Vulcan Foundry


Jinty90000.jpgHunslet side 5Black 5

The Vulcan Foundry was established at Newton-le-Willows by Charles Tayleur in 1830 and in 1832 it started producing girders for bridges, switches and crossings, and other ironwork following the opening of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway.

As the locomotive works of Robert Stephenson at Newcastle-upon-Tyne was some distance from the Liverpool & Manchester Railway it was considered preferable to build and maintain the locomotives for the line closer. Thus in 1832 Robert Stephenson became a partner in the business and remained so for a few years.

The earliest authenticated locomotives to be built at Vulcan Foundry were 0-4-0 Titan and Orion which were delivered to the Liverpool & Manchester Railway in 1834.

In 1834 Daniel Gooch began his working career as an apprentice engineer at Vulcan Foundry. He went on to become Sir Daniel Gooch who in 1837 became the first Superintendent of Locomotive Engines on the Great Western Railways.

In 1835 the company sold three bogie locomotives to the South Carolina Railroad Company which helped to set the standard for subsequent American locomotive designs.

Through the 1830s Vulcan Foundry continued to export locomotives to countries including Russia and Belgium.

In 1846 the company built the worlds first tank engines – they were delivered to the Waterford and Kilkenny Railway in Ireland

In 1847 the company became The Vulcan Foundry Company although in 1898 the word company was dropped from the name.

In 1852 the company exported eight 2-4-0 locomotives to the Great Indian Peninsula Railway. These locomotives were used at the railways opening hauling the first public railway service in India. Between 1852 and 1952 Vulcan Foundry supplied 2,750 locomotives to India.

In 1864 Thomas Qullem Roberts the Vulcans was killed by tiger in Jamalpore India whilst working as a foreman at the erecting shop.

In 1870 Vulcan Foundry supplied the first railway locomotive to run in Japan, this locomotive now preserved in Japan. Works No 614 which became JNR No 1. In April 1911 it was sold to a small private railway in Kyushu and when it was withdrawn in 1936 it was bought for preservation at the National Railway Museum.

The company continued to develop its range of designs and level of production so that workforce rose from 537 in 1865 to 1,390 by 1906.

In 1884 the 1,000th locomotive was completed at the Newton-le-Willows works. By 1898 the foundry had produced 1,500 locomotives making in the fourth largest locomotive constructor in Britain. More than two-thirds of its output was exported. The majority of exports were built to standard gauge. However, exports to America, Ireland, India, and Russia were made to various wider gauges. The Great Western Railway and some others in England had Brunel’s broad 7ft gauge. From 1868, Vulcan also produced locomotives for a narrow 3ft 6in gauge, mostly for Japan, New Zealand, Australia, South America and Africa.

By 1914 the number produced had increased to 3,000 locomotives.

Following the formation of the London, Midland and Scottish Railway in 1923 some very large orders were received, including over a hundred LMS Fowler Class 3F 0-6-0T engines and seventy-five LMS Compound 4-4-0 locomotives.

Through the1930s the company survived the trade recessions with the aid of more orders from India, some from Tanganyika and Argentina, and a large order in 1934 from the LMS for 4-6-0 Black Fives and 2-8-0 Stanier-designed locomotives.

In 1931, the company supplied the first experimental diesel shunter to the London, Midland and Scottish Railway.

From 1939 the works was mostly concerned with the war effort, becoming involved in the development and production of the Matilda II tank. A few years later large orders were received from the Ministry of Supply for locomotives, 390 Austerity 2-8-0s and fifty Austerity 0-6-0 saddle tanks. As a result of all of this work undertaken during the Second World War the number of people employed at the Foundry rose to over 4,000.

In 1944 the Vulcan Foundry acquired Robert Stephenson and Hawthorns

In 1945 received an order for 120 Liberation 2-8-0 locomotives for UNRRA in Europe. These locomotives were built to continental loading gauge standards but were based on the WD Austerity design.

By 1949 the company was producing diesel and electric locomotives in co-operation with English Electric. Six years later English Electric diesel engines began to be built at Vulcan Foundry.

During 1953-54 the company built sixty J Class 2-8-0 locomotives for Victorian Railways, Australia.

In 1956 the last big steam order of 46 locomotives for the East Africa Railway was completed..

In 1957 the business became part of the English Electric group. In 1968, English Electric Co. Ltd became part of GEC and two years later, Ruston Paxman Diesels Ltd was formed as a management company for GEC Diesels Ltd, with its headquarters at the Vulcan site.

Preserved Locomotives

I have only included standard gauge locomotives which are preserved in Britain.

  • North Western Railways of India/Pakistan Railways 4-4-0 built in 1911 – 3064 is part of the National Collection.
  • Chinese National Railway 4-8-4 – Number KF7 built by Vulcan Foundry in 1935 is part of the National Collection.
  • In 1886 Vulcan Foundry built three locomotives for the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway which became the basic design adopted by the railway for the Aspinall Pug class 21 introduced in 1891. Two of these later locomotives (51218 & LMS 11243) have been preserved.
  • In 1887 Vulcan Foundry built ten L&Y Barton Wright class 25 locomotives. The only preserved member of the class (52044) was built by Beyer Peacock & Co Ltd.
  • Vulcan foundry built 120 locomotives for the LMS to the 3F 0-6-0T Jinty design. Of these 4 locomotives (47279, 47383, 47406 & 47493) have been preserved.
  • Between 1899 and 1902 Vulcan Foundry built 60 for the MR to the Johnson 0-6-0T Half Cab design. None of the Vulcan Foundry locomotives have been preserved although 41708 built at Derby has been.
  • In 1905 Vulcan Foundry built a GNR Ivatt Large Atlantic (GNR1300) as an experimental locomotive which was withdrawn from service in 1924 despite having undergone a number of attempts to improve its performance.
  • Vulcan Foundry built a number of class D 4-4-0 locomotives for the SECR. The preserved member of the class (31737) was built at Ashford.
  • Vulcan Foundry built 69 locomotives to the Stanier 8F 2-8-0 design. 38 of these were requisitioned by the War Department in 1941. 7 of those requisitioned returned to the LMS in 1943 and a further 6 were taken into BR stock in 1949. None of the Vulcan Foundry locomotives have been preserved. 7 locomotives (48151, 48173, 48305, 48431, 48518, 48624 & 48773) that were owned by BR have been preserved as have a number that remained overseas after the Second World War.
  • Vulcan Foundry built 50 Austerity 0-6-0ST designed by the Hunslet Engine Company. Fourteen of these (68033-46) were taken into LNER stock in 1945 but none of these have been preserved. Two locomotives (Works Nos 5272 & 5309) which saw service with the War Department and industrial service have been preserved.
  • The Vulcan Foundry built 100 of the 842 Stanier Black Five locomotives designed by Stanier. Two (45025 & 45110) of the Vulcan Foundry locomotives have been preserved.
  • 8F 90000-732  2-8-0   MOS (WD)  Austerity  – Of the 935 built Vulcan Foundry built 390 in 1943 & 1944 (7050-7149, 7450-7509 and 8625-9312). 310 of these came into BR ownership (90422-90732). None of the BR locomotives were preserved but Vulcan Foundry built WD9257 has been preserved as 90733.
  • Fifty LNER class B1 4-6-0 locomotives (61140-61189) were built by Vulcan Foundry in 1947. None of these have been preserved but 61264 and 61306 which were built by the North British Locomotive Co Ltd.

Industrial Locomotives Preserved

Works No Built Name Type Location
3272 1918 Vulcan 0-4-0ST Beamish
5272 1945 WD 75282    Insein       Haulwen 0-6-0ST Gwili Railway
5309 1945 WD 5319  WD 75319    NCB No  72  2235/72 0-6-0ST Peak Rail

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