railway history

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JudePerry
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railway history

Postby JudePerry » Fri Oct 15, 2021 6:25 pm

The history of the railway industry is a long and fascinating one. It all began in 1814 when George Stephenson built the first public railway line to carry coal from mines near Newcastle, England to local towns. This was an exciting moment for many people because it meant that they could travel much more quickly than they would have on foot or by horse-drawn carriage. The railway industry has grown massively since then, with billions of dollars being invested in new rail lines throughout the world every year.

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Mountain
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Re: railway history

Postby Mountain » Fri Oct 15, 2021 8:07 pm

It began earlier then that. After Travithick invented the first steam locomotive to run in Penydarren in south Wales, a new locomotive works began in Neath Abbey which made a number of locomotives to various designs and there were xhannels of communication where the Neath Abbey locomotive works shared their new inventions with Stephenson and vice versa.
, and they had to as both locomotive works did not see each other as direct competition (Even though they were and both were independent) because they all had some serious issues to overcome in their early designs.
In 1812 there was said to be a regular steam locomotive in use close to the coast in the Port Talbot area and it is unclear who made this locomotive as it was not one of Stevensons, but neither were records found to link it with Neath Abbey (Though it may have come from there and found its way to Port Talbot as a secondhand locomotive).
History is fascinating. The more one looks the more one finds.
Both the Mumbles Railway and the Llanelly & Mynydd Mawr Railway were both taking passengers on their lines in and around 1804 onwards, though the L&MM were never an official passenger carrier whilst the Mumbles Railway near Swansea did get an official railway act to carry passengers. The MR did for a few years try wind power. They had started off as horse drawn, but converted to wind power for a few years before steam came along.. One may be puzzled at first but if one realizes that the Mumbles Railway ran next to the sea, so wind was plentiful as long as they could harness it and put it to use (Don't forget that yachts can still move forward into the wind as long as they don't sail dead on into the wind. So as long as the railway did not have the wind direction dead on against them, they could make use of this free form of propulsion... Besides. If it was they had a horse as backup!)
Now though the L&MMR (Later called a railway after it was rebuilt around the 1830's I believe(?) but previously called a tramway as it used the much loved and preferred (In those days) plateways. One railway in Wales in the early years started off with edgerails (The rails we use today are edgerails as the wheels sit on the top edge and need flanges), was then converted to plateways where the rails had the flanges and later converted back to edgerails!
Plateways were preferred in those days because waggons did not need flanges, and therefore could be used in locations where there were no rails. They only needed rails when they wanted to take a lot of them at a time on a journey using a single horse or donkey. But as mines ad other works grew in size and so did waggon fleets, it became more practical to run extra rails directly to where they needed, and so by the time locomotives came on the scene which were a little too heavy for the plateway rails, quite a few early railways converted back to the conventional edgeway railed system.
The Neath Abbey Locomotive Works were experts at what they did. (Even Stevenson sent men down to share ideas so he could gain information for his designs). They had a design of locomotive with six coupled wheels (And I believe another with eight wheels?) and the reason why the extra wheels was to spread the weight so that the locomotive could be used without breaking the plateway rails.
Other designs had an early form of rack and some uninformed railway historians assumed that there were concerns to get traction as they assumed that early locomotives had issues. They were only partly right because what they failed to aknowledge was that these early tramways that the locomotives were used on were climbing hills that todays locomotives couldn't climb! Don't forget that early tramways were designed for horses to be pulled, and a good strong horse could pull a short rake of waggons up a 1 in 4 incline. So one now starts to understand why they introduced a rack system on their rails and locomotive wheels. It had nothing to do with the locomotives not being able to gain traction on level rails. It was because their railways had to go up and down steep banks and round excessively sharp curves. Something that was not a concern for a horse. I read a wonderful account of a lovely journey behind an early steam locomotive back in the early years (I think around 1810 to 1815?) and they said how the tramway had been layed up and over a bank, and down a ditch and up the other side, and while they unloaded the goods out of the waggons and put them back in the other side, the locomotive and its waggons had to negotiate this interesting line under its own power. They had a way in which they could maximize the full effect of steam into the cylinders to get the locomotive to climb such steep short inclines.

Another issue in the early years was when railaays decided to make the change from plateways to edgerails, and locomotives and rolling stock were sold during these times with special wheels which could run on both. The wheel flanges were extra thick so they could be used on the plateways, but then when they came to need to run on the edgerails, they could seamlessly run from one to the other with nothing more then a slight bump as they transitioned from one railway track design to the other. The thought behind some of these early pioneering railways was amazing!
Last edited by Mountain on Fri Oct 15, 2021 8:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

b308
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Re: railway history

Postby b308 » Fri Oct 15, 2021 8:13 pm

Although Stephenson is rightly lauded as the Father of Railways it's worth noting that there were lots of other pioneers in the early 19th century who were around before him and where he drew much inspiration and without which we wouldn't have the railways we have, Trevithik (first steam loco to run on smooth rails (1802/4), Outram, Jessop and Birkenshaw (development of the rails), Hedley, Blenkinsop, Hedley and Hackworth (development of steam locos into commercial viability - before Stephenson). The first passenger carrying public railway was actually the Swansea and Mumbles railway in Oystermouth (what a lovely set of names for a railway!) in 1807.

Fascinating stuff, a brief section is here on Wiki, but there's a lot more out there!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_o ... at_Britain

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Mountain
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Re: railway history

Postby Mountain » Fri Oct 15, 2021 8:31 pm

The first railway recorded was over 2000 years ago with the Romans, but the origions may have come from before that as a lot of Roman technology was taken from the many different countries and tribed that they had conquored. The Romans themselves shared the good ideas they had seen across their empire.

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End2end
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Re: railway history

Postby End2end » Fri Oct 15, 2021 8:46 pm

I've stood next to a replica of Trevithick's steam loco in Cambourne, Cornwall.
As it's roughly in my layout region I manged to get hold of one of these. :)
DSCF2768.JPG
DSCF2768.JPG (71.49 KiB) Viewed 638 times

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Mountain
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Re: railway history

Postby Mountain » Fri Oct 15, 2021 9:09 pm

End2end wrote:I've stood next to a replica of Trevithick's steam loco in Cambourne, Cornwall.
As it's roughly in my layout region I manged to get hold of one of these. :)
DSCF2768.JPG
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End2end

Nice! You do realize the wagons livery is fictional and the wagons themselves would have been 2 ton waggons designed to run on the plateway? And that Mr Trevithick did not own the tramway his loco ran on?

The loco he designed had a form of superheating which was not seen on other locomotives until 100 years later. It was quite advanced for a pioneering design. Also that it was said to be his third such locomotive which is why he was so confident he could win his bet for it to pull such heavy loads. (It was unclear if the bet was actually paid).
Many assume that his loco and other early locomotives were not so successful because they were often converted to be used as steam engine pumps, but don't forget the needs of the collieries in those days. Pumping water out of flooded or semi flooded mines was much more of a priority for the mine and railway owners in those days. Prior to these small powerplants, to build a mechanical pump one had to build a massive beam engine and engine house which was a major undertaking. Converting the locomotives into small portable steam powerplants to be used as pumps which could be moved from mineshaft to mineshaft and from mine to mine as they were needed was far more of a priority then shifting waggons full of coal, as they had horses to do that, and remember that horses have two major advantages. They do not get stuck in dead end sidings, and they can pull a few loaded waggons up seriously steep inclines as steep as a 1 in 4 (25%).
So the early locomotives often were far more useful as pumps, and they had quite long and useful lives in doing this.

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End2end
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Re: railway history

Postby End2end » Fri Oct 15, 2021 10:57 pm

Yes, more like 'an ode to' or 'never was' wagon.
Definitely not prototypical for his time and in fact Penydarren is in Merthyr Tydfil. not actually Cornwall as well as (according to this article) the name of a not very successful loco.
https://spartacus-educational.com/RApenydarren.htm
Modellers license. :mrgreen:
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glencairn
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Re: railway history

Postby glencairn » Sun Oct 17, 2021 1:44 pm

End2end wrote:I've stood next to a replica of Trevithick's steam loco in Cambourne, Cornwall.
As it's roughly in my layout region I manged to get hold of one of these. :)
DSCF2768.JPG
Thanks
End2end


I like the wagon E2e. Nothing wrong with 'Modeller's Licence'. :)

Most of my wagons never existed, but 'fit in' with the layout.

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Journeyman
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Re: railway history

Postby Journeyman » Sun Oct 17, 2021 10:32 pm

Talking about early railways don’t forget Cosher Bailey and his engine that could do four miles an hour!

Crawshay Bailey had an Engine
It was always needin' mendin'
And dependin' on its power
It could do four miles an hour.


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