Tag Archives: Locomotives

Railway Miscellany – Railroads Create the First Time Zones – St. Paul Union Depot, Seven Years After Closing

Railway Miscellany

November 18, 1883: Railroads Create the First Time Zones

tumblr_mwgum66Axb1r2u8sso1_r1_500Photo: Railroads. Men working on locomotive II, ca. 1920-ca. 1950. (Library of Congress)

On this day in 1883, American and Canadian railroads began using four continental time zones. This stemmed from schedulers’ confusion transporting passengers across thousands of local times. Most towns in the United States had their own local times based on “high noon” when the sun reached its highest point in the sky.
The railroad companies created the new time coding system without assistance from the federal government. Most Americans and Canadians embraced the time zones since railroads were the primary link between the two countries. Congress did not officially adopt the time zones until 1918 under the Interstate Commerce Commission.
Check out American Experience’s “Streamliners” timeline of significant events related to the development of American railroads.

St. Paul Union Depot, Seven Years After Closing, 1978

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tumblr_mm2nmvZlof1r5yoejo3_500Photo via Flickr: Electroburger’s Photostream

Passenger rail service officially came to an end in downtown St. Paul on April 30, 1971. The last train, the Burlington Afternoon Zephyr, left the depot that evening, bound for Minneapolis. Amtrak launched its passenger service to the Twin Cities the next day, bypassing downtown St. Paul. These photos, taken seven years after the fact, come from a wonderful collection by Kurt Haubrich.

Steam Locomotives of a More Leisurely Era 1922 – 4-6-4T Glasgow & South Western Railway

Steam Locomotives of a More Leisurely Era
1922 – 4-6-4T
Glasgow & South Western Railway

No.540 when new

No.540 when new

The last engines built for the G&SWR, five very fine 4-6-4Ts built by R.H.Whitelegg, one time superintendent of the LTSR and who had also designed some 4-6-4Ts for that railway.
The new engines were numbered 540-4, and renumbered by the LMS 15400-4. They did good work on the heavy shorter distance expresses, but being of non-standard type had no chance of survival under LMS policy, and were broken up in 1935 and 1936
Driving wheels – 6’ 0”, Cylinders (2) – 22”x 26”, Pressure – 180 lb., Tractive effort – 26741 lb., Weight 99 tons.

Steam Locomotives of a More Leisurely Era – 1917 – Maunsell 2-6-0 South East & Chatham Railway

Steam Locomotives of a More Leisurely Era

1917 – Maunsell 2-6-0

South East & Chatham RailwayNo.816 as first built (they later had smoke deflectors)

No.816 as first built (they later had smoke deflectors)

R.E.L.Maunsell had come to the SECR from the Great Southern of Ireland, where he had built his earliest locomotives.

His first designs for the SECR were two engines of considerable importance, the first being a 2-6-0 mixed traffic engine and the second a 2-6-4T for passenger work.

The outstanding feature of these designs, which did not attract much attention at the time, was the use of long valve travel.  Churchward alone, on the GWR many years before, had realised the value of this, but no other engineer appreciated its significance until Maunsell came along.  It was not until the locomotive exchanges of 1924-5 between the GWR, LNER and LMS that its superiority became generally recognised, and since then it has become normal practice in locomotive design.31414 last

The new SECR engine, No. 810, embodied much of the Great Western practice, including the coned boiler, but there was a good deal of the Midland there also, as exemplified in the design of the cab, tender and other details.

After extensive trials fifteen more were built, Nos. 811-25, No. 822 was fitted with three cylinders.

Largely to avoid unemployment at Woolwich Arsenal, the Government ordered a hundred of the design to be built there after the termination of the First World War.  Fifty of them were eventually acquired by the Southern Railway as 826-75 (later 1826-75).

Of the remainder it may be mentioned that six sets of parts were sold to the Metropolitan Railway and emerged as 2-6-4Ts, whilst another 26 went to the Great southern of Ireland, who thus acquired a number of Maunsell’s design after he had left that railway.31879 1930s

Six more of the three cylinder variety similar to No. 822 were constructed in 1930 at Ashford, Nos. A876-80, and another fifteen of the 2-cylinder engines between 1932 and 1934, numbered 1400-14.  In 1930 No. 816 was taken into Eastleigh works and underwent extensive experiments as a condensing engine, but it never ran in traffic and was eventually reconverted to standard.

These engines have always been most useful additions to the SR stock.  Many of them spent much of their existence in the West of England.  All were still in service in 1959 as BR 31810-75 and 31400-14.

2-Cylinder engines – Driving wheels – 5’ 6”,  Cylinders 19”x 28”,  Pressure – 200 lbs.,  Tractive effort – 26035 lb.,  Weight – 61 tons 4 cwt,  SECR & SR classification – N,  BR classification – 4P5F

3-Cylinder engines – Driving wheels – 5’ 6”,  Cylinders 16”x 28”,  Pressure – 200 lbs.,  Tractive effort – 27695 lb.,  Weight – 64 tons 5 cwt,  SECR & SR classification – N1,  BR classification – 4P5F31869


Steam Locomotives of a More Leisurely Era 1909 – Deeley ‘999’ Class Midland Railway

Steam Locomotives of a More Leisurely Era

1909 – Deeley ‘999’ Class

Midland Railway 

The late 993, renumbered as 803, as running in 1926The late 993, renumbered 803, as running in 1926.

A series of ten 4-4-0s constructed by R.M.Deeley, said to have been designed mainly for the purpose of testing simple propulsion against the compounds.  Little in the way of actual comparative trials appear to have taken place, and the engines worked almost entirely between Leeds and Carlisle, which was no one of the principal domains of the compounds, although they were not unknown on that difficult road.

These locomotives were fitted with a valve gear of Deeley’s own design not unlike the inside-cylindered Walschaert pattern, although there were essential differences.  The boilers were originally pressured to 220 lb., but this was reduced to 200 lb. when the engines were superheated between 1912 and 1914, and the cylinders enlarged from 19” diameter to 20½”.

As they spent the whole of their working life on the wild Settle and Carlisle road they were comparatively unknown, and were rarely, if ever, seen in London, the furthest south they ever got being Derby on their periodic visits to works.  One, however, was tried out for a short time on the Somerset and Dorset in the early 1920s.  They did not have a particularly long life, and all were broken up between 1925 and 1929.  For the last two or three years Nos. 991-9 ran as 801-9 (No. 990 had been scrapped in 1925 and was not renumbered) in anticipation of their numbers being required for new compounds, construction of which was proceeding apace, but as it turned out the new engines never reached these numbers.

Original dimensions – Driving wheels – 6’ 6½”,  Bogie wheels – 3’ 3½”,  Cylinders – 19”x 26”,  Pressure – 220 lb.,  Weight – 58¼ tons,  MR & LMS classification – 4


Ecclesbourne Valley Railway Summer

Ecclesbourne Valley Railway Summer


Ecclesbourne Valley Railway, Wirksworth.

Steam Locomotives of a More Leisurely Era 1908 – ‘Pacific’ Great Western Railway

Steam Locomotives of a More Leisurely Era

1908 – ‘Pacific’

Great Western Railway 

The Great BearThe engine as running in 1920.

This famous engine, No. 111 ‘The Great Bear’, was the sole representative of its class.  It was for many years the only main line ‘Pacific’ in the country, and although this type was later extensively used by the LMS, LNER and Southern Railways, it was never revived on the GWR.  It was the most powerful engine in the country in its day, but owing to its weight had to be restricted to  the main line between London and Bristol, and that was probably the reason why the class was never multiplied.  In 1924 it was rebuilt as a 4-6-0 of the ‘Castle’ class, and renamed ‘Viscount Churchill’.  In this form it lasted until 1953.

Driving wheels – 6’ 8½”,  Cylinders (4) 15”x 26”,  Pressure – 225 lb.,  Tractive effort – 29430 lb.,  Weight – 97¼ tons

Viscount Churchill

Steam Locomotives of a More Leisurely Era 1907 – Marsh 4-4-2T London, Brighton & South Coast Railway

Steam Locomotives of a More Leisurely Era

1907 – Marsh 4-4-2T

London, Brighton & SouthCoast Railway

No.22 as originally builtNo. 22 as originally built

In 1907 D. Earle Marsh built the first of a very fine series of express tank engines for the Brighton main line.  The importance of this design lay in the fact that they were practically the first main line locomotives in the country to be fitted with high degree superheaters.

The first of the new engines, No. 21, was built as a saturated engine, the superheater being added later, but Nos. 22-6, which appeared in 1908-9, came out with Schmidt superheaters.  For comparative purposes the next six, Nos. 27-30, 75 and 76 were also non-superheated to begin with, but the apparatus was fitted to the rest of the class, Nos.77-91, built between 1910 and 1913, when new.

An important series of trials took place in 1908, which had considerable influence on the subsequent locomotive practice in this country.  The experiment consisted of working the ‘Sunny South Express’, which was a through train between Brighton and the North, throughout between the former place and Rugby alternately by a North Western ‘Precursor’ and one of the Brighton tanks, instead of changing engines at Willesden.  Each locomotive stayed overnight at the other Company’s shed, returning the next day.  LBSCR engines used were Nos. 23 and 26, and the LNWR locomotive was No.7 ‘Titan’.  The results of the tests, which lasted a month, showed a considerable economy in both coal and water consumption for the Brighton, which, notwithstanding its being a tank engine, with a coal capacity of only three tons, it was found could make the full round trip of 264 miles between Brighton and Rugby without refuelling.  Moreover, the LBSCR engine could run the ninety miles between Croydon and Rugby without taking water, which ‘Titan’ had to do at Willesden.  The load was about 250 tons.  The results of these tests were conclusive enough to influence locomotive design on all other major Companies, and after a year or two, superheating not only became standard equipment as a matter of course for new express engines, but also became to be applied widely to older existing types.  It has never become practice to apply it universally to smaller shunting engines, where its benefits are comparatively negligible.

32021The Brighton tanks, known as Class I 3, performed fine work on the main line for many years, taking their turn on the ‘Southern Belle’ and other fast expresses to Brighton, Eastbourne and Portsmouth, until displaced by electrification, after which they were relegated to less spectacular duties.  Many of them finished up at Tunbridge Wells, working stopping trains on the Oxted line.  They became SR Nos. 2012-30 and 2075-91 at the grouping, and all except No. 2024 lasted until Nationalisation days, in most cases to have 30000 added to their numbers.  The last to remain in service was No. 32091, withdrawn in 1952.

No.21 – Driving wheels – 6’ 9”,  Cylinders – 19”x 26”,  Pressure – 180 lb.,  Tractive effort – 17730,  Weight – 75½ tons

Nos. 22-30, 75-81 – Driving wheels – 6’ 7½”,  Cylinders – 20”x 26”,  Pressure – 180 lb.,  Tractive effort – 20015,  Weight – 76 tons

Nos. 82-91 – Driving wheels – 6’ 7½”,  Cylinders – 21”x 26”,  Pressure – 180 lb.,  Tractive effort – 22065,  Weight – 76 tons


Steam Locomotives of a More Leisurely Era 1907 – Robinson 0-8-4T Great Central Railway

Steam Locomotives of a More Leisurely Era

1907 – Robinson 0-8-4T

Great Central Railway

One of the two new booster-fitted engines as running 1n 1934One of the two new booster-fitted engines as running in 1934.

Four heavy 3-cylinder 0-8-4Ts constructed by Robinson in 1907 for shunting in the Wath marshalling yard.  Numbered 1170-3, they became LNER 6170-3 at the grouping.  In 1937, No. 6171 was rebuilt with a superheater and provided with a booster driving the near bogie, in which form it became the most powerful tank engine in the country.  Gresley built two additional locomotives similar to 6171 in 1932, numbered 2798 and 2799.  In 1946 the six engines became Nos. 9900-5, and passed into BR hands as 69900-5.  The boosters were removed in 1943 and with the advent of diesels which took over the engines’ duties they became redundant and were broken up between 1954 and 1957.69902

Without booster – Driving wheels – 4’ 8”,  Bogie wheels – 3’ 7”,  Cylinders (3) – 18”x 26”,  Pressure – 180 lb. (originally 200lb),  Tractive effort – 34523 lb.,  Weight – 99 tons 6 cwt.,  GCR classification – 8H,  LNER classification – S1,  BR classification – 7F

With booster – Driving wheels – 4’ 8”,  Bogie wheels – 3’ 2”,  Cylinders (3) – 18”x 26” (plus 2 booster cylinders),  Pressure – 180 lb.,  Tractive effort – 46896 lb.,  Weight – 104 tons 5 cwt.,  GCR classification –,  LNER classification – S1/2,  BR classification –


Steam Locomotives of a More Leisurely Era 1906 – ‘Atlantics’ North British Railway

Steam Locomotives of a More Leisurely Era

1906 – ‘Atlantics’

North British Railway

HCC No. 9872 ‘Auld Reekie’ in early LNER days.

These were the largest engines built for the NBR, which like the southern member in the East Coast partnership, the Great Northern, never went in for the 4-6-0 engines as did most major railways of the period.  (The third member of the trio, the North Eastern, had both types.)  The new NB engines, which were massive in appearance by the standard of their day, were built during W.P.Reid’s superintendency by the North British Locomotive Co. (which firm had no actual connections with the NBR).  They bore certain obvious resemblances to Robinson’s engines of the same type for the GCR.  Fourteen of them were turned out in 1906, and another six, Nos.901-6, were built by Robert Stephenson & Co. in 1910, whilst two more with superheaters, Nos. 509 and 510, were added by W.Chalmers in 1921.  The earlier engines of the class were also later superheated.  They were given typical Scottish names, such as ‘Aberdonian’, ‘Waverley’, ‘Highland Chief’, and so on.  At the grouping they had 9000 added to their numbers, as 9868-81 and 9509-10.  They did some fine work on the NB main lines, particularly on the heavily graded Waverley route between Edinburgh and Carlisle.  They were taken out of service between 1933 and 1939, the last to go being No. 9875 ‘Midlothian’.

c10C10 No. 901 St. Johnstoun at Inverkeithing in 1921

Driving wheels – 6’ 9”,  Bogie wheels – 3’ 6”, Trailing wheels – 4’ 3”,  Cylinders (2) – 20”x 28”,  Pressure – 200 lb.,  Weight – 74 tons 8 cwt,  NBR classification before superheating – I,  NBR classification after superheating – H,  LNER classification – C11.

c11 9870C11 No. 9870 ‘Bon Accord’ leaves Aberdeen in 1928


Some Early Lines GNR from Leicester Belgrave Road Railway Station

Some early Lines

GNR from Leicester Belgrave Road railway station

Leicester Belgrave Road was the Great Northern Railway terminus in Leicester, England. It was the terminus of the GNR’s branch line from the Great Northern and London and North Western Joint Railway at Marefield Junction.

4A Sundays only express to Skegness leaves Leicester Belgrave Road behind B1 class 4-6-0 No. 61209 on 16th July, 1961.  (P.H.Wells


The station opened on 2 October 1882. Marefield Junction was triangular and allowed through running north or south.


The main services from Leicester were to Peterborough and Grantham. The station was also well provided in summer with specials, especially to Skegness and Mablethorpe.

The Peterborough trains were stopped as a war economy in 1916. Local traffic was never heavy, and by 1950 there were only two Grantham trains remaining, one of which was a semi-fast with limited stops which connected with the Flying Scotsman at Grantham. This train was withdrawn in 1951, the remaining stopping train survived until the end of regular services over the joint line in 1953.

Summer specials continued to run until 1962, in the later years with severe speed restrictions on the Leicester branch.

1A Bank Holiday special nears John O’Gaunt behind an unknown B1 class 4-6-0 on 6th August, 1952.  (P.H.Wells


The line closed in 1962 but various depots continued in use for a few years using a reinstated connection with the Midland Railway which had last been used for materials delivery during construction. The last of these, Catherine Street oil depot, closed on 1 January 1969.

The Leicester station site has been since been developed as a supermarket and adjoining car park.

2The 1.00pm (S.O.) Belgrave Road to John O’Gaunt approaches Humberstone on 6th October, 1956.  The GNR picture is almost complete with the 0-6-0 and the somersault signal.  (G.D.King