Bowen Cooke, Whale & Beames

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Bowen Cooke, Charles John

Bowen-Cooke was born at Orton Longueville in Huntingdonshire on 11 January in 1859, and like many other railway engineers was the son of a Rector. He was educated at Cheltenham College, King's College, London (for one year) and at the Technical High School in Neuweid in Germany also for one year. In 1875 he became a pupil of F.W. Webb at Crewe. Like Whale, his predecessor, he spent most of his career before becoming Chief Mechanical Engineer of the LNWR, he worked in the running department.

Bowen Cooke introduced superheating with conspicuous success, taking great care to get things right. His comparative trials between non-superheated and superheated units were more meticulous than most. His George the Fifth 4-4-0, often considered the best passenger locomotive the LNWR ever had,was a superheated version of the existing Precursor type, while his Prince of Wales 4-6-0 was a similar updating of the existing Experiment. His major new design was the Claughton class, a handsome four-cylinder 4-6-0 that never quite lived up to its promise, probably because of poor air access to the fire and inefficient draughting in the smokebox. He was in office from 1908 to 1920.

Cox considered that Bowen-Cooke "merits our special attention on several counts". Before he took office he had served under F.W. Webb who had introduced large scale compounding, and under G. Whale who had thrown it all on the scrap heap. He presided over the LNWR locomotive department in its finest hours, when to Whale's supremely simple designs he had added superheating to call forth performances the like of which had never been seen on this line before. Unlike most of his brethren he was essentially a Motive Power man, in that two years after the completion of his pupilage at Crewe, he was appointed in 1880 as assistant to the Running Superintendent of the Southern Division and he continued in that department in positions of increasing responsibility until in June 1909 he succeeded Whale as CME. A bluff, eminently level headed man, much given to tweedy suits, his writings and commentaries which have come down to us are solidly sensible and practical.

Nock wrote that "There is no denying that the Bowen Cooke engines had their defects, such as the Schmidt piston rings, and the light framing of the "Georges"... but they could produce the power and with reasonable economy when they were fresh from the shops."

Reed notes that Bowen Cooke was closely involved in locomotive exchanges: in 1909 with the GNR (an Ivatt Atlantic was tested on the LNWR, whilst a Precursor was tested on the GNR), with the Caledonian (an Experiment against Cardean between Crewe and Carlisle), with a Marsh superheated I3 4-4-2T in through running between Rugby and Brighton, and between 1471 Worcestershire between Paddington and Exeter and a Star (Polar Star) class between Euston and Crewe (in this last Churchward was almost certainly the instigator to justify the cost of his four-cylinder locomotives to the GWR Board). Hughes abstracts from the ARLE Minutes note that Bowen Cooke was the first LNWR member of the Association.. See also references to WW1 activity in paper by L. Simpson..

Like George Hughes before him he wrote a book, and considering how such an effort could advance a career if the ability to undertake it was demonstrated on the way up, it is surprising indeed that no other budding CMEs have, to this author's knowledge, ever done likewise. Unlike Hughes' book, Bowen-Cooke's ranged much more widely covering history and the current products of other railways, but of course the greater part of it did naturally describe LNW locomotives and their doings. First published in 1893, it ran to three editions, the last being in 1899, so that having been written under the Chieftainship of the redoubtable Webb, nothing was included which did not support the Webb line.

H.C.B. Rogers Last steam locomotive engineer contains a Riddles' anecdote: "Riddles did not, of course, have much contact with Bowen Cooke, but he impressed him as being rather pompous and wondered whether he had any great ability as an engipeer. His designs were left to the Drawing Office which was still steeped in the traditions of Ramsbottom and Webb, and Riddles always found that they had difficulty in saying why things were done.
Riddles adds:
'Bowen Cooke was something of a showman. At most stations, when he was on tour, he would hand the station master a telegram to send back to his office, at the same time making his identity known. On one occasion he called a foreman who was standing outside his erecting shop and said that he wanted him to send a message back to his office.
"Yes, Sir," said the foreman, and, taking out his book, wrote down the message in shorthand to Bowen Cooke's surprise.
"Do you write shorthand?" he asked.
"Yes, Sir." "What your name ?" "Wood, Sir." "Hmm." Within a week that man was made a chief foreman of the Erecting Shop. He turned out to be a good foreman; but that is how we are sometimes chosen!'

No inkling was vouchsafed at this time of the revolt which must have been seething in the minds of running men all over the line against the insufficiences of the famous compounds. .

Sekon Evolution of the steam locomotive (1899) page 243 states that Bowen Cooke considered the advantages of compounding inlcuded: greater power; economy in fuel consumption; whole available power of steam used; more even distribution of strain upon working parts and larger bearing surfaces for axles; same freedom of running as with single engine, with the same adhesion to th rails as a coupled engine [this could only relate to the uncoupled species]

Talbots's The LNWR recalled: collected writings and observations on the London & North Western Railway. (1987) p. 71 noted that he was a typically autocratic high-placed North Western official when dealing with subordinates and that there was a streak of "implacable harshness" in his dealings with some in spite of his obnvious affection for his own family.

Nock's LNWR locomotives of C.J. Bowen Cooke. (1977) includes some minor personal details: on page 83 there is an illustration of CJB with the Crewe Tractor with H.P.M. Beames as driver: the machine was intended for working on railways serving WW1 battlefields. On page 88 it is noted that on 20 July 1920 that CJB travelled in his private saloon from Crewe to Euston for examination by a Harley Street heart specialist. He was ordered to rest and went to his house in Falmouth, spending some time on his yacht Condor, (he loved sailing), but died at St Mawes on 12 October 1920 and is buried at St. Just-in-Roseland. The funeral took place on 22 October. The tombstone of Bowen Cooke at St Just-in-Roseland is illustrated on plate (fp. 97) in Dunn's Reflections of a railway career

See: W.Tuplin, North Western Steam (1963).
Nock, O.S. Railway enthusuast's encyclopedia

Lake, C.S. Some C.M.Es. I have known. II. C.J. Bowen Cooke. Rly Mag., 1942, 88, 223-6. 7 illus. (incl. port.)
Personal reminiscences.


Engine drivers and their duties
Article: Training, learning the road, signals, promotion, weekly notices, booking on, examination of engines, duties at station (spelt out for drivers and firemen), starting, notching up, advantages of left hand drive (LNWR), good firing pactice, taking on water from troughs, stopping, climbing to Camden. Rly Mag., 1, 113-22.

Some extracts from Preface to Bowen-Cooke's book: The endeavour has been made to avoid all controversial matter in these pages, but before concluding these few remarks one word may be said on the subject of railway speeds. It has been contended by some authorities that a greater speed than seventy-five miles an hour is practically never maintained. But the following are two or three instances of high speeds which have come under the author's own personal knowledge, and for the accuracy of which he can vouch.

On February 7, 1893, the 7 ft. compound engine, No. 1309, when working the 3.30 p.m. up Scotch express from Crewe to London, ran from Standon Bridge to Norton Bridge, a distance of 4½ miles, in three minutes. Speed, 87 miles per hour; approximate weight of train and engine, 240 tons; gradient, 1 in 650 and 1 in 505 down.

On April 17, 1893, 7 ft. Compound engine, No. 1307, when working the 8 p.m. Scotch express from Euston, ran from Nuneaton to Tamworth, a distance of 12½ miles, on a practically level road, in 10½ minutes. Speed, 73 miles an hour; weight of train, 11 vehicles (equal to 14«, counting each 8-wheeled vehicle as 1«). The total moving weight was 271 tons, exclusive of passengers and luggage. It is a very creditable performance to drag a dead weight of over 200 tons, exclusive of engine and tender, for 12½ miles over a level road at such a speed. At the time of making this trip, the engine had run over 85,000 miles since last in the Shop for repairs.

As a further example of an exceptionally high speed, a run made over the same ground by one of Mr. Webb's 6 ft.6 in.coupled engines, No.1484, may be quoted. On April 20, 1893, this engine when working the 12 noon express Euston to Manchester, passed Nuneaton at 2.12, and Tamworth at 2.21« p.m., thus covering the 12ó miles in 9« minutes, being an average speed of 80« miles per hour. On this occasion the train consisted of nine main line vehicles. It should, however, be borne in mind by those persons entrusted with the timing of passenger trains, that such speeds as these must not be quoted as precedents for ordinary working. Under favourable circumstances they may be attained by engines in a high state of efficiency; but locomotives, like human beings, while able, when put on their mettle, to exhibit extraordinary powers, are also like them subservient to natural laws, and therefore give better satisfaction when their powers are normally exerted within reasonable limits only. It is far more satisfactory to the public generally, and to the Railway Companies themselves, when trains are timed at such a speed as will enable them to be worked punctually under all circumstances.

Fast 'Old Scrap'
The late Colonel Cantlie well known as a railway engineering consultant, especially for his work in the design of the famous 4-8-4KF class for China was trained as a premium apprentice at Crewe under C. J. BowenCooke. He used to tell the story of how he once weHt 1:0 Euston with the great man – as usual in the saloon behind the famous 8ft 6in diameter single wheeler Cornwall. On arrival Bowen-Cooke found that he did not have some papers he needed so Cantlie was detailed to take the special back to Crewe and get them back for late afternoon. So they set off and at Rugby were held by the bobby alongside the box. On enquiring why the driver was told that he could be holding up the 'Corridor': somewhat naturally the crew and Cantlie were not happy with this knowing the wrath which could ensue if their task was not undertaken to time; they said so in no uncertain terms indicating that there would be no trouble in showing the LNW's crack train a clean pair of heels. 'What with that load of old scrap', said the signalman. But they made further loud noises and were given permission via control to proceed. Cantlie said that apart from the wobble of the short saloon it was an uneventful trip with the old engine clocking up speeds well in excess of 80mph. But as he watched through the window, the piston only moved (because of that huge single wheel) as though they were doing 50. From LMS 150..

George Whale

Marshall records that George Whale was born in Bocking in Essex on 7 December 1842 and died in Hove on 7 March 1910 (he had retired due to ill-health in June 1909). He was educated in Lewisham and in 1858 entered Wolverton Works under McConnell and from 1862 under Ramsbottom. He entered the drawing office at Crewe in 1865 but then in 1867 joined the running department under J. Rigg. From 1898 he was responsible for the running of all LNWR locomotives..

Most London & North Western chief mechanical engineers were home-grown, having worked long years in lesser posts at Crewe. This was part of the 'Crewe Tradition', which was not wholly bad, even though incestuous. George Whale had to wait longer than most to reach the top, because his predecessor Francis Webb hung on to his job long past the time when he was fit to hold it. When Whale took over in 1903 (he was appointed before the Board had managed to eject Webb) he had to repair the damage done by Webb's obsessional construction of mediocre compound locomotives; the Webb compounds were so ineffective that double-heading was the rule for the most important passenger trains. Griffiths suggests that Whale "seems to have held a certain amount of resentment for his predecessor" and reinforces this comment by noting his failure to attend Webb's funeral and the lack of a locomotive named "Webb" during Whale's tenure as CME. Perhaps Griffith's comment about Whale's salary being less than half than that paid to Webb is the most telling observation.

What Whale did was to refer to the pre-compound 2-4-0 designs of Ramsbottom and Webb, which were still doing a robust job, and to enlarge this well-tried concept to a 4-4-0. The result was the Precursor and its successors, which by dint of rough treatment could manage single-handed the trains that were obviously beyond the competence of the compounds. As for the compounds, Whale made a start in scrapping, or rebuilding these. He remained in office only until 1908, but in that time he additionally introduced two 4-6-0 developments of the Precursor for hill work and mixed traffic respectively. The former type, the 'Experiments' were less successful than the Precursor, largely because their long fireboxes were difficult to fire.

In his Premier Line Nock noted: "Crewe was certainly kept busy during the Whale regime"and "It was a magnificent achievement to get 365 large new passenger and mixed traffic engines on the road in the space of five years" without to outside builders. Furthermore Nock noted that "The new "Precursors" proved an absolute godsend to the Running Department. Some of them ran between 90,000 and 100,000 miles between successive visits to Crewe for general overhaul.".

Reed (Crewe Locomotive Works) was far more critical: "Whale had come too late in life to the top position. He was no longer willing or able to extend himself all-out in activities which hitherto he had known only at second-hand, yet which needed just at that time a strong chief of unremitting energy and a forward overall outlook that could cope with the changing trends in transport, mechanical engineering and labour. At the works the close continuous control was eased, statistical and graphic checks were given up, though 'running' charts were elaborated to show performance in mileage, repairs, consumption and so on compared with the engines of other companies, all based on annual reports and Board of Trade returns.

Whale was unable to appreciate the features that led Webb to watch closely the investment charges, returns on investments, purchases of raw materials, and stocks in hand of materials and parts that permitted evaluation of the efficiency of the works, and the contribution made by the locomotive department to the prosperity of the whole company. Interest in these things lapsed, and no continued progress in the efficacy of the works or of the whole department as a unit of the railway was made in the further life of the LNWR.

The new policy at Crewe, quite clearly, was the smooth and easy running of headquarters and various sub-departments, and complete simplicity allied to cheapness in first cost of all new locomotives, the latter taken to such a degree that the first large 4-4-2T had a rigid trailing axle to save the small extra expense of a radial axlebox. Whale felt all these things could be well arranged by his five principal indoor and outdoor assistants without constant check by him. He was rarely about the works, possibly because of the energy shown by Trevithick.

His infrequent appearances in the drawing office could have arisen from sheer lack of interest in design as such; Jackson, Sackfield and leading draughtsmen had a much easier time. He relaxed his hold on 'running', and left much to his two principal assistants. When he did inject himself into that side it was not always with the happiest results, and he made errors into which he would not have fallen during his previous 25 years. Webb's tight grip on every phase of the whole department was loosened, and gradually a laxity in higher echelons was discernible, though not in the ranks, for discipline below foreman level was maintained up to World War 1.

Whale's inexperience in the direction and management of a whole department, plus encouragement from Trevithick, Harrison and Turnbull to finish with Webb and all his compounds, led him to acquiesce in the scrapping of many engines under 16 years old, and of many others of 1860-87 vintage, at a rate faster than new ones of equal total traffic capacity were built. Withdrawal and construction were not planned in unison, and as a result the LNWR was markedly short of main-line motive power in 1904-05; at times in the summer of 1904 train operation was chaotic from this cause. This imbalance also led to greater piles of scrap in the steelworks yard, and possibly from this dates the great untidiness of the south and south-east sections of the Steelworks yard that was so prominent a feature in the last few years of the LNWR and early years of the LMSR.

Atkins West Coast 4-6-0s at work notes that Whale "to have been selected for such high posts... must have been possessed of considerable strength of character, and yet in reality he appears to have been a decidedly elusive personaility.". Atkins also cites an article in Rly Mag. of June 1909 by J.N. Jackson on Whale's locomotives (full citation needed)..

Talbots's The LNWR recalled: collected writings and observations on the London & North Western Railway. (1987) p. 70 states that Whale had an even temperament and was well-liked, but that his health began to fail in the middle of 1908

Essery published a very bleak assessment of Whale's abilities.

Nature of Whale household (Whale was a widower) from 1881 Census: Backtrack 14, 637.

Atkins, P. West coast 4-6-0s at work. 1981. Chap. 3.
Nock, O.S. Railway enthusuast's encyclopedia

Hewitt Pearson Montague Beames

Cook and ILE Obituary note that Beames was born near Dublin on 9 May 1875. He was educated at Corrig School, Kingstown, Co. Dublin, at Dover College, and Crawley's Military Academy. He became a Premium Apprentice under F.W. Webb at Crewe, and in 1898 a Pupil. After 9 months in the drawing office he became Junior Assistant to the Works Manager in 1899. In January 1900 he obtained leave to join H.M. forces in the South African war in Paget's Horse until May 1901 when he resumed his original appointment. From January 1902 to the end of 1909, he was Assistant to the Outdoor Superintendent, Crewe, dealing with pumping, lifting, dredging and dock machinery. From then until the outbreak of WW1 he was Personal Assistant to the new CME, C.J. Bowen Cooke. From the outbreak of War he was again on acive service in a Royal Engineer's Railway Coy, with the British Expeditionary Force until recalled to take up the appointment of Chief Assistant and Works Manager, Crewe Works with responsibility for munitions work and the preparation of locomotives for overseas service. From June 1919 to November 1920 he was Deputy Chief Mechanical Engineer of the LNWR and was Chief Mechanical Engineer until January 1922 following the premature death of Bowen Cooke.

When the amalgamation of the LNWR and L&YR took place, he was designated Divisional Mechanical Engineer, Western Division, under Hughes. Nock (Great locomotives of the LMS) observes that this was a strategic error as Hughes was already 67 years old, and the younger, more energetic man should have been appointed. On the formation of the LMS he was made Mechanical Engineer (Crewe), being appointed Deputy Chief Mechanical Engineer, under Lemon with Headquarters at Derby in December 1930. Despite his antipathy to the Midland school of locomotive engineering he became a popular figure. During Lemon's short reign, Beames put forward several schemes for new or rebuilt locomotives, which showed distinctive thinking, and it is clear that had he become chief mechanical engineer LMS lomotive design would have followed a very different course from that which it took under Stanier, but it is unlikely that he would have been as successful as his last Chief. In the event, having been passed over for the fourth time with Stanier's appointment, He retired from the Railway service on 30 September 1934 (Marshall).

Beames only had time to introduce one new class, an 0-8-4 tank for steep lines in South Wales. This was derived from an existing 0-8-0 design and was characterized by a tendency to derail on sharply curved track. Rutherford states that Beames was in effect and in fact—he was forced to take a salary cut—demoted. It was probably hoped at Euston that he would resign but he remained loyal to Crewe and stayed on, performing invaluable work for the new company. Beames was attracted by line assembly methods used in the motor industry, and under his direction there was a complete reorganisation of the repair methods .at Crewe in the years 1925-7, adapting assembly line techniques to suit repair work (the "Belt" system). He was attracted by the Caprotti valve gear, and at his instigation this gear was fitted to ten LNWR Claughton 4-6-0s; he also instigated the fitting of larger boilers to 20 of this class.

In his early days he had been a keen Rugby footballer and played for Lancashire on several occasions. He was also invited to tour Canada with the Irish XV, but was unable to make the journey. In his active involvement in sport he was like Stanier  Mike Low was a personal friend both of Broadbent and with H.M.P. Beames' sons Geoffrey (Bobs) and Peter (who had served in the Royal Tank Corps until killed in North Africa). In 1926 the Beames brothers had formed the Mountain Rangers Association Also mentions that Beames Senior had built a 7¼in gauge working model of the compound locomotive Jeannie Deans. Broadbent, William Benedict as told via Edward Talbot. The road to Holyhead. Part Two. Backtrack, 2011, 25, 598-603..

In retirement he entered County politics and became Chairman of Cheshire County Council (which appropriately at that time met at the Crewe Arms, the LNWR hotel in Crewe). He was invested with the CBE by the King at Stalybridge in 1946. He died on 5 March 1948 at the age of 72 leaving a widow and one son.

Of all the CMEs displaced at Grouping, Beames was the most unfortunate, in that there were three occasions on which he could seriously have expected to become the head of department again, particularly after his achievements in the re-organisation of Crewe Works. However, there were strong Midland influences determined that the control of the department should not fall into ex-LNWR hands. It should be noted that Cox (Locomotive panorama) is probably unreliable on Beames (he had been trained under Hughes): on page 29, for instance, he wrote that "his habitual expression of having swallowed something disagreeable" may have been due to the up-start Cox being present!. On page 62 Cox wrote: "Beames, the C.M.E. manqué at Crewe sat surlily in that citadel of pst glories and viewed with sour gaze all that went on at Derby": it is unlikely that Beames would have skimped on the design of journals and bearings in the way that Derby did.

Although much is duplicated Reed is worth quoting in full: Beames, who followed Cooke as chief mechanical engineer, had a strange and frustrating last quarter to his career. An Irishman by birth, he became a Crewe premium in 1895 after a period at Crawley's, the military crammer. He was taken as a pupil by Webb in 1898, but just after being made a junior . assistant to the Crewe Works manager he obtained leave in January 1900 to go off to the Boer War in Paget's Horse. After 18 months in South Africa he returned to Crewe in his old position, and from 1902 to 1909 he was an assistant to the outdoor superintendent. He became personal assistant to Cooke in January 1910, and this lasted until October 1914 when he joined the Royal Engineers and later went to France. He was recalled to Crewe in April 1916 and made works manager and chief assistant to Cooke, an unusual appointment, for at that time he had no previous managerial experience at all nor the control of any large number of men. In June 1919, whilst retaining the works managership, he was appointed deputy chief mechanical engineer, a formal position unique in LNWR history.
In November 1920 he was appointed chief mechanical engineer, but this position he held for little more than a year, because from 1 January 1922 the LNWR and L&YR were merged, though retaining the title of the LNWR. George Hughes, chief mechanical engineer of the LYR from 1904, was made chief mechanical and electrical engineer of the enlarged system; running was taken away from the chief mechanical engineer and given to new superintendents of motive power, but the carriage and wagon departments came under the cme. Beames then simply became divisional mechanical engineer, Crewe, though his salary was not reduced. Through 1922 he had as colleagues, equal in status but not in remuneration, the divisional mechanical engineers at Wolverton (Trevithick), Earlestown (Warneford), Horwich (Shawcross) and Newton Heath (Gobey). On the formation of the LMSR on 1 January 1923 Beames continued as mechanical engineer, Crewe, and it was in that capacity he had the responsibility of the big works reorganisation, he himself being responsible for the idea of 'the belt', following a visit to the USA.
With a revision in LMSR organisation he was appointed in December 1930 to Derby as deputy chief mechanical engineer to E.J.H. Lemon, the chief, though he continued to reside at Chester Place, Crewe, the official residence of the LNWR chief mechanical engineer. When Lemon was promoted to vice-president as from 1 January 1932 he was succeeded not by Beames but by W.A. Stanier from Swindon. Beames continued to act as deputy chief mechanical engineer to Stanier until his retirement at the end of September 1934 at the age of 59. The larger side of his nature was shown by his letter to Stanier in 1931: "I am very disappointed, but there is no one I would rather serve under than you." Also he wrote warmly to Riddles in 1946 congratulating him on becoming an LMSR vice-president, and again later when Riddles became a member of the Railway Executive. After his accession to high place during World War I Beames took more interest in civic affairs, and he was also president for years of the Webb Orphanage and of the Crewe Mechanics Institute. Stanier paid tribute to Beames' reorganization of Crewe Works and the end of his Presidential Address to the Institution of Locomotive Engineers in 1939..

Patents

190,052 Applied 3 February 1922, Accepted 14 December 1922. Compression reducing valve for steam engine cylinders
194, 499 Applied 3 February 1922, Accepted 15 March 1923. Liquid fuel burner for crude or residual oils. with Frederick Montague Grover
214,065 Applied 22 March 1922, Accepted 17 April 1924. Improvements in valve gear for the distribution of steam in locomotive cylinders.
Modified version of Walschaert's valve gear applicable to inside-cylinder locomotives and used on Prince of Wales class: Tishies

Paper

Beames, H.P.M. The reorganization of Crewe Works. Proc. Instn Mech. Engrs., 1928 (1)' 245-62. Discussion: 263-88. 5 illus., 5 diagrs., 2 plans.

Discussion on other's papers

Gresley, H.N. Three-cylinder high-pressure locomotives. Proc. Instn Mech Engrs. pp. 976-7: " it was the experience of all locomotive engineers that the less they got inside the frames the better. It was difficult to get a man to spend more time inside the frames than was necessary." He also considered that higher boiler pressures were possible, but with non-traditional boilers. Also comment on wheel balancing. Also stated that he had wondered whether his love for the three-cylinder engine had been gained from working between the frames of three-cylinder compounds. Also argued against Gresley's stated prefernce for low boiler pressures as they were adopting high pressures in the USA.
Gresley, H.N. High-pressure locomotives. Proc. Instn Mech. Engrs., 1931, 120, 166.
Beames said it afforded him very great pleasure to pay tribute to his old friend, the Author, and he was sure that every one who had watched the progress of locomotive No. 10,000 would have been impressed with the courage and resourcefulness shown in its design. Moreover, to those who, like himself, had to maintain boilers of the Stephenson type, the successful attempt which the Author had made to eliminate large flat stayed surfaces promised future relief from a great deal of trouble. Indeed, the presence of those surfaces had been one of the reasons which had restricted the advance of pressure in locomotives hitherto. He wondered, incidentally, what trade was supposed to deal with the building and maintenance of a boiler of that type. He could foresee some lively controversy between the fitter, the boiler-maker, and the tuber ! On looking at the diagram of the locomotive, it would appear that the centre of gravity was pitched rather high and that the engine might be unsteady, but he understood that at high speeds it was a particularly steady-running machine. It might also be supposed from the diagram that as a result of the free passage through the boiler given to the flue-gases the smokebox temperature might be rather high. He asked what this temperature was, and mentioned that in an engine of the " Royal Scot " type a smokebox temperature of 650' F. was attained under certain conditions. Could the Author also say how much water per pound of fuel was evaporated ? He inquired, further, whether any trouble was experienced in keeping up the refractory walls between the flues and the surrounding air chamber, and whether any trouble was experienced due to evaporation.
One of the difficulties with the ordinary type of superheater boiler was that the superheater was confined in flue tubes which frequently became blocked with cinders. In the type of locomotive they were now discussing, however, that trouble could not occur, but he nevertheless supposed that a certain amount of ash passed through the superheater, and he asked what means were adopted to clean it. Another point which would appeal to engineers was that the feed-water in the Author's locomotive was fed to the boiler by injectors, and it was not necessary therefore to incorporate a complicated system of pumps as in some of the other locomotives which had been described. In view, however, of the very high velocity with which the feed-water had to pass through the injectors he wondered if there might not be some trouble due to erosion of the cones.
He had asked that question in America when he had seen the first of the high-pressure What kind of piston packing was used? locomotives, and he had been assured that the packing in the locomotive at that time, after about six months’ running, was the original packing fitted in the engine. The packing and lubrication, indeed, had been so satisfactory that no alteration had been required.. He saw that a special form of regulator was used in the Author’s engine. Was it a multiple-valve regulator, and did it give any trouble due to the high pressure of the steam ? Finally, he asked how the engine-drivers and the fwemen reacted to the higher pressure, for he well remembered the time when an old driver had handed in his resignation because the boiler pressure of his locomotive was increased from 6 to 12 Ib. per sq. in.

Obituary: Major Hewitt Pearson M. Beames. J. Instn Loco. Engrs, 1947, 37, 548.

See: W. Tuplin, North Western Steam (1963). He is also well-known for his remarks to Stanier upon the latter's appointment as CME of the LMS.

Other comment

Stanier in his discussion on Bond' s Organisation and control of locomotive repairs on British Railways. J. Instn Loco Engrs., 1953, 43, pages 218-19. (Paper No. 520) noted Beames' contribution to efficiency at Crewe Works by instigating the new erecting shop opened in 1924. There has been a tendency for Riddles (aided by Cox) to hijack this significant effort..

In Locomotive panorama (v. 1) Cox stated: "Beames, the CME manqué at Crewe, sat surlily in that citadel of past glories and viewed with a sour gaze all that went on at Derby, and with a still more jaundiced eye any instructions appertaining to locomotive design which arrived from that despised headquarters. Very naturally he would have liked to have been designing his own engines, and that he had some novel ideas on the subject soon began to emerge. A memo of the 10th November, 1925, records that he commented upon Fowler's proposed Pacific saying that it ought to have 6' 3" dia. instead of 6' 9" wheels, also that it ought to be arranged so that it could be worked either simple or compound at the driver's discretion,and that it should have no splashers, but a simple running board running from cab front to smokebox front. This latter theme he subsequently developed in a proposal to debag the Claughtons, and I certainly saw a drawing to this effect, showing a single thin running board high up above the coupled wheels. Unfortunately all further trace of this early step towards 'austerity' in locomotive appearance seems to have been lost.

Beames's satisfactory studies of the Caprotti poppet valve gear recently introduced into Italy are more significant. Theoretically it was ideal in the ready manner in which it permitted any desired valve events to be obtained, and it attained by alternative means the same virtues which had been reached with piston valves as described above. Claughton 5908 was thus equipped resulting in a triumphant 20% coal saving on test compared to the original design, and Beames was converted to the merits of this kind of valve gear and upheld it staunchly for the rest of his time. Ten further Claughtons were so dealt with in this way, in addition to the fitting of larger boilers having 200 in place of 175 lbs. per sq. in. pressure. These produced a 27% fuel saving over the originals, but it was all too late since the alternatives of narrow ring piston valves and long travel valve gear were capable of even greater savings, at a reduced initial cost. Although further essays were made with poppet valve gears from time to time they never succeeded in demonstrating any commanding superiority. KPJ: anyone seeking to question Cox's possibly excessive influence on the assessment of British steam locomotives could do worse than consider the opening to this extract: nobody else has ever considered Beames to be "surly". On the other hand, it is quite clear that Beames did have a grasp of locomotive design: the last British Pacific, the Duke of Gloucester, incorporated two of his criteria: smaller driving wheels and Caprotti valve gear!.

Portraits

Nock, O.S. LNWR locomotives of C.J. Bowen Cooke. 1977.

Updated: 2011-10-01