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N Gauge Discussion / Re: A Coarse Guide to the Stea...
Last post by martyn - June 20, 2024, 11:50:11 AM

I am now a bit doubtful after reading this, John, but I'm sure that I have read that the Wootten firebox was designed specially for a low firing rate (amount of coal, or culm per hour per square foot of grate), and the grate developed by the GNR/LNER was a wide firebox, but not Wootten pattern. IIRC, the Wooten fire box was wide to allow each shovelful of coal to burn thoroughly over a relatively long period.

Wikipedia seems to agree with you, however;

I have no idea where I read that the British version of the wide firebox was not Wootten pattern; certainly from accounts, the GNR Atlantics had quite a high firing rate. I don't know the technicalities of the Wooten pattern, but the wide grates in the UK were of a conventional design, but enlarged to go across rather than within, the loco frames.

But, of course, I could well be wrong, in which case apologies and ignore this post!



This article is an American view, and definitely says the conventional fire was too strong for the culm dust to burn;

Later again;

this article has a quite technical answer about the Wootten fire box written by pjb and near the bottom of the replies;,581983

N Gauge Discussion / Re: A Coarse Guide to the Stea...
Last post by Newportnobby - June 20, 2024, 11:17:33 AM
I'm learning loads but, sadly, retaining little :*(
Good job I have this thread to refer back to :)
N Gauge Discussion / Re: A Coarse Guide to the Stea...
Last post by Train Waiting - June 20, 2024, 10:43:07 AM
A Coarse Guide to the Steam Locomotive for 'N' Gauge Modellers - Part 21

Hello Chums

The answer to a greater grate (sorry) area without breeding superhuman firemen was to go wide and that is what John E Wooton, General Manager of the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad did in 1877.  You see, the eastern Pennsylvania anthracite mining industry produced a by-product, after the anthracite was washed and graded for domestic use.  The leftovers were called 'culm' and were cheap.  Culm burned slowly and required a wide, shallow fire.  Mr Wooton's firebox was very wide and its initial use was in these curiosities 'Camelback' or 'Mother Hubbard' locomotives, where the engineer was placed on top of the boiler and the fireman was, if he was lucky, in a cab at the firebox end.  This was because the first Wooton fireboxes were so wide that the engineer would have no forward view from a conventional cab.

The much more agreeable US loading gauge permitted the Wooton firebox to be used on types like the 4-6-0 but the more constrained British loading gauge was less amenable to such liberties being taken - that is until the BR 'Standard' '9F' 2-10-0 came along.  Which meant a proper wide firebox could only be achieved, normally, within the British loading gauge, by the use of a trailing truck.  Especially as the requirement for high continuous combustion was for large-wheeled express passenger locomotives.  And Americans would show the way.

The 'Camelbacks' had many detractors1 and US railroads found a compromise with conventional cabs being used with wide fireboxes, whose use was spreading further than the 'anthracite roads'.  A good example is the first bituminous coal-burning 4-4-2, built by Schenectady for the Chicago & North Western Railroad in 1900.  Eventually the class, which excelled on fast passenger work, totalled 91 engines.  The wide firebox was supported by the rear truck.

The first 'real' standard gauge 'Pacific' 4-6-2, there had been early narrow-firebox oddities, was built in 1902 by Brooks for the Missouri Pacific Railroad.2

I was wondering if it might be a jolly jape to include a picturingham of a massive American locomotive with a wide firebox.  @Ali Smith read what passes for my mind and sent this SuperSpiffing photograph of a Pennsylvania Railroad 'M1a' 4-8-2.  This class was introduced in 1930 and some engines survived to the end of steam on the Pennsy in 1959.  The use of the Belpaire firebox - a Pennsy specialty - was uncommon in the USA.

Pennsylvania in Dorset - Moonshine Vermouth?

Most British 'Atlantic' 4-4-2 classes did not capitalise on this advantage of their trailing truck.  In fact, Mr Churchward built some 'Atlantics', for comparison purposes with 4-6-0 equivalents, that could be converted into 4-6-0s.  They were.  Rear coupled wheels, rather than a truck, gives better adhesion at starting and under full power when a locomotive tends to 'sit back' on its rearmost wheels. Skittery Bulleid 'Pacifics' demonstrate this phenomonen to perfection.  It can be partially overcome by complex compensated suspension systems but this was rare in Great Britain.

That, in my view, much under-rated locomotive engineer, HA Ivatt, introduced his second 'Atlantic' class, with a wide firebox this time, to the Great Northern Railway in 1903 and these were capable of superlative performances.  The grate area was 30.9 sq. ft.  His assistant, Mr Earle Marsh, when appointed Locomotive Superintendent of the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway, took a set of the 'Large Atlantic' drawings Brightonwards and a near-identical and similarly puissant class ensued.  The Bluebell Railway has just finished building another example.

Here's what Mr Churchward had to say about wide firebox 'Atlantics' at the ICE meeting referred to in Part 19.  The paper being discussed was entitled American Locomotive Practice:

"Probably, to English locomotive-engineers, the part of the paper which deals with boilers is the most interesting; especially the reasonably wide firebox which thr author has described. An express engine with a similar box has just been put on the Great Northern Railway by Mr. Ivatt, and I trust it will have a good trial in England. I think English locomotive-engineers are within measurable distance of adopting it, and I am sorry that the French 'Atlantic' engine, which is to be put on the Great Western Railway, is not fitted with it - but I am taking this engine as it stands."3

Other British railways tended to ignore the advantages of the wide firebox for a while, although Mr Churchward used one on his one-off 'Pacific' The Great Bear with a grate area of 41.79 sq ft.

The wide firebox's time would come a few years later.  Except on the Great Western (Mr Churchward's The Great Bear of 1908 apart), which was blessed with wonderful Welsh steam coal and SuperStrong firemen.  Mr (later Sir Nigel) Gresley, who succeeded Mr Ivatt on the Great Northern and was appointed as first Chief Mechanical Engineer of the LNER, was a convert to wide fireboxes and used them on several classes, including his 'Pacifics', and 'V2' and 'V4' 2-6-2 classes.  Here's a picturingham of a 'V2' 2-6-2 showing her wide firebox (41.25 sq. ft. grate area - that's the same as an 'A4' 4-6-2) placed neatly over the rear truck:

The next postington will, hopefully, consider why the LNER was something of a loner with regard to its fireboxes.  And it's not just to do with width.  The LMS and the Southern (eventually) also used wide fireboxes. And the LNER also deserves another honourable mention which we'll get to at some point. 

1 The final 'Camelbacks' were built for the Lehigh & New England Railroad in 1927.

2 But the first real 'Pacific' type was built a year earlier by Baldwin in 1901.  For service in New Zealand and, therefore, narrow gauge (3 ft. 6 in.). 

3 The French locomotive Mr Churchward mentioned was four-cylinder compound 4-4-2 No. 102 La France which entered service in October 1903.  Two slightly larger French 'Atlantics' were purchased by the GWR in 1905.  The results of this open-minded experiment (how many British locomotive engineers would have persuaded their Boards to buy three locomotives of an innovative design for trial?) were that the 4-6-0 gave better adhesion, especially on the West Country banks, and that compounding gave no advantage in Great Western service.  Given Mr Churchward's strong support of long, narrow fireboxes which I quoted in Part 20, his interest in wide fireboxes as well shows the great man's open and enquiring attitude to steam locomotive development.

Many thanks to Ali for the photograph of the 6743.

'N' Gauge is Such Fun

Many thanks for looking and all best wishes.


N Gauge Discussion / Re: Took some stock to the clu...
Last post by crewearpley40 - June 20, 2024, 09:14:38 AM
Love the 108 running through that scenery
General Discussion / Re: An Eventful Christmas at T...
Last post by Chris in Prague - June 20, 2024, 06:27:00 AM
The realisation that her best friend, Annie, harboured romantic feelings for her had struck Lila like a bolt from the blue. As Annie's affections became clear, Lila's heart lurched with a complicated tangle of emotions. A part of her was deeply touched by the reverence in Annie's bright eyes—that her dearest friend could see her as something more than a very dear friend. She treasured their bond immensely.

Yet, Lila knew her own feelings could never match the ardent depth that glowed in Annie's eyes. While she loved Annie fiercely, it was a platonic love—the affection between two kindred spirits who had supported each other through their young lives' many trials. To entertain anything further felt like a betrayal of their sacred trust.

Lila's mind turned again to Tommy, watching as he fidgeted self-consciously in the ill-fitting secondhand suit that hung loosely on his slim frame. The oversized jacket and baggy trousers emphasised his youth, with the suit's faded navy fabric and frayed cuffs subtly reminding her of the modest circumstances in which he had grown up. His once-bright white but immaculately ironed shirt was a touch too snug across his broadening shoulders, the top button straining against the knot of his hand-me-down tie – an old garish maroon and gold striped number that seemed plucked from a dusty drawer.

Her gaze drifted down to Tommy's worn but well-polished oxfords. Though the leather was creased from years of faithful service, she could see his mother had diligently buffed them to a bright gleam. The heels were unevenly worn, suggesting the shoes were likely another hand-me-down, broken in by someone else's stride before making their way to Tommy. Even with their imperfections, the oxfords shone with the care and attention of a mother's devotion to her only child.

Yet, despite the dowdy, cobbled-together outfit, there was something endearing about his awkward attempts at looking presentable. Lila remembered how her pulse had quickened when their gazes locked earlier, the thrilling uncertainty of the possibilities their blossoming connection presented. With Tommy, it was a path as yet untrodden, brimming with the intoxicating potential of youth and discovery. The sight of him in that ill-fitting, secondhand outfit only made him seem all the more earnest and vulnerable in her eyes—a reminder that he was still a boy nervously navigating his way towards manhood, doing his sincere best to appear a proper young man with the limited resources available to him.

A thoughtful silence enveloped Lila as she pondered the currents of her heart. She knew she owed it to Annie to tread carefully and with the utmost compassion. To be anything less than honest about her own feelings could deeply wound her closest friend.

Yet, she worried that voicing her growing affections for Tommy too boldly might inadvertently crush Annie's tender hopes before they had a chance to gently fade. Lila wanted, more than anything, to nurture both relationships—to love Annie truly as her dearest friend while allowing her relationship with Tommy to develop and grow.

Drawing a steadying breath, Lila centred herself as Lady Trevelver had taught her and the other helpers. The way forward would be delicate, requiring restraint to protect Annie's heart. For now, Lila would focus on being fully present with each of them, letting her actions speak louder than words about where her affections lay. Time would reveal the path her heart would take.
N Gauge Discussion / Re: Took some stock to the clu...
Last post by Bealman - June 20, 2024, 01:39:03 AM
Yeah, but I only got the MR one, so nowt to compare it to. Ben Ando may have shown me the WR one last year in York, but I honestly can't remember.
N Gauge Discussion / Re: Took some stock to the clu...
Last post by Newportnobby - June 20, 2024, 12:54:13 AM
Quote from: Bealman on June 20, 2024, 12:04:01 AMNot a lot of difference between the MR 128 and the WR one, is there? From the video I could only pick up the white roof ends.

Huge frontal differences. MR (left) has central headcode and no corridor connection - WR (right) has split headcode and corridor connection
Didn't you get one (or more)?
The pic was a lift from the Revolution website very early on in the scheme of things and hence the grey cab roof on the WR one

N Gauge Discussion / Re: Took some stock to the clu...
Last post by Bealman - June 20, 2024, 12:04:01 AM
Hmph. You can never have enough BP videos!  :P

At least the livery on your Azuma thingy
looks better than the LNER livery I saw all over Scotland and the NE.

Not a lot of difference between the MR 128 and the WR one, is there? From the video I could only pick up the white roof ends.

Good vids, though.  :thumbsup:
N Gauge Discussion / Re: Took some stock to the clu...
Last post by Newportnobby - June 19, 2024, 10:13:01 PM
Tonight, I har mostly been running multi-coloured worms...........
(I did run my BP as well but have showed a clip of that before - see reply #14))

Class 108 4 car DMU on Heatherley by Mick Hollyoake, on Flickr

Kato class 800 IET on Heatherley by Mick Hollyoake, on Flickr

MR class 128 on Heatherley by Mick Hollyoake, on Flickr

WR class 128 on Heatherley by Mick Hollyoake, on Flickr

N Gauge Discussion / Re: N Gauge Wheel Sets
Last post by Mr Sprue - June 19, 2024, 09:59:17 PM
Quote from: chrism on June 19, 2024, 10:15:22 AM
Quote from: Mr Sprue on June 19, 2024, 09:25:01 AM
Quote from: njee20 on June 18, 2024, 11:18:40 PMWhat's the advantage of brass tyres?

Much easier to machine than steel, more conductive (not that it matters for rolling stock) less corrosive, and easier to blacken.

And would slide easier on the rail if the axle locks up  :smiley-laughing:

Why would the axle lock up?  :confused1:
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