Sir John Fowler 1st Baronet KCMG LLD

English civil engineer Sir John Fowler, 1st Baronet KCMG LLD sadly died 20 November 1898. He 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 the Institution 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.

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 Who’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, 20 November 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.

Victoria Bridge

LNER 60163 Tornado & LMS 6100 Royal Scot

GWR 2-6-2T 4144 returned To Didcot RAILWAY centre from the Severn Valley Railway on 1 November 2019

Peppercorn Class A1 Pacific locomotive LNER 60163 TORNADO will be in action on the Severn Valley Railway on November 9, 10, 17, and 24, 2019 after arriving recently. It was built in Darlington, County Durham, England. By the A1 Preservation Trust and was Completed in 2008, Tornado was the first such locomotive built in the United Kingdom since Evening Star, the last steam locomotive built by British Railways in 1960. It is the only example of an LNER Peppercorn Class A1 locomotive in existence, the entirety of the original production batch having been scrapped without preservation. The locomotive’s namesake is the Panavia Tornado, a combat aircraft flown by the Royal Air Force from 1979 to 2019. In April 2017, Tornado became the first steam locomotive to officially reach 100 mph in over 50 years on British tracks.

Construction of Tornado began in 1994, and was at Darlington Works for most of the project, while numerous components such as the boiler were manufactured elsewhere. The project was financed through fundraising initiatives such as public donations and sponsorship deals; further funding came from hiring out Tornado itself for special rail services. Construction was completed in 2008, and full certification of the locomotive was achieved in January 2009. Having been designed with compliance to modern safety and certification standards, Tornado has been conducting passenger services on the UK rail network and on mainline-connected heritage railways since 2008.

LMS 6100 Royal Scot is also at the Severn Valley Railway undergoing important maintenance. LMS 6100 Royal Scot Was built in 1927 by the North British Locomotive Company in Glasgow. It was named Royal Scot after the Royal Scots. In 1933, 6152 The King’s Dragoon Guardsman and 6100 swapped identities permanently. 6152 had been built at Derby Works in 1930. The new Royal Scot was sent to the Century of Progress Exposition of 1933 and toured Canada and the United States with a train of typical LMS carriages. She was shipped partially disassembled aboard the CanPac ship SS Beaverdale Following the tour she was given special commemorative plates that sit below her nameplates which reads

This locomotive with the Royal Scot train was exhibited at the Century of Progress Exposition Chicago 1933, and made a tour of the Dominion of Canada and the United States of America. The engine and train covered 11,194 miles over the railroads of the North American continent and was inspected by 3,021,601 people”


LMS 46100 Royal Scot
A1 60163 Tornado

6100 was bought by Billy Butlin of Butlins holiday camps after withdrawal and after cosmetic restoration into LMS crimson lake at Crewe Works, although this was the original livery received, the locomotive did not carry it after being rebuilt (only one rebuilt Royal Scot ever carried LMS crimson lake livery and that was 6170 British Legion). It was then towed from Crewe Works to Nottingham by Black 5 No. 45038 and then from Nottingham to Boston by B1 No. 61177 on 12 June 1963. it was then taken to Skegness by an Ivatt 4MT. Then it languished in the goods yard for 3 weeks before being taken by a Pickford’s low loader for the short road trip to Ingoldmells. Royal Scot arrived at Butlins on 18 July 1963 piped in by pipers from the 1st Battalion, The Royal Scots. This made 6100 one of two preserved rebuilt Royal Scots, the other being 6115 Scots Guardsman. It was set on a plinth at Skegness and was to remain there till the 1970s. On 16 March 1971 6100 departed from Skegness for the Bressingham Steam Museum and was returned to steam in 1972. It ran until 1978 when it once more became a static exhibit, it was eventually sold from Butlins to Bressingham in May 1989.

After sale to the Royal Scot Locomotive and General Trust (RSL&GT) in April 2009, chaired by enthusiast Jeremy Hosking, it was moved by road to Pete Waterman’s LNWR Heritage workshops in Crewe. On 20 March 2009, Royal Scot caught fire en route to a steam gala at the West Somerset Railway as the locomotive was being transported along the M5 Motorway when a fire started on the lorry under the loco’s leading wheels. The engine was later withdrawn from service due to a number of mechanical problems after completion from its previous restoration and it was decided to give the engine a complete overhaul to mainline standards. She performed her light and loaded test runs on Tue 22 & Wed 23 December 2015 and worked her debut railtour on Sat 6 February 2016.

Gare Montparnasse Derailment

The Montparnasse derailment occurred on 22 October 1895. It involved the the Granville to Paris express Which was composed of steam locomotive No. 721 hauling two baggage vans, a post van, six passenger carriages and a baggage van. The train had left Granville on time at 8:45 am, but was several minutes late as it approached its Paris Montparnasse terminus with 131 passengers on board. Trying to make up lost time the train entered the station too fast, at a speed of 40–60 kilometres per hour (25–37 mph). The Westinghouse air brake failed and Without sufficient braking the momentum of the train carried it slowly into the buffers, and the locomotive crossed the almost 30-metre (100 ft) wide station concourse, crashing through a 60-centimetre (2 ft) thick wall, before falling onto the Place de Rennes 10 metres (33 ft) below, where it stood on its nose

Amazingly Only two passengers, the fireman, two guards and a passerby in the street sustained injuries.  the only casualty was a woman named Marie-Augustine Aguilard who was killed by falling masonry; after standing in for her husband, a newspaper vendor, while he went to collect the evening papers. The railway company paid for her funeral and provided a pension to care for their two children.

The locomotive driver was fined 50 francs for approaching the station too fast and one of the guards was fined 25 francs as he had been preoccupied with paperwork and failed to apply the handbrake. Fortunately the passenger carriages were undamaged and removed easily. It took forty-eight hours before the legal process and investigation allowed the railway to start removing the locomotive and tender. An attempt was made to move the locomotive with fourteen horses, but this failed. A 250 tonne winch with ten men first lowered the locomotive to the ground and then lifted the tender back in to the station.

When the locomotive reached the railway workshops it was found to have suffered little damage. The train was outside the station for several days and a number of photographs were taken, such as those attributed to Studio Lévy and Sons, L. Mercier, and Henri Roger-Viollet. The Lévy and Sons photograph is out of copyright and is used as the cover page in the book An Introduction to Error Analysis by John Taylor. The picture is also featured on the front cover of American hard rock band Mr. Big’s 1991 album, Lean into It. It also appears as a dream in the novel The Invention of Hugo Cabret and its film adaptation, Hugo. It is referenced in the television series Thomas and Friends in “A Better View For Gordon” and depicted in the comic book The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec. At least one photograph is out of copyright and is used as the cover page of a book by John Taylor and on the front cover of Mr. Big’s album, Lean into It.

Severn Valley Railway Autumn Diesel Gala

The Severn Valley Railway Autumn Diesel gala takes place from October 3 until October 6 2019 Locomotives in action will include Class 09 No. 09107, Class 09 No. D4100, Class 14 No. D9551, Class 17 No. D8568, Class 33 No. 33108, Class 37 No. 37688 Great Rocks, Class 40 No. 40106 Atlantic Conveyor, Class 42 No. D821 Greyhound, Class 50 No. 50007 Hercules, Class 50 No. 50031 Hood, Class 50 No. 50033 Glorious, Class 50 No. 50044 Exeter, Class 50 No. 50049 Defiance, Class 52 No. D1015 Western Champion and Class 52 No. D1062 Western Courier

Special Attractions during the event will include the First passenger runs for Class 09 No. 09107, double-heading with fellow Shunter No. D4100. The First public runs of No. D1015 Western Champion in British Railways blue livery, following the fitting of two overhauled engines and the First public runs of Class 50 No. 50033 Glorious in BR ‘Large Logo’ blue following its recent repaint. Glorious will be accompanied by fellow class50 Diesels Hercules, Hood, Exeter and Defiance. Some Visitors will also be given a guided tour of the award-winning Diesel Depot facility at Kidderminster, on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday giving visitors the opportunity to see behind the scenes and get up close to photograph engines that won’t be on view to the public:

The LNER A1 Pacific locomotive no 60163 “Tornado” also returns to the Severn Valley Railway on November 9th, 10th, 17th and 24th 2019 hauling two services out of Kidderminster and two services out of Bridgnorth each day. Passengers can ride behind the iconic locomotive – hauling the Railway’s appropriate LNER teak set of carriages, Passengers can then travel on any train for the rest of your day with ‘Freedom of the Line’ tickets and can also upgrade to first-class, complete with a luxury hamper of local food to enjoy en-route.

Sir William Stanier CME FRS

Railway engineer Sir William Stanier sadly died 27 September. He was Born 27th May 1876 in Swindon. His father worked for the Great Western Railway (GWR) as William Dean’s Chief Clerk, and educated at Swindon High School and also, for a single year, at Wycliffe College. In 1891 he followed his father into a career with the GWR, initially as an office boy and then for five years as an apprentice in the workshops. Between 1897 and 1900 he worked in the Drawing Office as a draughtsman, before becoming Inspector of Materials in 1900. In 1904, George Jackson Churchward appointed him as Assistant to the Divisional Locomotive Superintendent in London. In 1912 he returned to Swindon to become the Assistant Works Manager and in 1920 was promoted to the post of Works Manager.In late 1931, he was “headhunted” by Sir Josiah Stamp, chairman of the London, Midland and Scottish Railway (LMS) to become the Chief Mechanical Engineer (CME) of that railway from 1 January 1932. He was charged with introducing modern and more powerful locomotive designs, using his knowledge gained at Swindon with the GWR. Stanier built many other very successful designs for the LMS, especially the “Black 5″ mixed traffic 4-6-0, and the 8F 2-8-0 freight locomotives.

His Coronation Scot set a new British record of 114 mph, beating the previous record set by a Gresley A4, but this was eclipsed by another Gresley A4 “Mallard”, which set a new record of 126 mph for Steam Engines which still stands to this day During WWII he worked as a consultant for the Ministry of Supply and retired in 1944. He was knighted on 9 February 1943 and elected a Fellow of the Royal Society on his retirement, the only railway engineer other than George Stephenson to receive that honour. He was also president of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers for 1944. William Stanier, with the backing of Sir Josiah Stamp, Chairman of the Company, reversed the small engine policy, which the LMS had inherited from the Midland Railway, with beneficial results. William Stanier, sadly passed away 27 September 1965. Happily many of Stanier’s locomotives can still be seen working on Heritage lines throughout the United Kingdom. Including LMS 6201 Princess Elizabeth, the Stanier “Black Five” 45110 (which was used for the Fifteen Guineas Special in 1968) STANIER 8F 2-8-0 48773 and the Stanier Mogul No. 42968. The LMS/BR 45110, 48773 and 42968 steam locomotives can currently be seen at the Severn Valley Railway Engine House in Highley and Princess Coronation 8p Duchess of Sutherland LMS8233has visited the Severn Valley Railway from Butterley for the 2018 SVR Autumn Steam Gala. Among Stanier’s Best designs are:

LMS Class 2P 0-4-4T (designed in the Midland Railway design office),
LMS Class 3MT 2-6-2T,
LMS Class 4MT 2-6-4T (3-cyl),
LMS Class 4MT 2-6-4T (2-cyl),
LMS Class 5MT 2-6-0 ”Mogul”,
LMS Class 5MT “Black Five” 4-6-0,
LMS Class 6P “Jubilee” 4-6-0,
LMS Class 8P “Princess Royal” 4-6-2,
LMS Class 8P “Princess Coronation” 4-6-2,
LMS Class 8F 2-8-0, LMS Turbomotive

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.