Comparative sizes of North American vs. UK locos

Discussion in 'The Real Thing- North America' started by RobertInOntario, Oct 26, 2006.

  1. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    I can pretty much work this out myself.... But I was looking at pics of Canadian steam engines such as the CPR Empress 2816 and CN Hudsons, and was wondering how their size compared to British steam locos such as the Flying Scotsman, Princess Elizabeth or a steamlined A4? I'd love to see a photo of (say) the Flying Scotsman next to the Royal Hudson.

    It's pretty obvious that Canadian Hudsons & Pacifics are larger, but by how much? Just offhand, it seems that the Cdn. Hudsons are significantly larger and would really dwarf their British counterparts. Just curious if anyone can comment further on this. Thanks in advance! (I also realize that this size difference partly led to the difference between the North American HO model scale and the fudged British OO scale.)

    I was going to ask this question in the "TH&B" thread but it was way too far off topic!

  2. kitsune

    kitsune Member

    The A3 Flying Scotsman was 70' long and 13' high.

    The Royal Hudson is 90' 10" long and 15' 10" tall.

    Wikipedia a powerful tool it is!
  3. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Thanks for looking this up, Kitsune -- I'm beginning to find Wikipedia to be helpful too!

    So I see that the Royal Hudson is quite a bit longer AND taller than the Scot -- interesting. The Hudson is a good 20' longer and almost 3' taller.

    Thanks, Rob
  4. Buddog

    Buddog Member

    Here is a picture I found a while back, have no idea who took it, all I now it was taken near the old Spadina roundhouse in Toronto back in the 70's? when the Flying Scottsman was in T.O. You can see that 6218 is much larger....

  5. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    I think that it really all depends on the road. "Modern" steamers (i.e. circa 1940s) were much larger than their counterparts with the same wheel arrangements from 50 years prior.

    Some "smaller" locos were built up and modified and became quite large - even larger than the "next biggest" wheel arrangement. One road mentioned in a older issue of MR (which one escapes me right now - issue and road hamr), built up some of the biggest Mikes there were.

    Looking at the picture that Tom provided, I think that the driving wheels are about the same size, so theoretically (based on wheels alone) the two engines could do about the same top speed.

  6. LoudMusic

    LoudMusic Member

    I think there may be relevance in the overall space available when talking about things like this. There is simply more land in the NA than there is in the UK. Our buildings are usually bigger, our cars are bigger, our houses are bigger, our roads are bigger, everything is just bigger. Hell, as a native Texan we often say "Everything is bigger in Texas".

    Now, grantid I don't think that bigger is necessarily better. I drive small cars, am a relatively small guy, and enjoy tiny trains. I just think that there's plenty of reasoning behind such a trend.
  7. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Thanks, Tom. I keep looking at that pic. It says it all -- a pic really is worth a 1,000 words! The size difference is huge. Thanks for referring me to this. Rob
  8. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Yes, that's generally true. Although cars have gradually been getting bigger over there and now stretch limos have become popular! But you're right in that the amount of space in the UK (and therefore how crowded it is) compared to here is a big factor. Thanks, Rob
  9. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    I have a similar shot at a different angle (and different city) on the cover of the book Canadian National in the East Vol. 2. In it Flying Scotsman looks to have bigger drivers than 6218. (I guess it's off to Guelph or Fort Erie with the tape measure.)
    The British loading gauge is much smaller than the North American one (and European and Russian and ...) and was determined by a large number of tunnels built before 1880. It's been felt that it was better to keep with smaller trains than go to the expense of doubling the size of the bores.
    The difference is such that British OO gauge trains have about the same bulk as American HO. Or is that the reason that the British use OO?
  10. Buddog

    Buddog Member

    Your welcome, I never got to see the two running, I am too young for that, but I spend hours looking at pictures of Canadian Steam Loco's and yes they are worth 1,000 words...

  11. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Thanks again, David! Is the 6218 based in Guelph or Fort Erie then, and if so, does it still operate?

    Regarding the 00/HO difference: I've heard it explained in various ways, but its mainly because British locos are smaller than North American ones. Years ago, when the OO/HO scales first came out, manufacturers had to make the locos' bodies larger in order to house the motors. In so doing, this distorted the scale so that the locos' bodies ended up being scale while the wheels' gauge ended up being too narrow.

    HO is accurate and its scale is 3.5mm to the foot. OO is inaccurate and it's 4.0mm to the foot. Basically, a OO loco looks fine from the side, but if you look at it from the front you can see that the wheels are placed too close together. For "perfectionists" who are not satisfied with this error, other British scales have been developed. I think the most accurate British scale is P4 ... and some modellers convert their OO stock to P4.

    At least that's the way I understand it. I've read various articles on this. But I'm sure you know most of this already!

    The Toronto Christmas Train Show is getting closer! Take care,
  12. Buddog

    Buddog Member

    6167 is in Guelph ( not in the greatest shape ) and 6218 is in fort erie ( does not run but looks really nice) also if you are in the Toronto area 6213 is at the E.X. grounds next to the old marine museum building. It looks really good (only if they would remove the ears)

    If you want to see picutre of 6213 or 6167 I have taken some over the last coulpe years..

  13. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Thanks, Tom. I've heard that 6213 is well cared for by volunteers and it wouldn't take that much to get it steamed again. I've seen 6213 before but not recently. Sure, I'd be interested in seeing a pic of 6167 or 6213 but only when you get a chance. Cheers, Rob
  14. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    I always noticed the "high-stepping" look of British steamers. I think their drive wheels didn't actually tend to be larger (for the same type of service) but they looked bigger because the engines were so small.

    Also, British roads didn't use as large of wheel arrangements. I believe there was only one 4-6-4 tender engine ever built in Britain?
  15. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Good points, Triplex, especially your observation that British roads didn't have locos with large wheel arrangements. In general, it (at least) seems that Pacifics were the largest locos that they ran. The A3s, A4s, Battle of Britains, Merchant Navies, Duchess and Princess classes were all Pacifics. Rob
  16. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Gresley built one 4-6-4. He also built a number of 2-8-2 s, but they were too powerful for the length of the sidings (!) so that some vandal had them rebuilt into awkward looking pacifics - just at the point in the war when they could have used the extra power.
    All Gresley pacifics had 6'8" drivers (except the tanks).
    Robert: any chance you'll be at the Platelayers in Guelph on Sunday?
  17. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    David: I also realized after I wrote my last note that the 8Fs and 9Fs were pretty large too -- the Evening Star comes to mind.
    I'm hoping to get to a Platelayers meeting one day -- and do want to go! -- but I won't be able to make it this Sunday. Maybe in Jan/Feb?
  18. Buddog

    Buddog Member

    Rob here are those two pics one of 6167 taken in Guelph in 2004 and the other of 6213 taken in Toronto in 2005. I tend to plan all my trips around locations where Steam locomotives are, my wife and I were in Ottawa this summer to see a Shay running at the museum of Science and Technology, and while in the area we went over to Hull Quebec to ride behind a Swiss Steamer that runs excursions.


    Attached Files:

  19. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    I find it interesting that 4-6-0s were still common up to the end of steam in Britain, and 4-4-0s could be found without difficulty. Both those wheel arrangements became obsolete before the end of steam in North America.

    I believe the largest conventional freight engines in Britain were light 2-10-0s - the 9F class, IIRC? I also know they had no Mallets. The only British articulateds I know of were the LMS 2-6-0+0-6-2 Garratts.

    80" drivers - that's the same as heavy 4-8-4s used here. The Pacific in Britain, it seems, took on the role of the Northern in the US: the largest conventional passenger engine made in large numbers.
  20. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Gresley was also responsible for the LNER's Garrat - 2-8-0+0-8-2. It was numbered 9999 while the 4-6-4 was 10000.
    The Southern Railway built the most powerful and modern 4-4-0s between the wars (the Schools class). And Britisj Railways constructed 4-6-0s after the war as well.

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