RETURN TO INDEX

DONCASTER WORKS

 

PART 35  -  VACUUM BRAKES

 

This Chapter is divided into two Sections: Smith's Simple Vacuum Brake and Automatic Vacuum Brake

 

SMITH'S SIMPLE VACUUM BRAKE SYSTEM

 

Tender engines had no engine brakes, only the hand brake on the tender, and it was not until 1875 that the matter was taken seriously by the GNR Stirling 7ft. single-wheeler No. 55 was fitted with Smith's system of vacuum brake, which was operated by the driver wishing to stop creating a vacuum to the train pipe which applied the engine and carriage brakes.  It was a "fail unsafe" system, because if the train became divided the brakes could not be applied.  It was perhaps better than nothing and the subsequent tests on the Midland line at Newark were satisfactory.  Nine suburban tank engines were fitted with vacuum brakes later that year, including four new engines (Nos. 528-31), and five existing engines, for suburban in the London area.  The nine engines were ex-Works as follows:

 

Engine
No.
Wheel
arrangement
Date fitted   Engine
No.
Wheel
arrangement
Date fitted
55 2-2-2 4/5/1875   120 0-4-4T 29/10/1875
528 * 0-4-4T 31/7/1875   530 * " 9/11/1875
515 * " 24/8/1875   507 " 6/12/1875
529 * " 6/9/1875   531 * " 29/12/1875
511 * " 3/10/1875        

 

* These engines were noted (by Groves) as having condensing gear.  On the assumption that it would be essential to locate the engines in the same area, where the necessary rolling stock would have to be altered too, it seems probable that Nos. 120 and 507 were condensing engines too.

 

Further engines were equipped during 1876 and, in the case of the tender engines, the vacuum brakes were applied to the tender wheels too. Fitment dates are only recorded for fourteen engines, though there could have been others too.  The early history of nine 4-2-2s (Nos. 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 8, 22, 33, 34) is unrecorded prior to rebuilding in the 'eighties; likewise there is no information at all for engines, both Sturrock and Stirling, that were scrapped prior to about 1901.  All this information would have been available until 1942, when Thompson ordered the destruction of the early Repairs Books.

 

It is quite likely some of the Sturrock passenger engines would have been fitted, (for example, Groves recorded No. 259 fitted 12/1876).

 

Further tests were held by the GNR during 1876.  The engines included a 7ft. engine "uncoupled" (perhaps a 2-4-0 running without coupling rods, possibly either No. 264 or 268) and 7ft. single engine.

 

Fitting continued throughout 1877, on all new passenger engines, and on older passenger engines as they passed through Works.  Further tests were held on the GNR in 1877, which confirmed that the vacuum brake was better than none at all.  But it is surprising that it took so long after this to find a "fail-safe" system.

 

Fitting continued throughout 1878, again on all new passenger engines, and on older passenger engines as they passed through Works.  However, a start was also made fitting the equipment to the existing Universal Class engines, the 0-4-2s, and also on new engines of that class though only No. 57 was built that year.

 

By 1879 the majority of passenger engines had been fitted, and work carried on steadily fitting the remaining 0-4-2s.

 

The fitting of vacuum brakes when new to the 0-6-0 goods engines commenced in 1880.  Further existing engines, mostly 0-4-2s continued to be fitted.

 

The remaining Universal Class 0-4-2s were fitted during 1881-83, also one Sturrock 0-4-2T and six Stirling passenger 0-4-2STs, thus completing the fitting of the simple brake system to passenger and mixed traffic engines.

 

During 1883 a start was made fitting vacuum brakes to older 0-6-0 goods engines. A number of existing Stirling 0-6-0s were fitted in 1883-87, but work ceased upon the introduction of the automatic type. The majority were never fitted.

 

NEW CONSTRUCTION

 

Briefly, as far as new construction was concerned, the following engines were fitted when new with the simple vacuum brakes as follows.  Dates when ex-works are shown in brackets:

 

0-4-4T from Nos. 528 (31/7/1875) to 765 (14/5/1885).

4-2-2 from Nos. 221 (29/7/1876) to 771 (17/6/1877), bearing in mind the comments earlier about lack of repairs details for any of the earlier engines.

2-4-0 from Nos. 72 (13/5/1877) to 752 (12/5/1884).

0-6-0 Nos. 640 (1/6/1880) to 307 (19/3/1887), though simple brake details were not recorded for No. 640, whilst Nos. 322/07 (both new 3/1887) were shown as having vacuum brakes when new, without specifying the type.

0-4-2 from Nos. 103 (20/9/1882) to 110 (29/10/85), though vacuum brake details were not recorded for Nos. 10, 12 (new 1887) and are assumed to be the automatic type.

 

EXISTING ENGINES FITTED

 

The existing engines fitted from 1875 onwards were as follows, as recorded in the Repairs Volumes (which are not complete)

 

4-2-2 engines

 

Engine
No.
Date
fitted
Engine
No.
Date
fitted
Engine
No.
Date
fitted
48 31/12/1876 53 5/3/1877 47 10/4/1877
62 13/2/1877        

 

2-2-2 engines

 

Engine
No.
Date
fitted
Engine
No.
Date
fitted
Engine
No.
Date
fitted
55 4/5/1875 6 5/7/1876 63 1/7/1877
61 13/5/1876 41 25/10/1876 39 26/10/1877
222 25/5/1876 37 7/2/1877 215 17/12/1877

 

2-4-0 engines

 

Engine
No.
Date
fitted
Engine
No.
Date
fitted
Engine
No.
Date
fitted
287 9/6/1876 543 13/6/1877 S-258 12/1877
86 23/7/1876 292 22/6/1877 295 20/12/1877
296 28/10/1876 291 8/7/1877 280 21/1/1878
290 11/12/1876 299 21/7/1877 294 13/4/1878
89 3/2/1877 289 25/8/1877 84 16/4/1878
541 10/2/1877 285 10/9/1877 286 22/4/1878
281 15/3/1877 293 28/9/1877 542 4/7/1878
288 12/4/1877 540 9/10/1877 284 8/7/1878
297 24/4/1877 282 22/11/1877 298 30/10/1878
283 26/5/1877 90 6/12/1877    

 

S- = Sturrock engine.

 

0-4-2 engines

 

Engine
No.
Date
fitted
Engine
No.
Date
fitted
Engine
No.
Date
fitted
585 1/3/1878 31 17/1/1880 553 12/3/1881
584 19/3/1878 46 22/1/1880 520 18/3/1881
573 27/3/1878 586 26/1/1880 559 2/4/1881
583 10/4/1878 30 28/2/1880 554 9/4/1881
582 24/4/1878 519 9/3/1880 49 21/4/1881
590 3/5/1878 59 19/3/1880 52 28/5/1881
598 16/5/1878 74 24/3/1880 577 3/6/1881
578 23/5/1878 36 27/3/1880 555 16/6/1881
591 1/6/1878 64 5/4/1880 521 1/7/1881
581 7/6/1878 71 20/4/1880 27 5/7/1881
580 15/6/1878 569 1/5/1880 558 23/7/1881
599 27/6/1878 524 15/5/1880 568 3/8/1881
200 30/7/1878 566 22/5/1880 38 6/8/1881
592 23/8/1878 29 29/5/1880 44 11/8/1881
589 7/3/1879 82 29/5/1880 556 18/8/1881
35 18/3/1879 538 8/6/1880 50 10/9/1881
579 11/5/1879 535 24/6/1880 561 14/10/1881
595 30/5/1879 73 30/6/1880 85 28/10/1881
576 19/6/1879 594 10/7/1880 552 10/11/1881
593 28/6/1879 76 14/7/1880 571 15/12/1881
575 3/7/1879 16 15/7/1880 65 19/12/1881
218 26/7/1879 19 14/8/1880 526 19/12/1881
527 26/7/1879 518 18/8/1880 562 8/1/1882
23 11/8/1879 534 23/8/1880 560 21/1/1882
525  13/8/1879 508 26/8/1880 557 27/1/1882
75 29/8/1879 77 4/9/1880 203 6/2/1882
539 13/10/1879 81 5/10/1880 570 19/2/1882
574 17/10/1879 587 26/10/1880 564 10/3/1882
536 29/10/1879 567 27/10/1880 551 13/3/1882
56 18/11/1879 58 29/10/1880 54 16/3/1882
572 27/11/1879 205 3/11/1880 565 18/3/1882
26 4/12/1879 15 12/11/1880 522 19/4/1882
588 8/12/1879 68 18/11/1880 563 8/6/1882
9 11/12/1879 537 27/11/1880 40 19/6/1882
83 13/12/1879 509 4/12/1880 220 5/8/1882
18 16/12/1879 600 6/12/1880 523 14/12/1882
597 20/12/1879 219 5/2/1881 45 7/6/1883
28 14/1/1880 13 12/2/1881    

 

0-6-0 engines

 

Engine
No.
Date
fitted
Engine
No.
Date
fitted
Engine
No.
Date
fitted
644 27/4/1883 491 27/11/1886 148 25/3/1887
645 8/12/1883 642 25/1/1887 333 2/4/1887
643 1/10/1884 486 29/1/1887 485 19/5/1887
646 9/7/1885 186 4/2/1887 354 2/6/1887
184 6/9/1886 365 11/3/1887 474 10/6/1887
478 25/9/1886 380 17/3/1887 476 16/6/1887
366 18/11/1886 481 23/3/1887 641 6/8/1887

 

0-4-2T and ** 0-4-2ST engines

 

Engine
No.
Date
fitted
Engine
No.
Date
fitted
Engine
No.
Date
fitted
127 27/4/1877 123 24/5/1878 S-275 10/9/1880
126 25/6/1877 122 17/8/1878 S-279 16/10/1880
125 31/1/1878 129 24/8/1878 ** 501 27/1/1881
117 8/3/1878 118 31/8/1878  ** 503 11/2/1881
119 16/3/1878 116 20/9/1878 S-278 8/3/1881
131 26/3/1878 S-273 17/10/1879 ** 161 14/4/1881
132 6/4/1878 S-271 17/6/1880 ** 502 23/7/1881
121 13/4/1878 S-276 30/6/1880 ** 631 4/8/1882

 

S- = Sturrock engines.

 

0-4-4T engines

 

Engine
No.
Date
fitted
Engine
No.
Date
fitted
Engine
No.
Date
fitted
515 28/8/1875 505 18/8/1877 512 21/2/1878
511 3/10/1875 506 24/9/1877 510 23/2/1878
120 29/10/1875 128 15/12/1877 514 13/4/1878
507 6/12/1875 130 29/1/1878 516 22/2/1879
504 14/6/1877 513 9/2/1878 517 3/3/1879

 

 

CORRECTION FACTORS

 

Dates of fitting of the simple vacuum brake are missing for a number of engines.  In addition to the ones already explained, where records for a particular engine are absent for a good reason, there are a handful of cases where due (apparently) to a clerical oversight the date of fitting was not carried forward from the original Repair Books.  The engines concerned were as follows:

2-2-2: Nos. 4, 14, 21

0-4-2: Nos. 11, 17, 24, 25, 32, 596 (though this particular engine had a Westinghouse pump at one point)

0-4-2T: No. 632

 

The next development was the Automatic vacuum brake, which was a "fail safe" system.

 

AUTOMATIC VACUUM BRAKE SYSTEM

 

The automatic system was devised as a "fail safe" system.  Brakes were applied to engine, tender and carriages in the event of the driver or guard applying the vacuum brake, a passenger operating the communication cord, or a vacuum-braked train becoming divided.  The system was introduced on the GNR in 1884 (according to the Repairs Volumes) on 2-4-0 No. 51 (ex-works 30/8/1884) presumably for trial purposes.  Two new 2-4-0s built shortly afterwards (late 1884), Nos. 206 and 209, had the equipment when new.

 

Several passenger engines built in 1885 had the equipment when new: 2-2-2 (Nos. 238 and 232), 4-2-2 (Nos. 772/3/4), 2-4-0 (Nos. 753/4).

 

Further new passenger engines built in 1886 were similarly fitted: 2-2-2 (Nos. 234/290), 2-4-0 (Nos. 211/17/24/28/16/25, 755/56).  It had been intended to similarly equip the ten new 0-6-0s built in 1886 (Nos. 791-800), for which purpose the frames at the rear were lengthened to accommodate the 21in. diameter brake cylinder, but no doubt it was realised that the new equipment would be better utilised for the time being on passenger engines.  At the least, the simple vacuum brake system provided power brakes for the engine and tender.  Automatic brakes were eventually fitted to these particular engines from 1889.

 

Further new passenger tender engines built in 1887 were similarly fitted: 2-2-2 (Nos. 237/30/36/39), 2-4-0 (Nos. 757-60), 4-2-2 (Nos. 775-78), 0-4-2 (possibly Nos. 10, 12, though their histories make no mention of brakes).  Also new 0-6-0 goods engines (Nos. 322/07, 199, 320, 176/83, 389, 147), though the histories of Nos. 322/07 simply say "vacuum brakes new", without specifying the type, but there is no subsequent reference to a brake type change.

 

Further passenger engines (tender and tank) built from 1888 were similarly fitted, also 0-6-0 goods engines, and also Universal 0-4-2s.  However 2-2-2 No. 231 was shown as having the simple system when new (9/2/1888), being converted to automatic a year later (7/1889).

 

New 0-6-0STs were fitted from 1890.

 

From mid-1887 the system was fitted as soon as practical to existing passenger engines, then existing goods engines.  Not all engines were fitted, e.g. existing shunting engines were not all equipped with some fitted for the first time in Gresley's time.  Not all dates have been recorded in the Repairs Volumes, but in some cases it is not clear if this was a clerical omission, or the engine concerned was never fitted.  Where there is a date for the simple system, but not for the automatic system, this is clearly a clerical omission.  There is also the problem with the engines withdrawn prior to about 1901, for which there are no surviving Repairs records. Subject to these provisos, existing engines were recorded fitted as follows: 

 

4-2-2 engines

 

Engine
No.
Date
fitted
Engine
No.
Date
fitted
Engine
No.
Date
fitted
548 17/2/1887 547 10/12/1887 549 2/8/1888
545 7/6/1887 94 22/12/1887 544 29/6/1889
771 17/6/1887 666 22/12/1887 664 14/2/1889
671 21/7/1887 5 16/1/1888 670 23/3/1889
47 7/9/1887 53 2/2/1888 663 25/6/1889
62 19/11/1887 221 27/3/1888 667 29/6/1889
665 9/12/1887 95 15/5/1888    

 

2-2-2 engines

 

Engine
No.
Date
fitted
Engine
No.
Date
fitted
Engine
No.
Date
fitted
6 25/5/1887 55 17/2/1888 61 21/7/1888
215 16/8/1887 37 18/4/1888 222 5/2/1889
41 27/10/1887 14 17/5/1888 231 2/7/1889

 

2-4-0 engines

 

Engine
No.
Date
fitted
Engine
No.
Date
fitted
Engine
No.
Date
fitted
51 30/8/1884 295 29/2/1888 708 9/6/1888
227 20/7/1887 540 7/3/1888 S- 258 7/1888
699 10/8/1887 287 17/3/1888 752 21/7/1888
290 15/8/1887 711 24/3/1888 706 6/8/1888
286 9/9/1887 223 29/3/1888 72 25/8/1888
86 10/9/1887 707 13/4/1888 284 29/9/1888
296 7/12/1887 297 19/4/1888 280 6/10/1888
299 22/12/1887 542 19/4/1888 701 24/10/1888
285 16/1/1888 751 28/4/1888 714 27/10/1888
541 21/1/1888 288 4/5/1888 212 1/12/1888
202 4/2/1888 282 9/5/1888 89 8/12/1888
705 7/2/1888 700 10/5/1888 715 29/1/1889
281 10/2/1888 78 16/5/1888 543 19/2/1889
702 23/2/1888 88 16/5/1888 90 21/3/1889
208 29/2/1888 201 17/5/1888 289 9/4/1889

 

S- = Sturrock engine

0-4-2 engines

 

Engine
No.
Date
fitted
Engine
No.
Date
fitted
Engine
No.
Date
fitted
81 7/7/1887 66 14/3/1888 112 15/12/1888
537 7/7/1887 525 16/3/1888 536 17/12/1888
76 22/7/1887 594 26/3/1888 573 21/12/1888
595 28/7/1887 597 29/3/1888 38 22/12/1888
538 30/7/1887 57 9/4/1888 599 19/1/1889
580 30/7/1887 218 13/4/1888 519 11/2/1889
40 3/8/1887 71 1/5/1888 575 13/2/1889
108 4/8/1887 65 3/5/1888 17 23/2/1889
539 24/8/1887 106 16/5/1888 558 16/3/1889
82 26/8/1887 30 18/5/1888 107 26/3/1889
586 6/9/1887 534 26/6/1888 68 30/3/1889
576 7/9/1877 509 27/6/1888 570 30/3/1889
203 29/9/1887 593 3/7/1888 115 2/4/1889
52 6/10/1887 526 11/7/1888 36 6/4/1889
49 17/10/1887 520 14/7/1888 592 8/4/1889
18 20/10/1877 598 26/7/1888 574 18/4/1889
577 26/10/1887 77 6/8/1888 25 8/5/1889
584 5/11/1887 508 11/8/1888 113 23/5/1889
588 12/11/1887 28 18/8/1888 24 24/5/1889
563 23/11/1887 568 4/9/1888 567 31/5/1889
103 28/11/1887 200 5/9/1888 535 6/6/1889
105 7/12/1887 522 7/9/1888 220 7/6/1889
46 12/12/1887 35 21/9/1888 527 21/6/1889
572 14/12/1887 589 24/9/1888 524 22/6/1889
581 22/12/1887 26 19/10/1888 559 28/6/1889
518 11/1/1888 114 25/10/1888 571 18/7/1889
11 25/1/1888 566 6/11/1888 585 19/7/1889
582 11/2/1888 83 7/11/1888 600 27/7/1889
523 14/2/1888 569 13/11/1888 564 12/10/1889
31 2/3/1888 23 14/11/1888 219 13/10/1889
64 3/3/1888 561 24/11/1888 583 23/11/1889
44 5/3/1888 54 11/12/1888 74 30/11/1889
32 6/3/1888 56 12/12/1888 104 1/3/1890

 

Stirling 0-6-0 engines

 

Engine
No.
Date
fitted
Engine
No.
Date
fitted
Engine
No.
Date
fitted
482 2/9/1887 794 3/12/1889 152 11/1/1891
133 3/9/1887 481 23/12/1889 142 19/2/1891
197 9/9/1887 650 23/12/1889 145 11/3/1891
479 14/10/1887 485 13/1/1890 333 26/3/1891
492 2/11/1887 187 4/2/1890 728 9/4/1891
372 7/11/1887 483 8/2/1890 141 20/4/1891
335 10/11/1887 169 10/2/1890 171 24/4/1891
640 7/1/1888 644 12/2/1890 748 16/5/1891
475 31/1/1888 185 14/2/1890 340 28/5/1891
493 14/5/1888 724 5/3/1890 491 5/6/1891
151 15/5/1888 723 11/3/1890 168 17/6/1891
190 23/6/1888 369 21/3/1890 795 22/6/1891
312 30/6/1888 354 28/3/1890 651 10/7/1891
154 11/8/1888 158 16/4/1890 376 19/7/1891
484 1/9/1888 647 24/4/1890 489 1/9/1891
487 15/11/1888 328 28/4/1890 641 2/9/1891
490 28/12/1888 648 3/5/1890 718 28/9/1891
740 27/2/1889 733 8/5/1890 798 9/10/1891
314 2/3/1889 743 10/5/1890 730 10/10/1891
477 22/3/1889 720 16/5/1890 732 14/10/1891
373 6/4/1889 800 21/5/1890 735 28/10/1891
377 18/4/1889 733 31/5/1890 750 9/11/1891
486 18/4/1889 196 14/6/1890 799 13/11/1891
184 4/5/1889 642 27/6/1890 643 29/12/1891
160 13/7/1889 797 30/6/1890 194 30/12/1891
646 26/7/1889 102 15/7/1890 198 29/1/1892
488 5/9/1889 478 19/7/1890 393 22/3/1892
749 5/9/1889 739 23/8/1890 163 8/4/1892
380 6/9/1889 476 6/9/1890 480 9/6/1892
310 28/9/1889 737 20/9/1890 173 13/7/1892
742 28/9/1889 474 22/9/1890 791 16/7/1892
793 24/10/1889 796 3/10/1890 148 16/8/1892
645 26/10/1889 741 15/11/1890 744 6/12/1892
731 6/11/1889 365 20/11/1890 738 15/1/1893
734 22/11/1889 649 6/12/1890 172 18/5/1893
747 28/11/1889 366 19/12/1890 339 10/7/1894
174 29/11/1889        

 

Sturrock 0-6-0 engines

 

Engine
No.
Date
fitted
Engine
No.
Date
fitted
Engine
No.
Date
fitted
457 19/1/1892 418 8/7/1893 448 18/12/1894
454 20/2/1892 426 18/7/1893 419 5/2/1895
458 24/6/1892 461 4/8/1893 459 12/3/1895
408 25/7/1892 434 22/11/1893 402 19/4/1895
460 11/8/1892 463 29/12/1893 417 25/5/1895
451 22/10/1892 415 24/4/1894 414 6/7/1895
407 16/11/1892 411 19/10/1894 427 12/7/1895
425 21/11/1892 450 25/10/1894 449 4/9/1901
404 9/6/1893 405 5/12/1894    
468 22/6/1893 432 15/12/1894    

 

0-4-2T and ** 0-4-2ST engines

 

Engine
No.
Date
fitted
Engine
No.
Date
fitted
Engine
No.
Date
fitted
S-271 25/8/1887 123 8/3/1888 131 26/2/1889
** 631 28/9/1887 117 9/3/1888 121 28/2/1889
S-273 10/11/1887 125 28/6/1888 127 29/3/1889
** 632 16/1/1888 S- 275 10/8/1888 117 5/4/1889
S- 279 7/2/1888 118 31/8/1888 122 6/4/1889
129 25/2/1888 116 27/9/1888 S-276 9/1/1891

 

S- = Sturrock engines

 

0-4-4T engines

 

Engine
No.
Date
fitted
Engine
No.
Date
fitted
Engine
No.
Date
fitted
514 20/6/1887 529 29/3/1888 694 19/10/1888
629 25/7/1887 249 14/4/1888 516 29/10/1888
512 22/7/1887 659 27/4/1888 530 22/11/1888
511 8/10/1887 244 3/5/1888 506 19/1/1889
532 15/12/1887 505 16/5/1888 531 24/1/1889
510 13/1/1888 661 16/5/1888 625 29/1/1889
623 11/2/1888 515 26/5/1888 504 8/2/1889
683 14/2/1888 533 2/6/1888 656 1/3/1889
652 24/2/1888 159 23/6/1888 761 6/3/1889
528 24/2/1888 120 3/8/1888 513 22/3/1889
765 28/2/1888 660 22/8/1888 698 18/4/1889
764 2/3/1888 654 4/9/1888 507 5/7/1889
763 9/3/1888 128 7/9/1888 653 26/10/1889
622 16/3/1888 243 7/9/1888    

 

 

0-6-0ST engines

 

Engine
No.
Date
fitted
Engine
No.
Date
fitted
Engine
No.
Date
fitted
606 31/7/1897 603 6/11/1903 686 12/10/1904
610 18/9/1897 677 6/11/1903 680 22/10/1904
781 14/12/1901 679 6/11/1903 618 5/11/1904
801 20/12/1902 678 14/12/1903 673 19/11/1904
602 24/1/1903 472 23/3/1904 499 25/11/1904
601 31/1/1903 674 11/6/1904 620 26/11/1904
634 7/2/1903 693 11/6/1904 615 31/1/1905
806 7/2/1903 788 11/6/1904 611 15/2/1905
636 21/3/1903 619 20/6/1904 789 14/3/1905
681 9/5/1903 616 16/7/1904 690 9/6/1905
635 13/6/1903 613 23/7/1904 500 23/6/1905
473 20/6/1903 782 23/7/1904 612 5/8/1905
137 30/6/1903 617 29/7/1904 605 2/2/1906
785 4/7/1903 804 13/8/1904 805 2/3/1906
138 15/8/1903 498 20/8/1904 790 21/11/1907
607 19/9/1903 676 20/8/1904 494 27/8/1909
780 19/9/1903 688 2/9/1904 787 18/11/1910
136 26/9/1903 684 17/9/1904 779 16/11/1912
689 26/9/1903 786 23/9/1904 397 13/12/1913
802 3/10/1903 139 1/10/1904    
803 17/10/1903 608 1/10/1904    

 

 

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