RETURN TO INDEX

BENJAMIN CUBITT

(1846 – 1848)

Three members of the Cubitt family held high positions on the Great Northern Railway.  Benjamin was Locomotive Engineer, his father William (later Sir William) was Chief Civil Engineer whilst his uncle Joseph was Civil Engineer of the Southern Division.

The Prospectus for the London & York Railway was deposited on 3 May 1844. This led to the Great Northern Railway Act 1846 receiving Royal Assent on 26 June 1846.  The East Lincolnshire Railway (ELR) had meantime published proposals to link Boston (on the GNR) to Grimsby (on the Great Grimsby & Sheffield Junction Rly), though it was leased to the GNR from the start of operations.

The ELR opened from Grimsby to Louth (March 1848), extended to Firsby (September 1848) and finally to Boston (October 1848) to meet the GNR.  Also in October 1848 the GNR opened its line from Lincoln to Werrington Junction via Boston, with GNR trains then running over Midland Rly lines to Peterborough.

Meanwhile at the northern end of the GNR, the main line from Doncaster to Askern Junction (linking with the Lancashire & Yorkshire Rly) was opened in June 1848.   The line south from Doncaster opened as far as Retford in September 1849, leaving a huge gap between Retford and London, though the Sheffield & Lincolnshire Junction Rly linked Retford to Gainsborough, which then linked up with the Lincoln & Gainsborough Railway to Lincoln.  The line between London and Peterborough opened in August 1850, then on to Retford in 1852 (opened for goods traffic in July, passengers in August).   Finally King’s Cross station replaced Maiden Lane as the southern terminus on 14 October 1852.

During his period in office Benjamin Cubitt was responsible for the following locomotive orders.

Date ordered

Supplier

Type

Running Nos.

11/12/1846

Sharp Brothers, Manchester

2-2-2 passenger

1-6

11/12/1846

Bury, Curtis & Kennedy, Liverpool

0-4-0 goods

121-26

11/12/1846

William Fairbairn & Sons, Manchester

0-4-0 goods

127-32

13/1/1847

R & W Hawthorn, Newcastle-on-Tyne

2-2-2 passenger

51-70

13/1/1847

R & W Hawthorn, Newcastle-on-Tyne

0-4-2 luggage

101-15

4/3/1847

Sharp Brothers, Manchester

2-2-2 passenger

7-50

The 0-4-0s ordered from Bury, Curtis & Kennedy (and the contemporary Farirbairn order made under licence from BCK) had bar frames, typical of Edward Bury’s patent (1830) with a longitudinal oblong section iron bar above the axle boxes and a longitudinal round bar below the axle boxes.  Robert Stephenson had moved away from this simple design and introduced sandwich frames, which were longitudinal wood frames between iron plates, more suited to the frequent curvature of track by allowing a certain amount of side-play.  

Of course with a 4-wheel design a rigid wheelbase is essential anyway, so Bury stuck to his ideas and was against Stephenson-type frames, without due regard to future developments.

Cubitt died on 12 January 1848 (age 53), by which time only 2-2-2 Nos. 1 and 2 had been delivered, and these were working on the ELR.  It was not until October 1850 that the last Cubitt locomotive (2-2-2 No. 70) entered service.

RETURN TO INDEX