Railway Division Journal
Volume 1 (1970)
Back to main file
Emerson, A.H. (Chairmans Address: RDA/1)
"Maintenance on the move". 3-34. 15 illus., 10 diagrs.
The Inaugural Meeting of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers Railway Division was held at 1 Birdcage Walk, London on 24 November 1969: the President, Dr. D.F. Galloway was in the Chair.
Should have been entirely about the newly electrified LMR main line which included such novel suggestions as electrifying from Crewe to Kidsgrove (the Millennium Project) and modifying the AL6 locomotives to run in excess of 100 mile/h, but Emerson could not resist some anecdotes: see biographical entry
Cox, E.S. (RDP 1/70).
The contribution to railway engineering made by two Institutions: I. Mech. E. [and] I. Loco. E.: 184719111969. 35-61. 11 illus.
The foregoing has attempted a brief survey of the contribution of the two Institutions mainly by reference to their Proceedings. To be realistic, not all papers have rung the bell, and as in most literary work, there have been pot boilers. as well as masterpieces. But the overall combtned effort has built up an enormous edifice of recorded experience, and it could not fail to be the case that this has contributed greatly to the growth and development of locomotive engineering. There is no body of technical Proceedings in other lands which has even nearly approached the volume and variety of the contributions which we have considered in this specialised field. These contributions have come from many countries, from personalities as high as Chief Mechanical Engineers, and even the Administrators to whom they report. They have also come from those only beginning their career on drawing board or in the workshops. Subjects have ranged from motive power transformations on whole railways, to such minutiae as the condition of the oil in individual crankcases, and these subjects have been dealt with on every technical plane from fundamental theory to simple experiment and observation. Equally important have been the discussions which were the real test of an author's authority and effectiveness; many a point has been brought out in discussion as valuable as those which lay in the paper itself. It has not been the purpose of this paper to deal directly with the amalgamation of the two Institutions, which has been sufficiently covered elsewhere. However. such a brief outline of their separate activities as has been essayed here, must emphasise the identity of their interests in the locomotive engineering field, and the apparent pointlessness of their continuing on. their individual ways from the technical point of view. It will not be out of place to recall that from the first formation of the Railway Engineering Group there have been those belonging to both Institutions who were, to say the least of it, uneasy at this parallel development. It can hardly be denied that the new combined Railway Division of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers must become a force to be reckoned with for as long as there are railways.
Survey of the contribution made by the two institutions to recording the activity of railway mechanical engineering, especially within the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.. Cites major contributors of papers beginning with J.E. McConnell and John Ramsbottom. Unfortunately, the papers are not cited in sufficient detail to be requested via the limited bibliographical resources available in Nelson's County. Nevertheless dates are cited, such as Webb's 1883 paper on Compound locomotive engines. The activities of the Institution of Locomotive Engineers are also surveyed.
|1847||George Stephenson||'Father' of railways|
|1849||Robert Stephenson||Pioneer railway constructor|
|1860||James Kennedy||Partner, Bury, Curtis & Kennedy|
|1871||John Ramsbottom||C.M.E., London & North Western Railway|
|1874||Sir Frederick Bramwell||Associated with atmospheric railways and carriage manufacture|
|1878||John Robinson||Contributed Papers on locomotive matters|
|1890||Joseph Tomlinson||Locomotive Superintendent, Taff Vale Railway, later of Metropolitan Railway|
|1898||S. W. Johnson||Locomotive Superintendent, Midland Railway|
|1907||T. Hurry Riches||Locomotive Superintendent, Taff Vale Railway|
|1909||J. A. F. Aspinall||C.M.E., Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway|
|1913||Sir Frederick Donaldson||Overseas railway activities|
|1917||Michael Longridge||Railway construction on Continent|
|1925||Sir Vincent Raven||C.M.E., North Eastern Railway|
|1927||1913||Sir Henry Fowler||C.M.E., Midland and later L.M.S. Railways|
|1931||1921||E. Kitson Clark||Managing Director, Kitsons of Leeds|
|1936||1927 & 1934||Sir Nigel Gresley||C.M.E., London & North Eastern Railway|
|1941||1936 & 1938||W. A. Stanier||C.M.E., London Midland & Scottish Railway|
|1947||1939 to 1944||O.V.S. Bulleid||C.M.E., Southern Railway|
|1957||T.A. Crowe||Managing Director, North British Locomotive Co. Ltd.|
|1958||Sir George Nelson||Chairman, The English Electric Co. Ltd.|
|1963||1953||R.C. Bond||C.M.E., British Railways, later General Manager, Workshops.|
Illustrations: George Stephenson; Crewe type 2-4-0 No. 1979 built 1846 "designed Alexander Allan"; Midland Railway first class passenger coach No. 5 (1844) preserved A4No. 4468 Mallard; No. 46356 Sir William A. Stanier, F.R.S.; 9F No. 92220 Evening Star; English Electric diesel electric D435; E3101; Mk 3 brake first; D.C. Brown and A.H. Emerson (portraits).
Cook, B.E. and R.J. Ward (RDP 2/70).
Evaluation of cleaning processes in railway vehicle repair activities. 60-91. 18 illus., 3 tables.
Presented at Ordinary General Meeting of the former Institution of Locomotive Engineers at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, 1 Birdcage Walk, London on 22 September 1969.
British Railways locomotives, rolling stock and diesel multiple units including problems of fuel leakage in engine compartments.
Silverlock, P.R. (RDP 3/70)
The problem of rolling stock cleaning in works and depots. 91-122. Disc. 122-45. 16 illus., 5 diagrs.
Presented at Ordinary General Meeting of the former Institution of Locomotive Engineers at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, 1 Birdcage Walk, London on 22 September 1969.
London Transport paper. During the discussion at estimate was given of the cost smoking caused to the cleaning of upholstery and floors and especially the ceilings of underground rolling stock.
O'Farrell, M.A. (RDR 1/70)
Communication developments in the railway industry. 148-72. 9 illus., 13 diagrs.
Stanley Herbert Whitelegg Memorial Travel Scholarship1969 Award: based on Author's visits to Holland, Germany, Netherlands, France and the United Kingdom in October 1969.
Oaksford, R.C. (RDR 2/70)
Meeting in Cleckheaton, Yorkshire: visit to the Works of Messrs. Scandura Ltd., Cleckheaton, 30th October 1969: report.
Glass fibre and asbestos fibre processing: including health aspects.
Sykes, W.H. (RDP 4/70)
Construction of new vehicles at York Carriage Works, British Railways. 179-209. Disc.: 210-23 + folding plate. 21 illus., 9 diagrs.
Presented at Final General Meeting of the former Institution of Locomotive Engineers at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, 1 Birdcage Walk, London on 27 October 1969
Oldham, P.H. (RDP 5/70)
Electrical features of the "Kestrel" locomotive. 224-40. Disc.: 240-4. 13 illus., 6 diagrs.
New scheme to keep Transport Collection in London. 2-3.
Proposal to move the collection displayed at Clapham to Crystal Place Museum.
Johnson, Sir Henry.(RDA 1/71)
The railway in transport (Sir Seymour Biscoe Tritton Lecture). 5-18.
Bulk freight mainly from private sidings, improvements to suburban traffic and development of high speed trains including the APT and looking forward to speeds of 150 mile/h.
Ribbons, R.T. (RDP 1/71)
The transmission of power by hydraulic means. 19-39. Disc.: 39-44. 2 illus., 15 diagrs.
Hydrokinetic or hydrodynamic systems in which power is transmitted via oil at high velocity and hydrostatic systems whereby a liquid is transmitted at high pressure, but low velocity. The Western Region employed the Voith L6-30rV in tthe Western D1000 class and Mekydro K.184U in the D7000 Hymek class. Problems included corrosion, breakdown of the transmission fluid, overheating and torsional vibrartion
Wakefield, F.H.G. (RDP 2/71)
Twenty years experience with diesel railcars. 45-64. Disc.: 64-83. 6 diagrs.
This may have seemed to be a catalogue of ills suffered by the "lightweight diesel trains"later re-named "diesel multiple units" and the Author, for one, would not wish it to be thought that this gives a true reflection of these vehicles in service. Mistakes were obviously made in many areas, the whole fleet was built in an amazingly short space of time, and because of this, there was little or no opportunity to incorporate the experience obtained in service into the vehicles as built.
It must be said that all these problems notwithstanding, these cars gave excellent service, and not least showed the public at large, at their inception, that British Railways was awakening from its long, enforced period of inactivity. They were for many people, for many years, the only manifestation of the Modernisation Plan, and showed clearly that it was, and is, possible to recover passengers to branch line services.
The total cost of maintaining the existing fleet of these vehicles in 1969 was £11.8m and during that time the total train mileage was 62.2m: givings an average cost of maintenance of £0.19 per vehicle mile.
"One cannot conclude a Paper with a title such as this without attempting to draw clear conclusions from the experience gained. Perhaps the best way of doing this is to indulge in the luxury of "designing by hindsight" that is to say "what would we do now if we were faced with the same problem as that posed in 1952, knowing what we do now?" The first question which would obviously have to be answered would be whether it is more desirable to place a medium horsepower engine inside the body of the car where it could be more accessible, and use electric transmission or to continue with underfloor mounting with all the problems of dirt, inaccessibility, etc. From an engineering point of view the answer would be the former possibility, but this does quite seriously reduce the amount of passenger space available, and the width of the engine compartment is very likely to preclude a corridor for passenger access to other parts of the train when the units are working in multiple. There may therefore be an overriding case from the commercial point of view for the underfloor engine configuration. Assuming this to be the case, one could recommend that the following requirements should be met: "
The body framing design which for cheapness should be in steel, should avoid the possibility of providing pockets where moisture can collect, it may well be worthwhile to consider an aluminium skin, although the fixing of this to a steel frame may pose problems. The underside of the floor should present a continuous steel surface to prevent seepage of oil into floor boards. Bogies of modern design to give improved riding would be axiomatic, as would be the provision of air brakes. This in turn would give a considerable increase in the amount of space available on the underframe. Disc brakes would eliminate one source of fire hazard (sparks from cast-iron brake blocks) and give an additional bonus in reducing the amount of dust.
Now that suitable engines of higher horsepower are available it should be possible to provide electric heating from engine-driven generators.
The control system should be kept as simple and unsophisticated as possible, and some thought given to the need to multiple large numbers of power units, bearing in mind that the majority of cars would be used on cross-country services.
The transmission should, in the Author's opinion, be by means of a torque converter with the reversing gear box mounted as a separate unit on the underframecertainly the sliding dog type of reverser should be avoided. Having recommended a torque convertor transmission, one is conscious of the possibility of developing the automatic gear box mentioned previously to the point where it could provide a viable and perhaps cheaper alternative.
The choice of engine size is obviously governed by the power-weight ratio required, and also by the power absorbed by auxiliaries, and this may well vary with service requirements. Nevertheless there is a very strong case indeed for the selection of one standard engineand then adhering to that standard. The same argument applies to the control system which should ensure that all cars are compatible.
The engine cooling system should be of generous capacity, this will probably entail thermostatic control, and a thorough investigation of the coolant passages in the engine to be adopted is indicated to ensure that there are no hot spots with the attendant dangers of steam generation.
Finally, a good deal of care is required to reduce the risk of fire. The possibility of oil spillage on underframe equipment must be prevented, flat surfaces where dirt and detritus can accumulate must also be eliminated. Some protection against wind-blown dirt, etc. (especially dead leaves, etc.) is also required and here hinged valances along the underframe may be a solution.
The Annual Luncheon, 5 March 1971. 86-93.
Dorchester Hotel; T.C.B. Miller in the Chair. Principal guest Minister of Transport Industries John Peyton
Jarvis, J.M. (RDP 3/71)
Fire precautions in locomotives and rolling stock. 94-126. Disc: 127-62. 9 illus., 6 diagrs.
Presented at Ordinary Meeting of the Railway Division of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers at 1 Birdcage Walk, London on 23 November 1970 and subsequently in Derby on 25 November 1970, Manchester on 2 December 1970. York on 3 December 1970 and Glasgow on 21 Januarty 1971..
Fires can be caused in many ways. Their severity and damage depend on several factors, such as the nature of the materials and their surface finishings; the amount of contamination by oil, dirt or litter; the degree of ventilation or draught available to encourage combustion; and last but not least, the time it takes to bring to bear effective fire-fighting measures. In most situations, some fire risks are inevitably present, and although perhaps years may pass uneventfully, an unfortunate combination of circumstances can suddenly bring disaster, as in the case of Robert Stephenson's tubular bridge over the Menai Straits. It is said that the price of liberty is eternal vigilance; the price for freedom from fires is precisely the same! Tables (pp. 125 and 126) of specific fires which were the subject of Ministry of Transport investigations and reports (beginning with Quintinshill, and more recent mentions of fires in Ministry of Transport Annual Reports.
Discussion: J.R.H. Robertson (127-8) With underfloor-engined dmus, however, the situation was very different. All the essential ingredients of a fire, as defined by Mr. Jarvis in his Paper, were crowded together under the floor of the passenger compartment: flammable diesel fuel;
exhaust gases at a high temperature;
and a plentiful supply of oxygen to sustain combustion.
In such circumstances, even a small fire was a serious hazard because of the inevitable alarm which it caused among passengers and the panic it might provoke. As was pointed out by Mr. Jarvis, there had been casualties, including deaths, among passengers who had jumped out of dmus, and it had often been panic which had made them jump.
The Author had also dealt in some detail with the extensive and expensive-series of modifications which had been carried out on dmu power cars of various types. These modifications could be regarded as being in three groups: those to reduce the risk of outbreak of fire;
those to extinguish or prevent the spread of fire;
and those to improve the passenger's chance of escape if a fire should occur.
As regards the first group, results must be judged against the number of fires reported each year which started in the underfloor equipment of dmu power cars. The total number of such fires had dropped from a peak of 57 in 1965 to 42 in 1969. What mattered, however, was not the total figures, but the rate -i.e., the number of fires per 100 power cars still in service. The fleet was growing smaller and the figures for the rate were not encouraging. Indeed, they could be said to be discouraging when account was taken of the fact that some of the more unsatisfactory vehicles from a fire hazard point of view were among those which had been withdrawn.
Figure 16 showed how the fire rate had risen since 1961. It first rose steadily and steeply from about 0.6 per 100 power cars in service in 1961 to a peak of nearly 2.5 in 1965 and then fell to 1.93 in 1967. At the time, this seemed encouraging. Since then, however, the rate had been rising again slowly but steadily to 2.01 in 1968 and 2.07 in 1969, and present indications were that this trend was continuing through 1970.
Figures like those must, however, be put in proper perspective. Underfloor-engined dmus on British Railways ran more than 50 million miles a year, or about 1.2 million miles per fire. This meant that the average passenger could commute for a lifetime by dmu without being involved in a fire.
If fire hazards were to be minimised, careful attention must be paid to the fire problem at all times, particularly at the design stage. Careful thought on the fire precaution aspects of the detailed design and layout of equipment could obviate the need for later expensive modifications and would improve passenger safety. In this regard, it was not out of place to draw attention to the outstandingly good fire record of the diesel-electric multiple-unit trains of Southern Region which had body-mounted engines.
Meeting at Railway Technical Centre, Derby on 25 November 1970: T. Henry Turner (137-8) commented on the fire which had started in a passenger compartment of an LNER coach when a party of schoolboys returning to Ampleforth had started a fire by flicking matches which set fire to the Rexine trim
Wise, S. (RDP 4/71)
Why metals break. 162-88. 9 illus., 6 diagrs.
Presented at Ordinary Meeting of the Railway Division at Railway Technical Centre, Derby on 16 February 1971 at 17.30 with R.G. Jarvis in the Chair.
The principal modes of failure:
1. Collapse due to buckling or general yielding,
3. Brittle fracture,
5. Stress corrosion,
6. Corrosion fatigue,
7. Tearing or shear failure.
It is necessary to differentiate between failure and fracture since the two are not synonymous.
Discussion: T. Henry Turner, M.Sc. (182-3) raised the following points:
1. Transverse Fissures. The slide of a rail fracture shown by the Author, concerning which Professor A. G. Smith had asked for information, should be classified as a transverse crack or two-stage failure. (Four illustrations typical of these failures can be seen on page 25 of the Rail Failures booklet that Mr. Turner produced in 1944 to standardise reporting, description and classification. The printed booklet was later issued to all British Railways' civil engineers by the Railway Executive in 1948.) This transverse fissure had a smooth, round or kidney-shaped patch which sometimes exhibited a silvery centre. Its nucleus may be a 'shatter crack' or inclusion, or the fissure may be associated with wheel burn or weld deposit.
2. Clinks. Mr. Wise's illustration that interested Professor Smith was comparable with the 'clink' rightly feared by steelmakers and engineers. Turner had worked with the huge masses of steel needed for the electrical generator 'rotors' in the early 1920s. Cooling from molten state and forging to machine shop temperatures, the outside steel solidified and hardened while the middle of the mass had still to lose heat and shrink. Thus it sometimes happened, if the cooling was not very slow indeed, that contraction stresses, concentrating on ingot centre impurity weaknesses, caused the formation of an internal, transverse, convexo-convex lens-shaped fissure by a sudden 'clink'. This could occur when the large steel forging was at rest, and was in no way affected by external forces. Consequently the practice of trepanning a three-inch hole right through the centre of the longitudinal axis was adopted. If the core came out in one piece there was probably no clink, but to add certainty they developed a long-range microscope that was subsequently named a boroscope.
American rails had so many of these transverse, at first invisible, fractures that special railcars were made by Sperry to detect invisible fissures in rails in their tracks so that they could be removed before fracture. Continental rails had less of this type of rail failure, their rail heads having relatively smaller masses of steel. In Britain where rails were mainly made from open-hearth steel, and where climatic extremes of temperature were less on steelmaker's rail banks than in America, there were extremely few transverse fissures in steel rails.
3. Nature of Metals. When puzzling about why metals break engineers must try, like metallurgists, to have in mind the fundamental nature of metals. With the very rare exception of noble metals like gold, the Creator made our metals to have strong affinity for oxygen, sulphur and other elements. Found in nature as earthy material compounds of several elements together, metals were only extracted with much difficulty from their earthy or stoney ores. Metals used by engineers naturally reverted to brittle compounds; dissolving in acids, corroding in moisture, tarnishing and blackening in sulphur fumes, oxidising at flame temperatures. Although nickel and copper differed in their modes of straining, the Author had rightly concentrated on what he had observed in steels because most mechanical engineering was steel, ca~t) iron or their alloys.
4. Rail Bolt Hole. The Author's illustration of a fracture at a steel mil fish-plate bolt hole could be a memorable lesson. The civil engineer had drilled a hole in the rail web leaving a sharp edge that concentrated rail impact stresses. More important it concentrated corrosion because moist sulphurous air corroded the sharp-edged steel from both sides. It was foolish to expect paint, tar or oil to sit protectively on any sharp edge. Smoothly rounding-off the bolt hole edge increased the life of the essential zinc, paint or other anti-corrosive, and so reduced the loss of steel at a stress concentration area that was no longer a point. That was an important lesson, but since 1933 we have known that flash-butt welding of rails avoids bolt-hole corrosion, stress concentration and 70 per cent of rail failures.
5. The Environment Matters. In considering "Why Metals' Break", Turner said engineers must now remember that during the past 30 years many outstanding advances in practice have been brought about by altering the environment in which metals work.
There is much less metal loss in furnaces and machine shops because control of furnace atmospheres has revolutionised heat treatment of metals.
Control of boiler water chemical treatment made Mr. Bulleid's famous locomotives' steel fireboxes last for more than a dozen years instead of failing in six months. Control of ships' boiler waters greatly increased the availability of warships and merchant vessels. Control of the chemical treatment of land boilers made possible the present giant electricity generating plant boilers on which we all depend.
Control of anti-corrosive in summer as well as winter coolants for internal combustion engines has done more than anything else to increase the useful life of road vehicle motors. Control of air pollution brightened towns, increased their sunlight and also appreciably reduced the atmospheric corrosion of our metals.
L.D. McConnell (183-4) said that brittle fractures and the effect on temperatures had been known longer than the molasses tank failure referred to by the Author, and said he was reminded of a chief mechanical engineer in Wolverton in the l840s, who read a paper to the I.Mech.E. *McConnell, J. E., Proc. I.Mech.E., Jan. 1850, p. 5, and Proc. I.Mech.E., 1853. p.87) There was trouble with wheels dropping off railway trains and the paper described how one of these axles with one wheel still attached was taken back to the works for investigation. The wheelset fell from the truck and the other wheel fell off. Some fatigue tests were carried out, in which the axles were set up on stands and he had them hit in the centre with a 14 lb. hammer, changing the men every 12th blow. This was the earliest fatigue testing work. He said it commented that this was not due to a general brittleness of the material, because the axle bent and could be bent double, notwithstanding the fact that it was a frosty day. Mr. McConnell commented that his namesake obviously had a great deal of knowledge that temperatures had a big effect. He said that much more analysis could be done on this.
The reason as to why fracture toughness tends to decrease with decreasing temperatures is because most of the energy of fracture goes into the plastic zone at the tip of the crack. As the yield stress increases the plastic zone becomes smaller and so the energy required (which is proportional to the fracture toughness parameter K) will also be smaller.
A point which came out in one photograph of a crack at the bolt hole in a rail, which Mr. McConnell commented on, led to another aspect on welds. He said he noted the origin was along the bolt hole and continued as a semi-elliptical crack until it met the corner and then it went off in a brittle manner. He suggested that what happened was at the corner, the ligament peeled back and probably the sort of thing which happened was that in a very few cycles the geometry of the crack changed radically. The stress intensity of a crack was dependent on the geometry and went quite suddenly from a relatively safe crack to a critical crack and then the thing went off. He asked for comments on the geometry of cracks, and the geometry defects and their influence in defect sizes and termination, because you could get a large defect which was innocuous and a small defect which was critical.
Mr. McConnell said that when one worked out a particular crack propagation life it was important to remember that the propagation rate is roughly proportional to the square root of the cube of the crack size. Thus, by dividing the critical size by two and making sure that there is plenty of time from zero to half crack life means also that one has to realise that the next stage would be much shorter than the first stage.
He pointed out that in other fields, the working of the material has a tremendous effect on fracture toughness. Taking, for instance, a high-strength aluminium alloy, one can obtain a fracture toughness ratio of two to one dependent on whether it was rolled bar or a not-too-well-worked forging. It is important to test a material in the form in which it will be used in service.
D.F. Cannon (G) said that with the growth of fracture mechanics the Charpy test had been shown to be largely irrelevant with respect to service application and material assessment. He said the reasons fOT this were: The Charpy notch did not simulate the 'stress-state' which was found at the tip of sharp defects such as fatigue cracks from which brittle fractures usually initiated in service. This 'stress-state' must be maintained between component and specimen since it had a fundamental influence on the fracture mode (i.e. brittle or ductile). The 'stress-state' at the tip of a defect was also influenced by the geometry and size of the component or specimen. The Charpy specimen, being a standard size, could not account for such features. It had been previously mentioned by the Speaker that strain rate could influence the toughness of a material. The Charpy test was performed at a very high strain rate which was not usually or necessarily associated with service strain rates. Having acquired Charpy data there was nothing the engineer or designer could do with it except perhaps look at it and apply a subjective judgement often based upon extremely vague experience.
Chisman, J.I. (RDP 5/71)
Gas turbine locomotives of the Union Pacific Railroad. 189-201. Disc.: 201-3. 4 illus., 4 diagrs.
Presented at Ordinary Meeting of the Railway Division at Railway Technical Centre, Derby on 7 January 1971 at 17.30 with R.G. Jarvis in the Chair.