Caledonian Railway Locomotives: The Formative Years
The Caledonian Railway was a major company. Its lines spread from Carlisle to Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen, and it partnered the London & North Western Railway in operating the West Coast route, the first to run through trains from London to Scotland. Within Scotland, it served much of the industrial central belt, carrying significant volumes of coal and iron from a multitude of small mines and works. This required a large stock of goods and mineral locomotives, whilst passenger trains varied from expresses linking the major cities to humble tanks operating rural branch lines on relaxed schedules.
The first lines of the Caledonian Railway opened in the late 1840s but some of its later absorbed constituents dated from the 1830s. The locomotives varied from the 8ft singles to the humble shunting tank. The Caledonian was at the forefront of several developments in locomotive design as it evolved to meet these needs.
In this book, the author describes all the locomotives built for the Caledonian and its constituents up to 1882. That is a convenient point to conclude this volume as it marks the retirement of George Brittain. His successor, Dugald Drummond, introduced a number of changes in design that will be described in the second volume which will conclude the story of Caledonian locomotives.
Several significant developments are covered within these pages, as the early engineers struggled to understand the basic principles of locomotive design. Coal took the place of the more expensive coke and the proportions of smokebox, firebox and boiler had to be adjusted. Proper braking had to be installed and even the poor locomotive crew had to be treated to more than a thin weatherboard as speeds increased.
By treating these early aspects of design in detail, this book will appeal not only to those with a specific interest in the Caledonian Railway but to a wider audience who want to know more about how the Victorian steam locomotive developed.
Hardback, 320 pages, black & white and colour photographs
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Updated: 1 June 2020