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Great Central Railway Contractors Locomotives

The construction of the Great Central Railway's 'London Extension' was a mammoth feat of civil engineering. It is estimated that around 13 million cubic metres of earth were excavated by the navvies, which was then taken away in small four-wheeled wagons pulled by equally diminutive steam locomotives. This section takes a look at these steam work horses - the contractors' locomotives.

As part of his venture to record the construction of the new railway, S. W. A. Newton took over a hundred photographs of the different contractors' locomotives at work at many different locations along the length of the line. For many of these photographs, the locomotives' crews posed around their highly polished steeds, but Newton also managed to capture some of the locomotives doing what they did best; hauling rickety looking trains over rough and uneven tracks.

A wide variety of these locomotives were used on both the 'London Extension' and also the 'Alternative Route' through High Wycombe built by the Great Central and the Great Western Railways. The photographs Newton took clearly show the level of pride that the crews had towards their locomotives; the polished brass and gleaming paint work contrasting sharply with the surrounding mud covered construction sites.

This section examines the work of the contractors locomotives through a series of S. W. A. Newton's photographs. The various pages focus on the locomotive manufacturers, the contractors that operated the engines, and the work of the locomotives themselves. Space is also given to the engineering aspect of the locomotives and also to the only surviving example in existence today - the Vintage Carriages Trust's Manning Wardle built engine, SIR BERKELEY.

This is the introduction to Great Central Railway Contractors Locomotives.
View the complete story contents.

Contractors' 0-4-0 saddletank locomotive, LIVERPOOL.

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