James Edward Anderson


with Henry Fowler
2445/1911 Improved automatic control of dampers for superheaters in locomotive and other boilers. Applied 13 June 1911 Accepted 10 August 1911.
2446/1911 Automatic control for cylinder bye-pass valve on locomotive or steam engines. Applied 31 January 1911. Accepted 26 October 1911
12884/1911 Improvements in steam superheaters. Applied 23 May 1911. Accepted 22 February 1912.


Presidential Address - the locomotive of today. J. Instn Loco. Engrs, 1925, 15, 125-9.
"In traffic engines should not be systematically called upon to work up to their maximum power. The loads should be regulated to be well within their maximum capabilities and should be such that the engines are working at an efficient rate." This encapsulated MR practice, and came to notice via Rutherford (Backtrack 2001 15 494 (actually on page 501) as it is not in Jones (who presumably thought that Anderson was from some Ruritanian outpost). Langridge called the Address "half-hearted"

Cook observes that Anderson was born on 3 April 1871 (Atkins Rlys South East, 1988/9, 1, 122 states son of the manse in Kincardineshire), and served an apprenticeship with the Great North of Scotland Railway. Later he worked for Sharp Stewart, Dübs and the GSWR (leading draughtsman) before becoming Assistant to the Chief Draughtsman of Robert Stephenson Ltd of Darlington where he was assistant to the Chief Draughtsman. He therefore had a wide grounding in the arts of locomotive engineering and brought a lot of experience onto the Midland scene when in April 1903 he moved to Derby as a draughtsman and became Chief Draughtsman when J.W. Smith left for the GCR, and was also left in charge of the Locomotive Works in the absence of Henry Fowler. It interesting to note that he was interviewed for the post of Chief Draughtsman of the GCR at Gorton but was not appointed because the company would not pay the salary (£450 per annum according to Radford) he required; had he left the Midland at that time, subsequent MR and LMS locomotive history might have been different.

During Anderson's time as Chief Draughtsman the 990 class 4-4-0 was designed, and superheater was introduced with the Class 4F 0-6-0 and to rebuilt Class 2P 4-4-0. There were also two major deviations from the Derby small engine policy with the SDJR 2-8-0 and the Lickey Banker 0-10-0 (although the construction of the latter was delayed by the war). Atkins (Railways South East 1, 122) notes that one of Anderson's design triumphs was the 0-6-4T "Flatiron". 1913 Anderson became Works Manager at Derby (Loco Mag., 1913, 19, 203), and was thus next in seniority to the CME, so that he became Acting CME from 1915 to 1919 during Fowler's absence on war work. On Fowler's return he was appointed Deputy CME. He was awarded the CBE in March, 1920, for service rendered during World War I.

Anderson had become a kind of mediator, getting orders both from Deeley as Locomotive Superintendent and Paget as General Superintendent. The building of Paget's engine was largely financed by himself. Coming from this powerful background, it is hardly surprising that as Cox states, Anderson, as Motive Power Superintendent, was able to force the standardisation of erstwhile Midland Railway practices and details onto the LMS and by 1932, 2002 new engines had been built in this style of fourteen different designs: some being former Midland types altered only in detail, and the rest being larger improvisations upon the basic theme as in the case of the well-known as in the case of the well-known Royal Scot class of 4-6-0, where Cox (Chronicles of steam) notes that it was Anderson who advocated three cylinders for the Royal Scot and was lukewarm abou long travel gear for the design. Cox also notes that Anderson took a lively interest in the Castle tests.

Langridge (page 72) notes that Anderson appeared to dislike the social side of his job and the learned societies, thus being in complete contrast to Fowler.

As Anderson is usually perceived in negative terms H.A.V. Bulleid in his Master builders of steam madre some interesting comments on how Jimmy got on with Bill Stanier:..

Theoretically the running side was responsible to the Motive Power Dept. for operation and to the C.M.E. for maintenance, but the latter was the weaker link. Stanier and Jimmy Anderson, the Chief Motive Power Superintendent, took to each other at once: but they did not always speak identical language. In assessing new motive power requirements, Anderson would express his needs as "so many engines of a certain (existing) type." Stanier took the first of such notes and placed it firmly in his" pending" drawer. Later he received a personal reminder that he had not replied. "No and I don't propose to," he explained, " I am trying to decide what range of new locomotives you need, and I can only do this if you will specify the numbers required and the duties they are to perform." Here he was echoing the heart-cry of all engineering designers trying to get at the facts, while the client, with most helpful intentions, persists in fogging them with opinions and masking them by omissions. But Anderson co-operated, and Stanier was soon able to start preparing outline diagrams of proposed engine types.

Anderson retired in 1932, but whilst Motive Power Superintendent of the LMS, he exerted a strong pro-Derby influence on LMS locomotive design until Stanier's arrival, in way which his counterparts on the other groups could never have done. In particular, his addiction to certain details of Derby design, such as the axlebox and the use of short-travel valves, retarded development of LMS locomotive policy until Stanier imposed a proper lead by the CME.

Anderson retired to Ayr, where he continued to take an interest in locomotives, particularly as a Vice-President of the Stephenson Locomotive Society. He died on 15 January 1945 aged  73.

See Marshall: Biographical dictionary

Bob Mills. Motive power problems in the first decade of the LMS. .BackTrack Special Issue (LMS) 32-5.
Identifies problems with poorly specified Beyer Garratts including their inadequate brake power.

Terry Jenkins Sir Ernest Lemon has something to contribute to Anderson's character and H.A. Bulleid  Master builders of steam has a considerable amount to add to the excellent relationship between Jimmy and Bill Stanier, much better than that with the dour Urie who succeeded him.

Final note

It is tempting to wonder if the supposed antagonism between Anderson and Fowler really existed and that Fowler merely permitted Anderson to get on with doing what Anderson considered to be the best. The index to Chacksfield's biography of Fowler contains twenty refernces to Anderson. Anderson was President of the Institution of Locomotive Engineers in 1924 and chaired O'Brien's famous paper on main line electrification and it is tempting to wonder if Anderson engineered O'Brien out of the LMS..