FRANCE’S FIRST LOCOMOTIVE, built by Marc Seguin in 1829 for the St. Etienne-
The success of George and Robert Stephenson’s “Rocket” paved the way for later improvements both in size and in details of design and construction. For ten years after the locomotive trials at Rainhill, improvements in railway engines followed quickly, largely due to the needs of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway.
Locomotive development was not, however, confined to Great Britain. Continental engineers were eager and willing to try out the new form of transport. The French were among the first to appreciate the advantages of the steam locomotive, and in 1829 the first engine built in France was completed.
The engine was designed by Marc Seguin, a famous engineer and scientist who was born in 1786 and died in 1875. He instituted the first steam-
The boiler, 9 ft long and 31-
The framework of the engine was of wood, and the wheels had cast-
THE “NOVELTY”, which attained a speed of nearly 32 miles an hour at the Rainhill Trials, is shown here as a scale model in part section. Note the upturned steam-
A number of locomotives, similar to the “Rocket” but larger and heavier, were built in England between 1830 and 1840. As compared with the 8-
A SECTIONAL MODEL of the “Rocket” in the Science Museum at South Kensington. The blast-
The driving wheels of the “Northumbrian” were 5 ft diameter, and the main frames comprised iron plates to which were attached the “Horns” carrying the axle-
The “Planet” locomotive, also built in 1830, had cylinders the same size as those of the “Northumbrian”, but placed inside the smoke-
These goods engines were similar in design to Edward Bury’s locomotive “Liverpool” of 1831. This engine was fitted with two inclined cylinders, 12-
THE ORIGINAL “ROCKET”. It will be seen on comparison with the picture of the model above that among other alterations the cylinders were lowered to a nearly horizontal position, before the engine ceased running, in 1844.
The difficulty experienced with all these four-
THE “LIVERPOOL” Locomotive of 1831, which ran for a time on the Liverpool and Manchester Railway. This engine, designed by Edward Bury, had two inside cylinders 12-
THE “NORTHUMBRIAN” built by Robert Stephenson & Co, led a procession of trains at the opening of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway in 1830. This was the first locomotive in which the firebox was incorporated with the boiler shell.
In 1835, only six years after the Rainhill Trials, the improved 2-
Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the great engineer who planned the Great Western Railway from London to Bristol, foreseeing the need for higher speeds and greater loads, declared his intention in 1835 of adopting a broad gauge of 7 ft (plus ¼-
Brunel’s assistant, Daniel (afterwards Sir Daniel) Gooch, prepared designs for a series of engines similar to the “North Star”, and between 1840 and 1842 over sixty of these express passenger locomotives were built for the Great Western Railway.
AN AMERICAN ENGINE FOR AUSTRIA. This model locomotive made in 1843 represents a type designed in 1837 by William Norris of Philadelphia. The engines were used on the first Austrian railways, and many of this class were afterwards built at Vienna.
An improvement was made to locomotives in 1838 by an alteration to the slide valve controlling the supply of steam to the cylinders. The valve was lengthened so that steam was cut off from the cylinder before the piston had completed its stroke. This had the effect of using the steam expansively, so effecting economies in fuel. In addition, the improved valve permitted of a freer exhaust, a necessity in view of the increased speed of the piston.
The following year, a still further improved method was invented by Isaac Dodds for securing a locomotive boiler to the frames. Before 1839 it had been customary to bolt the boiler to the frames at both ends. When it became hot, however, the boiler expanded longitudinally, so imposing stresses on the frames. Dodds attached the boiler at the smoke-
The Birmingham and Gloucester Railway in 1840 purchased some locomotives from America, built by William Norris of Philadelphia. These engines had a leading four-
A year later, Robert Stephenson patented a long-
EDWARD BURY’S ENGINE of 1832 was an improvement on his four-
The year 1845 marked an important period in locomotive development -
The question of the relative merits of the two gauges, from the locomotive point of view, was debated to such an extent, however, that Brunel suggested a series of trials between engines on both lines.
AN EARLY FRENCH EXPRESS ENGINE designed by T. R. Crampton, and built at Paris for the Northern Railway of France in 1849. Engines of this type worked the French express services until 1876. The driving wheels of these locomotives were 6 ft 10½-
These trials were carried out, but, although the broad-
The trials did not influence the Commissioners to any great extent, since the principal question involved related to the fixing of a standard railway gauge for the country. This was finally fixed by legislation at 4 ft 8½-
High Speeds in ‘47
For a few years subsequent to 1846, however, a keen rivalry existed between the engineers of both gauges, and many remarkable locomotives were designed and built in a competition for speed and power. The first of Gooch’s famous broad-
Advocates of the narrow gauge were responsible for an increased demand for high speed engines, and in May, 1847, a Stephenson long-
Another type of narrow-
“HIRONDELLE”, one of the most famous engines made at Swindon Works for the Great Western Railway. This locomotive, built in 1848, ran 605,010 miles until 1873, and was designed by Sir Daniel Gooch for the Great Western broad gauge, which measured 7 ft ¼-
In France and Germany also these locomotives were very popular and nearly 300 were built for the Continent between 1846 and 1864.
The largest Crampton type engine was built for the old London and North-
In 1846, the first steam motor-
AN ENGINE FOR INDIA, built at Leeds in 1856 for the Bombay, Baroda and Central India Railway. The design follows that of Alexander Allan for his “Crewe” class of goods locomotives built at Crewe works between 1843 and 1857. The outside inclined cylinders were 14-
An important improvement in locomotive design was made by John Gray in 1838, when he patented a valve gear by means of which steam could be cut off from the cylinder at varying positions of the piston, so regulating the power of the loco-
In 1841 came one of the most important developments in the history of the locomotive. This was the invention of the “link motion” valve gear, a form of gear which is still in use to-
By moving this link, so that the die block is either at the top or bottom of the slot, the starting direction of the engine is determined. A partial movement of the die block towards the centre of the link causes the supply of steam to the cylinder to be cut off before the piston has completed its stroke, so economizing fuel by using the steam expansively.
The “Stephenson Link Motion”, as it has been named, was the forerunner of other valve gears, notably those designed by Sir Daniel Gooch in 1843 and E. Walschaerts, of the Belgian State Railways, in 1844. Walschaerts’ valve gear is now used all over the world.
BUILT AT CARDIFF in 1864, the engine shown here was designed by J. Tomlinson for passenger work on the Taff Vale Railway. The engine had “double” frames with the wheels between the two plates, so that the driving wheel axle ran in four bearings, one in each frame-
[From part 5, published 1 March 1935]