Triple Expansion Reciprocating Engines

Stuart Smith
9th December 2004, 23:52
As a new apprentice to Brocklebank Line in 1961 we were taken to various Marine related businesses. I remember one trip to a Marine Propeller manufacturer and being amazed at the shear size of them and the Shaper machine that was cutting the surface of the blades.
One Saturday morning we reported to Head Office at Cunard Buildings and were taken over to Birkenhead and set foot on our first Brocklebank ship. I can't remember what she was but she must have been SS Maihar, SS Mandasor or SS Makalla because she had main engines that were Triple Expansion Reciprocating Steam Engines. I can picture the sight even now in my mind but would have difficulty in putting the minds view into words.
We were told that this type of engine was soon to be history and that Steam Turbines would be forming the fleet in the future, apart from the Diesel engined Mahout whish was still on the stocks at that time.
Obviously we young apprentices all hoped that we would be allocated to a turbine ship and not to this ancient bit of marine history that we were looking at. I think that our years intake did only sail with turbines with several of us also sailing on MV Mahout.
It was towards the end of my time with the company that I felt I had missed an opportunity not having served on one of the Up and Downers but by then it was too late.
I have this desire to find out more about this form of steam propulsion but have been unable to find much on the net except for simplified diagrams. Are there any older Brock's engineers out there who can share some of their memories with me/us and enlighten me as to what they were like to serve?
Also does anyone have any photographs of these engines that they could post.

Look forward to getting some good feed-back.
Stuart Smith

John Rogers
10th December 2004, 01:39
I served on six of the old steam engines as the Donkeyman/Greaser, we called them up and down jobs. They were very reliable engines and very easy to maintain. When in port it was a custom to drop the bottom end bearings and check the clearance,that was done using a very large spanner wretch and a big sledge hammer. Packing around the piston rod glands would also have to be replaced at times. I spent seven years on several steam ships mostly with three steam boilers and nine fires,I also served on a couple with 24 fires back-to-back, we called them Ocean going coal mines. If you have any question I would be more than happy to answer them for you.
Al Rogers/Oldsalt

Bob_F
10th December 2004, 07:08
Coasted on the Maihar and Masud in the late '50's and went deep sea on the Mandasor as 2nd in the early 60's. During this period I didn't give any thought to taking photos of the engines as I had served my apprenticeship building them. If you can find a set of "Southerns Verbal Notes & Sketches For Marine Engineer Officers" they are excelent reference books on steam recip engines. If there is anything I can help you with give us a shout.
Cheers.
Bob.

Stuart Smith
12th December 2004, 00:33
Thanks Ron, I have looked at the site and have read up about the Doxford engines. Were the steam recip. engines in the Brock's ships all Doxfords then?
Al/Oldsalt, I would love to chat with you when I have found out more about the engines. You mention the large spanners and sledge hammer. This it very like when we threw a crosshead bearing on Mahout mid Atlantic. We had to repair while hove to. I am going to post the story soon.
Bob, thanks for info. I will try and trace a copy of Southerns.

Keep it coming lads
Stuart

Bob_F
12th December 2004, 08:11
Stuart.
The Doxford Engine is a single acting, opposed piston diesel engine manufacture in many engineshops. The steam recips on the Brocks ships were usually by the ship builder. The Maihars engine was built by Kincaids in Greenock, I think the Mandasor and the Masud were built by North Eastern Marine. Hope this helps.
Cheers.
Bob.

John Rogers
12th December 2004, 20:53
Glossary of Steam Engine Components
1 - Thrust Bearing
2 - Crosshead Guide
3 - Valve Link (Stephenson Link)
4 - Crosshead
5 - Eccentric
6 - Crank Throw
7 - Throttle Valve
8 - Connecting Rod
9 - Low-Pressure Cylinder (LP)
10 - Intermediate-Pressure Cylinder (IP)
11 - High-Pressure Cylinder (HP)
12 - Thrust Blocks
I also have the Engine Drawing/Picture this glossary goes to,im trying to find out how to post it. Al

Stuart Smith
13th December 2004, 00:41
Al

Sounds good to me, love to see it. The terms, less the steam bits, are obviously similar to Diesel engines as per the RD76 Sulzer engine in MV Mahout

Stuart

John Rogers
13th December 2004, 01:14
Stuart, I have posted a couple of pictures of the steam engine and a drawing in the Galleries,one includes the oil fired boilers. You are correct, there was not a lot of differences in the engines components,big difference was they were exposed. Never forget the cleaning out of the scavengers on the diesel engines, I would rather swing that big hammer.

jinxie
16th April 2005, 05:11
Fred Dibnah came from my home town of Bolton in Lancashire writing many books on steam traction engines and all things old and mechanical and restoring mill chimney stacks. He was famous for his documentaries on BBC3 and for the many videos he also made. Fred passed away not long ago after succombing to cancer, he will be sadly missed for his forthright Lancashire manner and his can do attitude.

julian anstis
16th April 2005, 10:11
Fred Dibnah came from my home town of Bolton in Lancashire writing many books on steam traction engines and all things old and mechanical and restoring mill chimney stacks. He was famous for his documentaries on BBC3 and for the many videos he also made. Fred passed away not long ago after succombing to cancer, he will be sadly missed for his forthright Lancashire manner and his can do attitude.

I have seen most of Fred's documentaries....and I think I'm correct in thinking one of them was on the SHEILDHALL....??

roy quirk
9th June 2006, 01:28
Stuart, Log on to Jeremiah Obrien and visit her when they are sailing or at least turning the engine.You can stay down below as long as you like,and the engineers are very friendly.

John Rogers
9th June 2006, 01:55
I was reading in one of my magazines today about the Obrian,people were talking about the cruise they had onboard her and how much they enjoyed it.
John

raybnz
9th June 2006, 05:58
The two engines I have the opportunity to work with are only 1000hp a piece so not as big as those used in larger ships.

Ive tried to photograph the engines working but its difficult in a ER such as a old tug. Still working on that. Hope to get a video next season of them in action.

Bill Lambert
9th June 2006, 16:59
Rudyard Kipling wrote an Engineers Hymn which is worth a read.
It's about Up & Downers and in a Scottish accent (Hard for some ?)
You can read it at the below sight.
www.kipling.org.uk/poems_mcandrew.htm

non descript
9th June 2006, 17:10
The Science Museum in London has the Triple Expansion Steam Engine from Glen Strathallen on permanent display - there is a small brass plaque stating that "this fine example of British Engineering was once oiled and polished by Tonga when he was a boy"

Other news of her can be found at:
http://www.submerged.co.uk/glenstrathallen.php