Simon Thread Killer Extraordinaire

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    Sep 20, 2009
    Would it hit enough large cities to replace HS2? Under the current plan Phase 1 connects the largest and second largest cities, Phase 2 would add another three of the country's seven largest cities, and the mooted Phase 3—which I doubt we'll ever see—would link up the North East and Scotland.
     
  9. Panhomo Simian Supremacist

  10. iainbhx Fold your hands child, you walk like a peasant Donor

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Birmingham, England
    That's the problem with the GCR, the London Extension runs through nowhere and the loading gauge isn't quite as generous as many people think (although a lot better than other lines) and lost its purpose as freight declined.

    Mutters darkly about the Hawksworth Pacific, although I have seen one book that claimed it would be a Baltic.
     
  11. Devvy Idiot. Donor

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2011
    As Iain says, the loading gauge is better than much of the British network (although that's not exactly hard!), but it's hardly huge. Even so, anything improvement is better, and it would allow cross-Channel freight with Hicube containers or the like easy access to the north with little gauge works to cross London.

    As a passenger route, it's both good and bad. Good in that as it serves few places en route, it could potentially be a decent high speed trunk route, although not TGV speeds due to curves. Bad in that it has no actual access to London bar running alongside suburban services in to Marylebone or Paddington. Ups and downs. I'll cover in more detail in 1208 redux TL when I get to it :)
     
  12. NOMISYRRUC Get Your Trousers On, You're Nicked!

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2014
    How long do you expect the electrification of the line to take?

    As I wrote in an earlier post it's nearly 106 miles from Liverpool Exchange to Goole Docks by the shortest route. However, the shortest route is by the line that avoids Wigan Walgate station. Including Wigan Walgate would add another 3.5 miles. There are about 4.5 miles of goods branches around Liverpool that would have to be included as this is primarily a freight scheme, 3.75 miles of branches around Goole what would probably be included and as it is only 1.5 miles long the L&YR branch in to Dewsbury would be included. That's 119.25 route miles, which I will round up to 120 route miles.

    Assuming that the above is at least double track that's at least 240 single track miles not including sidings.

    In 1919 the North Eastern Railway did a study for the electrification of the East Coast Main line from York to Newcastle plus the line from Northallerton to Ferryhill via Stockton using 1,500V DC overhead - the same system you are using here. It didn't give the number of route miles, but it's 110-115 and IIRC 393 miles of track were to be electrified. In 1919 it was estimated that it would take 2-3 years to implement the scheme. However, by 1921 the estimated time was 5 years because it had been split into two phases. Phase One was Newcastle to Darlington and Phase Two was the rest.

    The 1919 estimate requires the electrification of nearly 40 route miles a year and the 1921 estimate requires an average of 20-25 route miles a year to be electrified. If the L&YR electrified the latter rate the Liverpool - Goole scheme would be completed by the end of 1912.

    That would leave time to add another 40-50 route miles by the end of 1914. That is more than enough to include Crow Nest Junction to Manchester Victoria to allow electric working between Liverpool and Manchester AND Manchester Victoria to Castleton to allow electric working from Manchester to Goole AND Milner Royd Junction-Halifax-Bradford Exchange.
     
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  13. fastmongrel Well-Known Member

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    Location:
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    That's a pretty good time scale you have come up with I can't fault it. If the whole Trans Pennine route is electrified I wonder if that will gee up the North Eastern to get it's electrification scheme started. There was a fair bit of rivalry between the two companies who both considered themselves as the leading technology company.

    I feel an electric Express loco coming on.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2018
  14. NOMISYRRUC Get Your Trousers On, You're Nicked!

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2014
    I was going to mention that in my last email, but I had to go to work.

    It's very likely that the L&YR's example would lead to the NER electrifying more lines before 1914.

    IOTL the NER planned and implemented it's Tyneside Suburban and Quayside electrification schemes at the same time the L&YR was planning and implementing it's Liverpool to Soutport scheme. AFAIK the two companies were "comparing notes."

    I doubt that the NER would bring the York to Newcastle scheme forward from 1919 to 1906. However, the Shildon to Newport scheme which IIRC was approved in 1913 might be brought forward to 1906.

    There are papers in the Merz & McLellan files in the Tyne & Wear archives which show that the Shildon to Newport scheme was originally part of a larger scheme that included the Darlington to Saltburn via Redcar and (believe it or not) Guisborough. Therefore it's possible that these lines would be electrified by 1914.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2018 at 1:03 PM
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  15. fastmongrel Well-Known Member

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    Location:
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    Possibly for the Iron Ore Mines around Eston and Roseberry. Saltburn would have probably been for the Potash mines.
     
  16. NOMISYRRUC Get Your Trousers On, You're Nicked!

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    The short answer is yes.
     
  17. NOMISYRRUC Get Your Trousers On, You're Nicked!

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2014
    I haven't posted any spreadsheets for a while because I've been working on this.

    L&YR Electrification 1902-14 Mk 4.png

    This is the order in which I would electrify the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway. The distances are miles and chains. One chain = one eightieth of one mile.

    The POD is 1902 because that is when the L&Y Board approved the Liverpool to Southport electrification. The succeeding columns show how much could be completed by the end of 1914 at an average conversion rate of 12½, 15, 20, 25 and 30 route miles per annum.

    I think an average of 20 route miles per annum is the realistic maximum. As the total length of the L&YR was about 600 route miles the company would have electrified 40% of its network by the end of 1914.

    Edit 1
    These are some statistics about the L&YR at the end of 1921

    L&YR End 1921 Mk 2.png

    Edit 2
    This shows the lines electrified at the end of 1921 and what they were as a percentage of the L&YR

    L&YR Mileage of Lines Open for Traffic at End 1921 Mk 2.png

    Edit 3
    Some spelling mistakes have been corrected and the font size of the first spreadsheet has been increased from 8 to 10.
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2018
  18. sonofpegasus Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2012
    Pedant and nit pick warning.
    A chain in English Measurement is 66ft = 22 yards! an eighth of a mile is a Furlong not a chain, One Furlong is 220 yards = 10 chains.
     
  19. NOMISYRRUC Get Your Trousers On, You're Nicked!

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    Nov 7, 2014
    Nit picking back, what I actually wrote was...
    That is 1/80 not ⅛.
     
  20. fastmongrel Well-Known Member

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    As it's nitpicking time NOMISYRRUC you have a Minsitry and Ormskrik twice in your spreadsheet