LONDON & NORTH WESTERN RAILWAY EXPRESS PASSENGER LOCOMOTIVE, No. 66, “EXPERIMENT” CLASS
DESIGNED BY Mr GEORGE WHALE, M.INST,C.E.
THE North Western has adopted Britannia as its arms, and a more representative British institution it would be difficult to find. By its natural growth from the main stem of the London & Birmingham, and by the gradual absorption of over a hundred other railway companies, it has attained a length of two thousand miles. In a year it carries over 77 million passengers and 55 million tons of minerals and merchandise, and its revenue is £16,000,000, that is £43,600 a day.
The story of the North Western is always taken to begin with the Liverpool & Manchester, as it really does, but its claim to that ancestor is by absorption, and if age is to date from that of an amalgamated company it is entitled to a longer pedigree. Six miles north-
So far as the project was concerned the Liverpool & Manchester was, however, older than the Sirhowy, for in 1797 William Jessop proposed a tramroad for horses between the two places and surveyed a route which was not approved of. In 1798 Benjamin Outram made a survey of another route, merely Jessop’s modified, which met with the same fate, the only result being that the canal people, in fear for their monopoly, became a little more reasonable.
THE ENTRANCE TO EUSTON STATION
For more than twenty years the canal continued to be the only means of communication, except, of course, the road; and as business increased in the towns so did the canal business increase, until it became too great to be properly dealt with. Evidently something had to be done, and what more natural than that the something should be the making of one of those railroads that people were beginning to talk about?
It was early in 1821 that Joseph Sandars, one of the leading Liverpool merchants, met William James the land-
His survey proving too incomplete and sketchy for working purposes, a new survey was made during the next year in which he was assisted by Robert Stephenson, and it was while this was in hand that Chat Moss was first crossed, or rather attempted to be crossed, for James nearly disappeared by sinking into the swamp, and further advance was postponed owing to the want of a firm footing for the theodolite. For this and other reasons the plans were not ready until too late for the next parliamentary session, and there were negotiations and a Public Declaration and a public meeting, and futile attempts at an understanding with the canal company.
ARRIVAL OF A WHITE STAR LINER AT HOLYHEAD -
Then followed the appointment of George Stephenson as engineer, another survey by him and T. O. Blackett, and the issue of the first prospectus on the 29th of October 1824, which laid stress on the probable profit to be made out of the carriage of merchandise, and only cautiously referred to the conveyance of passengers; and in 1825 the first Bill was introduced. It was opposed by the canal company, and every other local vested interest, with a display of ignorance and venom on the part of the counsel for the opponents -
George Rennie expected to be chief engineer, and felt so sure of the post that he would only accept it on his own conditions, one of which was that he should appoint the resident engineer, which meant that he would get rid of George Stephenson. The directors, quite appreciating the position, appointed Stephenson as chief, and the Rennies had no more to do with the Liverpool & Manchester. Stephenson appointed three residents, all his pupils, Joseph Locke, William Allcard, and John Dixon; and to Dixon was given the Chat Moss section, where he had the difficult job of floating a railroad for the first time over a peat bog -
NO. 513 -
In making the road one of Stephenson’s locomotives, the Twin Sisters (with two chimneys), in 1827, and another, the Lancashire Witch, in 1828, began work hauling the wagons of stuff from the two great cuttings to be used in forming the embankments, the first engines of a permanent way department; but, notwithstanding this and the Stockton & Darlington, some of the directors refused to believe that locomotives could deal with the general traffic, and for a time held out in favour of rope traction all the way. Finally, however, the rope with stationary engines was adopted for the Liverpool and Sutton inclines (which had been introduced with the Rennie survey and were admitted to be too steep for any existing locomotive to ascend with a load), and a prize of £500 was offered for the best locomotive to work the rest of the line.
The course was a level stretch on the Manchester side of Rainhill Bridge. It was 1¾ miles in length, of which 220 yards at each end were allowed for starting and stopping. Ten double trips had to be made along the 1½ mile course, representing a journey from Liverpool to Manchester; then water and fuel were to be taken in, as at that terminus, and another series of ten double trips performed to represent the return journey. The minimum speed was to average ten miles an hour; the load to be three times the weight of the engine; the boiler pressure not to exceed 50 lb. per square inch, with two safety valves, one of which to be out of the control of the driver; the height of the engine to be no more than 15 ft. from the rails to the top of the chimney; and the weight in working order not to exceed 6 tons, engines over 4½ tons to have six wheels. A whole day was devoted to the trial of each engine. The judges were J. U. Rastrick, who built the Agenoria, and afterwards made most of the Brighton line; Nicholas Wood, who invented the railway carriage and wrote much about railways; and John Kennedy, the inventor of the jack-
There were four entries, -
NO. 528 -
The Perseverance was a road-
What is left of the Novelty is at South Kensington. She was invented and built all within seven weeks, and was a tank engine of peculiar construction. Her draught was obtained from a pair of bellows and not from exhaust steam; she just exceeded 16 miles an hour during four trips, and her boiler joints gave way so that she had to be withdrawn. The most interesting thing about her is that she was driven by Charles Fox, one of Ericsson’s pupils, who from the day of her trial became a friend of Robert Stephenson’s and was one of his assistants on the London & Birmingham, being the man who carried out the extension of that line from Camden to Euston. He built the Great Exhibition of 1851, and he, and not Paxton, was the real designer of that building; and he designed and built the Crystal Palace at Sydenham, which is not the same building as that of the exhibition, although the materials of the flat-
There were only two engines to be taken seriously in the competition, the Rocket and the Sanspareil, one designed by Robert Stephenson, the other by Hackworth, the locomotive superintendent of the Stockton & Darlington. Both engines are now at South Kensington. The Rocket was built complete at the Forth Street works, where the cylinders of the Sanspareil were also made, the Shildon shops being unequal to the task, just as they were unequal to producing the boiler, which was made by John Birkinshaw, of the rolled rail, at Bedlington. This boiler was a cylindrical shell with one flat end and the other dished, and it had an internal return flue projecting on the fire-
This was a quarter of a ton overweight for a 4-
Thus it came about that the great competition was won by the only survivor, the only engine that complied with all the conditions. On the 8th of October 1829 the Rocket ran the full distance out and home at an average speed of 13·8 miles an hour, the fastest journey being at the rate of 24·1 miles an hour. The boiler was cylindrical, 40-
Needless to say, the Liverpool & Manchester directors talked no more of ropes or horses, and when the line opened on the 15th of September 1830 there were eight engines to take part in the ceremony -
The North Western includes four other railways whose Acts were obtained before that for the Liverpool & Manchester. These are part of the Llanvihangel, a mineral line near Abergavenny, which had its Act in 1811, the year in which there were 180 miles of iron tramroads at work in South Wales; the Nantile, a slate line at Carnarvon, authorised in 1825 and opened in 1828; the Cromford & High Peak, authorised in 1825 and opened in 1830, a line 33 miles long rising 990 ft. from the Cromford Canal and worked by ropes; and the Bolton & Leigh, authorised in 1825 and opened in 1831, on which the Sanspareil worked for fourteen years. In 1829 an Act was obtained for a branch from the Liverpool & Manchester at Newton to Warrington, which was opened in 1833; and in that year, after much opposition, the Act was passed for the Grand Junction Railway from Warrington to Birmingham through Crewe to join the proposed London & Birmingham. Of this line Joseph Locke was the engineer.
A LONDON AND NORTH WESTERN GUARD
When George Stephenson was building the Sankey Viaduct he went to Stourton quarry in search of stone, and there met Thomas Brassey to whom it belonged. Brassey was the agent for the large estate on which Birkenhead now stands, and had taken part in the survey of Telford’s famous road from Shrewsbury to Holyhead. He was not a navvy, as some people suppose, but a gentleman of the old school, and the best descended of all the rail way men. His family had lived at Bulkeley Old Hall for six centuries before they moved in 1663 to their other property at Buerton, where Thomas was born in 1805. The Liverpool & Manchester Company were making their own line, as all the other companies had done up to then, the only thing in the nature of a contract being the usual piece-
Joseph Locke agreed with his chief that the piece-
The Grand Junction was for a time our most important railway. Within a few years it had absorbed the Warrington & Newton, the Liverpool & Manchester, the Bolton & Leigh, the Crewe & Chester, and the North Union from Newton to Preston, and it had made arrangements with the Lancaster & Preston and the Lancaster & Carlisle when in 1846 it and the Manchester & Birmingham, which had only got as far south as Crewe, were amalgamated with the London & Birmingham to become the North Western, with a through route from London to Carlisle.
The London & Birmingham, like the Grand Junction, obtained its Act in 1833. The opposition was so great and virulent -
THE SCOTCH EXPRESS TRAVELLING AT HIGH SPEED
The Rennies, as in so many cases, had already planned a route, and the promoters had at first thought of employing them and George Stephenson as joint engineers; but to this the Stephensons would not agree, and again the decision was against the Londoners. But the Rennies went on with their scheme, and there were two projects before Parliament, the earlier of which was rejected. The line as made was surveyed by Robert Stephenson, who walked the distance no less than twenty times. It was made by contract, and very few of the contractors profited by it. The works were on a much larger scale than those of the Liverpool & Manchester, and included the three great cuttings at Tring, Denbigh Hall, and Blisworth, and the eight tunnels, of which Primrose Hill and Kilsby gave immense trouble.
At Primrose Hill the pressure of the clay swollen by the moisture of the atmosphere squeezed the mortar through from the joints and made the face of the brickwork fly off in chips, until the hardest bricks obtainable were laid in Roman cement, which by setting before the pressure became great enough to force the bricks into contact formed a sound arch 27-
By the 4th of June 1838 the line had been opened from London to Denbigh Hall, the name of one of the coaching inns, and from Rugby to Birmingham, the gap of 35 miles being worked by coaches; on the 17th of the following September it was opened throughout under its first manager, Ashlin Baxter, whose first clerk was David Stevenson, and before many months had elapsed Denbigh Hall had become Bletchley. The line ascended 308 ft, the gradients changing forty-
PICKING UP WATER IN SPEED, NEAR PINNER
The year the London & Birmingham was opened George Stephenson made the first survey for the line from Chester to Holyhead, but little was done for four or five years, and the Act was not obtained until 1844. The engineer was Robert Stephenson, and he it was who built the bridge over the Menai Straits, the greatest engineering achievement up to then. Here was a strait 365 yards across, with the tide rising 20 ft. in it, and the Britannia rock in the middle which afterwards gave its name to the bridge. The intention was to have two cast-
While the puzzle was being thought over, it happened that the Prince of Wales, an iron steamer, built at Blackwall, instead of entering the water at her launch was hung up on her bilge between the water and the wharf, and lay there, 110 ft. long, uninjured in her construction. This gave the engineer the idea that he could run the line through a hollow girder if the girder were strong enough to support itself. William Fairbairn, who, when an apprentice, had minded the engine at Willington while George Stephenson was earning a little extra by heaving ballast out of ships’ holds, and had assisted in the building of Birkinshaw’s Bedlington ironworks near Morpeth, was consulted. He made a series of experimental models to discover the best form of the tubular beam, beginning with cylinders and ending with a rectangle having hollow cells in the top to strengthen it.
The tubes were built on wooden stages just at high-
5½ miles, the greatest weight lifted was 1144 tons, and once the weight was so great that the bottom of one of the presses was burst out with it.
THE 12.5 P.M. LIVERPOOL TO EUSTON EXPRESS, AT CREWE
Really it is a handsomer bridge than Telford’s crossing the strait close by. The same cannot be said of Stephenson’s tubular bridge at Conway, which runs alongside a Telford suspension bridge built in the same manner, so as to look like a long drawbridge from the castle instead of carrying the Holyhead coach road, as does the other suspension bridge across the Menai Straits.
It was to join up with the Chester & Holyhead and the Manchester & Birmingham that the amalgamation took place in 1846, the Grand Junction controlling the links between Birmingham and Chester, and Stafford and Crewe, where they had placed their locomotive works in 1842, the founder being Francis Trevithick, the son of the locomotive’s inventor. He was absorbed with the works by the North Western, and was locomotive superintendent of the northern division until 1857, the southern division having its headquarters at Wolverton, which has been devoted to carriages only since the concentration of
the engine work at Crewe in 1862 under Trevithick’s successor. John Ramsbottom, who had been locomotive superintendent of the Manchester & Birmingham.
To Ramsbottom we owe the invention of the water-
When the railway came to it, Crewe had thirty inhabitants; it now has more than as many thousands. When the buildings were put up in 1843 the site of the works occupied two acres and a half; they now extend over 137 acres, of which 48 acres are covered with buildings. The Grand Junction had 75 engines; the North Western has 3000 engines, and in a year they run 50,000,000 miles, that is more than two thousand times the distance round the globe. Crewe began with about 100 men; it now employs over 8000, to which may be added 700 drivers, firemen, and others in the steam sheds; and in comparing it with the works of other companies it should be borne in mind that the carriage works are at Wolverton and the wagon works at Earlestown, giving employment to 5500 more. The reason of its magnitude is that it produces every part of a locomotive except the brass tubes, copper plates, and firebricks, from the raw material. It even makes bricks and tiles and drain-
Gear in position for picking up and dropping Mails
Strolling among the miscellanies you find men making iron fencing, artificial limbs, buckets, pumps and cranes, lamps, harness-
In and out along the mile and a half of workshops runs an 18-
It is when the cast steel ingot, 40-
For the improvement of artillery Henry Bessemer invented a revolving projectile requiring so heavy a charge of powder that no gun could stand the strain. To make the gun that would not wear out in a week he set to work to improve the metal until he invented the converter, and by it revolutionised the steel trade. The steel for the purposes of war came into use for the purposes of peace. For one thing it was excellent, namely railway rails, the making of which the North Western was the first to enter upon. The first steel rail was laid under Chalk Farm bridge on the 9th of May 1862; millions of wheels passed over it, and the adjoining iron rails were replaced seven times before it was taken up without being turned.
THE IRISH BOAT EXPRESS PASSING OUT OF THE BRITANNIA TUBULAR BRIDGE
The steel rail made it possible to double the weight carried on the wheel, and with its introduction came the increase in the weight of the train and the size of the engine, whose hauling power increases with every increase of weight on its driving wheels. Comparing the present rails with those of the Liverpool & Manchester, and others at South Kensington, the steps in the search for strength and endurance are clearly shown -
A railroad is not so simple as it looks. In the case of the North Western the formation level for the double track is 30 ft. across; it is gently arched in the middle and sloped off at its edges for drainage purposes; on it is placed a layer of stone pitching extending to within a couple of feet of the slopes, and over that comes the stone ballast, mostly of slag; in this are embedded the sleepers of creosoted Baltic pine, 5-
CREWE WORKS -
The road has to be substantial to carry the rolling weight of the monster engines now put upon it. At Crewe you look upon these from the rail level and fully appreciate their dimensions. Here they come for overhaul; goods engines in one place, passenger engines in another, long rows of them, whose names and numbers, if nothing else, so many schoolboys know; and you can almost tell their age by the height of their shoulders.
The locomotive boiler has become so large of late that the roof of the boiler shop has had to be raised, and a mighty thing a boiler looks as it is slung vertically for the hydraulic gap riveter to get at it. The shop is big enough, over 100 ft. across and more than a furlong in length, to build 200 boilers at a time and deal with 3000 in a year; and here, amid the needful machinery, is a crowd of them in all stages, including the stage in which they are tested by steam, then by hydraulic, and then by steam to more than their working pressure. Adjoining this boiler shop is the flanging shop with its hydraulic presses, one of which can give a squeeze of 650 tons; to them, from the gas furnaces near by, come the steel firebox plates glowing hot, with the air in a tremor above them, to be flanged at one operation, slowly, gently, irresistibly, with about as much trouble as so many tea-
TRANSPORTER BRIDGE ACROSS THE MANCHESTER SHIP CANAL
Contrasting with the boiler shop is the quiet, picturesque foundry where, amid the haze that fills the ample area, the moulders handle and finger the sand as deftly as a potter does the clay, and the dazzling molten metal runs from the furnaces and pours from the ladles with little spurts of flame. There is one foundry in which rail chairs are cast and nothing else, just as among the timber there is a key department where the oak is cut up into keys by the sawing machine that delivers them automatically into tanks that hold 30,000 at a time, to be steamed and passed on into moving cylinders that dust them with blacklead and pass them on to be compressed in steel dies and thence loaded through a pipe into the wagon that takes them to the stores.
But these are small things compared with the steel foundry where the three melting furnaces produce forty tons of castings -
Busiest of all is the fitting shop, where everything is finished to templates and standard gauges so as to be interchangeable -
An engine begins with the placing of the two frames on the balks; here is one in which the temporary crossbars have been added to keep the frames parallel while the cylinders are slung into position, and we see them being bolted in. The motion-
AN INVALID CAR
Passengers can be taken to any station in the country without disturbance
Here is another, duly examined and found correct, which is being finally fixed together. On it will come the angle-
Next comes drifting through the shed the boiler which no one sees in public, for it will have to be lagged with felt and coated with the lagging-
In another engine the boiler is in place and the smokebox is being fastened to the frames. In it is the blast-
Meanwhile the machinery is being put together below. The pistons and their rods are being set in the cylinders with their rings and packing. The crossheads have to go on, and the slide-
IN THE KITCHEN CAR OF THE AMERICAN SPECIAL
Then the chains are passed under the engine for a heavy lift; they are hitched on to the cranes, and up in the air it moves for the wheels to be run under it. Judging the distance, the men at each wheel stand ready to catch it without a jar as it comes down and fits as it was built to do. The linking and joining and putting in of a myriad things will follow, until completion comes with the buffer-
When the London & Birmingham began it jobbed its engines from Bury’s, but that did not last long, and since then it has built at Crewe some 5000 engines of its own. The first thousand was completed in 1866 under Mr. Ramsbottom, the second in 1876, the third in 1887, and the fourth in 1900 were all constructed under Mr. F. W. Webb, who retired in 1903, to be succeeded by his assistant Mr. George Whale, who has recently been succeeded by Mr. C. J. Bowen Cooke. One thing is remarkable, and that is that not until the Black Prince in 1897 did the North Western build an engine with a bogie, the bogie differing from all others in not having a centre-
Mr. Trevithick built a large number of excellent outside cylinder engines, among .them being the famous Cornwall, which had 8 ft. 6-
In 1862 Mr. Ramsbottom put on the road the Lady of the Lake, one of the Problem class of high-
LONDON & NORTH WESTERN RAILWAY COAT OF ARMS
Another famous class introduced by Mr. Ramsbottom was that to which the Newton belonged, built in 1866. These were 2-
This engine continued to run her daily trip between Manchester and London until the 2,000,000 miles were completed, and then she retired with a world’s record. Another of this Precedent class was the Hardwicke, which in 1895 made the record run from Crewe to Carlisle, 141 miles, at the average speed of 67·2 miles an hour.
Having made excellent simples, Mr. Webb turned his attention to compounds, of which in sixteen years he built a hundred of the 3-
In the Dreadnoughts, which began in 1884, the driving wheels were 6 ft. 3-
A Tea Wagon at Euston
The Greater Britain, turned out in 1891, had similar wheels, with a pair of trailers of the same size as the leaders, and the high-
In 1897 Mr. Webb produced the Black Prince, a 4-
Mr. Webb’s Precursor of 1874 was a 2-
As the engines have improved so have the carriages even of the highest class. The North Western built a carriage for Queen Adelaide as far back as 1842 which is still preserved at Wolverton, as is also the saloon carriage which was made for Queen Victoria in 1905 by joining together the two separate saloons built in 1869 and mounting them on one under-
CONWAY CASTLE AND SUSPENSION BRIDGE
The railway bridge is on the left and the trains run through the square tower
When the royal train is on its journey the most elaborate precautions are taken to ensure its safety. No ordinary signalling will do, and yet what a lot of it there is! Along the 158 miles between London and Crewe there are 160 signalmen in 132 signal-
In 1864, Queen Victoria wrote her letter to the railway companies expressing the hope that the same security should be ensured for all her people as was so carefully provided for herself -
In addition to this no light engine or train, except a mail or postal train, could run between any two signal-
One royal journey, however, is on the list very different to all this, and may have led to it. It occurred when Frank Trevithick was locomotive superintendent at Crewe. The story is too strange to be told except at first hand, and in his own words, therefore, this is how he drove the Queen.
INSIDE THE KING’S CARRIAGE -
“About the year 1846, on a rainy, blowing, autumnal Saturday night, the writer was summoned, from nursing an influenza cold, to the railway station. Her Majesty, Prince Albert, and the rest of the Royal Family, had unexpectedly arrived and desired to be in London by ten the following morning. Continued rain had caused the line to be unsafe in places, except at comparatively slow speeds. Saturday night is proverbially a bad time for finding people wanted in a hurry. However, at six the next morning, in dim light and blinding rain, the Royal train was in readiness, and Her Majesty punctual to the minute, when, after a little animated delay for the lady-
Next in luxury to the royal train comes the family coach or semi-
CAR USED BY HIS MAJESTY THE KING, LONDON & NORTH WESTERN RAILWAY
In March 1875 sleeping saloons began to run between Euston and Holyhead. “The provision of this night facility”, says G. P. Neele, “made, I fancy, a considerable inroad into the little perquisites that had been recognised, the illegitimate earnings of the mail guards for the provision of the two sticks which it had been their custom to furnish to their likely patrons by means of these sticks and a spare cushion the space in the compartment was comfortably bridged over and a long, sofa-
When railways came into existence the porters were allowed to keep bookstalls as a sort of perquisite, and very curious literature some of them provided. It was on the North Western that the reform began. In 1851, W. H. Smith & Son secured their first contract for the line, and by his care in the selection of literature, to which no exception could be taken, young W. H. Smith, afterwards First Lord of the Admiralty, obtained the nickname of “the North Western Missionary”. Within eleven years Smith’s bookstalls were on every line of importance in England, and he it was who started the placarding of the station walls with advertisements, for which some of us are not so grateful. Like most things, this bookstall idea was but the development of the existing, for the elder Smith had outrun the post, by which all newspapers used to be sent, by despatching them by the fast morning coaches instead of the night mail. To catch the coaches with the papers that came out late he started the red carts with horses good enough to pursue the coaches and overtake them if necessary; and sometimes, with quick changes, when the news was important, the carts went all the way. From the coaches the step was easy to the railways, and from sending them down the road the next step was to take the place of the porters’ stalls and sell them at stations on the way. Next to forwarding them by fast train came the sending them by special trains, and this led on to the newspaper trains. From selling books the step was easy to lending them, and thus came about the railway circulating library.
LOADING A NORTH WESTERN STEAMER AT HOLYHEAD
It was Smith’s express that took the news of the death of George the Fourth to Dublin before the Government messenger. In those days the Dublin boats ran from Liverpool, where the North Western is now so much in evidence with its American specials to Riverside Station and other facilities for the transatlantic trade. The service from Holyhead has been competitive from the first, for the Government authorised the City of Dublin Steamship Company to supply the mail steamers from there, while at the same time the Chester & Holyhead Railway Company had obtained parliamentary permission to work steamboats; and both lines ran to Kingstown. For years, while the Irish mail was the fastest train out of Euston, the engines had to be changed at Holyhead owing to the Admiralty Pier being too weak to carry the express engine’s weight. It was for the convenience of passengers by the Irish trains that in March 1876 luncheon baskets were invented, the first station at which they could be obtained being Chester; and it was for the same trains that in 1880 Mr. Webb introduced his acetate of soda foot warmers that led to so many railway friendships owing to the conversation provoked by the porters tumbling them about and shaking them up when they cooled down -
It was not until 1873, the year the North Western boats first went to Greenore, that the Irish service became fixed instead of tidal, and since then matters have so much developed that we have the American liners putting their passengers ashore at Holyhead instead of Liverpool; and Holyhead is only two miles farther from Euston than Fishguard is from Paddington.
Nowadays the North Western has a fleet of seventeen steamers, the newest being the Rathmore, on the service to Greenore, and the four sisters going to Dublin, named after the old boats of the Chester & Holyhead, Scotia, Anglia, Cambria, and Hibernia, that travel at 22 knots and are among the best afloat.
For whatever is done by the North Western is well done, not excepting the hotels, of which there are eight -
THE SS ANGLIA LEAVING HOLYHEAD FOR DUBLIN
From Our Home Railways by W J Gordon, published 1910]