No. 13 - p33-36

© MARCH 1967





    An unfortunate error has crept into Mr Baker’s excellent article in RECORD 11. On page 269 it is stated that RICHARD BELL was not delivered to North Wales Quarries Ltd., Bethesda. This is not so. I have both written and photographic evidence that this locomotive worked at Bethesda for several years.

Yours etc.,





    When the extract from "Iron" on page 261 of RECORD 11 first caught my eye my reaction was "Here is an amendment to the ‘Industrial Locomotives of Central France’ in the making." Then I recalled reading in the Bulletins of our affiliated Association, the Federation des Amis des Chemins de Fer Secondaires, a long article in serialised form dealing with the Rouen Tramways (Les Transports Urbains dans l’Agglomeration Rouennaise). Alas I am not a tramway enthusiast and the semi-technical French is a bit involved for my modest experience at translation, but I have extracted some of the salient details from the issues concerned (Revues 71 to 74).

    The Rouen Tramways were standard gauge and the first line from the centre of the City to Maromme was opened on 29th December 1877. The concessionaire for traction was G. Palmer Harding, a British subject domiciled in Paris. Using the title "Tramways Construction" and operating from 15 rue de la Chaussee-d’Antin, he is described as "the representative in several European countries of a number of English interests, notably the firm Merryweather of London, makers of steam fire engines and tramway locomotives." Be was also "entrepreneur de traction" for the Paris Southern Tramways but his contract with them was terminated in 1878 because horse traction had proved better.

    There is an isolated but significant reference to Fox Walker locomotives early in the article. At first not all the locomotives could reach the terminus as they failed to ascend a steep incline 150 metres long just before it. Faced with losing his contract, Harding replaced one form of coke fuel ("coke de gaz") with another ("coke de four") and "could then reply that the small machines easily hauled their car fully loaded whilst the largest - of the Fox Walker type - could easily haul two cars."

    In Revue 73 the author speculates at length on the locomotive stock. After remarking that there is no official record of its composition before 1882 he says that the first locomotives to go into service in November 1877 were six Merryweathers numbered 34 to 38 and 42. By September 1878 there were twelve locomotives in service and most, if not all, of these had come from the Paris Southern Tramways. Varying numbers of locomotives built by a variety of firms are mentioned. One source gave ten Merryweathers, seven Fox Walkers, and six St Leonards. There were at least six locomotives by Fives-Lille (which may have been confused with the St Leonards, the author says) whilst one report says there were several by Hughes (later Falcon), some of a group of twelve numbered 59 to 70 on the Paris Southern Tramways. The Fives-Lille design is the only one of which full details are given. Due to lack of official data only very sketchy information is given about the remainder but it is recorded that the Fox Walker type was the only one to have a carrying axle - the assumption is that they were 0−4−2T’s - the remainder being 0−4−0T’s. By May 1883 it had been decided to replace locomotive haulage by horse traction which was much cheaper, and this was put into effect within a matter of months.

    Our Hon Records Officer tells me that the Bristol tramway system was also standard gauge so there seems reasonable grounds for assuming that one of the Fox Walkers was tried out over its steeper grades before going into service on the Maromme line at Rouen. He cannot trace the exact locomotives in his Fox Walker Works List but says that, 380-381 of 1877 and 387-388 of 1878 are quoted as 6−wheel tram engines with 8in by 9in cylinders, type SWTE, no gauge or owners being given. 412-420 of 1878/9 are also quoted as tram engines but no other details are available.

    Can anyone go further and make the picture more complete?

Yours etc.,





    It is now over a year since I left Bowaters and I must thank you for wishing me a happy retirement. When your members visited the railway I very much enjoyed being their guide.

    Probably the only thing not a success was locomotive RATTLER which came in 1942 some time before I was promoted Locomotive Superintendent. She was tried out at Sittingbourne but was found to be too small for the work there. Later she went for a short time to Kemsley, and then to Ridham Dock, but at both places she could not cope with the heavy traffic and was soon laid aside.

    I well remember the floods in February 1953 which damaged Ridham Dock and resulted in CONQUEROR being submerged. The narrow gauge battery locomotive as well as PIONEER and JUBILEE on the standard gauge were also put out of action in the Dock area. Very quickly Bowaters hired from C. Burley Limited a wharf between Ridham and Kemsley. Coal brought to this wharf by barge was taken away on a specially laid length of narrow gauge railway. In this way Kemsley and Sittingbourne Mills were kept in operation until Ridham Dock was repaired and brought back into use.

Yours etc.,




    (We are pleased to have these personal reminiscences of a railway which at the time of writing is still going strong. Members paying a visit in the past will realise their indebtedness to Mr Ashdown, for since his retirement visits have been restricted to Monday to Friday. Guides are not now available at weekends. - Hon. Eds.)


    On page 188 (RECORD 8) Mr Leleux queries the correct size of the cylinders of the Peckett fireless locomotive featured on page 106 of RECORD 5. I have now been able to check with the Peckett official records in the Section’s library, and these confirm that the cylinders were in fact 12in by 18in.

Yours etc.,





    The enclosed photographs, whilst not of a high standard, may be of interest as they are from a country not yet covered in the RECORD. (Unfortunately, we cannot satisfactorily reproduce either photograph for technical reasons. One depicts a narrow gauge outside framed 0−4−2 side tank with rails above the tanks to stack logs for fuel; it sports a huge spark-arresting type chimney and the lettering on the worksplate can just be deciphered as Orenstein & Koppel No.731. This photograph is stated to have been taken at the Lysterfield Gold Mining Company in Western Australia, about 1907. The other, taken about 1896 at the Moonta & Wallaroo Mining & Smelting Company in South Australia, shows a very small wheeled inside-framed 0−4−0 saddletank with 10in raised figures on the cabside above the worksplate. Details on the latter cannot be deciphered other than the word LEEDS in large letters arranged horizontally across the centre of the plate, but the locomotive, which has a tank short of both firebox and smokebox, no canopy, and a dome over the firebox, appears to be a Hudswell Clarke. - Hon. Eds.)

    Australia is such a huge place that if I wish to visit the Queensland sugar mills’ 2ft gauge lines a journey of 1,300 miles is necessary, while the goldmine and timber lines in Western Australia are over 2,100 miles away. Even so, apart from two small ones, the timber lines have been closed and the sugar lines are being cursed with diesels.

    The RECORD is greatly appreciated.

Yours etc.,





    I perused with interest Mr Bowen‘s article in RECORD 10 and since then have read Gerald Bowman’s book, "The Man Who Bought A Navy", which deals with the raising of the German Fleet in Scapa Flow by Cox & Danks Ltd. In 1927 the hull of the battle cruiser MOLTKE was beached upside down alongside Lyness Pier and to facilitate the removal of heavy items from her "the railway on the pier was diverted and a standard gauge line was carried by piles on to the MOLTKE’s flat bottom and laid down its full length. On this railway, certainly the first to be built on a capsized ship, a light engine towed a three ton crane truck ...." I wonder whether anyone can add to this story or possibly identify the "light locomotive".

Yours etc.,