The Whyte Classification System for Locomotives

This post is to answer oft asked questions from visitors to our layout (The Mendocino Coast Railroad & Navigation Co.) – how are locomotives classified and who invented the system. Last question first:

The Whyte notation for classifying steam locomotives by wheel arrangement was devised by Frederick Methvan Whyte, and came into use in the early twentieth century following a December 1900 editorial in American Engineer and Railroad Journal.

A related question that I received a while back was, “Is the Whyte system used worldwide?” I hadn’t a clue as to the answer until last week when an old club member, John Skinner, kindly donated a bunch of very useful historical materials into my eager mitts. Amongst the materials was this chart which shows how the classification system works and that not only is there an American system but also a French and German.

Whyte Classification System for Locomotives

Whyte Classification System for Locomotives

Every day something new learned.

The Flying Scotsman is back running

Many moons ago (2012) I wrote a blog, “The Flying Scotsman, The Fastest Train in the World, Heroine of the First Ever British Movie and Me.” In it I said, “The loco still lives. Bought for the nation (England) in April 2004 by the National Railway Museum in York,  she is now part of the National Collection. It was at York when visiting the Museum that I made peace with the Flying Scotsman. When I was visiting she was undergoing a very extensive maintenance and refit. “Undressed” as she was she was still a rare beauty.” I followed this up with another piece in August 2015 in which I broadcast the news that the restoration was nearing completion.

The good news is that she is strutting her stuff anew. Flying Scotsman was very recently running on the East Lancashire Railway. Thousands of spectators lined the route of the East Lancashire Railway to watch the world’s most famous locomotive, Flying Scotsman, under steam. Huge crowds turned out to both ride on and watch the Scotsman which was pulling carriages between Heywood, Bury and Rowenstall stations throughout Saturday and Sunday. Tickets to ride and stand on the staion platforms were completely sold out.

All aboard!!!!!

All aboard!!!!!

Ready to roll

Ready to roll

And for those who like movies ………

Just wish I’d been there. I’ve put a ride on my LIST though.

 

Restoration of Flying Scotsman nears completion

Many moons ago (2012) I wrote a blog, “The Flying Scotsman, The Fastest Train in the World, Heroine of the First Ever British Movie and Me.” In it I said, “The loco still lives. Bought for the nation (England) in April 2004 by the National Railway Museum in York,  she is now part of the National Collection. It was at York when visiting the Museum that I made peace with the Flying Scotsman. When I was visiting she was undergoing a very extensive maintenance and refit. “Undressed” as she was she was still a rare beauty.”

Built in Doncaster in 1923, the locomotive was named the 'Flying Scotsman' after the London to Edinburgh rail service which had been running since 1862

Built in Doncaster in 1923, the locomotive was named the ‘Flying Scotsman’ after the London to Edinburgh rail service which had been running since 1862

Flying Scotsman at King's Cross station in London in 1999

Flying Scotsman at King’s Cross station in London in 1999

The LNER Class A3 Pacific steam locomotive  No. 4472, Flying Scotsman was built in 1923 for the London North Eastern Railway (LNER) at Doncaster Works  to a design of H.N. Gresley. She was employed on long-distance express trains on the LNER and its successors, British Railways Eastern and North-Eastern Regions, notably on the 10 am London to Edinburgh Flying Scotsman train service after which she was named. The Flying Scotsman was retired from regular service in 1963 after covering 2,076,000 miles

Flying Scotsman undergoing restoration

                                      Flying Scotsman undergoing restoration

Flyimh Scotsman nearly ready for the off

Flyimh Scotsman nearly ready for the off

Well the good news is that the the restoration/refit is nearing completion. After more than a decade out of action, the finishing touches are being put on the project that could see the steam train return to service in a matter of months. The hope is that the Flying Scotsman’s return to steam will be completed in late 2015. Once complete there will be a full programme of running in tests on heritage lines. Once she has built up sufficient mileage – 1,000 miles – and she is resplendent in new BR green livery she will be ready for her long-anticipated inaugural run between London and York – a triumphant return to her home, the National Railway Museum, at long last.

Flying Scotsman at San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf in 1972

Flying Scotsman at San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf in 1972

 

 

 

 

A Spiffin’ New Loco being built in England – a 2-8-2 Heavy Mikado called the Prince of Wales

I am still “unpacking/sorting through” all the “stuff” we collected on our (relatively recent) vacation in England. I bought several British Railway mags and I am only just now getting to read them. In the middle of the BRM (British Railway Magazine) was a grubby piece of paper which had written on it a URL. I stared at this stained piece of paper with the scrawling on it trying to get my addled brain to cough up its genus. I couldn’t remember. A couple of days or rather nights later on one of my nocturnal visits to the loo it came to me.

We were visiting the Bodmin and Wenford Railway  which is located in Cornwall in the far South-west of England. As we were about to leave I was confronted by a pimply, skinny lad housed in a very ill-fitting railway uniform. He was armed with a collection can which he rattled menacingly in my face.

“Got a couple o’ quid fer a new loco mister,” he said. “New loco?” I queried. “Yeah,” he said, “brand spiffin’ new from the bottom up.” “Hold, on,” I replied, “I gave 20 smackers toward the A1 and she has been built and has been running for a while now.” “Nah mate,” he scoffed,”Yer bleedin’ years outta date wiv yer info – this is fer the P2.” “The P2?” “Yeah, the P2 – she’s a big un – 2-8-2 Mikado type and she’s gonna be called ‘The Prince of Wales’ an’ she’s gonna be loike ‘The Cock o’ the North’”

His info seemed too precise to be a cock and bull story. “Tell yer wot, ” he said, “You give me a pony an’ I’ll give you the link to the website so’s yer can see I ain’t rippin yer orf.” “Deal,” I said, “if you don’t mind some in Euros.” “We don’t like rubles, shekels and wooden nickels but we’ll take anyfin else.” He dove into one of his capacious pockets and produced the grubby piece of paper which I had found in the BRM, found a pencil with barely any lead which he sharpened on a nearby brick wall and wrote down the link. I gave him a pony – twenty-five pounds – and with a quick. “Fanks mate,” he scuttled off to accost two Americans.

So, q1, what had I donated 25 smackers toward? A quick visit to Wiki assured me I had not wasted my loot:

“LNER Peppercorn Class A1 60163 Tornado is a mainline steam locomotive built in Darlington, England. Completed in 2008, Tornado was the first such locomotive built in the United Kingdom since Evening Star, the last steam locomotive built by British Railways in 1960. It is the only example of an LNER (London North Eastern Railway (LNER) Peppercorn Class A1 locomotive in existence, the entirety of the original production batch having been scrapped without preservation. The locomotive’s namesake is the Panavia Tornado, a combat aircraft flown by the Royal Air Force.
Construction of Tornado began in 1994, and was based at Darlington Works for most of the project, while numerous components such as the boiler were manufactured elsewhere. The project was financed through fundraising initiatives such as public donations and sponsorship deals; further funding came from hiring out Tornado itself for special rail services. Construction was completed in 2008, and full certification of the locomotive was achieved in January 2009. Having been designed with compliance to modern safety and certification standards, Tornado has been conducting passenger services on the UK Rail Network and on mainline-connected heritage railways since 2008.”.

And, my twenty-five smackers had bought me a piece of a beauty – see pic below:

A1-4-6-2-Tornado

A1-4-6-2-Tornado

Alas, I have never ridden behind her. But, I have added such a ride to my Bucket List.

Q2, was the info I had bought from the ‘orrible urchin true?

A quick search on the ‘net established that the ‘orrible urchin was spot on. The P2 has an excellent website  which starts, “Welcome to the project to build the new Gresley class P2 No. 2007 Prince of Wales”  The Gresley class P2 2-8-2 ‘Mikados’ were the most powerful express passenger locomotives to operate in the UK. They were designed by Sir Nigel Gresley to haul 600 ton trains on the arduous Edinburgh to Aberdeen route. Sadly, the design was never fully developed and they were rebuilt by his successor Edward Thompson into ungainly 4-6-2s in 1943/4, and scrapped by 1961.”

And what will she look like?

Prince of Wales

Prince of Wales

The 7th Gresley class P2 will be aesthetically similar to P2 No. 2001 Cock O’ The North. Here’s the Cock O’ the North at work:

Cock O' the North

Cock O’ the North

If you want to get an idea of how big she will be her drivers are 6 foot 1 1/2 inches high – which is a ½ inch taller than me! She is named after Prince Charles who is the Prince of Wales. Construction began last year – 2014. Construction will take some ten years and she will be paid for solely by public construction. To date 1.7 million pounds have been raised in a year toward her estimated cost of 10 million pounds. You can contribute if you want.

Pretty spiffy what?

 

Smokestacks of Steam Locomotives – Article in Live Steam Magazine of December 1984

I have quite a few locomotives from the logging/steam area. Many of them come with a variety of smokestacks so that you can customize your loco. That’s jolly nice but why are there different types of smokestacks? And what’s inside the smokestack (besides smoke that is)? Now these aren’t questions I lay awake at night pondering but it would be nice to know.

Well serendipity being what is I was sitting in Les Schwab this morning waiting for my aged perambulator to have its tyres rotated when I came upon an article in a 1984 magazine that club member Steve Worthen had given me when I came upon more answer than I really need. So for those of you who know the answers to my questions go no further. For those whose interest I have piqued here’s the scoop.

Mr Wood pf New South Wakes wrote to Live Steam magazine saying he had been unable to find any details pf the internal workings of a typical diamond smokestack. To answer the magazine reprinted a piece from their magazine of May 1973 would you believe.

Page 1

Page 1

Page 2 - Copy

Page 2 – Copy

Don’t go away – there is more. Chuck Wischstadt of Chula Vista said that there was a lot more info in the 1963 Howell North reprint of the Rogers locomotive illustrated catalogue with information on locomotive building, origin and growth. So you know all about Rogers Locomotives right? Well I didn’t; “Rogers Locomotive and Machine Works was a 19th-century manufacturer of railroad steam locomotives based in Paterson, in Passaic County, New Jersey, in the United States. It built more than six thousand steam locomotives for railroads around the world. Most railroads in 19th-century United States rostered at least one Rogers-built locomotive. The company’s most famous product was a locomotive named The General, built in December 1855, which was one of the principals of the Great Locomotive Chase of the American Civil War.”

Page 109 to 137 of the Roger catalogue gives examples of what you could order from them. Whilst not an exhaustive list of smokestacks it ain’t bad for starters……

Page 3

Page 3

Page 4

Page 4

Page 5

Page 5

Page 6

Page 6

Well, I’m glad I’ve got that off my chest.

Joseph Beattie’s 2-4-0

The first thing I do when a holiday is mooted is to start making two lists: one, what I want to eat and, two, what trains can I visit. Well, we’re going to spend some time in England again in May and I am already casting the net far and wide in my search for the arcane and esoteric in both categories: trains and food.

Club member RJ recently gave me a copy of the October 2014  “Best of British Past and Present” magazine. In the magazine is a really neat article entitled, “Handsome Devils” with pictures of some of very early English locos. The one that appealed to me most was a 2-4-0 designed by James Beattie.

I freely admit that at age 72 the old grey matter isn’t what it was and I couldn’t figure out why “2-4-0” and “James Beattie” meant something to me. A few minutes on the internet and I had the connection …… one of James Beattie’s original 2-4-0’s is part of the rolling stock owned by the Bodmin and Wenford railway which I visited last year!

Joseph Beattie (1808-1871) was a locomotive engineer with the London and South Western Railway. Initially he designed a series of locos with single driving wheels, but the weight of them led to the development of 2-4-0s. He continued to develop the design over the next 20 years. His locomotives were amongst the most efficient of the time. Three of his most famous locomotive design, the 0298 Class 2-4-0 well tamks were in service for 88 years, until 1962. 2 have been preserved- one at the Bodmin & Wenford Railway and the other at the National Railway Museum at York.

Here’s a couple of pics of the beauties he created:

This is a Falcon class 2-4-0 Number 82, designed by Joseph Beattie

This is a Falcon class 2-4-0 Number 82, designed by Joseph Beattie

Just look at the stovepipe hat on the engineer ……. 5 feet 6 inches driving wheels  ….. love ’em!

The "Atalanta" 2-4-0 locomotive of the L&SWR.

The “Atalanta” 2-4-0 locomotive of the L&SWR.

And, and, and you can get a cream tea on the Bodmin and Wenford train. Hee, hee, hee!!!

Pictures of Railroads and Locomotives

Pictures of locomotives and railroad tracks fascinate me. I’ve been addicted from an early age. I have lots of books and spend many a happy evening just riffling through at random. For a while now I have been collecting random pics off the ‘net, It seems silly to keep them to myself so I thought I might post a few here. There’s no theme – just ones I like.

Beauty of the Railway

Beauty of the Railway

Fall

Fall

Last lap

Last lap

Sunset

Sunset

Waiting for the signal

Waiting for the signal