Proceedings Institution of Mechanical Engineers 1870-9
key file

Volume 21 (1870)

Siemens, C. William
On Le Chatelier's plan of using counter-pressure steam as a break [sic] in locomotive engines. 21-36. Disc.: 37-59 + Plates 1-5.
Counter pressure brake and braking. In normal working, the valve-gear was sometimes reversed in cases of urgent necessity, while still continuing to run forwards, to obtain in an emergency the retarding effect of the full boiler pressure opposing the motion of the pistons, for the purpose of stopping the train in a shorter space than could be effected by means of the brakes alone. The reversed working could not be continued for more than a few minutes in ordinary locomotives without serious damage to the engine, due to the heating of the cylinders and the cutting of the rubbing surfaces from want of lubrication: the cylinders act as pumps in the reversed working, drawing in the heated gases from the smokebox, and forcing them into the boiler through the regulator which continues open; their action is thus the reverse of the ordinary action, when they receive steam from the boiler and discharge it into the smokebox. The Chatelier system enabled locomotives taking trains down inclines to be worked continuously with the valve-gear reversed, thus obtaining the advantage of the counter-pressure steam as a retarding power, instead of the train brakes, without any damage.
The heating caused by compression in cylinders when running reversed was established by experiments on the Northern of France Railway, in which two engines were coupled back to back on a level line, one running forwards, and dragging the other reversed against the resistance of the counter-pressure steam. At a speed of 18 mile/h, without either water or steam injection, the stuffing-box packings of the reversed engine caught fire after less than 2 miles, although the blast-pipe had been closed to avoid drawing in hot smokebox gases, and a separate opening was made for drawing in fresh air. After renewing the packings, a jet of steam in excess was injected into the blast-pipe, and the packings then caught fire after running between 3 and 4 miles. But with mixed injection containing a large proportion of water, a run of 18 miles was made, without any damage. Under normal working, when the hot smokebox gases would be drawn into the cylinders in running reversed, the engine would be be rendered unfit for work; but when working reversed with water injection, there was no injurious action.
For large goods engines with all wheels coupled, working heavy trains down moderate inclines or taking moderate trains down heavy gradients, and consequently working mainly in full gear, water injection was applied for regular use when running with counter-pressure steam; and in addition a separate steam jet was also applied, discharging into the water injection tube, which was found advantageous for occasional use when the pressure fell low in the boiler and the due proportion of steam in the jet consequently fell short, The separate steam jet was also of service in starting counter-pressure working at the beginning of a descent, and for clearing the passages of water when stopping.
In passenger engines, where the use of counter pressure steam was mainly for additional emergency braking and for stopping at stations, a combined injection of water and steam was used with a cock being provided for each injection, but both worked from the same handle and adjusted so that the water supply was always about half of the steam, the total supply of water and steam together being about 30 to 40 lbs. per minute. Experience showed that the addition of a steam jet was not absolutely necessary, and that the simple water jet was sufficient for all purposes. This was simpler as there was only the water cock to operate when reversing the engine for counter-pressure working. This arrangement was the one recommended by Le Chatelier for general application in counter-pressure working. The most extensive application of counter-pressure working was on the Paris and Lyons Railway, on which 1400 engines were using it regularly for descending inclines, and in stopping and shunting at stations.
The application of counter-pressure braking had become very extensive in France and Germany, with more than three thousand locomotives fitted with this simple apparatus, the employment of which was more and more extended to the regular working of the engines as the men became more accustomed to its use. It was always used in taking trains down steep inclines, and also very extensively for stopping at stations and for shunting, the regulator being left full open all the time, and the retarding or stopping being effected entirely by the reversing handle.
F.J. Bramwell (40-6) made some experiments on the LSWR with an engine fitted with the counter-pressure apparatus described in the paper. The trial was made on the Windsor branch, between Staines and Wrasbury stations, where the line was straight and level ; the day was fine, and the rails in first-rate order for brake action; the wind was rather fresh on one side, and slightly in the direction of the running. The engine was a six-wheeled one, with four wheels coupled; it had outside cylinders 17 inches diameter by 22 inches stroke, and the driving wheels were 6 ft. 6 ins. diameter; the slide-valves were balanced valves of very good construction, permitting easy reversal whilst running at full speed with steam full on. The weight of the engine in running order, without the tender, was 31¾ tons, of which 21¼ tons were upon the coupled wheels; and the total weight of the train was about 160 tons, of which 36½ tons had brakes applied, namely the tender, two four-wheel brake vans, and one carriage. Four experiments were made, in each of which the train was accelerated to 40 miles an hour. In the first experiment the steam was shut off, and neither brakes nor counter-pressure were applied: the train stopped in 5376 ft. Next the brakes (tender and train) were applied and the train stopped in 1080 ft (there may have been some skidding on the tender). Thirdly the counter-pressure was used alone, without any other brake and the train halted in 2712 ft. In the final experiment both counter-pressure and traditional brakes were employed simultaneously, but the stopping distance was not recorded. From the data collected Bramwell considered that the locomotive with counter-pressure braking should have been capable of halting a similar weight train on a 1 in 80 downward gradient. Fig. 9 (Plate 4) showed the pressure rise in the cylinders. W.G. Beattie (46-7) noted his approval for the tests..

W. Kirtley (47-9) stated that a preliminary trial of the counter-pressure plan had been made a short time ago with a light tank engine on the Midland Railway, and they had been "much surprised" at the results: in consequence a larger tank engine had been fitted with the counter-pressure apparatus, and trials had been made on the Lickey incline of 1 in 37. The engine was a very heavy one, intended expressly for working that incline, its weight in working order being 36½ tons; it was a six-wheel coupled engine, with 4 feet wheels, and cylinders 16½ inches diameter by 24 inches stroke. Several experiments were made, the last of which may be regarded as a destructive test where the packings were burnt and one cylinder got "rather hot". On the previous experiment a train of six loaded coal wagons weighing 58.61 tons, and two incline brake wagons weighing 21.20 tons and at 16 miles/hour the water cock was opened nearly half a turn and kept open for 5 seconds; the speed was thereby reduced in ¾mile to about 3 miles/hour. Again at 20 miles/hour the water cock was opened a quarter turn for 6 or 8 seconds, which reduced the speed in about ¾mile to a mere crawl. No water issued from the chimney top.
W.M. Moorsom (50-1)  noted experiments with counter-pressure working on the LNWR between Buxton and Stockport on an incline of 1 in 60 average gradient for 6 miles from Doveholes to Whaley Bridge station. The experiments were conducted under rather unfavourable circumstances, as they had to be made at night. The engine employed was a six-wheel coupled, with wheels 5 feet diameter, and cylinders 17 inches diameter by 24 inches stroke ; its weight in running order was 27½ tons, and the tender weighed 16 or 17 tons ; and the weight of the train taken down the incline by the engine in the experiments, consisting of several mineral wagons and one break van, was 250 tons. The engine started with 100 lbs. boiler pressure, and with one injector at work feeding the boiler; and on passing over the brow of the incline, where the speed was about 10 miles an hour, the steam was shut off and the water injection cock turned on, admitting the jet of hot water from the boiler into the exhaust-port; and as soon as there was a discharge of water from the funnel, which fell like rain on the foot-plate, the engine was reversed into full backward gear; after which the regulator was immediately opened again to the full extent, for applying the counter-pressure steam in the cylinders. The speed of the train however increased, and continued increasing until it was about 16 or 17 miles an hour, which was considered too fast for descending the incline; and the tender brake was therefore put on slightly, which reduced the speed to about 10 or 12 miles an hour. In this way the train ran down to Whaley Bridge, but in order to stop at the station the guard's brake and the tender brake had both to be applied, which brought the train to a stand in a short distance. The experiment was repeated in the same manner on the following night, and on both nights it was found that, when the water injection cock was only so much opened as to produce a cloud of steam and a fine spray from the chimney, the injector feeding the boiler would not continue working, but ceased work after running about a mile down the incline, and could not be made to start again so long as the counter-pressure jet was kept the same ; but by turning on such an amount of water into the exhaust-pipe that the spray from the chimney was much thicker and fell in large drops, they had managed to make the injector work again. When the water jet was kept on sufficiently to maintain the injector at work all the time of going down the incline, the boiler pressure fell from 100 lbs. at the top of the incline to 80 lbs. at the bottom; this was the case in the second night's experiment, but on the first night the injector was only at work a short distance down the incline. The engine had been at work on the same incline during the week previous to these experiments, and the driver had reported that, when very little water was turned on at the jet in the exhaust pipe, the boiler pressure rose almost immediately to the point of blowing off, 120 lbs., and continued blowing off all the way down the incline, but the injector would not work. Although the engine was fitted with screw reversing gear, so that it could readily be reversed without shutting off steam, the object of closing the regulator before opening the injection cock and reversing had been to reduce the discharge from the chimney to that caused by the water injection only, so that the proper opening of the injection cock might be readily determined. The engine wheels had never been skidded by the counter-pressure steam, except on one occasion while going through a tunnel, where the wheels slipped on the rails.
The President (John Ramsbottom, 51-4) From what he had seen and heard of the counter-pressure steam break, he was disposed to place a higher value upon it than to limit its capabilities to the working of inclines of only 1 in 80; and he believed it would be found of material assistance in taking trains down very heavy gradients. On the Tredegar and Abergavenny line in South Wales there was a descent of 1000 feet within a distance of only 8½; miles, giving a mean gradient of 1 in 45, and the difficulty of taking the trains down that part of the line was found to be practically even greater than getting them up ; and in this case he was looking to the application of the counter-pressure working for surmounting to a great extent the difliculty at present experienced. In applying the counter-pressure steam for ordinary stoppages at stations, the quantity of injection water required to be turned on would of course diminish as the speed became reduced; and he wm prepared therefore to anticipate some difliculty in this application of the plan, as the regulation of the jet would probably require a, nicety of adjustment that waa scarcely to be expected from the ordinary class of engine drivers. Another application mentioned in the paper of the counter-pressure working was for shunting at stations, the regulator being kept open the whole time, and the shunting being effected entirely by the reversing lever ; and in order to carry this plan out, it was necessary not only that the screw reversing gear should be employed, but also that the engine should be fitted with good balanced slide-valves ; otherwise it was certain the men would still continue to shut off the steam before reversing, in order to render the reversing easier. In the experiments on the Buxton line it had been mentioned that the steam had been shut off in order to reverse the engine, and it was-clear the regulator had been used largely in the trials; and the men would not be got to desist from employing it extensively until the reversing was rendered as easy with the steam full on as with it shut off, which it appeared to him could not be readily accomplished.
In regard to the excess of pressure shown above the boiler pressure in the counter-pressure diagram that was exhibited from the experiments on the South Western Railway, the explanation which had been offered, viewing the column of steam in the steam pipe from the regulator to the cylinders as performing the part of a ram, appeared to him to be corroborated by the circumstance of the engine being an outside-cylinder one with separate steam-chests and forked steam-pipe, increasing considerably the distance from the regulator to either cylinder. In an inside-cylinder engine, where the total length of the steam-pipe would be less, and where also the action of one piston might perhaps interfere somewhat with that of the other in forcing the steam back into the boiler, in consequence of the . two cylinders having only a single steam-chest common to them both, it was probable the excess of counter-pressure might not be quite so great as in the diagram shown. Another reason that would account for the high pressure observed in the cylinder was the greater density of the counter-pressure vapour which had to be forced back by the piston into the boiler if it was not boiler steam alone, but a wet vapour largely charged with water from the water jet, which would therefore move more sluggishly through the passages to the boiler. That the momentum of the boiler steam rushing into the cavity of the cylinder would be great enough to produce a considerable rise of pressure in the cylinder above the boiler pressure appeared to him a reasonable supposition; and he remembered hearing a somewhat analogous circumstance, that in gunnery it was it well-known fact that when a charge was not rammed home the strain upon the gun in firing was more severe, producing a greater expansion at the breech.
F. Holt (54-5) described work on the South Staffordshire Railway in 1855 or 1856 (before its absorption by the LNWR). The object had been to make use of the engine as brake power; and knowing the difficulty of running reversed, for lack of lubrication for the rubbing surfaces of the cylinders and pistons, it had struck him that the application of water might be successful. He had made a trial of the plan about fourteen years ago with a new goods engine, by inserting a 3/8in inch gas cock in the mud plug at the bottom of the smokebox tube-plate, and carrying a small pipe from this cock up to the mouth of the blast-pipe and then down inside the blast-pipe to the bottom, so as to discharge a jet of hot water from the boiler into the exhaust-port of each cylinder; the quantity of water in the jet was regulated as required by a rod worked from the footplate. With this apparatus the engine was worked down inclines with the valve-motion reversed into full backward gear and the water jet turned on, and the regulator kept full open all the time, thus giving the effect of the counter-pressure steam in retarding the motion of the train. The engine worked down the gradients of about 1 in 120 between Cannock and Wichnor Junction, and also down the incline of about 1 in 75 from Dudley Port to Dudley. Locomotive engines at that time had only the ordinary reversing lever held by a detent, instead of the screw reversing gear subsequently introduced, the reversed running was attended by much risk ; and after about a week or ten days’ successful working, an accident occurred in which the lever got free and flew into forward gear, and some damage was done to the engine. In consequence of this mishap, he had been prevented from proceeding with any further trial of the plan, notwithstanding that the result had been so far satisfactory in all other respects; he had been confident the principle of counter-pressure working was one of great value and would be attended with great success in practice, and that it would sometime come into use.
See also  Dunn Reflections page 39  Cited by Carling who stated  that the locomotive concerned was most probably one of two 0-6-0s built by Vulcan Foundry in 1855 or one of two 0-4-2s built by Beyer, Peacock in 1856.

Batho, W.F. and Aveling, T.
On a steam road roller. 109-18. Disc.: 118-34; 170-8. + Plates 18-24 and 51.
Experience in the use of steam road roller in Calcutta, India.

Marten, Edward B.
On the conclusions derived from the experience of recent steam boiler explosions. 179-200. Disc.: 200-18  + Plates 52-61.
There were 219 boiler explosions during the period June 1866 to June 1870. Ten of these were locomotive boiler explosions, and two of these were caused by strains imposed upon the boiler by being used as the frame for the engine. Two were caused by internal corrosion and two by internal corrosion. One was caused by a broken connecting-rod piercing the boiler and another by the dome hitting a railway bridge. In the period prior to June 1866 there had been 91 locomotive boiler explosions (out of a total of 719).
W. Bouch (217-18) observed that in locomotive and other multitubular boilers the bursting of a tube was not attended with the disastrous results of a boiler explosion and considered the principle of the locomotive boiler might advantageously be applied for stationary boilers to a much larger extent . Prior to 1849 he had experienced much difficulty in locomotive boilers of the old Stockton and Darlington class, with internally-fired flues, from the detriment caused by the concentration of heat upon particular portions of the flues. This had led him to develop, in conjunction with Mr. Adamson, the flanged flue, strengthened at intervals along its length by flanging the plates outwards at the circular joints and inserting a stiffening ring to which the two plates at each joint were rivetted. The application of this flanged flue had since then been very successfully and extensively carried out by Mr. Adamson for all stationary boilers having flues subjected to external pressure. In the working of locomotive boilers his experience was that it was not safe to keep them in full work longer than six years without a thorough exanination of the tubes, firebox, and shell, the tubes requiring to be all taken out for this purpose. It was true that in particular cases there might be evidence that the extreme measure of pulling the tubes out was not then necessary ; but as a general rule, when an engine had attained that age and had been working about 100 miles per day, it ought not to be allowed to continue running until it had undergone a very thorough examination.

1871 (Volume 22)

Ramsbottom, J.
On the mechanical ventilation of the Liverpool passenger tunnel on the London and North Western Railway. 22-35; 66-74; 184-99 + Plates 1-6; 17.
The LNWR left Liverpool via a 2035 yard Tunnel, of mean sectional area of 430 feet2, on an average gradient of 1 in 97. During the thirty-three years that had elapsed since opening this portion of line in 1837 traffic through the tunnel was worked by endless rope and a pair of winding engines at the top of the incline. All trains coming up the tunnel from the Liverpool station were attached to the rope and hauled up by the winding engines; trains in the reverse direction were controlled by the addition of very heavy brake-trucks. Delays occurred through stopping every up train at each mouth of the tunnel, to attach and detach the rope. This caused problems during the excursion season, when trains leaving Liverpool were often so heavily loaded that they were divided into two portions, each portion being hauled up the tunnel separately, and the train re-united at the top of the incline. These delays, together with the increasing requirements of the ordinary traffic, at length induced the directors to determine to remove the rope and winding engines, and to work the tunnel by locomotives in the ordinary manner; but the employment of coal-burning locomotives in a close tunnel nearly It mile long, intimately connected at each end with passenger stations of great importance, was of cotirse impracticable without a thorough and constant artificial ventilation. .

Beattie, William G.
Description of a balanced slide-valve for locomotive engines. 35-40. Disc.: 41-7 + Plates  7-11.
180 engines had been fitted with balanced valves, which were now applied to all engines either newly built or in shop for repair, the results of the past 2½ years' working having proved satisfactory.

Storey, John H.
On Ashton and Storey's steam-power meter and continuous indicator. 75-85. Disc.: 85-91 + Plates 18-20. 8 diagrs.
Applied to large steam engines as used to power rolling mills and the Cunard steamship Siberia

Haswell, John A.
Description of the break drums and the mode of working at the Ingleby incline on the Rosedale branch of the North Eastern Railway. 200-4. Disc.: 204-12.+ Plates 55-9.
The Rosedale mineral branch of the North Eastern Railway, which ran into the main line at Ingleby Junction, was used for the conveyance of ironstone from the mines at Rosedale in North Porkshire, worked on both sides of the valley, near Rosedale Abbey. The Ingleby Incline, formed a portion of this branch, was 2 mile long, with an average gradient of 1 in 5½, the steepest portion being 1 in 5, as shown in the general section, Fig. 1, Plate 55. Loaded trains descended the incline, drawing up at the same time the empty trains ; and a passing place for the two trains was made in the middle of the length of the incline, by a short length of double line, as shown in the plan, Fig. 2; the rest being laid with three rails, the centre one being common to both up and down trains. The incline was worked in the usual manner of similar steep mineral inches, by means of a pair of brake drums fixed upon a horizontal shaft, and situated at the top of the incline. The two brake drums weighed together 68 tons, and the shaft, carriages, and brake segments about 26 tons, making a total weight of 94 tons. The ropes were 5 inches circumference, made of steel wire, and each 1650 yards long, weighing 8 tons. The rope end was taken through a hole in the side of the drum barrel, and wound two or three times round the shaft, and secured by a loop knot.
: Haswill (205-6) believed the idea of using cast iron for brakin on incline sheaves originated with Mr. Thompson, the engineer of the Pontop-and Jarrow colliery railway ; and cast-iron brake-blocks were extensively used on the wagons of the North Eastern Railway with complete success. Before trying the plan on a large scale on the drums of the Ingleby incline, a cast-iron brake had been put up on the Stanley incline, a small self-acting incline on the North Eastern Railway, worked by a wire rope passing half round a sheave at the top, and was found to work well. From this experience, coupled with that on the Pontop and Jarrow line, it had then been decided to try a cast-iron brake for the Ingleby drums, and the result had proved very satisfactory in all respects. After the brakes had been used for running a train down the incline, the heat of the brake surfaces was so inconsiderable that the hand could be held upon them.
E. Gilkes (210) mentioned coal wagons on the Stockton and Darlington Railway had hollow cast-iron brake-blocks substituted for the wood blocks employed previously, and had been found highly successful, the wagon wheels being made of cast iron chilled at the rim. A large number of the wagons on that line were now working with these cast-iron brakes, which proved fully as efficient as the ordinary wood blocks in respect to break power, and had the advantage of wearing very much less rapidly.

Cochrane, Charles
On steam boilers with small water space, and Roots' tube boiler. 229-44. Disc.: 244-59. + Plates 64-72. 37 diagrs.
Root's water tube boiler was installed at the Ormesby Iron Work in Middlebrough (Figs. 28 et seq). The paper also surveyed other water tube boilers from Woolf's cast iron boiler of 1803 (Fig. 1); Hancock's boilers of 1825 (Fig. 2) and 1827 (Fig. 7); Ogle's boiler of 1830 (Fig. 6); James' cast iron boiler (Fig. 9); Perkins (Fig. 11); Belleville (Fig. 13); Jordan (Fig. 15); Harrison's cast iron (Fig. 17); Benson (Fig. 19); Field (Fig. 21); Howard (Fig. 23); and Allen (Fig. 26)

Spon, Ernest
On steam pressure gauges. 281-8, Disc.: 288-92 + Plates 80-7. 29 diagrs.
Points in a satisfactory pressure gauge:

Volume 23 (1872)

Siemens, C. William
On a steam jet for exhausting air etc. and the results of its application. 97-110. Disc. 110-17 + Plates 13-20. 20  diagrs.
The date of 1829 is given as that for the deliberate action of a steam jet to enhance locomotive boiler performance. Includes a description of Pneumatic Despatch Tubes used in London by the Post Office . The system was also used to raise water, to evaporate sugar and as a blower for gas producers. At the time of the meeting Siemens was President, and it is not immediately obvious that comments by "the President" are identical to those of the "author". L. Olrick (112-14) considered that the improved steam jet would be applicable to a variety of purposes, and that one application might be to the blast-pipe in locomotives. On some railways the locomotives were made with conical chimneys expanding upwards, which he understood were found to render the blast more effective, and cause less back pressure in the cylinders, than was the case with the usual parallel chimneys; and he thought that the efficiency of ordinary boilers, where the exhaust steam was used as a blast for creating a draught, might be very materially increased, and a saving of fuel effected, with scarcely any back pressure in the cylinders, if due attention were paid to the results derived from the careful experiments which had been made in connection with the very perfect steam jet now described.  (Ref: Backtrack, 1999, 13, 377)

Friday 2 August 1872 from Liverpool Meeting: visit by special train to chemical works in Widnes, the Runcorn Bridge and Crewe Works. 246-50.
Members proceeded from Widnes to the Runcorn Railway Bridge over the Mersey, which is constructed of lattice girders in three spans of 305 feet each in the clear, with 75 feet clear headway above high water level. The depth of the girders is 28 feet, and the top and bottom flanges are 5 feet wide and of box construction; the floor of the bridge is wholly of wrought iron. The deflection in the centre of each girder, when tested with sixteen of the heaviest locomotives on one span, did not exceed 1 inch. The river piers are of masonry and brickwork, testing on the red sandstone rock; the foundations extend to a depth of 45 feet below high water, and were put in by means of cast-iron coffer-dams.
The Crewe Locomotive and Steel Works were then visited by special train. In the extensive shops of the locomotive works a large number of engines were seen in all stages of construction and repair. In the boiler shop testing was witnessed of samples from the Bessemer steel plates, 3/8 inch thick, now being adopted for the locomotive boiler shells; these plates are required to have a tensile breaking strain of 34 tons psi, and to stand an elongation of 25% before breaking, and a 5/8 inch hole punched in a sample strip of 3 inches width, cut from each plate, is required to stand drifting out to 2 inches diameter without the metal cracking. In the extensive Bessemer steel works the process of tyre-making, the duplex hammers, and the reversing rolling miIls, described at previous meetings of the Institution, were seen in operation. The Members were entertained at luncheon at Crewe by Mr. Webb, the Locomotive Superintendent of the London and North Western Railway ; and the special train returned to Liverpool in the evening.

Volume 24 (1873)

Baines, William
Description of an improved apparatus for working and interlocking railway signals and points. 31-40. Disc.: 40-4 + Plates 1-9. 25 disgrs.
System is illustrated by an installation at a complex junction on the Furness Railway at Lindal Cote.
Discussion: F.W. Webb (41) considered the arrangement of rack and pawl in the compensating apparatus was very good, and he enquired whether a rack had been in use before for the purpose.

Kitson, Frederick W.
On the Allen governor and throttle valve for steam engines. 47-55. Disc.: 55-62 + Plates 10-14. 16 diagrs.
As applied to stationary engines..

Excursions at Cornwall Meeting [visit to Royal Albert Bridge on 1 August 1873].  244-7.
The party arrived from the West on a West Cornwall Railway train and were allowed to climb into the tubes under the guidance of Willkiam Wright, the District Engineer. The total weight, including the approaches, was 2600 tons of wrought iron, and 1200 tons of cast iron; and the total cost was £223,220. Very full account.

Sheriff, James D.
Description of the bracket chairs for suspending double-headed rails on the West Cornwall Railway. 252-4. Disc.: 255-9 + Plate 76. 3 diagrs..
The chair was secured to the sleeper by screwed spikes or fang bolts, and the spike hole through the inner half of the chair was slotted to allow that half of the chair to be drawn back sufficiently for taking out the rail, if required, without withdrawing the spike. The chair was prevented from shifting in regular work by the slot being blocked with a circular washer, which fitted into a recess at the end of the slot, and was kept down by the head of the spike. The writer believed that this chair was designed by Brunel in 1858, and was first used on the Vale of Neath Railway.

Volume 25 (1874)

Bramwell, Frederick Joseph
Address of the President. 108-18.
Mainly an examination of the engineering profession. Bramwell was clearly concerned about the dominance of coal and its social evils: "It pains me when I hear a man talk of “only a bit of coal.”" and "have we not, in consequence of the facility of its [coal's] application, been tempted to neglect other sources of power in nature? Do we sufficiently utilise the waterfall, the tidal wave, and the force of the wind? And, with respect to the employment of these forces, we should remember that we are enabled to utilise water power in a way which to the engineers of the last century was unknown. They availed themselves of the waterfall—indeed it was their chief source of motive power—but they were compelled to place their manufactories close to the falls; we however know that it is perfectly possible to transmit (at some cost by loss of power, it is true, but not at a prohibitory cost), power to very long distances. The transmission, so far as invention has at present gone, may be made by exhaustion of air, as practised by Hague forty years ago, by the compression of air, by rocking rods, by swift-running wire ropes, and by the employment of water under pressure, as practised by Sir William Armstrong." It is strange that these comments were made just prior to the development of electricity generation, but some of his other comments seem highly cogent in the 21st century: "making the most of barren hill sides, as it seems to me we might do, by planting quick-growing trees, which, fostered and matured by the sun, would yield large quantities of wood to be used as fuel for domestic purposes?"
"Then there are open to our members improvements in the comfort and in the safety of our travelling by land or by sea. I trust I am not too sanguine when I say that I hope for greater speed in both those modes of journeying; for greater comfort, even in the mastery of sea sickness; and for greater safety, by better signals, by improved modes of communication between those on the train and those in the station or signal houses, and by better means for rapidly and safely arresting the speed of trains."
"Forty years ago the business of a mechanical engineer was general: the man who made a marine engine made a locomotive, made mill work, and made land engines. But within the last few years the business of the mechanical engineer has divided itself into distinct branches, so that the locomotive builder is little more than a locomotive builder, or the marine engineer than a marine engineer. I presume such division is the almost inevitable."

Volume 26 (1875)

Pole, William
Some notes on the early history of the railway gauge. 66-76; Disc.: 76-91. + Plate 7
It was the author’s privilege, a few years ago, to be called on to write the chapter on the gauges in the life of the late Mr. I. K. Brunel; and in preparing himself for this work he had occasion to study many documents, not generally accessible, bearing on the early history of the subject. He conceives that some of the facts therein disclosed have, in recent discussions, hardly received the attention they are entitled to, and he therefore thinks it may be useful and interesting to put them on record.
In the first place it is desirable to take a brief view of the manner in which that element of railway design called the “gauge” first came into existence. Almost as early as wheel carriages were used, it must have been remarked that the power required to draw them diminished in proportion to the smoothness and hardness of the road on which they travelled; and this led to the laying down of longitudinal tracks of some smooth material, such as broad plates of wood or stone. The wagon wheels had hitherto been capable of running either on the tram or the ordinary road; but as the traffic increased, it was found desirable to set apart vehicles for the new road only, and this gave the opportunity of placing the guiding flange upon the wheel instead of upon the road-a great improvement, inasmuch as, while it answered the purpose equally well, it very much simplified the form of track. The rail thus became what it is now, merely a narrow face or edge of iron, projecting upwards from the road ; this was in its first days called an “edge rail,” to distinguish it from the flat plate or tram. The gauge under this construction remained unchanged, as the existing vehicles were used with merely alteration of their wheels. In many cases the wheels were so made that they might run either on the edge or tram roads, when both existed in the same districts, as shown in Fig. 2, Plate 7.
When Mr. George Stephenson took up the subject of the locomotive engine, with the view of adopting it as the mode of haulage on the railroads of the Northumberland collieries, the gauge of the lines in the district had been already fixed. On the earliest tramroads laid down, probably the ordinary road vehicles had been used: these determined the distance apart of the tram plates; and when the special wagons were made with flanged wheels the same width was adhered to. In laying out the Stockton and Darlington line (1821-25) Mr. Stephenson saw no reason to depart from the gauge he had previously used; and indeed, as it is on record that some of the wagons to be used on the line were brought from the Northumberland collieries,  probably the facility of interchanging the vehicles was one reason that determined the similarity. In this way the first important railway in England came to be formed to the gauge of 4 ft. 8½ in., not from a choice of this width on the ground of any peculiar advantages, but from the mere fact of its already being in existence elsewhere. It has often in later days excited astonishment that so odd a dimension as 4 ft. 8½ in. should have been chosen for such an important datum ; but really there was no consideration about the matter. No one at that period could have anticipated that the width of the little colliery tramways would afterwards prove to be of such immense consequence to the world. The success of the Stockton and Darlington Railway led to the project of the line between Liverpool and Manchester; and when this was laid out in 1826, as no fault had been found with the gauge of the model line, no reason appeared why it should not be adhered to, particularly as it was desirable to preserve uniformity, in order to facilitate the transfer of engines, carriages, and wagons between different lines. Hence the same gauge was adopted as on the Stockton and Darlington. When the Grand Junction to Birmingham, joining on the Liverpool and Manchester, was laid out, the same width was necessarily adopted; this was followed also by the London and Birmingham, and thus the 4 ft. 8½ in. gauge became established as the normal one for that part of the country.
To remedy the evil [of a narrow track gauge], the following expedient was hit upon by some ingenious person, whose name has not descended to posterity. It was reasoned that as the resistance on a railway was so much less than on a common road, and as the surface was so much more even, the advantages of the large wheel and of the low centre of gravity might be relinquished for the sake of obtaining increased width without altering the gauge. With this view therefore a new type of vehicle was designed, in which the wheels were kept small, and the body was raised so that it might be widened out, projecting on each side over the tops of the wheels, as shown in the diagram, Fig. 4. To support this better, the axle was also lengthened, and the bearings were put outside the wheels. The earliest description of this form of wagon is contained in the second edition of Wood’s “ Practical Treatise on Railroads,” published in 1832, about two years after the opening of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway. In this (Plate III) Mr. Wood shows a vehicle with a raised platform overhanging the wheels, and adapted for carrying loose boxes of coals ; adding in the description :-“ Although the drawing shows only the form of boxes used for the conveyance of coals, yet it will readily occur that the form can be varied to suit the carriage of any kind of articles; the framework or body of the carriage being raised above the wheels, the breadth can be extended to any width which the distance between the railways (ie., between the up and down lines of road) will admit.”
At this point however stepped in a young man of genius, who determined to make a vigorous effort to get rid of the difficulty by striking at once at the root of the evil, and widening the gauge. A year or two after the first development of the defect, Mr. I.K. Brunel was called on to design the Great Western Railway, and in a report to the directors of that company, dated October 1835, he recommended that it should be constructed on a much broader gauge than that adopted in the North of England. Unfortunately no copy of this report, so interesting in a historical point of view, can be found; but from subsequent documents still extant, there can be no doubt as to the nature of the arguments he used. He perceived that the device adopted to gain width by a raised and overhanging body involved mechanical disadvantages, to which he attached more importance than hitherto. He looked forward to a great future development taking place upon railways, and a great increase of speed and traffic being effected upon them; and he conceived that the power of getting diminished traction by large wheels, and increased steadiness by a low centre of gravity, would be as much to be desired on railways as it had always heretofore been on common roads. He therefore made up his mind that the proper method of obtaining the width was by the more radical measure of widening tho gauge; he says :-“Looking to the speeds which I contemplated wouldbe adopted, and the masses to be moved, it seemed to me that the whole machine was too small for the work to be done, and that it required that the parts should be on it scale more commensurate with the mass and the velocity to be attained.” [Evidence before Gauge Commission, 1845], Hence the width between the rails being, so to speak, the fundamental dimension of the “whole machine,” on which the development of all its parts must depend, he proposed to begin by the enlargement of this dimension, it being obvious that this mnst be done at first, if it was to be done at all. He conceived that the whole of the parts of the railway and of its rolling stock would be susceptible of continual though gradual improvement, and he considered it highly advisable in the outset to remove what appeared a great obstacle in thc way. He pointed out a great many advantages that would arise from the widening of the gauge, particularly in the constrnction of the engines, and in obtaining generally reduced resistance, greater power and speed, greater carrying capability, and greater steadiness ; and, as is well known, his counsels prevailed, and it was determined to take the bold step of departing, on the Great Western lines, from the gauge already established in other parts of the country.
Mr. Brunel had then to determine what the new gauge should be; and in this he was guided by the principle already mentioned of getting the bodies of the vehicles completely between the wheels. The width of the body would be determined by the broadest article ordinarily requiriug to be carried ; this was a private carriage, the width of which was generally about 6 ft. 6 in. To get such a body between the wheels, would require a width of 6 ft. 10½ in. to 6 ft. 11 in. between the rails; but 7 ft. allowed of its being done easily, and therefore this dimension was fixed on by Mr. Brunel as the standard gauge, as shown in Fig. 5. There has been much misunderstanding as to the motives which originally induced him to propose the change of gauge, and they were unfortunately lost sight of amid the multiplicity of details involved in the subsequent discussions. He has been generally charged with a mere desire to make a bigger and grander railway than anybody else, and probably this is the notion of most people who look at the thing now. It is however a pure fiction, and a great injustice to him. His motives were much more creditable, and such as did honour both to his indomitable energy and his great and far-seeing mechanical knowledge ; and it is only just to the memory of a great man that the true explanation should be circdated more generally in the mechanical world. . It may naturally be asked however, why, if it was Mr. Brunel’s design to return to the road type of carriage, this was not done on the Great Western lines. The history of this point is somewhat obscure. It is certain that vehicles were made with the bodies within the wheels, and many such may be still seen on the broad gauge lines ; but it must be admitted that Mr. Brunel never fully carried out his principle in practice. The change back from the abnormal to the normal type was too sweeping to be hastily adopted; and hence, although the wheels were enlarged, the overhang was in most cases still retained. At a later period, a desire to get still greater width in the carriages perpetuated the type, and so it has remained in use on broad
Discussion Joesph Armstrong (80-2) remarked that the gauge question had already been discussed for more than thirty years, and he thought it would probably be a long time before it was decided whether the narrow or the broad gauge was really the best. With regard to the gauge of the colliery lines in the North, from which it was said in the paper that the present narrow gauge had been taken, the line on which the first locomotive engine was run was of 5f t. gauge, and this was the colliery branch from Wylam, where George Stephenson was born, to Lemington ; the engine itself, called the Puffing Billy, which he well remembered seeing at work on that line, was made in 1813 by Blackett of Wylam, having been designed by his engineer Hedley, and it continued running, or part of it did, from that date until 1862; it was now preserved in the South Kensington museum. There were other lines in connection with the Wylam line, which were also 5ft. gauge. The very first locomotive for the Wylam line was built in 1804 by Trevithick of Cornwall, who he thought had scarcely had justice done him, and it was made for a 5 ft. gauge, as shown by a drawing now in his own possession; but it never got on the line, and was sold he believed to drive a foundry blowing-fan at Gateshead, and had continued at work there for that purpose until very recently. Stephenson’s engine on the Killingworth line, for a 4ft. 8½ in. gauge, was made in 1814. It was a singular fact too that the original gauge on the Stockton and Darlington line was not 4 ft. 8½in. but 4 ft. 8 in. The Liverpool and Manchester Railway was 4 ft. 8½in., and then the Stockton and Darlington was altered to the same, because vehicles coming from the 4 ft. 8½in. gauge had some difficulty in getting over the narrower line, particularly at crossings and curves.
Having himself gone to the Liverpool and Manchester line in 1836, he was acquainted with the construction of the early vehicles referred to in the paper, and he believed the credit of the over-hanging body and outside bearing was due to Mr. Henry Booth, the secretary of that line, and Mr. John Gray, the mechanical engineer. That construction was first carried out in the second and third-class carriages, which being painted a blue colour formed what was generally called the “blue train.” The wagons at that time, of the same construction, were fair-sized vehicles; and he remembered that on one occasion with those wagons two engines took a whole shipload of cotton in two trains from Liverpool to Manchester; the load amounted to from 800 to 1000 tons, and the engines had to be assisted up the Whiston incline by a bank engine. He did not think the carriages designed at that time by Mr. Booth and Mr. Gray had been improved upon to the present day, except that they had been made a little larger; each compartment in the first-class carriages held six persons then as now, the main difference being that the cubic contents of the present carriages were somewhat greater, in consequence of there being a little more height and width. Those early carriages had also laminated bearing buffing and draw springs, the ball-shackle screw-couplings, and the yellow grease; and these things had continued from that day to the present.
For the last twenty years he had been engaged upon the mixed broad and narrow gauge of the Great Western Railway, and had therefore been able to form some idea as to which gauge was the best, commercially speaking. He did not think it could be stated with correctness that the cost of working the broad gauge exceeded so largely that of the.narrow gauge. No doubt the larger vehicles were heavier, but the difference thereby occasioned in the working cost was only to the extent of the increase of weight. If the expenses of the broad gauge were taken for a number of years during Mr. Brunel’s life and under the management of Mr. (now Sir Daniel) Gooch, he thought it would be found that the working expenses of the broad gauge compared very favourably with those of the narrow. Taking the cost of locomotive power in proportion to the earnings, he believed it had been sbown by the published half-yearly statements that the Great Western Railway worked their broad gauge up to a certain time at a less cost per cent. upon the earnings than any narrow-gauge line in the country.
With regard to the early large locomotives that had been referred to, he believed the design of these was due not to Mr. Brunel, but to Mr. T.E. Harrison, from whose plans the “Hurricane” and the “Thunderer” had been constructed, having the boiler on one carriage and the engine on another. It was quite correct that the best broad-gauge engine of that time was the “North Star” and other engines of that class, built by Stephenson from drawings made by Sir Daniel Gooch previously to his going upon the Great Western Railway. Those engines he believed were not designed specially for the Great Western Railway, but were made, three of them at all events, for South America.
F.W. Webb (82-3) could confirm what had been stated by Mr. Armstrong with regard to the gauge of the Wylam line, which was now being altered by the present proprietors, Mr. John Spencer and others, to 4 ft. 8½in., because of the difficulty of not being able to transfer the chaldron wagons from one gauge to the other. It would also be remembered that the first portion of what was now the Great Eastern Railway had been originally put down and opened as a 5ft. gauge, and a quantity of the rolling stock was worked on that gauge, and was altered afterwards to the 4ft. 8½in gauge. The Crewe and Chester line had been made originally 4ft. 9in. gauge, and he recollected the engine wheels used to be turned with thick flanges on purpose to work that line as a district by itself, until the gauge was subsequently altered to the 4ft. 8½in. With regard to the alteration made in the distance between the up and down roads, which had been referred to in the paper, on several portions of the Liverpool and Manchester line there was still the old 4ft. 8½in distance between the up and down roads; and on the Newcastle and Carlisle Railway he had noticed that the same was the case on a portion that he had recently been over. He was under the impression that the object was to have the means of working between the up and down lines on any emergency; and he had heard the same reason assigned also in other similar instances.
With respect to the difficulty of getting a sufficiently powerful engine on the 4ft. 8½in gauge, with sufficient extent of bearing surface between the axleboxes and horn plates, the most recent engines on the London and North Western Railway had bearing surfaces larger than any broad-gauge engines, and were working with unusually little wear; with journals of 9 in. length, there was as much as 112 to 120 sq. in. area of bearing surface between the axlebox and the horn plate on each side. This he considered a step in the right direction, causing a considerable reduction in the expenses of working the 4ft. 8½in. gauge ; some of the engines had been running from 43,000 to 44,000 miles up to the present time, and there had been no necessity yet to touch the axleboxes in any part. He had been enabled to obtain the extra length of bearing without at all interfering with the simplicity of the motion or requiring the use of .weigh-bars to get at the valve-spindles.
Sir John Coode (83-4) thought there was some mistake as to the gauge of the Stockton and Darlington line having been different from that of the Liverpool and’Manchester for he had been told by Mr. George Stephenson himself that the gauge on the Liverpool and Manchester line was, so to speak, a matter of accident; that there was no question raised about what the gauge should be upon that line, but that it was taken for granted, and that, when the platelayers who had previously been employed on the Stockton and Darlington line went down to lay the rails, they took with them the gauge they had already used on this line, along with the rest of their tools. With regard to the early large locomotives on the Great Western Railway he had thought it was Mr. Timothy Hackworth who had had to do with them, either as designer or as builder; he had himself been on the “ Hurricane,” and recollected the boiler being on one carriage and the engine on the other. The grindstone which had been referred to for grinding the rails to a true surface had certainly been brought to bear for that purpose; but the centrifugal force soon caused it to fly to pieces, and no more was heard of it. The piles on which the longitudinal sleepers were laid had many of them been driven by himself, and he had afterwards had either to pull them up again or to cut off their heads ; for in a very short time the road became so uneven by settlement between the piles that the carriages undulated in a most uncomfortable and even dangerous manner in running over it.
Joseph Armstrong (84) said his authority for the statement about the gauge of the Stockton and Darlington line having originally been 4 ft. 8 in. was Mr. Timothy Hackworth’s son, Mr. John W. Hackworth, who had lately told him that he had frequently altered the wheels of vehicles built for the 4ft. 8½in. gauge to the 4ft. 8in. gauge of the Stockton and Darlington line. Mr. Timothy Hackworth had been the locomotive superintendent of that line, and his son had been his assistant, and had been for more “than thirty years in the district. The “Hurricane” and “Thunderer” engines had been built by Hawthorn, not by Hackworth; and the driver who came with them from Hawthorn’s works was his present foreman at Oxford.

Webb, Francis W.
Description of a direct-acting circular saw for cutting steel hot. 126-33.

Volume 28 (1877)

Perkins, Loftus
On steam boilers and engines for high pressures. 117-23. Disc.: 124-57. + Plates 15-21. 10 diagrs.
Reference back to paper by himself and Williamson in Proc., 1861, 12, 94. Mainly application in marine applications: steam yacht Emily which operated in the Thames and steamers Atacama and Coquimbo of Pacific Steam Navigation Co. also in an engine at the Dorking Grey Stone Lime Co.’s works. Although Crampton was present and contributed to the discussion (139-40) and C. Cochrane was also present and contributed to the discussion (140-1) there was very little to suggest that the Perkins' boiler might ever be applied to railway locomotives.

Supplement to notes on the early history of railway gauge, respecting the origin of the 4ft 8 ½ inch gauge. 158-63.
Communicated by the Secretary. At a former meeting of the Institution a paper on the Early History of Railway Gauge was communicated by William Pole; and in the course of the discussion upon the paper it was stated that the original Railway Gauge, instead of being 4 ft. 8½ in., as at present existing, was 4 ft. 8 in., and that the Stockton and Darlington, which was the first public railway, was originally laid 4 ft. 8 in. gauge, and was afterwards altered to 4 ft. 8½ in. gauge, in consequence of that having become the general railway gauge of the country. The result of subsequent enquiry that has been made upon this subject has been the confirmation of the above statement, and the addition of some further interesting information respecting the origin of the present 4 ft. 8½ in. gauge, which clears up a point not before understood, and corrects some errors in previously published accounts. It is therefore thought desirable for this information to be recorded in the Institution Proceedings by means of the present supplement to the above paper.
The Stockton and Darlington Railway, which was opened in 1825 (the fiftieth anniversary of its opening having been recently celebrated), was made 4 ft. 8 in. gauge inside the rails, and 5 ft. gauge outside the rails, these being 2 in. width, of wrought-iron rolled fish-bellied, with half-lap joints, and weighing 28 lb. per yard; a small portion of the line was laid with cast-iron fish-bellied rails. A specimen of the original wrought-iron rails is upon the table, which has been kindly sent by Mr. John Anderson of Middlesbrough. This gauge of 4 ft. 8 in. inside and an even 5 ft. outside the rails appears to have been at that time and for a long period previously the regular gauge for the colliery tramways worked by horses, that being the gauge of the chaldron coal wagons in general use ; and when locomotive engines were introduced they were consequently made the same 4 ft. 8 in. gauge. The original engine that opened the Stockton and Darlington Railway, named Locomotion, which was made by George Stephenson at Newcastle, and is now preserved at Darlington Station, was made 4 ft. 8 in. gauge, and remains so at the present time, the gauge between the wheel tyres being 4 ft. 5 in. ; the tyres are cast solid with the wheels.
The following information respecting the Stockton and Darlington gauge has been kindly supplied by Mr. Mac Nay, the Secretary of that branch of the North Eastern Railway. In the original Acts of 1821 and 1823, under which the railway was made, there was not any gauge specified; but in the subsequent Act of 1828 (three years after the opening) for extending the line from Stockton to Middlesbrough, it was provided “that the distance between the inside edges of the rails shall not be less than four feet eight inches, and the distance between the outside edges of the rails shall not be more than five feet and one inch.” This is the earliest case known of railway gauge being fixed by Act of Parliament. The 4 ft. 8 in. gauge continued upon the Stockton and Darlington line for fifteen years, until the opening of the main North line between York and Darlington in 1840, when the gauge wits altered for the purpose of removing the obstruction then experienced in the interchange of traffic, by allowing any wagons of other railways to run upon the line ; as previously only those of the wider-gauge wagons that had thin flanges could be taken on the line. The Stockton and Darlington was however only altered to 4 ft. 8¼ in. gauge at that time; the reason for not making it the full 4 ft. 8½ in. being that most of the wagons employed on the line were the old chaldron wagons, which were slack to the 4 ft. 8 in. gauge, or had excessive side play, and the line being at that time laid mostly with stone blocks, having no tie between the rails, was liable in bad weather to get wide in gauge. The subsequent alteration to the present full 4 ft. 8½ in. gauge was carried out gradually as the course of repairs and the relaying of the line gave opportunity; and this alteration was greatly facilitated by the circumstance of the rails being laid on blocks, and not tied together by transverse sleepers as in the later construction of permanent way.
Information has been also supplied by Mr. Carson of the North Eastern Railway, Stockton, respecting the Clarence Railway in the same neighbourhood (opened in 1838 for passenger traffic by locomotives and worked previously by horses), that the gauge was originally 4 ft. 8 in., and this was altered to 4 ft. 8¼ in. about 1842, and the gauge was subsequently made 4 ft. ½ in.
In reference to the gauge of the early colliery lines previous to the making of the Stockton and Darlington Railway, the following information has been supplied by Mr. Cuthbert Berkley of Gateshead, manager of the Marley Hill and Springwell Collieries, Newcastle. The Springwell Colliery Railway, one of the oldest in England, was laid to 4 ft. 8 in. gauge, and this was only altered about 1854, when the Springwell line was connected to the Marley Hill and other collieries, which were already in connection with the North Eastern Railway. The difference of the gauge was then found out by running the North Eastern Railway wagons over the Springwell line ; the wagons would run, but the gauge was found very tight, and the platelayers' gauges were consequently altered from 4 ft. 8 in. to 4 ft. 8½ in., and the new wagons afterwards put on the line were made for the 4 ft. 8½ in. gauge.
The Liverpool and Manchester Railway, which was the second public railway, was opened in 1830, five years after the Stockton and Darlington; and the conclusion drawn from the information received is that it was commenced at the Manchester end on the same gauge of 4 ft. 8 in., being laid by platelayers taken from the Stockton and Darlington, and using their old gauges. In reference to this the following information has been received from Sir John Coode : “ It was stated to me personally by Mr. George Stephenson, that when the platelayers went from the Stockton and Darlington to the Liverpool and Manchester line they took their gauges with them as parts of their stock of tools, and these gauges were used as a matter of course in laying the rails.” The original engine, the ‘‘Rocket,” that first ran upon the Liverpool and Manchester line at the competition in 1829, for determining whether locomotive or stationary engines were to be adopted for the working, was made 4 ft. 8 in. gauge, as shown by evidence preserved at Messrs. Robert Stephenson and Co.’s factory, Newcastle. During the progress of the line however the gauge was settled to be 4 ft. 8½ in. The following information on this subject has been supplied by Mr. Thomas L. Gooch of Saltwell, Gateshead, who was engaged in the construction of the Liverpool end of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway under Mr. George Stephenson : "There was much discussion during the construction of the line about curves and the self-acting value of the conical tyre in relieving the pressure of the flange against the rail, and the consequent need of a certain amount of play in the gauges of wheels and rails; especially as considerably higher speed was contemplated (even before the ‘Rocket’ was produced) than that on the Stockton and Darlington Railway. I venture to think therefore that the extra half inch was given to meet these considerations, and that this was the true origin of the 4 ft. 8½ in. gauge.”
The conical tyre appears to have been first used on the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, the previous tyres having been all cylindrical; and as an increased play between the rails would necessarily be required in order to give effect to the conical tyre, the most likely conclusion appears to be that the extra half inch was then added to the gauge for that purpose, thus increasing the original 4 ft. 8 in. to the present 4 ft. 8½ in. gauge.
The same gauge as the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, 4 ft. 8½ in., had to be used for the Grand Junction and the London. and Birmingham Railways, forming the through communication which was opened eight years later, in 1838, from the Liverpool and Manchester line to London ; and 4 ft. 8½ in. became consequently established as the standard dimension for the gauge.
In several of the succeeding railways, as in the following list, the original gauge was increased half-an-inch more to 4 ft. 9 in. ; but‘ these were subsequently altered, and 4 ft. 8½ in. has been since adhered to as the standard gauge.





Stockton and Darlington


4ft 8in

4ft 8½in

Liverpool and Manchester


4ft 8½in

4ft 8½in

Grand Junction


4ft 8½in

4ft 8½in

London and Birmingham


4ft 8½in

4ft 8½in

York and North Midland


4ft 9in

4ft 8½in

Birmingham and Derby


4ft 9in

4ft 8½in

Chester and Crewe


4ft 9in

4ft 8½in

Manchester and Birmingham


4ft 9in

4ft 8½in

Manchester and Leeds


4ft 9in

4ft 8½in

.Some information respecting the original gauge of the Newcastle and Carlisle line has also been received through Mr. George Dove of Carlisle. This line was in progress during the making of the Liverpool and Manchester, and the first portion opened was 4 ft. 8 in. gauge; a, part of this was single line, and afterwards doubled by adding an extra rail on each side, thus leaving the intermediate space between the two lines only 4 ft. 8 in.

Hawksley, Thomas
Address of the President. 167-75.

Wilson, John C.
On the construction of safety valves. 176-96.

Webb, Francis W.
On an improved form of slide valve for steam and hydraulic engines. 197-200. Disc.: 200-5. + Plates 27-30. 17 diagrs.
Circular slide valve

Geach, John J.
On the mechanical appliances used in the construction of the heading under the Severn, for the Severn Tunnel Railway. 206-20.

Riches, T. Hurry
On the Tynewydd Colliery inundation, with particulars of the appliances used for rescuing the miners and recovering the workings. 221-36.

Fell, John C.
On the economy of variable automatic expansion in steam engines. 276-82. Disc.: 282-95. + Plates 44-7

Widmark, H.W.
Description of improved radial axleboxes and guides. 304-13.

Volume 29 (1878)

Sanders, D.
On continuous brakes for railway trains. 67-81. Disc.: 81-105. + Plates 5-14. 21 diagrs.
Conditions necessary to be fulfilled by a perfect system of continuous brakes are:
1. Complete control both in applying and releasing them throughout the entire train by the driver.
2. Control in applying them in time of danger by cither of the guards.
3. Automatic action in the event of an accidental separation of the train.
4. The brakes to be their own tell-tale in the event of any derangement of the apparatus; and the automatic action not to be contingent upon the proper working of a cord communication, or of any appliances requiring attention to put them into operation when necessity arises.
Reference to Fay & Newall screw type brakes on LYR, also to experiments with chain, vacuum and compressed air barkes.

Robinson, John
Address of the President. 295-300.
Divided engineering into:
1st. Agricultural Engineering—the primary object being the production of food, and of the materials for clothing, with the least possible effort of the body.
2nd. Manufacturing Engineering—the object being to convert the products of nature into forms more and more suitable for the food and clothing of man.
3rd. Commercial Engineering—by which I mean the creation of appliances for the transport of these original products to the workshops of the manufacturer, and again to the homes of the consumer ; together with the means of facilitating communications respecting them.
4th. Mditary Engineering—the object of this science being the protection of what we may already have become possessed of from violent attack; and perhaps also the duty of aiding to keep order over the whole surface of our globe.

Mallet, Anatole
On mechanical traction upon tramways. 395-419. Disc.: 420-39

Galton, Douglas
On the effect of brakes upon railway trains. 467-79. Disc.: 479-89. + Plates 58-63. 14 diagrs.
The experiments were conducted on the LBSCR under its locomotive superintendent, Stroudley, who provided a van and other facilities for making the sxperiments ; and with the assistance of Westinghouse, by whom the recording apparatus was designed. The author waa assisted in making the experiments, and in their reduction, by Mr. Horace Darwin.
The experiments described in this paper were made on the Brighton Railway, with a special van constructed for the purpose; it was attached to an engine, and was run at various speeds, during which time various forces were measured by self-recording dynamometers. The principle of these dynamometers is that the force to be measured acts on a piston fitting in a cylinder full of water, and the pressure of the water is measured by a Richards indicator connected by a pipe to the cylinder; thus, as the drum of the indicator revolves, diagrams are obtained giving the force acting on the piston. The advantages of this method are obvious, as the indicator can be placed at any convenient point, and the inertia of the water tends to make the pencil keep a position corresponding to the mean force.
The principal results were:
1. The application brakes to the wheels, when skidding is not produced, does not appear to retard the rapidity of rotation of the wheels.
2. When the rotation of the wheels falls below that due to the speed at which the train is moving, skidding appears to follow immediately.
3. The resistance which results from the application of brakes without skidding is greater than that caused by skidded wheels.
4. Just at the moment of skidding, the retarding force increases to an amount much beyond that which prevailed before the skidding took place but immediately after the complete skidding has taken place, the retarding force falls down again to much below what. it was before the skidding.
5. The pressure required to skid the wheels is much higher than that required to hold them skidded and appears to bear a relation to the weight on the wheels themselves, as well as to their adhesion and velocity
Discussion: J. Tomlinson (483-4) agreed with the conclusions, wlthough considered that they were opposite to those of many railway men, although well known by every practical engine-driver for the last twenty-five years that skidding of wheels was a great mistake. He remembered that in 1846, when he joined Mr. J.V. Gooch on the London and South Western Railway, the orders to the drivers were that they were on no account to skid the wheels and that, the moment the wheels were skidded by accident, they were slightly to release the brake and let the wheels revolve. That was the result of the practical experience of Mr. Gooch and others at that time, and it accorded with his own experience. Thus the experiments that had been made simply bore out that which practical men already knew. He had  at the time disputed the correctness of the conclusions of the Royal Commission, that a skidded wheel must do more than a revolving wheel and he thought that almost any ordinary engine-man, if asked the question, mould say that if he “picked up” the wheels of his engine she would slide on the rail like sliding on a pair of skates, and that no retarding force, comparatively speaking, would result. In many cases on the Metropolitan Railway he had known slight accidents take place from running against stops and the excuse of the driver had always been, “picked up my wheels just as I was entering the siding” The experiments of Capt. Galton confirmed the correctness of his views, and proved that the excuses of enginemen for mishaps were not always wrong, though they were often considered so by those who had to deal with the cases; and they also proved conclusively that the deductions of the Royal Commission on the brake trials at Newark were not correct.
Charles Hawkesley (486-7) suggested obviating skidding with an experimental brake-van. If a governor were attached to the axle of the wheels to which the brakes were applied, and another similar governor to the axle of the wheels that were allowed to revolve free, a differential motion might by that means be obtained by mhich the brakes might be applied to the wheels with just such a pressure as would produce a maximum effect of retardation without skidding the wheels completely. Of course this was a mere crude suggestion, and he could see that many difficulties would arise in carrying it out; but he imagined that those difficulties might be overcome. He thought that the experiments described showed very conclusively the correctness of what had been observed by William Bouch some time ago (as referred to by himself at a previous meeting" of the Institution), namely that skidding scaled off the iron both from the wheels and rails: so much so that on the Stockton and Darlington line, where there was an incline of about 1 in 50 for five miles in length, the rails on the line used in descending the gradient were soon worn away, and scales of iron were deposited dong the line by the side of the track, which was not the case on the line used in ascending the gradient.

Galton, Douglas
On the effect of brakes upon railway trains (second paper). 590-616. Disc.: 616-32. + Plates 83-9. 18 diagrs.
Conclusions.-In conclusion the author would recapitulate what appear from these experiments to be the essential conditions of a good brake, in addition to other matters not coming immediately within the scope of this enquiry.
1st. The skidding of the wheel, so that it slides on the rail, is altogether a mistake, so far as rapid stopping is concerned.
2nd. The pressure with which the brake-blocks are applied to the wheels should be as high as possible, short of the point which would cause the wheels to be skidded and to slide on the rails.
3rd. The rotation of the wheel is arrested as soon as the friction between the brake-block and the wheel exceeds the adhesion between the wheel and the rail ; and therefore the amount of pressure which should be applied to the wheel is a function of the weight which the wheel brings upon the rail. The value of this function varies with the adhesion; hence with a high adhesion a greater pressure can be applied, and a greater measure of retardation obtained, than with a low one.
4th. In practice and as a question of safety it is of the greatest importance that, in the case of a train travelling at a high speed, that speed: should be reduced as rapidly as possible on the first application of the brakes. For instance, a brake which reduces the speed from 60 miles an hour to 20 miles an hour, in say 6 seconds, has a great advantage as regards safety over a brake which would only reduce the speed from 60 to 40 miles an hour in the same time.
5th. The friction produced by the pressure of the brake-block on the wheel is less as the speed of the train is greater ; to produce the maximum retardation so far as speed is concerned, the pressure should thus be greatest on first application ; and should be diminished as the speed decreases, in order to prevent the wheels from being skidded (or sliding on the rails) in making a stop. It should be added that the coeficient of friction decreases as the time increases during which the brakes are kept on ; but this decrease is slower than the increase of the same coefficient due to the decrease of speed ; it has therefore little influence in the case of quick stops.
6th. The maximum pressure should be applied to the wheels as rapidly as possible, and uniformly in all parts of the train.
7th. To prevent retardation from the dragging of the brake-blocks against the wheels when the brakes are not in use, care should be taken that the brake-blocks are kept well clear of the wheels (say half an inch) when in a state of inaction.
There are various mechanical questions connected with brakes, such as the desirability of automatic action, and other considerations, which do not enter into the scope of the present enquiry: the special object of which was to ascertain by direct experiment the forces brought into action in applying the brake-blocks to the wheels.
Railway companies, in considering what form of brake is best suited for traffic, must, whilst they give full weight to the mechanical conditions discussed in this paper, also consider the question of the convenience of any particular form of brake, and ascertain its durability and facility of maintenance and repair. It is further clear from the present series of experiments that the universal application of continuous brakes will raise many questions as to the strength of the rolling stock now in use, much of which was constructed originally to meet other conditions of traffic.
In concluding this paper, the author would again apologise to the Institution for its incomplete character : the fact being that the enormous mass of information which has been collected has entailed so much detailed study that he has only been able to bring before the meeting on this occasion the present very incomplete sketch. He hopes on the next occasion to be able to complete his contribution upon this important subject.

Volume 30 (1879)

Williams, R. Price
On the economy of railway working. 96-153.

Marie, George
On recent brake experiments upon the Lyons Railway. 157-69.
Trains and apparatus are described. The experimental van used in Captain Douglas Galton's British experiments was sent over by the London Brighton and South Railway.

Galton, Douglas
On the effect of brakes upon railway trains (third paper). 170-218. + Plates 19-24 18 diagrs.
To prevent of accidents there is required:
(a) The instantaneous application of the greatest possible amountof retarding force.
(b) The continuous ackion of this force until the energy of the train is destroyed.
The retarding force now used in practice is that due to the frictionresulting from the forcible application of metal or wood brake-blocks to the tyres of the wheels ; this friction impedes the rotation of the wheels, and tends, through the adhesion of the wheels upon the rails, to destroy the energy stored in the train. The retarding force is therefore limited to the adhesion available between the wheels and rails. The greatest possible amount of retarding force can thus be obtained only by applying brake-blocks to every wheel in the train, each block being pressed with sufficient force to produce a resistance to the rotation of the wheel just equal to the greatest possible friction between the wheel and the rail. This greatest possible friction ccurs when the adhesion of the wheel to the rail is just about to be overcome by the superior effort of the brake blocks, which effort, if further increased, immediately begins to stop the rotating movement of the wheel, and thus causes it to slide upon the rail. When a wheel slides upon the rail, its retarding effect is most materially lessened, as has been fully demonstrated, The necessity for the instantaneous application of the maximum brake-block pressure throughout the train is so evident, tbat it is only necessary to call to mind that, at a speed which is frequently attained, namely 60 miles per hour, a train passes over 88 feet in each second. From the foregoing it will be seen that, in order to stop a train in the shortest possible distance, it is necessary:
1st. That the brake-blocks should act upon every wheel in the train.
2nd. That they should be applied with their full force in the least possible time.
3rd. That the pressure upon them should be regulated according to speed and other circumstances, so that the friction shall nearly equal, but never exceed, the adhesion of the wheels upon the rails.

Greig, David and Eyth, Max
Experiments referring to the use of iron and steel in high-pressure boilers. 268-327
Clark Steam engine p. 658-9 notes that Mr. F. W. Webb, in discussion of the paper of Messrs. Greig and Eyth, stated that after having tried various proportions of rivets and pitches, he had arrived at a single-riveted double-welt joint for 7/16-inch boiler plates of steel, possessing 71.6 per cent of the breaking strength of the whole plate, made with ¾-inch rivets at 2 inches of pitch. The covering plates are 3/8-inch thick and 5¼ inches wide, making a lap of 2 5/8 inches on each plate, and a width of 1½ inches from the centre line of the rivets to the edges of the plates. He believed this distance, 1½ inches, to be the best, and previously to the adoption of the given proportions he had found that the holes went oval long before the joint ought to have been destroyed

Mallet, Anatole
On the compounding of locomotive engines. 328-63.
Webb (probably pp. 349-51) contributed to discussion

Robinson, John
Address of the President: On cheap internal transport considered as a necessity for the prosperity of a country. 399-405
Noted that during the previous twelve months the country had passed through an almost unexampled period of commercial and agricultural depression, and it seemed reasonable that engineers should look everywhere for means to palliate the effects of this disastrous state of things by a still wider extension of the means of cheap communication, Means suggested for both rural and urban light railways included narrow gauge and roadside construction (citing Mont Cenis).

McLean, W.L.E.
On the forging of crank shafts. 461-71. Disc.: 471-83 + Plates 59-61. 33 diagrs.

Crompton, R.E.B.
On the working of traction engines in India. 494-512. Disc.: 513-33 + Plates 65-8. 8 diagrs., 4 tables.
Transport conditions in India were considered to be difficult as agricultural produce formed the greater part of freight carried and all channels of communication are fully worked for a brief period following harvest time, while for the rest of the year the capital employed lay idle and unremunerative. Results obtained by R.W. Thomson of Edinburgh with rubber-tyred traction engines, or “road steamers”, led the Indian Government to purchase five engines, with which a regular service of trains was kept running between two towns in the Punjab for six months each year from 1873 to 1875, in addition to isolated experiments under various committees of engineer officers appointed by the Government to watch and verify the results.

Programme of excursions and visits on and from Tuesday, 5 August 1879 in, and around, the city of Glasgow. 567-81.
At the North British Railway Locomotive Works, Cowlairs, the flanging of the back plate of a fire-box casing at one heat between dies in a hydraulic machine was witnessed. The erecting shop in these works is fitted with hydraulic travelling cranes, in which the lift is given direct by the piston-rod of the hydraulic cylinder. In the carriage shop the right-angle shafting is driven by ropes, instead of gearing.
At Messrs. Neilson’s works, in Springburn which are among the largest and oldest locomotive works in the Britain, having been established as early as 1836, many special appliances were seen, amongst others planing machines with four and eight tools, for planing simultaneously both ends of connecting and coupling rods and slide-bars; and quartering machines for turning outside crankpins and boring crankpin holes, after the wheels have been fixed on the axles. A special feature is the use of stamping for small forgings, extended to sections of locomotive wheels. Milling is also largely employed, and milling cutters and twist drills are made on the premises. Multiple tools are very numerous, e.g. the frame-planing machine has fifteen tools, and the tube-plate drilling machine has six spindles, capable of adjustment to dilfferent pitches. A tramway locomotive on Moncrieff‘s compressed-air system was here seen in operation.
The Caledonian Railway workshops at St Rollox are of very large extent. At present only engines and tenders of the 8-ft. class and a certain number of wagons are built here, most of the new rolling stock being built by contract. In addition to the usual shops, such as fitting and erecting shop, smiths’ shop, boiler-makers’ shop, brass foundry, and saw mill, there is a grease house capable of turning out between 5 and 6 tons of manufactured stuff per week, and a wagon-sheet shop, which is a large building standing at a considerable distance from the main shops, and capable of turning out 100 new and 120 repaired sheets per week, with drying room for drying 900 sheets at one time. In winter the drying process is forced, by diverting the exhaust steam from the engines through a series of pipes raised above the floor. The coating process is principally done by machine, and finished by hand labour. Adjoining the sheet shop is the sewing room, containing four large sewing machines, two of them provided with double needles for stitching the double seam at one operation. There are also tailors’ shops for making the uniform of the company’s servants. About 1600 men are employed at the works, and dining rooms &c. are provided for their accommodation.
At Messrs. Dübs’s works, which were started in 1864, special attention has been paid to the systematic arrangement of the various shops, so that every article may move forward gradually from the stores to the erecting shops without any reversal or confusion The absence of ked or travelling cranes (except in the erecting shops) is also noteworthy, the work being done to a great extent by small locomotives having a crane mounted on the top of the boiler and worked by the engine. The power is supplied to each shop independently by a wall engine fixed at the end of the line of shafting ; thus by simply shutting off steam the machinery in one shop can be stopped for repairs, without affecting the rest.
On the route, the Members had an opportunity of travelling on: the Vale of Clyde Tramway, worked by Hughes’s tramway engines. The line, which runs through a crowded thoroughfare, has been worked by these engines for more than two years, during which time they have run over 400,000 miles, to the satisfaction of the local authorities and the public. The engines emit but little smoke, and the steam is entirely condensed.

Francq, Léon
On fireless locomotives for tramways. 610-26. Disc.: 626-41 + Plates 79-80.
See also Volume 31 page 37 et seq