RCH Wagon Drawings

John Palmer
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RCH Wagon Drawings

Postby John Palmer » Sat May 04, 2019 1:55 pm

In the course of my interweb peregrinations today I came across this interesting page: http://www.cs.rhul.ac.uk/~adrian/steam/RCHWagons/index.html. It makes available for download a 512MB zipfile that contains scanned high resolution copies of 48 RCH wagon drawings and details thereof, dating from the 1923 wagon designs onwards. Each drawing lies in the range 6.5 to 12.5MB, which gives you some idea of their size. The page for which I've supplied the URL gives large thumbnails of each drawing in the collection, which can then be individually downloaded as an alternative to getting the entire zipfile.

The web page also contains links to an interesting article about how RCH design wagons were constructed, and to Surrey Warner's chapter on wagon construction in Gresham Publishing's two volume work entitled 'Railway Mechanical Engineering'. I've had this particular oeuvre in my own collection for many years, but don't believe I have seen any part of it reproduced online before now.

Hope this resource may be of interest and value to forum members. My thanks go to Adrian Johnstone for putting it online.

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Guy Rixon
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Re: RCH Wagon Drawings

Postby Guy Rixon » Sun May 05, 2019 1:22 pm

Thanks for this. The GA for the 12-ton mineral seems to be that reproduced in the Ince Wagon Works book, which has always been my first reference for RCH details. It's great to have that and associated drawings available in better resolution.

David Knight
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Re: RCH Wagon Drawings

Postby David Knight » Sun May 05, 2019 1:46 pm

Thanks for the link. I’ve taken the liberty of passing it on to members of my local club who are finding it very useful and informative.

Cheers,

David

shipbadger
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Re: RCH Wagon Drawings

Postby shipbadger » Sun May 05, 2019 4:08 pm

Brilliant resource, answered a few questions that had been nagging, such as axlebox dust shields. Only ever found the remains of them when working on 12":1' restorations. Now all I need to know is what Helvetia leather is; does this refer to the country of origin do you think?

Tony Comber

John Palmer
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Re: RCH Wagon Drawings

Postby John Palmer » Sun May 05, 2019 4:57 pm

Seems likely Helvetia leather is a proprietary reference. https://www.gracesguide.co.uk/Helvetia_Leather_Co gives sparse details of a Helvetia Leather Company which, in 1937, were apparently suppliers of leather belting.

Adrian Johnstone has put online only one chapter of the section in Railway Mechanical Engineering dealing with carriage and wagon design and construction. I took a look round the whole of this section in my own copy in the hope that, being more or less contemporary, it might shed some further light on the expression. It contains a description of the LSW axlebox's features including the dust shield, but although it refers to the element in contact with the axle as being made of leather, goes no further as to its specification, Helvetia or otherwise.

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Noel
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Re: RCH Wagon Drawings

Postby Noel » Sun May 05, 2019 5:03 pm

shipbadger wrote:Now all I need to know is what Helvetia leather is; does this refer to the country of origin do you think?


A brief wander around Google revealed that Helvetia Leather is a company domiciled in the USA. However, the name may be a specific used for a generic, like Hoover. The second entry down at https://www.dshorne.com.au/premium-english-leather under "Premium Red Hide" Sometimes referred to as Latigo or Helvetia (yellow), usually sold in sides. This leather is Alum tanned and heavily greased. This type of leather is used for reins and lacing on Military saddles, Australian stock saddles and Western saddles. Perfectly suited for outdoor and wet weather uses. may well be relevant.
Regards
Noel

John Palmer
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Re: RCH Wagon Drawings

Postby John Palmer » Sun May 05, 2019 5:55 pm

A couple more references to/definitions of helvetia leather: http://www.kingsmerecrafts.info/page17.html and http://www.leathersmithe.com/leather-terms.html

shipbadger
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Re: RCH Wagon Drawings

Postby shipbadger » Mon May 06, 2019 7:34 am

Thanks for the replies with regard to Helvetia leather. The reference to being heavily greased would tie in with it's use as a gasket with the axle revolving in contact with it. I wonder how long they lasted in use. Perhaps they were a regular 'service item' or maybe they were expected to last the life of the wagon. Was the concept of design life used a 100 years ago I wonder. By WW2 I believe the notion of designing something for a given life was in existence and I believe many of the aircraft used were designed for so many take offs and landings.

Tony Comber

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Noel
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Re: RCH Wagon Drawings

Postby Noel » Mon May 06, 2019 10:45 am

shipbadger wrote:Thanks for the replies with regard to Helvetia leather. The reference to being heavily greased would tie in with it's use as a gasket with the axle revolving in contact with it. I wonder how long they lasted in use. Perhaps they were a regular 'service item' or maybe they were expected to last the life of the wagon.


Don't forget that the railways of the Victorian era employed small armies of greasers and wagon inspectors, and any location of any significance would have a resident wagon repair facility of some sort, even if it was just space on an open siding. Grease axleboxes required frequent refilling [sometimes for every trip] so would be subject to frequent inspection. Leather being perishable, I doubt it was intended to last for a possible wagon lifetime.

shipbadger wrote: Was the concept of design life used a 100 years ago I wonder.


Probably not, and it would be even less likely 150 years ago, I would think. Wooden Victorian wagons probably were replaced only when it was more economic to replace rather than repair [wooden wagons could have parts replaced more or less indefinitely], or, later, when changes in technology made it imperative. Steel underframes and body bracing could last half a century or more, and have the wooden body parts replaced more than once in that time; BR was still doing this in the late 1950s/early 1960s, while some wooden underframe tank wagons were well over the half century mark by 1960, and only went out of use because of the change to larger power braked vehicles.

shipbadger wrote:By WW2 I believe the notion of designing something for a given life was in existence and I believe many of the aircraft used were designed for so many take offs and landings.


Engines were designed to have a minimum life in terms of flying hours before rebuilding or replacement by then, and were tested accordingly. The situation regarding military airframes is a bit more complex though, since the designer could not predict what might happen to it in use. Aircraft would also be subject to checks, and repair where necessary, after nearly every flight; the RAF, for example, had far more ground crew than pilots... Modern airliners are designed, I understand, for a stated minimum number of pressurisation/depressurisation cycles, rather than take offs/landings per se, but this is not particularly relevant to WW2 aircraft as very few were pressurised.
Regards
Noel

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Flymo748
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Re: RCH Wagon Drawings

Postby Flymo748 » Mon May 06, 2019 8:36 pm

Noel wrote:
shipbadger wrote: Was the concept of design life used a 100 years ago I wonder.


Probably not, and it would be even less likely 150 years ago, I would think. Wooden Victorian wagons probably were replaced only when it was more economic to replace rather than repair [wooden wagons could have parts replaced more or less indefinitely], or, later, when changes in technology made it imperative. Steel underframes and body bracing could last half a century or more, and have the wooden body parts replaced more than once in that time; BR was still doing this in the late 1950s/early 1960s, while some wooden underframe tank wagons were well over the half century mark by 1960, and only went out of use because of the change to larger power braked vehicles.

shipbadger wrote:By WW2 I believe the notion of designing something for a given life was in existence and I believe many of the aircraft used were designed for so many take offs and landings.


Engines were designed to have a minimum life in terms of flying hours before rebuilding or replacement by then, and were tested accordingly. The situation regarding military airframes is a bit more complex though, since the designer could not predict what might happen to it in use. Aircraft would also be subject to checks, and repair where necessary, after nearly every flight; the RAF, for example, had far more ground crew than pilots... Modern airliners are designed, I understand, for a stated minimum number of pressurisation/depressurisation cycles, rather than take offs/landings per se, but this is not particularly relevant to WW2 aircraft as very few were pressurised.


Having spent a very pleasant afternoon wandering around the RAF Museum at Hendon with my wife, the comments above chimed very true. I noticed the following on two particular aircraft:

- C130 Hercules "The aircraft still in service will have been updated so that they contain only 10% of the components with which they left the factory"

- One of the helicopters (can't remember which one) entered RAF service in 1990, and was retired in the mid-2000s as "airframe expired".

The latter comment makes me very glad that they don't apply that criteria to 75 year old Spitfires :-)

Cheers
Flymo
Beware of Trains - occasional modelling in progress!
www.5522models.co.uk

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LesGros
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Re: RCH Wagon Drawings

Postby LesGros » Mon May 06, 2019 9:58 pm

Paul,
Helicopter main components, gearboxes; engines etc. are replaced many times during the Aircraft service life. Individual component will have a service life based on flying hours. Oil analysis is used to monitor engine and gearbox wear.

The working life of a helicopter airframe is largely dependant upon the operating environment, and anti corrosion measures being correctly applied. Vibration and metal fatigue take their toll too. The Wessex skin was originally a magnesium alloy which was replaced, piecemeal, with Duralumin. Corroded and cracked frames were also replaced as required. Most airframes also put on weight over the years as many coats of paint were applied.

Expiration of the airframe could be due to any or all of the above.

During my 33 years, mostly on three-man crew SAR units, there were four crews [Pilot; Navigator; Winchman] and around twentythree ground crew.

All in all, a very rewarding life experience.
LesG

The man who never made a mistake
never made anything useful

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Noel
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Re: RCH Wagon Drawings

Postby Noel » Tue May 07, 2019 12:08 pm

Flymo748 wrote:The latter comment makes me very glad that they don't apply that criteria to 75 year old Spitfires


Essentially they do. Such aircraft are now classed as civilian, but without a certificate of compliance with their rules from the CAA, they don't fly. That in simplistic terms is what grounded the last Vulcan in the end.
Regards
Noel


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