No. 35 - p21-23


For the record....

    NASMYTH’S FIRST LOCOMOTIVE. "... the first locomotive constructed by Messrs. Nasmyth, Gaskell & Co. [in 1839] was named the "Bridgewater". This locomotive was of the 222 type with a four-wheeled tender, and the principal dimensions were as follows Cylinders 12½in. diameter by 16in. stroke, driving wheels 5ft. diameter, leading and trailing wheels 3ft. 6in. diameter, boiler barrel 8ft. long by 3ft. 4in. diameter, copper firebox 3ft. 7in. by 2ft 11in., tubes (brass) 72 2¼in. outside diameter and 8 15/8in. diameter, double crank axle of best Blackbarrow iron. After remaining in stock on Messrs. Nasmyth, Gaskell & Co.’s works for over two years, during which time it made occasional trips on the Liverpool & Manchester Railway, it was eventually sold in April, 1841, to Mr. John Waring, the contractor to the Manchester & Birmingham Railway, and despatched by canal to his headquarters at Sandbach, near Crewe. Where it went after Mr. Waring had finished his work on the Manchester & Birmingham Railway I cannot trace, but perhaps it was taken to Liverpool, as Mr. Waring was contractor to the Albert Dock there in 1843. It would be interesting to know whether any of your readers can trace the later history of this locomotive or whether anyone possesses a photo or other illustration of some antique, but unknown, loco which could be identified with the "Bridgewater". There is always a special interest in any initial effort, and particularly so when connected with such an eminent engineer as James Nasmyth."

    (A letter in "The Locomotive Magazine," April 15th, 1909. Is anything further known about this locomotive, and is a photograph or drawing available? KPP)


    "The Board of the St. Helen’s Railway and Canal met on October 10th [1830] . . . A letter was read from Mr. James Fletcher, of Sutton, asking for the terms upon which the Company would embank and lay the rails to a colliery which he was about to open up. It was agreed to do the work for a payment of £100."    (The Railway and Travel Monthly, October 1910. KPP)


    "Snowdon Mountain Rack Railway. Messrs. Richard White and Sons, of Widnes, have secured the sub-contract for the whole of the permanent way material for this railway from Messrs. Holme & King, the chief contractors. As this will be the first rack-railway built in this country, some interest attaches to its construction." ("The Railway Engineer," May 1895. The late O.J. Morris does not mention either of these contractors in his booklet, "The Snowdon Mountain Railway" (Ian Allan Ltd. 1960). and states that Richard Cammell & Co. agreed to produce the rack rail. The truth of the matter is that the Sheffield works of Charles Cammell & Co Ltd rolled the rack bars which had to be cut to size whilst still hot. Cammell’s Workington plant made the fishplates (and probably also the running rails), and the Ebbw Vale Steel, Iron & Coal Co Ltd rolled the steel sleepers. The Yorkshire Engine Co Ltd, Sheffield, cut the teeth in the rack bars, and also assembled the trackwork. None had been laid by 11th June 1895 (according to YE records) even though the first sod had been cut on 15th December 1894, but the "first 2 arches of the lower viaduct are nearly turned & the remainder will now proceed very fast as all four are finished on the upper viaduct. I believe the locomotives are expected Immediately." it may not be generally known that Cammell and YE also supplied the rack rail for the Nilghiri Railway (India) in 1893/94, and the Mount Morgan Railway (Australia) in 1897. KPP)

    An impressive private railway system, with four locomotives and 126 internal wagons, is a feature of the Bowater site at Ellesmere Port.

    There is one diesel loco and three fireless steam locos. The latter provide an interest for the railway enthusiast, and quite a number of people have been to inspect them.

    Bowater’s own the tracks inside their site, and then hand over trains of wagons to the Manchester Ship Canal Company, who take them through their own railway system to the British Railways’ lines for the appropriate trains.

(Liverpool Daily Post Supplement, 23rd September 1969)


    "Many of the good points of Bury’s engines were due to Mr. Kennedy, originally a foreman under Mr E. Bury, and finally a partner in Bury, Curtis & Kennedy. The firm’s works, the Clarence Foundry, Liverpool, grew to be very extensive, employing latterly 700 or 800 men. Dredgers and marine engines, and iron castings for bridges and warehouses were largely made by them. Crampton’s celebrated 8’ engine "Liverpool", of 1848, was Messrs. Bury’s masterpiece, but soon after, having built about 400 engines in 20 years, they gave up business and vanished from the scene."    ("The Railway Engineer," April 1895. KPP)

    "The Board of Trade has confirmed the order authorising the construction of ...  the Wolverhampton and Cannock Chase R. as a light railway under the Light Railways Act, 1896."     ("The Railway Engineer," July 1907.– KPP)


    EARLY PETROL LOCOMOTIVES. — Three short articles on this subject appeared in the 1913 volume of "The Locomotive Magazine". A narrow gauge 0-4-0 oil loco constructed by Saunderson & Mills Ltd., Elstow Works, Bedford, and illustrated (in the January issue) with a rake of wooden wagons on some rural tramway, was said to be able to haul ten tons on the level at 8mph. There were three other standard models, the smallest being able to move five tons only. In the February issue there was an illustration of a small narrow gauge "New Century" petrol locomotive emerging from an adit of the Rampgill Mine at Nenthead, near Alston, Cumberland. The two locomotives of this type at Rampgill are said to have been supplied by Ironside, Son & Dyckerhoff of 40, Mincing Lane, London. A number of "New Century" motor locomotives were then "at work in various parts of the United Kingdom". Finally, the March issue showed a line-up of eight "Otto" 2ft gauge 060 paraffin locomotives, supplied by Messrs. W. Silversteen & Co., of 147, Cannon Street, London E.C., leaving the works for North Africa." Each was able to haul fourteen tons on the level, "and as they have to run long journeys they are fitted with large water and oil tanks."

    Our records seem to be singularly silent on the working locations of these particular locomotives, and we wonder whether any of our readers in Bedford and London have been moved to make enquiries. It seems doubtful whether any of the locomotives supplied from London were actually built there — at least not at the addresses quoted. In the early 1930’s "New Century" diesel locomotives were marketed by C. M. Hill & Co., Coventry House, South Place, London, E.C.2; the engine units employed were of German manufacture, but were the locomotives themselves built in Germany ? "Otto" locomotives were built at Deutz, near Cologne, in what we presume are the present "Deutz" works. We shall be pleased to hear from any reader who can add to our knowledge of these firms, and of early petrol locomotives by any maker for that matter.

"Nine East Germans slithered to freedom down a slag heap today (13th August 1969) after stealing a locomotive on the eighth anniversary of the Berlin Wall. Just after midnight 27-year-old Ekkard Oborny, an engineer at the Harbke electricity works close to the frontier near Helmstedt, commandeered one of the trains used at a coal mine near the works. His brother Horst, aged 35, a lieutenant commander in the East German navy, their wives and five children boarded the train unseen. Then, with the three youngest children, aged 18 months and three years, doped with sleeping pills in case they cried, the two families headed for a slag heap close to the heavily-wired frontier. Once there Oborny, who was in charge of transport at the works, halted the engine. The refugees climbed out of the locomotive and slid down the slag heap where it had subsided, forming a breach in the heavily-mined border strip. After cutting their way through three barbed-wire fences they crossed the 20foot "death-strip", where guards have orders to shoot on sight. The escapers stopped passers-by in the first village on the West German side, Neu Bueddenstedt, and asked the way to the police station.

(The Sun, 14th August 1969. FJ)


    The vast array of machinery and plant which Mr [T. A.] Walker has got together to expedite the construction of the Manchester Ship Canal forms one of the most important and interesting features of that undertaking. The engineer in charge of this department is Mr J.H. Simpson, upon whom devolves the responsibility of seeing that all machinery is kept in order, together with the onerous task of deciding upon the relative works of different types of labour-saving appliances put forward by rival manufacturers. The following is a list with some particulars of the main plant either on the works or in the depôts of the canal.

    Locomotives — The total number of locomotives is ninety-six; these have been supplied by different makers, as below.



Makers’ Names


37   Manning, Wardle, & Co., Leeds From 9-in cylinders four wheels to 15-in
cylinders six wheels coupled.
25   Hunslet Engine Company, Leeds                      Ditto         Ditto
11   Hudswell, Clarke & Co., Leeds                      Ditto         Ditto
7   Ruston, Proctor, & Co., Lincoln                      Ditto         Ditto
5   Vulcan Foundry Company,
With 12-in cylinders and six wheels coupled.
5   Sharp, Stewart & Co, Manchester With 13-in cylinders and six wheels coupled.
3   Walker Brothers, Wigan With 13-in cylinders and six wheels coupled.
2   Kitson and Co., Leeds With 14-in cylinders and six wheels coupled.
1   Peckett and Sons, Bristol With 12-in cylinders and six wheels coupled.

    The locomotives are constructed with many special features, the sizes above 12in cylinders especially designed with neat cabs and side tanks, and many of them are fitted with steam brakes in addition to hand brakes; they are made under strict supervision in all details, the workmanship and material being of the very best. A traction engine of 6 horse-power by Messrs. Aveling and Porter, and a locomotive carriage by the Hunslet Engine Company, is used for taking the locomotives on to the works from the different railway stations to which connection by rail cannot be made."    (Engineering, 5th October 1888. KPP)