THE GREAT EASTERN RAILWAY EXPRESS PASSENGER LOCOMOTIVE, No. 1853
DESIGNED BY Mr J. HOLDEN, M.INST,C.E., M.INST.M.E.
THE Great Eastern is our greatest passenger line, for over 103 millions travel on it in a year, and it is the sixth in order of our great lines, the length being over 1200 miles, thus exceeding both the South Western and the Great Northern. “Friendly with all companies”, it was for years an example of a really well-
Through the greater part of its history, with the exception of the early parliamentary contests with the Great Northern, which ended in its being confined to that section of the country it was specially projected to serve, it was without any such “spur” as rivalry is assumed to give. Some years ago Sir George Gibb astonished an interviewer by telling him of the North Eastern, a line similarly placed, that “monopoly secures harmonious, consistent, and well-
The way it has fostered local produce and local industries is worthy of all praise. Think of the millions of herrings and trawl-
LIVERPOOL STREET STATION -
From Lowestoft to Huntingdon, from Shoreditch to Peterborough it has covered the east country between the Thames and the Wash with a network of rails having some forty loose ends, half of them ending on the coast, which has linked up every place of any importance and many that are of none; and north of that, through Spalding and Lincoln, it works right away to York and Chesterfield in search mainly of a coal trade that is ever increasing and now reaches 7½ millions of tons a year, obtained by its arrangements with the Great Central and Great Northern.
The ring of shields round London on its coat of arms tells you where it goes -
The Great Eastern is a railway with a past, in the usual acceptation of the term. From being nearly the worst of railways it has become one of the best. Those who have read about its territory in books know it as a flat country; those who have been there know that, with the exception of the north-
MAIN LINE GOODS ENGINE, No. 1189
It began with the Eastern Counties, a 5-
The engineer of the Eastern Counties was John Braithwaite, who, in partnership with Ericsson, built the Novelty for the Rainhill race, the engine for John Ross’s Victory, and much other machinery that failed, sometimes from no fault of its own, as, for instance, the first steam fire-
Vignoles did nearly all the work, though he took little part in the affairs of the company after the Act was obtained in 1836, five years after the project had been launched, when Braithwaite was left to go ahead alone. The line was to run from High Street, Shoreditch, by Colchester, to Norwich and Yarmouth, the longest line up to then projected, its length being 126 miles. Under another Act the Northern & Eastern was to start from a junction with it at Angel Lane, Stratford, and proceed to Bishop’s Stortford; and this company was fortunate, for the only difficult section was that between Shoreditch and Stratford.
Here Braithwaite had many calls on his peculiar gift for making the best of things. The marshes were for a time insatiable; they swallowed up all the materials dumped on them to form the embankment, and when at last the embankment ceased to sink into the ground it simply spread and would not hold together. As time was getting on, Braithwaite decided to treble the rate of accumulation, and built a staging in advance from which the wagons could be tipped side by side. This brought up the earthwork quickly enough round the stage, but the posts could not be readily moved to take the stage on farther. And he left them where they were and their lower framework with them, and went on building stage after stage in a manner new but now familiar, leaving the piles as he went, and there they are still, ensuring the permanence of the embankment. To drive these piles he was the first to use the American locomotive steam pile-
THE TRAIN INDICATOR AT LIVERPOOL STREET
Braithwaite had no conception of the magnitude of the work he was beginning; he was the narrowest in vision of all these engineers. He laid out the line to a 5-
His directors wanted the 7-
With this in mind let us refer to the first engines that were placed on this 5-
Shoreditch, that is Bishopsgate as we now know it, was the original terminus, but, owing to the station not being ready, the Eastern Counties was opened on Waterloo Day 1839 from Devonshire Street. Liverpool Street was not opened until the 2nd of February 1874, and then only for local trains, the terminus not getting into full swing until the 1st of the following November. This magnificent station, which cost over two millions of money, covers over sixteen acres and has over two miles of platform faces.
THE KITCHEN CAR OF THE NORFOLK COAST EXPRESS
The local traffic north and east is so varied and abounding that the main-
The longest tunnel, for the Great Eastern has tunnels, is between Newmarket and Warren Hill; the most interesting viaduct is that at Lakenham, between Swainsthorpe and Norwich, which was built in 1848 and carries the old Eastern Union over the River Yare and the Cambridge line. For the illustrations of this and of the Trowse and Reedham swing bridges we are indebted to the courtesy of the engineer, who tells us that “the Trowse Swing Bridge over the River Wensum between Trowse and Norwich was rebuilt in 1905. There are two viaduct spans of 24 ft. each. The swing portion is equal-
GREAT EASTERN RAILWAY COAT OF ARMS
Lakenham is of course a little thing compared with the roads on arches in the London district. There is one of these, nearly two miles long, from Stepney to Bow that cost a quarter of a million, and remained in the wilderness for years owing to the Eastern Counties declining to lay the junction rails. This belongs to the London & Blackwall, which was built mainly on arches and began as no other railway began. It was Rennie’s original scheme for putting London into communication with the eastern counties, the idea being to connect the City with the docks and continue the line as a grand trunk route through East Anglia. The great scheme failed to secure support, while the Eastern Counties obtained the Act for their line which left the docks for another company to deal with. Then Rennie, cutting off his continuation, formed a company for a line from Blackwall only to Fenchurch Street, to be worked by locomotives; and some one in the City seeing its importance secured Robert Stephenson as the engineer of an opposition line to be worked by ropes. A Bill for each was introduced into Parliament, and Rennie’s passed while Stephenson’s did not; but Rennie’s people could not raise enough money and Stephenson’s could, and so Stephenson’s London & Blackwall company bought up Rennie’s Commercial, and Stephenson became the engineer of the line that was made.
THE TROWSE SWING BRIDGE, NEAR NORWICH
As it was mentioned in the Act, which was obtained in 1836, he had to adopt a gauge of 5 ft. 0½-
Slipping the end carriage or carriages, not, however, in Blackwall style, is still practised, though not to the same extent as formerly; and the Great Eastern has more slips than any other line except the Great Western, which has more than double as many. In the old separate brake days there was no trouble about this slipping, but when the continuous brakes came in there were difficulties concerning the brake-
The slipping apparatus consists of a hinged hook which opens by the withdrawal of a pin or some other obvious device. Before it is put into action, the valve in the air-
When the carriage is to be slipped the train is checked in speed slightly, so as to relieve the couplings a little, and on the communication being severed the train increases in speed so as to get out of the way as soon as possible. The distance from the station at which the carriage is set free depends upon the speed, the gradient, and the slipperiness of the rail, which is dependent on the weather. One frosty day, for instance, when snow lay deep on the ground, the writer was in a slip for Luton which travelled through that station half the way to Leagrave, and had to be pushed back ingloriously by hand.
It is as well to be cautious in getting into last carriages, lest they should be slips. At St. Pancras on a Nottingham race-
Some sixty years ago the old Blackwall and the Eastern Counties joined together in forming the London, Tilbury, & Southend, which was opened in 1854, and after being run by the contractors for twenty-
Londonwards, the Tilbury’s own line ends at Gas Factory junction, continued jointly with the Metropolitan District to Whitechapel. By running powers it reaches Fenchurch Street, and, by a branch from Barking, it has its own metals to Woodgrange Park or thereabouts, whence by Forest Gate it runs into Liverpool Street, and, by the Tottenham & Forest Gate, St. Pancras. From Barking its main line goes straight to Shoeburyness through Southend, giving off a branch to Romford at Upminster. whence another goes south to join the old line that, through Rainham arid Purfleet, reaches Tilbury, and so continues to Pitsea on the main line, throwing off a branch half-
THE NORFOLK COAST EXPRESS APPROACHING BRENTWOOD
This company has 79 miles of track, on which in a year it carries 300,000 first-
It is the smallest of the railways using three London terminal stations, but it is not the shortest railway by any means. There are many much less in length, the shortest in the kingdom being the Deptford that belongs to the London Corporation, and measures 484 yards, the gross revenue of which is £10 per annum.
It is by running powers on the London, Tilbury, & Southend that the Great Eastern gets from Forest Gate to Barking. By the same means on the Midland it runs from Highgate Road into St. Pancras; and on the Midland & Great Northern Joint -
In addition to the Yarmouth trade, and its docks at Lowestoft and quays at the mouth of the Orwell, it has extensive accommodation in the Thames district. At Canning Town on Bow Creek it has a big lighterage business, at Poplar there is the Blackwall Pepper Warehouse, dealing mainly with grain and farming sundries, just as Devonshire Street concerns itself with hay and straw and coals. Bishopsgate has five acres of warehouse floor space, and Goodman’s Yard almost as many; and then there is Spitalfields, devoting itself largely to eggs and flour. At Stratford the company has a little Covent Garden, and at Tufnell Park a sort of minor Deptford for the Islington cattle market close by. At Whitechapel it has its coal headquarters, whence it sends the coal trains, as well as the eight trains per day of vegetables and other commodities, by a 40-
This sort of thing is not so easy on the Great Eastern as other lines, for ever since the 21st of June 1897 it has been running passenger trains in and out of Liverpool Street all through the night, its booking offices never closing; and in the early morning it has to deal with the workmen’s rush to town in the overcrowded carriages we hear of. This overcrowding, however, is not so much due to the lack of facilities provided by the company as to the desire of passengers to travel by particular trains and in particular carriages -
The profitable working of trains is not so simple as it may seem. Any person can run a train from one place to another when the road is clear, but the difficulty is to get it back again fairly well filled. There is nothing more wasteful than an empty train or a train kept idle for hours, with so many carriages, and the engine, as it were in quarantine.
The ideal manager is he who can keep his rolling stock on the move earning money all day long. So many coaches he has to deal with, and none of these mast he hang up doing nothing if he can help it. Further, he must fill every seat if he can, but have no passengers standing. On an electric line it really does not matter to him whether the coaches be overcrowded or not, for the power with which he hauls them comes from the central station, and it makes no difference if the load be in one train or half a dozen; but on a line worked by steam it is to his interest to prevent overcrowding, as it increases the weight of the train and throws more work on to the engine than he has provided for, while the other trains that run light require a less powerful engine. The carrying capacity of trains is limited by the length of the platforms and the length of the sidings, just as the length of the wheel-
No account of the Great Eastern, however brief, would be complete without some reference to the twopenny fare question. By their Act of 1864, authorising the extension of their metropolitan lines, they are compelled to carry workmen at twopence for the return journey from Edmonton and Walthamstow. Now Edmonton is 8¾ miles from Liverpool Street and Walthamstow is 7, and the obligation means a journey of 17½ miles or 14 miles respectively for the couple of pence. The railway journey costing so little, there is nothing to wonder at in the acres of small dwellings that have overspread those once quiet rural retreats.
There was a time when these twopenny trains paid their expenses without adequate return on the capital spent on the lines over which they run. Then by the increase of the traffic and the consequent increase in the capital, due to the enlargements needed for the safe working of the greater number of trains, the return on the capital became less; and then the rise in working expenses wiped this out altogether, so that in 1899 the receipts equalled the working expenses and left nothing over. Soon the working began to cost more than the receipts, and as that cost of working has increased the loss has become so great as to more than counterbalance the profit made on the ordinary traffic.
The cost of working a railway is not the same all over the system. In the neighbourhood of large towns it is always greater than in the country districts, and in the suburbs of London it is much greater than elsewhere, owing to the short sections, the shorter hours of labour, the higher rates of pay, the heavy train loads and frequent stoppages, the short mileage worked by enginemen, the greater cost of coal in London, the heavier rating, and the larger number of stations on the line.
The exact proportion of the additional cost thus incurred was very carefully investigated by the Great Eastern Company in 1903, and these investigations proved that the cost of working in their London district was at least 21·12 per cent, higher than the average of the whole line; in addition to which there are other factors impossible to estimate, which bring the actual cost of working still higher. This figure was submitted in evidence to the Royal Commission on London Traffic and to the Select Committee on Workmen’s Trains, and its accuracy has not been questioned. In the Board of Trade report on London Traffic for 1907 the actual cost for working is put as at least 3s. 10·2d. per train mile, and if we set against it the 2s. 10·6d. per train mile, which is what the receipts amount to, we can quite understand why the Great Eastern wants no more twopenny workmen’s fares, which some people are so anxious to burden them with. The policy that forces a company to carry passengers at an unprofitable fare, and then raises the rates and otherwise adds to the expenses to increase the loss, must inevitably end in trouble, not only to the company but to the community, which gains nothing by the company’s ruin.
In regard to the London dock and riverside traffic, it has been said that the Great Eastern has a monopoly, a description which the company does not accept. It urges that as the North London has lines into Millwall and East and West India Docks, with running powers to other companies, and the Great Northern, London & North Western, and Midland have running powers over the Great Eastern, their lines in this district constitute not a monopoly but a public highway.
CARLTON COLVILLE SWING BRIDGE
At one time, prior to the advent of the Midland and Great Northern Joint lines into Norfolk, and the severe competition which has recently arisen in the London and suburban districts from electric trams and motor omnibuses, the Great Eastern system as a whole might have merited the title of a monopoly; although, serving as it does such a considerable extent of coast, it always has sea competition to meet. Still, it was formerly somewhat similarly situated to the North Eastern, which frankly accepts the description; and just as the Great Eastern has the Tilbury line in its south-
This, however, is comparing large things with small, for the Lancashire & Yorkshire is a great line, and the North London, which has become officially, as it has always been in reality, an extension of the North Western, is only 12 miles long. Originally it was The East and West India Docks and Birmingham Junction Railway, its object being to give the North Western access to the trade of the Thames, which the South Western had secured at Nine Elms and the Great Western had endeavoured to get at Vauxhall. Beginning in a small way, the minerals and merchandise business increased until by extensions the passenger traffic was developed to surpass it and became of such importance that goods trains had to cease from running during certain hours of the day; and now, owing to tram and other competition, passengers are falling off while goods are slowly growing. Short as the line is, it carries more than half a million passengers a week, and handles 1½ million tons of minerals and 1,768,000 tons of miscellaneous goods in the course of a year.
By minerals we mean mainly coals, and this reminds us of the enormous quantity stacked on the line at Stratford as a reserve, apparently in case of a strike or a break in the communications. The Great Eastern, however, has not a large coal-
Our railways carry about 400 million tons in a year, though only 2611 million tons are raised, which means that half the output is recorded twice. Of these the North Eastern carries 48 millions and the Great Eastern 7½, almost the same amount as that dealt with by the Alexandra line at Newport, which is only one of the South Wales group that carry some 50 million tons between them. In those parts the handling of coal for wagon loads and ship cargoes is a fine art. To see it at its best you must go to Newport, or Cardiff, or Penarth, or Barry. No tipping a ten-
GREAT EASTERN RAILWAY COMPOSITE CARRIAGE, No. 702
Curiously enough, the 7½ million tons carried in every part of its territory by the Great Eastern is almost exactly the total quantity brought to London by all the railways put together, the rest of the 16 million tons consumed by the metropolis reaching it by sea or, in small quantities, by canal. That most London coal is sea-
The first to wake up the Eastern Counties was George Hudson, who during his chairmanship effected many reforms, though unfortunately the railway king did not reign long enough. To him, of course, were due many of the amalgamations, for amalgamation was everywhere the keynote of his policy. He it was who founded the locomotive works at Stratford opened in 1848, Hudson’s Town as the place was called for years, which now cover 55 acres and give employment to some 5000 people.
Many notable engineers have been locomotive superintendents of the company. Following Braithwaite came William Fernihough -
Some weird little engines were used by the independent companies, and the early Eastern Counties array was not much to be proud of; in fact it was not until Sinclair took the reins that anything not best forgotten was done. He brought out a class of singles noteworthy in their day -
A NEW THIRD-
Mr. Johnson’s first effort was a class of 4-
Mr. Adams followed, and carried on the improvement. Mr. Bromley is best remembered by his class of single expresses, some of which were built by Kitson and some by Dubs. They were 4-
The first of them was the Novelty already mentioned, carrying the water in a tank under the boiler and the coke in baskets on the platform. She might be described as a well-
This famous little well-
A USEFUL LITTLE TANK ENGINE FOR SUBURBAN TRAFFIC
She weighed about a ton and a quarter, travelled at from thirty to over forty miles an hour, and was so successful as to lead on to the Enfield, designed by Bridges Adams for the Enfield branch. This was a 4-
The compound engine originated at Stratford with Nicholson & Samuel’s patent in 1850, and it had its second start in 1884 when Mr. Worsdell built No. 230, a 4-
Mr. James Holden during his long reign added largely to the blue brigade, and the black one too, and left them at a high pitch of excellence. One of his great achievements was the introduction of oil fuel. The company, having adopted oil-
THE GREAT BADDOW MOTOR-
Petrolea was the first of the oil-
One engine which has been modified was of a class by itself. This was the 3-
The Railway Engineers Association have now fixed a maximum load to be carried by the bridges of the future, thus adding an important link to the future standardisation of railways. Weight does not always mean power. There are engines a dozen tons lighter than others having the same heating surface, the same cylinder capacity, and the same tractive force, which are quite as powerful, the difference being only in the steam pressure, which means a general increase in dimensions, in boiler plates, crank axle, piston, connecting rod, and other things; and there is a great difference of opinion as to whether this extra pressure pays.
MR. JAMES HOLDEN’S “DECAPOD”, NO. 20
A goods engine can be heavier than a passenger engine because as a rule it is not worked at high speed, in fact for slow haulage the heavier it is the better, providing the track can stand it. Out in America, where crossings are level, goods engines are becoming gigantic. The Decapod would have been quite overshadowed, for instance, by the ponderous articulated Mallet, built for the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe -
Some of the Great Eastern engines are fitted with power reversing gear, actuated by the Westinghouse pump without interfering with its main duty, that of working the continuous brake. An engine to be of any practical use must be able to run either forwards or backwards, and it is reversed by admitting the steam to the other end of the cylinder first, whichever that other end may be. When the crank is at rest it will be moved round in one way by admitting the steam at the top, and the other way by admitting it at the bottom; and on the valve motion by which this is effected depends the control of the admission so that the steam can be worked expansively, that is cut off at any part of the stroke to ensure that the amount used is in proportion to the work required.
The control of the power is clearly the most important part of the engine, but it could only be satisfactorily explained by diagrams and is much too technical to be enlarged upon here. Let it suffice to say that at first engines were reversed by a loose excentric working on a forked lever which was in connection with the valve stem. When it was desired to reverse, the engine was stopped, the lever lifted out of gear, and the valves moved by hand till the excentric reached a position that gave the opposite motion and the fork again dropped into gear. When there were two cylinders there were two levers. This served the purpose at moderate speeds, but at high speed the levers were in danger of jumping out of gear. It was to remedy this that, in 1842, William Howe invented what is generally known as the Stephenson gear, in which each cylinder has a backward and forward motion excentric, with the rods connected by a curved slotted link adjustable by a shaft and lever.
SIGNAL CABIN AT BETHNAL GREEN WEST JUNCTION
There had been over a dozen devices adopted and abandoned before this, and there have been quite as many since. Two years after Howe came Walschaerts with his first proposal, that made no progress until the one excentric gave place to the return crank in 1859, since when it has slowly worked its way into favour for its adaptability for steam chests above or below, its excellent distribution of steam, and its being so accessible when used with outside cylinders. In 1848 Daniel Gooch introduced his fixed link motion, in which the engine is reversed by raising or lowering the quadrant block in the slot, the block being connected with the valve stem by the radius rod. Then in 1855 Allan brought out his straight link actuated by two excentrics; and in 1879 came Joy with his linkages in which the number of working parts was reduced, the gearing made lighter, and the strains made central; excentrics being dispensed with and the movement obtained from the connecting rod. This gear is now much in favour owing to its economy in construction, the prolonged expansion given by it, as well as the high mean effective pressure it provides on the pistons, its only drawback being the wear of its pins and slides; and those who would appreciate its ingenuity can study it in the motion diagrams at South Kensington.
Great Eastern trains are long, though they are none of them so long as the Cambridge platform, which measures nearly a quarter of a mile; and they are heavy, particularly in the suburbs, where the coaches take six a side to deal with the crowds using workmen’s tickets that come to London in an hour or two every morning and leave it within a few hours every night; and the main-
The Great Eastern time-
A SIGNAL GANTRY AT STRATFORD
George Bradshaw, who was born at Windsor Bridge, Pendleton, in 1801, began life as an apprentice to an engraver. In 1830, when in business for himself as an engraver and printer, he issued, as canals were then flourishing, a map of inland navigation, the first of three which proved most useful to canal passengers. When railways were taking the place of canals he, in 1838, followed these three with his map of the railways of Great Britain; and on the 25th of October 1839 he started his Bradshaw’s Railway Time-
The publication soon became recognised as more or less official, and, in a short time, in response to Bradshaw’s repeated appeals, the railway companies, with a view of obliging him, agreed to begin alterations in their train service on the first of the month instead of on any day the idea occurred to them. If Bradshaw had done no more than this he would deserve remembrance.
Having assured himself of being regularly supplied with copy, he abandoned his old correction-
His was not, however, the first railway guide nor the first combined guide. Prior to it there had been guides to the separate lines, and these were not only in book or pamphlet form, for some of them were medals to be carried in the pocket, with the stations and times, and in some cases the distances, given. The idea to which he owed his success was to treat the time-
THE TRAIN BOARD
Diagrams are now being used in railway work wherever possible, and one of the first of the diagram methods to be introduced was that of stringing the trains, “the visualised time-
As a specimen hour’s work let us take the up-
Now join up the pins, marking the progress of each train, by a piece of coloured thread, and you will see at a glance where every train ought to be on the line at any given moment. Use a different coloured thread for each sort of train, put in two pins for arrival and departure in cases where the train waits for another to pass it, and you have the up traffic of the line in that section graphically displayed; and with other pins and other threads you can run in the coal trains and goods trains and fish trains, or whatever they may be, and make your table as complicated as you need; but it will always show where changes can be safely effected, and other trains worked in, which is what the maker of time-
SEA WATER ARRIVING AT LIVERPOOL STREET FROM LOWESTOFT
His is no easy task, particularly in the spring and autumn when the chief alterations are made, tor then it is that the character of the traffic changes, goods being dominant in winter and passengers in summer. “No one”, as Findlay said, “who has ever glanced with an intelligent eye at the time-
The book published by some companies at a penny, and by some at twopence, which you buy at a bookstall, or the booking-
Reedham Swing bridge
Sandringham is on the Great Eastern -
THE RIVER SERVICE FROM IPSWICH TO FELIXSTOWE
A more hopeless railway there never was when in 1867 Lord Cranborne, who the same year became Marquess of Salisbury, was implored to accept its chairmanship. By his reputation and conspicuous ability he gave it hope and restored its credit, and raised three millions to give it a fresh start, from which it has never looked back. In 1875 came the man to take advantage of the better prospects and make them better still. The one outstanding thing that crippled the company was its want of punctuality, and this he set to work vigorously to remedy. Such a tumult of growls against hustling and petty preciseness had not up till then been heard in the east, but Punctuality Parkes went on his way regardless of protest in clearing out the unpunctual, and drilling the staff into the belief that time-
The Great Eastern Company’s fleet consists of 8 passenger boats, 4 cargo boats, and the 3 small paddle steamers that ply on the river between Ipswich, Harwich, and Felixstowe. Three of its Channel steamers are driven by turbines, the others being twin-
Great Eastern R.M. Steamer Munich -
From Our Home Railways by W J Gordon, published 1910]