Isambard Kingdom Brunel

Best known for building dockyards, the Great Western Railway, steamships, bridges, tunnels and revolutionising public transport and modern engineering, the British mechanical and Civil Engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel, FRS sadly died 15 Spetember 1859 after having a Stroke. He was born 9 April 1806. When Brunel was eight he was sent to Dr Morrell’s boarding school in Hove, where he learned the classics. His father, was determined that Brunel should have access to the same high-quality education he had enjoyed in his youth in France; accordingly, at the age of 14, the younger Brunel was enrolled first at the College of Caen in Normandy, then at Lycée Henri-Quatre in Paris. Sadly his because his Father Marc sent him to expensive schools, he encountered financial problems, however because he was a Prominent engineer the Government intervened on his behalf.When Brunel completed his studies at Henri-Quatre in 1822, he was due to attend the renowned engineering school École Polytechnique, however Brunel studied under the prominent master clockmaker and horologist Abraham-Louis Breguet instead, after he praised Brunel’s potential in letters to his father. In 1822 after having completed his apprenticeship, Brunel returned to England. Brunel worked for several years as an assistant engineer on the hazardous project to create a tunnel under London’s River Thames near Rotherhithe, alongside his Father, who was chief engineer. However cave-ins and severe flooding in 1828 killed a number of Miners a delayed work, with Brunel narrowly escaping death himself.

During Brunel’s life, the use of railways began to take off as a major means of transport for goods. This influenced Brunel’s involvement in railway engineering, including railway bridge engineering. In 1833, before the Thames Tunnel was complete, Brunel was appointed chief engineer of the Great Western Railway, one of the wonders of Victorian Britain, running from London to Bristol and later Exeter.The company was founded at a public meeting in Bristol in 1833, and was incorporated by Act of Parliament in 1835. It was Brunel’s vision that passengers would be able to purchase one ticket at London Paddington and travel from London to New York, changing from the Great Western Railway to the Great Western steamship at the terminus in Neyland, South Wales.He surveyed the entire length of the route between London and Bristol himself, with the help of many including his Solicitor Jeremiah Osborne of Bristol Law Firm Osborne Clarke who one occasion rowed Isambard Kingdom Brunel down the River Avon himself to survey the bank of the river for the route.

Brunel used broad gauge of 7 ft 1⁄4 in (2,140 mm) for the track, despite almost all other railways using standard Gauge, because he believed Standard Gauge would offer superior running at high speeds; he also proved through both calculation and a series of trials that his broader gauge was the optimum size for providing both higher speeds, greater stability, comfort for passengers, and allowed for larger carriages and thus greater freight capacity. Drawing on Brunel’s experience with the Thames Tunnel, the Great Western designed many viaducts such as the one in Ivybridge, specially designed stations, and vast tunnels including the Box Tunnel, which was the longest railway tunnel in the world at that time. Brunel also ordered many Locomotives to his own specification including “North Star” and 20-year-old Daniel Gooch (later Sir Daniel) was appointed as Superintendent of Locomotive Engines. Brunel and Gooch chose to locate their locomotive works at the village of Swindon.

Brunel also designed many bridges including the Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol. Spanning over 700 ft (210 m), and nominally 200 ft (61 m) above the River Avon, after submitting his designs to a committee headed by Thomas Telford, who rejected all entries, in favour of his own design, until the Public voted in favour of Brunel’s design. Brunel also designed the Maidenhead Railway Bridge. Work also started on the Clifton suspension bridge in 1831, but was suspended due to the Queen Square Riots, However Thanks to colleagues at the Institute of Civil Engineers Work recommenced in 1862 and was completed in 1864, five years after Brunel’s death. The Clifton Suspension Bridge still stands today and over 4 million vehicles traverse it every year. In 1855 Brunel also designed the Royal Albert Bridge Which spans the River Tamar at Saltash near Plymouth. This bridge consists of two main spans of 455 ft (139 m), 100 ft (30 m) above mean high spring tide, plus 17 much shorter approach spans. Opened by Prince Albert on 2 May 1859, it was completed in the year of Brunel’s death. Brunel also designed Somerset Bridge (an unusual laminated timber-framed bridge near Bridgwater, the Windsor Railway Bridge. The Maidenhead Railway Bridge over the Thames in Berkshire is still carrying main line trains to the west, even though today’s trains are about ten times heavier than in Brunel’s time. In 1845 Hungerford Bridge, was opened. This was a suspension footbridge across the Thames near Charing Cross Station in London, however this was replaced by a new railway bridge in 1859, and the suspension chains were used to complete the Clifton Suspension Bridge.

In 1830, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society and On 5 July 1836, Brunel married Mary Elizabeth Horsley (b. 1813), who came from an accomplished musical and artistic family, being the eldest daughter of composer and organist William Horsley. They established a home at Duke Street, Westminster, in London. In 1843, while performing a conjuring trick for the amusement of his children, Brunel accidentally inhaled a half-sovereign coin, which became lodged in his windpipe. A special pair of forceps failed to remove it, as did a machine devised by Brunel to shake it loose. At the suggestion of his father, Brunel was strapped to a board and turned upside-down, and the coin was jerked free. He recuperated at Teignmouth, and enjoyed the area so much that he purchased an estate at Watcombe in Torquay, Devon. Here he designed Brunel Manor and its gardens to be his retirement home. Sadly He never saw the house or gardens finished, as he died before it was completed. Brunel, a heavy smoker, suffered a stroke Just before the Great Eastern made her first voyage to New York. He died ten days later at the age of 53 and was buried, like his father, in Kensal Green Cemetery in London.He left behind his wife Mary and three children: Isambard Brunel Junior (1837–1902), Henry Marc Brunel (1842–1903) and Florence Mary Brunel (1847–1876). Henry Marc followed his father and grandfather in becoming a successful civil engineer.

Charles Collett

The great Western Railways’ Chief Mechanical locomotive Engineer Charles Benjamin Collett was born 10 September 1871. He was educated at Merchant Taylors School and City and Guilds Engineering College in South Kensington, London, England, before he was made chief mechanical engineer of the Great Western Railway from 1922 to 1941. He designed (amongst others) the GWR’s 4-6-0 Castle and King Class express passenger locomotives. Collett’s predecessor, George Jackson Churchward had delivered to the GWR from Swindon a series of class leading and innovative locomotives, and arguably by the early 1920s the Great Western‘s 2-cylinder and 4-cylinder 4-6-0 designs were substantially superior to the locomotives of the other railway groupings.In 1922 Churchward retired, and Charles Benjamin Collett inherited a legacy of excellent standardised designs. But, with costs rising and revenues falling, there was a need to rationalise the number of pre-grouping designs and to develop more powerful locomotives.

Collett was a practical development engineer and gifted, technical Engineer who could look at existing designs and reliably improve them. he took Churchward’s designs and developed them – the Hall from the Saint class, and the Castle from the Star, in this way Collett was able to produce a standardized fleet of locomotives ideally suited to the GWR’s requirements. He was able to extract substantial performance gains out of the Churchward designs, and the Castle Class was testament to this.He was also responsible for more humble locomotives, such as many of the pannier tank classes. However he received criticism from contemporary engineers and later railway historians for undertaking very little innovation in his designs, instead sticking with Churchward’s style in every case. Arguably this meant that by the time Collett retired the superiority of Great Western locomotives was lost to more modern designs, particularly those of William Stanier, who worked at Swindon before moving to the LMS in 1932, and took Churchward’s style with him but developed it in line with the progression in steam technology.

Some of the classes which Charles Collett designed were the 1101 Class (0-4-0 T): 1101–1106, 1366 Class (0-6-0 PT): 1366–1371, 1400 Class (0-4-2 T): 1400–1474, 2251 Class (0-6-0): 2200–2299, 3200–3219, 2884 Class (2-8-0): 2884–2899, 3800–3864, 3100 Class (2-6-2 T): 3100–3104, Earl or Dukedog Class (4-4-0), Castle Class (4-6-0): 4073–4099, 5000–5099, 7000–7037, 4575 Class (2-6-2 T): 4575– 4599, 5500– 5574, 4800 Class (0-4-2 T): 4800– 4874 (later 1400–1474), Hall Class (4-6-0): 4900– 4999, 5900– 5999, 6900– 6958, 5101 Class (2-6-2 T): 5101–5199, 4100–4179, 5205 Class (2-8-0 T): 5205–5264, 5400 Class (0-6-0 PT): 5400–5424, 5600 Class (0-6-2 T): 5600–5699, 6600–6699, 5700 Class (0-6-0 PT): 57xx, 67xx, 77xx, 87xx, 97xx, 36xx, 37xx, 46xx, 96xx, 5800 Class (0-4-2 T): 5800–5819, King Class (4-6-0): 6000–6029, 6100 Class (2-6-2 T): 6100–6169, 6400 Class (0-6-0 PT): 6400–6439, Grange Class (4-6-0):6800–6879, 7200 Class (2-8-2 T): 7200–7253, 7400 Class (0-6-0 PT): 7400–7449, Manor Class (4-6-0): 7800– 7829, 8100 Class (2-6-2 T): 8100–8109, GWR diesel shunters: Diesel shunters 1 and 2 and GWR railcars: Diesel railcars 1–38

In 1926, Great Western’s General Manager Sir Felix Pole told Collett to proceed with the design and construction of a “Super-Castle” to haul heavy expresses at an average speed of 60 mph. The result was the King class 4-6-0 design which emerged from Swindon works in June 1927. This had dimensions never previously seen, and represented the ultimate development of Churchward’s four cylinder concept. It was the heaviest (136 tons), and had the highest tractive effort (40,300 lbs.) of any 4-6-0 locomotive ever to run in the United Kingdom. However Because of its weight, the King class was restricted to a limited number of routes. It was also under Collett’s control that diesel power first appeared on the GWR. He introduced the first streamlined rail cars in 1934 and by 1942 38 had been built, although the latter ones had more angular styling. Some were configured for long distance express services with buffet counters, others for branch line or parcels work, and some were designed as two-car sets.

Charles Collett sadly passed away 5 April 1952 but he leaves a long lasting legacy in the form of some excellent locomotives many of which are still in steam thanks to the dedication and hard work of many steam railway enthusiasts at various heritage lines such as the Great Central, North York Moors, East Lancashire, Severn Valley and Bluebell railways.

Pines Express

The last Pines Express to run over the Somerset and Dorset Joint Railway (SDJR) was on 8 September 1962. It was hauled by the last steam locomotive built by British Railways, BR Standard Class 9F 92220 Evening Star. The train was then diverted over ex-GWR metals via Oxford, Reading, Basingstoke and Southampton. In 1964 a Pines Express was the last passenger service worked over the Didcot, Newbury and Southampton Railway before the line closed to all traffic between 1965 and 1967. From 4 October 1965 it was extended to Poole, but the last train was run on 4 March 1967. The Pines Express was a named passenger train that ran daily between Manchester and Bournemouth in England between 1910 and 1967 However It did not run under the name Pines Express until 26 September 1927. It is believed to have been named after the pine trees growing in the Chines in the Bournemouth area.

When the service first ran, unnamed, on 1 October 1910, it was run jointly by the Midland Railway and LNWR; and was introduced in response to a LSWR/GWR service between Birkenhead and Bournemouth. The Pines Express became known as the top express to use the Somerset and Dorset Joint Railway (S&DJR); a steeply-graded railway line through photogenic hilly countryside between Bath Green Park and Bournemouth West station, much loved and sorely missed by enthusiasts. On this line, trains often had to be double-headed due to gradients, producing spectacular photographs and film footage. Ivo Peters, in particular, took many amateur photographs and cine films of the S&DJR.

9f 92220 Evening Star

The two termini used were nominally Manchester Piccadilly (then ‘London Road’) and Bournemouth West stations. However, for many years before the demise of the service, the northbound Pines terminated at the adjoining Mayfield station. This practice probably arose because the arrival time coincided with the evening rush hour when the London Road platforms were fully occupied. During the late 1950s this was the sole use of Mayfield station for passenger services. InterCity (British Rail) revived the Pines Express name for several years as part of the CrossCountry network and revived many of the named trains running on what would now be called CrossCountry, although these were rerouted and timed to fit into the standard hourly service pattern through Birmingham New Street. All named CrossCountry trains finally lost their names as part of Virgin CrossCountry’s Operation Princess in 2002.

Severn Valley Railway Classic Car Day

An impressive collection of up to 150 iconic vehicles is appearing at the Severn Valley Railway classic vehicle day on 31 August From Marques such as Ford, Fiat, Jaguar, Lotus, Rolls Royce, Standard, Morgan, Jensen, Triumph, Alfa Romeo, Standard, Austin Healey Plus many others. Plimsoll the road-rail Land Rover is also on the track. Among the cars on display were:

1927 Standard Model V4 Tourer
1959 Jensen 541R
1969 Singer Chamois Sports
1969 Jaguar E-Type
Morris Minor Pick-up
Morris Minor
Morris Minor Traveller
1957 Vauxhall Victor Series 1
Bedford Aristocrat
Commercial Imp Van
Austin A40
Austin Healey Sprite
Triumph Spitfire
Morris Marina
Volkswagen Beetle
Ford Model Y
Jaguar XK150
Morgan 4/4
Ford Angelia 105e
Mg TC 10 Sport
Rolls Royce3/4 Coupe
Morris8
MG TA
MG magnetite
Sunbeam Talbot
Austin A55
Hillman Imp
Austin Cambridge
Lotus Cortina
Austin A35 van
Rover P6
Lotus Elite

1960 Vauxhall Velox PA
1961 Austin Seven Mini
1963 Ford Cortina Mk.1 GT
Hillman Imp
Alfa Romeo Giulietta
MGB GT
Alpine GTA TURBO
Mercedes SLK
CLUELY tourer
Rolls Royce 20hp
Hillman Aero Minx
11965 Land Rover Series ll
Alvis TE21
1967 Morris 1100
1968 Morris Minor Pick-Up
Austin Metropolitan
Morris Cowley
Austin Seven Box Saloon /Ruby/Pearl/opal
Triumph Mayflower
Austin Healey
Austin 8
Morris Oxford Traveller Rover 75
Ford Zephyr-Zodiac
Morris Minor Split-Screen
Morris 1000
Morris Minor 2-Door Saloon
Turner 2-Seater Open Sports
Morris Minor Traveller
Morris Minor 1000
Triumph Herald 13/60
Jaguar ‘S’ Type 3.4
Triumph Herald
MGB Roadster
Hillman Avenger Tiger
Jaguar E-Type V12
MGB Roadster
Rover P6 SC
Peugeot 304S
Hillman Imp Caledonian
Volkswagen Beetle Karmann
Rover P6 SC 3.5 Auto
TVR 3000S
Volkswagen Camper Van
Jaguar XJ-S
Ford Capri 2.8 Injection
Ford Capri ‘280’
Ford Escort XR3i
Nissan Figaro
Citroen 11B Traction Avant
Jaguar E-Type
Porsche 944SZ
1957 Standard 8 Gold
1927 Standard Model V4 Tourer
1957 Morris Minor
1929 Austin Burnham 12/4
1955 Austin-Healey
1927 Standard Model V4 Tourer

Fifteen Guineas Special

August 11 marks the  anniversary of the 1T57 Fifteen Guinea Special rail tour which took place 11 August 1968 which was organised to mark the last occasion a steam hauled passenger train could legally run on the mainline in the United Kingdom. British Rail introduced a Steam ban the following day. It ran from Liverpool via Manchester to Carlisle and back, and was pulled by four different steam locomotives in turn during the four legs of the journey (with two engines sharing the third leg). The Fifteen Guinea Special was so named because of the high price for tickets on the railtour (15 guineas = £15 15s 0d in pre-decimal British currency). Ticket prices had been inflated due to the high demand to travel on the last BR steam-hauled mainline train.

The end of steam-hauled trains on British Railways was a turning point in the history of rail travel in Britain. The BR steam ban was introduced the day after the railtour, on 12 August 1968, making the Fifteen Guinea Special the last steam-hauled passenger train to be run by BR on its standard gauge network (though BR would continue to operate three steam locomotives on the narrow gauge Vale of Rheidol line until it was privatised in 1989). After this point all trains in Britain would be hauled by diesel or electric power, with the exception of privately owned heritage railways and privately run charters that are now able to run on the mainline provided that the steam locomotive has received necessary certification. The only steam locomotive to which the ban did not apply was Flying Scotsmandue to a clause in the contract in which she was purchased from BR in 1963. Several other railtours had already marked the end of steam haulage on other parts of the British (not UK) network.

During most of these railtours, the Fifteen Guinea Special included, the line was flanked with large crowds due to the high popularity of steam engines and the belief that it was highly unlikely that they would be allowed back onto the network, although in the event steam specials on BR lines were introduced only three years later in 1971. All but one of the locomotives that hauled the train passed into preservation. 45110 now resides on the Severn Valley Railway and has been named RAF Biggin Hill. 44871 is currently mainline operational and resides on the East Lancashire Railway and 70013 Oliver Cromwell is now part of the National Collection and was restored to mainline running in 2008. It is based on the Great Central Railway. The only one not preserved LMS Black 5 no 44781 was used for filming of the film The Virgin Soldiers, for which it was derailed and hung at an angle for visual effect. After filming was completed, an enthusiast tried to purchase her, but was unable to find the money needed, so she was then sold for scrap and eventually cut up.

To celebrate the 40th Anniversary of 1T57′ and end of steam on British Railways a re-run of the tour ran on Sunday 10 August 2008 (as 11 August was a Monday in 2008). To celebrate the 50th Anniversary on the Severn Valley Railway both 45110 and 48773 were removed from the Engine House at Highley and put on display at Kidderminster. Other railtours have also been organised to commemorate the event involving 44781, 44871 and 70013 – Oliver Cromwell.

The original tour ran from Liverpool Lime Street-Manchester Victoria-Carlisle-Manchester Victoria-Liverpool Lime Street. Class 5 45110 went from Liverpool Lime Street to Manchester Victoria! While Britannia Class 70013 Oliver Cromwell travelled from Manchester Victoria to Carlisle! While Stanier Class 5 44871 and LMS Stanier Class 5 44781 travelled from Carlisle to Manchester Victoria and LMS Class 5 45110 Travelled from Manchester Victoria to Liverpool Lime Street. Locomotives used during the re-run in 2008 Included Stanier Class 8F 48151, Britannia class 70013 Oliver Cromwell, LMS Stanier Class 5 45407 (as first choice, 44871 was under overhaul) and LMS Class 5 45231. LMS Class 5 45110 was not used as its mainline certificate had expired. However, 45110 ran over the Severn Valley Railway on 11 August 2008 with a special 1T57 service. This was 45110’s last day in service with its at-the-time boiler certificate which had expired. LMS Class 5 45305 was allocated to the original train back in 1968 but failed the night before and was replaced by 45110.

The 15 Guinea Special at Barton Moss on the last leg from Manchester Victoria to Liverpool Lime Street hauled by Stanier 5MT 45110.The railtour started at 09:10 from Liverpool Lime Street. It was hauled by LMS Class 5 45110 to Manchester Victoria, arriving 8 minutes late at 10:42. No. 45110 was replaced with Britannia Class loco no. 70013 Oliver Cromwell – the last steam locomotive to be overhauled by BR – and the train departed for Carlisle at 11:06. The train arrived at Carlisle, 33 minutes late, at 15:29. For the first part of the return leg, two LMS Stanier Class 5 locomotives, 44781 and 44871, double-headed the train back to Manchester Victoria. The train departed Carlisle at 15:44 – 14 minutes late – and arrived in Manchester at 19:00, 12 minutes late. Re-joining the train at Victoria station, 45110 then worked the remainder of the journey back to Liverpool Lime Street, arriving only 9 minutes late at 19:59

Sir John Fowler KCMG LLD

English civil engineer Sir John Fowler, 1st Baronet KCMG LLD was born 15 July 1817. in Wadsley, Sheffield, Yorkshire, England, to land surveyor John Fowler and his wife Elizabeth (née Swann). He was educated privately at Whitley Hall near Ecclesfield. He trained under John Towlerton Leather, engineer of the Sheffield waterworks, and with Leather’s uncle, George Leather, on the Aire and Calder Navigation an railway surveys. From 1837 he worked for John Urpeth Rastrick on railway projects including the London and Brighton Railway and the unbuilt West Cumberland and Furness Railway. He then worked again for George Leather as resident engineer on the Stockton and Hartlepool Railway and was appointed engineer to the railway when it opened in 1841. Fowler initially established a practice as a consulting engineer in the Yorkshire and Lincolnshire area, but, a heavy workload led him to move to London in 1844. He became a member of theInstitution of Mechanical Engineers in 1847, the year the Institution was founded, and a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers in 1849

He specialised in the construction of railways and railway infrastructure . In 1853, he became chief engineer of the Metropolitan Railway in London, the world’s first underground railway, which opened between Paddington and Farringdon in 1863. Fowler was also engineer for the associated Metropolitan District Railway and the Hammersmith and City Railway. They were built by the “cut-and-cover” method under city streets. To avoid problems with smoke and steam overwhelming staff and passengers on the covered sections of the Metropolitan Railway, Fowler proposed a fireless locomotive. The locomotive was built by Robert Stephenson and Company and was a broad gauge 2-4-0 tender engine. The boiler had a normal firebox connected to a large combustion chamber containing fire bricks which were to act as a heat reservoir. The combustion chamber was linked to the smokebox through a set of very short firetubes. Exhaust steam was re-condensed instead of escaping and feed back to the boiler. The locomotive was intended to operate conventionally in the open, but in tunnels dampers would be closed and steam would be generated using the stored heat from the fire bricks.

The first trial on the Great Western Railway in October 1861 was a failure. The condensing system leaked, causing the boiler to run dry and pressure to drop, risking a boiler explosion. A second trial on the Metropolitan Railway in 1862 was also a failure, and the fireless engine was abandoned, becoming known as “Fowler’s Ghost”. The locomotive was sold to Isaac Watt Boulton in 1865; he intended to convert it into a standard engine but it was eventually scrapped. On opening, the Metropolitan Railway’s trains were provided by the Great Western Railway, but these were withdrawn in August 1863. After a period hiring trains from the Great Northern Railway, the Metropolitan Railway introduced its own Fowler designed, 4-4-0 tank engines in 1864. The design, known as the A class and, with minor updates, the B class, was so successful that the Metropolitan and Metropolitan District Railways eventually had 120 of the engines in use and they remained in operation until electrification of the lines in the 1900s. Today these railways form the majority of the London Underground’s Circle line

Fowler established a busy practice, working on many railway schemes across the country. He became chief engineer for the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway and was engineer of the East Lincolnshire Railway, the Oxford, Worcester and Wolverhampton Railway and the Severn Valley Railway. Other railways that Fowler consulted for were the London Tilbury and Southend Railway, the Great Northern Railway, the Highland Railway and the Cheshire Lines Railway. Following the death of Isambard Kingdom Brunel in 1859, Fowler was retained by the Great Western Railway. His various appointments involved him in the design of Victoria station in London, Sheffield Victoria station, St Enoch station in Glasgow, Liverpool Central station and Manchester Central station.The latter station’s 210-foot (64 m) wide train shed roof was the second widest unsupported iron arch in Britain after the roof of St Pancras railway station. Fowler’s consulting work extended beyond Britain including railway and engineering projects in Algeria, Australia, Belgium, Egypt, France, Germany, Portugal and the United States. He travelled to Egypt for the first time in 1869 and worked on a number of, mostly unrealised, schemes for the Khedive, including a railway to Khartoum in Sudan which was planned in 1875 but not completed until after his death.

Victoria Bridge

In 1870 he provided advice to an Indian Government inquiry on railway gauges where he recommended a narrow gauge of 3 feet 6 inches (1.07 m) for light railways.He visited Australia in 1886, where he made some remarks on the break of gauge difficulty. Later in his career, he was also a consultant with his partner Benjamin Baker and with James Henry Greathead on two of London’s first tube railways, the City and South London Railway and the Central London Railway. As part of his railway projects, Fowler also designed numerous bridges. In the 1860s, he designed Grosvenor Bridge, the first railway bridge over the River Thames,and the 13-arch Dollis Brook Viaduct for the Edgware, Highgate and London Railway. He is credited with the design of the Victoria Bridge at Upper Arley, Worcestershire, constructed between 1859 and 1861,and the near identical Albert Edward Bridge at Coalbrookdale, Shropshire built from 1863 to 1864. Both remain in use today carrying railway lines across the River Severn. In the 1880s, he was chief engineer for the Forth Railway Bridge, which opened in 1890 and Following the collapse of Sir Thomas Bouch’s Tay Bridge in 1879, Fowler, William Henry Barlow and Thomas Elliot Harrison were appointed in 1881 to a commission to review Bouch’s design for the Forth Railway Bridge. The commission recommended a steel cantilever bridge designed by Fowler and Benjamin Baker, which was constructed between 1883 and 1890.

Fowler stood unsuccessfully for parliament as a Conservative candidate in 1880 and 1885. His standing within the engineering profession was very high, to the extent that he was elected president of the Institution of Civil Engineers in 1865, its youngest president. Through his position in the Institution and through his own practice, he led the development of training for engineers. In 1857, he purchased a 57,000 acres (23,000 ha) estate at Braemore in Ross-shire, Scotland, where he spent frequent holidays and where he was a Justice of the Peace and a Deputy Lieutenant of the County.He listed his recreations in Whoo’s Who as yachting and deerstalking and was a member of the Carlton Club, St Stephen’s Club, the Conservative Club and the Royal Yacht Squadron. He was also President of the Egyptian Exploration Fund.In 1885 he was made a Knight Commander of the Order of Saint Michael and Saint George as thanks from the government for allowing the use of maps of the Upper Nile valley he had had made when working on the Khedive’s projects..

They were the most accurate survey of the area and were used in the British Relief of Khartoum. Following the successful completion of the Forth Railway Bridge in 1890, Fowler was created a baronet, taking the name of his Scottish estate as his territorial designation. Along with Benjamin Baker, he received an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws from the University of Edinburgh in 1890 for his engineering of the bridge. In 1892, the Poncelet Prize was doubled and awarded jointly to Baker and Fowler. Fowler died in Bournemouth, Dorset, at the age of 81 and is buried in Brompton Cemetery, London. He was succeeded in the baronetcy by his son, Sir John Arthur Fowler, 2nd Baronet sadly he died 25 March 1899 and The baronetcy became extinct in 1933 on the death of Reverend Sir Montague Fowler, 4th Baronet, the first baronet’s third son

Fredrick Hawksworth

The last Great Western Railway Chief Mechanical Engineer Frederick William Hawksworth sadly died 13 July 1976. He was born 10 February 1884 in Swindon, and he joined the GWR in 1898, aged 15 where he worked Under George Churchward and C.B. Collett before becoming Chief Mechanical Engineer of the Great Western Railway when he was 57, in 1941. Having been at the forefront of steam locomotive development under George Jackson Churchward, ideas at Swindon Works had somewhat stagnated under the later years of his successor C. B. Collett, whose reluctance to give up the CME’s post resulted in Hawksworth’s lateness in taking up this position. Hawksworth had been one of Churchward’s “Bright Young Men”, and was involved in Churchward’s designs: he worked on, for example, the general arrangement drawings for “The Great Bear”.

Hawksworth continued in the design tradition which he had been involved in throughout his career, but made some important improvements. In particular increased superheat started to be fitted to the larger classes under his regime, and the works started to make much more use of welded construction. Another prominent new concept was a tender with slab sides, using welded construction, giving a much smoother appearance than the traditional design with stepped sides and riveted plates. His first design to be built, from 1944, was the Modified Hall, a significant development of the Collett design with increased superheat and very different cylinder and frame construction.After the war there were four more new designs, mostly improvements of earlier types. The ‘County’ Class 4-6-0 was the last and most powerful GWR 2-cylinder 4-6-0, the culmination of a line that began with the ‘Saints’ 42 years before. The chassis was similar to the modified Hall, but the boilers were to a new design, larger in diameter than the Std 1 (Hall) boiler but smaller in diameter and appreciably shorter than the Castle boiler. This boiler used tooling which was available from LMS 8F 2-8-0 boilers which Swindon had built for the Railway Executive during World War II and was pressed to 280psi, higher pressure than any previous GWR boiler.

BR 2-6-0 1501pt

They used some of the names from the vanished Churchward County Class 4-4-0s. He also designed The taper boilered 9400 Class 0-6-0 pannier tank, which were similar to the 5700 class under the footplate but had a much larger boiler giving them more power and adhesive weight – and thus braking capacity. Only the first ten, built by the Swindon, appeared under the GWR. The last two designs were only seen in British Railways livery. Arguably his most radical design was the 1500 Class. This had the same boiler as the 9400 but an all new short wheelbase chassis with outside Walschaerts valve gear and no running plate, and made considerable use of welded construction, the only remaining 15xx class left, no.1501, can currently be seen on the Severn Valley Railway. They were designed for easy maintenance by the trackside. The last Hawksworth design was a very light conventional 0-6-0 pannier tank, the 1600 Class. This was a modernisation of the 2021 Class.

Hawksworth remained Chief Mechanical Engineer through the formation of the Western Region of British Railways in 1948, and continued to work on locomotive design until retiring at the end of 1949. He died in Swindon 27 years later on 13 July 1976. His ashes are buried in St. Mark’s Church, adjacent to the former site of Swindon Works.