No. 35 - p1-3




    A mere glance at the pages of past issues of the RECORD is sufficient to make it obvious that over the years the various locomotive manufacturers in this country have provided British industry with a wonderful variety of steam locomotives. It must also be obvious, however, that in such an industry as locomotive building a very large number of designs must go no further than the drawing board. Although for many competitive tenders one of the makers’ standard designs could well be submitted, special requirements and situations would often call for a completely individual locomotive, and loss of the tender to other sources would result in an abortive design.

    The subject of these notes seems to be one such design. The accompanying drawing is taken from a Manning Wardle blueprint found amongst hundreds of ironworks plant drawings at the offices of the former Kettering Iron and Coal Co Ltd. Unfortunately those drawings deemed interesting were available on loan only and after copying and return were subsequently destroyed when the site was cleared.

    The original was a one inch to one foot scale general arrangement drawing. No. 13401, dated 12th October 1908, and, apart from the addition of Manning Wardle’s name, the dimensions as shown were the only other information on it. Geoffrey Horsman has kindly referred to Manning’s records held by the Hunslet Engine Company for further information, but the only appearance of proposals is in a Register of Proposed Designs in which appears "13401, 16" x 22", inside cylinder, 060 saddle tank, 900 gallons, 4’ 8½" gauge."

    First sight of the drawing indicates an exceedingly large and massive engine until one notes the low overall height of 10ft 4in: nevertheless for 1908 a 16in locomotive was of some size and it is indeed a large industrial engine. Then perhaps the most interesting point becomes apparent - the fact that it is a long boiler type - especially in view of Frank Jones’ contribution to RECORD 17 and the subsequent correspondence. As mentioned there, Manning’s appear to have built but one locomotive of this type specifically for industry (1207 of 1890, THE WELSHMAN) and our subject would perhaps have been the last fresh example of this breed from any builder, the later Consett pannier tanks being a perpetuation.

    Whether the long boiler was chosen to produce a required low height in a locomotive of high power is questionable, but it would seem to be one solution. The makers’ usual raised firebox type of boiler would not have been suitable in this application although this feature was dispensed with on other occasions. The wheelbase is arranged in the usual manner for long boilered engines, with the rear and centre wheels placed closely together; although in this case the front wheel spacing appears rather closer than normal, resulting in a quite short overall wheelbase of 9ft 0in (4ft 1in + 4ft 11in) which of course may have been a requirement. The spacing between the two rear axles was enough, however, to take brake hangers for the rear wheel, and this meant that the brakeshoes operated on the front face of all three pairs of wheels. (It was normally the case on long boiler locomotives for the brakeshoes to be on the rear face of the rear wheels - a more complicated arrangement - although on the front of the other wheels as usual.) The brake gear itself was of the more usual kind, rather than of Manning's earlier type: the latter was perpetuated to the end in some designs where the pull rods immediately under the footplating operated on to the top of the brake "hangers" which were castings actually pinned at the bottom of the main frames. Inside cylinders seem to be universal with industrial long boiler locomotives, but the short front wheelbase of this design may have made the inclination of the cylinders rather steeper.

    Other points to be noted include compensated springing to the rear two axles, safety valves of the Ramsbottom type on top of the firebox, the circular side window which appeared on but a few Manning Wardles and, more superficially, the cab steps of the open, cast type that were seemingly favoured by the company at that period. Finally, it may be wondered why the draughtsman chose to show lining out on an outline general arrangement drawing !

    The engine would have been very heavy, somewhat squat and lengthy, the seemingly high footplating being accentuated by the cut-away frames and the long overhang at either end. The saddle tank would possibly have been of the higher domed type used on the makers’ larger engines and as far as can be seen all the features which go to make a Manning Wardle a rather distinctive locomotive are present. Altogether it would have been a very impressive machine.

    Dimensions not shown, and scaled from the drawing are as follows :

Wheel diameter : 3ft   6in
Boiler pitched above rail : 6ft   4in
Boiler barrel length : 13ft   3in
Boiler barrel diameter : 3ft   9in
Outer firebox length : 4ft 11in

    Having looked at the physical characteristics of the proposed locomotive perhaps it will be of interest to muse on its reason for being, and just why a copy of the drawing happened to be at Kettering.

    The work at the furnaces was quite within the capabilities of 14in four-wheelers (even though they did later purchase 14in six-wheelers) and there was no height restriction as low as 10ft 4in. Further, all engines had low buffers for slag bogie work, so it seems clear that the design could not have been specially for Kettering. It also seems a rather ill-judged attempt if Manning’s were touting for business - a standard design would have sufficed as well - although several other drawings in Kettering’s files were fairly clearly attempts on the part of various other firms.

    It seems unlikely that Manning Wardle would draw up such a design with no particular customer in mind and it would be interesting to know just who in 1908 required a large and powerful locomotive with restricted overall height and a short wheelbase. Perhaps we shall never know.

    "The Usambara Railway : German East Africa. This railway has an "unique record". It is 30 miles long, and carries one passenger a week. The statistics unfortunately do not state whether it is the same passenger, nor how many accidents he has had; nor yet what measures the management would take to cope with the congested traffic if another passenger should turn up one of these days."     ("The Railway Engineer, "November 1897 KPP)

    "As is well known, most of the locomotives on the Norwegian railways are of British manufacture, but it appears that two have lately been turned out (and two more are to be shortly ready) from Nylands works at Christiana. The price paid for these engines is reported to have been £2,222 each, but as no particulars of them - except that they ran at a speed of 30kilos per hour for 17 minutes without getting hot - the mere figures do not convey much. It was, however, clearly not necessary to mention that lower quotations had been given by British firms."      ("The Railway Engineer," May 1894 - KPP)