A STUDY OF BRITISH STEAM


| January/February 1970



Part of the steam collection

Courtesy of William T. Richards, North Street, Granville, Ohio 43023 Part of the steam collection at Levens Hall, Westmoreland, England owned by Mr. Robin Bagot. Large engine is a 21 ton cross compound Fowler Showman's Engine. Small engine is a 4'' scale

William T. Richards

North Street Granville, Ohio 43023

Elmer, for most of us all of the time and for all of us most of the time, our steam activity is confined to threshing or playing at home and to attending the shows - as time permits. Let me suggest that our steam and farm machinery interest is fine with which to enrich any traveling we do - and it is much better if you do your home-work before you start.

Mrs. Richards and I re-visited England and Wales this past summer and while our trip was not primarily to study British Steam I will confine my story largely to this subject for Album Co-adventurers.

We made the trip in 1968 in order to sail, for the last time, on the beautiful 83,000 ton Queen Elizabeth - the like of which will not come again in our lifetime. My application to the Chief Engineer sounded like the travel was incidental and that my main interest was a visit to the engine rooms. Gentlemen, when you watch 4 - 55,000 H.P. Parson's Turbines driving 32 ton propellers through 27' diameter shafting, you gain a respect for steam power that will stay with you awhile. The twelve water-tube boilers, furnishing steam at 425 pounds and 750 degrees, together with the propulsion equipment is all original after 30 years of service and a few million miles of travel.

I made it a practice to walk those teakwood decks early in the morning to meet, largely people like myself, for whom this was the experience of a lifetime. Three turns of the Promenade deck is a mile and after 5 or 6 laps and watching the sun come up out of the sea, breakfast was mighty welcome. I wonder sometimes if our 'flighty' friends unwittingly avoid real living.

British railroads provide excellent passenger service and are otherwise disappointing. Steam locomotives are replaced by diesels, as with us, and the freight equipment is so outmoded it is pitiful. The 4 wheel cars - or wagons - are about as large as a good sized farm flat-bed wagon and have a capacity of 10 - 15 tons. These wagons are coupled from between the cars with three links of good-sized log chain and many had no brakes that I could see. When you see a cut of cars, it appears for all the world as though boys were playing with over-size toy trains.