Robin Barnes

This is a preliminary page, as it lacks any form of biographical material and fails to record the writer's other bibliographical adventures, some of which have appeared in Backtrack. Macnair's William James is graced by four of Barnes' paintings: James inspecting Trevithick's Catch-me-who-can; James and son meeting George and Robert Stephenson; a Land-Agent lococomotive on the Central Junction Railway and Chittapratt at Bancroft Basin in Stratford-upon-Avon.


Locomotives that never were: some 20th century British projects. London: Jane's, 1985. 96pp.
The designs covered: in 1905 a Churchward 0-8-0PT and 4-4-4T; a McIntosh Atlantic, and a narrow gauge Bagnall 0-4-0ST; in 1906 a Deeley 2-4-4-2T (which was quite at variance with the Midland's small engine policy, and a Reid 4-6-0 for the NBR; in 1907 an Ivatt 2-6-2; in 1911 a Fowler 0-6-6-0T for the Lickey Incline; in 1913 a Billinton 4-6-0 shown on the Southern Belle; the Hughes 2-10-0 and a McIntosh Pacific (somewhat akin to Raven's efforts following World War I); in 1914 a Manson GSWR 4-6-0 (very similar to Drummond ‘s unsuccessful 4-6-0s for the LSWR), and Robinson's massive Baldwin 2-10-2; in 1915 Gresley's first Pacific design (an even larger, large Atlantic); in 1920 a Hawthorn Leslie 1-D-1 diesel for the North Eastern; in 1921 an 0-6-0 electric and an 0-6-0T for a narrow gauge line in Holderness (both for the North Eastern), and a 2-6-2T for the Barry Railway.
In 1923 there was a "Swiss" 2-Do-2 electric for the Crewe-Carlisle section and a Mallet 0-6-6-0 for the Midland coal trains; in 1926 the Fowler compound Pacific and a compound Castle; in 1930 the Garratt Pacific for the LMS; in 1931 a water-tube boiler K3 and the K3 expanded into a 2-6-4-4 via a booster for the LNER, the Gresley 2-8-2T, and a 4-6-0 and 4-8-0 designed during the curious time when nobody was really at the helm on the LMS, although this is sometimes known as the Lemon period; in 1932 a compressed air 0-8-2 based on withdrawn GNR engines with this wheel arrangement (the compressed air came from an internal combustion engine and the design appears to owe much to the Kitson-Still experimental locomotive which actually ran trials on the LNER); in 1933 the Stanier small 4-6-0 for the Oban line; in 1934 a Maunsell 2-6-2 and a Gresley "Cock-o' the North" Pacific; in 1937 the Stanier megaloco Bo-Bo+Bo-Bo and a Collett 2-10-2T with a King class boiler for working to Ebbw Vale; in 1938 a Bulleid 2-8-2, and a Gresley 4-8-2 depicted in BR blue (surely Thompson would have converted into something smaller before the change of livery).
During the Second World War Coleman of the LMS draughted out designs for a 2-6-2 and a 4-8-4: both would have finally broken the small engine policy. In 1944 and 45 Hawksworth sketched out a lightweight 4-4-0 and 2-6-0PT which had revolutionary external valve gear. Two Bulleid designs of 1945 seem very tame: an 0-6-0T for Southampton Docks (a Q1 with outside cylinders and external valve gear) and a 4-6-4T which combined a Bulleid Pacific outline with the classic Brighton wheel arrangement. In 1946 there is the Hawksworth Pacific with neat internal valve gear. The two unfulfilled BR standard designs depicted are the 2-8-2 and a Franco-Crosti boilered 4-6-0. The remaining designs were non-steam and included the coal-fired turbine and a Super Deltic. Railway World, 1986, 47, 602-5; 727 published an addenda to the book.

Locomotives that never were

Many enthusiasts shared an ambition of seeing all locomotives, or at least one representative of each class. Thus, unique locomotives, such as the Lickey and Worsborough bankers, had a particular fascination. Furthermore, there appears to be a ready market for information about designs which never came to fruition. The literature on the "Hawksworth Pacific" is only slightly less than that on Bulleid's Leader class.

The publisher, Jane's, long-noted for its vast reference books on naval vessels, became involved in book production for railway enthusiasts during the 1980s. Most of these were beautifully printed colour albums in landscape format. The photographer, Hugh Ballantyne, compiled volumes on each of British Railways' Regions. In a slightly larger, but still landscape format Locomotives that never were was the title of a fascinating collection of paintings by Robin Barnes. These attempted to breath life into line drawings for planned locomotives. According to the author's introduction: "The designs discussed in this book are all ‘official' in the sense that they all emanated from railway company or industry drawing offices", although he adds that some were "somewhat tentative in nature". As a Hawksworth Pacific is included most readers will be well aware of the nature of the word tentative. Fortunately, Barnes quotes his sources, many of which are the relevant Railway Correspondence & Travel Society series, or Cox: the latter was willing to contribute a Foreword which gives the book added authenticity.

The locomotives illustrated include a Gresley design for a 2-8-2T to work in the Nottinghamshire coalfield which it can be stated categorically originated in a paper by Spencer presented to a meeting of the Institution of Locomotive Engineers in 1947, although Barnes quotes the excellent RCTS series on LNER locomotives as his source. Other designs, such as an articulated 2-6-4-4 developed from the K3 2-6-0 and a Pacific derived from Cock o' the North, complete with rotary cam valve gear, definitely stem from the same primary source. In relation to the many pitfalls which beset the amateur commentator Barnes cannot be faulted. Most of his paintings do achieve an impression of what the locomotives might have looked like in service.

Most senior locomotive engineers were members of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers; many were also members of the Institution of Locomotive Engineers, a body which has since been absorbed into the senior organization. The Locomotive Engineers used to publish their own Journal: this recorded the proceedings, including discussions, from their meetings. Papers, which were numbered, tended to be presented more than once, and might be presented in London, at one or more locations in the north of England, and in Scotland. As noted in several publications, Swindon tended not to participate during Collett's period in office.

Four papers presented shortly after nationalization have had a seminal influence on subsequent serious studies as they surveyed locomotive development under Gresley2, Hughes and Fowler on the L.M.S.3 , Maunsell4 and Churchward5. The same journal was also a repository for some of the few papers presented by senior locomotive engineers, and for remarkable "off the cuff" statements by these same men. These papers have been augmented by later publications by H.A.V. Bulleid, son of O.V.S., Holcroft, Cox and Bond, and a number of others, but it is curious that no attempt has been made to reprint these, and some further later key papers, as a major contribution to the literature of steam locomotive development.

To return to Barnes's paintings, some depict relatively well-known unfulfilled projects, notably the Gresley designs mentioned already, the Hughes design for a Flamme (of Belgium) inspired 2-10-0, and the Fowler Pacific on which work appears to have started. Other designs were far more tentative. Probably the most exotic of these were the coal-fired gas turbine which appeared to be a state secret at the time of the experiments and a condensing turbine electric locomotive in which Stanier appears to have taken an interest. The latter would have made Bulleid's Leader adventure look mundane.

During the 1950s there were occasional, brief mentions in the press of a North British/Parsons programme to develop a coal-fired gas turbine, but nothing substantial ever emerged at that time. In the late 1960s my professional work took me into the development of thesauri (controlled languages) for information retrieval, and I was intrigued to find that the well-constructed English Electric Thesaurus contained a term for coal-fired gas turbine locomotives: well this seemed to be proof that some real work had been accomplished. At this time the activities at Bletchley Park remained a closely guarded secret. although they clearly impacted upon work on punched cards and computers. Thus, it was not surprising that such a speculative venture as a coal-fired gas turbine should be a clothed in secrecy. Since then very full accounts of the work have appeared in the Proceedings of the Newcomen Society. Barnes depicts the locomotive (which never existed beyond the unsuccessful turbines) setting forth from Carlisle with a visible, but not excessive exhaust.

The Stanier Bo-Bo+Bo-Bo depicted in Midland red with a golden stripe was a double-ended affair with the driver, and presumably a team of technicians, seated in a cab worthy of a Deltic whilst the fireman was sentenced to a stokehole of the Leader variety where he would have to feed a high pressure boiler worthy of a land-based power station, where mechanical stokers were the norm! The poor chap is depicted leaning out of his cab as the great consist heads north to fail at Bletchley, presumably. On the other hand Robin Riddles might have been there to sort everything out over lunch as he did for the early Stanier Pacifics. It is strange that Stanier is normally depicted as being a far more sober character than Gresley or Bulleid. Yet, Gresley never produced anything so bad as the early Jubilee class, and was far more standard-minded than given credit. His experiments tended to be one-offs and it is a pity that Robin Barnes did not illustrate the V6 geared version of the D49 described in the Spencer paper, and with a full drawing in the relevant Part of the RCTS history.

Barnes's book is an extremely enjoyable read (each painting is prefaced by a page of text), and it can be left to the author's own prefatory remarks to justify the effort: "It might be asked whether this book has any real value at all. I believe it has, if regarded primarily as a book for pleasure, Although it presents no new arguments or information, and is not intended as a work of reference, I do believe that it will entertain those who enjoy pondering upon that which, in other circumstances, might have been. It is not a serious work, but nor is it intended to be one of the kind that is left to lie, prominent yet forgotten, on the glass top of the coffee table. It is a book for those enthusiasts who, having coped as we all must with life's daily grind, find their relaxation in some gentle day-dreaming. It is a book for the haunted hours, when in peaceful solitude before the fire the reader may rest it open upon his lap, imagining the while that the distant sound reaching him across the still night air is, perchance, not that of a Class 87 electric and its air-conditioned stock swishing effortlessly down the old 'Premier Line', but instead that of an LMS Pacific Garratt pounding northwards at the head of a massive sleeping-car train. By Beyer-Garratt from Euston to Crewe, Preston, Carlisle. Glasgow. and even Inverness? It never was, but it might have been."

The full list of designs covered is: in 1905 a Churchward 0-8-0PT and 4-4-4T; a McIntosh Atlantic, and a narrow gauge Bagnall 0-4-0ST; in 1906 a Deeley 2-4-4-2T (which was quite at variance with the Midland's small engine policy, and a Reid 4-6-0 for the NBR; in 1907 an Ivatt 2-6-2; in 1911 a Fowler 0-6-6-0T for the Lickey Incline; in 1913 a Billinton 4-6-0 shown on the Southern Belle; the Hughes 2-10-0 and a Mcintosh Pacific (somewhat akin to Raven's efforts following World War I); in 1914 a Manson GSWR 4-6-0 (very similar to Drummond ‘s unsuccessful 4-6-0s for the LSWR), and Robinson's massive Baldwin 2-10-2; in 1915 Gresley's first Pacific design (an even larger, large Atlantic); in 1920 a Hawthorn Leslie 1-D-1 diesel for the North Eastern; in 1921 an 0-6-0 electric and an 0-6-0T for a narrow gauge line in Holderness (both for the North Eastern), and a 2-6-2T for the Barry Railway.

In 1923 there was a "Swiss" 2-Do-2 electric for the Crewe-Carlisle section and a Mallet 0-6-6-0 for the Midland coal trains; in 1926 the Fowler compound Pacific and a compound Castle; in 1930 the Garratt Pacific for the LMS; in 1931 a water-tube boiler K3 and the K3 expanded into a 2-6-4-4 via a booster for the LNER, the Gresley 2-8-2T, and a 4-6-0 and 4-8-0 designed during the curious time when nobody was really at the helm on the LMS, although this is sometimes known as the Lemon period; in 1932 a compressed air 0-8-2 based on withdrawn GNR engines with this wheel arrangement (the compressed air came from an internal combustion engine and the design appears to owe much to the Kitson-Still experimental locomotive which actually ran trials on the LNER); in 1933 the Stanier small 4-6-0 for the Oban line; in 1934 a Maunsell 2-6-2 and a Gresley "Cock-o' the North" Pacific; in 1937 the Stanier megaloco Bo-Bo+Bo-Bo and a Collett 2-10-2T with a King class boiler for working to Ebbw Vale; in 1938 a Bulleid 2-8-2, and a Gresley 4-8-2 depicted in BR blue (surely Thompson would have converted into something smaller before the change of livery).

During the Second World War Coleman of the LMS draughted out designs for a 2-6-2 and a 4-8-4: both would have finally broken the small engine policy. In 1944 and 45 Hawksworth sketched out a lightweight 4-4-0 and 2-6-0PT which had revolutionary external valve gear. Two Bulleid designs of 1945 seem very tame: an 0-6-0T for Southampton Docks (a Q1 with outside cylinders and external valve gear) and a 4-6-4T which combined a Bulleid Pacific outline with the classic Brighton wheel arrangement. In 1946 there is the Hawksworth Pacific with neat internal valve gear. The two unfulfilled BR standard designs depicted are the 2-8-2 and a Franco-Crosti boilered 4-6-0. The remaining designs were non-steam and included the coal-fired turbine and a Super Deltic

2. Spencer, B. The development of L.N.E.R. locomotive design, 1923-1941. J. Instn Loco. Engrs, 1947, 37, 164-210. Discussions: 210-43; 524-41. (Paper No. 465).
3. Cox, E.S. A modern locomotive history: ten years' development on the L.M.S. – 1923-1932. J. Instn Loco. Engrs, 1946, 36, 100-41. Discussions: 141-70; 275-6. (Paper No. 457).
4. Cocks, C.S. History of Southern locomotives to 1938. J. Instn Loco. Engrs, 1948, 38, 749-822. Discussions: 823-60. (Paper No. 481).
5. Cook, K.J. The late G.J. Churchward's locomotive development on the Great Western Railway. J. Instn Loco. Engrs, 1950, 40, 131-71. Discussion: 171-210. (Paper No. 492). Stanier contributed to the discussion.

Featured in Backtrack by Robin Barnes or by others

Salute to the Scottish standard - Part 1. Robin Barnes. 235-41
Salute to the Scottish standard - Part 2. 284-90.
Unlike many writers Barnes claims that the Class performed well, especially in their last few years in service when some of them had been fitted with modified darughting arrangements. Thei best work was probably done on the Dumfries to Stranraer trains where the crews held the class in high esteem. One very fast climb to Ais Gill and descent to Leeds is included. On the other hand a trial on the Great Eastern Section in an attempt to dsiplace Britannia Pacifics led to the conclusion that the locomotives were no better than B1 4-6-0s. Part 1 begins on page 235. See letter by R.J. Newland plugging Hengist project (10-390). ill

A singular double — Part 1. 223-7.
The Chicago Exposition of 1893 saw the display of two British double singles: the LNWR 2-2-2-2 Queen Empress (described in this part) and another design in Part 2 (page 356). See letter by Keith R. Chester concerning Combermere (page 482). Illus.:The Lord of the Isles at Swindon, Drawing; Proposed 4-2-2-0 in the North American style, Greater Britian 2-2-2-2 Queen Empress, PRR no 1320 as altered for use in the USA, PRR no 1320 as completed in 1888, Diagram of the Queen Empress tender that went to Chicago, Queen Empree decorated for Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee, Queen Empress during a series of demonstration runs at Chicago,
A singular double - Part 2. 356-62.
The 4-2-2-0 James Toleman, the innovator of which was F.C. Winby, was exhibited at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. The locomotive was patented (17287 and 17849): the former was for a special form of boiler. The locomotive was constructed by Hawthorn Leslie. See letter by Diggles on page 543 for further biographical information. illus.: Drawing; F.C.Winby locomotive from the patent specification (page 356); Drawing; F.C.Winby locomotiveas it appeared (page 356); A perspective engraving of James Toleman (page 357); Cross sectional diagram; James Toleman (page 358); Photograph; James Toleman (page 358); A classic 'american' type 4-4-0 at Purdue railway museum, USA (page 359); The crowded interior of the Purdue railway museum, USA (page 359); Queen Empress on the banks of the Hudson, USA (Robin Barnes painting)(page 360); Photograph; James Toleman as steamed in the USA (page 361); A classic 'american' type 4-4-0 in the late 1900s, USA (page 362); Dugald Drummonds first large passenger engine for the LSWR (page 362); Leading dimensions of James Toleman and selected 19th century British and 'American' locomotives (page 362)

Miles McNair. Locomotives that might have been. 654-5.
Reproduction of paintings by Robin Barnes of (1) Manningham shed in "1947" with crimson lake Stanier 4-4-0 (see Don Rowland Rly Wld, 1985, 46, 130) and compound rebuilt with conical boiler and (2) a Tuplin 4-8-0 derived from Claughton design.

2017-04-26