ENGLISH ELECTRIC EXPORTESE
|Bearing the headcode of an express train heading for London Midland Region, English Electric Class 20 Bo-Bo D8137 ( 20 137 in later British Railways service ) awaits a clear starting signal just north of Toddington to run round its train of empty coaching stock on a driving training course.|
|2007 marks two important
anniversaries for the diesel locomotive building division
of the English Electric Company: 50 years since the
delivery of the first Pilot Scheme diesel locomotive -
Class 20 D8000 - to British Railways and 40 years since
the export of the first Class 1401 diesel electric -
based on the BR Class 20 - to Portugal.
In the last half century, too, English Electric locomotives have become an important part of the railway scene in Gloucestershire - both on main and preserved lines.
For example, D8137 ( pictured above ) and 37 215 ( below ) have found a home on the Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Railway at Toddington and Classes 20 - and especially 37 - were an everyday sight around Gloucester, Cheltenham, Lydney, Stroud and Yate before being supplanted in the early 21st Century by imported American locomotives.
|English Electric Class 37 Co-Co 37 215 runs round its train of empty coaching stock during a driving training course on the Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Railway at Toddington|
|Less common - although not unknown - were the Class 37s older sisters the Class 40s (below, upper) while the newer and more advanced flat-fronted Class 50s ( below, lower ) helped bridge Western Region's motive power gap between the withdrawal of the D1000 series "Western" diesel hydraulics in 1977and the replacement of locomotive hauled passenger services with High Speed Trains in the 1980s.|
|A preserved English Electric Class 40 ( First numbered in the D200 - D399 series ) with original disc headcode and small yellow warning panel rests at Bury Bolton Street station on the East Lancashire Railway|
English Electric Type 4 Co-Co 50 033 "Glorious" arrives at York in 1994 with a Pathfinder railtour.
|English Electric "Deltics" ( below ) meanwhile only visited Gloucestershire at the end of their BR careers or as preserved locomotives, but certainly turned heads at the Gloucester Rail Days at Horton Road that they attended and gave a hint of the Type 5 power of two-stroke engines that were to become commonplace today.|
English Electric "Deltic" D9000 "Royal Scots Grey" joins D9016 "Gordon Highlander" and 55 015 "Tulyar" at Horton Road for Gloucester Rail Day 1991
The water tower of English Electric's Vulcan Works still stands alongside the railway line from Warrington Bank Quay, Cheshire, to Earlestown in Lancashire
|The English Electric Company was formed in 1919 and was taken over by GEC in 1969, with the EE name being made redundant in 1972. Although it was only in production for just over 50 years, the English Electric name and associated products will live on in some format or another for a considerable time, as English Electric became one of the most successful locomotive builders of the 20th century, not only in the UK but around the globe.|
|Schematic map showing the
main locomotive ( Earlestown ) and aircraft ( Samlesbury,
Warton and Lytham ) manufacturing premises of the English
Electric Company as well as Warrington Bank Quay, home of
the shipyard of the Vulcan Foundry.
In addition, Patricroft was famous for its LMSR locomotive depot, Earlestown station formed a triangle in the manner of Mangotsfield and Shipley, St Helens was the home of locomotive manufacturer Edward Borrows ( along with comedian Johnny Vegas and model Louise Glover ) and Rainhill was the scene of the famous 1829 Locomotive Trials where Stephenson's "Rocket" overcame competition from rivals "Sanspareil" and "Novelty". Further south, Paul Simon wrote the song "Homeward Bound" on Widnes station ( the town also being home to Spice Girl Melanie Chisholm ) while model, singer and TV personality Kerry Katona originally hails from Padgate.
Newton-Le-Willows itself is the home town of singer Rick Astley, best known for his hit "Never Going To Give You Up" while Preston's latest celebrity is glamour model Staci Noblett.
|Indeed, one part of the history of
the English Electric Company (EE) goes back to the very
first modern railway, opened on 15 September 1830 between
the Atlantic port of Liverpool and the industrial city of
The opening ceremony was graced by the presence of the Duke of Wellington, Prime Minister and hero of the Battle of Waterloo, and an imposing array of nobility. These including the Marquis of Salisbury, the Earl of Wilton, Lord Stanley, Lord Hill and Sir Robert Peel, together with the Lord Mayor of Liverpool and prominent members of Parliament. Sadly, one of these - the Rt. Hon. William Huskisson, M.P. – also became the first railway accident casualty when he was knocked down by the new locomotive "Rocket" and died from his injuries later the same day at Eccles. A tablet to his memory may be seen opposite the spot where the accident occurred near Parkside Junction.
The chief engineer of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway was George Stephenson, who had also been responsible for the partly steam-hauled Stockton & Darlington Railway of 1825 and for the development – along with his son Robert - of steam locomotives with multi-tubular boilers such as the Liverpool and Manchester’s "Rocket".
Indeed, such was the demand for steam locomotives that 1830 also saw the foundation of the Vulcan Foundry at Newton-Le-Willows, not far from the Liverpool to Manchester line. The Vulcan Foundry was run by a partnership of Charles Tayleur and George and Robert Stephenson, trading as "Tayleur & Stephenson".
|Fittingly, the new enterprise was
built not far from one of George Stephenson’s
particular triumphs in building the Liverpool and
Manchester Railway. Popularly known locally as the Nine
Arches, this viaduct spanned the Sankey Valley at Newton
Common and had required thousands of tons of ballast to
stabilise the marshy ground to provide firm foundations
for the massive sandstone structure which is still in
daily use in 2007.
Just as English Electric would also make products as diverse as alternators and aircraft in the Twentieth Century, so Tayleur and Stephenson also fabricated much of the iron work used in the construction of the Conway and Britannia Tubular Bridges on Robert Stephenson’s Chester and Holyhead Railway. This Bank Quay Foundry was located to the south of Newton-Le Willows in Warrington, close to today’s railway station on the West Coast Main Line that the serves the town nowadays best known for models Tracy Elvik and Danielle Lloyd and media personality Chris Evans.
The World’s first iron sea-going sailing ship - a tea-clipper named "Tayleur" -was also built at Warrington Bank Quay Foundry in 1852 but was wrecked on her maiden voyage off Lambay Island in the Irish Sea, with a loss of 450 lives. Some superstitious people blamed this disaster on the captain falling into the hold whilst the ship was under construction or that an evil spirit ran the vessel aground to favour the Carpenters' Society whose members were naturally perturbed by the substitution of iron for England's traditional "wooden walls".
Charles Tayleur, however, was not discouraged, and proceeded with the construction of other vessels at Bank Quay, including "Startled Faun," "Liverpoolania," "Sarah Palmer" and "Sarah Sands."
Meanwhile, among the earliest railway locomotives produced at the Vulcan Works at Newton-le-Willows were "Tayleur" (No. I) and "Stephenson", built about 1831 and taken over by Mr. Hargreaves for use on the North Union Railway, followed in quick succession by the "Warrington," "Vulcan" and "Newton," to the order of the Warrington and Newton Railway.
Vulcan Foundry also supplied the London & Greenwich Railway with its first locomotive (VF No. 25) and the "Jacob Perkins" for the Stanhope & Tyne Railway. In 1837, "Vulcan", "Aelos" and "Pacchus" were built to the seven foot and one quarter inch Broad Gauge and delivered to the Great Western Railway.
As early as 1835 engines were being shipped abroad, amongst the earliest being eight single drivers for the Paris and St. Germain Railway. In 1837, one of the first Locomotives to run in Russia was built here, a 2-2-2 for the St. Petersburg-Pavlosk Line, and two 0-4-2 goods engines were delivered the same year to the Kaiser Ferdinand Nordbahn of Austria. American orders included three for the South Carolina Railroad, and two for the Raleigh and Gaston Railroad, delivered in 1835 and 1836 respectively. Other early locomotives were "L'Elephant" for Belgian Railways, and four single-driver engines for the Berlin and Potsdam Railway.
Indeed, Vulcan Foundry locomotives were still being sold around the World when the firm founded by Charles Tayleur and the Stephensons became part of English Electric in 1955, having already bought out the Darlington based Robert Stephenson & Hawthorn Company in 1944.
1955 also saw Vulcan Foundry build Pacific WL-15005 which on 6 December 1995 became the last steam locomotive to work commercially on Indian main line railways. Now named "Sher-e-punjab" - Tiger of Punjab - this 5' 6" gauge 4-6-2 was reactivated in 2011 for special trains and film work.
|CLASS 15B FOR ARGENTINA|
|This Vulcan Foundry poster depicts Ferro Carril Class 15B 4-8-0 1565 introduced to Argentina in 1948 below the proud boast "Locomotoras Vulcan Se Construyen Desde 1830". Vulcan's local representative is listed as Percy Grant & Co Ltd - Reconquista 311 - Buenos Aires.|
|In 1948 the Vulcan Foundry
exported 30 mixed traffic 4-8-0 locomotives to
Argentina's Broad Gauge ( 5' 6" or 1676mm ) Buenos
Aires Great Southern Railway ( later National Railroad
General Roca ). Numbered from 1561 to 1590, they were
collectively known as Class 15B and marked a number of
technical advances over the Buenos Aires Great Southern
Railway Class 15A, built by Vulcan Foundry in
Newton-le-Willows in 1938.
Within each Class 15B - the locomotive and tender weighing just under 1481/2 tons in working order - a steel built oil burning Belpaire firebox heated a 225 psi ( 15.83 Kg/cm2 ) pressure boiler feeding two 19 1/2" ( 496.3mm) bore x 28" (711.2mm) stroke cylinders driving the wheels through outside grease lubricated Walschaerts valve gear with piston valves fitted with a Detroit type visible drop lubricator. Each coupled and bogie axlebox also had its own individual oil supply
|STRENGTH IN NUMBERS|
|Meanwhile, further north along the
West Coast Main Line at Preston, 1896 saw the The
Electric Railway and Tramway Carriage Works Limited
established on the premises at Strand Road which had been
occupied by the North of England Railway Carriage and
Iron Company Limited in 1863 and had previously been a
privately owned carriage building concern from 1830. This
land had been reclaimed from the River Ribble when
Preston Docks were built.
The Electric Railway and Tramway Carriage Works Limited was a subsidiary of a partnership of two Glasgow merchants - W.B. Dick and John Kerr, formed in 1875, and helped develop the world market for electric urban tramway systems.
The Electric Railway and Tramway Carriage Works Limited developed a further five acres of the Strand Road site with the capacity to produce 800 vehicles per annum, although drive machinery for the vehicles had to be imported from the United States of America.
Then, in 1898, The Equipment Syndicate of Manchester built a factory which occupied both sides of Strand Road.
These two concerns merged to form the "English Electric Manufacturing Company Ltd" in November 1899 but this use of the name was only to last four years, before it was amalgamated fully into the Dick, Kerr & Co.
|Among the products of The United Electric Car Company was Darlington Corporation Light Railways 17, built in 1913 and designed to run on a Preston Flexible Truck.|
Dick, Kerr & Co. went on to acquire Preston based tram maker United Electric Car Company in 1905 - creating Britain's largest tram factory - before it, Willans & Robinson of Rugby, the Phoenix Dynamo Manufacturing Company of Thornbury, Bradford, the Coventry Ordnance Works and Siemens Brothers works at Stafford merged together in 1919 become the "English Electric Company" (EE).
Four of the companies that merged
were under the control of John Brown & Co, who had
earlier made inroads into the production of the metal
rails for use on the railways, but became better known
for shipbuilding in Glasgow.
|WINGS ACROSS THE RIBBLE|
|Like H.H. Martyn in Cheltenham, both Dick, Kerr & Co. ( with its
wooden tram body experience ) and the Phoenix Dynamo
Manufacturing Company of Thornbury, Bradford, had built
aircraft from 1917 – in this case Felixstowe F3 and
F5 flying boats designed by the Seaplane Experimental
Station at Felixstowe. However, despite large initial
orders only 11 F3 and 3 F5 units were completed at
Preston and flown from South Shields by the end of the
First World War.
Separately, the British government built hangars next to the River Ribble at Lytham - downstream from Preston - and one Fairey Atalanta flying boat was built there by Dick Kerr from 1919 to 1921
The Kingston – first flown in 1924 – had been a flying boat design brought by the Phoenix company when it joined English Electric and was put into production after the English Electric Wren - a light 3 bhp powered glider also designed in Bradford - first flew from Ashton Park near Preston on 5 April 1923. Unfortunately the first of seven Kingstons built at the Lytham hangars was irrepairably damaged by flotsam but the rest took to the air by 1926 when, due to a downturn in demand, the English Electric aircraft department closed .
|THE NELSON TOUCH|
|Despite beginning with a capital
of £ 5 million, more than any other British electrical
company in 1919, the late 1920s found EE in a parlous
financial state with complex financial reorganisation,
apparently backed by American Westinghouse interests,
needed to save it. The man most associated with rescuing
English Electric, 43 year old George Horatio ( later Lord
) Nelson, became Managing Director in 1930 having
previously been General Manager of the Sheffield works of
At the same time the manufacture of electrical equipment was moved to Bradford while tramcar, bus body, and rolling stock production stayed at Preston. At this point in its history however,English Electric was mainly dependent on making water and steam turbines, electrical generating sets, switchgear, transformers and electric equipment for electric and diesel-electric locomotives, ships, trams, trolley buses, industrial diesel engines and rolling mills.
|Captured at Cleveleys on Saturday 1 September 2007, Blackpool "Balloon" double deck trams 701 and 713 were built by English Electric in 1934 -1935 with Westinghouse brakes and pairs of EE306 40kW motors. The last ever trams built by English Electric at Preston went to Aberdeen in 1940.|
|Despite the Wall Street Crash of 1929, the later 1930s were a happier time for English Electric. The company supplied equipment for the third rail electrification of the Southern Railway from London Victoria to Brighton, which gave it a strong position in the traction market. However, an early experimental design for a diesel railcar was not successful in the UK due to the lack of perceived need for this type of vehicle!|
|English Electric 0-6-0 diesel electric 08 936 rests at Horton Road, Gloucester in 2007. Although painted in Harry Needle Railroad Company colours this 1962 vintage machine - built at BR Darlington Works as D4166 - is now a part of the Cotswold Rail fleet.|
|Around the same time though, a
6-cylinder engine was built at the Willans & Robinson
Rugby works, which was fitted to a 0-6-0 diesel prototype
shunter designed by EE, fitted with EE electrical
equipment, but with mechanical parts built by another
external company, Hawthorne & Leslie. This became the
ancestor of all the Class 08 and 09 diesel electric
shunters of British Railways and many other derivatives
The core business of
Willans & Robinson - founded in 1880 - and their
modern descendent, GEC Alsthom Turbine Generators
Limited, was and is steam prime movers although the end
of the 19th Century saw a diversification into oil and
gas engines, boilers, pumps and even steel making.
|HIGHER AND FASTER|
|The Handley Page Hampden was the last of the twin engined bombers to go into service with the Royal Air Force prior to the Second World War. Together with the Armstrong Whitworth Whitley and Vickers Wellington, the Handley Page Hampden bore the brunt of the early raids on Germany. Although the design - with a similar format to the Luftwaffe's Dornier 17 - showed promise, the Hampden lacked adequate defensive armament and bomb load and in September 1942 transferred from RAF Bomber Command to Coastal Command as a torpedo bomber. The Handley Page was founded by Sir Frederick Handley-Page who was born in Cheltenham, as was Bomber Command's later leader, Air Chief Marshall Sir Arthur Harris.|
|With war clouds once again looming
meanwhile, 1939 saw English Electric acquiring Samlesbury
Aerodrome north east of Preston in Lancashire. The return
of English Electric to aircraft building came from the
undertaking during the expansion of the RAF prior to the
Second World War of "shadow production" of
other aircraft manufacturers designs. This started with
production of the Handley Page Hampden bomber in 1938.
English Electric built nearly 800 aircraft, more than half of the Hampdens produced, with 80 Hampdens rolling off the production line at its peak in 1944. English Electric then built Handley Page's heavy bomber, the Halifax. At the end of the war they entered production of the second British jet fighter, the de Havilland Vampire, with 1,300 plus built at Samlesbury. From assets of £ 7 million in 1939, English Electric was worth £ 16.5 million by 1945 and had become one of the largest engineering concerns in Britain.
|The English Electric Canberra evolved from the B6 ( top side view ) to the offset fighter type canopy used on the B (I) 8 ( plan and front view ) and PR9 ( lower two side views ). The first Canberra flew on 13 May 1948 and became the first British twin-jet bomber, the most advanced aeroplane in the World at the time and the most successful British aircraft ever designed in peacetime.|
|In 1942 EE also took over
aero-engine company Napier & Son which helped
establish the company's own aircraft division. In fact
English Electric’s own design work took off after
the Second World War under W. E. W. "Teddy"
Petter, formerly of Westland Aircraft. The design office
- founded in Corporation Street, Preston, in 1946 - moved
to the former RAF Warton in 1947 to pursue the
construction of four prototype A1 bombers - later much
better known as the English Electric Canberra. Built in
1940 and used by the USAAF, Warton had a longer runway
than Samlesbury and was thus better suited to the new
Although EE had only two aircraft types produced before their activities became part of the British Aircraft Corporation – namely the Canberra twin jet bomber of 1948 and the P1A of 1954 which evolved into the Lightning twin jet fighter - the design team put forward suggestions for many Air Ministry projects. In 1958 EE's aviation business was set up separately as English Electric Aviation Ltd.
However, due to Government pressure at the end of the 1950s, EE rationalised its aircraft division, which later became part of the new British Aircraft Corporation (BAC). Like Vickers Aircraft, English Electric had a 40% stake in BAC making it a senior partner to Bristol Aircraft.
In 1963 English Electric's guided weapons division – responsible for the Thunderbird surface-to-air missile – was added to BAC although sadly the partly BAC Warton based TSR2 was cancelled in 1965. Despite this, Strand Road, Samlesbury and Warton sites were kept busy with Canberra, Lightning and Strikemaster construction as well as rear fuselage manufacture of BAC/ Aerospatiale Concorde and McDonnell Douglas Phantom II aircraft.
|The cancellation of the original British supersonic jet programme based on the straight winged Miles M52 immediately after World War II – and the catastrophic failure of the swept wing De Havilland DH 108 Swallow ( based on an English Electric built Vampire fuselage ) - allowed the air-launched rocket propelled American Bell X-1 to break the sound barrier for the first time on 14 October 1947 .In August 1948 however a new Air Ministry specification was issued for a supersonic research aircraft which resulted in the construction of the Fairey Delta 2 and the English Electric P1A. The first P1A – appropriately serialled WG 760 - first flew on 4 August 1954 and a week later became the first British aircraft to exceed Mach 1 in level flight. The succeeding P1B featured an enlarged fin and rudder to enhance handling beyond Mach 1.53 and more powerful Rolls Royce Avon engines with variable reheat to replace the Armstrong Siddeley Sapphires of the P1A. The P1B also had a fighter type cockpit with improved rear vision, air interception radar housed in the centre of the air intake and provision for gun and missile armament. XG337, first flown on 5 September 1959 and preserved at RAF Cosford, was the last pre-production P1B and virtually indistinguishable from the production English Electric Lightning F1.|
|In 1946 meanwhile English Electric’s takeover of the Marconi Company marked both its first foray into domestic markets and the first move toward electronic and computing interests, the latter coming about through agreements with RCA. In 1963 EE merged the computing business of J Lyons (their LEO computers having pioneered stock control and ordering for Lyon’s Corner Houses) with their own, forming English Electric LEO. In 1964 Lyons sold their share to Marconi; the merger of Marconi and EE LEO resulted in English Electric Leo Marconi Computers, which eventually became part of ICL.|
|Bulleid designed 10202 - built at Ashford in 1951 - rests at Stewarts Lane depot, London, on 5 September 1952|
|After the war, the railway
companies of the UK were seeking ways to modernise the
railways. The Great Western Railway (British Railways
Western Region after Nationalisation in 1948) went down
the gas turbine route, whereas the London Midland and
Scottish (London Midland Region) and Southern Railway
(Southern Region) went for diesel electric propulsion. EE
had a major influence on both the latter two with the
pioneering main line diesels 10000 and 10001 for the
London Midland Region and their Southern Region
counterparts 10201, 10202 and 10203.
biggest influence on the Home market was to come in the
1955 when the Vulcan Foundry, became part of the group,
creating the principal supplier in the UK and a strong
export player, especially Australia, New Zealand, Asia
and a number of African countries. The addition of Vulcan
Foundry also complemented the steam turbine building
interests of English Electric
|DP2 was captured on an overcast day in 1965 at Marylebone by Andy Peckham. The 105 ton 2 700 bhp diesel electric was powered by an English Electric 16 cylinder 16CSVT prime mover, offering 50 000 of tractive effort through 3' 6" diameter wheels. Following the Thirsk accident of 31 July 1967 it was returned to its makers.|
|By the mid-1960s the expansion of
the company was completed with the takeover of Ruston
& Hornsby in November 1966 while from 1967 English
Electric supplied its last mainline locomotive class to
British Railways. The Class 50's - based on the ill fated DP2 - were initially leased to BR, but with the
future of the company in doubt they were all sold before
the end of the decade.
In 1960 English Electric had tried to take over one of the other major British electrical companies , the General Electric Company (GEC) but instead merged with Elliott Automation in1967, the same year that GEC took over AEI and Plessey tried and failed to take English Electric over.
The end of English Electric came early in 1969, when the company was taken over by GEC and a new company , English Electric-AEI Traction, was formed. The English Electric name continued to be used for a further three years, before it was assigned to history when GEC Traction was formed.
|A view inside the erecting shop of English Electric's Vulcan Works in the late 1950s with 1Co-Co1 Class 40s under construction|
|By November 2002, CP's English Electric Class 1801 Co-Co diesels were nearly all withdrawn - only 1808 and 1810 surviving for railtour use. The similarity to 50 033 "Glorious" pictured above is quite apparent although these "Hoovers" were not made available by CP for export to Argentina.|
|A Caminhos de Ferro Portugeses (CP) technical document with the specifications for the 1668mm ( 5' 3") gauge English Electric designed EE LD 844 C locomotives numbered 1401 to 1467 and introduced from 1967 to 1969. In fact only 1401-1410 were built at English Electric's Vulcan Works, the rest being assembled in Portugal by Sorefame of Lisbon. The EE LD 844 C Bo-Bos were fitted with eight cylinder Mark 2 8CSVT turbo blown and charge air cooled prime movers rated at 1 370 bhp at 850 rpm and Westinghouse air brakes.|
|Britain's first main line diesel
locomotive order for a European country was placed at the
end of 1965 when English Electric was selected to design
( and manufacture the first ten examples of ) a fifty
unit order for a 1350 bhp mixed traffic Bo-Bos for
secondary lines in Portugal.
The power to weight ratio of 20.5 bhp per tonne of the new one-man-operated machines was also the highest achieved by any diesel electric locomotive exported from the United Kingdom and their intended role was to supplement the existing ac electrified routes such as that running north from Lisbon along the coast to Figueira da Fox.
Although fitted with two driving positions in the steeple roofed cabs - optimised for left hand running - the EE LD 844 C locomotives offered an axle load of only 16 tons due to the sparing use of equipment. The English Electric machines also featured well tried components, easy access to the bonnet superstructure for maintenance and good cab visibility for shunting operations. The livery as delivered from the two erectors was black bogies below a blue superstructure with a silver stripe.
|The picture above was taken by Ken Guest and shows CP 1462 brining a goods train from Faro into San Atonio near the Spanish border on 20 June 2010.|
|EXPORTESE ON TOUR|
An unidentified member of CP Class 1400 crosses the River Douro on a viaduct near Tua. Tua itself is the junction for a metre gauge line into port vineyard country along the wide Douro, pacified in the 1970s by the construction of a series of dams.
|In May 2001 Gary Thornton of the
British magazine Rail Express reviewed no less than five
Portugese railtours organised by PTG Tours over the first
weekend in April that year:
Tour 1 of the series, "The Estremoz Freighter" ran on 30 March and was unusual in that it would involve the addition of a number of passenger coaches to a scheduled freight train. For the UK enthusiast, the tour was of even more interest as the train concerned was to be hauled by a CP 1801 class locomotive - a very close relative of the BR Class 50. The tour particopants had to meet at Praias Sado, a real back-of-nowhere station but which was close to the yard where the freight train commenced.
1807 looked and sounded superb. The train set off just after midnight and consisted of five flat wagons and three first class compartment coaches. The flat wagons were loaded with bagged cement. For the tour participants it was mostly a case of two to a compartment and heads down to try and get some sleep. Further passengers were collected at Evora by which time daylight had arrived.
All went well until near Estremoz, the train's destination, when adhesion problems caused by heavy drizzle slowed 1807 considerably. The decision was taken to split the train and leave the passenger coaches behind. At least the crew of 1807 did return (about 90 minutes later) to collect us! After a shortened break at Estremoz the return "empty" working left at 1300 with 1807, the three passenger coaches and three different freight wagons.
At Vendas Novas on the way back the train was stopped owing to the failure of a service train going in the other direction. 1807 was commandeered to rescue the service train - very rare traction indeed for the luckless passengers! The train finally reached us about 90 minutes late. 1807 was taken off and we were then able to continue back to Praias Sado.
Another midnight start for tour 2 "The Night Owl Co " - a short tour to get the train and passengers from Praias Sado to Entroncamento ready for tour 3. It was also the means to get the loco (American built Alco 1501 Class 1510 ) north ready for the last tour of the weekend, of which more later. I don't remember much of this tour as I was asleep for almost all of it. Arrival into Entroncamento was about 0300 but we were allowed to sleep on as the same stock was being used for the forthcoming day tour. Or that was the plan anyway - some passengers got a rude awakening about 0330 as CP decided to remove one coach as it had defective heating! The only compensation for those passengers was the use of British built Sentinel shunter 1159 to remove the coach before they were thrown off!
Tour 3 was on Saturday 1 April 2001 and was called "The Marvao Marvel". The plan was to take a CP 1401 Class loco into Spain by one route and come back by another. This class is also quite well known to UK enthusiasts as the first ten of the fleet were built by English Electric at Newton-Le-Willows in England. They use an uprated version of the engine used in Class 20s and hence they sound quite similar, even though they look completely different.
1464, a Portugese built example, was our motive power all day. From Entroncamento, tour participants headed to Caceres in Spain via Abrantes and Marvao-Beira. The route is over quite mountainous terrain and the scenery is breathtaking in places - and plenty of "thrash" from 1464 to enjoy too! Another novely (for me at any rate) was the inclusion of a restaurant car in the train formation. As we headed over into Spain there was the chance to sit and enjoy a three-course waiter-served meal - all washed down with loads of wine. Portugese of course!
Two reasonable length breaks were arranged - in Caceres and Merida, both in Spain. We arrived back in Portugal and the tour terminated at Abrantes where road coaches had been arranged to get us to our first hotel of the trip. After almost 48 solid hours on the same train a shower and soft bed were most welcome!
Sunday 2 April 2001 saw the Entroncamento Rail Day - a series of short trips to different destinations using a variety of locomotive classes. 1464 took the railtourers brom Abrantes to Entroncamento then the following out-and-back runs were made:
2501 and 2502 to Combra-B, 2558 and 2567 to Tomar, 1555 and 1568 to EDP Pego
EDP Pego was a power station at the end of quite a long freight branch from Mouriscas. Finally 1510 was motive power for a one way trip to Tomar, our base for the night. Monday 3 April 2001 was the last day for this series of tours and was to use 1510 all day on "The Alco Farewell" - a tour to celebrate over 50 years of operation by this US built class. Although the tour started at Tomar, some of us got to Entroncamento by service train as a depot and works visit had been arranged in the morning. The short journey from the station to the depot and back was made by rail too and locos 1212 and 1169 were used.
On the main tour, 1510 performed well all day. At Coimbra we had the interesting experience of street running to gain access to the Serpins branch. Then on the run south to Lisboa, the CP inspector on board the train gave permission for cab rides in 1510. I managed to take advantage of this and experienced the drivers eye view of proceedings from Pero Negro to Mafra. We finally arrived into Lisboa SA station a little after 2100.
|MODELLING CP CLASS 1401|
|In 2002 the British magazine Rail
Express reported on the first product of Grupo Moose - a
partnership set up between three like-minded Portugese
modellers, one of whom was English - to try and produce
models of contemporary CP rolling stock due to the almost
complete lack of available ready-to-run products. As the
Portugese market is quite small, Moose Group ( as it is
known in English ) decided to start with an HO gauge
English Electric Class 1400 locomotive that would appeal
to Portugese and interested British modellers alike. As
Rail Express continued:
"The model features a high quality one-piece resin bodyshell, produced in the UK by the same manufacturer as the well-known Silver Fox Models range. Bogie sideframes are also formed in resin whilst vacuum formed flush glazing in transparent plastic allows easy fitting of cab windows. Separate detail items include A1 Models turned brass air horns, Kean-Maygib sprung brass buffers and high quality plastic bufferbeam brake pipes and couplings. The bodyshell is mounted on a modified Athearn chassis, which has been professionally machined to accommodate the Class 1400 body, providing a reliable 5-pole motor and substantial metal underframe. Specially commissioned transfers include bufferbeam and bodyside numbering, CP logos and overhead warning signs.
The 1400 model is available in two forms- as a kit at £ 99.00 and as a made-to-order, fully finished, ready to run model at £ 169.00. To reserve a model - or for more information - contact Grupo Moose ( in English or Portugese ) at Praceta 25 de Abril, 162, 2-esq 4430-257 Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal.
It would seem that Portugese modellers have followed the same route as their Irish counterparts in continuing to use HO gauge models to represent prototypes of gauges wider than 4' 81/2" - and I have yet to discover whether Grupo Moose are going to produce their Class 1400 Bo-Bo in the colours of Linea San Martin or Merlo-Lobos bound Trenes de Buenos Aires (TBA) to appeal to Argentine modellers.
|PAMPAS CRICKETS 5771-5775|
|Just as English Electric
eventually produced diesel electric locomotives for
British Railways in all the power bands from Type 1 (
Classes 08, 09 and 20 ) to Type 5 ( Class 55 Deltics ),
so Lord Nelson's empire also embraced wheel arrangements
as diverse as 0-6-0, 4-6-0 ( in the case of Gas Turbine
GT3 ) , Bo-Bo, Co-Co and 1Co-Co1. If the Brush built Class 31 diesel electrics re-engined
from the original 1250 bhp Mirrlees, Bickerton & Day
JVS12T prime mover to the 1470 bhp English Electric 12
SVT are also included, English Electric can likewise
claim membership of the elite "club" of A1A-A1A
locomotive builders alongside North British Locomotive ( D600
series Warships )
and Brown Boveri ( Western Region Gas Turbine 18000 ).
However, a year before D8000 - the doyen of the Class 20s - left Vulcan Works at Newton Le Willows in 1957, five pure English Electric A1A-A1A diesels were arriving on the metre gauge Ferrocarril de la Provincia de Buenos Aires in Argentina. Not only did they resemble British Railways Class 20s with Class 40 type cabs but they shared the distinctive whistle of a Napier turbocharged English Electric engine found on their British counterparts - hence the name "Los Grillos de las Papas" - Pampas Crickets!
The metre gauge Ferrocarril de la Provincia de Buenos Aires had already been impressed with British built Sulzer diesel engined railcars, but were influenced too by the slow delivery of steam locomotives with Caprotti valve gear to the broad gauge lines of EFEA - then Railway company of the Argentine State. As a result, the metre gauge railway began to dieselise with products of English Electric's Vulcan - and later Robert Stephenson ( Darlington ) - works.
five English Electric A1A-A1As were numbered D.E 31 to 35 by
Ferrocarril de la Provincia de Buenos Aires and later
became collectively known as Class D.E. 623 when the
locomotives ownership was transferred to Ferrocarril
The locomotives cabs were, like the Class 40s outshopped from Newton Le Willows two years later for British Railway, influenced by earlier streamlined North American practice. Behind this however, a more pedestrian - yet practical - format allowed the English Electric Type 8 SRKT prime mover and associated equipment to be easily accessible for maintenance from walkways on the outer part of the chassis.
Indeed, the resemblance to the British Railways Class 20s extended to the provision of both forward and rearward facing control desks in the cab and an eight cylinder four-stroke inline engine rated at 1 000 bhp, although the Class 20s had the later 8SVT engine running at 850 rpm.
The eventual Class D.E. 623 was able to offer a useful 872 bhp at the rail ( no machine being 100% efficient ) which could propel each of the 72 ton locomotives - with a 2 455 litre fuel capacity - to 80 km/h. Even more striking was the original livery of dark green with a white bodyside stripe ending in a V on the cab front ( a precursor of future British diesel and DMU styling ) combined with silver roof, red buffer beams and a black underframe. Little wonder then that these welcome immigrants also earned the affectionate nickname "Las Inglesitas" -The English Girls!
Just as English Electric Classes 20 and 40 and the English Electric engined Brush A1A-A1A Class 31s of the same vintage were used on everything from pick-up goods to named expresses in Britain, so Ferrocarril de la Provincia de Buenos Aires used The English Girls as maids of all work including the La Plata to Mira Pampa "El Pampero" express from La Plata to the half way station "9 de Julio". Beyond "9 de Julio" to Mira Pampa "El Pampero" remained steam hauled.
"Las Inglesitas" also replaced steam on services Avellaneda and La Plata in Buenos Aires Province.
monastral blue replaced previous British Rail liveries in
the 1960s, so the same decade saw The English Girls
renumbered as 5771-5775 and repainted in EFEA colours.
These liveries began with red with cream stripes and red
EFEA lettering, then red with yellow and black lines (
seen above on 5771 ) and finally to the red and yellow
scheme depicted on 5773 below.
Because of subsequent cutbacks in the services from La Plata to Azul and La Plata to Mirapampa on the Ferrocarril de la Provincia de Buenos Aires all the Pampas Crickets passed to the General Belgrano Railway (FCGB). This organisation was subdivided into Belgrano-C ( The former Central Cordoba Railway) , Belgrano-M (The former Buenos Aires Midland Railway ) and Belgrano-G ( The former French owned Compañia General de Buenos Aires ). This move to service on the General Belgrano Railway also heralded a change from Vulcan-installed vacuum brakes to air brakes. The cylinders for these were fitted to the inner ends of the A1A bogies and came from US built Whitcomb diesel locomotives that had already been scrapped.
|Originally maintained at
Workshop Gambier a few kilometres from La Plata, The
English Girls ran tirelessly through the 1960s and 70s,
often on local services between Avellaneda and La
Plata, Pte. Alsina and Libertad (on the Belgrano M
division ), Estacion Buenos Aires (City) and González
Catan (Belgrano G division ) . Their final passenger
hauling diagrams were spent on the Buenos Aires to
González Catan and Pte Alsina to Libertad routes (
passenger working over the Avellaneda to La Plata branch
having ceased in 1977 ) and the final chirrup of the
Pampas Crickets was on Belgrano G division's freight
workings between Tapiales and
González Catan, maintenance then being allocated to
5771 was withdrawn in 1977 with the other four original English Girls leaving service in 1979. They were then taken to the workshops of San Cristóbal in the province of Santa Fe, to be cannibalised of parts for the second series of English Electric A1A-A1A, by then working on another part of FCGB. After being moved to other locations, 5771-5775 were finally scrapped at Charadai in Chaco province in 1998.
Although none of The English Girls were officially named, 5771 carried a plaque in memory of Driver Flores who had lost his life when his Sulzer engined PBA railcar collided with a rake of wagons that had become detached from a freight train travelling ahead of him - an uncanny echo of the 1967 Thirsk disaster.
|PAMPAS CRICKETS 5776-5796|
second series of 21 Pampas Crickets - numbered 5776 to
5796 - were delivered in 1958 to what was then the
Ferrocarril Central Cordoba: later the Belgrano-C
division of FCGB. Here "Las Inglesitas"
replaced less powerful and reliable US built Whitcomb
diesels on local services from Retiro to Munro, Villa
Adelina and Villa Rosa. As delivered from England, the
livery comprised a metallic grey roof and overall red
paintwork relieved by a black V band lined out in yellow.
Allocated to Boulogne Workshops until the arrival of Argentine built US designed GM-G22CU diesel electrics in 1972, 5776 to 5796 then transferred to Alta Cordoba workshops and worked on ex Compañia General de Buenos Aires and ex Buenos Aires Midland Railway branch lines. They were officially withdrawn in 1991.
|THEY ALMOST LIVED TWICE!|
|"Pampas Cricket" 5784 featured in this English Electric advertisement placed in the Portugese press just before the introduction of the CP 1401 Class Bo-Bos. The text reads; " 500 000 Km sem beneficiacao . Nos Caminhos de Ferro Argentinos varias locomotivas ENGLISH ELECTRIC de 1 000 hp functionando intensivamente nos servicos suburbanos de Buenos Aires completarans, cada uno, mais de meio milhao de quilometros sem qualquer beneficiaclo principal. Representantes Exclusivos Soc. VICTOR. Lda , Av Antonio Augusto de Aguiar 25-A Lisboa"|
another parallel between the railway histories of Britain
and Argentina, British Rail's 1967 National Traction Plan
to rationalise the proliferation of diesel locomotive
types was mirrored by the 1969 survey of EFEA's 14 diesel
classes under the administration of General Juan Carlos
Widely regarded as the best ever President of Argentina's nationalised railways from his time in office between 1967 to 1971, railwayman's son Juan Carlos De Marchi was born in Junin in Buenos Aires Province. Growing up surrounded by the finest British railway traditions, Juan Carlos spent much of his youth inside the principal workshops of the Buenos Aires & Pacific Railway and learned how to drive - and fire to a high standard - a steam locomotive before he went to military school.
On gaining the railway's highest office, General Juan Carlos De Marchi recovered all the steam locomotives capable of being repaired and then exhaustively surveyed the reliabilty of the diesel fleet.
He found that the GM-EMD GR12s of the Broad Gauge Sarmiento ( former Buenos Aires Western ) line were the most reliable, followed by the metre gauge English Electric "Pampas Crickets" with Alco RSD16 and Alsthom units in third place.
Acting on this information, General De Marchi approached the most successful manufacturers with the aim of purchasing180 new locomotives for all his railway gauges. Unfortunately by this time English Electric had been taken over by GEC, who seemed uninterested in tendering for any further work in Argentina. Similarly Alco was no longer extant, but although design licence holder MLW of Canada did offer its products the best pitch came from the Electo Motive Division of General Motors in the USA.
The first Broad Gauge products from La Grange, Illinois, arrived in 1972 although the metre gauge versions did not replace The English Girls until the start of the 1990s. Indeed, the English Electric A1A-A1As continued to work harder than ever, hauling heavy six carriage trains with continuous acceleration and braking on the Belgrano C division. As English Electric declared in the British magazine "Modern Railways" in 1967:
"A fleet of these English Electric locomotives operates on the intensive suburban service of Argentina's capital. Their rugged simplicity, typical of English Electric design, enables them to average 500 000 Km between top overhauls in spite of continuous start.stop working over short distances."
About 1974 a joint Anglo-Argentine study recommended that Las Inglasitas receive new prime movers and upgraded electrical systems but sadly the financial limitations of the contemporary Peron - and then military - governments in Argentina conspired to prevent this.
From a practical viewpoint, the new GM-EMD machines offered 1600 bhp on Co-Co bogies - and a more responsive two-stroke engine - rather than 1000 bhp on less sure footed A1A's and significantly improved service timings.
However many railway workers could not believe that The English Girls should be withdrawn when so much money had been spent on repairing less reliable locomotives: especially as the Vulcan Foundry built machines could have been used on less demanding rural services or the local Belgrano M and G divisions. As a result, railwaymen began to send The English Girls to store in rural areas to avoid the flame cutter and 5778 ( pictured above ) was even returned to running order by technicians working voluntarily and without pay and robbing sister machines for spare parts. 5778 hauled a number of special trains on the Belgrano line before sadly being destroyed in an accident with a tank truck laden with fuel.
Today only two Pampas Crickets remain - in a bad state of repair - in the Workshops of the Co-operative San Cristobal. This is a shame as these metre gauge English Electric locomotives are generally regarded as some of the best motive power imports ever to turn their wheels in Argentina. Long may they be happily remembered!
both batches of Pampas Cricket were similar, it was
possible to tell them apart.
For example, the first series had single marker lights on either extremity of the front buffer beam while on the second series vertical pairs of marker lights were located at the top of the bonnet.
Similarly, the right hand cab side windows were of different depths and on the right side in first series there was no grille after the radiator on the long hood, and in the second series there are two grilles in the lower part. In the second series, too, a grille that was in one of the doors of the central sector had been eliminated and on the right side in the second series the side servicing doors had been repositioned. There was now no such door next to the driving cab and a number of bodyside grilles near to the radiator had been amalgamated.
Finally, the first series of Pampas Crickets had swan necked bogies while the second series had straight armed types.
|NEW LOCOMOTIVES ON LINEA SAN MARTIN|
|In early April 2006 at Haedo, on
the Sarmiento ( former Buenos Aires Western ) line in
Buenos Aires Province, Argentina, a Class 1401 English
Electric locomotive – previously imported second
hand from Portugal – was compared to an American
built ALCO RSD39 with a 4 stroke 1 300 bhp engine. Both
locomotives moved identical carriage loads and although
the ALCO had a higher maximum speed the English Electric
machine had better acceleration. This was judged more
important when both machines were earmarked for suburban
services that rarely top 90 km/h.
A total of fourteen English Electric locomotives were shipped from Portugal to Argentina with the aim of reactivating some lines that were closed in the 1990s. Two of the first batch of seven EE LD 844 C Bo-Bos were built at Vulcan Works near Warrington while the other five locomotives – powered by a Mark II eight cylinder 8CSVT prime mover yielding 1370 bhp– were built under licence by Sorefame of Portugal from 1967 to1969. All had Westinghouse air brakes and were modified to fit the Argentine 1676mm ( 5’6" ) gauge. In particular, the bogie protection metalwork had to be raised to avoid short circuits when working over third rail electrified lines.
At the same time ex Portugese owned French built Brissioneau & Lotz diesel locomotives and Sorefame built Budd designed first and second class passenger carriages also arrived from Portugal with a number of Spanish locomotives, carriages, DMUs and EMUs. However, none had the classic English Electric turbocharged "whistle". Close your eyes and you could be listening to a British Railways Class 40, or even one of the English Electric built "Pampas crickets" supplied direct to Argentina in the 1950s. Click here for video
|Following the Haedo tests, too, the photographs above and below of
English Electric designed ex Portugese Class 1401 and
ALCO Type RSD16 8819 in their smart new grey,white and
blue Linea San Martin livery were taken at Retiro Station
in Buenos Aires City on the San Martin (former Buenos
Aires Pacific) line. In both cases the carriages are also
of Portugese origin - being built by Sorefame based on
American Budd designs - and make use of the four tracks
from Retirio station to accelerate semi-fast services to
destinations such as Hurlingham.
Also visible in the photograph above is the cupola of Retiro Belgrano station of the metre gauge former Central Cordoba Railway, just above the cab of 1417. Just behind the tree meanwhile is the Buenos Aires Sheraton Hotel.
|RAILWAY MAPS OF ARGENTINA|
|To add to the enjoyment of the above articles, here are two maps - one German and one Argentine - of the various railway lines of different gauges emanating from Buenos Aires. I aim to produce my own schematic maps at some point in the future.|