Jump to content

Irish Railway Speed Record

Rate this topic


Recommended Posts

Hexagon asked:

Based on that if an 89mph geared 071 could do 116mph and a 165km/h geared 201, 120mph, then what sort of speeds could the likes of a 141 or even an 'A' Class manage?

Presumably an 'A' could manage at least it's maximum speed on re-engining of 85mph but could they go faster? One of the uprated 1,650hp might have enough grunt for a 'ton' I would've thought.

Or an 89mph geared 141, possibly 89mph would be pushing it for a single 141 but a higher-powered 181 might be just about able with a very light load but a pair would have enough power to get into the 90s I'd think.

Now, I don’t time diesels, but have spent a fortune timing steam around the World (over a couple of dozen countries). So, as in “Who wants to be a Millionaire” – I ASKED A FRIEND who does time all forms of traction and has done so for over fifty years.

He has timed an 071 at JUST over 100mph, and suggests that a 201 may have managed close to 105mph.

As for the others, 83mph a few times with a 141 and once only with a 121, but the mid-seventies were the norm. He timed a re-engined A Class ONCE at 80mph.The originals were not much faster than the steam they replaced, but could accelerate much better, of course.

And is 96mph the overall Irish steam record or purely the record for a GSR B1a/800 Class?

Plenty of Myths and Legends about the 800s and the 96mph is part of the story. For what it is worth, the late Drew Donaldson had a max of 89mph driven by the famed Mark Foley in 1939.

Not the last word, by the way, as neither of us can lay our hands on our copies of Decade of Steam, which covers 800 Class running pretty well.

In the same way as we count the rivets on our models (no need on Paddy's locos which stand for themselves), no-one should believe a speed out of the blue, but as part of a methodical log (ie looking at averages between stations, or, in my case mileposts, before claiming a maximum speed).

So, NO HORNBY DUBLO SPEEDS WITH YOUR NEW 121S, LADS - THEY DIDN'T DO THEM IN REALITY, BUT HAD A VERY DISTINCTIVE SOUND, WHICH I LOOK FORWARD TO HEARING AGAIN.

  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/4/2013 at 10:39 PM, Broithe said:

I've been on a 201-hauled train that was well into three figures between Portarlington and Kildare about eight years ago, I think. I used to time the milesposts...

Yes I used a hand help GPS on CAF Mk4 train hauled by 215 that indicated speeds just a little over 100mph on sections of the line (ie true SOG). Very smooth and quiet, whereas in the 1970s doing 70mphs on the old track felt like the bouncing train was about to leap the rails and break the sound barrier. :) :)   I remember the last coach before the loco had a window in the closed off gangway end plate, so you could see the loco bucking and bouncing like a wild thing, thinking at the time the buffers and couplings were getting a good exercise.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, leslie10646 said:

So, NO HORNBY DUBLO SPEEDS WITH YOUR NEW 121S, LADS - THEY DIDN'T DO THEM IN REALITY, BUT HAD A VERY DISTINCTIVE SOUND, WHICH I LOOK FORWARD TO HEARING AGAIN.

Excuse me kind sir, Hornby Dublo were refined runners and compared to Tri-ang rubbish and started off slowly, you could make the tender locos with the long linear ringfield motor creep at walking speeds. There was an art to lubing those HD chassis. It was Tri-Ang Hornby locos that lurched off at starting speeds of 30mph, with top speeds of near 200mph. Some Tri-ang locos seemed as fast as scalextrix. I remember a Tri-Ang princess falling over and off the track on a 2nd radius curve at full speed such was the centrifugal force and high CofG at the speed she was going at, crazy things with those hideous X04 motors. When I bought my first Murphy Model 181 class at the Malahide Castle Fry shop 13 years ago, my jaw dropped when I brought it home and first ran it such was the silky smooth precision running even on DC, and quiet.  I'd never seen a model from any company run that prototypical, especially start and stoping speeds. It was pure magic and responsible for restarting my interest in the hobby. When I get time I'll run B135 in consist with another MM baby GM. Happy days, we've never had it so good with Irish Model trains.

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, leslie10646 said:

He has timed an 071 at JUST over 100mph, and suggests that a 201 may have managed close to 105mph.

Just over 100 for an 071 seems quite reasonable, one of the Mk3 trials managed 105.4 and the 201s have an overspeed limiter which is supposed to kick in at 105, but presumably they would disable it when they ran the Mk4 tests if they did indeed touch 120.

 

1 hour ago, leslie10646 said:

As for the others, 83mph a few times with a 141 and once only with a 121, but the mid-seventies were the norm. He timed a re-engined A Class ONCE at 80mph.The originals were not much faster than the steam they replaced, but could accelerate much better, of course.

Again seems very reasonable, I would expect the 141 to have freer running at speed given its 89mph gearing against 77mph for a 121, so I think you could say the 83 for a 121 is more impressive.

Interesting that only 80 for an 'A', the increased power doing little to overcome the nominal geared maximum of 75 for the 1,325hp units.

2 hours ago, leslie10646 said:

In the same way as we count the rivets on our models (no need on Paddy's locos which stand for themselves), no-one should believe a speed out of the blue, but as part of a methodical log (ie looking at averages between stations, or, in my case mileposts, before claiming a maximum speed).

I quite agree and I tend to believe that traditional logs based on timing milepost can be more accurate than GPS, the loss of coverage or similar can often lead to random spikes in speed. 

I remember someone being very proud to have captured a 140mph on a Virgin Pendolino until it was pointed out that it was impossible to reach that speed in service and no driver would risk it either and it was quite an obvious "spike" to 141mph in an otherwise sustained running at 123-124mph.

 

2 hours ago, leslie10646 said:

So, NO HORNBY DUBLO SPEEDS WITH YOUR NEW 121S, LADS - THEY DIDN'T DO THEM IN REALITY, BUT HAD A VERY DISTINCTIVE SOUND, WHICH I LOOK FORWARD TO HEARING AGAIN.

I think they sound better thrashing away getting on the move, to me that is the sound is would most identify with a 121.

Link to post
Share on other sites
34 minutes ago, Noel said:

Yes I used a hand help GPS on CAF Mk4 train hauled by 215 that indicated speeds just a little over 100mph on sections of the line (ie true SOG). Very smooth and quiet, whereas in the 1970s doing 70mphs on the old track felt like the bouncing train was about to leap the rails and break the sound barrier. :) :)   I remember the last coach before the loco had a window in the closed off gangway end plate, so you could see the loco bucking and bouncing like a wild thing, thinking at the time the buffers and couplings were getting a good exercise.

I don't know how strict IÉ are on speeds (typical GB allowance is 3 mph over but that's only a rough 'tradition') nor how they calibrate their train speedos (usually set to overread slightly here, and indicated 100 might only be 98mph for example) , but here in GB today you will almost never record higher than a trains maximum even by a few mph and on some lines and in some locations it's impossible due to various safety systems. In fact I can even think of one class where if it's maximum rated speed is exceeded by 3mph, it sends a text message to route control confessing the drivers' sins!

Edited by hexagon789
Link to post
Share on other sites
20 minutes ago, hexagon789 said:

I don't know how strict IÉ are on speeds (typical GB allowance is 3 mph over but that's only a rough 'tradition') nor how they calibrate their train speedos (usually set to overread slightly here, and indicated 100 might only be 98mph for example) , but here in GB today you will almost never record higher than a trains maximum even by a few mph and on some lines and in some locations it's impossible due to various safety systems. In fact I can even think of one class where if it's maximum rated speed is exceeded by 3mph, it sends a text message to route control confessing the drivers' sins!

That's a whole lot different to bouncing along behind a pissed up driver in an 81!

Edited by NIR
Link to post
Share on other sites

There are a number of pre-War  "logs" with average speeds in the mid-eighties on the Dublin-Cork and Dublin-Belfast main lines in O.S. Nocks Irish Steam.

There is a record CJ Allens log of the 1934 record breaking non-stop Cork-Kingsbridge  run of  the rebuilt Watson 4-6-0 402 with 3 coaches (MGWR Royal Saloon, Dining Car &  Bogie Full Brake) conveying the newly appointed United States Minister to the Free State.

Average speeds in the high 60s-70s were maintained north of Limerick Junction with an average of 85.6 between Ballybrophy and Portlaoise (Maryborough) where the record 87mph was recorded. 

A top speed of 82.5 was recorded between Rathduff and Blarney on a 1937 southbound run of the Kingsbridge-Cork (English mail) with a 9 Coach 290/310 train behind Caprotti rebuilt Watson 4-6-0 401 average speed seems to have been  in the high 60s north of Mallow with a maximum of 72 recorded between Templemore and Thurles. Nock described the coal as little better than slack which tended to congeal when sprayed with water to control the dust, at station stops two men came forward to assist the fireman trim the coal forward otherwise it would have been difficult for the fireman to maintain speed.

401 was recorded at a maximum of 71 between Hazlehatch and Lucan with a 360 ton train on the return leg of the "English Mail" probably the GSRs crack train.

"Maeve" was reportedly  achieved a maximum of 92mph  on a demonstration run in July 1939.

Nocks detailed August 1939 log of Maedb with a 450 ton train on the up "English Mail" achieved a maximum of 79mph between the Curragh and Newbridge with speeds in the high 60s-mid 70s onwards to Clondalkin.

The train was strengthened to accommodate a large number of returning passengers off a Transatlantic Liner and an opportunity to test how much the new locomotives could haul without assistance up the steep grades out of Cork station. 800 hauled the train out of Cork without a problem train and kept time despite problems with poor quality coal and the regulator sticking briefly. There was a full house with 7 people on the footplate as far as Mallow with the District Locomotive Inspector, Cork Shedmaster, a local running inspector and an engineer from Inchacore coming along for the ride!

The book includes a log of a Belfast-Dublin run of the Up Limited mail behind 173 Galteemore with 225 tons or 7 coaches to Dundalk and 8 coaches or 260 tons onwards to Dublin a maximum of 86.5 was recorded on the downhill section between Adavoyle and MP55.5 with speeds in the 70s between Moira and Castlebellingham. South of Castlebellingham speeds were mainly in the high 60s with a maximum of 78 between mp 16 and Malahide, the crew also had to contend with fog between kellystown Box and Drogheda.

 

 

  • Like 2
  • Informative 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Urban legends had the three 800s, or 800 herself at least, at 100.

Senior used to say that it is very possible, indeed probable on trial, but to his knowledge (and mine) no RELIABLE account seems to exist.

I can confirm that a 201 did do 105. Also, a retired driver told me that he often had 071s at well over 85 on passenger trains in the 1978-85 period when he drove on the Cork line.

The Passage 2.4.2Ts seem to have been the fastest narrow gauge locos, with the NCC 2.4.2Ts not far behind them.

 

Edited by jhb171achill
  • Informative 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
35 minutes ago, jhb171achill said:

Urban legends had the three 800s, or 800 herself at least, at 100.

Senior used to say that it is very possible, indeed probable on trial, but to his knowledge (and mine) no RELIABLE account seems to exist.

I can confirm that a 201 did do 105. Also, a retired driver told me that he often had 071s at well over 85 on passenger trains in the 1978-85 period when he drove on the Cork line.

The Passage 2.4.2Ts seem to have been the fastest narrow gauge locos, with the NCC 2.4.2Ts not far behind them.

 

Given the 96mph is quoted in a few places I think we can take that as read that 800 reached that speed. Given that's only 4 mph below 100 and the characteristics of the class bear similarity to British locos which managed into the three figures I think it is at the very least possible that an '800' could have made 100mph without difficulty, but if you read the IRRS Journals then the first officially recorded 100mph was not until 1984.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, hexagon789 said:

Given the 96mph is quoted in a few places I think we can take that as read that 800 reached that speed. Given that's only 4 mph below 100 and the characteristics of the class bear similarity to British locos which managed into the three figures I think it is at the very least possible that an '800' could have made 100mph without difficulty, but if you read the IRRS Journals then the first officially recorded 100mph was not until 1984.

Easy, Hex. Repetition doesn't make an inaccuracy any more correct!

For example, City of Truro - possibly a speed in the nineties, but NOT a hundred mph. You miss mileposts down Wellington today with massive BR posts, but the tiny GWR ones of that time and in the dark .......   That said, probably the first reasonably authenticated run around 90mph.

Flying Scotsman? Cecil J Allen made it 99mph, but being  a LNER employee, said nothing about the claim.

Like it or not, the first authenticated British "ton" was 2750 Papyrus which did 108mph (Dynamometer Car reading) while testing the possiblities for High Speed Trains before the Silver Jubilee service.

All that said, I agree that a loco of the size of an 800 should have been good for 90mph. We need a Time Machine.

Edited by leslie10646
  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

do have my copy of a Decade of Steam to hand, @leslie10646;) and according to Bill McDonnell 801 was the speediest of the trio. This may of course refer to acceleration rather than actual max speed. Drew suggests that the 800s never really got the opportunity to show their true mettle. On 17 Mar 1940, he got 88 with Maedbh between Ballybrophy and Thurles. The engine ‘just ran away’ with the six bogies according to Driver Foley. Drew leaves the strong  impression that higher speeds could have been gained had a serious effort been made (as on the LMS and LNER) to push the locos hard.

B1C9844D-E898-4FE9-AA8F-D7E67B0803BA.jpeg

Edited by Galteemore
  • Informative 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, leslie10646 said:

Easy, Hex. Repetition doesn't make an inaccuracy any more correct!

That's true, I agree with that, in this instance I was more thinking of the figure itself rather than the veracity of the record itself. You do see differing figures quoted on certain records sometimes.

 

3 hours ago, leslie10646 said:

For example, City of Truro - possibly a speed in the nineties, but NOT a hundred mph. You miss mileposts down Wellington today with massive BR posts, but the tiny GWR ones of that time and in the dark .......   That said, probably the first reasonably authenticated run around 90mph.

CoT is an interesting one, I've seen articles which have categorically stated she couldn't reach that speed but there was a good article in Steam Railway some years ago which neither agreed nor disagreed with the speed but pointed out some things.

Based on the train weight and the gradient, using simple calculations of train resistance the train would have been able to attain 90mph purely coasting down the hill. The stopwatch used recorded only to the nearest 0.2s. An error of just 0.3s could have changed the speed from 102.3 down to 98 or pushed it to 105mph. An error of 0.6s could have dropped speed to 91 mph pushed it to 108.

There are a number of records of 'Cities' attaining 90mph+ so the class was certainly capable of that.

You also have the point that the record was not instantaneous speed but an average of 102.3mph over a 1/4 mile, she would have needed to exceed 102.3 to obtain such an average, furthermore she was still accelerating at that point which raises the potential speed even higher. Driver Clements only shut off power and braked at the next milepost.

There have also been claims that CoT simply didn't have enough power to make such a speed but more modern calculations have shown it would be possible.

It will never be proven conclusively but personally I believe she at least could have reached 100mph.

3 hours ago, leslie10646 said:

Flying Scotsman? Cecil J Allen made it 99mph, but being  a LNER employee, said nothing about the claim.

Well, that emphasises my earlier point about the actual figures - I understood it to be 98mph she supposedly only attained! ;)

3 hours ago, leslie10646 said:

All that said, I agree that a loco of the size of an 800 should have been good for 90mph. We need a Time Machine.

And therein lies the problem, even with a full set of dynamometer rolls and stopwatch timings you can never really be sure about these older records and you can't go back and check them.

Perhaps easier than a building a time machine would be to re-steam 800 and give her a run... :)

 

 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, jhb171achill said:

N O W you are talking!!!

She could lift a fair load too, of course.......

Well, if we here in Britain can have new build LNER P2s and Peppercorn A1s, why can't Ireland have at least a re-steaming of one of its most illustrious steam locomotives?

(And yes I know there are reasons why not, but even as someone who is not primarily interested in steam I'd like to think positive about it.)

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
17 minutes ago, jhb171achill said:

N O W you are talking!!!

She could lift a fair load too, of course.......

And I think that was really the point of the GSR design rather than speed, which has never really been a thing in Ireland as it is in England (as I see frequently, living near the WCML). 

Just now, Galteemore said:

 

Edited by Galteemore
Link to post
Share on other sites
47 minutes ago, hexagon789 said:

Well, if we here in Britain can have new build LNER P2s and Peppercorn A1s, why can't Ireland have at least a re-steaming of one of its most illustrious steam locomotives?

(And yes I know there are reasons why not, but even as someone who is not primarily interested in steam I'd like to think positive about it.)

My reaction as a PW engineer to No.800 returning the network:
 

stock falls GIF

  • Funny 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...

Just taken delivery of some more archive journals, one of which is the October 1970 one with an article on the 800 Class. Within the article it is stated that the maximum recorded speed was 94mph below Kilmallock near Dundrum when 800 herself was on a demonstration run shortly before the Cork Mails were accelerated in July 1939. In a similar manner to the GWR in Britain, there was no specified maximum linespeed only permanent speed restrictions for curves and junctions.

There are also a number of timing logs which demonstrate speeds in the 70s including a maximum of 79 on the up Enterprise in 1951 and 80.5 on the down working also I'm 1951. By this point linespeed was officially 70mph rather than unrestricted.

  • Like 1
  • Informative 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Terms of Use