söndag 3 december 2006

Efficient design

This steam locomotive which looks like it dates from around 1914 was a very clever engineering concept actually designed at the start of World War 2.

It was designed to be constructed out of standard and easily-made parts, many of which were also components of other existing types and therefore used a common pool of spares.

The boiler is a simple cylindrical construction which was much less costly to manufacture and repair than the complex boilers used by the other railway companies at the time. It also has the advantage of having plenty of space for steam storage so in effect it acts as an energy container, which is exactly what is needed in railway conditions when the use of energy is intermittent.

By all accounts it was every bit as good as the equivalent designs of other companies, such as the Class 5, but they had a reputation for rough riding at speed which could have been cured by adjusting the balancing/and or suspension; steam engines have heavy reciprocating components which can cause problems if not carefully balanced.

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