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Hydraulic vs Electric: the Battle for the BR Diesel Fleet [Hardcover]

David Clough
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
Price: 19.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

3 Feb 2011
This latest title explores the history of the standard classes that emerged after the victory of the diesel-electric school. The follow up to the author s Diesel Pioneers, Hydraulic vs. Electric provides significant primary research into official records accompanied by 175 mono illustrations. As British Rail approached modernisation of its locomotive fleet in the mid-1950s, there were two competing means of using diesel engines in main-line locomotives hydraulic and electric. The former was preferred by a number of railway operators, most notably DB in Germany as the technology was considerably lighter than that required for diesel-electric locomotives of a comparable power. This is perhaps best exemplified by the weight of the 78 ton hydraulic Warship class compared to the electric Class 40, which weighed in at an impressive 133 tons for a virtually identical effort. Following the Modernisation Plan, British Rail acquired both diesel-hydraulic and diesel-electric locomotives. Within the railway industry there were proponents of both forms of traction, with controversy raging amongst the CME s department over the merits or weaknesses of either type. Gradually the proponents of electric transmission, aided by the improvements in design which ultimately led to a considerable reduction in the weight of diesel-electric locomotives, won the day and the hydraulic classes were ultimately to be withdrawn, in many cases well before the types were retired from service.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Ian Allan Publishing (3 Feb 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0711035504
  • ISBN-13: 978-0711035508
  • Product Dimensions: 25.6 x 20.4 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 411,383 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

David Clough has a longstanding association as an author and writer on modern traction topics, with several books ranked as definitive studies about the BR diesel fleet. His research has been from original sources, either railway personnel directly involved or more recently by accessing files now open for inspection in the National Archives. This has meant new material has been brought into the public domain and helped to correct many misunderstandings that have found their way into railway folklore.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An objective conclusion ? 31 Mar 2011
By BobB
Given Mr Clough's background, I suppose it's not surprising that he assumes we know a lot about electric transmission and little about hydraulic or mechanical systems, but the book is rather unbalanced in terms of technical descriptions and explanations. Having said that, given the title, inclusion of mechanical transmission systems was a welcome added bonus.

As the (quite readable) text progresses it becomes clear that information has either not been recorded, or it is not available, to objectively assess the merits of either hydraulic or electric transmissions, so much being shrouded in vested interests and/or a suggestion of commercial confidentiality.

We are left with records of some senior personel within BR expressing opinions based upon non-demonstrable and non-analysed performances. That these opinions officially record differences with some aspects previously regarded as facts by followers of BR's dieselisation history could be rather disturbing to those with entrenched views, including authors who are regarded as experts.

It is only in the final pages that a sensible conclusion is offered - I say offered because acceptance can only occur if we believe the official records referenced throughout the book. Perhaps this could be the start of another conspiracy theory !
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best railway book ive ever read 6 Jun 2011
This is the best railway book i have ever read.Fantastically well researched,fascinating although quite technical in places{the hardest chapter is also the longest]this book is an honest and surprisingly unbiased account of the development of these two forms of traction and part they played on our own rail network post 1955 and their varying degree of success/failiure.Contains the well supported revelation that the western region did not choose the hydraulics as is commonly beleived but that other circumstance led to their eventual use in the west of England.This book tells what happened and why.Brilliant.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
By fred
I loved this book, I could hardly put it down for a few days!
It answers so many questions that are rarely touched on and shows how deeply the author had to dig to get all the information, as a non-engineer.
The gripes are few, concerning lack of some detail in a couple of places, but as the author says, a balance has to be struck.
Obviously, it is for those interested in the subject, and therefore a worthy addition to my bookshelf.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An unsolved question 13 Feb 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I think the book deserves to be read, but, at last, it doesn't solve the question. Maybe I could not have understood well some point, as English is not my mother tongue, but, basically, the reported data don't explain enough the reasons of a so unsuccessfull performance of hydraulics in terms of reliability. Generally speaking, these problems could have been solved, taking account of the success that diesel-hydraulics have got in Germany for any type of diesel locomotive, and, in other countries, for shunting above all, but also for main line light and medium duties. One can argue that hydraulics were put aside for avoiding to rely on foreign patents and on political grounds too, as other rewiewers pointed out. See also the example of the U.S.A., where the famed ML4000 from Krauss-Maffei, built for Rio Grande and Southern Pacific lasted short, even if they performed well and were more powerful that their American counterparts of the same size and weight. My conclusion is that this book helps to understand the issue better, but is far from giving an ultimate word on the matter.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great chapter on the Fell locomotive too 5 July 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Answering the question of why the Germans could use the V200 design successfully, the Western Region couldn't and the other parts of BR didn't even try.

Great chapter on the Fell locomotive too.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Technical 21 April 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Excellent if somewhat overly technical book which, at times, can be a little overbearing, but which gives insight into the battle for the Western Region's preferred traction.
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5.0 out of 5 stars concise 13 Sep 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
the book has a well informed and balanced text. easy to read. photographs carefully chosen; personally haven't seen most of them before.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Railman
An excellent book telling the history of the Modernisation plan Diesel fleet. The story is well set out and contains many excellent black&white photo's. Read more
Published 13 months ago by cairns
4.0 out of 5 stars Not the easiest of reads
This was not the easiest of reads (lots of data presented in different units of measurement for comparison with each other) and it did go off at a tangent into irrelevent technical... Read more
Published on 14 Feb 2012 by Alex, Norfolk
5.0 out of 5 stars Hydraulic vs Elecrtic: Politcs vs Engineering
This book is an excellent account of the replacement of steam power on British Railways from the 1950's. Read more
Published on 28 Dec 2011 by Bob Leslie
4.0 out of 5 stars concise starting reference
In recent years I have raided the second hand sellers to get copies of the old David and Charles locomotive studies. Read more
Published on 30 Oct 2011 by 37284
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book
As per all the other reviews this is an excellent book and Mr Clough has to be rated as one of the best rail authors in the country. Read more
Published on 10 Sep 2011 by S. Moore
5.0 out of 5 stars What a brill read
I had looked for ages to find a book to explain why BR chose Diesel/Electric over Diesel. This book explains all, and more. None of the vague stuff. Read more
Published on 5 Sep 2011 by M. Collins
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantatic book - do buy it
Absolutely facinating history of what went on - I just cannot put the book down and keep reading it over and over again..... Read more
Published on 9 May 2011 by BD
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