In Pictures: “An Album of Railway Engines”


Between our more detailed pieces it is nice, occasionally, to draw breath. Beginning in 1875 cigarette cards became a popular collectable in both the UK and abroad. They often featured illustrations of various modes of transport, with locomotives particularly popular.

Occasionally albums of such cigarette cards can still be found in second hand shops and markets, and one such album recently crossed our desks here at LR Towers. Its contents were in good condition and we share a selection of its cards, and the album’s descriptions of the locomotives they feature, here with you.

Sadly the album is undated, but we have full faith in our commentariat to help us pin down a likely print date.

Express Locomotive “Silver Jubilee”

London, Midland & Scottish Rly


The interest of this 4-6-0 three-cylinder express passenger engine, completed in May 1935, centres in the the beautiful finish. The shiny black of the boiler, cab and tender sides is contrasted with the chromium plating adopted for wheels and motion work, steam pipe casings, etc.

No. 5552 bears the name “Silver Jubilee” in honour of His late Majesty King George V’s Silver Jubilee. She was exhibited at Euston, together with the former L.N.W.R 4-4-0 engine “Coronation” (built 1911) during Silver Jubilee Week May, 1935. On Nov. 6th 1935, she worked the honeymoon special conveying the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester from St Pancras to Kettering.

Turbine-Driven Locomotive

London, Midland & Scottish Rly


The familiar exhaust beat of the orthodox steam locomotive is strangely absent when this engine is running, for the drive is by turbine and gearing instead of by cylinders and pistons. The smooth turning effort imparted to the driving wheels by a turbine and the very gentle exhaust, thus saving fuel, have long attracted locomotive engineers. Our illustration shows No. 6202, a 4-6-2, which was introduced in 1935, the first of the type to be built by a railway company in Great Britain. The main turbine, used for forward running, develops 2,000 h.p. and is carried under the casing near the front; a smaller turbine for backward running is on the opposite side.

Drumm Battery Train

Great Southern Rlys, Ireland


A great deal of interest was aroused in railway circles when it became known that an electric battery had been invented which could be recharged much more quickly than the usual type. The Great Southern Railways of Ireland installed these batteries (constructed under the patents of the inventor, Dr. J. J. Drumm) in two two-car units, each equipped with electric motors on the middle bogie and working on the same principle as an electric train, but without requiring side rail or overhead line current transmission along the track.

These trains work between Dublin (Amiens Street) and Bray, one set performing a total of 1,000 miles a week.

Partially-Streamlined Loco. “Manorbier Castle”

Great Western Railway


The G.W.R. recently applied casings of special contour to the smoke-box front, over the cylinders and behind the chimney and safety valves, on “King Henry VII” of the “King” class, and “Manorbier Castle” (4-6-0) of the “Castle” class. At the same time the cab fronts were fitted with “V”-shaped casings and the tender tops similarly cased in to the line of the cab roof. This was in order to test out the advantages of partial streamlining in reducing wind resistances on express locomotives, thus effecting economies in coal consumption. Our illustration shows the altered appearance of “Manorbier Castle.”

Diesel-Electric Train “Burlington Zephyr”

C.B. & Q Railroad, U.S.A


In order to recapture long-distance traffic from road and air transport, and to effect more economical operation, the railways of the U.S.A. are acquiring streamlined Diesel trains.

Examples are the stainless steel “Zephyrs” on the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad, two of which work a double trip per day each between Chicago and St. Paul, a round distance of 862 miles. Other Diesel trains are at work in the U.S.A., Germany, Italy, France, Denmark, Belgium and Holland.

A top speed of 120 m.p.h. is credited to a Diesel train, and in Germany they regularly run at 100-104 m.p.h.

“Pacific” Express Loco. “Papyrus”

London & North Eastern Rly


For its principal heavy expresses, the L.N.E.R. uses a 4-6-2 or “Pacific” type three-cylinder engine. The latest weigh, with corridor tender, 158 tons 13 cwt., and the majority bear names of racehorses. No. 2750, “Papyrus,” became world-famous on March 5th 1935, when, after having already run 392,852 miles since being built in 1928, she attained a then world record maximum speed for steam of 108 m.p.h. With her load of 216 3/4 tons, “Papyrus” ran from Kings Cross to Newcastle and back (536.6 miles) in a total running time of 7hrs, 48 mins, 55 secs., and for 300 miles averaged 80 m.p.h.

Articulated Loco. “Emir of Katsina.”

Nigerian Government Railway


These Beyer-Garratt 4-6-2 + 2-6-4 articulated locomotives, which bear the names of Nigerian chiefs, have their weight of 111 1/2 tons spread over twelve axles because of the very light rails and bridges on certain sections over which they have to run. They are handled entirely by African natives, and during the six months heavy export season are used on the Jebba-Minna section. For the rest of the year they are employed on through runs with passenger trains between the port of Lagos and Kano, a distance of 700 miles. Each engine was shipped in three parts from the builders in England.

Heavy Freight Loco.

U.S.S.R. Railways


Locomotives of the same power and of a similar weight, but designed with fewer axles than this 4-14-4 locomotive, are in use in the U.S.A. But those responsible for this enormous engine found that to get the power required and the necessary flexibility, and without strengthening the existing road, the weight of the engine would have to be distributed over no fewer than eleven axles. This engine, which was built for heavy coal traffic in the Donetz Basin, runs on the 5 ft gauge, is just under 110 ft. 9 in. long with tender and, in working order, weighs (with tender), 327 1/2 tons. It is required to move 2,500-ton loads over heavy grades.

“Schools” Class Loco. “Leatherhead”

Southern Railway


For working moderately-heavy trains on which the larger six-coupled express engines are not required, or the use of which is deemed unsuitable by weight or other restrictions, the Southern Railway has a class of three-cylinder, four-coupled bogie engines, named after public schools. The most powerful 4-4-0 type engines in Europe, they are employed on express services on the London-Hastings and London-Portsmouth routes, and elsewhere. They haul loads of ten and eleven coaches, weighing, with passengers, little short of 400 tons in all, at high speeds over hilly roads, and have shown themselves capable of fast work.

Electric Passenger & Freight Loco.

Swiss Federal Railways


This 7,500 h.p. single-phase electric locomotive employed on the St Gotthard line of the Swiss Federal Railways, is the most powerful electric locomotive in Europe. Although running as one unit in service, it really consists of two identical halves, each having its own driving compartment.

One of these double locomotives is sufficient for the heaviest express passenger trains, in place of two of the previous type employed. It can haul a 600-ton passenger train at 38 m.p.h. up a 1 in 37 gradient, and a 750-ton goods train at 30 m.p.h. the maximum speed of the locomotive being fixed at 62 m.p.h.

Written by John Bull
John Bull is the Editor of London Reconnections. A transport journalist and historian, his writing often focuses on the political or strategic challenges facing London's transport network and beyond.