Tag Archives: Vulcan Foundry

The driver, the guard, and the mail bag catcher.

The humble 0-6-0 tank engine, guards van in tow, could be seen anywhere from bucolic country branch lines to a colliery siding in Barnsley. And the first recorded 0-6-0, ‘Royal George’, built by Timothy Hackworth, for the Stockton & Darlington Railway, in 1827, is credited, by some commentators, with ensuring the success of steam haulage on the S&D, which, at the time, was said to be ‘in the balance’.

These ‘Fowler’ LMS Class 3F, 0-6-0Ts are, essentially, updates of an earlier Midland Railway design of Samuel Waite Johnson, the 2441 Class, introduced in 1899. The ‘Jinties’, as they are commonly and collectively known, were introduced in 1924 and many of them were built by private contactors. The Hunselt Engine Co. built 90, the North British Locomotive Co. made 75, and Vulcan Foundry constructed 120, including No.47406, in 1926.

WG Bagnall was another one of the private companies given an order to build the 3Fs,  seven of which, in 1929,  went to the Somerset & Dorset Joint Railway – S&DJR Nos. 19 – 25, in 1930 they were absorbed into LMS stock. And, in one of those you learn something new everyday moments, I discovered that 90 Jinties were built by William Beardmore & Co. a Glasgow ship building corporation.

Nine Jinties made it into preservation 4 from Vulcan Foundries, 3 of the North British ones and 2 of the Hunslets but, the Bagnalls and all the Beardmore’s bit the dust; as did the last 15 of the Class, built at Horwich works, in 1931. Quite a number of the preserved examples have run in the past but, currently No.47406 is the only operational Jinty. No.47298 and 47324 are ‘under overhaul’ at Rileys and the ELR with No. 47324 being expected back later this year or early in 2019 as is No.47298 – watch this space, as they say.

If you have enjoyed my blogs – I have written a book about my 60 years involvement with railways, from trainspotter, via steam age footplateman, to railway author and photographer, this is a link to it: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gricing-Real-story-Railway-Children/dp/1514885751

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Go Compare

6990+45305shedIn the ‘green’ corner, ‘not to be moved’, we have the classic Great Western mixed traffic engine ‘Modified Hall’ No.6990 Witherslack Hall. Weighing in at 122.5 tons the Halls carried 4000 gallons of water and 6 tons of coal. They were a quarter of an inch more than 63ft.  long, with 6 ft. driving wheels, a boiler pressure of 225lb. sq. in. and a Tractive Effort of 27,275lb. The Hall class were designed by C. B. Collett, built at Swindon, and numbered 329 in total.

Simmering gently, in the ‘black’ corner, is the LMS version of the go anywhere do anything engine, Stanier’s Black 5 No 45305. No.45305 is 7.5inches longer than No.6990, weighs a little over two tons more carries 3 extra tons of coal and delivers a Tractive Effort of 25,455lb, 1,820lb less than No.6990 Witherslack Hall. 842 Black 5s were built 427 of them by outside contractors. The first engine to enter service was No.(4)5020 and she was built by Vulcan Foundry. The largest number were built, not by the LMS, but by William Armstrong & Co., who constructed 327 of them.

I worked on the Black 5s, but not on the Halls, I worked on the Standard 5s too, even a B1 once, from Leeds to Cleethorpes and back. When it comes to ‘which one is best’ – well you pays yer money and makes yer choice – me I like the Black5s.  You can read about my time on them in part 1 of my memories of  being a fireman in the last years of steam – here’s the link.

One happy customer commented – ‘Just read part 1 Enjoyed it – a lot.’

Here’s the link to Part I : https://read.amazon.co.uk/kp/embed?linkCode=kpd&ref_=k4w_oembed_gOoNjfwj3yip64&asin=B07HMKTWMT&tag=kpembed-20&amazonDeviceType=A2CLFWBIMVSE9N&from=Bookcard&preview=inline

This is the link to my book “Gricing: The Real Story of the Railway Children.  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gricing-Real-story-Railway-Children/dp/1514885751

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Fair day Fairburn


My abiding memory of these engines are from Leeds City Station in the late 1950s. Bradford bound  trains from London, and the famous ‘Devonian’, would be hauled in and out of Leeds, en route to or from Bradford Forster Square, by these Fairburn 2-6-4Ts or, their immediate ancestors, the Stanier version with their slightly longer wheelbase, occasionally, by the still earlier Fowler versions, which were, by then, 30 years old.

Today, I have a rather different view of ‘back then’. Today, I’m amazed that both during, and in the aftermath, of WWII so many new locomotives were being built, or were on the drawing boards. The Merchant Navy class and their smaller sisters, the West Country and Battle of Britain classes, were rolling out of the workshops on the Southern, on the LMS, these Fairburn tanks, then the Ivatts, not to mention the continued production of Black 5s and 8Fs, the LNER were weighing in with A1, A2, and B1 classes most, if not all, of which were built between 1942 and 1949. I know not all of the engines were being built ‘in house’ and that major manufactures, such as, the North British Locomotive Co., Vulcan Foundry, or Armstrong Whitworth, were also adding to the numbers, but even so, it is still a pretty phenomenal achievement.

Another phenomenal achievement, from ‘back then’, was the number of miles of railway built between 1839 and 1849. Currently we are planning to take between 13 and 17 years to build a line from London, through Birmingham to Manchester and eventually Leeds – around 300 miles. In those ten years, 1839 -1849, in Olde Victorian Tymes, with not so  much as a hard hat or JCB in sight,  ‘railway navvies’, men with picks and shovels, dynamite and donkeys built 4,000 miles of railway, across Britain. To do that 400 miles a year was being built, complete with tunnels, bridges, cuttings, embankments, stations, goods yards –   that is progress! It also gives some perspective on new build projects. More on this later.

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You might also enjoy my ebook 'Gricing'


or for British readers.

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The Loop


Austerity, such a loaded term these days. Back in those days ‘Austerity’ meant one of these things, a War Department 2-8-0, or, possibly, one of the rarer 2-10-0 variety. Words, like appearances, can be deceptive, and particularly so in this photograph. I know the locomotive looks like one of Riddles’, DubDees, I know it barks like one too – but is it? Well more or less sort of, is the short answer.

No.90773 has had several incarnations since she rolled out of the Vulcan Foundry, as works No.5200, and became WD No.79257, in 1945. Packed off to Europe she went to work on the railways of Holland becoming NS No.4464. It didn’t last though and No.4464 was sold, in 1953, leaving the flat lands of Holland for the Nordic delights of Swedish State Railways and a new number – now she was No.1931. It wasn’t just her number which changed, the Swedes tinkered around with her. The old tender, which looked like it had been cut from a slab of solid coal, was swapped for a ‘Nordic’ design – a kind of IKEA ‘Austerity’, and so she began to loose her identity as a WD.

What happened next is why she is here at all. The Swedish State Railway ‘mothballed’ No.1931 as part of a ‘State Reserve’ and parked her in a dark Swedish wood, now No.1931 was not so much IKEA as Scan Decor! Rescued from the wood by a handsome Prince, no I mean saved by members of the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway, No. 1931 arrived back in blighty after spending 28 years holidaying in Europe.

Now No.90733 she is pictured entering Damems Loop, not that many miles, as the crow flies, from Newton – le – Willows where she entered railway service.

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