Titanic's Reciprocating Engines

Cian O'Reilly

Cian O'Reilly

Excellent work Cian, I've been admiring it for some time. Your handling of the texture is impressive, the painted castings look photographically real.

Two items for thought:
-the reverser appears to be based on a page of Sothern's circa 1936 "Verbal Notes" book that appeared on the old TRMA forum. Unfortunately the manual pump, selector switch and the casting bosses for the pipes from the pump are not in the H&W photo of the Britannic engine. The ships instead had steam/hydraulic pumps on the aft engine room bulkhead for operation of the reverser during engine maintenance. I've not found the interconnecting pipes illustrated on any drawing or photo however.

-the Britannic's engine was lengthened with an extra crankshaft bearing between the HP and IP cylinders. This left room for a catwalk over the bearing, it shows in one of the shop pictures. There is no catwalk over the other bearings however and no similar catwalks at all on the Olympic or Titanic.

Hi Bill. Thanks for the input. I've been wondering about the config for the Reversing Engine foe a while now. The version currently added also shows up in the technical volume of TTSM. However, I initially went with the version you mentioned which is the one that is visible on the Britannic, both in photographs and in plans. given that there were clear differences between the Britannic's engines and those of her sisters I didn't have too much of a problem with the version I went with. But...I am inclined to revisit that choice in favour of the Reversing Engine you point to. Fortunately, I have that version partially built, so it's not a huge amount of work to do so...it's no harm to have both versions and my suspicion is that you are correct on this...
Regarding catwalk accross the lower engine, I'll come back to that when I have more time if you're ok to discuss?
Cian O'Reilly

Cian O'Reilly

Hi Bill, just to continue on from the previous post and discuss the catwalks traversing the engine at the lower level - the layout of the catwalks. In the early stages of constructing my 3d model I actually included the central main bearing you mentioned, mistakenly assuming it to be present on Olympic and Titanic, but removing it when the error was pointed out to me. At the same time I configured the catwalks as indicated in available plans of the Britannic's engines.
Ultimately though, the layout of these catwalks as they appear in the model is based not only on the available imagery of the Britannic but also on one of Robert Welch's images of Titanic's engines in the H&W engine works, which seems to indicate the presence of catwalks not only at each end of the engine but also the wider one you see in the middle - see attached images. While I think that the first two catwalks are fairly clear in the image, the third (at the forward end of the engine) is basically occluded from sight by the support column and the bearing casing but I can make out what appears to be an upright stanchion from an incomplete catwalk rail between the inboard and outboard columns. The attached image cut though only deals with the two visible catwalks at the aft end and in the middle. The first image shows a clearer view of my layout, the second shows the Titanics engines at top and the forward end of one of Britannic's engines at bottom.


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Bill West

Hi Cian.
Your close up Welch H1943 indeed confirms the catwalk crossing the crankshaft between the LPF and HP cylinders on Britannic.

Welch H1710 also clearly shows a catwalk crossing between the HP and IP cylinders on Titanic so I now agree with you there. For a catwalk crossing between the IP and LPA on Titanic, the view seems to reach between the leg footings all the way to the plate against the valve eccentric without showing anything but above the plate and above the first horizontal scaffold plank the railing and then the post can be seen. The walk looks narrow and perhaps with the railing only on one side, your plan would show better just how much width is available. So I agree that on all 3 ships there is a crossing between each set of cylinders.