Clement Edwin Stretton.

The history of the Midland railway online

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various quarters have to be certified
as accurate and balanced to a half-
penny. He has not only to be
responsible for the accuracy of
his own accounts at the head-
quarters at Derby, but he has also

to testify to the correctness of the financial transactions at all points
where money is received or paid.

Every ticket sold has to be recorded in a ticket-book by the booking-
clerk, every parcel or package of goods has a counterfoil to show every
receipt, and at the end of every day each man receiving money has to
pay in the money either to the stationmaster or the responsible official
by whom the books and the cash are verified, and the cash forwarded
the same evening in a box to the station, from whence it is transferred
to the bank. Consequently the accounts are completed each evening
at a certain hour, and it therefore follows that when the auditor sends
one of his inspectors or auditors to examine the books and papers
at any given station or goods depot, as he does at unexpected times,
the whole of the transactions at that station have to be perfectly clear
and correct up to date. The inspector or auditor can immediately



prove that that is the case by an examination of the train-book, parcel
vouchers, station master's cash-book, and the receipts from the banks
or audit department. After each audit or investigation at a local
station the inspector signs the books, and ticks off the items ; and he
therefore knows at his next visit the transactions which have taken
place in the interval.

All receipts from the various sources of traffic, passengers, merchan-
dise, minerals, cattle, and miscellaneous sources are all kept separate
and distinct, so that the whole can be most carefully compared from
time to time with the receipts at corresponding periods in correspond-
ing half-years, and the why and the wherefore of any alteration carefully
inquired into.

The payment of wages is accomplished in this manner : Each man's
time is recorded when he comes on duty and when he leaves by he
himself signing on and off duty in rotation of time, and if he is in
daily, weekly, or monthly payment, his rate of remuneration is recorded.
The time-sheet is prepared by the stationmaster, district locomotive
superintendent, the goods agent, or other chief official having the
name of each man in his department, together with the time and rate
of wages and the amount due to each man in his department ; and
this is recorded on the pay-sheet, and sent in to the heads of the
various departments at Derby. Having been examined and certified
as correct, the money for the payment is transmitted to the various
stations and departments, and the head official locally is responsible
for the due distribution of the money. This having been done, the
proof that the wages are actually paid is furnished to the accountant.

In conjunction with the Secretary and the Finance Committee the
Accountant advises on the general financial policy of the Company.
Occasionally this involves a great amount of wise discrimination and
great forethought on the part of all concerned, as, for instance, when,
by the Act of 1897, the 100 ordinary shares of the Company were
converted into ^200 shares, namely, one ^100 share of 2\ per cent,
preferred ordinary stock, and another share of ^100 deferred ordinary
stock, which gave this great advantage, that investors, widows, retired
officers, and persons with a fixed sum of money at their disposal, who
were unwilling or legally disqualified from investing in more or less
speculative business, could, by purchasing these 2\ per cent, preferred
ordinary shares, thereby ensure a steady, regular fixed income which
would practically be quite as safe as consols, as well as paying a slightly
better interest. The holders of the other shares were placed in the
position of receiving whatever balance of revenue remained after the
payment of the 2\ per cent, as the interest for their investment. By


this Act the capital of the Company was nominally increased by
^"35,434,947. This scheme, which was most successfully carried
through under the able guidance of the Chairman of the Company,
had the enormous recommendation that whilst it conferred privileges
and advantages on all the shareholders it entailed disabilities and
disadvantages on none ; and in addition to all this it tended to increase
the number of small shareholders, thus extending the number of
those interested in the success of the Midland. There were numbers
of persons who were able and willing to invest in shares of 100, but
who had not the means of purchasing ;ioo shares which stood at a
price of .180.

The third division of the Finance Department is that of the Rating
Surveyor, which is in charge of Mr. W. P. Payne and his staff. The
duties of this official may at first sight appear to be of a routine
character, but when we consider the great number of parishes that
the Midland line passes through, and to each of which it has to pay
tribute, it will be seen that enormous complications must arise, as the
Midland is one of the largest ratepayers in the kingdom. The
Company's bill for rates and taxes (not including income tax, which
is deducted from every shareholder's dividend) amounts to no less
than ^,'345,000 per annum, in addition to which it has to pay
a Government duty of about ,14,000 per annum. In other words,
the Midland Railway Company has to pay over in rates and taxes
about ;i,ooo every day, including Sundays. This large sum is
composed of many items, the rates in some large towns amounting
to as much as 8,000 to 10,000 per annum, whilst in others it is
a comparatively small amount. But the sums to be paid are the
subject of much negotiation, and sometimes even litigation has to be
resorted to in order to effect a settlement, comparatively small parishes
through which the line passes occasionally imagining that their little
bit of territory is necessary as a connecting link, and that therefore
a sort of " way leave " in rates and taxes ought to be exacted from
the Company on all traffic passing over the lines.

All these arrangements require to be negotiated with great diplomatic
acumen, so as to preserve the interests of the Company and not to
unduly wound the susceptibilities of the parishes that may be in
question. The rates vary almost as much as the value of land, say,
in London as compared with pastoral land in the wilds of Cumberland
on the Settle and Carlisle line; and the mastery of all these details
can only be acquired after very long actual experience, combined with
natural aptitude for the work.



THE third great Department of the Midland Company is that
which deals with locomotive power, which since July, 1873, nas
been under the control of Mr. Samuel W. Johnson. The Locomotive
Superintendent is charged with duties of a very comprehensive
character, which include the designing, construction, and maintenance
of all engines (both locomotive and stationary), the machinery and
appliances in the great works at Derby and all outlying depots, and
the working of all engines in the running of trains. His duties also
include the supervision of 305 stationary engines, 270 stationary boilers,
1,030 hydraulic machines, 420 cranes of every kind, the construction
and maintenance of turntables all over the system, water columns,
water-tanks and pumps, and water-supplies generally. The Locomotive
Department is also responsible for clearing the line in case of accident,
and for providing break-down trains and all appliances for the purpose.
Fire brigades, gas supplies, and weighing machines all come within
the purview of the Superintendent's office. The Midland Company
have now more locomotive engines running on their system for the
working of traffic than any railway company in the kingdom. On
August ist, 1900, the number of engines stood at 2,610, which were
charged to capital account, and over 200 on the "A" or duplicate list,
which are charged to revenue, which, added to the above number,
give a total of 2,810 locomotives. Besides these he has the control
of the engines which are the joint property of the Midland and Great
Northern Railway Companies running on the Eastern and Midland
Railway, 82 in number, and those which are jointly owned by the
Midland and South Western running on the Somerset and Dorset
Joint Railway, which number 70, so that altogether, with the engines
now on order and being constructed, the Locomotive Superintendent
has control of no fewer than 3,000 locomotives, all in effective working

It is necessary to point out that in 1844, just prior to the amalgama-



tion, the three companies had a total altogether of 95 locomotives,
which were managed by three locomotive superintendents, and which
engines were transferred to the sole care of Mr. Matthew Kirtley, the
first Superintendent of the Midland, and who was Mr. Johnson's
immediate predecessor. Thus it comes to pass that Mr. Matthew
Kirtley saw the locomotives of the Company increased during his
reign at the Locomotive Department from 95 to 1,069, while Mr.
Johnson's administration has expanded the number from 1,069 to
over 3,000, in addition to which he has had the whole of the previously
existing engines either entirely replaced by new ones or rebuilt. Re-
building in practice on the Midland means that a new boiler, fire-box,
smoke-box, and tubes are put in, and any parts worn or damaged are
replaced; therefore a rebuilt engine comes again into active work in
as good and as effective a condition as when it was first constructed.


The vast expansion in this department is only typical of what has
taken place all round and in the great industrial centre of the loco-
motive works at Derby.

The Locomotive Superintendent is assisted in his position by the
heads of four subsidiary branches, namely

1. Assistant Locomotive Superintendent for the northern division.

2. Assistant Locomotive Superintendent for the southern division,

including the running department of locomotives stationed at

But in addition to this general arrangement it is subject to a further
subdivision into two classes

(a) The running which deals with engines actually at work.

(b) The repairs, renewals, and constructing department; and the finan-

cial arrangements of each are kept perfectly separate and distinct.

These offices are filled : northern district by Mr. W. H. Adams, and
for the southern district by Mr. C. H. Jones.


In the running department there are running shed foremen (night
and day), and at large stations where engines are frequently changed
there are also assistant locomotive foremen (one for nights and one
for days), who are responsible for seeing that the engines are ready to
take on their respective trains. There are also time-keepers, drivers,
firemen, foremen of cleaners, steam risers, cleaners, coal stagemen, and

In the maintenance branch work is only carried on by day, and the
staff comprises foremen of fitting-shops, fitters, machinists, and labourers.

Each of the two assistant locomotive superintendents (north and
south) has under his charge the conduct of the actual running and
repairs to locomotives, which may be executed at outlying stations
without necessitating the engines being sent to the large workshops
at Derby.

They also have to report periodically as to the number of engines
(both goods and passenger) which they consider are required by the
exigencies of traffic at each point in their respective divisions; and
subject to the Locomotive Superintendent's approval, the engines are
provided accordingly.

The assistant locomotive superintendents have also to determine the
number of engines to be stationed at each locomotive shed, the number
of drivers and firemen necessary for their working ; and they also
arrange the order in which the trains are to be worked in each direction
from each station, and the hours of the day and night that the drivers,
firemen, fitters, cleaners, etc., are to be on duty.

The district locomotive superintendents, of whom there are thirty
stationed at the large centres of traffic, are responsible for the efficiency
of all engines working from their district, also for the efficiency of the
drivers and firemen and all the men employed in their departments.

They are also responsible for seeing that an adequate supply of coal
is constantly available for all engines, that the water-tanks are kept
in order, that an ample supply of water is ready night and day, and
for the working of water-cranes, especially during times of frost or

At the end of each month the district locomotive superintendent
has also to send in a return to headquarters at Derby to the assistant
locomotive superintendent of his district, giving the number of engines
stationed at his shed, the condition in which they are, the number
of miles run during the month by each engine, the total coal consumed,
oil, waste, and water used, the wages of the men employed in working
each engine, and as to whether the engine is in good condition or
requires or is being repaired.


On the other side he has also to state what engines have been in the
repair shops during the month, the nature of the repairs, the cost both
as regards materials and labour ; further, the state of the machinery,
stationary boilers, engines, and their maintenance in a thoroughly
sound and effective condition. It is by these carefully prepared reports
at each centre that the Locomotive Superintendent is able at each
half-year to formally certify to the directors that the whole of the
engines, tenders, machinery, tools, etc., of the Company have been kept
in a good working order and repair during the period in question.

These district locomotive superintendents each week have to compile
a list showing the duties of each driver and fireman, and what engine
they are working and the trains which they are carrying every day
during the week of course, the whole twenty-four hours being covered.


This sheet of duties is arranged on a system of a given number of men
working in a ring upon certain classes of traffic goods or passenger
and on certain trains. Thus a driver and fireman work a train later
each day in a given direction, and the same on the return journey.
The result is that, say, where eight men form the ring, in the course
of eight weeks each man has covered the round and resumes again
at the point from which he started. By this and similar means each
driver will have worked exactly the same number of trains, will have
conveyed practically the same loads, and a comparison can be made
both as to the working of engines and men, and the total expenditure
for the period ascertained and compared. A quarterly sheet is also
prepared, showing the working of each man and engine. The Company
give premiums to the drivers and firemen who have during the
quarter performed the best locomotive work, and the men receive
rewards accordingly for efficiency in working. Further comparisons are


taken by comparing the work and the cost of one district with another,
and this is shown by a return compiled by each district locomotive
superintendent, showing the total results in their respective limits.
There is also a casualty list, in which all failures or break-downs of
engines are recorded, and the causes ; and it is needless to say that
each district locomotive superintendent is very anxious that none of his
engines should figure in this black book.

Each district locomotive superintendent is also responsible for clear-
ing the line in case of accident or break-down. Each district is mapped
out, so that when any obstruction occurs, the stationmasters, signalmen,
or guards are able at once to telegraph to the proper district superin-
tendent for assistance. Whilst every possible effort is made and every
precaution taken to avoid accidents or break-downs, it is of the highest
importance, when these unfortunate occurrences do take place, to have
the speediest means of restoring the traffic to its natural condition.
With this object each district locomotive superintendent is provided
with a special break-down train, which is reserved solely for this pur-
pose and which is specially constructed and fitted up with every
necessary appliance and a powerful crane capable of lifting many tons
of dead weight. Being required for sudden and unexpected emer-
gencies, this train and all its appliances is constantly kept in perfect
order, so as to be available at all times at a moment's notice. A break-
down train consists of five vehicles and an engine two brake vans
and two wagons, and a crane in the middle mounted on a special
wagon. The break-down train is, in fact, a travelling workshop, in which
there are ample stores of chains, blocks, hydraulic and other jacks,
and tools of every kind always stored and kept in their proper places,
and a staff of men, most carefully selected and specially adapted for the
work and familiar with all the appliances, is constantly available. An
exact record is kept of the time when a call is given and when the
break-down train leaves the locomotive sidings. The break-down train
runs with " express lights," and the line is cleared for it so as to give it
a speedy passage to the point blocked. A special register is kept of the
names of the men required and their places of residence, so that they
can be called on at any moment night or day. For ordinary purposes
the staff consists of fourteen or sixteen fully trained men under a
competent official, and in all important cases the district superintendent
is in command on the spot. Provision is also made in the break-down
train for the workmen for the use of a van as a canteen, where tea and
other necessaries are provided, to enable the men to continue at work
on the spot for as many hours as may be necessary. A stretcher and
a small ambulance outfit is also carried for use in case of emergencies


Fortunately, break-down gangs are not so frequently called into
action as formerly, thanks to a wise periodical examination of rolling
stock, heavier and better permanent way, the block system, and
generally the stricter discipline and supervision of the staff as previously
described. All these have produced greater efficiency, as well as
greater safety ; but notwithstanding this, the break-down train and
its staff is as valuable and as important as it ever was, and it is main-
tained in the highest state of efficiency.

The third subsidiary branch of the Locomotive Department is the
great works which the Company have established at Derby. This
department is under the Works Manager (Mr. John Lane), who is
responsible for the whole of the machinery, workmanship, and general
administration. As the whole of the 3,000 engines in use have to
go to Derby works for all extensive repairs and rebuilding, while a
large number of entirely new engines are turned out to replace old
engines broken up and to increase the total number of locomotives,
the Works Manager has many important duties to discharge. He has
to examine and report as to whether engines which have been a long
time in use are worthy of extensive repair or rebuilding, or whether
it is more desirable to send them to the scrap heap, and replace them
by engines of more modern design. He also has to arrange for the
construction of special machines, and tools, and labour-saving
appliances for the production of special parts of the locomotives,
so that they may be repaired or rebuilt and returned to active work
as speedily as possible. An engine in a workshop is a useless
appliance, is costing much and earning nothing, and hence the
importance of having as few engines in the repair shops at one time
as possible. These works are of an elaborate and very extensive
character, and they are described in a special chapter.

The fourth subsidiary branch is the gas department, and the gas
engineer is responsible for the mains, supply, and use of gas-lighting
and all connected with it, and its periodical inspection and maintenance
all over the Company's system.


Matthew Kirtley, appointed 1844, died May 24th, 1873.
Samuel Waite Johnson, appointed July, 1873.

As everything connected with the movement of traffic depends
upon the efficiency of the Locomotive Department, it will be seen
how important is the question of its development and its adminis-
trative control. From 1844 to 1901 only two officials have held this
office which plays so great a part in railway undertakings.


MR. MATTHEW KIRTLEY was born at Tanfield, in the county of
Durham, February 6th, 1813. His father was employed on the Stockton
and Darlington Railway, and the whole of the family were associated
with railway and locomotive work. Kirtley's brother was Locomotive
Superintendent of the North Midland Railway ; then another member
of the family was one of the firm of Kirtley and Co., engineers,
at Warrington, and his nephew, William Kirtley, was, until a recent
period, Locomotive Superintendent of the London, Chatham, and Dover
Railway. The first thing that we knew of Matthew Kirtley was
as a youth of sixteen when he went as fireman on the Warrington
and Newton Railway. From that he went to the Hull and Selby
Railway, where he was a driver for some time ; and afterwards, on the
opening of the London and Birmingham Railway, he appears to have
driven the first of that Company's trains to London in 1837. His
next step was one of great importance, and marked a very distinct
advance in his career, and occurred at the opening of the
Birmingham and Derby Railway, when he received the appointment
to take charge of the Company's engines at Hampton. His adminis-
tration there was a great success, for ultimately, when the Midland
Company was formed in 1844, he received the appointment of Loco-
motive Superintendent, although at the time he was engaged on the
smallest of the three companies amalgamated. He was also given
the sole control of the Locomotive, Carriage, and Wagon Depart-
ments, which post he held to the time of his death, when the offices
were divided with one chief Locomotive Superintendent, and another
independent chief official for the Carriage and Wagon Department.
When Kirtley first started on the Midland Railway there were but
ninety-five engines under his control, and these coming from three
companies and all built by various makers and of different designs,
they formed a collection of a most miscellaneous character. None
of the three companies the Birmingham and Derby, the Midland
Counties, and the North Midland then built their engines, and it
was on the recommendation of Kirtley, in 1851, that the Midland
began to build their own locomotives. The change came about in
this way : Kirtley, as a thoroughly practical man, found that none
of the parts of the various types of engines were interchangeable,
and the result was that when an engine broke the smallest portion
of a working part the locomotive had to remain entirely out of work
till a duplicate part could be either made in the repair shops or
one supplied by the makers of the engine. Indeed, it became
necessary in some cases to send the engines back to the makers
to be repaired, and all this meant loss, delay, and expense to the



Company. To obviate this difficulty Kirtley advised the directors
to erect their own engines in their own workshops as well as having
them repaired there; and where this could not be done the makers
of the engines were supplied with Midland drawings and designs, from
which they had to manufacture the engines.

The first locomotive turned out at the Derby works was "No. 158,"
in September, 1851, and some of these standard engines are now
running, having in the meantime been rebuilt according to the old
designs on the original frames.

In 1 86 1 he had to design and construct some entirely new and
powerful tank engines for working the traffic up the heavy Lickey
incline of i in 37 on the Birmingham and Gloucester section of the


Midland. At the Great Exhibition of 1862 six new express engines
were designed and constructed specially to convey the very heavy

Online LibraryClement Edwin StrettonThe history of the Midland railway → online text (page 27 of 36)