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The South Eastern & Chatham page 4


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The first engines for the line were supplied by Sharp, Roberts, & Co., and soon went into the general stock of the old Joint Committee. When the Committee was dissolved the engines were shared among the companies, the South Eastern taking most of those originally belonging to it and a few more that had belonged to the London & Croydon. Then came batches of twos, threes, fours, and sixes from builders like Nasmyth, Bury, Tulk & Ley, Jones & Potts, and Forester up till 1851, when ten new Cramptons from the Stephensons were put on the line to wake it up a bit. One of these, No. 136, the Folkestone, was in the 1851 Exhibition along with the company's "London and Europe Carriage," an eight-wheeler jointed in the middle to allow it to take the curves easily. This engine ran from Redhill to Tonbridge, 19½ miles, at an average rate of sixty miles an hour, and at times attained seventy-five; and from Tonbridge to Ashford, 26½ miles, at the average rate of seventy-eight, the whole forty-six miles taking forty minutes, which will show what the reardrivers could do though we may not think much of them now. She was a six-wheeler 4-2-0 with 42 in. carrying wheels and a pair of 6 ft. drivers, her cylinders being 15 by 22, and her weight 26¼ tons.

In 1853, James Janson Cudworth built the first engine at Ashford - a 4-coupled passenger with 5 ft. 6 in. wheels, 15 in. by 20 in. cylinders, a heating surface of 1123, and a weight of 26 tons. This was one of the eleven known for years as Hastings engines, all of which had "Cudworth's compensating spring gear for coupled wheels," recognisable at once by the bar above the splashers. Three years afterwards Cudworth began to build his 6 ft. singles, which had cylinders 15 in. by 22 in., a heating surface of 1191, and a weight of 27½ tons; and next year, 1857, he introduced his coal-burners.

It was in October and November of that year that he made his experiments with No. 142. This was fitted with a long, sloping firebox 7 ft. 6 in. in length, the grate being 7 ft., the box being divided into halves by a longitudinal mid-feather forming two furnaces with separate doors, the furnaces uniting in front of the tube-plate. The furnaces were fired alternately, the coal being put just within the doors and shaken down along the sloping floor by the movement of the engine so as to separate the smoke from the fresh coal and consume it by the incandescent mass at the lower end as it was passing into the tubes.

During 1857 Cudvvorth put on the line the first of his large class of goods engines, two of which, built in 1863, had Mansell wooden wheels. In 1861 came the first of his 7 ft. singles, 2-2-2, with 4 ft. 9 in. leading wheels and 4 ft. trailers. These also had two grates; their heating surface was 1137 and their weight 33½ tons, their working pressure being 130. Most of them had 17 by 22 cylinders; some had cylinders an inch less in diameter, and it was one of these, No. 81, painted blue and named the Flying Dutchman, that worked the royal trains. Owing to the directors ignoring him in ordering the 259 class of Rams-bottoms, Cudworth resigned, and his place was taken by Alfred Watkin, on whose resignation Ashford was managed by R. C. Mansell until the coming of James Stirling, the very man that was wanted.

He made havoc of what was irreverently known as the museum, and left the line with a new stock of engines, nearly all of which were designed by himself. The requirements of the traffic when he took over were on a far larger scale than they had been, and his engines had to be of much more power and weight. One of his engines, No. 240, was prominent at the Paris Exhibition of 1889 - it was awarded a gold medal, as the Folkestone was in 1851, though there is not much in that except that the 1851 medals were the only ones worth having - and fully deserved the notice it obtained. It weighed 42½ tons, while its tender weighed 30| tons, that is 73 tons altogether. This was a great advance; a 4-4-0, the bogie wheels 3 ft. 9 in., the trailers and drivers 7 ft., the cylinders being 19 by 26, more like what would have been expected. This engine, like all its class and all the other classes, was fitted with his reversing gear, often mistaken for a Westinghouse brake-pump, though it is farther along and on the right-hand side instead of the left, the visible sign being two vertical cylinders at the side of the boiler barrel, one over the other, with a piston rod through both communicating with the levers below. There is steam in one cylinder and oil or water in the other, and to work the gear two handles are used, one to give the direction to the motion and the other to control the steam supply to the upper cylinder and so regulate the passage of the fluid from one side of the piston to the other in the lower cylinder. The steam places the piston in any required position for forward or back gear or expansive working, and the fluid keeps the piston in that position. The advantages of this contrivance are that it not only acts quickly but requires practically no manual exertion.

Mr. Stirling was succeeded by Mr. H. S. Wainwright, whose fine engine No. 516 was conspicuous as the only British locomotive at the Franco-British Exhibition of 1908. This belongs to the class known as E, which began with No. 273 and were the first of the line to be fitted with Belpaire fireboxes. She is a 4-4-0, her driving wheels being 6 ft. 6 in. and her bogie wheels 3 ft. 6 in.; her cylinders are 19¼ in. by 26 in.; the heating surface of her tubes is 1396 sq. ft., and that of her firebox 136 sq. ft., making 1532 in all, and her grate area is 2T15 sq. ft.; and the working pressure is 180. She weighs 52 tons 5 cwt., and her tender weighs 39 tons 2 cwt., has six 4-ft. wheels, and carries 4 tons of coal and 3450 gallons of water; thus engine and tender weigh 91 tons 7 cwt., and over buffers they measure 55 ft. 1 5/8 in.

The Chatham & Dover locomotive works were at Long-hedge in Battersea, now used as a branch for repairs, all the new work being done at Ashford. The later engines by Mr. Kirtley, particularly those for the Continental trains and the tanks for Metropolitan work, were much better than they got credit for, except amongst engineers, but they came during the intermediate period when there was little of general interest in the experimental way, and further building was put an end to by the amalgamation in 1899. The carriage works are also at Ashford, and the newer coaches are excellent specimens of workmanship, there having been a great improvement in the general rolling stock. American cars - Gilberts, not Pullmans - were introduced in March 1892, and the car trains have always been up to the average of those of other lines, in fact it is not true that the carriages on the Continental route are worse on this side of the Channel than they are on the other.

Of course the South Eastern must be in the fashion and have its motor trains, and on some of its branches nothing more is required. It has a good many branches and crossroads with a future before them after a sleepy past, many of them made in the old competition days for competitive purposes only - "suckers" one of the chairmen used to call them - which are now in course of development.

Ashford is not the only station which has been greatly improved. Victoria has been taken in hand with remarkable success and become quite a handsome, roomy terminus. The new building bears on its front the name of the Great Western as well as that of the South Eastern, to mark its joint ownership dating from the days when its rails were both broad and narrow gauge. In fact the London termini, Victoria, Charing Cross, Holborn Viaduct, St. Paul's, and Cannon Street, are all good; and Ludgate Hill, which was once a terminus as Blackfriars used to be, has been rebuilt as an intermediate station to great advantage, though, to spoil the view of the cathedral from Fleet Street, the signals remain on the redecorated bridge which gives bold display to the company's arms, the special bearings of the old South Eastern with the "Onward" that used to be so inappropriate, and the four shields, Kent, London, Dover, and Rochester (with the old English r on the cross) that distinguishes the London, Chatham, & Dover.

There is no company better provided with London stations. Of the 667 miles of railway in Greater London it owns 124, and of the 609 stations within that area it owns 98, 6 of them being north of the Thames. Its own metals run in from Herne Hill to Snow Hill Junction in the direction of Moorgate Street - the intervening line belonging to the Metropolitan - and by Brixton to Victoria. From Greenwich round to Brixton it spreads its net over the south-east and south; and with its inner loop of the extension it taps the south-west. At Victoria it is in footway communication with the District; at Charing Cross it is served by the District, the Baker Street & Waterloo, and the Hampstead; at Cannon Street it again has the District; at London Bridge, as at Moorgate, it has the South London; and at Moorgate it has the Metropolitan, the Midland, and the Great Northern. At London Bridge it has the Brighton; at Victoria it has the Brighton and the Great Western; and at Waterloo Junction it has the South Western, as it has at Clapham Junction.

That it has a large local traffic is shown by its season tickets, from which it obtains a greater revenue than any other line except the Great Eastern. But the Great Eastern amount includes over 71,000 for workmen's tickets, which on the South Eastern reach only 38,000. As the Great Eastern total is 410,489, and the South Eastern's 392,118, the difference, 33,000, would put the South Eastern at the head of the season-ticket list in the usual meaning of the term. So important is its season-ticket business that to have some check on the vagaries of its passengers it initiated in 1869 the system of travelling examiners boarding trains in motion, their first day's work realising over 8. Out of its 63 millions of passengers of all kinds the South Eastern makes a revenue of 3,400,000, its total traffic revenue being 5,000,000; and to earn this it uses 15,000 vehicles drawn by some 750 engines for 15,000,000 miles.

The South Eastern carries the Continental and Indian and Australian mails. From Queenborough go the Dutch boats to Flushing; from Folkestone goes the quickest route to Paris; from Dover go the Belgian boats to Ostend and the British and French boats to Calais with the mails on their way to Marseilles, Naples, and Brindisi, and practically everywhere in Europe and Asia; and the mail starting with its hundreds of sacks, or being shipped at Dover, is a sight to see. Queenborough is a pier and nothing more, Folkestone is an ordinary harbour, but Dover in the present day is a wonder. The Admiralty pier, begun in 1847, has been extended from 1550 ft. to 3550 ft. to form the south-western arm of the harbour of refuge. The eastern arm runs out for 3120 ft. towards the south-eastern entrance; and the southern breakwater, with a length of 4200 ft., completes an artificial harbour which, including the commercial portion within the Prince of Wales pier, covers an area of over a square mile. Simple as it looks, it cost more than 3½ millions of money, most of it put under water.

To say nothing about naval matters and ocean liners, there is no doubt about the increase in the trade, and the railway people very naturally do their best to foster it. At the new Marine Station close to the "Lord Warden," erected by arrangement between the Dover Harbour Board and the railway company, the cross-channel traffic is for the future to be dealt with and passengers will be able to make a comfortable departure or arrival. The company have a fleet of eighteen vessels of their own either here or at Folkestone, most of them here, and of these eight are cargo steamers. The others are fast passenger boats, five of them turbines, travelling at over 20 knots, two of them doing 22½, all of them over 320 ft. in length and 42 ft. in beam, the Empress, Victoria, and Invicta being stationed at Dover, the Onward and Queen at Folkestone. Very different this to the old days of the boats that were not good enough for the company to buy when there were two expresses to France in a day, one from each port, there being now five, three to Calais and two to Boulogne.

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