BR class 9F experimental locos

Discussion about railroad topics everywhere outside of North America.

Moderators: Komachi, David Benton

Re: BR class 9F experimental locos

Postby johnthefireman » Mon May 08, 2017 4:56 am

The British Army had a railway capability until very recently - I have a feeling that it was abandoned in one of the recent spending cuts. It has had various names and organisational set-ups, I believe. I think their last operational railway base in UK was the Longmoor Military Railway, but a few British Army bases are still rail-connected so heavy equipment can be moved by rail. Recently they did an exercise to move tanks through the Channel Tunnel by rail in case NATO needs to reinforce its eastern borders quickly.

On the Friends of the Rail Forum we have a whole sub-forum entitled "Railways at War" which has posts on a lot of military-related railway issues - http://www.friendsoftherail.com/forum/v ... m.php?f=45
User avatar
johnthefireman
 
Posts: 1192
Joined: Thu Feb 15, 2007 1:09 pm
Location: Nairobi, Kenya

Re: BR class 9F experimental locos

Postby David Benton » Mon May 08, 2017 5:03 am

johnthefireman wrote:There were quite a lot of Austerity locos built during World War II. One that comes to mind is a saddle tank, usually 0-6-0ST (I've seen 0-4-0 versions but I'm not sure whether they were Austerity locos or just lookalikes; I believe there are similar 0-6-0ST locos built by Hunslet to the same basic design which were not Austerity).

Another is a 2-10-0 goods loco. I think I have mentioned elsewhere on Railroad.Net that I have a 2005 reprint by Camden Miniature Steam Services of what is effectively an owner's manual for the latter, 2-10-0 Austerity Engine and Tender - brief description with hints on maintenance and repair, issued by the Ministry of Supply in 1945. Most steam locomotives in Britain were designed and/or built by the same railway company that operated them, so all that knowledge was already in-house, but the Austerity locos were going to external users such as the army or foreign railways and thus needed a manual.

Just wondering , John , was there ever any rail attempts to use wood gas conversions , (as per dads army lorry)on railways in the war years ? though i guess there was no shortage of coal . Did they have petrol / diesel shunting engines or railcars ? probably too early.
Moderator worldwide railfan , Rail travel & trip reports
The only train trips I regret are the ones I didn't take.
User avatar
David Benton
 
Posts: 7870
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 11:29 pm
Location: New Zealand

Re: BR class 9F experimental locos

Postby johnthefireman » Mon May 08, 2017 7:56 am

Good questions, David, to which I don't know the answer!

There were a handful of diesel shunters in use in UK by the 1940s, I believe, on the LMS (London Midland and Scottish railway) but no large-scale use of diesels.

Petrol and diesel locos were used on the narrow gauge lines near the front line during World War I. Steam engines were used further back from the front line, but their steam and smoke was too easy a target for enemy artillery, which is why internal (or infernal!) combustion engines had to be used nearer the front line. But I haven't heard of anything similar in World War II, and as far as I am aware most wartime locos, whether British, German, or from the USA or elsewhere, were steam.

I know there were a few experimental conversions from coal to oil on UK steam engines, but I can't remember when and I don't know whether it had anything to do with the war. As you say, coal was in plentiful supply and indeed it was oil which was in short supply. For the same reason I doubt whether there would have been any profit in using gas, and I've never heard of it being used.

Incidentally, I suspect that the gas used in the Dad's Army type lorry would have been coal gas, not wood gas.
User avatar
johnthefireman
 
Posts: 1192
Joined: Thu Feb 15, 2007 1:09 pm
Location: Nairobi, Kenya

Re: BR class 9F experimental locos

Postby johnthefireman » Mon May 08, 2017 8:26 am

I'm on a dodgy internet connection and Google search hasn't been working for the last couple of days, but for some reason it has just started working again so I've been able to find Wikipedia pages for three of the major World War II British Austerity locomotives,

WD Austerity 2-8-0

The War Department (WD) "Austerity" 2-8-0 is a type of heavy freight steam locomotive that was introduced in 1943 for war service. A total of 935 were built, making this one of the most-produced classes of British steam locomotive... based on the LMS Class 8F...


WD Austerity 2-10-0

The War Department (WD) "Austerity" 2-10-0 is a type of heavy freight steam locomotive that was introduced during the Second World War in 1943... based on the Austerity 2-8-0, and was designed to have interchangeable parts by R.A. Riddles. It had the same power output as the 2-8-0 but a lighter axle load, making it suitable for secondary lines... Total produced 150


Hunslet Austerity 0-6-0ST

The class became the standard British shunting locomotive during the Second World War, and production continued until 1964... Total produced 485
User avatar
johnthefireman
 
Posts: 1192
Joined: Thu Feb 15, 2007 1:09 pm
Location: Nairobi, Kenya

Re: BR class 9F experimental locos

Postby george matthews » Mon May 08, 2017 9:16 am

johnthefireman wrote:Good questions, David, to which I don't know the answer!

There were a handful of diesel shunters in use in UK by the 1940s, I believe, on the LMS (London Midland and Scottish railway) but no large-scale use of diesels.

Petrol and diesel locos were used on the narrow gauge lines near the front line during World War I. Steam engines were used further back from the front line, but their steam and smoke was too easy a target for enemy artillery, which is why internal (or infernal!) combustion engines had to be used nearer the front line. But I haven't heard of anything similar in World War II, and as far as I am aware most wartime locos, whether British, German, or from the USA or elsewhere, were steam.

I know there were a few experimental conversions from coal to oil on UK steam engines, but I can't remember when and I don't know whether it had anything to do with the war. As you say, coal was in plentiful supply and indeed it was oil which was in short supply. For the same reason I doubt whether there would have been any profit in using gas, and I've never heard of it being used.

Incidentally, I suspect that the gas used in the Dad's Army type lorry would have been coal gas, not wood gas.

I have a very vague memory - I was about four years old at the time - of a gas powered bus in the Wye Valley area. My memory is of a burner, probably consuming charcoal or coke. That would have been about 1943. Coke was a very useful fuel as it was the product of gas works and very available without needing to be imported.
george matthews
 
Posts: 4556
Joined: Fri May 21, 2004 9:07 am
Location: Britain

Re: BR class 9F experimental locos

Postby johnthefireman » Mon May 08, 2017 9:34 am

A bit more random googling but it's not easy to find too much detail on the organisation of railway operations in the British Army. It apparently began as part of the Royal Engineers and later became 79 Railway Squadron, Royal Corps of Transport. In more modern times it became 79 Railway Squadron, part of the 17 Port and Maritime Regiment, The Royal Logistic Corps, and I think later still it became 79 Port Enabling Squadron, still under 17 Port and Maritime Regiment. The squadron was disbanded in 2012. The military railways capability in the British Army was ultimately lost completely on the disbandment of its "sister" Territorial Army unit, 275 Railway Troop, in 2014.

When I was doing a stint on one of the preserved railways in Britain 20-odd years ago I fired to a driver who had learned his trade in the British Army.
User avatar
johnthefireman
 
Posts: 1192
Joined: Thu Feb 15, 2007 1:09 pm
Location: Nairobi, Kenya

Re: BR class 9F experimental locos

Postby johnthefireman » Mon May 08, 2017 9:43 am

george matthews wrote:a gas powered bus in the Wye Valley area. My memory is of a burner, probably consuming charcoal or coke. That would have been about 1943.


When the British built a huge industrial plant to process cotton in a place called Nzara in the far southwestern corner of Sudan in 1953 (now in South Sudan), they used gas produced from charcoal as the power source. At some later date someone had the bright idea of "modernising" it and converted it to diesel. Now, of course, with war, isolation and economic hardships there is no diesel, but charcoal is plentiful as the plant is built in the middle of a rain forest. Pity it can't be converted back again!

Incidentally, as I have probably mentioned before elsewhere, there are still three steam engines in Nzara. None are operational, but one was working until about ten years ago powering a sawmill. It has a crack in the firebox, otherwise it would probably still be working. Don't worry, George, it is wood-fired, not fossil fuels!
User avatar
johnthefireman
 
Posts: 1192
Joined: Thu Feb 15, 2007 1:09 pm
Location: Nairobi, Kenya

Re: BR class 9F experimental locos

Postby george matthews » Mon May 08, 2017 1:44 pm

The gas producer was on a separate wheeled trailer behind the bus. I really can't remember anything about the actual functioning of the bus - whether it was as fast as a bus using diesel or petrol. But I do remember the wheeled gas generator behind the bus. actually, come to think of it I think the bus was near Plymouth and I think we had probably taken it to Plymouth town, but I can't remember where from. I don't remember whether we saw the bomb damage in Plymouth, which was seriously damaged by German bombs trying to knock out a major naval station.
george matthews
 
Posts: 4556
Joined: Fri May 21, 2004 9:07 am
Location: Britain

Re: BR class 9F experimental locos

Postby george matthews » Mon May 08, 2017 1:53 pm

johnthefireman wrote:
george matthews wrote:a gas powered bus in the Wye Valley area. My memory is of a burner, probably consuming charcoal or coke. That would have been about 1943.


When the British built a huge industrial plant to process cotton in a place called Nzara in the far southwestern corner of Sudan in 1953 (now in South Sudan), they used gas produced from charcoal as the power source. At some later date someone had the bright idea of "modernising" it and converted it to diesel. Now, of course, with war, isolation and economic hardships there is no diesel, but charcoal is plentiful as the plant is built in the middle of a rain forest. Pity it can't be converted back again!

Incidentally, as I have probably mentioned before elsewhere, there are still three steam engines in Nzara. None are operational, but one was working until about ten years ago powering a sawmill. It has a crack in the firebox, otherwise it would probably still be working. Don't worry, George, it is wood-fired, not fossil fuels!

A few years ago I had some correspondence from someone in the Sudan - then still united - about alternative energy supplies. He was interested in energy from cotton waste, possibly converted to charcoal by a process I was interested in those days.
george matthews
 
Posts: 4556
Joined: Fri May 21, 2004 9:07 am
Location: Britain

Re: BR class 9F experimental locos

Postby johnthefireman » Tue May 09, 2017 3:48 am

george matthews wrote:A few years ago I had some correspondence from someone in the Sudan - then still united - about alternative energy supplies. He was interested in energy from cotton waste, possibly converted to charcoal by a process I was interested in those days.


There's no cotton production in South Sudan and hasn't been for years, so your correspondent would probably have been referring to what was then northern Sudan, now Sudan. They still have cotton schemes. I hadn't heard of using cotton for renewable energy, but there were some small-scale schemes to use groundnut shells. I don't think it ever became widespread.
User avatar
johnthefireman
 
Posts: 1192
Joined: Thu Feb 15, 2007 1:09 pm
Location: Nairobi, Kenya

Re: BR class 9F experimental locos

Postby David Benton » Tue May 09, 2017 4:57 am

this wikipedia article mentions wood gasifiers been used in trains during ww2. It seems to point to them been used in Germany the most.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wood_gas
Moderator worldwide railfan , Rail travel & trip reports
The only train trips I regret are the ones I didn't take.
User avatar
David Benton
 
Posts: 7870
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 11:29 pm
Location: New Zealand

Re: BR class 9F experimental locos

Postby george matthews » Tue May 09, 2017 5:58 am

johnthefireman wrote:
george matthews wrote:A few years ago I had some correspondence from someone in the Sudan - then still united - about alternative energy supplies. He was interested in energy from cotton waste, possibly converted to charcoal by a process I was interested in those days.


There's no cotton production in South Sudan and hasn't been for years, so your correspondent would probably have been referring to what was then northern Sudan, now Sudan. They still have cotton schemes. I hadn't heard of using cotton for renewable energy, but there were some small-scale schemes to use groundnut shells. I don't think it ever became widespread.

He wasn't in South Sudan but further north in the main cotton producing area.
george matthews
 
Posts: 4556
Joined: Fri May 21, 2004 9:07 am
Location: Britain

Previous

Return to Worldwide Railfan

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests