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North Star

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1166491.  Sun Jan 03, 2016 8:33 am Reply with quote

Q: What use did Brunel have for the North Star?
K: Surveying, setting out or anything involving selecting routes.
A: It was a locomotive.

When the Great Western Railway was first established, the North Star was the name of the train which was used for the inaugural journey by the directors of GWR.

Whilst Brunel might rightly be given credit for his civil engineering works, as a locomotive engineer Brunel was absolutely hopeless. It was also tacitly acknowledged by GWR, given that his deputy, Daniel Gooch - who, despite being one of the finest locomotive engineers in the country, was subordinate to Brunel - was made a joint "Chief Engineer" in 1839 and took over all design work for the GWR's locomotives shortly afterwards.

Although professing himself to have no experience in the matter, Brunel continually interfered with the designs produced by the foundries that he gave commissions to and prepared a rather contradictory specification. The end result were a series of locomotives that Gooch noted in his diaries often struggled to move themselves along the track, let alone pull freight or passenger services.

Perhaps because its designer - Robert Stephenson - had originally built it for export to New Orleans, and had therefore completely ignored Brunel's original specification, the North Star was also the only locomotive, out of an original fleet of 20 commissioned by Brunel, which actually worked reliably and effectively.

As it was, for the first two years of operation of their Maidenhead line, GWR couldn't actually schedule a regular service - their other locomotives, until being redesigned, were not reliable enough for a regular service - with the lone exception of the North Star.

1205478.  Wed Sep 21, 2016 12:47 am Reply with quote

Perhaps a salient bit of history when some among us are outraged that nuclear power generation (of the fissile kind) was not completely optimised in its design in the earliest years and needed to develop over time.

This point relates to the safety and reliability of nuclear reactors. The issue of their economic cost is still unclear for me.

1205509.  Wed Sep 21, 2016 11:40 am Reply with quote

This pub sign is/was to be found outside the North Star public house, on Mardley Hill between Welwyn Garden City and Knebworth.

I've never been, but those parts are husband's old stomping grounds and he visited the pub a few times in the dim and distant. He remembers it as a rather undistinguished establishment, but a bit of searching suggests that it may have moved upmarket since then. (But don't go now, because it's currently closed for refurbishment for a few weeks.)

The main railway line from London to Edinburgh passes within about 200 yards of the North Star, so it's no great surprise that the pub has a railway-related name. But why name it after a locomotive that would never have passed by when they could have used the name of a Great Northern locomotive?

1205517.  Wed Sep 21, 2016 12:13 pm Reply with quote

The was also a pub of that name just outside Staines station.

The sign later changed to look like this*.

*link because the image is too big

You'd think that it would make sense to give a pub close to a station a name that had a connection to the railways, but no. The current owners decided to rename the place...

A little pretentiousness goes a long way.

1205540.  Wed Sep 21, 2016 5:03 pm Reply with quote

I may have found my new job!!!!!!

crissdee, professional drinking consultant.

Spud McLaren
1205631.  Thu Sep 22, 2016 11:13 am Reply with quote

Gerrawaywiththee. You'll be recommending that bourbon muck over proper whisky. And come to that, whiskey.

1205681.  Thu Sep 22, 2016 3:58 pm Reply with quote

Not at all!!!! I will offer a finely-tuned selection based on extensive research of the individual client's drinking habits. That such research will inevitably involve me trying everything they drink at a suitable establishment, on their tab......I mean....included in the consultation neither here nor there!


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