Brian Reed (1906-1982)

Brian Reed was an extremely difficult author to characterise, but see the biography generously provided by Phil Atkins. Part of the problem lay in Brian Reed being reluctant to mention anything of himself in his blurbs used on dust-jackets or in his prefaces. In the Acknowledgements to Profile 8 he noted his "old friends on Clydeside: Donald H. Stuart, Alan G. Dunbar and R.B. Haddon, the last-named being with the author at N.B.L. at the time the Scots were being built, and 'on them', while the author, in another wing of the office, wasted his time on Rhodesian 4-8-2s and the like". The preface to one of his last works is highly business-like yet fails to characterise its writer who clearly regarded the development of alternatives to steam traction as "far more important" in maintaining railways as a transport system. In an attempt to catch the worth of the man an analysis is made of the 59 citations (references) of this last work: 13 are to Patents; eight are to his own Locomotive Profiles; 2 are Transactions of the Newcomen Society; a few are to recent historical literature, e.g. Cox; and the remainder to (mainly nineteenth century) contemporary material: Pambour, Clark and Booth. Some are poorly cited. Michael Rutherford has a high regard for his work, and especially for the Locomotive Profiles (which being part-works were in a format unsuited to the excessivley tidy habits of most librarians). In part this failure to publish in a "reputable format" must be held against Brian Reed, but authors have to earn a living and librarians should have been capable of recognizing material of lasting value, instead of buying tawdry Thomas the Tank Engine by the tonne
On 16 August 2013 KPJ found a major fault in this page and in Steam locomotive development in that some works by Reed were missing: notably British locomotive classes..

Professional paper
Reed, Brian. Running tests of a 500 h.p. diesel-mechanical locomotive. J. Instn Loco. Engrs., 1953, 43, 366 - 411 (Paper No. 522)


British locomotive classes: principal 'Big Four' locomotive classes at 1945. Brian Reed. Ian Allan. 62pp.
Reviewed Rly Wld, 1991, 52, 346 . According to York University OPAC still being marketed by Ian Allan in 1991. Presumably originally conceived as competitor to Railway Gazette's Modern locomotive types (often listed under Lake (editor of that journal)
Crewe locomotive works and its men. Newton Abbot: David & Charles, 1982.
Includes excellent short biographies of the major engineers associated with Crewe Works.
Crewe to Carlisle. London: Ian Allan, 1969.234pp. incl plates. 19 maps/diagrs. 19 tables. Bibliography [company minutes consulted]. List of Parliamentary Acts.
Dedicated to the Archivist of the British Railways Board
Locomotives. London, Temple Press, 1958. [vi], 138 p. 16 plates. 43 illus., 18 diagrs. (The power and speed series for boys).
This is also suitable as an introductory work for adults.
Locomotives: a picture history. London: Pan Books, 1971 (originally Ward Lock, 1970). 160pp.
Picture per page (mainly from photographs); slightly over half of the book is devoted to British steam. Other steam locomotives and brief coverage of electric and diesel locomotives pp. 85 on. Two to three lines of descriptive text, followed by leading dimensions.
Locomotives in profile. Profile Publications, 1971-
This is a problem work bibliographically as it was produced both as a part work, and subsequently as bound sets: the latter is/are listed as Ottley 10398. The parts are liable to be available separately, and are often cited as monographs. Most conform to a standard format with a centre page of coloured diagrams. They include some illustrations and some tables. A few had an additional author, Rutherford [rightly] appears to have a high opinion of the series. Presumably, those volumes to which others contributed (Atkins and Haresnape, for instance) must have been judged to be bordering on comparable competence by Reed..
Modern railway motive power. London, Temple Press, 1950. vi, 170 p. + front. + 10 plates. 21 illus. 25 diagrs., 8 tables. Bibliog. (Technical trends).
This forms a good introduction to the subject (in 1950 steam was still modern enough to dominate this study). The most appreciable defect is the author's assumption that the reader will be able to cope with his technical terminology. A glossary and a few introductory diagrams would have aided clarity. It was, of course, published prior to Riddles' British Railways' Standard Classes, and it could be argued may give some support to to British Railways choice of motive power..
Modern motive power types and fundamentals
Some locomotive limitations
Some modern steam types
Locomotives selected to "represent" British practice: Gresley A4, Peppercorn A1; Stanier/Ivatt Princess Coronation, Collett King, Bulleid Merchant Navy and West Country, Gresley V2, Stanier Class 5 4-6-0 and 8F 2-8-0
Steam locomotive power
Compound propulsion
Mainly French, but Midland 4P compounds also included
Boiler and firebox
The front end
Valves and valve gear
Chassis and driving gear
The steam locomotive as a vehicle
Special forms of steam locomotive
Turbine, high-pressure, Velox boilers, the Leader and condensing
Testing methods and plants
Dynamometer cars and testing plants: Swindon, Vitry, Rugby, etc
Electric locomotives and trains
Reed showed a marked enthusiasm for high voltage AC.
Diesel traction
Gas turbine locomotives
150 years of British steam locomotives. Newton Abbot: David & Charles, 1975. 128pp.
A paradigm for how books should be prepared: clearly defined references and excellent index, lucid overall structure: this should have been a model for the miserable compilers of the Oxford Companion who failed to note one of the best organized authors to have written about railways (although Rex Christiansen did note his history of Crewe Works in the entry for Crewe). It is remarkable that some scribes who imagine themselves to be learned can cite Clement Stretton and yet ignore this major authority..
1 Some Fundamentals
2 From Trevithick to Stephenson
3 The Stockton & Darlington Phase
4 The Liverpool & Manchester Stage
5 Five Great Types
6 Fixed Cut-off to Variable Expansion
7 From Coke to Coal [far more than a discussion of fuel as it also includes boiler construction and types]
8 From Iron to Steel
9 The Infinite Variety
10 The Years 1896-1922
11 The Group Era
12 National Finale
Index (interesting "error" in index reference to page 85 (from Hawthorn in index) to page where no explicit mention is made (but should have been to Durn and Snaigow of the HR).  
Railway engines of the world. London : Oxford University Press, 1934. 159 pp.,
Ottley 3033 "pp. 20-41 cover British locomotives"
A source book of locomotives. London: Ward Lock. 1970. 160pp.
Ottley 10454: same as Locomotives: a picture history

Some Fundamentals
Apart from the first four of all, steam locomotives from the beginning in 1803 to the end of new construction for Britain in 1960 were pre-eminently creatures of their environment. Constant reference back to this cliche explains many restrictions, many novelties, and the actual trend of development and construction at different periods, which were governed more by manufacturing and mechanical engineering possibilities, and by the vagaries and uncertainties of financial-economic practices, than by true railway requirements.
Throughout the whole period locomotive design, construction and operation in Britain were more of an art than a science. Some consummate artists came forth; many were scarcely pavement artists. At the 'beginning a different situation was hardly possible; yet even in the 20th century scientific thought developed from fundamentals was scantily applied, and personal preferences based on incomplete thinking and pure emotion were prevalent, so that in the end the results fell short of what might reasonably have been expected from 150 years of development and the immense range of resources and facilities available to a nationalised railway system from a whole nation.
Only development of early primitive steam locomotives permitted the transmutation of the old waggonways, tramways and rail-roads into a country-wide railway system. Having brought something greater than itself, the steam locomotive, or rather the locomotive engineers, continued to control development and operation much as in later years holders of £10,000 worth of founders' shares controlled £10 million commercial enterprises. Often they restricted changes to more suitable methods in the fashion of. a debenture-holders' committee.
Little basic adaptation of steam power to suit widening railway requirements was made, and gradually railway systems in fully-developed countries became unbalanced, financially and technically.
Financial unbalance came from the general monetary system that did not, and does not, permit the automatic elimination or costless writing off of capital when the physical items it represents are no longer in existence. Within the capital structure of British Railways on its formation in 1948 was the legacy of Stockton & Darlington Railway capital of 1820-30, when nothing was left to represent it other than Locomotion on its plinth at Darlington station and a few small exhibits in York railway museum.
Two locomotive causes substantially helped the technical unbalance of railways in Britain and other highly developed countries, though they became of major importance only during this century, and then to increasing tempo. First, the continued construction of conventional steam locomotives of everincreasing size and weight perpetuated low power: weight ratios against total moving weight when, conversely, ever higher speeds and increasing density of traffic were calling for just the opposite. Such matters were not of such moment in George Stephenson's day; they became decisive during the 20th Century.
With conventional steam locomotives high power: weight ratios could be provided only with inconvenience. For example, 160 tons oflocomotive and tender weight and an axle load of 22 tons were required on the LNER to maintain a 70mph schedule over a level route with the 240-ton Silver Jubilee. Low power weight ratios promoted potentialities for unpunctual working; but for many years only in Britain was this supplemented by that far greater promoter of unpunctuality - the unbraked freight train.
Secondly, continued development of reciprocating steam locomotives forming no more than five to eight per cent of the wheeled stock of a railway gradually dictated the use of rails twice as heavy and bridges twice as strong as those needed by the other 92-95 per cent of the wheeled stock. This could not be called efficient or economic; but no attempts were made to develop high tractive effort, acceptable speed and great horsepower on axle loads low enough for substantial savings to be made in track cost and bridge construction. By the time the Garratt locomotive was well developed only railways 'up country', or those with exceptional drawgear, could derive proper benefit from it. Apart from a few examples in North America from World War I years, not until the 1950s was deliberate application made of wagons with laden axle loads equal to those of the locomotives that handled them.
This unbalance was aggravated in Britain by the perpetuation of three-link loose couplings and unbraked freight trains.
The dominant position, and even more the restricted capacities, of the locomotive engineer were accentuated also by the 'vested interests' that grew up in the British railway world and prevented free interchange and common cause, and admitted no new ideas from outside, taking only those that arose inside the particular closed ring. This was one major reason for what may not unjustly be called the great brake scandal. These factors remained almost unabated to the end of steam. The operation and operating ratios of British Railways since 1 January 1948 have been shaped greatly by the locomotive engineer and his limitations, which have prevented successful adaptation to rapidly changing conditions; and the huge 'paper' losses have been shaped by continuance of financial pundits equally unable to adjust themselves to the times.
One might well ask how a seemingly crude and ineffective machine could gain, and retain long after its day, the enormous interest, and even affection, given to the steam reciprocating locomotive. Possibly the reason is because of all man's engineering productions the steam locomotive is likest unto man - and woman. Within the large general framework of environment it showed the same immense range of capacity and characteristics; it was almost unpredictable in its performance except in large generalised terms; its day to day performance was affected profoundly by its physical condition; it had every shape, size, formation, colour defect and protruberance (warts and all), and almost every human characteristic from gentleness and urbanity to viciousness and irresponsibility; it proceeded with gaits that varied from the smooth and dignified to the rolling and unsteady; it could often limp or stagger home unassisted after misfortunes or spewout of potations that had been too deep; and, as one of the kindliest presidents of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers once remarked, it was human in being easy and delightful to conceive but painful and difficult to deliver.
Governing condition for all steam locomotives was the ferrous wheel on the ferrous rail. The only change in these frictional conditions from the time of Trevithick was the machining of the wheel tread and the smoother rail head. The effect of this was marginal, as was the effect of multi-cylinder propulsion. The only attempt at modification on any serious scale was the rack railway, for the application of rubber tyres did not get beyond railcars. Limitations of the steel wheel on the steel rail acted equally in traction and retardation, and as the railway system matured, braking became at least as important as tractive effort and horsepower. To this day the need for friction to give high accelerative and decelerative performances has to be carefully balanced against the need to reduce friction to give low resistance to movement and reduce the needed power output.
Effectiveness of the steam reciprocating locomotive arose primarily from the direct drive between piston and wheel tread, by which the starting of the prime mover meant automatically the starting of the locomotive and its train. In this it differed from the internal-combustion engine, and much effort in the early days of diesel traction was devoted to attempts to reproduce the direct-drive effect of the steam locomotive.
Moreover, the commercial effectiveness of the steam reciprocating locomotive depended on less than half a dozen essentials. They were: (1) two or more cylinders with cranks at different angles to ensure starting in any position and give reasonably constant torque; (2) the multitubular fire-tube boiler to ensure adequate steam generation within permissible weight and size limits; (3) the blast pipe, which was necessary to get the potential generating capacity out of the multitubular boiler, and to give automatic regulation of the steam-generating and steam-utili sing portions of the whole machine; and (4) expansion valve motion to give fuel economy and permit high speed. Compounding was no more than an extension of the expansion principles, though its practical advantages were in other ways. Within the present century came the addition of something fundamental in a thermodynamic sense - the superheater. It was essential only in permitting further enhancement of power and giving additional fuel economy.
The probable adequacy of the relatively smooth iron wheel on the relatively smooth iron rail for light loads was shown by Trevithick's locomotives, and three of these also included blast-pipe exhaust. In 1812 came the first application of two cylinders at right angles; but not until 1829 were more than two of the four essentials embodied in anyone locomotive, and as a result the steam locomotive then made a sudden bound forward. Only in 1829-31 did the steam locomotive take on the basic form it maintained for the next 130 years, and justified the term, often used up to the end, of the 'Stephenson' locomotive. That term denoted Robert at least as much as George.

Locomotive Profile [series]

The follwing information has come from Ottley 10398 (Volume 3 has also been inspected by KPJ at New Barnfield and some of the original parts publshed as Loco Profiles are in his possession). All information, including that relating to British locomotive development is reproduced herein. The original part series were produced by Profile Publications who also produced series on aircraft, weapons, warships and classic cars. To quote their own criteria they were intended to be "objective in style; clinical in presentation; accurate in detail..." From the outset, the publisher intended the series also to be available as annual hard-back editions. Some of the fascicules are available through at absurd prices. The numbers and exact titles of the parts in Volume 4 are uncertain, but from an examination of abebooks the titles may vary from those quoted below.

REED, B. Locomotives in profile; general editor, Brian Reed, with illustrations by David Warner, Peter Warner, Arthur Wolstenholme. Windsor: Profile Publications. 4 vols.
Volume 1, 1971. pp. 292, with 428 illus (54 col.), 60 drawings, 117 tables, diagrams, maps & graphs.
This is a far more important series than might appear to be so from external appearances. Contents:
1. LNER non-streamlined Pacifics. Brian Reed
24pp: 5 tables. centre colour spread drawn by A. Wolstenholme shows A1 4472 Flying Scotsman as exhibited at British Empire Exhibition in 1924 and A3 2501 Colombo of final series.
2. New York Central Hudsons  Brian Reed
3. Great Western 4-cylinder 4-6-0s. Brian Reed.
pp.49-72: centre coloured artwork drawn by David Warner (restricted to King & Castle types).
4. American Type 4-4-0 . Brian Reed
5. British Single-drivers. Brian Reed. pp. 97-124
Pays considerable attention to the Jenny Lind type
6. The Mallets. Brian Reed
7. The Rocket. Brian Reed
Skeat's George Stephenson. oberves (page 122 with footnote) that "pain-stakingly written and superbly illustrated"
8. Royal Scots. Brian Reed. pp. 173-96.
Colour centre pages feature both unrebuilt locomotive in original condition and rebuilt Scot in BR green livery with smoke deflector plates.
9. Camels and Camelbacks. Brian Reed
10. The Met Tanks. Brian Reed
11. Norris Locomotives. Brian Reed
12. BR Britannias. Brian Haresnape.

Volume 2, 1972. pp. 288, with 434 illus (42 col.), 120 tables, diagrams, maps & graphs.
13. Nord Pacifies. Brian Reed
14. Pennsylvania Pacifics. Brian Reed
15. The Crewe Type. D.H. Stuart and Brian Reed.
A very  important fascicule in this series as the extent of Allan's involvement in this type is brought into question. Commended by Rutherford
16. Union Pacific 4-12-2s. Brian Reed
17. Jones Goods & Indian L. Brian Reed
18. German Austerity 2-10-0. Brian Reed
19. Gresley A4s. Ron Scott and Brian Reed
Notable for its colour centre spread (the work of David Warner) which depicts No. 2509 Silver Link in its as built condition and No. 4468 Mallard in its National Railway Museum condition. The text is notable for its incorporation of a great deal in a few words. Acknowledged assistance from Peter N. Townend, Arthur Wolstenholme, Eric Trask and Kenneth H. Leech.
20. The American 4-8-4. Brian Reed
21. ROD. 2-8-0s. Brian Reed.
Pp 193-216 (February 1972): centre spread (col. drawing: s & f els). 9 tables. illus. selected to be informative rather than decorative. Densely packed informative text.
22. Merchant Navy Pacifies. Brian Reed
23. Darjeeling Tanks. Brian Reed
24. Pennsylvania Duplexii. Brian Reed

Volume 3, 1974. pp. 148, with frontis & 106 illus (22 col.), 44 tables, drawings, maps, graphs & gradient profiles.
25. Locomotion. Brian Reed. pp. 1-24
See below
26. The Hiawathas.  Brian Reed
27. Tilbury Tanks. Kenneth H. Leech. pp. 49-72
Table VII gives LTSR headcodes.
28. S.P. Cab-in-Fronts. Brian Reed
29. Austrian 2-8-4s. Dr.-Ing.Fr. Altmano and B. Reed
30. G.N. Large Atlantics. Ron Scott. 125-48.

Volume 4, 1974. pp. 288, with triple frontis, 221 illus (24 col.), 46 tables, diagrams, maps & graphs.
31. Lima Super-Power. C.P. Atkins and Brian Reed
32. The Brighton Gladstones. Brian Reed
Very thorough examination of previous "authorities" and notes that 0-4-2 arrangement was uniquely suitable for the Brighton line at that time
33. BR Class 9F 2-10-0. Brian Reed
34. Caledonian 4-4-0s. Alan G. Dunbar and Brian Reed
35. Canadian Pacific Selkirks. C.P. Atkins
36. South African 4-8-2s. Brian Reed
37. LMS Pacifics. J.W.P. Rowledge

Locomotion by Brian Reed

This is part of the opening page (it more than meets the publisher's criteria!):

Early English writers all passed over the first five or six engines of the S. & D. Nicholas Wood said nothing of the design of any of them in any one of the three editions (1825, 1831 and 1838) of his Treatise on Railroads, though in the 1838 edition he commented on their work during the 1830s. Perhaps the omission was due to his first edition being 'censored' in 1825 shortly before Locomotion was completed.
De Pambour (1835) gave some S. & D. working results, but did not cover design. Lecount (1835) passed them by. Tredgold did not describe them in any of his variations. Whishaw (1840) said little of early designs. D.K. Clark (1855) omitted them; and Zerah Colburn, with a predilection for Hackworth, wrote not a thing, though he made incorrect statements about Wood's alterations to early Killingworth engines, and generally was not too reliable on the very early locomotives. Deghilage did not deal with them in his Origines de la Locomotive (1883) though he described the slightly later six-wheeler Royal George.

Of later authors, W.W. Tomlinson in his highly accurate The North Eastern Railway; Its Rise and Development (1914) gave some particulars, but was in technical error in stating that Locomotion had two eccentrics—it had only one. In this he seems to have followed Joseph Tomlinson, who in his Presidential address to the 'Mechanicals' in 1890 gave 'memories' of some of the older S. & D. engines. The other four of the first five S. & D. engines did have two eccentrics, but not on the axles.
J.G.H. Warren, in A Century of Locomotive Building (1923), apart from reproducing the pre-1825 'project' drawing, accepted the Prussian engineers' account of 1827, as the remaining records of Robt. Stephenson & Co. were so scanty, and he did not enter into conjectures. Dendy Marshall (A History of Railway Locomotives Down to the Year 1831, published in 1953) followed the methods of Warren, but had the advantage of the Stephenson first ledger.

Biography provided by Phil Atkins

BRIAN REED (1904-1982)

A quietly spoken Geordie, Brian Reed was born in Newcastle upon Tyne in 1904.(information supplied by Andrew Reed, (son) One of his earliest memories, through family connections, was of the controversial Dickman Murder, whereby a colliery cashier was shot dead and robbed on an NER train between Newcastle and Almouth in March 1910. Brian's father had served an apprenticeship with R Stephenson & Co. in Newcastle before that enterprise moved to Darlington c.1901, but then went to sea. Brian commenced an apprenticeship with R & W Hawthorn Leslie & Co in 1920 (which for years had been Stephenson's next door neighbours and later took over the former RS works in order to expand on a notoriously cramped site on a steep slope above the River Tyne. Towards the end of his life BR wrote a detailed account of life as an apprentice at HL, which could only have been written from first hand experience. Attempts to get this published as a book in its own right by the late Michael Harris regrettably failed and the account was eventually published posthumously in serial form in the SLS Journal during 1989.

BR was particularly proud of the fact that he had turned the handrail pillars for the 1921 batch of Highland Railway 'Clan' 4-6-0s, a design which he greatly admired. He always retained a particular interest in North Eastern and Highland locomotives, and was amazed when the present writer (i.e. Phil Atkins) told him, as a result of recent research, that F G Smith, of H R 'River' notoriety, had lived in retirement in Newcastle in Nuns Moor Road, which turned out to be the same road and at the same time as BR's father! Both had died in the later 1950s.

Brian Reed left HL c.1925 for the North British Loco Co in Glasgow, and was there when the LMS 'Royal Scots' were built, but was not involved with that contract. He then went into (seemingly freelance) railway journalism, but was particularly connected with the Railway Gazette. He had developed a particular interest in diesel traction, possibly realising that was where the long term future lay, and he instigated the Diesel Railway Traction Supplement of the RG in 1933, which ran for some 30 years. During the 1930s he had contacts with the leading CMEs of the period, and was personally acquainted with George Lomonosoff, the Russian steam locomotive designer and diesel pioneer (who was then resident in Hampstead, and who, although he died in Montreal in 1952, his remarkable archive is held by the University of Leeds).

Brian Reed was also in involved in diesel loco development, supervising the road trials on a prototype Hunslet 0-8-0 between Leeds and Lancaster in 1951 (which was the last time the NER dynamometer car was used). He was appointed the editor of the new Loco Profile series in 1970, which in addition to British loco types, also covered American, French, German and Austrian classes. The author of several books, these included some of the first historical studies of British diesels, eg the WR Diesel Hydaulics, on which account he was sometimes confused with the author Brian Webb. Sadly he died in the summer of 1982, shortly before the publication of one of his finest, a history of Crewe works and its men.

It may be noted that Phil Atkins was involved in writing some of the Loco Profiles (KPJ)

Reed, B. An apprentice at Hawthorn, Leslie & Co. Ltd, 1921-1925. J. Stephenson Loc. Soc., 1989, 65, 5-12; 46-62; 84-92; 125-33; 165-9.