No.26 - p121-128

© AUGUST 1969



    I have recently come across references to Labuan Colliery, and the information supplements that given by Mr Garry in his article on page 48 of Vol. 2 (RECORD 14). The Crown Colony of Labuan was ceded to Great Britain in 1847 by the Sultan of Brunei, and in 1848 the first settlement was established there by Sir James Brook. Soon after this, the British Government began to mine coal at Koabong Bluff, at the north-east end of the island, in order to supply coal to warships on China station. Mining was by a combination of opencast, adit and shallow shaft workings, all about two miles from Coalpoint Wharf. About 1865, the mines changed hands and the new operators sank two shafts about one mile inland. Coal was eventually produced in 1871 but production decreased until the mines were closed in 1879. Between 1879 and 1888, outcrop workings were continued on a small scale by an enterprising marine engineer, but in 1888 a new company (the New Central Borneo Co Ltd ?) leased the mines from the Government and began to develop the property.

    In preference to shafts, it was decided to cut costs by driving a number of drifts. Two were within 600ft of the main railway line, from which branches were laid to serve them. By 1892, it seems they were completed and in that year, the mines produced 18,000 tons of coal. The rails in the drifts (which were 7ft high and 9ft wide) were 4ft 8½in gauge, flat bottom and 40lb per yard. Narrow gauge tubs were carried on a standard gauge transporter wagon. During construction a 2ft 5in gauge line was laid between the standard gauge to facilitate dirt removal. The narrow gauge tubs were presumably also of this gauge, and held 24 cu ft of material.

    In 1892, coal was being carried down to Coalpoint on a 2ft 5in gauge tramway with one-ton capacity wagons worked by buffaloes in charge of native drivers. At the wharf, wagons were run out on trestles twenty feet high and extending several hundred feet into the bay. Later, a self-acting incline was laid to take the wagons down to ship level and obviate the breakages caused by tipping from the trestles. But the main improvement made was to cut out the sea passage to Victoria Harbour by taking the coal there direct by rail from the mines. In the 1860's, traction engines had been obtained for this purpose, but such was the condition of the road that they proved impracticable.

    To accomplish this object, a 2ft 5in gauge railway was built over a distance of about nine miles, running between the two harbours via the head of the Ogangara River. Three miles of the line west of Coalpoint had been complete for some time and this was connected to the new line on 21st November 1893, the first coal train direct from the mines arriving at Victoria Harbour on the 25th of that month. Rails were 401b per yard on imported timber sleepers, and there were four locomotives and forty-five 5−ton wagons on the line when it was opened.




    Concerning your editorial comment on page 59 of RECORD 24, I would like to say that Kitson's practice of giving works numbers to tenders ceased long before 1890. According to my records Kitson 1980-1985 of 1874 were the last numbers allocated to tenders and were in fact for Taff Vale 43, 44 and 92−95. The batches allocated in the main list for tram engines as quoted by you are agreed, making a total of 292, whereas the Txxx list runs from 1 to 302. I believe the difference of ten numbers may be accounted for as follows.

    The first four tram engines, notionally T1−T4, were in fact 678 of 1876, 918 of 1878 and 921-922 of 1878. These numbers had already been used in the main Kitson list and as these were experimental engines the numbers may well refer to designs or drawings. T5−T14 were tram engines built for service overseas in 1879, and this is where the discrepancy may have arisen. T15 was built in 1880 and T16 in 1881, and these would fit numbers 2375 onwards in the main Kitson list.

    Although this "T" list commenced with street tramway engines it also included examples such as the Cape Copper Company's 0−6−2 tender locos, and even a 2−6−2 tender engine of 3ft 6in gauge for an Australian timber firm. From 1900 onwards the Txx series was discontinued although Kitson still recorded engines under the tramway category, as for example the 2−6−4 tanks for the Leek & Manifold.



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    I shall be very interested to see if there is any authoritative comment on Kitson works numbers. I have always assumed that "T258" was merely a way of saying that the works number was 258 in the Kitson tramway list; that is to say, that the "T" did not actually form part of the number. Also I have always assumed that the allotment of blocks of numbers in the main list was an accountant's way of swelling the number of locomotives built by Kitson, and that these numbers were not actually applied to individual locomotives. Are you now saying that they actually carried the two numbers? As far as I can see 1985 was the last works number allotted to a tender, the date being 1874. Do you know if a complete list of Kitson's tramway engines exists? If this information is not held by the locomotive historians, is it possible that one of the Tramway Societies can help?



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    With reference to the Editorial query on page 59 of RECORD 24 concerning the Kitson Txxx works numbers, there is no mystery here, surely? Cape Copper's 3486 would be the 258th tramway locomotive built by Kitson, but just how a 2ft 6in gauge 0−6−2 tender engine qualifies as a tramway locomotive is a mystery though! Considering the blocks of numbers allocated, it is immediately evident that 3486 would have been the 258th in the series. So both works numbers are correct, which makes a refreshing change from locomotives "built by two firms but carrying only one number! Was the Liverpool Overhead locomotive 3489, I wonder? If so was a Kitson tramway locomotive one with Kitson's own valve gear?





    On page 64 of RECORD 24 you ask for the delivery data for the Bagnall locos supplied to the Cape Copper Company. According to my list, taken from Bagnall records, 1894 and 2038 did go to South Africa, and 1963, 1978, 2004, 2010, 2039 and 2056 to Jersey Marine. Nos.1894, 1936 and 1978 were consigned via "J. V. Money, Kent who was presumably an agent.


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    The Kitson locomotives owned by the Cape Copper Company were of two types. Nos.1−3 were 0−4−0 side tanks with 9in by 15in cylinders and 2ft 10in diameter wheels; Nos.4−10, 12, 14 and 15 were 0−6−2 tender engines with 14in by 21 in cylinders and 3ft 0in diameter wheels. The official Kitson photograph reproduced here is of Cape Copper Company No.5 (Kitson T258/3486 of 1891); the tank-like structure above the footplate is a shield to protect the J. Hawthorn-Kitson valve gear which had working parts above footplate level.




    I have recently received from a correspondent in Canada a list giving details of over 2,800 electric and diesel-electric locomotives exported by the General Electric Company of America between 1906 and 1968. Mr Rowe mentioned on page 189 of Vol.2 (RECORD 17) that the shunters on Santos Docks (Companhia Docas Santos) were metre gauge BoBo diesels, and I find that ten 45−ton diesel-electrics were supplied by GEC as follows: 29218-29220 (Jan 1948), 29330-29332 (Mar 1948), 31023-31024 (Dec 1951) and 31711-31712 (Feb 1953). No gauge or running numbers are quoted in the GEC list, but Mr Rowe reported that he had seen 33, 35, 36 and 37. I hope that one of your readers will be able to allocate numbers for the complete batch.





    I found the short article on "A Preserved Swiss Industrial" in RECORD 23, page 17, most interesting. The author suggests that the locomotive preserved (SLM 3834 of 1944) was possibly one of the last steamers to be built by SLM. What was the last one? The enclosed photograph shows SLM 3854 of 1944, a 2ft 0in gauge 0−4−0 well tank I found in 1967 at the Companhia do Boror at Naciaia in Mocambique. Both it and sister engine SLM 3855 had been out of use for some years. Previously they had worked between a stone quarry and a transhipment siding on the 3ft 6in gauge Quelimane section of the CFM (Mocambique Railways).




    I found this article in RECORD 19 (page 255) very interesting. You may wish to publish my photograph of a standard gauge snowplough which was taken on 31 July 1962 at the Pen Green sheds (Corby) of Stewart & Lloyds Minerals Lt. The plough itself had been manufactured from the frame of a dump car.





    With reference to this article in RECORD 17, page 176, information recently to hand shows that the first petrol locomotive at Cawfields was one of the armoured type 40hp "Simplex" locos built by Motor Rail during the First World War. This (not the Whitcomb) was the loco known as "The Tank" and was purchased about 1920 by Mr. F. W. Steel, secretary to the company. The Whitcomb arrived later, at a date not yet determined, and could possibly have been one of the French Naval Mission batch mentioned by Mr Goldsmith in his letter on page 312, RECORD 21. Some confusion may have occurred concerning the shipyard part of its history - after all this took place about forty years ago!




    Since I wrote the article published in RECORD 25 another steam locomotive has arrived for repairs. This is an 0−6−0 saddle tank (Robert Stephenson & Hawthorns 7412 of 1948) which was sent on 31st January 1969 by the NCB Coal Products Division from their Norwood Coking Plant at Gateshead. Whether any more steam locomotive repairs will be done seems doubtful, especially in view of colliery closures and the availability of cheap second-hand diesels.





    Further to the letters on page 228 and 332 (RECORD 18 and 21) I have located two spares orders from New Darvel Bay in the Kerr Stuart records (dated 27-10-27 and 16-11-28). Both are in respect of 914, 1018,4208 and 4387, but the latter order quotes also a No.5 loco unidentified by works number. However, as four "Wren" springs and four "Wren" tyres were supplied for it, there seems reason to suppose it was a "Wren" - presumably either 4021 or 4024.





    On seeing the reference to London postal districts in the editorial footnote to Frank Jones' letter on page 32 of RECORD 23, I thought I detected an error, and started looking up evidence to prove that postal district numbers and letters were introduced simultaneously, and before 1915. I was however wrong, but am still writing as the date of the introduction of the system in use until very recently could be useful in dating documents relating to industrial systems. The district numbers are given in a booklet issued free by the GPO on 1st March 1917 entitled "LIST OF PRINCIPAL STREETS in LONDON showing in each case the Initials of the Postal District and the number of the Office of Delivery". The foreword makes it clear that the letters were already in use, and the numbers were a new addition to simplify sorting under wartime conditions. Meanwhile, in the face of public apathy and obstruction, the GPO struggles to introduce "Postcodes". Such is progress.





    With reference to the letter on page 29 of RECORD 23 my Orenstein & Koppel list shows No.73 as a 785mm gauge (about 2ft 6¾in) 0−4−0T. It was built for Menzel, Elberfeld (Germany) in 1895 by O&K's predecessor, Maerkische Lokomotivfabrik.



    (This would seem to disprove the suggestion that the Penlee locomotive was Orenstein & Koppel No.73. We feel that even if Arthur Koppel's locomotive was not delivered new to Penlee as appears most likely, it is highly improbable that a second-hand locomotive would be purchased if the gauge needed to be altered by more than six inches. As Britain has imported so few foreign-built locomotives (excluding those here temporarily in war−time) it would be interesting to know how Penlee came to do business with Arthur Koppel at a time when a similar locomotive could have been supplied easily by anyone of several British manufacturers. - Hon. Eds.)

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    It seems clear that Arthur Koppel was an agent. I understand that Orenstein & Koppel built locomotives from 1898, and that many of the early ones were narrow gauge 0−4−0T for industrial concerns in Germany or further east. Some are given as for A. Koppel, others for Freudenstein, and a few for Hagans.



    (We have just received a most interesting article dealing with the origins and early history of Orenstein & Koppel, and in which the Arthur Koppel connection is fully discussed. Publication will be at an early date, and we invite readers to submit photographs of any O&K or AK locomotive (with suitable captions) which we may consider for publication. – Hon. Eds.)


    On page 36 of RECORD 24 Mr Tonks infers that the old London County Council horse tram hauled by GAZELLE on the S & MR had flanged wheels only when converted for railway use. Although the LCC tramways may have been fairly primitive in horse days, they had progressed a little further than the mineral tramways of the Forest of Dean for example, and never to my knowledge used flanged rail with flangeless wheels. To the best of my knowledge and belief, the S & M vehicle was a complete horse tram on its original wheels (apart from alterations to drawgear, tyre profiles, etc). Certainly in the photograph on page 35 the axleboxes and other running gear look typical of horse tramway practice.





     Sid Barnes' sketch and notes on page 22 of RECORD 23 were most interesting, and are probably nearer the truth than he could have hoped for. A short illustrated feature on this locomotive appeared in The Locomotive Magazine dated 15th September 1930 and, although the illustration unfortunately omits the buffing gear, it shows the sketch to be very accurate with only a few minor fittings of different form. Perhaps the most noticeable feature missing from the sketch is the typical American bell mounted on the boiler top, a point which Mr Barnes may understandably have decided to omit. As he expected, the usual array of worthies is present, albeit not very hairy, but supplemented for the occasion by a small girl dressed in white smock and hat who stands somewhat nervously by the cab. No number is actually visible on the photograph although LIMA appears on the bunker side. I would suggest that rather than being a name this may be mere advertisement on Lima's part, as such practice seems common to exported American locos; the number 1 could well be on the usual American smokebox door centre numberplate.

    Additional information given in The Locomotive Magazine was said to be from the builder's records. "Wheels, diameter on tread, 2ft 2in. Three vertical cylinders, 8in bore by 12in stroke, wagon top boiler containing seventy-nine brass tubes 1¾in dia and 8ft long with a copper firebox 3ft 7in long by 2ft 7in wide and 3ft 2in deep. Working pressure 140lb per sq in. Tractive power 9,960lb. Factor of adhesion 5.63. The tank held 816 gallons of water, and the bunker a ton of coal. In working order the engine weighed approximately 25 English tons."



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    The Lima records I have list this locomotive as works number 618 of 1 November 1900 for A. Hickman Ltd., No.1, with 8in by 12in cylinders and 26in drivers. I have never seen a photograph of it but, regarding the possibility that it was named LIMA, I have seen a number of older photos of Shays and many did have LIMA on the cab or somewhere in that vicinity. Whether that was regarded as the engine's name or perhaps as a trademark I don't know. The Vulcan Iron Works put their name on many of their engines and I was told by them that it was considered more of a trademark than a name.



    (We should like to thank readers John Forshaw, Henry Gunston, Frank Jones, Frank Jux, Geoff Moore and C. D. Poucher for information on this subject which has been covered in the two letters above. Mr Barnes' article has highlighted two things - firstly that several readers have indexed (mentally or in writing) some or all the industrial items in the sundry volumes of The Locomotive Magazine, and secondly that your Editors have no such Index! A selective or comprehensive Index of The Locomotive Magazine and other similar magazines would be most useful documents for the Society to have, and we hope that some readers may be prepared to undertake the whole or part of the task of compilation. Offers of help and/or advice on the scope and style of the Index should be forwarded to the editorial address. - Hon. Eds.)


    It is just possible that the light articulated locomotive shown on page 54 of RECORD 24 is Schwartzkopff 8782; this appears in my list as an 0−4−4−0T for Java.



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    The same articulated locomotive shown on page 54 of RECORD 24 appears as illustration 385 of 75 Years Schwartzkopff, which was published in October 1927. In this book the caption states that it was a "Plantation tank locomotive for sugar cane waste (ampass) firing, can be used on the lightest portable rails. Supplied in large numbers to Java and Peru." Seeing this illustration again after some time has made me think how similar the design is to that proposed by David Curwen for a new Talyllyn Railway locomotive (in Talyllyn News No.56). It appears that the Schwartzkopff loco is mounted on two powered bogies although it is not clear to me if they are shaft-driven or whether each includes a power unit. The proposed TR loco would be powerful and although different in appearance - side tanks and outside coupling rods, but no rear bunker - seems generally to incorporate the same principles. Can any technically-minded reader comment?

    Illustration 388 of the Schwartzkopff book shows an orthodox outside cylindered 0−6−2 side tank with the letters ORDEM on the tank sides. The caption reads: - "A very powerful locomotive for the very narrow gauge of 1ft 11.5/8in (600mm). For conveyance railways in Portugal." As will be seen from Pocket Book SP only one 600mm gauge industrial line is listed for Portugal, and there is no record of any public railway of this gauge. Any information about ORDEM of Portuguese "conveyance" railways will be welcome.



    (The official records of Decauville give brief details of two narrow gauge lines in Portugal for which they were responsible for the installation. The first, probably an agricultural line, was said to have a length of 2.2km when Decauville 77 of 1889, an 0−4−0 side tank named PORTALEGRE, was delivered. The purchaser is quoted as "Santos (Portugal)" and "Cie. agricole, en Portugal". Whether the name of the locomotive has any significance (Portalegre is a station on the Badajoz to Entroncamento line) is not known.

    The second railway, length 1,3km, would no doubt have been described by Schwartzkopff as a very VERY narrow gauge line for it was laid to 500mm gauge! In 1887 Decauville supplied two 0−4−0 side tanks - ALMOURAL (Decauville 20) and TANCOS (103) - one small carriage (Decauville type K) and four wagons (two type 65, one 4, and one 61). The purchaser is quoted as "Génie de Lisbonne" (20), "Génie de C. F. (Portugal)" (103), and "Gouvr. Portugais, a Lisbonne" (carriage and wagons). Could this have been a contractors-type railway, we wonder? - Hon. Eds.)