No. 37 - p91-92

© JUNE 1971


THE LOCOMOTIVES BUILT BY MACHINEFABRIEK "BREDA" VOORHEEN BACKER & RUEB’, by A. D. de Pater, xiii+84pp. 9.6in x 6.5in, 49 illustrations (on 25 unpaginated plates), and 5 line drawings. Published in 1970 by E. J. Brill, Oude Rijn 33a. LEIDEN. Holland. Price 28 guilders. (British readers can obtain copies from A. J. Stoyel, 329 Addiscombe Road. CROYDON, Surrey. CR0 7LF, price £3.40 net, post free.)

    The Dutch firm of Breda (not to be confused with Ernesto Breda of Milan) originated in Tilburg where a ‘small machine-works’ was opened in 1855. Seven years later the firm moved to Breda. Here Backer and Rueb went into partnership in 1870 and from 1883 started building locomotives. A limited liability company formed in 1884 resulted in worksplates being lettered ‘Machinefabriek "Breda’ voorheen Backer & Rueb’ ‘voorheen’ translates as ‘formerly’. Altogether 306 steam locomotives were built, the majority being steam trams completed before 1910 when the Netherlands government allowed foreign machines to be imported duty free. Only one internal combustion locomotive was constructed an 0−4−0 diesel for the Arnhem Gasworks and this was the last locomotive to leave the works in 1932. Professor de Pater of Delft University (and a member of this Society) has made a most careful study of all the firm’s surviving records (drawings, photographs, card index files, hand-written reports, typed lists, etc.), which he has systematically categorised. The text is very fully referenced to this material and also to 27 books and articles which provide secondary source material. The printing and general layout of the book are good, and the dust jacket features a colour photograph of a steam tram and trailer in service near Doesburg in 1956: what a pity that this was not repeated as a frontispiece I Steam tram modellers will be pleased to have five general arrangement drawings reproduced direct from photocopies of the originals, which were regrettably destroyed about 1965: they will be helped also by the photographs, of which the majority are ‘officials’, with sometimes several varying views of the same engine. Appendices give complete lists of locomotives (with year built, purchaser, number/name, leading dimensions, etc.), itemised lists of drawings and photographs, and various indexes. However, despite all this indexing and referencing we found it extremely difficult to locate those locomotives exported from Holland (34 went to Indonesia, and others were supplied to Spain, South Africa and Surinam), because the list of railways and tramways makes no mention of their locations. Hidden away in the Preface is the important statement that all engines described are 0−4−0’s unless otherwise stated. One tries in vain to determine for each locomotive whether the cylinders were inside or outside the frames, and whether some of the industrial and shunting types had side tanks or well tanks or side and well tanks. Are only we British interested in these details? The author hopes to produce similar books on other Dutch and Belgian loco builders which, in order to facilitate the dissemination of the contents’, will be written (as is this one) in English. We welcome this venture and hope that authors elsewhere with the necessary knowledge and ability will take steps to publicize other European private builders for this is one aspect of railway literature that is decidedly sketchy at the present time. This book is packed with reliable information and students of the locomotive as well as continental enthusiasts will treasure it. Future locomotive historians would do well to emulate it. (KPP)


SLIGO. LEITRIM AND NORTHERN COUNTIES RAILWAY, by N. W. Sprinks. 154pp, art paper, 8½in x 5½in, card covers, 66 illustrations (including 2 line drawings), 1 map and 8 station layout drawings. Published by the Irish Railway Record Society (London Area). Price 75p, post free. (IRS funds will benefit if copies are ordered from Mr A. O. Semrnens. 44 Hicks Avenue, GREENFORD, Middx.)

    Most Irish light railways were narrow gauge but the SL&NCR. built at minimum cost at the expense of heavy gradients, was 5ft 3in gauge throughout from Sligo to Enniskillen. Right at the start there was a touch of Irish burlesque, for the actual length of railway constructed (42 miles 50 chains) exceeded that authorised by 31 chains! Avonside supplied two 0−6−2 tanks in 1877 but the mainstay of the traffic over the years was the Beyer Peacock 0−6−4 tank, of which three distinct types saw service: of the remaining stock two Hunslets (an 0−4−0 saddle tank and an 0−6−0 tank) were obtained second-hand for shunting and banking duties. To combat rising costs and counter the effects of road competition, railcars (some converted from road buses) were introduced from 1935 but the steam-hauled 7.20pm mixed train, much frequented by enthusiasts, lasted until the demise of the railway in 1957 the closure of the connecting GNR line through Enniskillen sounding the death knell, Beyer Peacock repossessed the last two locomotives, as the final payments had not been made on the hire purchase price: LOUGH MELVIN has since been scrapped but it is hoped that LOUGH ERNE will be preserved. The author has woven a multitude of facts into a readable narrative and avoided the ponderous style often found in the more expensive ‘hard-back railway histories. The illustrations are well chosen but some of the layout diagrams are unduly small. Our only criticisms are directed at the lack of an index and to the map on page 4, which is both inadequate and partly illegible. Need the cartographer have depicted every lake and island? However, this book is an excellent buy a real "snip" at 75p and a must for all interested in Irish railways. (KPP)


THE LOCOMOTIVES OF ROUMANIA, by C. J. Halliwell. 112pp. 8¼in x 5¾in, card covers, litho printing, 26 illustrations, and 1 double-page map. Published by Frank Stenvall, Köpenhamnsvägen 47A. 21771 Malmö, Sweden. (British readers can obtain copies from Mr L. King, 25 Woodcock Dell Avenue, Kenton, HARROW, Middlesex. Price £1.00, post free.)

    Compiled by a much-travelled Englishman and published by an equally well-travelled Swede who thoughtfully commissioned a German translation, this attractive book is truly international, It lists all known locomotives on Roumanian railways by running number, and gives the builder, works number and date built where available. Official data is hard to come by hence the gaps and enthusiasts have collaborated to provide much of the information. A brief historical introduction to both railways and locomotives is supplemented by a limited number of footnotes to the lists proper. A separate section deals with industrial locomotives (including those on forestry railways), of which several were formerly in main tine stock although, as J. C. Baltantyne commented on page 226 of RECORD 18, "the difference between industrial and main line ownership behind the Iron Curtain is only of academic interest". We were surprised to see so many British builders represented Beyer Peacock, Canada Works (Birkenhead). Dübs, Fox Walker, Manning Wardle, Neilson, Sentinel, and the Yorkshire Engine Company. It is unfortunate that the leading dimensions of the CFR steam locomotives are not given (many are known), especially when some of the diesels are so favoured. An oversight would seem to account for the omission of some locomotives seen on an enthusiasts’ trip in 1968 (e.g. 372 001 at Aghires) or mentioned in the RECORD (e.g. 7 NOIEMBRIE on page 159 of Volume 2). Nevertheless, the photographs are well reproduced and show a mouth-watering selection of locomotives large and small. Bearing in mind the difficulties of carrying our research in a foreign language to produce a precursor publication, it is uncharitable to criticise. All in all this is a most painstaking production, of which both author and publisher can be proud.        (KPP)