Standard Gauge Victorian Steam

 
  M636C Minister for Railways

Was the detailed design of a standard gauge R class actually completed by the VR or did it stop at a more or less 'concept' stage?

What mods to the steampipes were needed and how were they done, please?

My understanding is that conversion of an R class to SG was not quite as simple as it theoretically might/should have been and that there was quite an amount of design work required before the conversion of 766 could occur.
YM-Mundrabilla
I find that I am lacking drawings of the R class cylinders.

A cylinder diagram in Carlisle's book indicates that there was a 45 degree flange just above the valve casing on the live steam pipe. This would move 3.25" inward and would require a shorter main steam pipe with a different shape to pass through the existing holes in the smokebox at a steeper angle which would then curve to mate with the flange, compared to the straight pipe on the BG locomotive. The exhaust steam pipes are within the half casting and will just move to be 6.5 " closer together and I'd expect that a new narrower design of blast pipe casting would be needed.

Other than that I'd expect that the brake gear would be the main additional work apart from the actual gauge change.

Carlisle's book has a good frame drawing, showing the spacers in the valve gear brackests.

Peter

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  hbedriver Train Controller

Not forgetting the Na class. They were a standard Baldwin design, and appeared overseas as 3 foot gauge as well as standard gauge. The conversion simply needed them to have the wheels placed outside the frames, not as hard as it sounds. Of course, Baldwin were always good at standardising parts and components.

I often wonder what they thought about the Australian systems when they built DD for Victoria and G class for CR (and I think there were others; maybe some P or T in NSW?); each type featuring plate frames and so many other British design peculiarities. And differing gauges, by all of 6 1/2 inches!

Referring to M636C's post above; I wonder how the loco will go with the exhaust mods? The R was always known for suffering from a "blocked nose"; I doubt narrowing the exhaust passages will help it any. Maybe good design using the Lempor principles will help; it might even make it better.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
Was the detailed design of a standard gauge R class actually completed by the VR or did it stop at a more or less 'concept' stage?

What mods to the steampipes were needed and how were they done, please?

My understanding is that conversion of an R class to SG was not quite as simple as it theoretically might/should have been and that there was quite an amount of design work required before the conversion of 766 could occur.
I find that I am lacking drawings of the R class cylinders.

A cylinder diagram in Carlisle's book indicates that there was a 45 degree flange just above the valve casing on the live steam pipe. This would move 3.25" inward and would require a shorter main steam pipe with a different shape to pass through the existing holes in the smokebox at a steeper angle which would then curve to mate with the flange, compared to the straight pipe on the BG locomotive. The exhaust steam pipes are within the half casting and will just move to be 6.5 " closer together and I'd expect that a new narrower design of blast pipe casting would be needed.

Other than that I'd expect that the brake gear would be the main additional work apart from the actual gauge change.

Carlisle's book has a good frame drawing, showing the spacers in the valve gear brackests.

Peter
M636C
Thanks Peter.
It was the steam pipe and smokebox details (at least) that I understood were one major design aspect not done by the VR.
YM
  NSWGR 3827 Deputy Commissioner

Location: South of the Border
Referring to M636C's post above; I wonder how the loco will go with the exhaust mods? The R was always known for suffering from a "blocked nose"; I doubt narrowing the exhaust passages will help it any. Maybe good design using the Lempor principles will help; it might even make it better.
hbedriver
The exhaust passages remain the same size, just closer together and straighter.  So should be better, although No R Class I know of has ever had trouble making steam.

A Single Lempor on R or any Large Locomotive is very difficult because of the limited height available to make everything of optimum proportions.  This is why the SAR 19D & 26, and WCR's R's had 2 Funnels.
  M636C Minister for Railways

Referring to M636C's post above; I wonder how the loco will go with the exhaust mods? The R was always known for suffering from a "blocked nose"; I doubt narrowing the exhaust passages will help it any. Maybe good design using the Lempor principles will help; it might even make it better.
The exhaust passages remain the same size, just closer together and straighter.  So should be better, although No R Class I know of has ever had trouble making steam.

A Single Lempor on R or any Large Locomotive is very difficult because of the limited height available to make everything of optimum proportions.  This is why the SAR 19D & 26, and WCR's R's had 2 Funnels.
NSWGR 3827
Wasn't R766 one of the two WCR locomotives fitted with a double Lempor?
It is still painted blue.
It was refitted with a standard chimney during the conversion to standard gauge, but I know nothing about its exhaust proportions. It would have had the modified valves as well, wouldn't it?

Peter
  Dangersdan707 Train Controller

Location: On a Thing with Internet
yes it was
no I believe not any more
  skitz Chief Commissioner

Gauge conversion of an R class was not a simple as many seem to believe. There was a heap of design work necessary as 'designed to be gauge convertible' was something of an overstatement.

I have doubts that 766 will ever be accredited to do anything anywhere especially being located in NSW.

In every book I've ever read about the R and J classes they always make special mention that the two locomotives were designed to be gauge convertible without mentioning how this was supposed to be done.

What is involved in gauge converting a locomotive?
Why are some locomotives gauge convertible and others aren't?
What other locomotive types could be converted?

Cheers Peter
In the case of the R class, it really was easily convertible, as shown by R 766.

The R class was built with the bar frames spaced at a separation suitable for standard gauge. The cylinders were cast to be suitable for standard gauge, but were bolted together (and to the frame) with spacers so that they sat at broad gauge spacing. The axles were all of broad gauge length but the bearings on the axles sat at the standard gauge spacing dictated by the frame spacing.

So basically they just removed the spacers and moved the cylinders to SG spacing and after removing all the wheels, either shortened the existing axles or had new standard gauge axles made and reassembled the locomotive. In theory hangers for brake gear were provided for both gauges. The brake gear would require modification to get the same forces at the new gauge.

But basically, not too hard.

The post war J and N class were also designed for conversion, but these had plate frames which were spaced at the usual broad gauge spacing. In this case the actual cylinders were the same (or very similar to) normal broad gauge locomotives, but the spacers between the frames (often called "stretchers") had spacers each side to hold the frame plates at BG width. So unlike the R class, an N or J had to have the frame dismantled and re-assembled as part of the conversion. In the case of the J, the supports for the air reservoirs between the frames were not fitted with spacers and would have to be modified. After the frame had been re-assembled at SG spacing, the process of modifying the wheelsets would be the same as the R class.

The SAR had a different process with "dished" wheels. With the wheels turned with the "dished" side inward, the wheels were at BG spacing. With the dished side outward, the wheels were at SG spacing. A little thought will indicate that the tyres would have to be removed and replaced facing the opposite way for this to work.

This process was carried out on the SAR 740 class where the wheels were assembled flat side out, compared to the CR L class that had the dished side out, and the difference can be seen in photos of the locomotives. This meant that the cylinders were always at BG spacing, which meant that the L class couldn't run in NSW (who might otherwise have purchased them.)

Peter
M636C
The spacers on the J were not exactly spacers.  They are in fact an additional landing on the casting of the saddle and stretchers.  To bring the gauge down one must dismantle the frames and machine the saddle and stretchers to the new gauge and reassemble. Its a big job.  Ream all the holes and a combination of fitted bolts a rivets to bring it all back together.  

I was involved with J512 many years ago arranging the machining side.   the machining was done at Yallourn and the frame reassembled (mostly reassembled) at Ballarat north.

Of curse there is a myriad of other work.  New axles x 9.  Brake rigging etc.  There is a lot of devil in the detail.  Things like the pilot beam needs considerable work.  New spacers are needed fro the casting on the outside of the drag box.   Steam lines are neither here nor there, just fabricate them as needed.  

There are Victorian Railways practice cards for all the work needed.  

I would describe the J as 'potentially gauge convertible' not 'readily gauge convertible'.  Mind you the dismantling of steam loco's 60 years ago was matter of course and seen as normal compared to today.

The R was a far easier proposition to gauge convert.  Still a big job though.
  R766 Junior Train Controller

Was the detailed design of a standard gauge R class actually completed by the VR or did it stop at a more or less 'concept' stage?

What mods to the steampipes were needed and how were they done, please?

My understanding is that conversion of an R class to SG was not quite as simple as it theoretically might/should have been and that there was quite an amount of design work required before the conversion of 766 could occur.
YM-Mundrabilla
The answer is NO.

Concept drawings only ever completed however this covered only 70 percent of the work required.
The design and manufacture of this conversion in the build process was reasonably simple to convert with 766.

The remaining 30 percent required design for the conversion, and the hardest part as a result of VR mods to prevent bogie bolster cracking issues in the 50's was the Tender bogie brake hangers, rigging and brake beams.
  HardWorkingMan Chief Commissioner

Location: Echuca
of course when 'designed to be gauge converted' is talked about the VR had thousands of staff in large workshops working full time with years of practical experience and knowledge. The fine details could have been worked out as needed with plenty of resources to call upon both in the design and the practical manufacturing and fitting of parts.  The VR even had an Research area that could have helped out. Being designed to be regauged doesn't mean the process was simple as some posters assume.

Fast forward to today and the numbers of people aren't there, a lot of the equipment has gone along with the large bank of design, forging and fitting staff.  With so relatively few locos left there's not the chance to get the economies of scale (ie the cost of design could be spread over 70 locos not 3 or 4 running ones) and the volunteer bodies of today are not as well resourced as the VR of the 1950's.

This doesn't mean there are not some extremely talented and enthusiastic people involved in preservation, there are and we are lucky to have them but there isn't the number of people around with the experience to discuss ideas to come up with solutions as the VR had available.

The day may come when if you want main-line steam in Victoria to go outside the metro area it will need to be standard gauge.  There are already more pathing issues and reduced destinations compared to the 1970's and 1980's.  

Also compared to regauging a locomotive regauging a couple of turntables is relatively easy - all you need to do is move both rails in to the standard gauge width or use the design of the dual gauge turntables that existed for a long time.
  trestle_nutter Train Controller

Location: Yarra Valley
Hi everyone,
I am just wondering with Steamrail's Wycheproof tour (last broad gauge steam train to Wycheproof) why the A2 class loco ran up to Maryborough seperatly in the early hours of the morning? Couldn't it just have ran with the rest of the train?
Also there is a rumour that a standard gauge R class will come to Victoria so tours can still run on the Murray Basing network. Is this true?
DALEK
running tender first the A2 was restricted to 50 kph so it ran up separately so that the rest of the consist with it's passengers could leave later & travel faster up to Maryborough
  HardWorkingMan Chief Commissioner

Location: Echuca
I thought the tender-first restrictions only applied to leading locos due to visibility concerns.  If 2 steam locos are coupled tender to tender they can do full speed both ways. if this was the case they could have put one of the diesels on the front to Maryborough

However there would have then needed to be another service stop for water etc which would have slowed the train times  - there may have also been crew/signalling and other roster considerations as well. It would have been a long day for the volunteer crew manning the carriages as it is.

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