|THE INDUSTRIAL RAILWAY RECORD
© SEPTEMBER 1965
THE ‘RAILGRIP’ BAGULEY
A small steam locomotive of somewhat special design was completed on 23 January 1923 by Baguley (Engineers) Ltd., at Burton-on-Trent. It was built to the order of the Drewry Car Co. Ltd. on behalf of Light Railways Ltd., both being interested in a concern known as the "Railgrip Syndicate".
The Railgrip idea was generally as follows. A light railway could be built with easy gradients interspersed with a series of steep ramps of about 1 in 12 as might be dictated by the local ground contour. The inclined ramps would be laid with rails having notches formed on the two sides of the bullhead portion, and a separate pair of double flanged and notched driving wheels would be lowered to engage with the special rails and so provide a form of rack and adhesion railway.
The experimental locomotive (works number 2020) was a standard Baguley with 6 in. by 9 in. cylinders modified by the addition of the centre pair of double flanged wheels which were driven by a separate pair of cylinders located as shown in the photograph. The Railgrip wheels were raised or lowered by means of a steam cylinder, and a differential feature was incorporated in the middle train of gears as will be noticed.
The locomotive worked quite well and there is no doubt that, had the idea been conceived a few years earlier, it might have had some future. As it was, however, the performance obtainable from a Garratt locomotive probably affected the development of the Railgrip principle. The actual idea came from a Canadian (?) by the name of Maxwell McGinnis, and amongst those interested in the project was the Port Talbot Steel Company which was responsible for rolling the special rails.
The locomotive was eventually scrapped at Baguley in the mid-1930’s, and was the sole example of its type. The photograph was taken outside the old Shobnall Road Works in Burton-on-Trent which were closed down in 1931, the site now being occupied by the steel foundry of Lloyds (Burton) Ltd.