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driving wheels, or it may be by the combination of all three ; or again,
the object desired may be best secured by having large single driving
wheels, larger cylinders, and higher pressure ; or by a new utilisation of
four coupled driving wheels.

The system or principle which he intends to adopt depends very
greatly on the gradients of the lines engines with single driving
wheels being chiefly employed on the more level portions and those
with coupled wheels on the more severe gradients for the dictum of
George Stephenson, unfortunately for locomotive superintendents, that
no gradient should exceed that of i in 330, or 16 feet in a mile, has long
been discarded owing to the pressure of circumstances. Now loco-
motive superintendents have to provide power for carrying heavy loads
at high speeds up gradients as steep as i in 90.

In determining the mechanical means which are to give the increased
power demanded, very careful consideration is involved as to the nature
of the traffic, the route to be traversed, and the length of the journey j
and it is in the practical mastery of this problem that the superinten-
dent achieves the best working results for the capital expended. It is
this practical test in actual working and the more perfect utilisation of


the forces at their command that decides everything. The engine, to
be a success, has to do what it was designed to do, and it must convey
the traffic more speedily or more economically than its predecessor.

Of course, this is only a continuation of the steady, but none the less
wonderful, stream of progress which has been witnessed from the time
of the earliest locomotives. As trains have grown in length and
increased in speed and covered greater distances without stopping,
so locomotives have had to be developed in weight, size, and power.

Thus, on the formation of the Midland Railway in 1844, a loco-
motive with its tender, in working order, had reached a stage of develop-
ment till they weighed about 25 tons complete. This showed an
increase from the earliest locomotives on the Leicester and Swannington
Railway, when they weighed : engine, 9 J tons ; tender, 3 J tons ; or a
total of 13 tons weight. So that the size and weight of locomotives
had been practically doubled in the twelve years from 1832 to 1844.

Again, since 1844 the increase has been continuous until the middle
of 1900, when the weight of the most modern Midland locomotives,
such as that shown at the Paris Exhibition in 1900, fully loaded,
reaches a total of 100 tons, or a four-fold increase in fifty-six years.

But it is necessary to point out that this raises altogether another set
of problems and considerations, which may be put very briefly in this
way. The lines constructed in 1844, with all the necessary bridges,
culverts, etc., were only required to carry engines of 25 tons. But the
early engineers were wise in their generation, and made a great margin
of allowance, and so constructed the works that they would carry much
greater weights than they had any idea of carrying at the time they
were built.

These circumstances, and the gradual relaying and rebuilding of
bridges, etc., on the same wise principles, have given locomotive super-
intendents a much freer hand than they would otherwise have had.
Because not only is there the individual increase in the weight of each
engine, but provision has also to be made for the maximum weight
possible by having two of the heaviest engines attached to the train
running in one direction, and two similar engines attached in like
manner to another train travelling in an opposite direction, and all four
engines rushing on to one viaduct at the same instant, when a fourfold
increase in weight would have to be sustained.

This is where the happy combination and co-operation comes into
play between the locomotive department and the engineers' depart-
ment of the way and works. The superintendent of the locomotive
department must only construct such engines as the road will carry ;
and on the other hand the engineer has to so strengthen and improve


the permanent way, etc., that it will have an ample margin of strength
after sustaining any strains which may be thrown upon it.

A design having been decided upon, the necessary drawings are
prepared, which are forwarded to the works manager, together with the
order for the number of engines to be built.

The works manager is then in a position to know exactly every nut,
bolt, plate, casting, and every part that will be necessary, and he
instructs the foremen of the various shops accordingly. The patterns
are prepared, and the necessary castings of brass, steel, or iron, as the
case may be, are made in the foundry; and when complete are for-
warded to the machine shop, where they are turned, bored, planed, and
trued exactly to proper size.

The wrought-iron work is, of course, forged in the smiths' shop.
The boiler shop, like all the others, is filled with many special machines
and special tools of all kinds. The boiler, fire-box, and smoke-box are
all furnished by this department complete, and the boilers are tested
with hydraulic pressure and with steam before leaving this department.

The wheels, axles, and springs are all prepared in special shops, and
are subjected to the severest tests and the closest examination before
being sent out for use.

When the whole of the parts are completed they all gravitate to the
erecting shops, where they are all put together : first the frame plates,
then the stays between them, then the cylinders, next the boiler and
fire-box complete are lifted and lowered into position ; then the work-
ing parts are put in, and powerful cranes lift the completed monster
into the air and deposit it upon its wings of movement the wheels
and axles and it becomes almost a living thing.

Of course, before the engine is exposed to public gaze it is taken
into the paint shop, has a tender coupled up, and is put through a
number of preliminary trials, after which it is placed in the effective
list of engines in a given district.

But before an engine does any work or running, either preliminary
or otherwise, it is placed in the balances and weighed up, so that the
weight not only of the engine as a whole, but the exact weight which
is sustained by each wheel, can be set down to a pound.

It is of the most vital importance that a locomotive should be equally
balanced, so that the weight resting on the wheels on each side shall
be equal, and also to see that extra weight of the desired amount
rests upon the driving wheels, to ensure that when running the
necessary adhesion between the driving wheels and the rails will be

This weighing up of the load resting on each individual wheel


demonstrates the accuracy with which the whole engine and its
arrangement of parts has been constructed.

A most ingenious weighing machine has been designed for this
important work, and may be said to consist of a divided weighing
platform, which practically amounts to a number of independent
weighing machines, which give a separate register of the weight resting
on each individual wheel; and thus the designer of the locomotive
has the surest proof of the exact distribution of the weight which he
intended to create.

Having been subjected to many coatings of paint and varnish, it is
sent forth to career to and fro in the service of man.

It would be obviously impossible to describe here these works in
technical detail; but a few dimensions may prove serviceable and
interesting. There are two iron foundries, one 250 feet by 90 feet,


and another 215 feet by 45 feet. The pattern shops are 180 feet by 42
feet ; the smiths' shops, of which there are two, contain seventy-five fires
and ten steam hammers; the boiler shop is 270 feet by 45 feet; the
wheel and axle shops occupy four bays, each 270 feet long by 45 feet
wide, and each bay is provided with travelling and walking cranes of
great capacity, with hydraulic presses, one of which exerts a force of
470 tons ; the fitting shops of six bays are each 450 feet long, with
nearly 500 machines for all purposes, and forming part of an extensive
building 450 feet square; the two erecting shops, each 450 feet by
50 feet, are capable of accommodating 108 engines. In addition,
there are tender shops of great capacity, and very powerful machinery
of the most efficient character is provided wherever required.

The cost of a locomotive varies according to circumstances, in-
cluding its design, the number to be built at one time, the price of
coal, materials, and labour ; but, broadly speaking, it may be estimated
at from ,2,500 to ,3,000.


Having thus briefly sketched the processes of locomotive building,
it now becomes necessary to shortly indicate the chief characteristics
of the various types of modern Midland engines.

During the whole period covered by the Company's existence the
Midland locomotives have always been well abreast of the times and of
the work which they were called upon to perform ; and it is safe to say
that at the present moment the leading types of engines which have
been designed and constructed by Mr. S. W. Johnson, at the Com-
pany's works at Derby, are equal to the finest locomotives in any part
of the world. They are inferior to none either in speed, in the load
they convey, in their ability to ascend heavy gradients, as well as in
their economy in working and in general efficiency.

However much locomotives may vary in technical detail as well as
in outward appearance and these variations are of extreme interest to
locomotive engineers and railway specialists it yet remains true that
the general principles of all are more or less closely allied to one
another. And, however widely their construction and dimensions may
differ, all these variations or special arrangements are mere devices for
the better and more efficient utilisation of their power. The four great
points in a locomotive are, of course :

1. The boiler in which the steam is generated.

2. The cylinders in which it is utilised to force the piston alter-
nately from end to end, the length of the stroke being regulated by
the throw of the crank according to the length of the cylinder.

3. The throw of the crank of the axle of the driving wheel ; and

4. The size of the driving wheel.

Hence the four important questions regarding all locomotives are :
first, the diameter of the cylinders ; second, the length of the stroke ;
third, the diameter of the driving wheels ; and fourth, the pressure of
steam in the boiler. It is upon these points that the whole of the
changes in locomotive construction are rung; they are the keynotes
which dominate the whole ; and these particulars being given, all the
rest, to a practical engineer, becomes more or less a mere matter of

Of course there are other questions which arise on different railways,
such, for example, as to whether locomotives should have their cylinders
inside the frame, as in all the Midland, or outside, as in American and
other types. Further, the class of coal or fuel which can be secured in
different localities has also to be carefully taken into consideration ;
and modifications may be considered necessary in the construction of


fire-boxes and boiler-tubes to meet the particular circumstances. Then
there are other locomotives, of which the Midland own a number,
which run on the London underground railways, which are not allowed
to discharge any steam in the tunnels, and which are therefore provided
with special condensing apparatus by means of which the steam, instead
of being discharged up the chimney into the atmosphere, is turned
into the cold-water tank and condensed.

But notwithstanding all these variations, the tendency of all railway
companies has for a long time been to adopt certain standard patterns,
which gives the advantage a very great one of all parts being inter-
changeable. Each locomotive superintendent, it is true, has his own
views and his own designs, and this has led to the construction of
engines of great variety, which the superintendents believe to be the
most advantageous for their own particular railways. This has brought
new ideas to the front, and has promoted the efficiency of locomotive
power generally, because each system and every new principle has been
brought to the test of practical experience.

In the early days of English railways the lines were made compara-
tively straight, and engines with three rigid axles ran steadily and with
great advantage ; whereas in America the early lines had considerable
curves, and therefore bogies were of great use in giving security in
passing over them. But the bogie which forms so conspicuous a
feature in modern locomotives, in dining cars and in long carriages,
was an English invention : and it was actually applied to the loco-
motive known as "Puffing Billy," built as early as 1813, and rebuilt
with bogies in 1815; also, in 1833, R. Stephenson and Co., of New-
castle-on-Tyne, constructed an engine known as " Davy Crocket "
which had a leading bogie, this engine being exported to America.
An imported American locomotive with a leading bogie also opened
the first section of the Birmingham and Gloucester Railway in 1840.
But it was undoubtedly the American experience that practically
demonstrated the great utility and value of the bogie principle. It
gives greater freedom in running, as well as equalises the weight on the
four front wheels, and indeed it is now easy to see that very few more
passenger engines will be built in Great Britain without a bogie.

Mr. Johnson was one of the first to recognise the value of the
leading bogie for fast passenger engines, and its reintroduction, so to
speak, to this country is the direct outcome of the American results.

At the present time the Midland are constructing six distinct types
of engines for their traffic, viz. first, an express bogie engine with single
driving wheels; second, bogie express with four coupled driving
wheels ; third, for local passenger traffic there are bogie tank engines


with four coupled wheels in front ; fourth, standard goods engines ;
fifth, tank engines for local goods traffic practically a goods engine
without a tender; and sixth, small special engines on four wheels,
which go round very sharp curves in dock or brewery sidings.

Mr. Kirtley constructed the first engine built at the Derby works in
September, 1851. He also built express engines having "single"
driving wheels, 6 feet 6 inches diameter, also coupled engines, some
6 feet 2 inches, and forty-eight others (the "800" class) 6 feet 8J inches
diameter, and goods engines with six coupled wheels of 5 feet 2 inches,
but none of these can be considered "modern," although it must be
mentioned that all the "800" class, built over thirty years ago, are
still doing good work.

In 1876 Mr. S. W. Johnson had the first of his bogie express engines
("No. 1312") placed upon the line. This design consists of a four-
wheeled leading bogie and four coupled wheels. The cylinders are
placed inside, the framing and bearings being also inside. The
dimensions of the first type of coupled bogie engines were 17^-inch
cylinders, 26-inch stroke, coupled wheels 6 feet 6 inches, and having a
boiler pressure of 140 Ibs. At various times these dimensions have
been increased, until the one illustrated by engine " No. 63 " has
igj-inch cylinders, 26-inch stroke, coupled wheels 7 feet, and the
boiler pressure has been increased to 170 Ibs. The total weight of
this engine with its loaded tender is nearly 100 tons.

In 1887 Mr. Johnson placed the first of his "single" express engines
upon the line. These have a leading bogie and a single pair of driving
wheels. The frames are double and the cylinders inside. The first
eighteen engines had driving wheels of 7 feet 4 inches diameter and
cylinders 18 inches diameter.

"No. 1853," built and sent to the Paris Exhibition of 1889, had
driving wheels 7 feet 6 inches and cylinders 18^ inches; of this type
forty-two engines were constructed.

In 1893 the "179" class was built, having cylinders 19 inches diameter
and piston valves placed under the cylinders, the driving wheels, as
before, being 7 feet 6 inches.

So satisfactory did the whole of the seventy " single " engines prove
that in 1896 and 1897 Mr. Johnson took another most important step
in the direction of progress. He constructed five more engines, the
"115" type, having 3 inches larger driving wheels, ^ inch more cylinder,
and 10 Ibs. more steam pressure. The tender runs on six wheels, and
carries 3,500 gallons of water and 4- tons of coal.

The magnificent locomotive of the Midland, "No. 2601," and named
the " Princess of Wales," the first of a class of ten built at Derby in


1900 and shown at the Paris Exhibition, is a further development of
this type of "single" engine. The cylinders, stroke, and size of driving
wheels remain unaltered. The great features of these engines are the
increased size of the boiler, an enlarged fire-box, which gives increased
heating surface, and a steam pressure of 180 Ibs. The engine is of
greater weight, and the tender, instead of running on six wheels, as in
previous passenger engines, is provided with two four-wheeled bogies,
and carries no less than 4,000 gallons of water. Ten of these engines
are at work on the fastest and heaviest expresses.

The table opposite shows at a glance in historical order the leading
types of engines on the Midland line at various periods, together with
the details of the standard pattern express engines now being manu-
factured by the Company at the Derby works.

It will be observed from the table of selected locomotives, and
it is a fact worthy of mention, that as long ago as the years 1839
and 1840 the Birmingham and Gloucester Company, now a portion
of the Midland, purchased several locomotives from an American firm
of builders in Philadelphia, and those engines were found to give
satisfactory results upon English rails. A period of sixty years has
now elapsed, and history begins to repeat itself. The circumstances
attending the re-ordering of American locomotives were explained by
Sir Ernest Paget to the shareholders of the Company on February i ;th,
1899, as follows: He said that they would no doubt have seen that
they had purchased some engines in America, and as that was a new
departure some explanation would be interesting to them. He might
say that from the first they would very much have preferred purchasing
home-made goods, whether engines or anything else, if possible. He
might say, too, that the question of cost did not enter at all into their
calculations when they asked for tenders for engines from over the
water. Their train mileage had been increasing very rapidly of late
years, the mileage of 1898 showing an increase of more than two
millions of miles. Their Locomotive Superintendent, Mr. Johnson,
had for some years been impressing upon them that they worked their
engines too hard. He believed that if Mr. Johnson could have his
way he would have seventy-five per cent, of their engines in steam.
As it was, ninety was very much nearer the number in steam, so that
they saw at once that there was no margin. He would tell them how
they were situated as regarded the ordering and the delivery of engines.
They had at present 170 ordered in England. They commenced in
December, 1897, and the first engines were to be delivered in July,
1898, so many per month following. If that delivery had gone on
properly they would now have had forty-eight of the engines, but they


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had not got one. The last order they gave was in December, 1898,
for twenty engines at a very large cost, but they could not get even
the promise of one engine for fifteen months, and that order would not
be completed until May, 1900. Engines were a necessity to them;
they must have them ; so they determined to try two firms in America
the Baldwin and the Schenectady. They gave orders for ten engines
in each case, the delivery in one instance being in ten weeks from the
time all the drawings and so forth were received, and in the other case
the shipment from America was to be in four months. So that they
saw that, whereas in England they could not get an engine in fifteen
months, in America they could get twenty in four. They needed no
further justification than that, and, thinking so, they had doubled the
order to one of the firms. The engines would be of the " Mogul "
type ; they would be essentially American, but with certain alterations
which their Superintendent thought necessary. They would have
copper fire-boxes and copper tubes in the place of steel ones, which
were used in America. There were other minor details, but the
engines would practically be American, and they would be very
interesting to the Midland Company, because they were of the same
power as their own. It would therefore be interesting to them to see
the engines running by the side of their own, because Mr. Johnson,
and he hoped every one of the staff, had determined that they should
have fair play from beginning to end.

These engines have been delivered, thirty by the Baldwin and ten by
the Schenectady works, and they are now at work in the ordinary way,
giving satisfactory results.

The first question which will naturally be asked is, "What are the
special points of difference between these new American engines and
the ordinary English locomotives for goods traffic ? " Without entering
too much into technical details, it may be summed up in a few words
that the English goods engine has six wheels coupled, and its cylinders
are placed inside, that is, between the frames and out of sight, whereas the
American goods engine, known as the " Mogul " type, has eight wheels,
the leading pair being small and capable of turning in the required
direction when passing round curves, followed by six wheels of 5 feet
diameter coupled together, and the cylinders are placed outside. At
first sight it is probable that Englishmen will be struck with the amount
of their " machinery " ; as a fact, there are no more working parts, but
those which do exist appear upon the outside, and can be plainly seen.
In English goods engines the upper parts of the wheels are covered
over by splashers ; but in the American engines the driver's foot-plate
or "running-board," as it is termed in America, is high up above the


six coupled wheels of 5 feet diameter. Upon the boiler are placed
what at first may appear to be two domes : one of these, the nearest
to the chimney, is, however, a circular box to contain sand, to be
applied in front of the driving wheels to prevent slipping in case of
wet or greasy rails, and the second dome only is used for the purpose
of obtaining dry steam from the boiler for conveyance to the cylinders.
One of the most important features in the new engines is the American
cab. When the early locomotives for the Liverpool and Manchester,
Leicester and Swannington, and other pioneer railways were built no
protection whatever was given to the driver and fireman against wind
and rain. Gradually a weather-board and a little shelter became
usual, but for some reason there seemed to be an opinion that if a
driver and fireman were protected from the weather they would not
perform their duties so well. The opinion of the writer is, however,


Online LibraryClement Edwin StrettonThe history of the Midland railway → online text (page 21 of 36)