Dead Metal

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thunderer
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Re: Dead Metal

Post by thunderer »

Roger Wilco wrote:Regarding 'dead' exhibits - I feel the same way whenever I see Mallard* at York Railway Museum. I always imagine someone slipping in there in the wee small hours armed with a bag of Coalite, some firelighters and a tin of WD40..

* Odd, Duck-based name for record-busting streamlined Leviathan though?
Without de-railing and taking this thread "off topic", the york NRM have stated in the past (at least since Mallard last ran) that to steam her (Mallard) would add more wear to the locomotive and they prefer to keep the locomotive "As-Is" and preserved for the nation. pathetic. I say Run it alongside the other A4 Loco's. The name of "Mallard" (as well as the other "bird" names) was of Sir herbert Nigel Gresley's choosing, as he was an avid wildlife enthusiast.

Which, in a round-about way brings me to my point.

If Bluebird K7 were to be fully rebuilt, stuffed, mounted and never run but "preserved on a plinth" what purpose would she serve other than to graphically and silently represent a bye-gone era of world water speed record attempts when men were men and British grit and determination were king ?

With Bluebird k7 Being rebuild and "occasionally" (??) run, not only does the nation once again have an item of priceless historic relevance, but the "general" public as well as enthusiasts will be fortunate enough to see and hear and see K7 doing, at least in part, what she was designed for; To run on water, whether this is in person or via archive or recent footage.

No silent stuffed and mounted vehicle could ever provoke the emotions of a living breathing machine like bluebird K7, regardless of how many years may pass between the times it is run.
Just cos my username is Thunderer, doesn't necessarily mean I SHOUT !!
"A vehicle is designed to be used, restored or otherwise" A personal response on the question "you have just restored it, why use it?"
polo
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Re: Dead Metal

Post by polo »

Hear, Hear! well said !, If a machine is sat there doing nothing it is a waste of space. I recently complained to the curator of the War Museum North re a Merlin engine that is sat on a stand, I made a comment to my wife 'what a waste ', as he was stood nearby[I didn't know]. He went on to lambast me with the history of the engine[as if I didn't know already] and how it saved us in the last war. He got it both barrels back with ' how can you treat a war hero by stuffing it and putting it on display, and I pointed out how will children of today remember such a piece of machinery. He has now got in touch with hendon and is having a recording of the Merlin being played next to it and he is researching how to get it working again and to run it at displays. I've joined the 'friends of the museum' as a result. If you don't like what you see,, sorry to shout... COMPLAIN !.. I could copy the letter I received from the curator of the Birmingham museum re the Railton Mobil Special after a complaint I made.. He couldn't even spell MOBIL he sent it back as MOBILE.. copy straight to the mayor of Birmingham from me!. The RMS now has a nice stand all of her own and is in a prominant place with photos of her exploits all over.
For those that haven't ,get onto the website and put in your 2 pennorth re BB running again and make sure you say that there should be NO restrictions of any kind placed on BB. She is a British Icon and in my opinion second only to the Spitfire as the greatest mechanical icon. She should be allowed to dance on the water again..
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klingon
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Re: Dead Metal

Post by klingon »

Totally agree!(did originally write Hear Hear but Polo had the same thought!)-mechanical wear?-what a cop out! it's a bloody machine! of course parts will wear!-thats what workshops are for!-as is?-betcha no more than 50% of the "original" Mallard is there anyway-throught her life don't they think that parts were replaced on a regular basis?-K7 only comprises of a fairly low proportion of the original parts used when she was first built-work in progress is the thing here-you can't freeze time years after the event-otherwise Mallard would still have the original coal in her bunkers!-look at my avtar-a bloody Lancaster on a stick!-I saw this to my horror years ago in Toronto-complete with graffiti art in the bomb bay and coke cans on the wings-thankfully this abomination has been taken down and is now being restored by people who want to see PLANES-not ornaments.thank God Bill et al told the museum fools where to get to with K7-he deserves a medal for that-The Queens Award For Common Sense.! :x
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Re: Dead Metal

Post by Jordangbr »

When I was an Apprentice Fitter and Turner a few years ago one of our tasks was to build a tender for a Victorian steam loco which had been converted by the local ironworks into a saddle tank engine (they scrapped the tender) and later retired it to a school playground where it languished for many years.
Instead of cosmetically restoring it they stripped her down at Vickers in Barrow where Flying Scotsman was once overhauled and restored it to running condition and to it's original configuration while the apprentices made the tender and all it's fittings.
It was very satisfying to see our hard work in action as opposed to being stuffed and mounted.
Furness Railway No 20 is now the oldest working standard guage loco in the country.
Are they scared about wear and tear on something as old as this? Nah!
So it's not as if Mallard is unique now is it?
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thunderer
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Re: Dead Metal

Post by thunderer »

Good Gracious...I thought I would get chastised for de-railing this thread with my little sojourn about Mallard. How wrong could I be ?

It does prove though, that the emotions so evident in certain people go at least part way to proving that some "exhibits" should be used, regardless of it is only for a few hours every other year. Kinda reminds me of the situation with the "Duke", "Tornado" and "Lode Star" (More Loco's).................

With K7, I say let's see her getting wet. She may be the only craft of her design and thus priceless, but surely it is better to see her in action and not confined to a dry, dusty and boring existence like some of the museo's and general public would have her be.
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mtskull
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Re: Dead Metal

Post by mtskull »

betcha no more than 50% of the "original" Mallard is there anyway-throught her life don't they think that parts were replaced on a regular basis?
I am sure there is a great deal of truth in that. Components were regularly swapped between locomotives during major overhauls; parts such as boilers, pieces of motion, and sometimes even axleboxes and wheelsets. If Wiki is correct, Mallard has had no less than 12 boilers and 7 tenders in its lifetime!

I too would love to see Mallard in steam again, but it simply isn't feasible to keep every steam loco in running order; boilers are very expensive things to maintain and only have a life of ten years between major overhauls before you even think about keeping all those moving parts in fettle.

Don't be too hard on the NRM; -as a kid in about 1967 I remember visiting Butlin's at Minehead and scrambling all over "Duchess of Hamilton", at the time as dead a piece of metal as you could find, reduced to a children's plaything. This locomotive was subsequently rescued and restored to steam again on the main line... -by the National Railway Museum.
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mtskull
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Re: Dead Metal

Post by mtskull »

betcha no more than 50% of the "original" Mallard is there anyway
Possibly considerably less than 50%! -I have just read a letter in Railway Magazine, in which a former BR apprentice states that he witnessed an A4 being cut up at Doncaster Works in the 1960's. On asking, he was told in some secrecy that the frame was Mallard's, which had been discovered to be cracked and was replaced by another frame from a scrapped locomotive.

That being the case, what we know as Mallard lacks at least the boiler, frames and tender that travelled at the record speed of 126mph. Talk about LOOF!
Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goals.
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Renegadenemo
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Re: Dead Metal

Post by Renegadenemo »

For some reason that I don't understand locos never grabbed my imagination. It's even stranger when I consider how many sunken engine rooms I've explored with their towering, triple-expansion steam engines and massive boilers yet even I would love to see Mallard live and breathe again. It makes no difference that parts have been swapped out during her lifetime, the spirit of the machine lives on in what's there.
As I keep telling the museologists when they bleat preciously about 'originality', even if your granny has a plastic hip and a new heart valve, she's still still your granny...
Nor do I buy the idea that putting Mallard back into steam would be difficult or expensive. How many skilled and experienced steam enthusiasts must there be out there who would mortgage their soul to the devil for a chance to work on that machine?
Wear and tear - what a load of rubbish. Whether she ran from London to Edinburgh or just a half a mile up the track and back the public's appreciation would be the same.
The bald fact of the matter is that the museum community have no excuse, ethical or technical, for not giving the public (for whom museums exist, let's never forget that) exactly what they'd like to see.
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mtskull
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Re: Dead Metal

Post by mtskull »

Renegadenemo wrote:Nor do I buy the idea that putting Mallard back into steam would be difficult or expensive. How many skilled and experienced steam enthusiasts must there be out there who would mortgage their soul to the devil for a chance to work on that machine?
Wear and tear - what a load of rubbish. Whether she ran from London to Edinburgh or just a half a mile up the track and back the public's appreciation would be the same.
The bald fact of the matter is that the museum community have no excuse, ethical or technical, for not giving the public (for whom museums exist, let's never forget that) exactly what they'd like to see.
Bugger. Just spent half an hour putting together a reasoned argument taking issue with the above points, and then lost the internet conection. So, briefly:

Difficult and expensive? Check out the NRM's restoration of Flying Scotsman, unique and possibly even more iconic than Mallard:
http://www.flyingscotsman.org.uk

Would I like to see Mallard return to steam? -Undoubdtedly. Would I be prepared to see resources diverted from Flying Scotsman, when there are at least two other A4's in running order that can be seen hauling trains on the main line as they were designed to do? -No.

Would the public's appreciation of K7 be the same if she was restricted to pottering around at 8 knots compared to planing at high speed as she was designed to do? -of course not, and the same applies to the Mallard argument re. steaming for half a mile or from London to Edinburgh.

The purpose of museums is not primarily to entertain; rather it is to take care of and preserve exhibits, whilst informing and educating the public as to their history and significance. There is no reason why this shouldn't be done in a way that has broad appeal and is entertaining, but "live" exhibits, much as I enjoy them, aren't the only way to achieve this and it isn't always desirable. There is always going to be a trade-off between operating and preserving historic machinery; this is a difficult balancing act to perform and the fact that the museologists got it so badly wrong in the case of K7 doesn't mean that they are wrong every time.

Finally Bill, none of this should be taken as detracting from the fact that I think the BB team are doing an absolutely f****** fantastic job!
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Renegadenemo
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Re: Dead Metal

Post by Renegadenemo »

There is always going to be a trade-off between operating and preserving historic machinery; this is a difficult balancing act to perform and the fact that the museologists got it so badly wrong in the case of K7 doesn't mean that they are wrong every time.
I don't buy that there's a tradeoff at all. What does preserving mean? Not allowing a few thousandths of an inch to wear off a bearing and in the process killing off a perfectly serviceable machine that everyone would like to see working? Museologists laying up a steam train or a boat or any other mecahnical contrivance in the name of 'preservation' is just an act of supreme arrogance on their part. When they started telling us we couldn't rebuild K7 because she was a 'snapshot in time' or that we'd 'destroy history' I demanded to know who was empowered to decide that K7's history had ended and, guess what, they had no answer. A dither of tweed-clad fools had made up their own tiny minds about the matter and because they'd been in the trade their whole lives they thought their word was law.
we argued that K7 had enjoyed an illustrious career then had a bit of a bump. She'd then lain around for a few years 'til her Donald's daughter had once again picked up the mantle and things were about to get going again. Work in progress - but all the musos could do was treat us like simpletons. Now they ooh and ahh and generally agree that Bluebird is receiving the most sensitive and fascinating treatment (apart from the purists who'd still be poking at her remains with cotton buds and de-ionised water to this day) but the museum community on the whole still do as they please regardless of what the true owners of these treasures - the population at large - would rather see.
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