abaduck wrote:Yes, I know it's not American as per the original spec. of this thread, but when it comes to strange steam locomotives, surely Bulleid's 'Leader' wins hands down? Mike
ell - in a way: yes
, though by another point of view: not really
. I guess we had some US engines in the discussion before that likewise were unhappy but not weird or monstrous by design.
(*g* - and that in Britain, mind it!) engine of Bulleid's was in its own way an ingenious machine - perhaps failing because of too much sparkling of Bulleid's unconventional ideas. For example: the idea of a full adhesion bogie concept was progressive - but Bulleid would not have been Bulleid if he had not designed his own and very special type of steam motors for each the bogies. Steam motors and
introduction of untried sleeve valves was a bit much at a time. In a modern industrial world to introduce an engine type of such a degree of novelty would all for a lot of test plant running, according redesign, re-testing and re-designing again, re-testing again - and so on and so forth - to go on for years for sure, even with all the computer aided design, knowledge banks on material characteristics and all. Bulleid did neither have such resources nor that time given to him by the railroad nor did he give much time to his staff. It was expectabe to run into trouble of various kind this way. It would have demanded thorough testing, analysation of trouble, redesigning, rebuilding, retesting etc. Then it could
have been advanced enough to work as well as any other engine. As it was, that time and that expenditure was not given to any steam development in Britain at that time and so the engine ended up as just another example of an idea that was never really developed.
o my personal view - and this is admittedly an emotional view for now - failure of this experimental type due to lack of support does not bear the aura of tragedy to the extent as did other experimentals, for -a-
it still would have had a long way to go until reaching possible success, -b-
it would have brought about a form of steam locomotives that would resemble diesel locomotives and thus have lost all the glory of classic steam and - rationally speaking - -c-
if made successful, it would have had to compete directly with same concept locos powered by diesel engines and that would have raised the question: if it works as well as a diesel and performs like a diesel - then what advantage is unique to it?
ne has to admit that some experimentals that have been touched in this discussion only promised advantages over the existing classic steam types - but offered little to put them above other propositions of modern traction.
n the end what put steam behind was not a question of classic concept versus full adhesion concept, it was sheer lack of straight forward detailed technical development and parallel upgrading of service handling. Steam locomotives struggled on under most deplorable and backwardish conditions of running and consequently had to be designed for it - while diesels demanded
exacting procedures and modern type of quality management. Introduction of diesels made the railroads learn that quickly. That was the key to success - a success that could likewise have advanced steam traction to yield the same revenue results.