« Great Western Railway Locomotive 1889 »

My research tells me this is 3224, a 2-4-0 coal-fired steam engine, the 18th of 19 Barnum locomotives built at the Great Western Railway's Swindon works in 1889, the last fitted with open sandwich frames in Britain. The GWR was chartered by act of Parliament in 1835 and became the envy of UK railways – sometimes called "God's Wonderful Railway".

The steam engine and first steam railways were British inventions; the first railroads in America used engines and rails from England which is why we inherited the "standard gauge" we use (if you would like to know the short, hilarious tale of where the Brits came up with that gauge, contact me at timebinderpics@gmail.com, I'll email it to you). UK, and indeed european railroad engine designs were always quite different from American counterparts, much sleeker and stylish in overall appearance, especially in the 19th century.

I do not know the location of this photograph; while water was being taken on, the engineers watch the photographer. It is a good size original print but I do not know if it was taken for the company.

Reader Comments (1)

I regret that the B&O #217 is not an inspection engine, but instead one of a large group of what were called "Camel" engines on the B&O. It is shown at Halethorpe, MD in 1927 at the "Fair of the Iron Horse," which marked the centennial of the line. It still exists at the B&O RR Museum in Baltimore. Most "Camel" engines were of the 0-8-0 wheel arrangement, with the rest being 4-6-0 types as shown. They were originated by Ross Winans, a locomotive designer and builder. The later Camelback type engines were designed to burn anthricite or hard coal, needing a very wide and long firebox which did not leave space for a cab in the normal location. The "Camels" were earlier designs. I worked at the Museum of Transportation in St. Louis for 10 years, where there is the only other example of this B&O type.

March 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRon Goldfeder

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