Volume 52 (1991)
Number 630 (February 1991)
Peter Winding. 'Elegant engines': the LSWR's Adams 4-4-0s. 106-9.
Used to be known as Peacocks as first series supplied by Beyer Peacock. Initial series supplied by that firm in 1880 as 135 class: 6ft 7in coupled wheels, 18 x 24 inch outside cylinders and 140 psi boiler pressure. Capable of excellent work: Waterloo to Exeter (171.5 miles) in 4 hours 3 minutes with 150 tons and six stops. In 1883 the 445 class was introduced with 7ft 1 in coupled wheels and the boikler pressure raised to 160 psi. Built by Robert Stephenson & Co. they were capable of 80 mile/h. In 1884 the 460 class reverted to the earlier size of coupled wheels, but ran at 160 psi with a slightly larger boiler. Ten were built by Neilson & Co. and a further ten by Stephenson & Co. plus an additional one exhibited by the firm in Newcastle in 1887 where it gained a gold medal before bring sold to the LSWR. There were four later classes built at Nine Elms between 1890 and 1896. The X2 and T6 classes had 7ft 1 in coupled wheels and the T3 and X6 6ft 7in coupled wheels. In 1937 J.N. Maskylyne [Maskelyne?] observed No. 681 running at 65 mile/h hauling the Atlantic Coast Express when its normal locomotive had failed at Basingstoke.
Behrend, George. 60 years on the Channel. 110-12.
Rather incoherent memories of five Stirling 0-6-0Ts hauling and pushing a boat train from Folkestone Harbour up the hill to Folkestone Junction; a later and faster ascent in an EMU. A trip on a shabby EMU to Dover and on to Paris in Corail rolling stock (with observations of work on Channel Tunnel); the Newhaven to Dieppe route, and a brief mention of travel to France via Southampton
G.J.C. Reid. Gordon Highlander repainted. 113
Glasgow Museum of Transport
Jeremy Clarke. The Catford Loop and its branches. 114-17.
Lines characterised by sharp gradients and tight curves. The line between Brixton Junction and Shortlands Junction gave a splendid panorama of London from near Nunhead station which was the starting point for the former branches to Greenwich Park (part of which survives as the link to Lewisham) and to Crystal Palace. The Crystal Palace branch was the first electrified branch to close in 1954 as the cabling renewal could not be justified. Passenger traffic was extremely light except for special events. The remains of the once grand terminus are described. London County Council housing estates provided traffic at Croft Park, Bellingham and Beckenham Hill and reversal fascilities were provided at Shortlands Junction beyond Ravensbourne. Freight traffic included that derived from the Midland and Great Norhtern lines.
Number 612 (April 1991)
Still Twittering [Rowland Emett cartoons]. 218-20.
Brief biography; some Punch cartoons
Number 613 (May 1991)
John Powell. In the firebox of Scots Guardsman:
Pensive Moments. 302-6.
The Royal Scot 4-6-0s were magnificent locomotives but there were: faults in the original design; faults in the data attributed to them; and faults in the rebuilt engines. The original tenders were inadequate. The original piston rings rapidly deteriorated and led to high fuel consumption, but the problem was cured by fitting six narrow rings. Cox in his Locomotive panorama stated that the original locomotives were using 9 tons of coal on the London to Carlisle run, but Powell considers that this was impossible with a tender limited to 5½ tons, especially before the addition of coal rails. The original bogies were prone to derailment and caused severe oscillation and was alleviated by increasing the strength of the side control springs, but before a Royal Scot was sent to America a Swindon or de Glehn bogie was fitted. Smoke deflection was a major problem and drifting smoke led to serios accidents. The use of Southern Railway type smoke defectors diminished the problem. The rebuilt locomotives also suffered in this respect, but only the locomotive fitted with BR standard deflectors was aesthetically satisfactory. The problems with No. 6170 are briefly considered. The weakness of the original smokebox was eliminated in the rebuilds, but the problem of rough riding demanded further modification to the bogie springing.
Number 614 (June 1991)
David Chough. Modern Traction Performance. Class 50. 337-41.
D437 and D447 on non-stop Crewe to Carlisle run: Minimum of 68 mile/h at Shap on 4 May 1970; No. 50021 with 12 Mk II coaches was down to 49 mile/h at Shap Summit on 4 May 1974. Southbound runs from Carlisle to Preston featured No. 50035 with 12 Mk II coaches on 4 May 1974 and 50025 withg 50019 and 13 Mk II coaches on 8 April 1974. Also five Carlisle to Penrith runs with single locomotives.
Alan Earnshaw. Trouble with viaducts. 342-5.
Mainly those on Huddersfield to Penistone line. At Lockwood there was a challenge to throw cricket balls over the viaduct: this was only achieved rarely. At Denby Dale there was a timber trestle, but this was replaced by a stone viaduct in 1884. At Penistone the viaduct collapsed on 2 February 1916 and the footplate crew of 2-4-2T No. 661 not only escaped but were able to record what happened in considerable detail. Attempts were made to retrieve the locomotive by hauling it up the steep slope, but these failed and the locomotive was cut up on the spot. Teams of masons restored the viaduct. New Mill Beck Viaduct on the Holmfirth branch collapsed twice during construction on 19 February 1849 and on 3 December 1865. There is a picture of Knitsley Viaduct in County Durham showing the timber trestle being replaced by a embankment.
New books. 346.
Great Northern locomotive
history. Volume 3A. 1896-1911. The Ivatt era.N. Groves. RCTS, 1990.
The RCTS has a well-deserved reputation for publishing sound historical research on locomotives. This latest addition to the list is well up to the usual high standard. It deals with that fascinating era when the Great Northern had to come to terms, in a rush, with the rapidly increasing demand for power as train weights soared, at much the same time as the revered Patrick Stirling firstly became over- conservative and then died in office. Ivatt was brought in from outside and turned locomotive policy round in a short time, bigger machines with much larger boilers, more wheels and a lot more power· being introduced. At the same time, the less glamorous side of the locomotive fleet was also being modernised and railcars were tried, with customary lack of success. The Ivatt era was of course significant to enthusiasts for the creation of the famous Atlantics, which held sway on the main line and in the affections for so long. Of no less significance, it laid the foundations for the Gresley years that followed. This fact-and-data packed book takes the reader through one of the most important phases in British locomotive history
Southern experimental steam. Kevin Robertson. Alan Sutton.
Third of Kevin Robertson's books on experimental topics, proves that the subject matter is far from exhausted. Despite the first of the trio being dedicated exclusively to the 'Leader' class, the author has found plenty of new ma- terial about the type and its unhappily brief history to make up the largest section of this book. The pictorial content is most interesting here, with many illustrations of the class being new to this reviewer at least. Of particular interest is that, with the opportunity for further research into the class, the author admits to changing his mind about the reasons for its short life and untimely fate; he has come, he says, to the conclusion that it was not the design which failed but the railway which failed the design. Reading the story as he gives it, and bearing in mind that this revolutionary concept was bound to have teething troubles, the reviewer is inclined to agree. As Robertson presents his story, little was done and only half- heartedly, to counter the problems of the class and under scrutiny the principles of the design emerge as being soundly reasoned. Under a different leadership the concept might well have been given a fair chance. The other interesting aspect of this book is that it takes the story of experimentation on the SR back to its beginnings. The high-profile and charismatic Bulleid has for so long been seen as the experimenter and innovator of the SR that it comes almost as a surprise to see how much went on before his time, in Maunsell's day. The difference, perhaps, is that whereas Bulleid tended to experiment in wholesale quantities, Maunsell was more cautious, preferring to try ideas out on single units before deciding that they were any good. Equally interesting, most of them seemed to fail his exacting standards. The reason for this approach is suggested by a passage in the book, which tells how the relatively young Maunsell was carpeted by the Board for authorising experimental changes to an engine without their permission to spend the money involved. Later in his career, perhaps caution grew to counter his greater prestige. However, experiments there were, not just the well known and successful ones with smoke deflectors that changed for ever (and for the better) the looks of SR express engines, but with oil burning, a condensing system with turbine draught for the fire, and Marshall valve gear, to name a few cases. The latter involved fitting a novel but promising valve gear to an 'N' Mogul, the trials being abandoned after the gear disintegrated at speed. Bulleid, one suspects, would have modified the lot, had he believed in it, then moved heaven and earth to make it work! All in all, a most interesting book about a little-known facet of the SR's locomotive department. Well worth reading.
classes: principal 'Big Four' locomotive classes at 1945. Brian
Reed. Ian Allan. 62pp.
New edition of book first published by the Locomotive Publishing Co in 1945. Brought out just after World War 2, it covered some 60 of the main classes of locomotive in service at that time. Some were new or recent, some had been around for years. All were successful and played a significant part in keeping our railways operating, thus earning their place herein. Each class is illustrated, as well as having a side-view drawing. The text covers the class history, technical details, performance, range and other data. In all, it adds up to a most interesting look at the railways' front line power in the years following on from the war. It will be enjoyed by most enthusiasts with any sense of history. It is certainly fascinating to look back and see what power our railways depended on nearly 50 years ago. It comes almost as a shock to realise how many familiar types of later years had not been built in the mid-1940s.
Steam trams. G.H.H. Wheler.
Notes on Blessington tramway near Dublin which was noted as "longest graveyard in Ireland" due to the high number of drunks killed by the trams as the tramway switched sides of the road; also the terrible track: cites article by Trevor Rouse and Oakwood title
Peter Brock. Kingmoor's forgotten tankers [tank engines]. 359-63.
During February 1956 the author fired No. 40185 on an all stations job to Appleby then moved to Fairburn 2-6-4T and anticipated work as banker at Beattock, but there was a call to go north to Symington to take over from failed Patriot No. 45531 on the up Birmingham Scot. This 475 ton train was worked to Carlisle bunker first. On 8 May 1956 No. 42449 was called to assist No. 45100 on the 16.05 from Glasgow St enoch between Carlisle and Ais Gill. No. 42110 assisted No. 46139 on the climb to Shap with the Inverness to Euston sleeper. 0-6-0T No. 56374 had dry cylinders: an attempt was made to rectify this by pouring oil down the blast pipe.
R.G. Chapman. The Calder Valley Railway Summit Tunnel. 364-6.
Mainly an account of the fire which happened on 20 December 1984 when a train of petroleum tanks derailed due to a faulty bogie and caught fire. The locomotive and some wagons were drawn clear, but the reaminedr burnt for 100 hours and flames and smoke issued through the ventilating shafts. It is estimated that the structure withstood temperatures up to 3000°C. It took eight months to repair and reopened on 19 August 1985.
Number 615 (July)
Adrian Vaughan. I.K. Brunel's achievement. 404-7.
Trailer for major biography
David Chough. Modern Traction Performance. Class 50. Part 2. 411-15.
On Western Region including on Bristol to Birmingham route where Lickey Incline was taken in its stride.
Number 616 (August 1991)
Lars Olof Karlsson. Strategic reserve for disposal. 462-
Rex Christiansen. Railways around Bury. 468-72.
Harry Friend. Up hill and down dale.
K1 class 2-6-0 working a vacuum fitted freight ffrom Low Fell up to Consett.
New books. 505-6
Stanier locomotive classes. A.J. Powell
Ian Allan Ltd 96 pp. softbound
Sir William Stanier and his work continues to attract interest and surviving examples of his work are invariably popular with steam followers. This book will be enjoyed by many of them. It is in form a really thorough catalogue, taking each Stanier class in turn, yet written in a good narrative style. The author is able to draw on his own considerable experience of the locomotives concerned, in his career as a BR engineer. This however does not dominate the book, which is largely taken up with factual details. The history of each class is considered, modifications made during construction and in the life of the class are listed, along with vital statistics and numbering data. Illustrations include many dimensional diagrams and a fine variety of photographs, many of them published here for the first time or only rarely seen before.
The book's stated purpose is to present a full account of the visual characteristics of the various Stanier classes, with all the various permutations, and enumerate exactly which locomotives carried which modifications at what stage in its career. It succeeds well and although the author protests that he doubts that the book will be the last word on the subject, it is certainly set to become a standard work of reference. But it goes further than that. The introduction sets out the background to the construction of the Stanier fleet and is one of the finest potted his- tories of LMS Locomotive Department policies and achievements that this reviewer has ever read. The in-fighting between works, unashamed interference by the operating department, Fowler trying to concentrate on his preferred work as this all raged round him and the eventual realisation that a strong-man from outside was the only answer and with what results, are retold in a lucid and most interesting style. The book is worth reading for this section alone.
Rails to the Isles (Railway World Special) . Bob
Avery. Ian Allan. 48pp.
Sub-titled Fort William-Mallaig, this book in the Railway World Special series is primarily an account of the steam revival on this splendid, scenic line, arguably the most attractive and photogenic railway in the country. This operation, which has been one of the great success stories of the BR Return to Steam era, commenced in 1984 and is now established as an annual summer-long event, although of course it is carefully assessed every year. The book is not just a celebration of this operation, it also looks behind the scenes at the problems and the little triumphs. How is it possible these days to operate a regular steam service, when the special infrastructure has long gone and is replaced by a cobbling together that makes many pre- served railways seem positively luxurious? The book discusses the many big and small prob- lems. It also looks at the locomotives that have been associated with the line and lapses into most enjoyable reminiscences of the highlights of the past few years for the BR crews and volunteer support crews.
As a starter there is a good historical section, with a most surprising gradient diagram surprising for this reviewer, who had not realised how much of this famous mountainous route is in fact level track! The colour illustrations are also well-chosen and interesting; a few historic pictures and a fine, varied collection depicting the current operation, which give an excellent 'taste' of the line.
Those who have experienced the West Highland steam operation will appreciate the book as a bonus to their enjoyment of a great spectacle. For others, it will surely whet the appetite. It shows that you are missing something quite special.
The Melbourne Military Railway. Alan Cooper,
Peter Leggott and Cyril Spended. Oakwood Press, 96pp
The involvement of the army with railways has been an interesting but somewhat neglected topic among railway literature. The Longmoor line is well-documented of course, but it was only one of several systems. This book tells the story of another line, a section of the LMS which was lit- erally taken over and used as a training ground by the Royal Engineers in World War 2. The line concerned was the secondary route from Ashby on the Leicester-Burton line to Derby via Melbourne, adjacent to a large army camp. The military made good use of its railway and the book tells an intriguing tale of training exercises, work on mechanical and civil engineering and preparations for railway operations in Europe after D-Day. More than that, it describes life for the soldiers concerned. A pretty mixed bunch they obviously were the enthusiasts who discovered that the MMR existed and managed to get themsel ves transferred to it, thereby making the most of their war, to the wide boys and cowboys who hoped it would be a soft option and once there tried to make sure it was, bashing their way through it with a total lack of respect for the medium!
This book is a fine combination of research and anecdote, both of which have clearly needed much work to bring together. Few obvious sources were available to the writers and ex- squaddies' memories are not always reliable. The resulting account of a vanished part of our railway history is fascinating and a worthwhile addition to the available literature on the subject.
East Coast electrification (Modern Railways Special).
Colin Boocock. Ian Allan Ltd 48pp.
It was inevitable and quite proper that an event as significant as completing the East Coast electrification should be marked by publication of a number of books. This, and Peter Sernmens's treatment of the subject are the two published so far and are quite different in approach.
In a limited space, with a high pictorial content, Colin Boocock gives this wide-ranging subject a succinct and concise treatment. Without getting bogged down in technicalities, or drifting into side issues, he deals with the background to the project and the way in which it has been executed. Nor is the past forgotten, with a chapter covering the ECML's history of high-speed expresses.
The sheer scale of the project comes over strongly; not only was this about electrifying one of BR's prime routes, it was about major acceler- ations, resignalling and introducing new, state-of-the-art locomotives and rolling stock. We have here a clear description of the process of complete modernisation of a railway in its entirety, bringing together into a whole, sections that had been improved in a piecemeal fashion over many years.
The many problems, both technical and aesthetic, which had to be overcome, are considered, for this was by no means an easy project, yet they have been overcome, which is a cause for celebration. One problem which gets its share of cover but might have had more, was the strug- gle to get the project agreed and funded by the DoT. The constant fight that BR has with its paymasters to justify capital investment, with the eternal looking over its shoulder that has to follow, in case a change of policy at high level cuts a project's lifeblood before completion, is a continuing scandal which deserves more publicity. Obviously, what can be covered here is limited by problems of space in a short book. What is there is good, concise without appearing too brief and giving a good over view of the entire project. A good account of one of the biggest projects seen on BR for many years.
Electrifying the East Coast Route. Peter Semmens.
Patrick Stephens Ltd. 224pp.
Compared with Colin Boocock's work on the same subject, this is a longer and more detailed look at the same subject. The first third of the book is a delve into the past, considering the various projects to electrify the line, spread over the whole of this century and mostly abortive. The rest of the book deals with the current project and the many complex problems that had to be solved to bring it to fruition. The topic covered is the same in both books of course Peter Semmens goes into more technical detail, with some additional subjects covered, such as the major public relations exercise that has been an essential adjunct. Diagrams, maps and graphs play a prominent support role in the book and - of course, from this author - there are a good number of perfor- mance logs and reports of trips on the line. The end result is a rich, detailed account of a remark- able transformation of a railway.
As to which of the two books is the better, it really must come down to a matter of personal choice, closely tied here with how much time the reader has. Both books are well-written, factual and thorough. If you want a really detailed account with plenty of ancillary detail, Peter Semmens's book will suit. If you wish to know what the project was about and how it was carried through but do not want too much fine detail, and your interest is general rather than specific, you will find Colin Boococks account ideal. The reviewer has read, and enjoyed, both and did not find that having read one diminished his enjoyment of the other and he is not going to say which one he read first!
Great Locomotives of the GWR. O.S. Nock.
Patrick Stephens Ltd. 232pp.
This, the last in Mr Nock 's four-volume Great locomotives series is, to the reviewer, the best. Whereas all the books bear the hallmarks of the author's usual meticulous research, this one gives the feeling of personal involvement. It is a correct impression too, for he was following its affairs for many years before he became a respected writer on railways and either witnessed many of the events and developments he covers or had the chance to discuss them with officers of the company.
An odd decision at first sight is to omit, bar a short resume, the locomotives of the broad gauge era but on consideration the bulk of the broad gauge classes were singularly unmemorable, only the great Gooch eight-foot singles still holding the imagination, so the advantage of having a clear starting point to begin his study gives this book a flying start.
From the beginnings of the standard gauge GWR system, Nock follows a clear theme of development. Dean's foundations, leading to Churchward's formulating a grand scheme which Collett developed and Hawksworth gave an added polish, gave a continuum which no other of the Big Four companies possessed. There were of course aberrations to this plan, the most splendid being The Great Bear, which gets the thorough coverage that this fascinating once-off deserves. There were also apparent weaknesses, such as the Manor class, which needed post-1948 treatment to get right. These are not overlooked. Neither are the less prominent classes, which still played a vital part in the GWR's life. Just because they were not high in the esteem of the public and enthusiasts at the time does not mean that the secondary or heavy goods classes, which did superbly well the jobs they were built for, should be treated as less important than the prominent express classes especially as they arguably contributed more to the company's balance sheet!
There are areas which left the reviewer feeling the book could have given more attention to. For instance the policy of so-called rebuilding, which for the GWR was almost a mania at times and allowed obsolete classes to be turned into some- thing new and more useful while not giving the company accountants too many heart attacks, could have been given a more critical and in- depth study. Also the author goes along with the conventional wisdom that Dean spent his last few years in office 'losing his faculties', which generally equates with going harmlessly round the bend. Other writers have challenged this view in recent years, suggesting that Dean was directly responsible for handing over more responsibility to his young deputy, Churchward, and their interpretation has a greater ring of truth about it. There is clearly a need for more research on this and it would have been interesting to see an in-depth look at it by this author. These are small points, taking the book as a whole, however. It is a most interesting study of the locomotive policy of a major company. Students of the GWR and others will find it well worth reading.
Locomotive engineers of the LMS. Denis Griffiths.
Patrick Stephens Ltd. 184pp.
Denis Griffiths has established himself as an author to note with several good railway books over the last few years and this one is definitely in the same class. It is more wide-ranging than the title suggests, as it is sub-titled and its major English constituent companies, and the book devotes most of its space to the LNWR, L &YR and Midland Railway engineers and their work. Why the Scottish railways should be left out is unclear unless keeping the book down to a rea- sonable size had some bearing on the decision but it certainly leaves scope for a future work, for surely the Caledonian, GSWR and Highland could produce at least as much material of interest as the L&YR?
The book broadly divides into two sections, one dealing with the engineers and the other with class histories of their time in office. It seems that the limitations of space have prevented some interesting areas being covered: for instance, did Deeley resign from the MR in a very public tow- ering fury, as other writers have suggested? The matter is hardly touched on. And the early years of the LNWR, with the machinations that disposed of Trevithick followed by McConnell's fall from grace, both in favour of Ramsbottom, are skated over. In more recent times, the reviewer gets the definite feeling that some contentious topics are rather rushed through. For instance, was Fowler the right man for the job? Did he, with his pre-occupation with certain aspects and apparent lack of interest in the hostilities existing between the various works, do lasting damage? Should he have stood up to the Civil Engineer and General Manager with more determination than he did? These are points that the reviewer would have liked to have more thoroughly considered
On the other hand, the author's treatment of the Webb era at Crewe is superb, one of the best that has been written to date. We are at last getting away from the unjustified rubbishing of this brilliant engineer and his works, and here at last is a book which gives proper credit. It makes a nice change from some recent books that churned out all the old calumnies about the man and his engines and the relevant chapters should be required reading for anyone who takes an interest in LNWR locomotive matters or British compound classes.
In general this is a good, worthwhile book, giving a thoughtful and well-researched look at a succession of good engineers. To have so much material about the men who shaped the motive power fleets of a major British railway group brought together into one volume is a treat.
Doncaster, town of trainmakers, 1853-1990. Philip
S. Bagwell, Wheaton Publishers, 136pp.
Chosen in its early days as the engineering centre of the Great Northern, Doncaster has been a notable name in railway engineering ever since. This book tells the fascinating story of the Plant, its chief engineers and workers. Limitations of size prevent much in-depth study but it is a most enjoyable and generally informative account of a justly famous centre.
Indian locomotives: Part 1, Broad gauge, 1851-1940. Hugh
Hughes, Continental Railway Circle, 112pp. softbound
Former grammar school maths master Hugh Hughes is a recognised authority on Indian Railways. This thoroughly-researched book, with a wealth of detail, is an in-depth review of the steam classes used on the sub-continent up to the outbreak of World War 2.
The colour of steam: Vol 9, The Great Eastern
Line. R. C. Riley, Atlantic, 48pp colour album, softbound,
This excellent series continues to provide fine archive colour with authoritative extended captions. This volume is a typically high-standard addition to the series. Written by one of the most respected students of railway history, who had the foresight to take up colour photography in its early days, it contains a most interesting and enjoyable wealth of his own material, supplemented by work from other photographers on those areas where his own collection is sparse. Recommended to all fans of the GER route.