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Great Western Information - Prototype Information. - The Prototype. - Your Model Railway Club
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 Posted: Mon Aug 29th, 2016 08:27 am
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CCGWR
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Hello Everyone,

As a high school student from South Australia I am currently completing a subject called Research Project in which I have to answer an open ended question through extensive research. As students we created our own questions.  As I am interested in railways I wanted to relate my project to railways and my question is bellow:
To what extent was the Great Western Railway innovative and how did those innovations influence other railways in Rolling Stock Technology and Infrastructure?
 I was wondering if any of you could provide me with some answers and/or sources to help me answer my question. Please be aware that it doesn't matter if some of the Great Western's Innovations didn't necessarily influence other railways, for example, their ATC system. Also the influences don't necessarily have to be limited to influencing other British Railway companies. 
 
Regards Connor



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 Posted: Mon Aug 29th, 2016 08:44 pm
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pnwood
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I would start by browsing the history section of the Great Western Archive @ http://www.greatwestern.org.uk

You should find lots on the site that will give you pointers in the right direction.



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 Posted: Tue Aug 30th, 2016 02:02 am
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Chiefnerd
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Hi Connor
You may also like to search You Tube for videos like https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SysR-glqYPA. Years ago many railway companies had their own promotional film units and their output has ended up online.
Andrew

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 Posted: Tue Aug 30th, 2016 10:44 am
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allan downes
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It's often been said that in its day the GWR was the most advanced railway in both locomotion, rolling stock and safety.


But, being biased I would say that anyway !


Allan


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 Posted: Tue Aug 30th, 2016 12:19 pm
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Longchap
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.  .  .  plus they retrained and looked after their staff pretty much for life, if they had an accident preventing them continuing in their original post, so were innovators in social care as well.

Bill



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 Posted: Tue Aug 30th, 2016 03:17 pm
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BCDR
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Hi Connor,

What a topic! Certainly got me thinking. Hope you are familiar with debates (research your arguments, know the other side's better than they do).

A willingness to innovate doesn't necessarily lead to success. Witness the debacle of the Devon vacuum railway, and the insistence on using broad gauge track when everybody else was using the old "Roman Road" gauge. That said, the GWR was willing to try some great (and not so great) ideas, starting with Gooch. One thing to remember is that the very early locomotives were contract built, the GWR gave the specifications and took what was produced. Dean and Churchward were responsible for a substantive part of the innovations, most of what happened later was not (as an example, Castles and Kings were simply improved Stars, a Churchward innovation using standard Dean parts).

In no particular list of importance:

1. Dean's passenger "bogie", which gave a very comfortable ride.
2. Dean's implementation of standard parts across locomotive classes.
3. Churchwards tapered boiler design (including the use of the Belpaire firebox, which had been around for quite a few years).
4. Autonomous rail cars (steam, petrol and diesel, especially multiple diesel units) to address route economies.
5. Four pistons driving 2 axles.
6. The "Kerosene Kettle" of Hawksworth (the Brown Boveri heavy oil turbine).
7. Diesel hydraulic drives (Warships, Westerns, Hymeks, etc., although this is getting into BR days).
8. Bogie coal wagons.
9. Oil fired steam engines.

Nigel










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 Posted: Wed Aug 31st, 2016 06:27 am
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The Q
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The South Devon Railway was Not Built By the GWR It was Designed by Brunel and built around 1846 it was not taken over by the GWR till 1876.
 In looking after the staff, Dean whose mental health was failing, was actually being carried by Churchward long before Dean retired, much of the work on the later "Dean" locomotives was actually that of Churchward.




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 Posted: Wed Aug 31st, 2016 10:38 pm
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BCDR
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Hi Queren,

Most people lump the SDR in with the GWR, which is regarded as the parent company for very good reasons. Many shareholders were appalled by the cost overruns of the broad gauge build, the GWR's thrust into Devon and Cornwall was made by companies who were in essence GWR surrogates and in who the GWR made significant and controlling investments. The Associated Companies (GWR, B&ER) had a significant financial investment in the SDR (£350,000), when the track was laid and before the pipe was installed 2-2-2 engines were leased from the GWR, it was designed by a consulting engineer (IKB) who was also Chief Engineer of the GWR, it used broad-gauge track, it had a very close working relationship with the GWR that wouldn't stand even casual scrutiny today by various regulatory bodies....

Gooch was definitely not impressed by Brunel's management of the debacle, even although it was intended to address the then traction power limitations over the Devon hills. Double heading was the ultimate conclusion.

Dean was definitely not 100% in his last years, thank goodness Churchward was rising through the ranks. Dean designed some real stinkers, witness the "specials" that were tried in the 1880's. Churchward became Assistant to Dean in 1897, and actively steered locomotive development until he was finally in charge in 1902. Dean had started standardization (of parts) well before that, probably the result of coming from Wolverhampton to Swindon, and trying to coordinate 2 manufacturing centers. Churchward went even further by reducing the number of boiler types and locomotive classes.

Churchward's talent was in using the best available, not necessarily from Swindon. Boiler designs from the US, cylinders from France courtesy of De Glehn, and valve gear from Belgium courtesy of Walschaert. IMO GWR steam innovation was complete with the first Star in 1906, Giesl injectors excepted.

Nigel



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 Posted: Fri Sep 2nd, 2016 10:28 pm
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BCDR
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Hi Connor,

Give that the most innovative period of the GWR was probably between 1900 and the early 1920's when Churchward was in charge of the rolling stock engineering (and wasn't taking kindly to negative comments from anybody including the company directors), the following book which describes what it was like to be implementing these innovations as a worker at Swindon (as opposed to designing them in the drawing offices) makes for some interesting reading:

Life in a railway factory, by Alfred Williams. Available as an ebook (free) from the Gutenberg Project - http://www.gutenberg.org/files/40975/40975-h/40975-h.htm
 
Certainly puts the engineering innovations that found their way into the locomotives and passenger cars into a social context.

If only Churchward had properly investigated high pressure superheating (the GWR used its own design, medium pressure superheaters as it wouldn't license the Schmidt high pressure design) and compounding  on the 4 cylinder expresses in combination with the efficient combination of a Belpaire firebox and coned boiler. 

Nigel




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 Posted: Thu Aug 3rd, 2017 04:34 am
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CCGWR
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Hi Again,

Thank you all for the replies. The video below is the 'Outcome' of all of my findings. For the how Research project I got an A- but this component was an A.



Regards Connor



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 Posted: Thu Aug 3rd, 2017 04:55 am
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Sol
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Very good Connor - send the link to Andrew Emmett for circulation not only to local BRMA but the BRMA chat group and if you like, I can add it to other forums.



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 Posted: Thu Aug 3rd, 2017 07:29 am
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CCGWR
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Thanks Ron, that would be great



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 Posted: Thu Aug 3rd, 2017 08:52 am
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Ed
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Buffered a bit for me towards the end, but VBG Conner :thumbs


Ed



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 Posted: Thu Aug 3rd, 2017 09:03 am
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Sol
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Connor, added it to three forums - leaving it to you to contact Andrew



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 Posted: Thu Aug 3rd, 2017 03:07 pm
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BCDR
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Hi Connor,

Very interesting take on GWR influence, and nicely put together.

Stannier was a GWR man from 1897-1932, hence he was very familiar with GWR designs having worked in the drafting office under Churchward.

Tapered boilers were taken from the Brooks Locomotive Works in the US. The Belpaire boiler dates to 1864 from Belgium. Four cylinders reduced piston hammer on the track via the divided drive, which allowed increased HP via the long travel valves. Four cylinders (compounds) were taken from De Glehn in France, although Churchward didn't pursue compounding, probably because of cost and driver training.

Churchward's genius was getting all of this borrowed technology to work together.

Nigel



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