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Author Topic: British steam locomotive "Tornado" reaches 100 mph.  (Read 975 times)
Argus Fairbrass
Rogue Ætherlord
England England

So English even the English don't get it!

« on: April 13, 2017, 01:47:16 am »

I find it unlikely no one has posted about this, but I couldn't find any reference on here so please forgive me if this is a double post. Anyway yes this was certainly news to me. Although I was aware there are still steam trains operating for the tourist market, I had no idea there was any intention to put them into more general service. Although this article doesn't indicate that (this speed test was to prove the train could run without disrupting other services), the idea was being alluded to elsewhere. I guess the thinking is if they're running as curios for enthusiasts, they still might as well work properly and do the job for commuters in general. Evidently Tornado has proved itself very capable of that, so congratulations!

Have her steamed and brought to my tent!
Zeppelin Captain
New Zealand New Zealand

« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2017, 06:56:57 am »

Now that would have ben fun.
I would have loved to be a passenger aboard her.
Is there video anyone?

Did you just go PSSSSSSST at me or have I just sprung a leak?

I'm not retreating, I'm advancing in another direction.
James Harrison
England England

Bachelor of the Arts; Master of the Sciences

« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2017, 07:09:29 pm »

The reason for the trying to do 'the ton' is really because we're trying to get more and faster trains onto a rail network already creaking at the seams. 

Steam charter trains in the UK are currently limited to 75mph, but increasingly normal service trains are doing 100mph+.  The inevitable result is that the enthusiasts' trains are holding up the timetabled services. 

Lifting the speed limit for steam trains is an obvious way of alleviating this, but at the same time expect to see opportunities for mainline steam running dry up.  There are not many engines capable of 100mph running, even for short bursts. (Tornado comes top of a very short list, the others being the A4s, Duchess of Sutherland and maybe Flying Scotsman).  Bear in mind the vast majority of mainline-passed steam locos are of the more middling variety; Stanier class 5s for instance, which are fast but not 100mph fast.... and if Network Rail are going to be asking for gauranteed minimum mainline speeds, which this test suggests to me may well be in the offing, I rather think the writing is on the wall for mainline steam excursions. 

Bottom line is, with the exception of Tornado, all of our steam stock is (as a minimum) 57 years old.  It was built in an era when an average speed of 75mph was enough to win the title 'fastest timetabled train in the world'.  It was, most emphatically, NOT built for sustained high speed running.  The history of world records for steam traction is also the record of damaged machinery... see Mallard for details. 

So; yes, it's a great achievement, but the necessity of trying it at all suggests the writing is on the wall....

Persons intending to travel by open carriage should select a seat with their backs to the engine, by which means they will avoid the ashes emitted therefrom, that in travelling generally, but particularly through the tunnels, prove a great annoyance; the carriage farthest from the engine will in consequence be found the most desirable.
Argus Fairbrass
Rogue Ætherlord
England England

So English even the English don't get it!

« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2017, 10:48:35 pm »

Sure, certainly for the busier lines anyway. I would be surprised if any of the more rural excursions are under threat. I used to encounter old steam locos quite regularly when travelling on the Suffolk lines. But off peak at least it's a considerably more gentle timetable in the Sticks. Don't get me wrong, the trains are normally punctual, but journey times are extended by multiple stops at every little squirrel nut station out in the Shire. We're obviously quite used to that, and if the gleeful flag waving crowds oft seen at the stations cheering the steam trains on are anything to go by, there's still a lot of love for these engines. I'm sure there is everywhere, but that old chest nut practicality may well be rearing it's ugly head on the more high pressure commuter lines. I'm guessing out in the country at least they might be safe for a while. Couldn't find any videos of the actual news segment I'm afraid. I'm sure they're somewhere on YouTube.
Rogue Ætherlord
United States United States

"This is the sort of thing no-one ever believes"

« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2017, 09:00:58 pm »

100 mph was not always a huge hurdle; A,T&SF records (as well as those of the D&RGW) indicate that trains were running at 98 mph or above on the long distance mainline straightaways all the time to make up time lost for various reasons. It's not there in absolute easy-to- find black-and-white, but according one or more publications by the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge railroad (which along with the Cumbres and Toltec is the last remnant of the old, steam-era D&RGW), if one does some math with the recorded time tables and the actual recorded times of arrival and departure, it becomes clear that maximum speed rules were being bent and broken all over the place (I don't know personally, all I know is what I've read and heard).

I'll have to agree that it's unlikely for most Steam locos today to be able to reach such speeds, especially the restored/refurbished ones, mainly because most of the time, it isn't considered necessary for regular-schedule excursion locos to be reoutfitted with the original mainline running gear (superheaters, reheaters, certain types of lubrication mechanisms, etc.)*. Too, the track today is different from what it was back then. More on this later (gotta go do groceries, LOL)

*I am of course speaking of American steam locos here. I have no current access to easily-retrievable data for European or British steam locos. However,  all things being more or less equal, I'd think there would have to be some similarities between locos (and their timetables) on either side of the pond. And accounts of the tendency of locos pushed to their limit getting broken and ruined, and run to destruction, is a big part of what records remain intact, or so I'm told. That and the fact that many american steam locos left around after dieselization were in many cases destroyed for "cinematic purposes," so to speak...
« Last Edit: April 17, 2017, 09:32:26 pm by MWBailey » Logged

Walk softly and carry a big banjo...

""quid statis aspicientes in infernum"
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