jjnewitt wrote:I though that the point of RCH specifications was to lay down what the standard should be from that point forward? If so why they be able to pick and choose the type of underframe? I can certainly understand it taking a long time to get everyone using the new design as the various works would need to have recieved copies of it. Presumably the works would use the drawings it had if someone ordered more of something and if they hadn't been updated then the wagons would get the old type underframe?
I don't know, Justin, but a number of factors may be involved:
Issuing the paperwork for new designs was probably quite easy, but manufacturers must always have been given some leeway over how fast they introduced them, to allow for making or obtaining new tooling, etc. There is apparently some evidence from earlier changes that alterations were not always introduced all at once even by the same manufacturer, with interim versions existing. In wartime, with its emphasis on maintaining production at virtually any cost, this process is likely to have been extended. [In the early years of the war this is very evident with aircraft, with designs known to be obsolete continuing in production on the grounds that obsolete aircraft were better than none at all.]
Steel wagon underframes were precision items, built on jigs. Obtaining or making new jigs would be time consuming, and not necessarily straightforward, in view of other wartime demands, especially early in the war. Many companies involved in engineering took on war work, reducing the number of staff available for their normal work.
Some male staff would have been replaced by women; training them would have taken time, so making other alterations at the same time might have been avoided where possible. New trained staff to expand production would have been scarce or non-existent. Any change from riveting to welding would have required less staff eventually, but increased the training time required.