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The basic principles of modern steam locomotive technology first appeared in Stephenson's "Rocket" which is now preserved in the Science Museum in London. The water jacketed fire box, the... multi tubular boiler and the blast pipe are all features which are found in the most advanced locomotives of the twentieth century. As well as the 'Rocket' two other locomotives are discussed in some detail by John Van Riemsdijk; 'Mallard', the fastest steam locomotive in the world at present in Clapham and a Du Bousquet engine built in 1911 now preserved in working order at Ashford in Kent Mallard's multi tubular boiler, superheater system, double Kylchap blast pipe and sophisticated steam circuitry are compared to the similar though simpler arrangements in the 'Rocket'. John Van Riemsdijk uses the 'Du Bousquet' engine as an example of the advanced Continental designs which led the world of steam in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. This engine was a forerunner of those designed by Chapelon. Some archive film of a Chapelon 'Pacific' is shown. Colin Russell talks about the abandonment of steam in Western Europe and the reasons for this. The advanced steam designs of the post war period really came too late to outweigh the social pressure to "go Diesel". Although most people accept electric locomotives as environmentally and economically desirable the diesel is seen to be an engine not necessarily preferable to steam. Dr. Russell is filmed in the somewhat nostalgic atmosphere of a dockside scrap yard in Barry where hundreds of abandoned British Railways steam locomotives lie rusting away.
Metadata describing this Open University video programme
Module code and title: AST281, Science and the rise of technology since 1800
Item code: AST281; 11; 1974
First transmission date: 16-10-1974
Published: 1974
Rights Statement:
Restrictions on use:
Duration: 00:23:43
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Producer: Jim Stevenson
Contributors: John van Riemsdijk; Colin Russell
Publisher: BBC Open University
Keyword(s): Chapelon Pacific; Du Bousquet; Mallard; Rocket
Footage description: Colin Russell introduces the programme from the Barry scrapyard containing hundreds of condemned steam locomotives. Wide shots and details. He briefly outlines steam technology. John van Riemsdijk sitting in the smokebox of "Mallard". He describes the locomotive's advanced draughting system. Film of "Mallard" hauling a passenger train at full speed in the 1930's. In the Science Museum, John describes the draughting system on "Rocket", showing the Museum's full size replica. Film of French du Bousquet locomotive in steam at Ashford, Kent. Russell explains the Continental supremacy in the late development of the steam engine in terms of their superioir technical education. Van Riensdijk describes the features of the du Bousquet engine, built in 1911. Film of a Chapelon Pacific leaving depot and at speed. Russell describes the locomotive as a culmination of scientific design in engineering. In conclusion Russell points out the labour intensive nature of steam locomotive servicing. Film of this: emptying ashes, cleaning smoke box, raising fire, taking coal and water. These and other reasons are given for the abandonment of steam in favour of diesel and electric traction. Further film of the Barry scrapyard.
Master spool number: 6HT/71529
Production number: 00525_3196
Videofinder number: 3372
Available to public: no