Volume 47 (1986)
Number 549 (January 1986)
Bill Simpson. Carrying the load. 6-10
Freight on the LNWR branch from Verney Junction to Banbury via Buckingham and Brackley. Included the Gas Works at Banbury and a large WW1 muntions factory nearby thereat and at Buckingham Rogers' and Beard's Sidings which served a corn mill, and the Peptonised Milk Co. siding (there was also a milk factory owned by Thew, Hooker & Gilbey which turned out a wide range of milk-based products); and at Brackley the Hopcraft & Norris Brewery siding. Illustrations include a map, plans of most of the private sidings described; a Ramsbottom DX 0-6-0 No. 3131; a turnplate at Millbrook station and Banbury gasworks.
New books. 18
'Deltics' at work. Allan Baker and Gavin Morrison,
lan Allan Ltd, 144pp.
There have been several books on the Deltic Co-Co diesel electrics but none has been written by someone concerned with their operation from a depot. Allan Baker was Traction Maintenance and Plant Engineer at Finsbury Park from 1974 until 1981 and is therefore able to provide an authoritative view of these notable locomotives. Apart from providing a fascinating insight into their operation from 'the Park', he tells the story of the Deltics well this is very much an 'At Work'. The English Electric part of the story in the development of the prototype and production examples is clearly and effectively told, and particularly the features of the Deltic engines. The service problems and remedies of all aspects of the class are interestingly covered, as is the operational side, and the diagrams worked by the Deltics. The author's careful judgement on the success of these locomotives, and the reasons for their demise is required reading.
Rail centres: Exeter. Colin G. Maggs, lan
Allan Ltd, 128pp.
Exeter has always been a particularly interesting railway centre, and Maggs provides an effective, clear and well-illustrated survey of its railway history and present operations. Of note are the sections dealing with the city's railway depots, the famous incline to Central station and signalling, including the mas installation.
BR diary 1978-1985. John Glover, lan Allan Ltd, 128pp.
This is the first to appear of a new series that aims to deal with BR's history from 1948 by highlighting developments in policy, operations, services and engineering, rather than a blow by blow list of dates and details. A half-dozen or so major highlights are taken for each year, backed up by a good choice of photographs, with informative captions.
The Great Eastern since 1900. Charles
Phillips, lan Allan Ltd, 96pp.
Takes the GE story into the present day or nearly so and therefore reviews the developments on the Eastern Counties' railways through GER, LNER and BR days. There is a good balance of photographs, with some notable examples, such as a GER 0-6-0 on ROD service in France, and an SECR D on a Dover-Wolferton royal train at Liverpool St.
Night Ferry. George Behrend and Gary Buchanan,
Jersey Artists Ltd, 136pp.
This splendid book provides a happy and well-presented tribute to Britain's only international train (so far!) which ran from 1936-1980. As a user of this service the reviewer commends the authors, with the collaboration of J. H. Price, for capturing the atmosphere and characteristics of an underrated enterprise underated because BR seemed not to have appreciated the symbolic nature of a service that linked directly into the network of European expresses. There is an interesting introduction to the earlier attempts to introduce a Paris-London service in 1905 for which detailed plans were produced for a train ferry service and rolling stock - the latter illustrated in the book. The development of ferry and service are chronicled with many interesting drawings and photographs while the history of the train, its workings and rolling stock are comprehensively dealt with. Regrettably, there are some irritating slips of the pen. Two pleasures should also be mentioned: a foreword by James Sherwood of Sea Containers dwelling on the chances of a reintroduced 'Night Ferry' (referred to in 'Main Lines') and a characteristic Prologue by George Behrend which exactly captures the ambience of the 'Night Ferry' .
Cambrian companionship. T.P. Dalton, Oxford
Publishing Co, 144pp.
This is an evocative and nostalgic book dealing with operations over the former Cambrian Railways from the early 1920s, and is concerned with steam working. It includes much descriptive writing, with full and interesting detail of locomotives, footplate operations and train workings, backed up by many interesting photographs, principally those by the author. Sadly, it suffers from an overweening nostalgia which gives little credit to energetic efforts in the last few years to make effective use of the Cambrian in the late 1980s and beyond, and the hard battle by BR and local authorities to secure (successfully) investment in the lines and their stock. The Cambrian is far from dead and buried.
Grime & glory (tales of the Great Western 1892-1947)
and Grub, water & relief (tales of the Great Western 1835-1892).
(both: Adrian Vaughan), John Murray Publishers Ltd, 191pp and
Not more books on the GWR! But, yes, those who admire Adrian Vaughan's work will not be surprised to learn that he has imparted something new and worthwhile to the literature dealing with the GWR. Why? Because he has told the story well (as ever) highlighting significant events and incidents by which to illuminate the Company's history. It is above all a praiseworthy and noble attempt to tell the story from the point of view of GWR men and women which provides a good counterpoint to the detached and mechanistic accounts of the GWR that otherwise have characterised the publishing effort during GW150.
The Coniston Railway. Cumbrian Railways Association, 32pp,
First publication by the Association chronicles the history of the building and operation of the Coniston branch of the Furness Railway, including the FR steamers on Lake Coniston. Full diagrams of station layouts are given and there are many interesting photographs.
The broad gauge of the GWR, the Bristol and Exeter Railway and the North
and South Devon Railways a selection of 7mm locomotive drawings; compiled
by M. Sharman, Oakwood Press, 83 locomotive plans, soft covers.
The sub-title is the key description, for this is the reproduction of plans of broad gauge locomotives that originally appeared in The Locomotive Magazine and they are reproduced to 7mm/1ft scale. Not all the locomotive classes operated by these companies are featured, for the journal was selective in its treatment, but their presentation in this form is to be welcomed. This is the first volume in the publisher's Portfolio series and more may be expected.
'The golden Jubilee No. 5593 Kolhapur and Portrait of a
record-breaker GWR No. 7029 Clun Castle by Malcolm Andrews and Richard
Cadge respectively, both Birmingham Railway Museum, 36pp and 28pp respectively,
These books deal with well-loved preserved main line locomotives, and the BRM deserves commendation for offering them at a very reasonable price. Both volumes chronicle the railway operation of each locomotive and their ensuing time as preserved examples. The books are clearly illustrated and well-written.
Steaming through Kent. Peter Hay, Middleton Press, 96pp,
A good, general album of train working in Kent from pre-Grouping days, but featuring a majority of post-1948 photographs. The captions are useful, and the photographs well-reproduced, except for one or two 'decapitated' chimneys
The West Highland Railway. John Thomas, expanded
by Alan J.S. Paterson, 184pp.
A Regional History of the Railways of Great Britain. Vol 6. Scotland, John Thomas, revised by Alan J.S. Paterson, 325pp,.
A Regional History of the Railways of Great Britain. Vol 8. South and West Yorkshire, David Joy, 317pp.
David & Charles.
These three new editions of titles first published in 1965,1971 and 1975 respectively are all welcome reappearances. The West Highland Railway has been modestly expanded, largely by means of a present-day route description which ought really to have covered aspects such as freight working and traffic changes and illustrated the present BR scene. Regional History Vol 6 similarly is not as detailed as one would have wished on events of the last 15 years, particularly as Vol 8 has been succintly but comprehensively brought up to date.
D.H. Townsley. Fifty years of the industrial diesel shunting
locomotive. 1. Early 1930s to 1951. 19-23.
Three 44-ton bogie diesel electric locomotives were built by English Electric in 1932 for the Ford Motor Co, with 150 h.p.low speed Allen engines: one is preserved on the Kent & East Sussex Railway. In about 1927 the LMS investigated the cost of shunting and obtained nine diesel locomotives of various types and use he chassis from a Midland Railway 0-6-0T on which to mount a Davey Paxman diesel engine which drove through a Haslam & Newton variable delivery variable pump-type hydraulic system to a Scotch Yoke final drive mounted within the wheelbase. Put into stock in 1934, this locomotive operated until 1939 and was the forerunner of the diesel-hydraulic shunter, although some twenty years were to elapse before hydraulic transmission began to make an impact in the industrial shunting field.
Of the nine locomotives ordered from private contractors, one was a diesel-electric of 250hp from Armstrong Whitworth and the remainder were diesel- mechanicals of 150/180hp, one from the Drewry Car Co , two from Hudswell, Clarke & Co, one from Harland and Wolfe, and four from the Hunslet Engine Co. With the exception of the Drewry locomotive, which was a 0-4-0, all the remainder were 0-6-0s. Before dealing with these locomotives it is interesting to backtrack slightly and briefly mention the Avonside Engine Co and Kerr, Stuart & Co., both of which were later to become part of Hunslet. Avonside built its first internal combustion engined locomotive in 1913 and this was a standard gauge machine fitted with a petrol/paraffin engine by Parsons of Southampton. It was the prototype of the 2ft 6in gauge locomotives with 60hp engines built by Avonside for the War Department during World War 1. Avonside also produced an articulated diesel locomotive but, although effective, it was not developed in view of incorporation of this company into Hunslet Engine Co which took place very shortly afterwards. A range of three standard diesel locomotives were also designed and built by Kerr, Stuart having McLaren Benz engines of 30, 60 and 90hp, with two, four and six cylinders respectively. Straight mechanical transmission was used with a manually operated clutch and gearbox. The first to be built was a 60hp locomotive to a gauge of 1ft 11½in and this was sent to the Welsh Highland Railway for extended trials. This was in late 1928 and, after the trials, it was returned to Kerr, Stuart's works; it demonstrated the ease of gauge conversion on these early locomotives when it was converted to 3ft gauge. A number of 60hp locomotives were supplied to the Sudan and two 90hp machines were built for the standard gauge. The first of these went to the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway in December 1929 and was sold through a dealer to the National Coal Board in 1955. Later fitted with a new 90hp Dorman engine it operated until about 1980 in the Midlands. The second 90hp locomotive was released at the time the Stoke-on-Trent Works closed in 1930 and it was completed and modified by Hunslet, thereby becoming the first diesel locomotive to leave Hunslet Engine Works. This was supplied to the Air Ministry at Cranwell but was later transferred to Eastwoods Fletton Brick Company at Kempston Hardwick and there continued in operation until purchased for preservation.
The death of John Frederick Alcock occurred on 23 December 1982 and so recorded the end of an era in diesel locomotive development. At his death John Alcock was President of Hunslet (Holdings) PLC, the holding company incorporating Hunslet Engine Co, Andrew Barclay, Sons & Co Ltd, Hudswell Clarke & Co and many other well known former locomotive manufacturers, including the goodwill of the massive North British Locomotive Co. In the late 1920s, however, Hunslet was very firmly in the hands of Edgar Alcock who gave his son, John, special responsibilities for the development of diesel locomotives. The subsequent taking over of unfinished locomotives from Kerr, Stuart provided material for experiments, particularly in clutches and transmissions, and the culmination of this. effort was a six-wheeled standard gauge shunting locomotive of 150hp having a German-built MAN diesel engine and a dry plate clutch and four-speed pre-selector gearbox of Hunslet manufacture. The final drive from the gearbox to the wheels of this new diesel shunter was by jackshaft and outside coupling rods and the 150hp 0-6-0 was arguably the first successful 'large' main line diesel shunter in Britain and the prototype of a vast number of industrial locomotives. It was exhibited at the British Industries Fair at Castle Bromwich in February 1932 and operated daily on a length of track laid outside the exhibition buildings. After the show performance, dynamometer tests were carried out at a Leeds colliery and the LMS then agreed to a week's trial on its metals. This one-week trial period proved so successful that a further 10-week period was authorised, after which the locomotive came back to Hunslet for examination. The results were entirely satisfactory and showed that such examinations would only be necessary at much longer intervals. On re-assembly, the locomotive was returned to Hunslet Lane depot where it continued its shunting duties over 24hr periods until the end of January 1933. The locomotive was then brought back to the Works and repainted so that it could be exhibited and demon- strated at the British Industries Fair. This prototype locomotive was then purchased by the LMS, becoming No 7401 (later 7051) and, at the same time, three additional six-coupled diesel shunters were ordered from Hunslet, making four in all. For the purpose of the experiment, each of these new locomotives was to be fitted with a different type of engine and various types of gearbox. All four went into service together with those from other manufacturers as previously mentioned. The original locomotive subsequently went to the Middleton Railway where it was appropriately named John Alcock after its designer. It was then on loan to the National Railway Museum, and repainted in the original LMS livery. It was perhaps disappointing to the private builders that the LMS decided in favour of the 350hp diesel-electric locomotive for general shunting duties but nevertheless these early diesel mechanical units set the pace for future developments in industrial locomotives. Production con- tinued by several manufacturers, notably Fowler, Hudswell, Clarke, Andrew Bar- clay and Hunslet. The majority of these locomotives were in the 100-180hp range, mainly using diesel engines running at around 1,000rpm and driving through a friction clutch and, in some cases, a fluid coupling to a multi-speed gearbox. The outbreak of World War 2 naturally restricted developments but before this one or two locomotives appeared which are worthy of mention. In 1937, Robert Stephenson and Hawthorn's produced at its Newcastle Works a 140hp 0-4-0 locomotive for a Sheffield steelworks which was fitted with a Crossley two-stroke direct reversing diesel engine driving through fluid coupling and gearbox. As the engine was of the direct reversing type, there was no need to include any reverse gear in the gearbox which was therefore purely a simple reduction unit. Reversal of the engine was by compressed air and the handling of the locomotive was simplified in that the direction of motion could be changed with the gear in the engaged position merely by reversing the rotation of the engine.
Perhaps the most important development immediately before World War 2 was the introduction of the Gardner 6L3 and 8L3 diesel engines into industrial shunting locomotives. These superb power units, of 153 and 204hp respectively, were con- sidered in those days to be high-speed engines running at a speed of 1,200rpm. Very quickly they became accepted as a standard power unit for diesel mechanical locomotives and large quantities of 153hp 0-4-0 locomotives were supplied by a number of manufacturers to various government departments during the ensuing war years. The larger 8L3 version of the Gardner engine was less used at first due to limitations in clutch design, and initially appeared in a 0-6-0 delivered by Hunslet to the War Department at Corsham, Wilts, in March 1937.
Locomotive production during World War 2 was mainly restricted to government contracts and it was virtually impossible to obtain government approval for the building of locomotives for private customers. But approval was' obtained for a pair of 204hp Gardner-engined 0-6-0s, one for the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board and the other for Sir Robert McAlpine & Sons. Both these locomotives are still in opera- tion, the former with the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway and the latter at Carnforth. The cessation of hostilities in 1945 found main line railways and industrial users alike tremendously short of motive power and with fleets of locomotives visibly bearing the scars of six years' hard work with very little or no maintenance. I well remember the queues of steam locomotives awaiting repair outside most locomotive works even as late as 1949 when my own professional connection with them began. For a period of 15 years, the production of steam locomotives for industry was to decline steadily and the number of diesel shunters was to increase.
Almost without exception, the heaviest shunting duties in this country are performed by locomotives at steelworks and, among the first works to commence dieselisation, were John Summers in Flintshire and Consett Iron Co in Co Durham; each took delivery of a 30-ton Gardner-engined 204hp 0-6-0 diesel mechanical from the Hunslet Engine Co in 1947. These locomotives were virtually identical to the Mersey Docks and McAlpine units referred to above and commenced the process of steelworks dieselisation; this reached its peak in 1971 when the British Steel Corporation had a fleet of over 700 units. Before dieseli- sation, the heavier shunting duties in industry had been erformed by steam locomotives of around 48 tons weight and with 18in diameter cylinders. These would develop a starting tractive effort of around 22,000lb and it was obvious that the 204hp diesel at 30 tons and 14,500lb tractive effort could not be considered a direct replacement on these duties.
Consequently, the demand was for larger and more powerful diesel locomotives and several manufacturers attempted to fulfil this requirement. Andrew Barclay supplied a 35-ton 0-4-0 fitted with a 300hp Paxman diesel engine and having a maximum tractive effort of 18,000lb to the Workington Iron & Steel Co in 1950. The engine drove through a Vulcan Sinclair fluid coupling to a four- speed Wilson epicyclic gearbox and then through a Wiseman reverse and final drive unit and coupling rods to the wheels. Also in 1950, Hunslet produced the first two of a series of 300hp locomotives, again for the Consett Iron Co. With four coupled wheels of 4ft 0½in diameter, the wheelbase was only 6ft 6in, yet the 300hp five-cylinder Crossley engine gave the locomotives a maximum tractive effort in the first of their four speeds of no less than 22,400lb.
Formidable though these new shunters were, they were eclipsed by the four 500hp locomotives built in 1951, three to the order of the Peruvian Corporation and the fourth for demonstration purposes in the UK, later to be sold to John Summers & Co for steelworks duty. Two of these four locomotives, with eight coupled wheels, were for service on the Paita-Piura Railway which abounds in sharp curves and where the ruling gradient is 1 in 28½. The third had six coupled wheels but was otherwise similar and was destined for the Central Railway of Peru. The fourth engine also on six wheels, as mentioned above, eventually went to John Summers. The power unit selected for these four locomotives was a 12-cylinder Paxman vee engine of a type used to power tank landing craft and this was derated to 500bhp at 1,375rpm. Coupled wheels of 4ft 3in diameter were used and the six-speed gearbox gave speeds ranging from 41/2 to 33mph. The maximum tractive effort was 33,4001b and this figure is interesting to compare with that of 38,710lb for the Nanking Ferry 0-8-0, the most powerful steam locomotive ever built by Hunslet. Yet, whereas the latter weighed over 83 tons and had a rigid wheelbase of 15ft, in the case of the six-coupled John Summers' diesel locomotive the weight was only 51 tons and the wheelbase only 9ft.
Before being shipped to South America, the first locomotive ran for an extended period in ordinary commercial service on BR. A month's heavy shunting of coal trains at Stourton Sidings, South Leeds, was followed by another month in freight service on the Guiseley and Yeadon branch lines where the ruling gradients were 1 in 53 and 1 in 48 respectively. On the Guiseley branch the allowable maximum load for an 8F'2-8-0 steam locomotive was 520 to 525 tons, but in practice it had been found that under greasy rail conditions the train almost invariably required to be divided if it was anywhere near the maximum load. Although rail conditions were often bad during the period of the trial of the diesel locomotive, no trains ever required to be divided and there was scarcely any slipping. On one occasion, a train of 540 tons was taken up to Guiseley without difficulty at a steady 4½ mph. This was a striking demonstration of the even torque of the diesel locomotive which enabled high tractive power to be effectively exerted by a machine of comparatively low weight.
Cardiff to Lowestoft: a little known cross country train
service. V.R. Webster. 23-4.
Through carriages/train from Cardiff to Yarmouth and Lowestoft began as attached to rear of Newcastle express as far as Gloucester, and then ran independently to Leamington Spa via Stratford, where it was handed over to the LNWR from whence it ran non-stop to Wansford and then onto to the GER from whence they were attached to various trains at Ely and at Norwich. A similar route was followed on the return. Illus of the independent portion at Gloucester behind 5'2" 4-4-0 rushing off for Stratford at an average of 45 mile/h
John P. McCrickard. The Chester and Holyhead Railway in the 1980s
The London Euston to Holyhead for Dublin dominated the timetable. Experiments were made for some of these services to run via Birmingham. There were also Crewe and Manchester services; the latter of which also were extended over the Pennines. The ships in service are mentioned. There was a brief helicopter servive from Holyhead to Dublin, Container freight was important.
Geoff Silcock. Steam atmospheres: Marylebone London; steam city 1985.
Main line steam with Merchant Navy, Duchess and A4 classes on Shakespeare Limiteds
Colin Boocock. The other 150: celebrating 150 years of railways in Germany. 35-9.
Gresley's Garratt . Eric Neve
In their book The Great Central in LNER days (lan Allan, 1983), the authors D. Jackson and O. Russell put forward the suggestion that the LNER U1 2-8-8-2 No 2395 was not designed specially for banking duties on the Worsborough incline. So far as one is aware their theory has not yet been challenged.
Close study of Chapter 10 in the book suggests that a great deal of it is speculative comment, not based on any official records which may still exist in GCR and LNER archives.
Surprise is expressed that the Garratt was equipped with vacuum brake for train use. Since vacuum brake was a normal fitting for most locomotives at the time, there was no surprise. Indeed, one notes that Robinson's 8K 2-8-0s and 8A 0-8-0s both had this equipment although they were primarily intended for heavy coal and goods train haulage. Likewise, on the GNR the Ivatt 0-8-0s (LNER Q1/2) and Gresley 2-8-0 (O1 and O2), also the LNER P1 2-8-2.
Some comment also appears on the reports in various contemporary publications when the Garratt appeared. Here it may be fairly said that in those days very little detailed publicity was provided by the LNER concerning new locomotive types, in stark contrast to modern times when the media often provide readers with proposals and plans many months before the machines enter service.
Had there been an intention to use the Garratt on through mineral trains it is reasonable to suggest that certain persons closely involved in its design would have said so. In particular, B. Spencer did not refer to any such scheme in his well-known paper years later.
On p97 of the book it is stated that use of the Garratt would have speeded up mineral trains by reason of the extra power and braking available. It is safe to say that Fay and Robinson would want all the power to be absorbed by doubling the load, not increasing speed. The existing slow progress of mineral trains over the Woodhead route was sometimes too swift for the Manchester yards to absorb, and queues of trains, often six or seven in number, were to be seen down the bank from Dunford to Guide Bridge, even after the opening of Mottram yard in 1932.
The Garratt was the equivalent of two O2 2-8-0s and would therefore be capable of taking 90 wagons of mineral (the O2 load was 45) from Wath to Manchester. The tensile load on the first wagon would effectively preclude this happening. The problem of braking a double load between Dunford and Manchester (21 miles, all downhill) was always a major factor with unbraked trains. The permanent instruction in steam days was that double trains (68 wagons), must have 45 wagon brakes dropped (not pinned down) before entering Woodhead Tunnel. There were occasional runaways even with this procedure. A Garratt conveying 90 wagons would be subject to this edict and needed 59 wagon brakes to be dropped (66%). This would certainly have slowed down the passage of trains, not increase the speed. Such a load would also have required the re-positioning of all the catch-points on the main line from Penistone to Dunford!
As to the suggeston that the immense power of the Garratt would have dispensed with the use of banking engines on the heavy gradients, it must be pointed out that the Worsborough branch had very heavy gradients and, uniquely, no catch-points! On the 1 in 40 of the last two miles up to West Silkstone no unbraked train was allowed up the bank without rear end assistance because of the danger of broken couplings, and no catch-points!
The feature which would have made possible bigger and faster mineral and goods trains over Woodhead would have been the fitting of continuous brakes to all the wagons on the system. This only came about in May 1984 59 years after the appearance of the Garratt. Ironically, by then the Woodhead route was closed.
Contrary to the statement on p99 of The Great Central in LNER days that the Garratt went to Mexborough shed on Sunday mornings, in fact it went on Saturdays for washing out because there were no boiler washers on duty on Sundays and the engine was due off shed at 4.15am Mondays.
It is not correct to say manning was shared between Mexborough and Barnsley depots. Wentworth was a separate depot for footplate promotion and therefore stood on its own for manning. Because of travelling problems, most of the crews came from the Barnsley area, or other areas in search of promotion. Mexborough only ever supplied the engines.
Grateful to R. Fareham, who had practical experience as an engineman and later in supervisory positions in the area concerned, for clarifying the foregoing matters:
Mention is also made in the chapter on the Garratt of the Gorton experiments with pulverised and colloidal fuels. One feels these could not have been successful in view of the mileages run by the four 2-8-0 locomotives concerned. These were as under:
No. 353 averaged 86 miles/month over 32 months
No, 420 averaged 842 miles/month over 46 months
No. 422 averaged 503 miles/month over 45 months
No. 966 averaged 292 miles/month over 33 months (As given in Part 6B Locomotives of the LNER, pub RCTS.)
The principal deciding factor would seem to have been in obtaining reliable ancillary equipment to achieve proper combustion, together with the cost thereof.
Annual mileages of preserved locomotives. Rodney Weaver. 46
Re the claim (Letters November 1985 issue) that an annual mileage of 4,400 by a standard gauge locomotive represented some sort of a record in the field of railway preservation. Bearing in mind the high cost of locomotive restoration and maintenance, and the many hours of unpaid effort that is put into fund-raising activities to pay for same, I suggest that this 'record' reflects little credit upon the operational policy of the average standard gauge railway. being an absolute waste of hard-earned money. It represents a pathetically low utilisation of motive power, and one wonders just how long the 'green paint and copper-capped chimney' nostalgia boom will insulate certain lines from the harsh realities of railway economics, if indeed this is a true reflection of the standard gauge picture.
I have used the qualification 'standard gauge' twice, and quite deliberately. Not every preserved railway allows its motive power to enjoy such comparative luxury, and as a Ffestiniog fireman of many years' standing I feel that the record should be put straight. Our locomotives work hard, prob- ably harder than they did in their 'commer- cial' days, and those used throughout the operating season (which now extends from February to November) amass much higher mileages than the claimed 'record'. Nor are these one-off achievements, as illustration of which the FR's 2-4-0TT Linda amassed no less than 112,000 miles between 1970 and 1984, at an average of 8,000 miles per annum. Moreover, due to the smaller wheel diameter of a narrow gauge locomotive, such a mileage represents more than twice the number of stress reversals than would a corresponding distance run by a standard gauge machine with 4ft 7½in wheels, and this by locomotives whose mechanical design goes back to the early 1890s.
As illustration of the sustained high mileages achieved by FR locomotives over a long period of time, the following highest annual mileages for the period of 10 years are presented:
I suggest that the achievement of Mountaineer as long ago as 1972 stands as the record for a preserved locomotive, one of the few occasions when the 1893 Hunslet 'twins' have not taken first and second place in the table. One may compare these figures with the achievements of original FR locomotives when brand-new and used all the year round, outstanding among which was the single Fairlie Taliesin that averaged just over 20,000 miles per annum during the first 10 years of its life. Perhaps a good way to publicise 'FR 150' during 1986 would be to offer a prize for the first preserved standard gauge locomotive to join Linda, Blanche and Mountaineer in the 'five-figure club'!
Two Lincolnshire byways. C J. Clark 46
Re two Lincolnshire byways: writer knew both of these lines well, having first explored them with 10/- Runabout tickets before World War 2. I subsequently renewed my acquaintance with them after the war, and was present on the last day of the Horncastle passenger service. With reference to the diagramming of the latter, I have a 1952 timetable which shows a 6.25am from Boston to Woodhall Junction (arr 6.52) and, as stated in the article, this formed the 7.15am to Horncastle, and made two round trips before returning to Boston at 9.55 from Woodhall Junction arriving at 10.24am as stated. There was then quite a lull before the next service, but this involved a light engine coming out from Lincoln to Woodhall Junction and from thence to Horncastle. Here it picked up the articulated ex-GNR set (Nos 44161/62) which had been sitting in the bay platform since the previous afternoon. This rake formed the 12.42pm Horncastle-Woodhall Junction, the 2pm back to Horncastle, the 4.5pm Horncastle-Woodhall Junction, and finally the 4.50pm from the Junction to Horncastle. Thus, this articulated set made only two round trips from the Horncastle end, before being deposited once more in the bay platform, until the following afternoon. In the 1952 timetable, the last train of the day was the 4pm from Boston, which ran through to Horncastle, calling at Woodhall Junction en route, and reversing out again. This returned from Horncastle at 7.57pm, calling at Woodhall Spa, but then ornittinq the Junction. Ironically, during the last year of operation, this last evening journey was amended to call at Woodhall Junction before proceeding to Boston. I believe that this was to connect into a Skegness-Lincoln train. I always found this branch quite enchanting. The ex-GNR articulated set was very unusual, with a centre gangway, and brass luggage racks and other fittings. I believe that this set once formed part of a GNR railmotor outfit. Woodhall Spa station, nestling among the pine trees, was a particularly pleasant spot, and it was a sad day for me when the service was withdrawn.
H.G.E. Ellis. An engineman's life 'tin boxes' and all.
Father was a fireman at King's Lynn and the son took an interest in his father's base from an early age until joining the LNER in 1936 as an engine cleaner at King's Lynn shed. The mass rooms were known as gibbys. Nicknames for locomotives and men abounded. Locomotives included the Royal Clauds (Claud Hamiltons) and Great Central D9 4-4-0s, At about the time of nationalisation instruction vans were sent out in charge of C. Hewison who wrote From shedmaster to railway inspectorate. The tin box contained the rule book, working timetable, wrong line orders, tea making material and food. Illustration include photographs of father and son.
Number 550 (February 1986)
Handel S. Kardas. A notable centenary: LSWR Adams radial tank No,
Extant on the Bluebell Railway; between 1919 and 1946 had served as East Kent Railway No. 5 having ben sold by the LSWR and re-acquired by the Southern Railway where the other two 0415 class had worked the Lyme Regis branch since 1913. The Southern Railway had attempted tp find other suitable motive power but without success due to the sharpnesss of the curvature and restricted axle load.
Number 551 (March 1986)
Alan Bennett. The Helston branch. 146-50.
Roger Griffiths. Crewe North 1839-1965 (historic locomotive depots). 151-5.
Number 552 (April 1986)
A. Jarvis. The Mersey Railway. 211-13.
Concentrates on the disastrous financial state of the railway prior to its electrification under the chaimanship of James Falconer. Previous management had been ineffectual under Sir Allen Sarle and it was George Waddell who sought to purge directors like Frederick Smitton who had divided interests (the usual corrupt influence of politicians).
Ivor Gotheridge. The Leicester-Burton on Trent line. 214-
Number 553 (May 1986)
Richard Greaves. Mouch ado about Stanier moguls. 262-6.
A brief note on the origins of the Stanier Class 5 2-6-0, and its original spheres of operation and the restoration of No. 42968 on the Severn Valley Railway.
Peter Lefevre. I remember Seaton. 276-9.
The former junction station in the County of Rutland with branches to Stamford and Uppingham: unusual motive power included GNR C12 and LMS (LTSR design) 4-4-2Ts working in proximity to the Harringworth Viaduct,
Bill Simpson. On Oxbridge lines. 280-4.
LNWR steam railcars used between Oxford and Bicester and between Bletchley and Bedford and Michelin pneumatic tyre railcars (Michelines) tested between Bletchley and Oxford in 1932 using what was in effect a railbus, and of a larger Coventry Micheline vehicle in 1934 with a raised driver's cab which ran trials between Oxford and Cambridge (illustrated thereat): this involved co-operation with Armstrong Siddeley. Finally, the Stanier three-car lightweight articulated diesel railcar is described which ran some services between Oxford and Cambridge and cut the journey time to 1¾ hours and achieved speeds up to 80 mile/h.
Charles Whetmath. Dining at Didcot in the 'Super Saloons'. 285-7+
Great Western Railway's pseudo-Pullmans which were used on specials connecting with liners calling at Plymouth on the trans Atlantic run, and latterly on specilas run to Newbury Racecourse. The coaches ere given names: Queen Mary and Princess Elizabeth. The cars were restored by the Great Western Society at the Didcot Railway Centre and were initially allowed to operate on British Railways.
David N. Clough and Martin Beckett. Modern traction performance:
a decade of the electric Scots. 291-7.
Performance logs mainly with Class 87 between Euston and Glasgow when limited to 100 mile/h im1974 and when permitted to run at 110 mile/h in 1984; southbound runs, mainly Glasgow to Preston, including Class 86 haulage, and Lancaster to Carstairs with addition of haulage by Class 83
R. Bevis. From chalet to coach: restoring IWR No. 46. 298-300.
Isle of Wight Railway four-wheel carriage was purchased from the North London Railway in 1897: four compartment first had been built at Bow Works in 1860. The body was located at Havenstreet and fitted onto the frame of a Southern Railway van.
Number 554 (June 1986)
Michael Harris. 'Let us now praise famous men'. 326-31,
A4 No. 4498 Sir Nigel Gresley overhauled at Carnforth.
The mystery of the Euston Arch .. solved? Graham L. Kenworthy
I refer to 'Points and Crossings' (April 1986 issue) concerning the demolition of the Euston Arch during late 1961/early 1962. At the time, I was a student civil engineer with British Railways and part of my training consisted of my being attached to the Resident Engineer's staff on various site works. I was with the RE on the Arch demolition for practically the whole of the duration of the work. The contract included several other items of work together with demolition. Fairclough was the main contractor, the demolition being sub-contracted to a firm with the name of F. Valori. The latter made use of the largest mobile crane available at the time, provided by the main contractor. While not being party to the 'political' discussions that went on behind the scenes, I can assure you that no numbering of stones took place on site, my recollection being that they were all consigned to a derelict canal or dock basin somewhere in East London. Part of the agreement for demolition consent included the proviso that, because no 'as built' drawings existed, 'pre-demolition' drawings should be produced for posterity. These were drawn by the Resident Engineer, Mr B. A. Ormerod, from hundreds of site measurements taken by him and me as demolition progressed. What happened to these drawings I do not know, except that a copy of the front elevation produced by Mr Ormerod was on display in the Museum of British Transport, Clapham for some time before the transfer to York. Presumably, the NRM has a full set of the drawings in its archives. (We could not be more delighted with Mr Kenworthy's letter which is, we believe, the first record of the fate of the Euston Arch stones from someone directly involved in the work at Euston. We look forward to entertaining Mr Kenworthy suitably for his assistance in this matter. Perhaps the NRM could advise regarding the existence of the pre-demolition draw- ings? Ed.) A Mr Milner has phoned us (but regret- tably did not identify himself further) to say that the demolition contractors, Valori, offered to number the stones from the Euston Arch, but BR was not interested. Ed.
The mystery of the Euston Arch .. solved? Eric Neve
About 12 years ago, while on a business tour in Lancashire, I was shown the front wall of a storage depot at Eltonhead Road, St Helens. Incorporated in this frontage was at least one, possibly two, stones from the Euston Arch.
Class 120s a tribute. Stephen G. Abbott
Not everyone shares the view ('Points & Crossings', April 1986) that the passing of the Class 120 DMUs will be 'no great loss'. Admirable in conception as an advance on 'basic' units for longer distance work, the 'Cross-Countries', as they were better known, in middle years brought increased comfort (four-a-side seating, hot as well as cold water in the toilets!) to routes beyond their native Western Region, such as Crewe-Lincoln and Birmingham-East Anglia. They still do in old age between Manchester and Blackpool (at least, until the May timetable. Ed).
From 1969 to 1986, the Derby Etches Park fleet satisfactorily covered a wide range of duties, including longer distance summer or relief work to the East Coast and Wales. Not widely reported is their extensive use from the East Midlands on excursions, both BR-sponsored and more particularly private charters, to a considerable variety of destinations, often over unfamiliar routes. A 'Cross-Country' DMU offered the medium-sized party acceptable comfort for a longish day return journey, and the large brake van, or former buffet area when available, provided a useful base for refreshments and other sales. Until the recent steep increase in charter charges, most weekends from spring to Christmas saw at least one Etches Park unit on hire. One feels that the new Class 150s will be a less marketable commodity.
Not the sprightliest of performers, nevertheless the 'Cross-Countries' ran well when driven with verve. Arguably the most successful hardware to emanate from Swindon Works during its last 30 years, the 'Cross-Countries' were solid, dependable, comfortable by the standards of their day, and well-suited to their intended duties all atributes they share with the currently venerated Hastings stock. I, for one, will mourn their passing.
The Leicester-Burton line. Stephen G. Abbott
Ivor Gotheridge's (April 1986 issue) was welcome in highlighting the historical but still useful route from Leicester to Burton. One error Ashby did not close in 1952 but, as the timetable on page 217 suggests, lasted until the end of services in 1964. Swannington, between Coalville and Ashby, closed from 18 June 1951. Other collieries at the Burton end include Rawdon, as the picture on page 218 testifies, and Cadley Hill, the home of 0-6-0STs, Progress and Swiftsure which have featured at Coalville Open Days. There were others, including Donisthorpe and Measham on the Ashby & Nuneaton Joint Line. A short length of the latter's Coalville-Shackerstone section was reopened in 1976 to serve the Coalfields Farm opencast coal development. Other traffic is bitumen from Ellesmere Port to Bardon Hill for roadstone coating. To my knowledge the line has not been used for diversions since cessation of regular passenger services, only by a very few enthusiasts' excursions and the shuttles in recent years to Coalville Open Days. When Trent (Sheet Stores Junction) to Derby is blocked by engineering work or flooding the route via Castle Donington is used, nowadays with reversal at Stenson Junction, following closure of the Chellaston Junction to Sinfin section. Restoration of regular services between Leicester and Burton seems unlikely, and would hardly be worth-while without substantial expenditure on the severely speed-restricted track the Open Day shuttles are timed at less than 20mph.
The Leicester-Burton line. Ivor Gotheridge.
May I correct a statement in my article (April 1986 issue)? Page 215 - the line should read: 'With a frequent bus service on the main road, Bardon Hill lost its passenger trains on 12 May 1952'. Ashby retained its services until 7 September 1964.
The Leicester-Burton line. G.D. King
I read with interest Ivor Gotheridge's article on the Leicester-Burton line. This always seems to be a neglected area of the country from the viewpoint of railway journalism.
A curious feature of the last years of passenger services was that while the local services ran via Gresley, most excursions, as well as the advertised Blackpool trains, ran via Swadlincote. This usually necessitated double-heading between Leicester and Burton.
There are a number of errors in the article. The viaduct over the canal is not near Desford but within the City of Leicester, adjacent to the site of the former Great Central Railway locomotive depot. There were no running connections between the passenger and goods lines at Cattle Market Sidings, between Knighton North Junction and Leicester station, as claimed in the article. Freight traffic to and from the Burton line and the north had to be crossed to or from the passenger lines at London Road Junction, in the brick-lined cutting irnrnediately to the south of London Road station at Leicester. In the opposite direction. Knighton South Junction did have cross- overs from the up passenger to up goods, and from the down goods to down passenger lines, so there was no problem here. Aylestone Junction was situated midway between Knighton South and Wigston North Junctions. The connections here were from up goods to up passenger and down passenger to down goods the opposite to that implied in the article. Their function related to the working of freight to and from the Rugby and Nuneaton lines at Wigston which, like the Burton branch, were connected only to the passenger lines. These remarks apply to the period when I knew the area well, up to the mid-1960s. I have no reason to believe the layouts had changed in several preceding decades. More recently, Aylestone Junction has been abolished and the layout at Wigston North remodelled, but I am unaware what other changes may have taken place.
Finally, I must confess to an error in my caption to the photograph of No 84008: it and its train are crossing Saffron Lane bridge, not Aylestone Road.
Modern traction performance: cross-country services worked by Class 31s L.N.
In Messrs Beckett and Clough's article (March 1986 issue), it was stated that the reason for replacing the Mirrlees power units of the Class 31s with 'English Electric' 12SVT units, rather than 12 CSVTs (ie those with intercooling) was due to limitations on the electrical equipment. Surely this is incorrect? The reason is that the cooling group is unable to dissipate the higher heat output from a larger engine while running at 750rpm and, at this speed, any higher installed power would require substantial rebuilding - making the re-engining uneconomic. At even the present 1,470bhp, Class 31 s are undercooled particularly when running on a hot day with the cooling group end trailing. The electrical equipment is quite capable of handling higher powers; the original pilot batch had 1,250bhp Mirrlees engines, with 1 ,365bhp units in the main production batch. Further upratings to 1,600 and (one) to 2,000bhp were carried out, although most were derated before re-engining. These upratings in engine crankshaft output were all matched by a corresponding increase in crankshaft rotational speed, with the 2,000bhp engine running at (I believe) 1,000rpm.
Cross-country services into East Anglia. H.N. James. 339
May I comment on Mr J. F. Burrell's letter (March 1986 issue)? For some years in the 1930s and subsequently, it would appear, the stock of the well-known 'Leicester' dining car express started from Gloucester at 11.30, as an all-stations to Birmingham via Worcester. The timetable for 1903 shows a connection, also at 11.30, at Birmingham. In the 1937 issue, the train is advertised with 'through carriages Gloucester to Yarmouth, Lowestoft, Norwich and Crorner'. This very popular train survived until the closure of the Midland and Great Northern system in 1959. As far as can be ascertained, there was no similar advertised service in the reverse direction, and information as to how the stock arrived at Gloucester would be welcomed.
An LNER mystery - 'T' for ... ? Michael Joyce
Between early 1948 and September 1949 a number of ex-LNER engines were noted carrying a white letter 'T on the front bufferbeam and, despite extensive enquiries, I have yet to discover a reliable explanation for this marking.
Many of the engines so marked were noted in the former North Eastern Area of the LNER which gave rise to a suggestion that it had been a Darlington Works practice at the time. As some engines carrying the 'T had been overhauled at Doncaster Works, that could be ruled out. In practically all cases, photographic evidence has tended to show that engines so marked were in excellent external condition which suggested they had been through a main Works for major overhaul and painting. This has been the one common factor in this matter.
Of all the explanations given, the most popular was that the T indicated that the engine had been fitted with a modified strap to the inside big-end - generally referred to as the T strap. But, as that modification applied only to the Gresley Pacifics of Classes Al, Al0, A3 and A4 and the V2 'Green Arrows', and the work started in July 1947, it is suprising that only a handful of those engines were marked. When photographs show that the T appeared on engines of Classes A2/3 (60518), A2/1 (60509)' A8 (69873 and 69884) and a J77 (68393) that argument is effectively ruled out.
Another explanation and one that is given in the caption to a photograph of 'A2/1' No 60509 in Locomotives Illustrated No 46- The Thompson Pacifics - is that engines with the 'T were not to have any repairs carried out without authority from HO. The weakness here is surely that it would have been standard practice over many years for sheds to report the need for major repairs to HQ and, if so, would it be necessary to mark engines? In any case, if it had been a new instruction, why were not many more engines so marked?
Other explanations that have been given to me have been that the 'T referred to special water treatment and the testing of the front draw hook, but both of these suggestions seem unlikely.
A more recent explanation suggests that the T stood for 'Traffic', and was applied to an engine in the main Works after it had completed a major overhaul to indicate that it was ready for a return to normal traffic and, on its arrival back at its home shed, the shed was to telephone Control when it had gone back into service. The term 'Traffic' would certainly link up with the letter T, but, again, would this not have been a normal practice over many years and therefore there would be no need to apply special markings? The choice of the letter T must, therefore, have had some significance but what?
Historic locomotive depots: Crewe North, 1839-1965. Harold D.
Congratulatedr Roger Griffiths on presenting so clearly in the March 1986 issue the complex story of the Crewe North running sheds, combining the work of C. H. Codling (Journal of the SLS, 1969) and other sources with new findings and explicit diagrams. Griffiths notes that the Ordnance Survey of 1874 shows the old No 1 shed as having eight roads and accommo- dation for considerably more than the 16 engines visualised by the plans of 1851. In 1971, I was shown various original documents, which had, I believe, been unearthed at Crewe. They were in the possession of my late friend, Donald H. Stuart, a Crewe pupil of late London and North Western Railway days and a great character. Particularly interesting to me was a plan dated 1866. This showed only one locomotive shed existing on the Crewe North site. It was of eight roads. However, the plan also showed a 'proposed shed' of 12 roads, located immediately northwest of the then existing building. St James Terrace provided road access from the west (town) side, passing just behind the 'proposed' shed and ending on reaching the west side wall of the then existing shed.
I consider that this corroborates Mr Griffiths' supposition that the old No 1 shed was built (c1851) with eight roads or alternatively extended to that configuration (by 1866), but I submit that the 'proposed shed' would be the old No 2 ('Middle shed') and that this was probably not erected until c1867, closely followed by the 'Abyssinia' shed of 1868.
Is it not the case that the Stock Shed was No 4, alias 'The Cage'? This title would accord with the somewhat detached and secluded existence of the Stock Shed. On visits in the 1930s it was intriguing to surmise what one was about to find immolated silently within. Subsequent to the closure of the Crewe North depot to steam with effect from 24 May 1965, I observed in September 1966 that the structures on site had been razed.
Historic locomotive depots: Crewe North, 1839-1965. Roger
Thank you for the publication of my article on Crewe North locomotive sheds in the March 1986 issue. When I prepared the article I omitted to acknowledge the fact that I had made considerable reference to LMS Engine Sheds. Volume One: The LNWR (Wild Swan Publications, 1981), which was written by my two friends Chris Hawkins and George Reeve. Both had been of great help when I wrote the piece on Longsight shed and I stated the fact in that article. However, I unintentionally but very seriously did not thank them this time.
Historic locomotive depots: Crewe North, 1839-1965. D.J. Patrick
Re Roger Griffiths' article :
1. The 1847 shed which had such a short career (being blown down in a gale) must surely have been built by the LNWR and not the Chester and Holyhead Railway which did not reach Crewe.
2. The photograph purporting to show the Crewe Works locomotive shed, in fact shows the southward extension of that shed which was extended in 1853/54. The shed to which Mr Griffiths refers starts level with the clock tower and occupies the area behind in the northerly direction (ie behind the shed with smoke ventilators on the roof).
3. The eastern half of No 1 shed (four roads) was demolished in the 1879 station enlarge- ment, to allow the building of additional platforms (the existing No 11) and a freight avoiding line west of the station. In a plan in my possesion dated 1890, it clearly shows a six-road shed, the two additional roads presumably inserted in the gap between it and the Middle Shed (shown on the plan, page 152) but it is obviously not there in the photograph on the opposite page. The two additional roads were built in a shed of the 1851 style. The remaining six roads of No 1 shed finally succumbed, as Mr Griffiths states, in the 1896 rebuilding plans.
Adrian Wright. A 1905 test run on the Midland & Great Northern
Test run on 29 Decemeber 1905, making use of tablet exchange apparatus: the time was only a slight improvement on normal scheduled trains. Class C 4-4-0 No. 18 provided the motive power for a relatively light train.
David Haydock. SNFC metre gauge lines. 344-50.
St Gervais Les Bains Vallorcine (Savoie Line) with 1 in 11 gradients worked by adhesion and protected third rails was built by the PLM; Villefranche-Le-Conflent La Tour de Carol (Cerdagne Line); and non-electrified Salbris-Buzançaais Line.
A.R. Cocklin. Falmouth industrial steam finale. 351-3.
Hawthorn Leslie 0-4-0ST WN 3597/1926 owned Falmouth Docks at work in January 1986.
J. Wheeler. Cross-Country twilight: the class 120s give way. 354-8.
Diesel multiple units reaching end of days in service: most had been designed and built at Swindon.
Michael Whitehouse. Steam in the City: Birmingham Railway Museum,
Warwick Road, Tyseley, Birmingham, B11 2HL. 359-63.
Written by Chairman of Birmingham Railway Museum and financed in part by urban renewal iniatives.
Number 556 (August).
Scott, W.T. Narrow gauge compounds. 454-8.
Bowman Malcolm designed Worsdell/von Borries compounds to operate on the Belfast and Northern Counties Railway's narrow gauge lines. The locomotives were 2-4-2Ts and belonged to classes: S. Two were constructed by Beyer Peacock, but the remainder were manufactured at York Road, Belfast. In 1931 No. 110 was rebuilt as a 2-4-4T with a larger boiler and was reclassifid as S2. The compounds were fitted with Ross 'Pop' safety valves: the Ross came from Coleraine. There are logs of runs on the Ballmoney to Ballcastle line where the rapid acceleration achieved by the S class is noted.
Alex Rankin. A diesel pioneer: Sir William Beardmore
& Co. 467-9.
Very brief description of Beardmore's steam locomotive and diesel railcar construction.. Steam locomotives included Prince of Wales class for LNWR and 1500 class 4-6-0s for GER. Diesel railcarts included units for the Canadian Ntional Railways and the LMS. Author notesd that R.S. McNaught worked for firm,
Bert Hooker. From the footplate: just another freight
Working 800 ton coal train from Feltham Marshalling Yard to Durnsford Road power station with N15 4-6-0 No. 30755 The Red Knight which retained its large diameter cylinders, but was liable to prime and unbraked wagons had to be capable of being slowed for junctions and stopped at level crossings.
Richard Gunning and Roger Jordan. Gresley coaches on the Severn Valley.
Restoration of LMER excursion stock at Bewdley on Severn Valley Railway.
Number 558 (October 1986)
Issue suffers from pagination problems
Michael Harris. The 'Watercress Belle' goes over the Alps. 582-4
Mid Hants Railway high quality dining car special with silver service dinner trains run on Saturday and Sunday evenings during the summer operating season and served by volunteers under strong managemennt over a relatively short distance at low speed.
Winding, P.F. Historic locomotive depots: Battersea Park. 595-601.
London Brighton & South Coast Railway Battersea shed: the Park was added by the Southern Railway to avoid confusion with the SECR shed at Stewarts Lane, which was also in Battersea.
Barnes, Robin. Locomotives that never were.
Mainly comment from comments received about Robin Barnes remarkable book. The new illustrations include a Poultney 2-8-2+0-8-0 reproducced from The Locomotive (for 15 March 1926); the patented James Toleman 4-4-0 or 4-2-2-0; the Reid MacLeod turbine locomotive; a Peter Drummond 4-6-0 of 1914; the ARLE designs and a new Barnes painting a 2-4-2T for the Leek & Manifold Railway. Locomotives discussed include a patented Hurd & Simpson 0-6-0T for underground use in which the products of combustion were returned to the firebox via an injector activated by compressed air (Engineer, 1874, August). Other designs which he would like to have included were the LBSCR 2-6-2T; a Cambrian Railways MCDonald 2-6-0 of 1921; Whitelegg's proposed rebuild of a Manson 381 class with a large boiler and the Pickersgill 2-10-2. .
Weaver, Rodney. Francis William Webb a reappraisal.
2. 606-7; 610-11.
Throughout the 1880s, Webb and his team of assistants continued the processs of expanding and improving facilities at Crewe, and the inventions continued to appear. There was the Webb firehole ring, in which the inner and outer plates were shaped to come together and eliminate the traditional forged ring. There was the radial truck, probably the most successful of its type and, like the firehole ring, to be adopted widely without alteration to the original design. Faced with the manufacturing difficulties inherent in large cast wheel centres, Webb developed the technique of centrifugal casting which again found wide application. In total contrast, sandwiched between patents for compound locomotives and for the radial truck, we find one for the sodium acetate foot-warmer, a simple invention to improve the lot of the travelling public that once again spread far beyond the London & North Western Railway. In later years, Webb was among the first to fit steam heating equipment to locomotives and stock as standard.
Crewe rolled its own steel rails, and if Webb's justified experiment with all-steel permanent way ultimately proved unsatisfactory because the steel sleepers lacked the weight and holding power of wooden ones, this setback was more than compensated by the adoption in the early 1890s of what became the standard British rail length of 60ft. The contribution this made to passenger comfort and reduced track maintenance was enormous.
Signalling was another of Webb's long-standing interests, as was the use of electricity. In 1879, he became one of the earliest telephone users in Britain with an installation linking his private office to his house. He had already patented several improvements to signalling equipment, including the unmistakable mechanical locking frame still to be found in surviving LNWR signalboxes. In conjunction with his Signalling Engineer, A.M. Thompson he patented in 1890 the classic electric train staff system that is still used today. The year 1897 saw a miniature version of this developed and patented jointly with the Railway Signalling Co, who marketed it worldwide, and this, too, is still widely used. Also patented in 1897 was the Webb-Thompson electric signalling frame, characterised by the use of two banks of miniature levers to save overall length, another device destined to enjoy a long life. Webb and Thompson also experimented with electric point motors.
Sir Richard Moon retired in 1891, followed shortly by the General Manager, Sir George Findlay. Their successors were Lord Stalbridge and the young, ambitious Frederick Harrison. Harrison was determined to change the system that had prevailed under Moon whereby senior officers reported directly to the Chairman, which meant that he expected Webb to report to him and not to Stalbridge. One senses the beginnings of a takeover by the Traffic Department as was to happen on the Midland Railway a few years later, and Webb would have none of it. Matters seem to have come to a head when Harrison took advantage of Webb's absence from Crewe to order the dismissal of the Works Committee. It is hard to tell who was the more outraged Webb or the unions; certainly there was a lot of plain speaking behind the scenes, and the men were eventually reinstated. In their attack on the LNWR Board's anti-union policy, the unions specifically excluded Webb from their criticism, which is a good point at which to consider his standing as an employer.
There is little doubt that, like most of his contemporaries, Webb was a fair but demanding employer. He was respected, yet few really relished having to face him. As one with total confidence in his own judgement, he expected nothing less from his subordinates and did not suffer fools gladly. This was the attitude throughout the LNWR from the Chairman down, and there is a telling anecdote about Sir George Findlay interviewing a candidate for promotion. Sensing that the latter had little inclination to form his own opinions, or to defend them, Findlay started to outline the advantages of a commercial policy that was fundamentally unsound. 'What is your opinion?' he asked the candidate. 'Oh, I agree entirely with you, sir' he replied. 'Do you indeed?' said Findlay, 'Then you are a fool. Get out of my office!' The LNWR had no room for yes-men.
I suspect Webb was no different from other LNWR officers, or from contemporaries such as Dugald Drummond. Standing up for one's views when they differed from his could be daunting, but at the end of the day you were respected for it and there was no bitterness. That he took such a close interest in all aspects of the job was surely preferable to the remote style of management so often seen today, and in this respect Webb's obvious role as the leader of a team maintained technical and administrative progress on a broad front. As for conditions within Crewe Works itself, it may be noted that when the Employers' Liability Act was passed, the men at Crewe tried hard to stay indepen- dent because they enjoyed superior benefits under the existing Mutual Insurance Society. Needless to say, Webb had been instrumental in developing this side of the works, too, and from an early date had looked at the prevention of accidents, as well as alleviating their effects.
Moon left his successors with a problem. His policy of outright economy had gone too far; the LNWR was falling behind its competitors. Moreover, he had encour- aged neither commuter nor excursion traffic. There was an urgent need for improved rolling stock, for faster trains, for more trains. There was not, of course, enough money to do it all at once. Harrison being a 'Commercial' man based in London naturally tended to favour his own departments, and while money was made available for new coaches the Locomotive Department in far-off Crewe had to carry on as it had always done on a closed capital account. Indeed, for many years, Webb was allocated a smaller proportion of the total budget than William Stroudley had enjoyed during the most difficult period on the London Brighton & South Coast Railway.
A serious situation resulted from the rapid improvement of passenger stock, for the method of calculating train loads remained that of 'equivalent vehicles'. As applied in the mid-1880s, no passenger train was allowed to exceed =20½ , a six-wheeler being = 1 and a radial eight- wheeler = 1½ . With the additon of a 12-wheeler being =2, this system remained unaltered until 1901. In 1884, when the 'Dreadnoughts' were designed to have power in hand on =20½ at an average speed of 45mph, the maximum permitted load was 250 tons tare. By 1901, the same nominal train could weigh 340 tons and many principal workings regularly exceeded 300 tons yet, because of the limited money made available for new express locomotives, existing types were now expected to handle, or to attempt to handle, such trains at higher speed. ot surprisingly, there was a crisis, and matters were made worse by a numerical lack of locomotives nominally capable of handling 250 tons in the first place.
But it was not only in fast passenger locomotives that the company was deficient. The standard freight engines were the 'DX' and the 'Coal Engine'; not until the 1890s were the famous 'Cauliflowers' built in quantity. True, Webb had started to upgrade the 'DXs' by fitting improved boilers, but these Special 'DXs' represented no improvement in haulage power. That came with the adoption for purely freight duties of the compound 0-8-0 in 1893. All the simple 2-4-0s were replaced, either by new locomotives of similar but improved design or by 2-4-2Ts, and from ] 896 even the venerable 'Problem' 2-2-2s were rebuilt with new and larger boilers. These rebuilds and renewals incorporated improvements in valve set- ting and boiler draughting that had been developed during experimental work at Crewe, improvements which enabled something like a 25% increase in steaming rate from a given boiler. Size for size, a Crewe boiler of the late 1890s could match - anything designed 50 years later, and frequently had to. The object was to improve the quality of the fleet without massive capital expenditure, and the overall success of this programme can be judged from the following statistics:
In 1892, the total locomotive mileage was 59 million, with average coal and water consumptions of 55.6lb/mile and 34.7gal/mile.
In 1898, the total mileage was 71.6 million, with average consumptions of 43.4lb/mile and 32.2gal/mile.
The latter represented a reduction in total fuel consumption over a period of six years during which train loads and speeds had increased. Water utilisation had improved from 6.25lb per pound of coal to 7.44lb/lb, partly due to improved boilers, partly to the wider use of high quality coal. These figures are a telling indication of the overall performance of the Locomotive Department at a very difficult period in the LNWR's history, and show how Webb justified part of his £7 ,000pa salary nearly twice that paid to his would-be superior, Harrison.
The outward signs of an overall locomotive shortage were late running, a lot of piloting and, eventually, express trains hauled by 0-6-0s. That so many of the larger locomotives were piloted was not necessarily because they needed a pilot but because of a rule that pilots were to be returned to their home shed attached to the next available train. Hand in hand with this went a decline in maintenance standards because the locomotives were overworked. When the LNWR 'Jubilees' first went into traffic, they were double-manned and worked rostered turns of nothing less than 316 miles per day, six days a week.
In 1901, when inroads were at last being made into the shortage of express power, Harrison imposed the quite stupid rule that any train of = 17 or above must be piloted. Just what this was meant to achieve is anyone's guess; the introduction of tonnage limits was long overdue, and a more sensible approach would have been to impose a single-headed limit for existing locomotives of 250 tons. This represented the original =20½ maximum and was to become the limit for the compound 4-4-0s when tonnage limits were belatedly adopted in 1913. One may add here that the surviving Webb 4-4-0s were classed '2P' on the LMS, yet had been allowed 10 tons more on generally faster schedules than were the much larger Midland Compounds.
The onIy effect of the = 17 rule was that trains of older stock hitherto handled successfully by one locomotive now had to have two, which according to Webb cost at least £2,500 a week in extra locomotive mileage. Equally counterproductive was a Traffic Department policy of recording all time lost against sectional times, regardless of whether this was subsequently regained. A driver could arrive on time and find 5min booked against him, a sure way of demoralising footplate staff. It was the =17 rule that led to the employment of 0-6-0s on fast trains at busy times, and not always as the pilot, a practice which R. E. Charlewood roundly condemed. Always critical of LNWR policy at this time, he was to find that despite their initial promise the much larger Whale 'Precursors' effected little improvement over the compounds they replaced between Crewe and Carlisle because of the continuing situation which he believed was caused by too few locomotives, too few men, inadequate maintenance resulting from same and poor coal.
Webb's experimental work continued throughout this difficult period. Crewe Works was an early user of electric welding, a plant being commissioned in 1892. He investigated the use of chromium in steel, but perhaps his greatest work in this direction was a thorough investigation of boiler stay design and materials. Stays were, and still are, a problem in hard-worked locomotive boilers. Webb not only looked into suitable alloys, but also into the design of stayless boilers, a number of which were fitted experimentally (though some of these never got beyond the works entrance!). Outside the LNWR, he took an interest in the development of the motor car and may have been among the first in Cheshire to own one. An 'exhibition of auto-cars' was held in Crewe as early as 10 June 1897. About the same time, the Royal Agricultural Society of England staged a motor lorry competition at the Royal Show and Webb served as Senior Machinery Judge for this event. He also considered the possibilities of railway electrification, and in 1896 put forward proposals for a trial installation preparatory to electrification of the West Coast main line. He believed this could have been accomplished in 15 years, and that 100mph running would be possible by the time it was finished.
The end of Webb's career came in May 1903. In November 1902, he had announced his intention of retiring at the end of the year, but it was subsequently announced that he would continue for about six months to deal with unfinished business. One other reason was the lack of a successor, for not until April 1903 was George Whale appointed to succeed Webb. The last work done under Webb's aegis was to design the outside valve gear and independent control linkage for the 'Ben bow' conversion of his large-boilered 4-4-0s. He may have known that he was incurably ill, for one gets the impression of a man putting his affairs in order. He began to retire from organisations he had long supported. On 21 May 1903 his 67th birthday he handed a cheque for £5,000 to the Cottage Hospital Endowment Fund; the following day he made his will. Within a week he had suffered a mental and physical breakdown, from which he never made more than a partial recovery. His last years were spent in Bournemouth, where he died on 4 June 1906 at the age of 70 years. The bulk of his estate, valued at more than £200,000, was left to charitable works such as the Webb Orphanage at Crewe. That Webb had few close friends is probably true, but this was in character. He would not have been alone in preferring a few real friends to numerous acquaintances mainly interested in name- dropping. Webb had many interests out- side work. He was a keen gardener and is believed to have been the pseudonymous entrant of prize chrysanthemums at more than one local show. Other interests are indicated by his Presidency of the local Scientific and Philharmonic Societies, as by that of the Chess and Draughts Society. (One feels he might have been a very good ches.s player.) Education was a particular interest, and his major work in this direction was the organisation of the Mechanics' Institute, of which he was President for more than 30 years. It has been impossible in this article to do much more than review Webb's career. He was clearly a man who believed in making the maximum use of his time, and one of correspondingly wide vision. His influence on railway engineering was considerable, not merely through his inventions that were adopted so widely, but through those whom he trained, men such as Aspinall, Ivatt, Hughes, Bowen Cooke and Gresley. A definitive biography is long overdue, though it would be a formidable task made more difficult by the lapse of time. The present writer has been fortunate to have as a basis for his own research that done more than 25 years ago by the late J. M. Dunn, who was able to draw on the memories of those who knew Webb or his contemporaries. The first part of this article appeared in the August 1986 issue.
Illustrations: Alfred the Great' 4-4-0 No 1942 King Edward VII, built Crewe Works May 1901, and originally' Jubilee' class.
A WCJS TPO van. Typical of the cost-cutting policies employed on the LNWR was the Webb 42ft coach chassis with the inner axles fixed and the outer axles radiating, a cheaper and lighter arrangement than was possible by using bogies. A TPO van mounted on such a chassis is preserved in the National Railway Museum.
Charles Dickens was the subject of a long-term reliability test. Completed in February 1882, it worked a return trip from Euston to Manchester six days a week and covered 1 million miles in nine years and 219 days. Unlike the majority of the 'Precedents', it was not replaced but merely rebuilt and on 11 August 1902 completed 2 million mileswhen this photograph was taken. When scrapped in 1910 it had covered some 2½ million miles
A 5ft 6in 2-4-2T, typical of Webb's simple designs and 160 of which were turned out in 1890-97 and used the same boiler, cylinders and motion as his more famous 2-4-0s. As with all Webb side tanks, the tanks proper were hidden behind taller side sheets and linked together through a third tank under the bunker. The single tank filler was in the back of the bunker, thus preventing water from flooding the motion if the tanks were overfilled. Note the superb condition of the track and its surroundings in this view of a local train leaving the Britannia Bridge at the turn of the century.
Three-cylinder compound 0-8-0. From 1892, Webb adopted eight-coupled freight engines and thereafter built 0-6-0s only for mixed traffic duties. His first was a simple, but in 1893 appeared the first compound, No 50, and a further 110 of these were built in the next seven years. Allowed to work trains of 940 tons southwards from Crewe, they represented a significant advance on the previous 0-6-0s and in their day were the most powerful freight locomotives in the country. Converted to a simple in 1906, the chassis of No 50 ended its days under 'G2a' 49002 in December 1962. To illustrate the economics of locomotive building, Webb published a photograph of No 50 with the materials used in its construction. Nineteen separate materials were represented varying from 57½ tons of coal to 4lb of antimony, the total being 139 tons to build something weighing 44 tons 8 cwt
Webb Thompson staff instruments. Both the original and miniature versions of the Webb-Thompson instrument are seen in this 1981 view of the instrument room at Minffordd, Ffestiniog Railway. Despite the advent of computerised radio signalling, there is little doubt that the Webb-Thompson system will celebrate its centenary in regular commercial use,
David N. Clough and Martin Beckett. Modern traction performance:
the Class 37s. 612-17.
Logs of Class 37 on eight coach trains between Liverpool Street and Norwich in 1981 with in one case a speed of 92 mile/h attained near Melllis and between Golspie and Inverness with 80 mile/h attasined near Foulis. Photographs on a Motorail service near Larbert, near Margaret Thatcher's first place of employmenmt near Manningtree and on various frreight duties,
John Burnie. How Bo'ness got its station. 618-20 [first two pages
numbered 417 (verso of 617 and 418 verso not numbered]
Station from Wormit moved by road to new site to act as Bo'ness terminus for the Scottish Railway Preservation Society's reconstructed railway near Kinneil.
Number 559 (November 1986)
Michael Harris. No. 4468,
Mallard: fastest of them all. 646-50.
Short account of the record breaking run, including the reaction by Inspector Sam Jenkins to the detection of the odour from the stink bomb to indicate that a bearing was overheating and to inform Driver Duddington to slow down, plus an account of the further life of the locomotive until withdrawn for preservation. Harris had the assistance of John Bellwood in writing this feature and Bellwood argued that the Kylchap chimney gave the locomotive considerable edge both in terms of power and Peter Townend argued that locomotives so-fitted were easier to maintain as the greater draught kept the tubes cleaner
George Behrend. The Diamond Jubilee of the 'Golden Arrow'. 659-62.
Pullman train introduced in 1924. IInstigated by Lord Dalziel and known as Golden Arrow/Flèche d'Or. Service even had its own Southern Railway ship: SS Canterbury. The postwar innovation was the Trianon Bar. Electrification of the railways in England and France enabled services to be slightly accelerated.
Michael Harris. Demonstrating he case for steam. 663-7.
Hugh Phillips Engineering of Tredegar was visited by Harris where he met Hugh Phillips and Phil Girdlestone who were celebrating their contract to assist the Sudan Railways Corporation to rehabilitate six 310 class 2-8-2s. This formed part of an international programme fior famine relief in the Darfur Region using the railhead at Nyala. One of the locomotives was fittted with the Lempor blast arrangement.
Number 560 (December 1986)
Bert Hooker. Short of coal footplating on 'A4' on the
Travel withh Bill Hoole on No. 60007 Sir Nigel Gresley and later on No. 60011 Empire of India with Ted Hailstone on the non-stoop through to Edinburgh and back when failed cylinder ring ledv to increased coal consumption and King's Cross was only just made.
Robert Tyrrell. The great mail train mystery. 754-6
Grantham disaster of night of 19 September 1906 when down 20.45 ex-King's Cross failed to stop at Grantham and derailed north of the station. Driver was Fred Fleetwood and fireman Ralph Talbot, a premium apprentice. The train was hauled by Ivatt large Atlantic No. 276. The train had stopped at Peterborough.