Bashers, Gadgets and Mourners - The Life and Times of the LNWR Coal Tanks, by Peter Skellon
Published by the Bahamas Locomotive Society in 2011, 256 pages. Large Hardback with Dust Jacket - c.28cm by 21cm (N5567OS)
From the front inside fly leaf: The LNWR Coal Tanks were the product of a forward looking policy of engineering standardisation in an era that was only a couple of generations removed from the birth of the locomotive itself.
Following their introduction in 1881, they received a variety of enhancements. These reflected the ongoing developments in technology, such as: increased boiler pressure, improved engine exhaust system, reliable boiler feed injectors, safer methods of determining boiler water level, and early vacuum brake systems. The Coal Tanks built ten years later incorporated these features from new and so were a distinct 'Mark 2' variety.
Such was the simplicity and quality of their design that during the next fifty or so years they would continue to receive minor improvements and refinements. This enabled them to fit into the changing nature of railway operation and prolong their working life into a new era, in some instances working over terrain that proved unsuitable for locomotives of later design.
The last surviving member of the class, was the first locomotive to be purchased for 'preservation' from funds raised by public subscription. The success of this outcome prompted others to pursue similar ventures, the result of which is today's heritage railway industry.
This engine, No.1054, is a worthy representative of an era that saw far-reaching social change. The mix of hardship and welfare experienced by those who built and operated the Coal Tanks, and other locomotives of that generation, engendered a strong work ethic, loyalty and public service, and so moulded a strong and lasting tradition of personal values.
With the survival of 1054, that tradition has been retained and, in so doing, continues to remind us of the industrial and railway heritage that has shaped our world today.
From the rear side cover: The LNWR Coal Tank represents a style of economically motivated engineering designs that demonstrates perfection in fitness-for-purpose as a mixed traffic locomotive; an important survivor of one of the several designs which link the primitive locomotive of the nineteenth century to the modern locomotive type. Chapters include:
Origins (including The Locomotive Works Crewe, The DX and Special Tank, The Coal Engine, and The Coal Tank)
Production (including Cab fittings - 1881, and Cab fittings - c 1891)
Improvements and Modifications (including Frames and cylinders, Wheels and axles, Boilers, Fireboxes, Smokebox, Carriage heating, Tanks and Bunker, Classification, Liveries, Cab fittings - c1914, and In the Black Country)
In Service (including From Workington and Whitehaven, Around the Manchester suburbs, Buxton's 'bashers', Merseyside, Dunstable branch, Around the London suburbs, North Wales, South Wales, Motor Trains, Last trains, Final days, Engine No.252, Accidents, End of the Line, Cab fittings c.1926)
Operation and Maintenance (including Operation, Maintenance, and Cab fittings - c 1939)
1054 - Return to Steam (including Maintaining tradition)
Owners' Workshop Manual (including Introduction, Technical data, and Repair data)
Several Appendices (including Building a Coal Engine, General Arrangement Drawings, Chronology, Boilers built by contractors, Survey of Engine No.1054, Ash hoppers, blowers and ejectors, 'Basher' Tank No.1 054, an account of the automatic vacuum brake, J M Dunn's CV, and Engine data and allocations).
The condition of the book is generally very good. The dust jacket has one or two minor scuffs, and some light wear along the edges and corners, but the spine is tight and intact, and all pages are clean, intact, unblemished and tightly bound. The dust jacket is not price clipped. Included is the original audio CD which is attached to the inside front cover.