Roger A.S. Hennessey

Contributor to Backtrack, mainly on electric traction, but also on green issues, counterfactual history and the "will not quite fit any box" (including classificatory systems for locomotives). Writes interesting book reviews of material which will never perculate to the arid bibliographical desert of Norfolk. Author of books on electricity generation, supply and traction and on Atlantic steam locomotives. One on electricity generation was purchased by the King's Lynn Library (and is now in the County Library book store). Atlantic: the well beloved engine is a personal possession.

Atlantic - the well beloved engine. Tempus, 2002; History Press, 2009.
Regarded as "idiosyncratic and unusual" by Phil Atkins (Backtrack, 2002, 16, 654) and "excellent, well balanced and detailed" according to Mel Holley  (Steam Wld, 2009 (264) 66) Includes a counterfactual McIntosh four-cylinder compound with an illustration by Robin Barnes.

The electric revolution. Newcastle upon Tyne: Oriel Press, 1972.
Illustrations are well chosen, but utter failure to mention either Sir Herbert Walker's Southern Electric or the London Midland electrification which was still new and glittering. Picture of proposed Severn Barrage is illuminating.

The Transcaucasian Railway and the Royal Engineers. Roger Hennessey. Trackside Publications. NF *** tev BT 21
Recounts the part played by the Royal Engineers in repairing and operating the Trancaucasian Railway (running between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, around modern Tiblisi) between 1918 and 1920. It also covers the construction of the line and its associated narrow and standard gauge feeder lines between 1866 and 1883. The text is informative but unfortunately the proof-reading leaves a little to be desired, the occasional sentence lacking a verb. The book is well provided with good quality photographs, many from Russian sources, but a significant number from Bournemouth Railway Club's Kelland Collection. During the Russian Revolution and Civil War Lt Col. L.B. Billinton, formerly Locomotive Engineer of the LBSCR, was sent to report on the Russian rail system, being captured by the Bolsheviks in the process.

Backtrack contributions (excluding reviews)

Irony on the Iron Way - railway humour for historians. 2000, 14, 702-6.
Illus.:Cartoons:; An officer and a gentleman; Railway responsibility; Railway announcement 'Mr Jones let go of my hand; Rowland Emmett 'Electrification' ; Rowland Emmett 'Squatters in no 3'; Patience in adversity; All line information; Demob returns from carrying a kitbag to being a railway porter, Engineers rest home; The station master. See letter by W.M. Tollan (15, 118) which describes how Grand Master of Orange Lodge was thrown from his horse at Larkhall by an engine blowing off, and how the hapless crew faced a bunch of Celtic supporters at adjacent platform on return to Glasgow Central.

The railwayman as philosopher: Herbert Spencer. 2002, 16, 21-6.
Herbert Spencer regarded as philosopher and founder of social science, was employed as early railway engineer. He worked under Charles Fox on the southrn section of the London & Birmingham Railway performing parctical work on embankments and cuttings. At one stage he "improvised" a slip truck to take him back to Harrow behind the mail, but he had neglected to allow for the falling gradient from thence towards Willesden. He moved to the Birmingham & Gloucester to work under Captain Moorsom. Here he designed skew bridges, and published his method for calcualting their structures, and tested locomotives supplied by Nasmyth of Patricroft in 1841. He was involved in surveying the course of the Oxford Worcester and Wolverhampton Railway, and several of the railway mania lines. He was involved with a feud with Brunel over the South Wales Railway in which an uncle had a financial stake. For a time he worked for The Economist where he castigated the behaviour of railway directors. Railway analogies pepper his philosophical studies.

The Irishman's Gun. 2002, 16, 380-1.
Photo feature: about "rebuilt locomotives". Paris - Orleans 4-6-0, Rebuilt Patriot No. 45534 at Stockport, P-O 2-4-2 of 1882, original Southern Pacific A3 that became No 3000 an A6, Delaware, Lackawanna & Western No 1152 when more or less new, LNER Atlantic No 3279 (4-cylinder version rebuilt by Gresley) in 1935 at Peterborough,

From the Berwyns to the Bering Strait: the "what if?" metaphysics of railway history. 2002, 16, 678-83.
Projected railways, both on a small scale (the greater Kent & East Sussex), or mega-scale (Hitler's 3m gauge railway for dominating Eastern Europe), including some lines started but not completed (Dingwall & Cromarty Light Railway), projected locomotives, amalgamations that never were, and so on: Hennessey introduces the terms counterfactual and virtual, and hints at political involvements, such as the windmill atitudes of Governments towards railway amalgamations. He does not cover the flood of paper railways (Thameslink 2000, Crossrail, etc) paraded before a gullible electorate.

A House of Many Mansions: railways and religion. 2003, 17, 201-6.
Virtually impossible to abstract as the author presents immense diversity: the following are merely illustrative — Papal mission cars; the Hedjaz Railway to convey pilgrims towards Mecca, the Keswick Convention assisted the coffers of the CK&R; traffic to Lourdes; provision of chapels and churches for railway workers, CME's as sons of the rectory and manse, the clergy and railway enthusiasm, and Bradshaw's Quaker rejection of the pagan names for months. Have not fully checked but I bet it excludes Mgr Ronald Knox's admiration of Marylebone Station as a site for peace and tranquility within Central London!

Consolidation — an engine of history. 2003, 17, 544-52.
This is more than a mere catalogue of the 2-8-0 type in Britain: it is a global perspective of the type: in 1907 Angus Sinclair stated "Steel rails and Consolidation locomotives stopped the cultivation of so many wheat fields in the British Isles..." by opening up the Prairies. The USA was the birthplace, over 30,000 were constructed there, and main area of operation for the type. They were used widely in Australia. They had a major influence on the transport of coal and minerals, such as iron ore. They had a major role in both WW1 and WW2. They provided access into the Rockies, the Alps and the Andes. There is a list of references, but further sources are embedded in the text: for instance the reference to R.N. Higgins' Over here the story of the S160 which the author regards as the chief UK chronicler of the UNRA type during their brief, and somewhat hazardous, use in Britain (strangely no illustration of this type herein).

The Atlantic enigma. 2004, 18, 70-8.
An interesting survey of the 4-4-2 type, but excluding the tank engine versions whilst including the rare inside-cylinder type, and a short section on miniature locomotives. To an extent based on the Author's Atlantic: the well-beloved engine.

Politics and motors. 2004, 18, 206-11.
The interaction between politics in Britain and the former Soviet Union on the introduction of internal combustion powered locomotives and railcars. The GWR is praised for the success of its railcars which were introduced without any serious political influence. Following an examination of the influence of politics in the USSR on diesel traction with the accompanying liquidation of some of those involved, one might have thought that dieselisation in Britain might have been more gentlemanly, but Hennessey shows how political intrigue led to some disastrous decisions, notably the Western Region's diesel hydraulics and the Clayton class 1s. The DMUs were more successful, however. The Author suggests that steam might have lasted longer if the British Transport Commission's report on modern traction had been prepared before the Standard Locomotive programme had started as the BTC had envisaged a protracted rundown of steam traction, not the hectic rush which eventually occurred. KPJ: why has nobody linked the absurd rush to haul coal by diesel power when the coal industry itself was about to be rationalized and cut back. Illus.: McKeen petrol railcar c1910  Los Angeles & San Diego Beach RR; Class O-el 1-D-1 built fby Kolomna in 1931 (USSR); Stalin, Voroshilov and Lazar Kaganovish, Transport Commissar in grim group photo; prserved GWR diesel railcar No. 4 (T.J. Edgington); Nos 10001 and 10000 leaving Euston for Glasgow on 5 October 1948 (TJE); General Sir Brian Robertson, Chairman BTC; D5300 at Wood Green in September 1958 (on display to public); W32 at Birmingham Snow Hill on 29 July 1950 (TJE).

Gunboats and Pagodas: the curious history of the 0-4-4T. 2004, 18, 454-62.
A strange meander, one suspects this is a trailer for a larger work,  through the byways of 0-4-4T design which fails to include the Fletcher BTPs (back tanks passenger) and might have made more of the design's relationship to the 0-4-2T (via Stroudley). The Cudworth (back tank) design for SER suburban working (a back tank type) is described and illustrated with a drawing from Jahn's Die Dampflokomotive (1924). This evolved via Richard Mansell who introduced the M class (gunboats) and James Stirling (who had designed an 0-4-4T before leaving the GSWR) and via Sturrock's input into the successful H class for the SECR (known by enginemen as pagodas). Some consideration is given to the Drummond development of the type for the CR and the LSWR, although the Adams' input for the latter (classes T1 and O2) is largely ignored, although there is room to consider the Forney type developed in the USA, and the twin locomotives used on the Transcaucasian Railway. Extensive reliance has been placed on the work of D.L. Bradley.

From Bloomers to TOPS: locomotive classification through the ages: a brief survey. 2004, 18, 722-9.
Two primary classification techniques are identified: by characteristic (essentially wheel base, as used by LNER), or by power (as used by LMS, e.g. 2P). Hennessey attempts to establish when the concept of locomotive class was established and suggests Hardman Earle, a director of the Liverpool & Manchester Railway who cited the Planet class in 1832. The list of classes, types, categories mentioned is long and some follow: Met Tanks, Large Bloomers, from Crewe in official use: Large Bloomers, slaughters, Eolverton Bury, Old Crewe Passenger: William Martley had Echo, Scotchman, Tiger, Brigand and Rose classes which the austere Kirtley replaced by K,D,E and Q etc. The NER opted for an alphabetical chronological system; P. Drummond on the HR and Reid on the NBR opted for alphabetical power systems. Head engine classes were typified by Jenny Lind, Gladstone, etc. There were the Bury and Hackworth types. Generics were common: Castles on more than one railway, Scotchmen, Schools, etc. Edward Windle is credited with the LNER system. The limitations of the LMS power-based system are noted. The German mind imposed far more rigorous systems: Gölsdorf invented a complex numerical system and the Umzeichnungsplan for the Reichsbahn was both flexible and all-embracing.

An engine by any other name. 2005, 19, 208-15.
The naming and names of locomotives onsidered on a world basis but with some emphasis on British (including Irish) traditions. Some railways rarely named locomotives (notably the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway), some only used names (the Great Western broad gauge). Hennessey cites several useful books on the subject (which may eventually the form of a basis for a web-page) and considers naming policies and their politics. He also introduces classifications for some of the names (see eventually link to Jones to the problems therein). Illus. p. 212 Europa (Gooch standard 0-6-0, which Hennessey implies was the last broad gauge locomotive to leave Plymouth for Swindon

One track to the future: early monorail visions, 1820-1920. 2005, 19, 437-41.
Begins with a taxonomy (classification): elevated or suspended (Wuppertal Schwebebahn), the single rail without any other kind of support (Brennan gyro-stabilised), the straddle variety (Listowel & Ballybunion Railway in Ireland) and the upper support type (Kearney) and the hybrid type with outriggers, notably the Ewing system. Level crossings with roads (except on elevated systems) and points and turnouts were difficult to engineer. The use of steam traction was also difficult. A small Monorail Transporter for civil engineering sites was described in The Engineer in 29 December 1949 and 29 May 1959. Chalmers Kearney attempted to popularise his ideas via fiction: Eróne (1943) which introduces a "Monoway" and makes oblique reference to his nearly successful system between North and South Shields. In true Hennnessey form the article covers everything from pure? fiction to "sound" proposals, through to actual ventures. Utopian cities are prone to monorail transport: H.G. Wells was interested in them and included them in The War in the Air (1908). Includes a reference to Oswald Spengler's: The decline of the West (1917) which led to Spengler's rule: when new cultural forms emerge a large range of possibilities are explored in their early histories: Hennessey suggests that this was the case with monorails and was certainly so with hovercraft (KPJ) and possibly with tilting trains (KPJ). Others mentioned include: Dr Maude Royden, Rowland Allanson-Winn (5th Baron Headley); William Bradshaw's Goddess of Atvabar (1892) possibly inspired by Le Roy Stone's system at the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition of 1876; The Eagle contributor: Frank Hampson's Red Moon Mystery (1953); Luke Herbert's Brighton to London system to be wind-powered and to convey fish and Andraud's Windway to be propelled by inflatable rubber tubes. The Rev. Riach Thom's model Marvo Railway and H.H. Tunis' top-supported monorails at the Jamestown Exposition in 1907 are both mentioned. Hennessey's suggested website visit ( is disappointing unless one is interrested in Seattle. Also cites B.G. Wilson and J.R. Day's Unusual railways (with B.G. Wilson Ottley 2389) and the latter's More unusual railways (1960 Ottley 2393) which KPJ also found disappointing. Bibliography..

Wheels within wheels: locomotive wheel notations: causes and effects. 2005, 19, 526-33.
Whyte and other notations. According to writer Whyte published his system in American Engineer and Railroad Journal in 1900 in a contribution of less than 300 words. This had followed a contribution entitled "The confusion of types—a logical locomotive classification needed" in the same journal. Also observes pre-Whyte difficulties, such as locomotives noted as ten-wheelers (probably 4-6-0s) and to axle-based notations used on Continental Europe leading to Pacific 231. There is also the VDEV system with notations which remind KPJ of Ranganathan's classification for library books where every keyboard symbol is exploited to produce highly complex notations: a Midland compound 4-4-0 would rejoice in being a 2'B h3v: presumably a Big Boy would require Vistavision. Tuplin's modification of the system is noted. Ahrons contributed a paper on the topic to the Institution of Locomotive Engineers, The vast literature on locomotive classifications is cited, much of it is helpfully in German. Many appropriate websites are also listed. The use of the Whyte notation by Churchward was noted by Rutherford in 1998, 12, 50 (not as cited)..

Juice Jacks, EMUs and Bo-Bos: a century of electric classification. 2005, 20, 232-9
An area where Whyte is not quite right. Bad citation to Institute [sic] of Locomotive Engineers for paper by Wechman [sic]: see J. Instn. Loco. Engrs Paper 391 for correct citation. The illustrations almost say it all: drawing of Central London Railway Bo-Bo known as 'camel backs' (which were notorious for vibration and early demise); diagram of Pennsylvania Railroad DD-1 class, designed A.W. Gibbs for working trains through East River tunnels into New York; drawing of Prussian State Railways B+B+B 15kV for hauling heavy coal trains in Silesia classed as EG; NER No. 13 (2-Co-2) intended for Newcastle to York expresses by Raven and condemned to storage by the LNER (it must have been a majestic beast); American interurban electric locomotive with trolley pole built Baldwin Westinghouse in 1904 for Cincinnati, Georgetown & Portsmouth Railroad; NER Bo-Bo No. 8 with dynamometer car on Newport to Shildon line in October 1921 (caption notes De Normanville windscreen); Swiss Federal Railways rod-driven 1-B-B-1 No. 12313

Orion, Darroch and the 'Alfreds'. 2005, 20, 280-6.
Some of the information has been incorporated into the biography of Darroch. Orion was a one-sixth scale (9½in (9¾in?) gauge) model of a Webb-type 4-cylinder compound with a Precursor type of boiler. The model was built by Darroch whilst he was at Crewe before WW1 and ran on a line in his garden at Crewe. The locomotive was an exhibit at the Liverpool & Manchester Railway Centenary Celebration in St George's Hall in Liverpool from 13-20 September 1930 (Rly Mag., 1931, 68, 91-4). Before his death Darroch presented the locomotive to the Stephenson Locomotive Society which arranged for it to be housed at Penrhyn Castle under the National Trust and a partial restoration was accomplished by Iowerth Jones. Eventually lottery funding was obtained to fully restore the model (by John Ellis). This first ran  on the railway at Downs School at Colwall, but is now at thee NRM, Shildon.

Railways, letters and London: railway lettering and control freakery: a mildly revisionist line. 2006, 21, 228-34.
This is an extremely interesting investigation into railway lettering as expressed in signage, on locomotives (as in nameplates and numbering) and rolling stock (ownership, function and identification), and even on chalk notices. It has also flourished, and continues to flourish, in printed documentation: handbills, notices, rule books, etc.; and this in turn influenced signage, or vice versa. A very early (1836) railway handbill advertising services on the London & Greenwich Railway showed that adventurous use was made of typefaces to promote railway services. The emphatic use of Swindon Egyptian, with its heavy serifs, dated back almost to the origin of the Great Western Railway, and was used widely on locomotives and rolling stock but not elsewhere. In 1923 the GWR adopted the Cheltenham typeface for its posters and leaflets, and also used a modification, Winchester, in its posters. The GWR publicity agent, W.H. Fraser, made adventurous use of typefaces in the Company's publications. Grotesques (grots) were widely used in notices, both printed and in station signage. The huge influence of Frank Pick on the Underground Group and London Transport and his involvement with Edward Johnston, a leading figure in calligraphy and lettering, led to Johnston Sans: this dominated London's transport signage and continues to do so after a revision in the 1980s. The famous bull's eye also designed by Johnston is one of the world's best-known corporate images (KPJ: as a London-born child he could not understand why provincial transport services were so poorly indicated: even today bus signage in the village city of Norwich is weak and misleading, and is not much better in Edinburgh). There is an excellent piece in this text where it is shown how Eric Gill was greatly influenced by the names painted on LBSCR locomotives and how this eventually led to the iconic Gill Sans typeface which through the LNER's Advertising Manager, Cecil Dandridge, brought the Company a stylish corporate identity. Hennessey considers that its corporate application by British Railways led to boredom. Eventually, Jock Kinneir's alphabet and its application with a far greater use of lower case has characterized both the public image of railways and railways. The inactivity of the LMS and the more adventurous Southern Railway are but briefly mentioned, but space is given to the global influenec of Pick and Johnston, and the author (whilst pointing an indicator in one worthy direction) notes that railway printing is a subject which deserves greater exploration. Quentin Phillips (letter page 320) indicates that alphabet shown on page 233 is not the Rail Alphabet, but Jock Kinneir's Motorway or Transport Alphabet; also notes that Helvitica was sometimes used in Scotland, and that current signage is a total shambles. See also Editorial correction (page 320) concerning text missing from page 234.

Rail, steam and environment. 2006, 21, 517.
Guest Editorial: "Railway history provides a huge reservoir for 'green revisionism'". The effect of global warming on how railways may come to be perceived in the future. See also more extended approach below

The green enigma: one perspective on railway history. 2006, 21, 592-8.
Green electricity, that is hydro-electricity, has made a notable contribution to the character of railways in Switzerland. Prior to electrification Swiss railways had depended upon imported coal and supplies were difficult during WW1. This led to a rapid implementation of electric traction and by 1947 95% of Swiss railways had been electrified. Factors such as cleanliness were a secondary advantage, although the Author does cite his earlier article on the relationship between tunnels and electric traction. Coal fired generation of electricity was far less efficient, although Charles Merz sought to improve this. M. Duffy's Electric railways, 1880-1990. (2003) is considered to be a definitive work.
Methods of generating electricity are considered. In UK 22% is from nuclear. Spends rather long on direct wind-power. In Scotland 11% of electricity is hydro. Long examination of steam locomotive pollution. Consideres wood and biomass fuel for steam locomotives, which if renewable is "green". Finally considers regenerative braking, noting that the Woodhead electrification was one of the first in Britain. Notes that Pendolinos exploit this method and that other parts of the notwork are cosidering this technique. Illus.: four-wheeled electric locomotives at the Kinlochleven plant of the British Aluminium Company; East Hill Lift at Hastings; Oxford Ragwort, Henry Thoreau, Swiss Federal Railways shunting locomotive No. 8521 Elektrodamfer based on a steam 0-6-0T, but with steam generated by immersion heaters (KPJ: trains on Manchester to Sheffield 1500DC system were heated in this way); Austrian 1-E-1 locomotive with high tension chamber housed in boiler-like casing; anthracite burning Reading Railroad Atlantic No. 344 (which also featured Joy's valve gear on third inside cylinder: see also letter from Sydney Diggles in Vol. 22 p. 125 which corrects the details about this locomotive stated in caption, notably its grrate area; F.H. Trevithick's Egyptian State Railways modified 0-6-0 with feed-water heating device resembling an elephant's trunk and GNR (USA) train climbing zig zag on deforested slopes of Cascade Mountains. See also letter from Kevin P. Jones (page 782) which notes the longevity (which lowers the capital "energy cost") of rail-based motive power citing the A60 stock on the Metropolitan Line and Glasgow trams.

Dudley Docker: wheels and deals. 2007, 22, 164-70.
Birmingham business man who founded his financial empire upon the Docker Brothers' Paint and Varnish company (Rly Mag., 1903, 3, 548) and moved on to engineer the corporate structure of the rolling stock supply industry via the combine Metropolitan Amalgamated Carriage & Wagon Co. (MACW). Further integration occurred with the formation of Metropolitan-Vickers and the Associated Electrical Industries in 1929. The relationship of the British heavy electrical industry was assisted by his holding key directorships on the Boards of potential customers, notably the Southern Railway (having arrived via the LBSCR) and the Metropolitan Railway. Hennessey makes it very clear that the Docker empire was more JL than Tesco as he believed in co-ownership and the Whitley Council system for orderly negotiation. He considered that orderly production was a supreme industrial virtue. MACW displayed a cxonsiderable amount of verical integration as it incorporated the Patent Shaft & Axlebox Co. as well as the original paint business. In 1907 the combine employed 14,000, but gradually the rolling stock buisiness was concentrated at Saltley. For a time it specialized in the supply of steam railcars (railmotors). In the early days some short cuts were taken, notably in the supply of rolling stock to the Metropolitan District Railway. Nevertheless, the same workforce produced the magnifcent Pullman cars for the Southern Belle (inevitably Docker was on the Board of the Pullman Co...

'Sparks' – the electrical consultants. Part 1. The groundbreakers. 2007, 22, 390-6.
Sharp pen portraits of the Hopkinson brothers (John and Edward). John Hopkinson was a brilliant mathematician, an FRS, and holder of forty patents. In association with Mather & Platt he worked on the Giant's Causeway Tramway which used a third rail for the current: Hopkinson conducted experiments to find a suitable insulating material and this led to moulded pocelain insulators. Edward was associated with the Bessbrook & Newry Tramway which also employed a centre third rail, but employed a short section of overhead where the line crossed a public road. This led to John inventing the Hopkinson bow collector, subsequently used on the Snaefell Mountain Railway and Manx Electric Railway: it is still employed on the former, but the latter opted for trolley poles for current collection. Both brothers were involved in the electric works for the City & South London Railway (Hennessey notes that C.E. Spagnoletti was also involved in this project) . These works included Edison-Hopkinson dynamos which generated 500Vdc, and the Mather & Platt motors for the 14 Beyer Peacock locomotives. John Hopkinson was involved with municipal tramways in Leeds and Liverpool. Edward eventually became vice chairman of Mather & Platt and was involved with the Blackpool & Fleetwood Tramroad in 1897. Hennessey notes that the names tend to be confused in most literature, but both considered that "if it ran on rails and was driven by electric power it was electric traction. Ulster features in two early electric traction systems, but down in the South in Cork in 1889 a Conversazione organized by the Christian Brothers another influential scheme was developed. This was a 2ft gauge exhibition line which was developed to demonstrate electric traction. It was created by the Rev. Brother Dominic Burke with the assistance of Gerald Percival. This line was successful in that the Cork municipal engineer was instructed to investigate electric light and traction in the city and this brought Charles Merz who was to become a major player in electric traction into the picture as a consultant for the Cork electric tramways where he showed that by diversity between lighting and traction rhe magnitude of the total load would be reduced. This led to the North East Coast grid and to electrification of the North Tyneside lines of the North Eastern Railway, and to the Shildon to Newport electrification..Both these lines used electricity supplied by NESCO (Newcastle upon Tyne Electric Supply Co.) or its subsidiariary. In Cork he had met William McClellan who became his partner in the a firm of consulting engineers formed in 1902. The North Eastern Railway electrification works brought Merz into contact with Vincent Raven and both had hoped to electrify the York to Newcastle main line, but this was vetoed by the cautious Butterworth. Thomas Tait, Chairman of Commissioners, Victoria Railways in Australia contacted Merz with a view to electrifying Melbourne's suburban railway system. The first report envisaged an 800V dc third rail system, but a second report advocated overhead electrification at 1500V dc. An attempt was made to minimize overall costs: the electric trains served oil-lit stations. Manual signalling was retained and the sliding doors fitted to the rolling stock were hand operated. Subsequently, Merz and McClellan were involved in suburban electrification in Buenos Aires and main line and suburban electrification in New Zealand (Christchurch to Lyttleton in 1929), South Africa and India (suburban Mumbai/Bombay and the severely graded main line to Igatpuri and Poona up the Ghats). G.B. Gill acted on behalf of the Partnership in India, Francis Lydall (portrait) in South Africa and C.H. Lydall in Argentina. The National Grid was formed between 1926 and 1933. The Central Electricity Board co-ordinated electricity generating policy. The Weir Committee (formed of Lord Weir, Wedgwood and Sir William McLintock) incorporated two case studies: the Great Northern mainline to Leeds and Doncaster (which was estimated to produce a 7% return) and the LNWR line from Crewe to Carlisle which only yielded a 2.5% return (a map from the latter is reproduced). There is an extensive critique of a late Merz project: the GWR 1938 proposal to electrify from Taunton to Penzance. It is suggested that this was mainly a bluff to persuade the coal owners to lower their prices. It is argued that part electrifications tend to lead to poor returns, and that the Manchester-Wath-Sheffield electrification failed from this factor. See also letter from Andrew Wilson (p. 509) who disputes that the selection of 3kV rather than 1.5kV for the proposed Taunton to Penzance electrification was an example of GWR "wish to be different", but was due to the lightness of the traffic and an attempt to reduce costs: Wilson was surprised that the GWR did not consider diesel-electric locomotives...

'Sparks' the electrical consultants. Part 2: The age of controversy. 2007, 22, 564-9.
Part 1 began on page 390: Philip Dawson, author of Electric traction on railways (1909) from which portrait taken. Consultant to the LBSCR and to the GER (which did nothing). The Brighton company adopted high voltage AC electric traction at Dawson's instigation, with the aim of extending its system to Brighton: as instanced by the LBSCR Chairman, Sir Charles C. Macrae in 1922 . Notes that O.S. Nock studied under Dawson. Kálmán von Kandó was a a Hungarian who worked with Ganz & Co. to develop three-phase electric traction which required twin wired catenary and motive power which could only operate at a limited number of fixed speeds. Nevertheless, the Valtellina line of the Rete Adriatica, Italy, employed this system and the Metropolitan Railway toyed with employing this system on the Circle line! Hennessey considers that James Dalziel and Josiah Sayers have received insufficient recognition for their pioneering work on the Lancaster-Morecambe-Heysham electrification. Dalziel, 1876-1947, was Chief Electrical Assistant on the Midland Railway. Together with Josiah Sayers, the Telegraph Superintendent, was responsible for high voltage AC Lancaster-Morecambe-Heysham electrification of 1908, and both travelled with Sir Guy Granet to USA on fact finding mission to discover what to do with recently acquired LTSR. Author of several papers. Alexander Blackie William Kennedy (1847-1928) was born in Stepney;. educated at the City of London School, following which he was a marine apprentice. He was Chief Draughtsman at Palmers of Jarrow on Tyne. By 1874 he was professor of engineering at University College, London and was involved in consultancies with Jenkin and then with Donkin. One of his major projects was the Waterloo & City Railway which instigated the use of power cars. He was involved with the conduit system adopted for the tramways operated by the London County Council. Other projects included the British Aluminium Company's works at Kinlochleven and the GWR's sole electrification project: the Hammersmith & City line. He was a consultant to both the LSWR and LNWR. He was involved in several major committees: the Electrification of Railways Advisory Committee which reported in July 1921 (this advocated 1500 and 750V DC) and Sir John Pringle's Electrifiaction of Railways Advsory Committee of 1928 which led to the Weir Report .

Working the Lickey: some ups and downs of historiography.  2009, 23, 134-9.
Based on a meeting orgganized by the Stephenson Locomotive Society which took place at the Kidderminster Railway Museum on 12 April 2008. Even with modern traction descents of the incline could go out of control, and ascents with the former Bristol to Newcastle sleeping car and Mail train could be reduced to near stalling speed at the summit when rail conditions were poor. See also letter from Bob Essery on page 252 which adds some further accounts of running aways, notes that his first drive was up the Incline, and notes with absurd accuracy the summit height and location (near Barnt Green station). See also letterr on page 317 from Richard Kite who corrects some of the geomorpholgy suggested in the description: the railway does not ascend Beacon Hill, but merely climbs (like the canal and the motorways) up to the Midlands plateau at an altitude of some 400-500 feet above the Severn...

The meta motors: a lost railway technology. Part 1. 2009, 23, 612-17.
Electric traction tended to be dominated by low voltage direct current systems: in the USA there were  a large number of interurbans which tended to feed into urban tramway systems; and in major cities and in Britain there were many third rail low voltage electric suburban railways. The technology was simple, but electricity had to be supplied at short intervals and the feed required many sub-stations where high voltage alternating current was converted to DC via motor-generators. These sub-stations had to be staffed. Higher voltage (1500 or 3000 volts) required fewer sub-stations. There was also interest in high volatge alternating current and this was employed by the Midland Railway and by the LBSCR, but AC motors were torque deficient.In the USA the Paul Smith's Railroad (an interurban in the Adirondacks) used a 5kV ac conductor line to feed 600V dc motors via motor-generators installed in the cars. Harry Ward Leonard pioneered mechanical systems for converting ac to dc. Maschinenfabrik Oerlikon of Zurich mounted a series of experiments on the Seebach-Wettingen line of the Swiss Federal Railways between 1904 and 1909 to investigate electrification at 50Hz converting it to dc on the locomotive. Dr. E. Huber-Stockar and Hans Behn-Eschenberg were involved in these experiments. The PLM in France built an experimental 2-Bo+Bo-2 which employed 12kV ac at 25Hz and used a true motor-generator: it successfully worked between Grasse and Soutoux and could haul 150 tons up a 1 in 50 gradient. Henry Ford dabbled in railway operation by acquiring the Detroit, Toledo & Ironton RR and running it in a highly paternalistic manner. As well as maintaining the steam locomotive fleet in superb condition he electrified seventeen miles with concrete overhead structures supporting the 22kV ac catenary. The locomotive was configured as a Do-Do+Do-Do and weighed 375 tons. It ran 34,000 miles per month between 1927 and 1931. The New Haven RR employed motor-genertor locomotives for shunting and trip work. This railroad was later associated with ignitron rectifier locomotives. The Great Northern Railway exploited motor-generator technology for the Cascade Tunnel line with five 1-Do-1 locomtives from Baldwin-Westinghouse which took current at 11kV ac at 25Hz. These were fololowed by eight 1-Co-Co-1 machines and in 1948 by two Bo-Do-Do-Bo locomotives. The Virginian Railway employed Bo-Bo-Bo-Bo+Bo-Bo-Bo-Bo machines which could regenerate electricity. In the late 1930s the SNFC used Ward Leonard technology on 1500V dc shunting locomotives and in Hungary the MAV used Ward Leonard technology quite extensively on shunting and freight locomotives. Interesting tests preparatory to the design of electric locomotives for the Southern Railway included braking tests with K class 2-6-0 hauling 956 tons braking hard with unfitted wagons and another with a motor coach from a 6-PUL unit acting as a "freight locomotive" with the K class locomotive providing assistance.

A Stephenson Centenary (with Mike Fell). 2009, 23, 646-52.
The Stephenson Society was founded on 29 December 1909 (11 December letter from R.A.S. Hennessey which also correctly states the Society's involvement in the naming of Brighton Baltic No. 329 Stephenson) in Croydon by Lionel Brailsford and Frank Burtt. The latter left the SLS in 1912 to form the Junior Society of Locomotive Engineers, which in turn became the Institution of Locomotive Engineers, but he returned to the Stephenson Locomotive Society in 1923. The enthusiasts' Society rapidly gained the support of leading locomotive engineers which gave members access to engine sheds and works. J.N. Maskelyne (portrait page 646) was Chairman 1915-25 and President 1925-61. Maskelyne was instrumental in the preservation of Stroudley 0-4-2 locomotive Gladstone in the LNER Railway Musuem at York. The fine draughtsmanship by F.H. Stringemore and L. Ward is recorded. Special rail tours were organized by W.A. Camwell and by Dr Hollick (historian of the North Staffordshire Railway). The latter was involved in tours over the Cromford & High Peak Railway in trains hauled by North London Railway 0-6-0Ts. Authorship, notably rhe effort by Harold Bowtell, books published by the Society, and the SLS Journal are covered at length.

The meta motors: a lost railway technology. Part 2. 2009, 23, 730-5.
Design of CC1 and CC2 by the Southern Railway by Oliver Bulleid and Alfred Raworth. They were designed to be able to work within the limited Hastings line gauge. They were fitted with motor-generators with flywheel boosters to enable them to traverse gaps in the conductor rail. Bastian & Allen horizontal boilers were fitted to provide steam heasting for passenger trains. CC3 incorporated modifications introduced by C.M. Cock including a degree of field weakening. The locomotives could not cope with the higher voltage (750V dc) adopted for the Kent Coast electrification and were limited to the Central Division and were withdrawn in 1968/9. Further locomotives, the Class 71 Bo-Bo type, were built for the Kent Coaast electrification. These retained the motor-generator principal, but added a considerable amount of Swiss practice especially that from Berne Lötschberg-Simplon Bo-Bo Class Ae4/4 machines manufactured by SLM. The application of the sophisticated Metadyne by London Transport led to a system where acceleration and deceleration was achieved smoothly, but at the cost of added weight and this was abandoned from 1955. The system was probably invented in Italy by J. Pestarini. Split phase traction was developed by a Hungarian Kálman von Kandó of Ganz. The system was initially adopted by American coal haulage companies. Illus.: Umformer lokomotive 1-E-1 Austrian State Railway (single phase 15kV 16.6Hz converted to three-phase AC, Kandó split phase locomorive No. 1470.001 with Kandó in the picture; Austro-Hungarian Festival of Inauguration on 24 July 1925 with MAV Kandó 1-D-1 about to leave Budapest for Gyor;  p. 732 lower Metadyne unit at "Moorgate" Ealing Common depot? .

Flags, trade and traction: aspects of the 'fifteen hundred' era. Part One. 2010, 24, 262-7.
Influence of Sir Eric Geddes, Minister of Transport, and Charles Merz of Merz & McLellan on railway electrification. The significance of the North Eastern Electricity Supply Company (NESCO) and the Kennedy Committee. Prior to the Kennedy Committee's deliberations the North Eastern Railway had set out to electrify the Shildon to Newport line. This did not open until 1915 and was closed on 31 December 1934. The Manchester, South Junction & Altringham was electrified from 11 May 1931. Finance was provided via the repeal of Passenger Duty introduced by Leslie Hore-Belisha, Minister of Transport in 1929. There was some contemporary criticism that the third-rail system was not adopted. The system was subsequenty converted to 25kV ac, and then to 750V dc to form part of the Metrolink. The Manchester-Sheffied-Wath scheme was financed by the Railways (Agrement) Act of 1935 which established the Railway Finance Corporation an led to the New Works Programme of 1935-40. Hennessey emphasises beneficiaries of schemes (that is British industrial companies). In the case of Manchester-Wath- Sheffield these were Balfour Beatty, Henley's Cables, BICC (overhead equipment) and AEI (Metrovick). Notes Gresley's favourable stance on electric traction and that he had been impressed with regenerative braking observed on the South African Railways 3kV dc system. Notes how the system, most of which closed in 1980, suffered from adopting the wrong voltage and failed to be extended. The "Shenford" Shenfield system faired better and Hennessey notes how the whole 1500V dc was converted to 25kV ac in a single weekend, but this was a pre-macgregorized railway (that man should be forced to travel from Diss by "train" to London for an urgent appointment at the weekend).

Flags, trade and traction - Part Two. 2010, 24, 342-7.
Continued from page 262: begins by citing William Whitelaw's paper presented to the Chartered Institute of Transport where he implied that finance for electrification was difficult to justify. Frank Lydall of Merz & McClellan advocated 3kV as 1.5kV was near the liimit for the Ghat inclines on the GIPR. There were the alternaives of Bo + Bo with axle hung motors versus body-mounted motors with rod or quill drives. Cites J.D. Twinberrow's paper The mechanism of electric locomotives. Proc. Instn Mech. Engrs., 1932, 122, 51-106. Disc.: 106-54. The hammer-blow with axle-hung electric traction motors. J. Instn Loco Engrs., 1938, 28, 140-85. Disc.: 185-97 (Paper No. 382). Cites the Madras South Indian Railway, a metre gauge line as being on the margin of economic viability, but case made for it by Bruce Gordon White (cites a Proc. Instn Civ. Engrs paper by Bruce Gordon White).  Representatives from France visited Shildon and were impressed with the 1.5kV system as it was not compatible with the German system: on the other hand they were worried about damage to the catenary from artillery. Illus.: Spanish 2-Co+Co-2 built in Spain with Metrovick components at Villaba on Madrid to Salamanca express on 23 March 1965..

The railway power stations: their rise and fall. 2011, 25, 6-13.
Early electric railways had to generate their own electricity. For a time railway companies were quite significant generators of electricity. At Immingham the Great Central Railway had a power station to produce hydraulic and electric power to serve its docks, the Grimsby & Immingham Light Railway (electric tramway) shown in photo-montage. It had other generating stations elsewhere at Marylebone and Leicester (Lancashire boilers thereat illustrated). On Merseyside there were three separate railway generating stations: for the Liverpool Overhead Railway, the Mersey Railway and on the Lancashire & Yorkshire electric line to Southport. Large accumulators were employed on all these systems to achieve Peak lopping and increase reliability. The Metropolitan generated its supply at Neasden and the Underground Group had a huge power station at Lots Road which was both detested and admired, but could not be missed (painting by Robin Barnes). The LSWR generated its supply at Durnsford Road near Wimbledon and the LNWR began generating at Stonebridge Park (illustrated) in 1916, but it was the last to be opened. Before then the North Eastern Railway and the LBSCR were purchasing external supplies.