Tag Archives: North British Railway

Some Early Lines, Old Railway Companies, Alloa Railway

Some Early Lines

Old Railway Companies

Alloa Railway

Authorised on 11 August 1879, this 3-mile branch ran from the Caledonian Railway’s South Alloa branch, across the river Forth to Alloa. The Caledonian Railway paid for the line, absorbing the Company with effect from 1 September 1884, the Act (14 July) also authorising extension. The line opened on 1 October 1885 – the North British Railway had running powers.

57A glassy River Forth and a line of bridge stanchions, reflecting, perhaps, on times past. They once carried the Alloa Railway to the industrial town on the north bank.

The Alloa railway was connected to the Stirling and Dunfermline Railway by a connecting line from Longcarse Junction built by the North British Railway in exchange for reciprocal running powers.

British Railways added a second connection from Longcarse Junction to Alloa Marshalling Yard (parallel with the S&D line) in 1957. This made the turntable at Alloa passenger station redundant.

Alloa Swing Bridge
The swing bridge across the Forth was opened on 1 October 1885. It was subsequently closed twice due to storm damage in 1904/5 and 1920/1.

Old Alloa Station - early 1900s www.scot-rail.co.uk

Old Alloa Station – early 1900s

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


Steam Locos of a Leisurely Era 1888 – Holmes 0-6-0 North British Railway

Steam Locos of a Leisurely Era

1888 – Holmes 0-6-0  North British Railway

One of the returned war engines, No.9620 Rawlinson in 1827

This was Matthew Holmes’ standard freight engine built for the North British Railway from 1888 to 1900, during which period 168 of the class were built, mostly at Cowlairs, but there were fifteen from Neilson’s and another fifteen from Sharp Stewart & Co.  25 of the class were sent overseas during the First World War, and on their return were given suitable commemorative names, such as Ole Bill, Verdun, Ypres, and so on, which in most cases they carried for the rest of their existence, notwithstanding the extreme rarity of goods engines in this country carrying names, at any rate since very early days.

Scrapping of the class commenced in 1926.  Previous to 1946 their numbers were somewhat scattered, but in that year those then remaining were renumbered by the LNER into one series as 5210-5346.  At Nationalisation in 1948 these became 65210-65346, and about eighty of them still remained in traffic in 1959.

Driving wheels – 5’ 0”,  Cylinders – 18¼”x 26”,  Pressure – 165 lb.,  Tractive effort – 19690 lb.,  Weight – 42 tons,  NBR classification – C,  LNER classification – J36,  BR classification – 2F.

Steam locomotive “Maude” at Bo’ness

A well-restored steam locomotive at Bo’ness Station on the Bo’ness and Kinneil Railway. Number 673 “Maude” was built in Glasgow in 1891 for the North British Railway Company.  © Copyright Ron Hann and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.


Steam Locos of a Leisurely Era 1871 – Wheatley 4-4-0 – North British Railway – The Tay Bridge Loco

Steam Locos of a Leisurely Era

1871 – Wheatley 4-4-0 – North British Railway

The Tay Bridge Loco

 Illustration:  the engine in its final form, probably taken about 1900.

In 1871 T.Wheatley built two express engines fro the North British Railway numbered 224 and 264, which were notable as being the first inside cylindered 4-4-0 engines with inside frames in Great Britain, a type which was destined for many years afterwards to become a standard express type on nearly every major railway.   A few years later one of them, No.224, achieved unenviable fame as the engine which was blown, with its entire train, into the waters of the Tay when the newly constructed bridge collapsed in a wild gale one December night in 1879, a disaster still well remembered as one of the most tragically spectacular in British railway history. 

North British Railway locomotive 224, recovered from the water after the Tay Bridge Disaster.  Originally issued as a postcard captioned “Old Tay Bridge Disaster, 1879 The Engine” Date 1880.  Source – Dundee Central Library  Author Alexander Wilson († 1922)

After immersion for some weeks the engine was recovered and put into service once more.  It was selected by Matthew Holmes for an experiment in tandem compound working in 1885.  After working thus for some years it was reconverted to simple, and as such, with some modernisation of the original design, remained, together with its sister, in service until 1919.  Latterly the two engines had been renumbered 1192 and 1198.

Driving wheels – 6’ 6”,  Cylinders – 17”x 24”,  Pressure140 lb.

During its period as a compound, No. 224 was provided with two 20” low pressure cylinders, in front of which was a pair of 13” high pressure cylinders, the stroke being 24”.