Robert Stephenson and Company

Robert Stephenson and Company

Robert Stephenson and Company was a locomotive manufacturing company founded in 1823. It was the first company set up specifically to build railway engines.

Foundation and early success

The company was set up in 1823 in Forth Street, Newcastle-upon-Tyne in England by George Stephenson, his son Robert, with Edward Pease and Michael Longridge (the owner of the ironworks at Bedlington). It was founded as part of their construction of the Stockton and Darlington Railway.

Its first engine was "Locomotion No 1", which opened the line, followed by three more named "Hope", "Black Diamond" and "Diligence". The vertical cylinders meant that these locos rocked excessively and at the Hetton colliery railway Stephenson had introduced "steam springs" which had proved unsatisfactory. In 1828 he introduced the "Experiment" with inclined cylinders, which improved stability, and meant that it could be mounted on springs. Originally four wheeled, it was modified for six and another, "Victory" was built. Around this time, two locomotives were built for America. The first, a four coupled loco named "America", was ordered by the Delaware and Hudson Railroad. The second, six-coupled and named "Whistler" was for the Boston and Providence Rail Road but was lost at sea.

Rainhill trials

In 1829 Stephenson's Rocket won the Rainhill Trials. This loco had two notable improvements - a multi-tube boiler and a separate firebox. Originally angled, the cylinders were later made horizontal. The "Invicta (locomotive)" was the twentieth, and was built for the Canterbury and Whitstable Railway. Its cylinders were inclined, but moved to the front (chimney) end. In 1830 came the "Planet" class with the cylinders inside the frames, followed by the "Patentee" which added a pair of trailing wheels for greater stability with a larger boiler. This 2-2-2 design became the pattern for most locos, by many makers, for many years.

The locomotive "John Bull", now in the Smithsonian (NMAH), is claimed to be the oldest still functional self propelled vehicle.

Long boiler designs

The increased distance travelled by many trains highlighted problems with the fireboxes and chimneys. With the co-operation of the North Midland Railway at their Derby works, he measured the temperature of the exhaust gases, and decided to lengthen the boilers on future engines. Initially these "long-boiler" engines were 2-2-2 designs, but in 1844, Stephenson moved the trailing wheel to the front in 4-2-0 formation, so that the cylinders could be mounted between the supporting wheels. It was one of these, the "Great A" along with another from the North Midland Railway, which was compared with Brunel's "Ixion" in the gauge trials in 1846. In 1846 he added a pair of trailing wheels - the first with eight wheels. Another important innovation in 1842 was the Stephenson link motion.

Crampton types

:"Main article: Crampton locomotive"Robert Stephenson and Company built a number of Crampton type locomotives for the South Eastern Railway and the London, Chatham and Dover Railway. These were all of 4-2-0 wheel arrangement with inside cylinders and indirect drive. The inside cylinders drove a crankshaft located in front of the firebox and the crankshaft was coupled to the driving wheels by outside rods.

# The name should have read Folkestone but was mis-spelled on the plate. This locomotive was displayed at The Great Exhibition of 1851 []

Into the twentieth century

Over the remainder of the century, the company prospered in the face of increasing competition, supplying railways at home and abroad. By 1899 around 3000 locomotives had been built and a new limited liability company was formed, Robert Stephenson and Company Limited and the works was moved to Darlington, the first locomotive leaving the shop in 1902.

Most railways in England were building their own rolling stock, so most of the output was for export, from 4-4-0's for the Oudh and Rohilkund Railway to 4-6-0 and 2-8-0 for the Bengal Nagpur Railway. These later were adopted as a standard for the Indian railways. The works built the first British 2-10-0 for the Argentine Great Western Railway in 1905.

During World War I, the company devoted itself to munitions work. However between 1917 and 1920, a large batch was ordered by the War Office for use on the continent. From then on, business was slack, for various reasons. Notable were thirty 2-6-0 mixed traffic locomotives for the GWR in 1921, a batch of thirty 0-6-0 tank engines for the LNER and five 2-8-0 for the Somerset and Dorset Joint Railway. In 1936 and 1937, only forty six were built, including eleven 4-6-0 of the "Sandringham" class for the LNER.

Mergers and closure

In 1937, the company merged with the locomotive interests of Hawthorn Leslie and Company to form Robert Stephenson and Hawthorns Limited the shipbuilding side continuing separately. Main line locomotives continued to be built at Darlington, while industrial engines were built at Hawthorne Leslie's works at Forth Bank, Newcastle. in 1938 the good will of the Kitson and Manning Wardle companies was bought.

During World War II, the plant was fully occupied building 0-4-0 and 0-6-0 saddle tanks for industrial use, with, in 1943 ninety of the War Department's 0-6-0ST "Austerity" class.

In 1944, the Vulcan Foundry, which had been formed by Robert Stephenson and Charles Tayleur in 1830, acquired a substantial stock holding, and they became part of the English Electric Company. The bulk of the output was for export or industrial use, but British Railways ordered thirty five Class L1 2-6-4T for the Eastern region and eighty 0-6-0 pannier tanks for the Western Region.

The last steam locomotives to be built were a conventional 0-6-0T in 1958 and a six-coupled fireless locomotive in 1959. The Forth Street works were closed in 1960 and the Darlington Works, continuing with diesel and electric locos became English Electric Company Darlington Works in 1962.

The office block and one workshop of Stephenson's Forth Street Works in South St Newcastle upon Tyne have been restored and are in the care of The Robert Stephenson Trust.

ee also

*Locomotion No 1
*Stephenson's Rocket
*Invicta (locomotive)
*John Bull (locomotive)


* Lowe, J.W., (1989) "British Steam Locomotive Builders," Guild Publishing
* Stretton, C.E., (1896) "The Development of the Locomotive: A Popular History (1803-1896)," London: Crosby, Lockwood and Son.
* "" John Bull, History Wired - Smithsonian Institution.

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Поможем сделать НИР

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Robert Stephenson and Company — Robert Stephenson Statue de Robert Stephenson à Euston Station, Londres Robert Stephenson est un ingénieur civil britannique, membre de la Royal Society (16 octobre 1803, 12 octobre 1859). Fils unique de George S …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Robert Stephenson and Company — Год основания 1823 Упразднена 1960 Расположение …   Википедия

  • Robert Stephenson and Hawthorns — Ltd (RSH) was a locomotive builder with works in North East England.The company was formed in September 1937 when Robert Stephenson and Company, which was based in Darlington took over the locomotive building department of Hawthorn Leslie, based… …   Wikipedia

  • Robert Stephenson — Portrait photographique de Robert Stephenson Naissance 16 octobre 1803 Willington Quay, Wallsend …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Robert Stephenson — Robert Stephenson …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Robert Stephenson — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Estatua de Robert Stephenson en la estación de Euston, Londres Robert Stephenson (16 de octubre de 1803 12 de octubre de 1859 …   Wikipedia Español

  • Robert Stephenson — Infobox Engineer image width = 150px caption = Robert Stephenson name = Robert Stephenson nationality = English birth date = 16 October 1803 birth place = Willington Quay, Northumberland death date = Death date and… …   Wikipedia

  • Hawthorn Leslie and Company — R. W. Hawthorn Leslie and Company, Limited, usually referred to as Hawthorn Leslie, was a St Peter s, Newcastle upon Tyne shipbuilding and locomotive manufacturer formed by the merger of the shipbuilder A. Leslie and Company and the locomotive… …   Wikipedia

  • George Robert Stephenson (engineer) — Infobox Engineer image width = caption = name = George Robert Stephenson nationality = English birth date = 20 October 1819 birth place = Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear death date = Death date and age|1905|10|26|1819|10|20 death place =… …   Wikipedia

  • Stephenson's Rocket — was an early steam locomotive of 0 2 2 wheel arrangement, built in Newcastle at the Forth Street Works of Robert Stephenson and Company in 1829. Design innovations A common misconception is that Rocket was the first steam locomotive. In fact the… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”