Part 1: 1802 – 1808

The Locomotives of Richard Trevithick

Part 2: 1812 –1813

Matthew Murray and John Blenkinsop – The rack railways of Middleton Colliery and Kenton & Coxlodge. Chapman's Chain Locomotives

Part 3: 1813 – 1814

William Hedley – The locomotives of Wylam Colliery

Part 4: 1814 – 1816

George Stephenson (1) – The locomotives of Killingworth Colliery from 1814. Chapman/Buddle locomotives for Wallsend and Whitehaven.

Part 5: 1817 – 1825

George Stephenson (2) – The locomotives of Kilmarnock & Troon, Hetton Colliery and 'Locomotion'. Further Chapman/Buddle locomotives.


George Stephenson – Kilmarnock & Troon
0-6-0 Locomotive The Duke

The tramway from Kilmarnock to Troon was built by the Duke of Portland to transport coal. It was opened on the 6th July 1812 using horses to pull the wagons. In 1813 the Duke had considered purchasing a Blenkinsop locomotive to haul the wagons over the line but it was a further three years before he decided to try a steam locomotive and then he ordered one from George Stephenson. The construction followed the standard Killingworth design but had six wheels.

A contemporary account by a local artist states that the outer pair of wheels were driven by connecting rods connected to crank pins set on the wheels, the connecting rods went up to cross beams which ‘played up and down like a pair of frame saws’. Gears were set on the centre of each axle with a chain connecting them. This kept the pistons at the correct angle to each other and transmitted the drive to the centre axle at the same time. This description shows that the locomotive followed the Stephenson and Losh specification. This locomotive was also fitted with steam suspension.

The locomotive was named The Duke. George’s brother, Robert, conducted trials over the line but it seems it only hauled ten tons at five miles per hour. The central cog occasionally caught high sections on the railway, which caused bending of the axles and connecting rods. This locomotive also appears to have suffered from the usual problem of being too heavy for the tramway and regularly broke the rails. As it proved itself to be no better than the horses it was discarded.


John Blenkinsop / Krigar – Saarland Rack Locomotive

Even before the trials of the Chorzow locomotive it was decided to construct another larger Blenkinsop type locomotive with cylinders 10 inches in diameter. This was for use in the mining area of the Saarland. The locomotive was built at the Royal Ironworks in Berlin supervised by Krigar and sent for tests on 22nd September 1818 to the Geislautern ironworks between Saarbrucken and Saarlouis.

The locomotive arrived at the ironworks in pieces on 4th February 1819. The ironworks had to construct a rack railway for it to be tested on but delays occurred due to problems in making the rails match the sample sent from Berlin. Eventually the Mining Inspector, de Berghes, reported trials on 25th September when he was said it was working very unsatisfactorily.

On 31st October 1821, de Berghes summarised the experiments and described the locomotive and its defects. ‘The engine consists of a wooden chassis, carried on four wheels with concave wheel rims. A cast iron boiler with a tubular firebox created the steam for two 10 inch cylinders, one behind the other. The pistons drove two small gear wheels by means of crossheads and two connecting rods. They in turn drove a large gear wheel situated on one side of its own axle. This is situated close to the rail in order to mesh with the teeth on the rail and thus move the engine.’

He described the motion as being ‘unsteady, stumbling and precarious’ and the regulator as being complicated as it was constructed from a four-way cock, which did not allow starting and stopping to be controlled accurately. Another major defect was that the water reservoir, which consisted of a small bucket, quickly became empty.

De Berghes rectified the water reservoir defect and trials were organised for 22nd March 1822 when in front of officials the boiler was lit and with a pressure of 40 lbs per square inch the regulator was opened but it took several attempts to get it moving down a slopping track. When the regulator was altered it came to a stop and would only move a few revolutions with the help of four to six men. By this time steam was escaping from the joints and stuffing boxes and the pistons were binding. Although further attempts were made that day, and the next, they failed to get the locomotive to work. The officials expressed the opinion that the parts were badly made.

Krigar protested at the result of the trial so they were repeated but with the same results. The main reason stated was the poor fit of the pistons, which allowed large amounts of steam to pass, causing great steam wastage. The locomotive was abandoned at Saarbrucken until in 1834 it was suggested that it was dismantled. It was then decided to auction it off instead but the bids were too low. Eventually it was sold on 18th January 1837 for the equivalent of £46.


William Chapman / John Buddle – Heaton
Locomotive Heaton II

John Buddle was constructing a new line at Heaton and he brought the Lambton chain locomotive there for trials. This had been converted to use adhesion only and after some trials it was found that the major fault was a lack of steam production. Buddle had the locomotive rebuilt the boiler being lengthened by three feet and fitted with a single tube. The chassis was converted from eight wheels to four and mounted on a single frame. The wheels where coupled together by an endless chain.

All these changes produced a ‘new’ locomotive and this must be the large travelling engine mentioned by Losh to be working at Heaton. Losh said that this engine was fitted with springs by 1921, so becoming the first locomotive to have solid springing.


John Buddle – Wynyard
Locomotive Crane

Lord Londonderry was building a large country house at Wynyard, north of Stockton and John Buddle was but in charge of getting the large amount of stone to the site by ship and then cart. To help move the stone around the site a temporary railway was used operated by a steam locomotive with a crane attached This railway does not seem to have been a success as it was transferred to Rainton in early 1825.


George Stephenson – Hetton Colliery
Dart, Tallyho and Star

The Hetton Colliery in County Durham was a completely new colliery, which was begun on the 19th December 1819. From the start it was planned to use steam engines and steam locomotives to haul the coal from the pit to the newly erected staith on the banks of the Wear near Sunderland. George Stephenson laid out the railway, which was eight miles in length, but George’s brother Robert was made engineer put in charge of building it.

Hetton Colliery
Drawing showing the pit head of Hetton Colliery with one of Stephenson's locomotives in the foreground.

The geography of the area meant that the route of the railway had to go over a hill 330 feet high and this section was worked by a combination of five self-acting inclines and two 60 hp stationary engines were used to haul the wagons up the others.

The flat sections were worked at the time of opening by three of George Stephenson's steam locomotives. These followed the Killingworth design having two cylinders sunk into the top of the boiler with cross beams driving connecting rods which drove down on the wheels by via crank pins. These locomotives had four wheels coupled by chain and had steam suspension. They were named Dart, Tallyho, and Star after local racehorses.

At the opening of the railway on 18th of November 1822 crowds of people came to see this new marvel. They witnessed the locomotives pulling seventeen loaded wagons, averaging sixty-four tons, at the rate of four miles an hour.

Experiments were carried out at the colliery in 1828 when it was worked out that the daily expense of two locomotives worked out at £2 - 9s - 2d compare to the £6 it would cost to use horses to perform the same amount of work. During these experiments two locomotives hauled 1,759 tons and 112 cwt. a distance of 2,541 yards.

Stephenson Hetton Locomotive
One of Stephenson's locomotives showing later additions of plate springs and coupling rods.

The Hetton and Killingworth locomotives were much modified over the ensuing years being fitted with coupling rods and the steam suspension was replaced with steel plate springs when these could be manufactured to the required strength.


George Stephenson – Stockton & Darlington Locomotion

The opening of the first steam operated public railway in 1825 saw the steam locomotive starting to be accepted as a real alternative to horses. Although the railway was to use horses for haulage two locomotive were ordered on 16th July 1824 at the cost of £600 each from Robert Stephenson & Co. These locomotives followed the basic Killingworth/Hetton design.

Robert Stephenson & Co. had been set up by: George Stephenson (2 shares), Robert Stephenson, George’s son (2 shares), Edward Pease (4 shares), and Michael Longridge (2 shares). The company was established on 23rd June 1823 to manufacture locomotives in its works at Forth Street, Newcastle upon Tyne.

The boiler for these locomotives was 4 feet in diameter and 10 feet long having a single flue of 18 inches in diameter. The cylinders, set as usual into the top of the boiler, were of 9 inches in diameter with a stroke of 24 inches. A single crank set on the front axle operated the valves for both cylinders. As this gave an angular advance in each running direction it was the first locomotive to have valves with a form of lap and lead.

The drive was via the usual cross beams to crank pins on the wheels. The pistons were kept in line by means of a parallel-motion. Locomotion also has the distinction of being the first locomotive to be fitted with coupling rods. The fitting of these required return-cranks to be fitted to one wheel on each side in order to clear the connecting rod.

Stephenson Locomotion
Locomotion as preserved with later plug wheels.

The locomotive did not have any springing, but the rear axle was carried in a tube, which acted as an axle box. This was pivoted at the centre to allowing the axle to rock thereby giving a three-point suspension. This was a replacement for the steam suspension, which by this time was considered too complex.

The locomotive had four cast iron wheels, each with eight spokes. One of these broke only a few days after the opening of the railway, which resulted in everything having to be hauled by horse. The cast iron wheels were later changed for two-piece cast iron plug wheels.

Named Locomotion it weighed 6.25 tons empty and 7.75 tons full when built.

Locomotion was the first locomotive delivered to the railway in September 1825 and it hauled the opening train on 27th September 1825.

Three further locomotives to this design followed;
Hope – November 1825
Black Diamond – April 1826
Diligence – May 1826

Locomotion worked regular on the S & D until 1840. In June1846 it was used for the opening of the Redcar line and from 1850 it was used to pump water at a west Durham colliery where it stayed until 1857 when the Pease family presented it to the Stockton and Darlington Railway for preservation.

This concludes my brief history of locomotives up to 1825. The text will be update if further information is obtained.

ArrowPart 4: 1814 – 1816 Stephenson (1)