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The Industries of Scotland

RAILWAYS, strictly speaking, do not form a branch of industry; and yet no record of the industrial progress of the country would be complete without some reference to them. They are most important aids to the convenience and enjoyments of civilised life, and exercise a fostering influence on all arts. No better proof of their importance could be given than is afforded by their rapid extension, and the amount of capital invested in them. It is only forty-three years since the sanction of Parliament was given to the construction of the first public railway worked by locomotives in Britain—the Liverpool and Manchester line; and at the present time there are upwards of 14,000 miles of railway in the country, the annual receipts of which amount to nearly L.40,000,000. Few towns of any note are beyond convenient distance of the iron road. It has been carried across plains, through valleys, beneath hills, and over rivers, no natural difficulties being allowed to stand in the way of its extension to the centres of population and trade. Night and day, trains rush to and fro incessantly—this laden with passengers, that with cattle, and the other with goods or minerals. The scream of the engine- whistle and the rattle of the wheels on the rails, are sounds familiar to most ears; and the safety and precision with which the traffic is conducted, are known by experience to nine-tenths of the population. The number of persons who travel by rail in the United Kingdom, is close upon three hundred millions annually.

Scottish Railways and the Power of Steam

Though the term "railway" is now employed almost exclusively to designate the whole system and appliances of a firm or company which conveys passengers and goods by steam-power over a road laid with rails, there were railways long before the locomotive was invented. In the early years of the seventeenth century, wooden rails were laid down on the roads leading from some of the coal pits at Newcastle to the quays, and for more than a hundred years no • attempt was made to improve upon these, except to the extent of fixing thin plates of iron on the upper side of the wood wheel-track. The first rails made wholly of iron were cast at Colebrook Dale Ironworks in 1767. These were found to possess such a decided advantage over the wooden rails, that they came into general use at the collieries, and ingenious men set about improving their shape and extending their use. The idea of laying rails along the public highways had not yet dawned on the mind of any one, though in several quarters wheel-tracks formed of stone were in existence, and had been known in Italy for centuries. In the year 1808 Parliamentary powers were obtained for the construction of the first public railway in Scotland. This was a tramroad, nine and a-half miles in length, extending from Kilmarnock to Troon. The rails, of which there were two lines, were of cast iron, fixed in stone blocks. The railway cost L.50,000, and was opened for traffic in 1812, the carriages being drawn by horses. A few years afterwards an attempt was made to use a locomotive on the line, but without success. The Troon Railway was constructed at the expense of the Duke of Portland, for the improvement of his Ayrshire estates. Having been adapted to locomotive traffic, it is now leased and worked by the Glasgow and South-Western Company, and, in proportion to its mileage, is the most remunerative line in Scotland. The Carron Iron Company early established a railway in connection with their works, and thereby reduced their carrying expenses from L.1200 to L.300 a-month. Rails were also laid down at the principal collieries in Mid-Lothian, Fife, Lanark, and Ayr, a number of years before locomotives were introduced. It was proposed to form a railway of the same kind from Glasgow to Berwick in 1810, and the ground was surveyed by Telford, who estimated the cost at L.2926 per mile; but the work was never commenced.

The formation of a railway from Edinburgh to Dalkeith was begun in 1826, and the line opened for traffic in 1831, the late Mr James Jardine of Edinburgh being the engineer. The railway is still in existence, but has undergone a great change. It was originally constructed for the purpose of conveying coal, manure, and other heavy material, and with that view branches were sent off to the principal coal-fields of Mid-Lothian, and also to Leith and Mussel- burgh; but passenger traffic soon became the chief source of profit. The railway was formed of cast-iron plates of what is known as the fish-bellied pattern, and up till 1845, when it was purchased by the North British Railway Company, was worked by horses. The length of the line and branches was fourteen miles; and so numerŽous were the curves, that eleven miles had to be travelled in order to get to Dalkeith from Edinburgh. Towards the close of its "horsey" days, when railways worked by locomotives became common, this railway, with its lumbering carriages, slow-paced steeds, and noisy officials, was laughed at as an old-fashioned thing; but many persons have pleasant recollections of holiday trips made over the line. Then, as now, people took advantage of the Fast Days to spend a few hours outside the city, and it was no uncommon thing for the Dalkeith Railway to bear away four or five thousand pleasure-seekers on such occasions. The Musselburgh Races were also a fruitful source of revenue to the line. The passenger carriages were a sort of hybrid between the old-fashioned stage-coach and the modern omnibus, and in summer the outside seats were the most popular.

Mr Robert Chambers, in one of his essays, gives a sketch of this line, under the name of the "Innocent Railway," in which he says:

"On arriving at the St Leonard's depot—about the spot where Scott locates the Deans family—you are at once ushered into a great wooden carriage, where already perhaps two or three young families, under the care of their respective mammas, have taken up their quarters. But probably you prefer an outside seat—for there are outsides on the Innocent Railway—and so you get mounted up in front beside the driver, or else upon a similar seat behind. Your companion is perhaps a farm-servant, or a sailor, or one of those numerous indescribable blue-and-drab men who live about Dalkeith, and have a great deal to say about markets. An open carriage, full of fishwomen from Fisherrow, is placed judiciously in the rear; and there they sit, smoking their pipes or counting their money in their tenfold laps—the labours of the day all past—nothing now to be done but to cruise home by the Innocent Railway, 'in maiden meditation fancy free.' Singly, and in groups, come up the passengers, country-people most of them, with a great tendency to cotton umbrellas and bundles, but also a sprinkling of more lady and gentleman-like personages. There being only one set of carriages with one set of charges, the conductor makes an eye selection of passengers for a certain set of seats, and contrives to gratify most without offending any. The carriage begins to move. But even after a movement has commenced, you can hardly be said to have taken leave of the station. There is always a woman with some children seen running after the carriages, flagrant and sudorific, in a needless fright at the idea of being left behind, and who has to be taken in, juveniles and all, during the pause which is made before descending the tunnel. This reminds me, by-the-by, to say that nobody is ever too late for the Innocent Railway. One day we had started from Fisherrow up the inclined plane, when a washerwoman, with a huge bundle of clothes upon her back, was seen making after us along the line, occasionally waving a hand, in the hope of its prevailing upon the conductor to stop. We thought the poor woman had no sort of chance of making out her passage; but, wonderful to say, she overtook us, burden and all, at a place where a short pause is made a mile and a half forward. The Innocent Railway has a great consideration for such of the dilatory as heroically persevere. The first pause, while the rope is fixing for the tunnel descent, suffices to take in the perspiring female and family. There is a second stoppage—quite leisurely—at the bottom, to detach the rope, and yoke the horses to their respective carriages. Off they then go, trotting at a brisk pace past Duddingston Loch; but we have not advanced above a quarter of a mile, when a lady with a parasol and ten bandboxes is seen waiting for us at a cross-road; and there is, of course, a pause to get her taken in. This accomplished, on we go again; but lo, ere we have gone another mile, we have to stop at another cross-road to let off a farmer. Once more in motion, we advance rather briskly—that is, at the rate of about eight miles an hour—in order to make up for lost time; but this has not lasted half a mile, when we meet the carriages proceeding to town, and have to stop, in order that the drivers may pass some message in the one or the other direction. Such are the incidents which mark a passage by the Innocent Railway. . . . A few more minutes bring us into the station at Fisherrow. The passengers land in a place like a farm-yard, where ducks and hens, and a lounging dog, and a cottager's children, are quietly going about their usual avocations, as if undreaming that they are within fifty miles of such a thing as machinery. And so ends the journey of exactly four miles and three-quarters by the Innocent Railway. On consulting your watch, you find it has required exactly forty minutes. And now, my co-mates, I would ask if a railway of this simple and primitive character be not something infinitely better than your whisking locomotive lines, where you never have leisure to look a moment about you? There cannot, in my opinion, be a shadow of a comparison between the two. By the Innocent Railway you never feel in the least jeopardy; your journey is one of incident and adventure; you can examine the crops as you go along; you have time to hear the news from your companions; and the by-play of the officials is a source of never-failing amusement. In the very contemplation of the innocence of the railway you find your heart rejoiced. Only think of a railway having a board at all the stations forbidding the drivers to stop by the way to feed their horses, under a penalty of half-a-crown—the `way' being altogether only a few miles! Just conceive a railway where the carriages have barefooted boys to come off and run on in advance to change the switches! Or imagine any other railway on earth where such a circumstance as the following could take place. During the pause of a Mussel- burgh up-train at the bottom of the tunnel, a quiet-looking man, seated on the back of the carriage, said to a friend whom he recognised on the front of the next behind, Is the charge for this railway raised lately I" No." Why, I have paid sixpence.' You should only have paid fourpence.' The inquiring party asked for an explanation of the driver, who came up at the moment. An answer was given in a voice that made the quiet man shrink up into half the space—'Didna I tell you at Fisherrow that I couldna gie ye change till we got up to the toon-n-n l'"

Railways / Ivor Peters Steam in Scotland.
Part of an Ivor Peters film which was filmed in Scotland.From a video i bought years ago.Steam engines of the Caledonian Railway.Can be bought from most Railway Shops that sell dvd's.

Railways, as they now exist, are the result of many years of experiment and much anxiety and cost; and there has been perhaps more controversy in connection with the claims of railway and locomotive inventors than in the case of any other mechanical contrivance. The rail was invented more than a century before the steam-carriage, yet, singularly enough, the contrivers of the first locomotive did not think of using it on a railway. James Watt has recorded that, in 1759, his friend Dr Robison, who was then a student at Glasgow College, suggested that the steam-engine might be employed in moving wheeled carriages on the highways. Watt does not seem to have acted on the hint until the year 1784, when he took out a patent for an adaptation of the steam-engine to the propulsion of land carriages. He apparently had not much hope that anything could be achieved by such a contrivance, for he stated that "a carriage for two persons might be moved with a cylinder of seven inches in diameter when the piston had a stroke of one foot, and made sixty strokes in a minute." So little did he regard his invention, and so averse was he to the use of high-pressure steam, that he never built a steam-carriage; but his friend and assistant, Mr William Murdoch, constructed, in 1784, a working model of a locomotive which, though only fifteen inches in length, attained a speed of six or eight miles an hour. This was the first locomotive in Britain, and it is preserved in the Patent Museum. In 1802 Messrs Trevithick & Vivian, of Camborne, in Cornwall, patented a steam carriage for common roads, and two years afterwards they constructed a locomotive for the Merthyr Tydvil Railway. This was the first steam-engine applied to locomotive purposes in Britain, and the leading features of it were essentially the same as those of the railway engines of tho present time. For twenty years after, however, little progress was made in working out or extending the use of steam-engines on the railways. A number of machines had been devised, but one after the other they were set aside. In 1814 George Stephenson made a locomotive for the Killingworth Colliery Railway. It could draw thirty tons at the rate of four miles an hour, and was regarded as a great step in advance. On the Stockton and Darlington Railway, opened in 1825, of which Stephenson was engineer, an engine of the same kind was used. This engine may be seen at Darlington Station, where it has been set upon a pedestal The number of cranks and rods about the machine give it a complicated appearance, and it looks odd in contrast with the engines that have superseded it. When the Manchester and Liverpool Railway was being constructed in the years 1826-29, so little was known either as to the capabilities of railways, or the most advantageous mode of working them, that the directors and engineers had some difficulty in deciding whether the line should be worked by fixed engines or by locomotives. It was ultimately decided to use locomotives, and the directors offered a premium of L.500 for the best locomotive that could be produced in accordance with the following conditions :ŽThat the chimney should emit no smoke, that the engine should be on springs, that it should not weigh more than six tons, or four tons and a half if it had only four wheels, that it should be able to draw three times its own weight, and not cost more than L.500. Four engines were entered to compete for the prize, and the trial of these, on the 15th September 1830, was one of the most interesting incidents in the history of railways. George Stephenson's "Rocket" won the day. It drew three times its own weight, or twelve tons fifteen cwt., at an average speed of fourteen miles an hour, and attained a maximum velocity of twenty-nine miles an hour.

Before the experiments on the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, few engineers would admit the possibility of a locomotive engine attaining a speed of over ten miles an hour. The theory of friction and velocity as bearing on the matter was little known, and nobody seemed to think its study to be essential in developing the new mode of locomotion. Practical men engaged in forming the earlier railways and constructing the locomotives had very indistinct ideas as to the ultimate result of their work. They neglected first principles, and consequently wrought at a great disadvantage. Though George Stephenson is said to have predicted that there was no limit to the speed of a locomotive engine, there is no proof that he was acquainted with the principles referred to; rather it is probable that he spoke in that spirit of enthusiasm natural to inventors.

Towards the close of last century certain experiments were made to discover the laws of friction and velocity, and the result of these, though bearing directly on the working of railways, was entirely overlooked by the promulgators of steam locomotion, and the writers on the subjects of roads and railways. In December 1824, when engineers and mechanicians were uniting their efforts to the production of railways and locomotives, with which a distance of ten miles an hour might be accomplished, the late Mr Charles Maclaren wrote a series of papers in the "Scotsman," in which he drew attention to the experiments referred to, and demonstrated in the clearest manner that the friction of a sliding or rolling body is the same at all velocities, and that a speed of twenty miles or more might be realised on railways. Mr Maclaren's essays attracted much attention in the scientific world, and threw a new light on the labours of the railway engineers. The papers were reprinted in various forms, and obtained a wide circulation in Britain and America, and also on the Continent—having been translated into French and German. The editor of the "Mechanic's Magazine," in commenting on the competition of locomotives on the Liverpool and Manchester Railway in 1829, prefaces an extract from one of the papers by the remark that—" The 'Scotsman' had the honour, four years ago, of first bringing forcibly under public notice the advantages derivable from locomotive carriages on railways." In 1851 the "Economist," in referring back to Mr Maclaren's papers, said of them that "they prepared the way for the success of railway projectors."

Not only did Mr Maclaren anticipate the achievements of rail-ways in the matter of speed, but he foreshadowed their general utility and the effect they would produce on society. Mr Maclaren thus urged the importance of a high rate of speed on railways:— "In speaking of twenty miles an hour, it is not meant that this velocity will be found practicable at first, or even that it should be attempted. No complex invention can be perfect at the moment of its birth; and our object at the present time should be to make the best use of our present means. Every man who knows anything of the history of the arts will readily believe that railroads and locomotive engines have yet to receive many improvements. His vision must be narrow who considers the results of the first rude trials as fixing the boundaries of the new power thus put into our hands, and he must see far indeed who can define its ultimate limits. Mechanical skill has accomplished a hundred things at the present day which the practical men of the preceding generation would have derided as chimeras. In proportion as the mechanism of the railroad and the engine is perfected, the engineer will feel his way towards a more rapid rate of movement; for it is probable that all the advantages of the locomotive engine will be found to depend on the practicability of employing a high velocity."

Mr Maclaren had also formed a pretty sound idea of what was necessary in the passenger carriages of railways, and it is a matter of regret that some of his suggestions were not acted upon. The passenger carriages on the American railways are, in several important respects, exactly what is here proposed:—"In the construction of the steam-coach, the object should be to unite the highest practical velocity with as many comforts and accommodations as possible. With this view, perhaps, a form analogous to that of the steam-boat and track-boat would be the best. It might, for instance, consist of a gallery seven feet high, eight wide, and 100 feet in length, formed into ten separate chambers ten feet long each, connected with each other by joints working horizontally, to allow the train to bend where the road turned. A narrow covered footway, suspended on the outside over the wheels on one side, would serve as a common means of communication for the whole. On the other side might be outside seats, to be used in fine weather. The top, surrounded by a rail, might also be a sitting-place or promenade, like the deck of a track-boat. Two of the ten rooms might be set apart for cooking, stores, and various accommodations; the other eight would lodge 100 passengers, whose weight, with that of their luggage, might be twelve tons. The coach itself might be twelve tons more; and that of the locomotive machine eight tons, added to these, would make the whole thirty-two tons. Each of the short galleries would rest upon four wheels, and the whole would form one continuous vehicle."

He thus estimated the advantages to nations and to individuals, which would result from the extension and perfection of railways:—

"When the steam-coach is brought fully into use, practice will teach us many things respecting it, of which theory leaves us ignorant. With the facilities for rapid motion which it will afford, however, there is nothing very extravagant in expecting to see the present extreme rate of travelling [ten miles per hour] doubled. We shall then be carried at the rate of 400 miles a-day, with all the ease we now enjoy in a steam-boat, but without the annoyance of sea-sickness, or the danger of being burned or drowned. It is impossible to anticipate the effects of such an extraordinary facility of communication, when generally introduced. From Calais to Petersburg, or Constantinople for instance, would be but a journey of five days; and the tour of Europe might be accomplished in a shorter time than our grandfathers took to travel to London and home again. The Americans, with their characteristic ardour for improvement, are now collecting information about railways and locomotive machines in England; and to them these inventions will prove of inestimable value. It is pleasing indeed to think, that at the moment when the gigantic Republics of the new world are starting into existence, the inventive genius of man is creating new moral and mechanical powers to cement and bind their vast and distant members together, and to give the human race the benefits of a more extended and perfect civilisation. Nor ought we to overlook the additional security which an opulent and highly improved country will in future derive from the facility of its internal means of communication. Were a foreign enemy, for instance, to invade England, 500 steam-waggons could convey 50,000 armed men in one day to the point assailed; and within one week it would be easy, by the same means, to collect half-a-million at one spot, all quite fresh and fit for action. We cannot scan the future march of improvement; and it would be rash to say that even a higher velocity than twenty miles an hour may not be found applicable. Tiberius travelled 200 miles in two days, and this was reckoned an extraordinary effort. But in our times a shopkeeper or mechanic travels twice as fast as the Roman Emperor, and twenty years hence he may probably travel with a speed that would leave the fleetest courser behind Such a new power of locomotion cannot be introduced without working a vast change in the state of society. With so great a facility and celerity of communication, the provincial towns of an empire would become so many suburbs of the metropolis —or rather the effect would be similar to that of collecting the whole inhabitants into one city. Commodities, inventions, discoveries, opinions, would circulate with a rapidity hitherto unknown, and, above all, the intercourse of man with man, nation with nation, and province with province, would be prodigiously increased."

Though Mr Maclaren's papers made considerable stir in the scientific world, they were evidently regarded with a jealous eye by men directly connected with railways, and it was only after his predictions had been realised that the correctness of his reasoning was admitted; but then, also, men came forward and disputed the honour with him, though they had not the slightest proof to show that they were entitled to it. When Mr Maclaren was ridiculed for his views, those men were silent; but when he came to be praised, they claimed the praise, and affected to feel honoured by the ridicule. Mr Nicholas Wood, of Killingworth, published a book on railways in the year after Mr Maclaren's essays appeared, and though he was strongly in favour of locomotives, he said, with evident allusion to Mr Maclaren:—"It is far from my wish to promulgate to the world that the ridiculous expectations, or rather professions, of the enthusiastic speculatist will be realised, and that we shall see engines travelling at the rate of twelve, sixteen, eighteen, twenty miles an hour. Nothing could do more harm towards their general adoption and improvement than the promulgation of such nonsense." It would be superfluous to point out how the "ridiculous expectations of the enthusiastic speculatist" have been more than realised.

Rail Away Scoția/Scotland

While one set of inventors devoted their attention to perfecting a locomotive engine for railways, another set were busy devising steam- coaches to run on common roads. The latter met with many dis-couraging failures, and though a number of ingenious and costly machines were got to work tolerably under favourable circumstances, there were obstacles to their introduction to general use which could not be overcome. Among the Scotch mechanicians who devoted attention to the subject were Messrs T. Burstall and John Hill of Leith, who produced a road steamer, in the construction of which many improvements on previous inventions were introduced. About the year 1829 Mr Goldsworthy Gurney brought out a steam-carriage which met with considerable favour, though it presented few features not embraced in other machines of the kind. In 1831, one of these carriages ran on the road between Gloucester and Cheltenham. Obstructions were thrown in the way of introducing such machines, however, and Mr Gurney petitioned Parliament, and a committee of inquiry was appointed. The report of the committee was favourable to Mr Gurney; and the success of his carriage led, in 1834, to the formation in Scotland of a company to run steam- carriages on the common roads. The road between Glasgow and Paisley was the first chosen for the operations of the company; but the steam-coaches had not been long in operation when the boiler of one of them exploded, killed a number of persons, and put an end for the time to all attempts at steam locomotion on the turnpike roads.

West Highland line 1960

The West Highland Line - Road to the Isles

At present the only steam-engines on the roads are traction engines for drawing heavy loads. Some of these are by Scotch inventors, and the most perfect, perhaps, that has yet been produced is a " road-steamer " invented by Mr R. W. Thomson, C.E., Edinburgh. Mr Thomson found that by fitting the wheels of a traction engine with stout tires of vulcanised indiarubber, a good gripping power could be obtained without the use of spikes or other appliances usually attached to traction engines. The "road-steamer" has a boiler of peculiar construction and extraordinary power, also invented by Mr Thomson, and altogether the machine is the most compact, powerful, and easily worked that has yet been put forward. Contrary to what might be expected, the tires withstand contact with the roughest road and sharpest stones without injury, while on soft ground or sand the weight is so distributed by the indiarubber that the wheels sink only an inch or two. The first engine of this kind made has been sent to Java; but before being shipped it was severely tested. A waggon laden with ten tons of flour was drawn with the greatest ease along the steepest streets in Leith, and the gentlemen invited to witness the experiment expressed the highest approval of Mr Thomson's invention, and congratulated him on having solved what had long been a most difficult problem with mechanicians.

The first promoters of railways do not seem to have reckoned much on the carrying of passengers as a source of revenue, for we find that of the fifty-three railways in Britain, for the construction of which Parliamentary powers had been obtained prior to 1830, only fifteen undertook the conveyance of passengers. Nearly all were connected with mines or quarries, and were worked either by horses or by fixed engines. Ten of the fifty-three railways sanctioned were Scotch, but of these two were abandoned. The aggregate length of the others was ninety-seven and a-half miles, and the total of the original capital L.469,705. During the ten years from 1830 to 1840, eighty- one railway bills were passed, of which twelve related to Scotland; but one of the proposed lines was abandoned. The length of those proceeded with was 191} miles, and the capital L.3,122,133. The most important were the Dundee and Arbroath; Arbroath and Forfar; Glasgow, Paisley, and Greenock; Glasgow, Paisley, Kilmarnock, and Ayr; and Edinburgh and Glasgow. The next decade was marked by a great extension of railways, and the union of numerous minor lines into systems. Enterprising promoters of new railways filled the public mind with golden dreams, and money was readily poured out on the most unpromising schemes. A railway speculation fever spread over the country, which reached its height in 1845 and 1846. In the former year, 225 railway bills were laid before Parliament; but of these only 120 were passed. Among the latter were fifteen relating to Scotland, thirteen being for new railways, and two for alterations on existing lines. The total length of the railways sanctioned was 4362 miles, and the original capital L.6,424,000, with borrowing powers to the extent of L.2,140,331. Seven of the railways were over twenty miles in length—namely, Aberdeen, Caledonian, Dundee and Perth, Edinburgh and Hawick, Edinburgh and Northern, Scottish Central, and Scottish Midland. In 1846 between 500 and 600 railway bills were brought before Parliament, and of these 272 were passed, many of them in a re-duced or modified shape. Of the bills passed, fifty-eight related to Scotland. Only a few were for the construction of new independent lines, the remainder being for extensions, alterations, amalgamations, and deviations. The formation of 400 additional miles of railway in Scotland was, however, sanctioned, the original capital of which was L.11,362,980, with borrowing powers to the extent of L.3,736,464.

Popular excitement was most intense on financial matters during the years referred to. Many fortunes were made, and many wrecked, amid the vicissitudes of the railway mania; and the domestic history of the period is marked by numerous incidents of a painful nature. The spirit of the time was admirably satirised by the late Professor Aytoun, in his famous sketch of "How we got up the Glenmutchkin Railway, and how we got out of it." As affording an indication of the extent to which the speculative mania was carried, it may be mentioned, that in the end of 1845, proposals for no fewer than 620 lines of railway were before the public, the capital required for the construction of which was L.563,203,000. In addition to these lines, there were 643 schemes afloat, the prospectuses of which had not been registered. Of the capital subscribed for the railway bills presented to Parliament in 1846, L.121,255,374 was subscribed in sums of L.2000 and upwards. Tempted by plausible prospectuses, and glamoured by the fair speech of designing "promoters," thousands of persons embarked their all in the purchase of shares in railways which never did, and never could get beyond paper; and the natural result followed—that the simple trusting ones were in many cases reduced from affluence to poverty. The railway mania was the golden age of swindlers; but it cast a shadow on many homes, and cut short the career to prosperity and distinction of many a father and son. Individuals suffered, but the country has profited immensely by the energetic manner in which railways were undertaken and completed by the enthusiasts of twenty years ago, though probably not to the extent it would have done had the vast sums of money invested been judiciously expended, In Scotland, as elsewhere, a check was given to the extension of railways by the disastrous results of over-speculation; but as soon as a degree of confidence in railway investments was restored in the public mind, the work was resumed, and continued to make steady progress until a year or two ago, when the finances of several of the great companies got into confusion, and certain awkward revelations were made which tended to shake public confidence once more. Several extensions which had been sanctioned by Parliament were suspended after operations for their execution had been begun; and, perhaps, at no time during the past twenty years has there been less work on hand in the way of railway making than at present.

At the date of writing, the latest official returns relating to rail-ways refer to the state of matters as existing on 31st December 1866. At that date, there were in Scotland forty-eight railways, the aggregate length of which was 2244 miles. The authorised capital was L.50,104,794 by shares, and L.17,024,623 by loans—total, L.67,129,417. The amount paid up on shares and on debenture loans outstanding at the date of the return, was L.53,078,798. Of the forty-eight railways, all, except three, are either leased or worked by one or other of the following companies :—Caledonian, Glasgow and South-Western, Great North of Scotland, Highland, North British, of each of which a brief account in alphabetical order is subjoined.

The Caledonian railway was projected about the year 1840; but the bill for its formation was severely contested during several sessions, and did not receive the royal assent until 31st July 1845. The original line was 1371 miles in length, and comprised a great fork from Edinburgh to Carnwath, a great fork from the north side of Glasgow to Carnwath, a branch from the Glasgow fork at MotherŽwell to the south side of Glasgow, with a subordinate branch to Hamilton, a branch from the same fork in the vicinity of Gartsherrie to the Scottish Central Railway near Castlecary, and a main trunk extending from Carnwath to Carlisle. The act of incorporation authorised the company to raise L.2,100,000 in shares of L.50 each, and to borrow a sum of L.700,000. The estimated cost of the railway was L.2,100,000. The Scottish Central, Scottish Midland, Scottish North-Eastern, and several other railways, have been amalgamated with the Caledonian. The company further hold in lease the Alyth and the Arbroath and Forfar railways; while the Bushby, Crieff and Methven Junction, Greenock and Wemyss Bay, Montrose and Bervie, and Portpatrick railways, are worked by them. The total length is 673 miles. The authorised capital of the conjoint railways at 31st December 1866 was L.17,429,181 by shares, and L.5,826,357 by loans—total, L.23,255,538. The amount paid up on shares, and on debenture loans outstanding at 31st January 1867, was L20,315,652. In 1866, the receipts from all sources of traffic amounted to L.1,784,717, of which sum L.638,376 was derived from passengers, and L.1,146,341 from goods and live stock. The number of passengers, not including 7724 holders of season and periodical tickets, was 9,127,203, carried in 113,512 trains, which travelled in the aggregate 2,699,330 miles. 900,000 head of live stock, 5,691,129 tons of minerals, and 1,830,759 tons of general merchandise, were carried in 136,841 trains, which travelled 3,976,179 miles. The traffic was carried on by means of 479 locomotives, 1068 passenger carriages and luggage-vans, and 13,505 goods and other waggons.

In 1850 a number of lines in the south-west of Scotland were amalgamated under the title of the Glasgow and South-Western Railway. The main line extends from Glasgow by way of Paisley, Kilmarnock, and Dumfries, to a junction with the Caledonian Railway near Gretna. There are, besides, a number of branches. The total length is 254 miles, and the authorised capital L8,015,100, of which L.6,234,600 may be raised by shares, and L1,780,500 by loans. At 31st January 1867, L.6,287,311 had been paid up on shares and on debenture loans. The receipts from all sources of traffic in 1866 were L.570,805, of which sum L.189,040 was from passengers, and L.381,765 from goods and live stock. The number of passengers, exclusive of 780 season-ticket holders, was 2,862,928, carried in 40,283 trains, which travelled in the aggregate 1,099,237 miles. 2,755,305 tons of minerals, and 426,131 tons of general merchandise, were carried in 75,395 trains, which traversed 1,855,085 miles. The traffic was carried on by 152 locomotives, 401 passenger carriages and vans, and 56,691 goods and other waggons.

As originally authorised by Parliament in 1846, the Great North of Scotland Railway was to embrace a line from Aberdeen to Inverness, with branches to Banff, Portsoy, and Burghead, the total length being 138} miles. It was to have formed one undertaking, with a line from Aberdeen into Forfarshire, which had been sanctioned in the preceding year. From various causes, however, the scheme was not carried out in its integrity—indeed, only a small portion of this line was constructed under the original proprietary; but lines which were formed as separate undertakings in the district have been amalgamated with it, and the Great North of Scotland is now a much more extensive concern than its original promoters contemplated. The more important railways that have been amalgamated with the Great North are the Banffshire, Strathspey, Formartin and Buchan, and Deeside. The total length is 289 miles, of which 284 miles have only a single line of rails. The authorised capital of the conjoint railways is L.3,080,393 by shares, and L.1,003,019 by loans—total, L.4,083,412. At 31st January 1867, there has been paid up on shares and on debenture loans outstanding L.3,638,778. The receipts from all sources of traffic in 1866 were L.172,339; of which sum L87,342 was from passengers, and L.84,997 from goods and live stock. The number of passengers, exclusive of 4536 season- ticket holders, was 1,736,246, carried by 31,247 trains, which travelled in the aggregate 624,124 miles. 207,893 tons of minerals, and 313,345 tons of general merchandise were carried in 10,382 trains, which traversed 261,643 miles. The rolling-stock consisted of 54 locomotives, 200 passenger carriages and vans, and 1453 goods and other waggons.

The Highland Railway comprises several undertakings, which by gradual amalgamation became in 1865 one system under the present title. The first portion of this important system was a line from Inverness to Nairn, which was opened in November 1855. That was followed by the Inverness and Aberdeen Junction, which extended from Nairn to Keith—the northern terminus of the Great North of Scotland Railway—and was opened throughout in August 1858. The Inverness and Nairn was amalgamated with this line in 1861. In the following year, the Inverness and Ross-shire Railway was opened from Inverness to Dingwall, and in 1863 from Dingwall to Invergordon. The Ross-shire line was amalgamated with the Inverness and Aberdeen Junction in 1862, and the next year an extension from Invergordon to Bonar Bridge was commenced. This, with a branch to Burghead, which was opened at the end of 1862, completed the system of the Inverness and Aberdeen Junction Company. In 1863 the direct Inverness and Perth Junction Railway was opened. It consisted of a line from Forres to Dunkeld, where it joined the Perth and Dunkeld Railway. The latter was amalgamated with the Inverness and Perth line in the same year. A branch to Aberfeldy was made in 1864, which completed the line of the Inverness and Perth Company. The Inverness and Aberdeen Junction Company worked the Inverness and Perth line, and by the Amalgamation Act of 1865 these two undertakings became the Highland Railway. The total length of the system is 246 miles, 239 of which are single. The Findhorn Railway, a short line of 31 miles, is worked by the Highland Company. The authorised capital of the conjoined railways at 31st December 1866 was L.2,338,000 by shares, and L.703,880 by loans—total, L.3,041,880. The amount paid up on shares and debenture loans at that date was L.2,285,012. The receipts from all sources of traffic in 1866 were L.190,193, of which sum L108,219 was from passengers, and L.81,974 from goods and live-stock. The number of passengers, exclusive of 923 season-ticket holders, was 946,461, who were conveyed in 15,059 trains, which travelled in the aggregate 522,592 miles, 102,496 tons of minerals, and 146,131 tons of general merchandise were carried in 3875 trains, which travelled in the aggregate 364,599 miles. The rolling stock consisted of 55 locomotives, 176 passenger carriages, 1169 waggons, &c.

The North British Railway is the longest in Scotland—measuring over all 735 miles. It extends from Perth and Dundee on the north, to Carlisle, Silloth, and Newcastle on the south, and passes across the country from Helensburgh to Berwick, sending out numerous branches and loops in its course. The railway originally consisted of a line from Edinburgh to Berwick, measuring fifty-eight miles, with a branch to Haddington four miles in length. The Edinburgh and Dalkeith Railway was purchased by the Company in 1845, adapted to locomotive traffic, and connected with the main line. A company had been formed, and powers obtained for the construction of a railway from Edinburgh to Hawick; and in 1845 the powers of that company were purchased by the North British, who next year got a bill passed, to enable them to send out branches from their main line to Tranent, Cockenzie, North Berwick, and Dunse; and from their Hawick line branches to Selkirk, Kelso, and Jedburgh. The main line was opened on the 18th June 1846. Further powers were obtained in the following year, and by that time the company had either constructed or held authority for a total length of 163 miles of railway. Branches to Musselburgh and Peebles were the next works undertaken. The latter of these was opened in June 1855. Since that time numerous additions have been made by new works and amalgamations, and at present the company hold in lease the Carlisle and Silloth Bay, Edinburgh and Bathgate, Peebles and Port-Carlisle Railways, while they work the Berwickshire Devon Valley, Glasgow and Milngavie Junction, Leslie, and St Andrews Railways. The authorised capital of the entire system at 31st December 1866 was L.16,687,620 by shares, and L.6,266,467 by loans—total, L.22,954,087. At 31st January 1867, there had been paid up on shares and on debenture loans L.19,178,407. The receipts from all sources in 1866 were L.1,374,702, of which sum L.561,185 was from passengers, and L.813,517 from goods and live stock. The number of passengers, exclusive of 6401 season-ticket holders, was 8,196,291, carried in 158,117 trains, which travelled in the aggregate 2,577,614 miles. 4,118,943 tons of minerals, and 1,539,506 tons of general merchandise were carried in 181,839 trains, which traversed 3,571,335 miles. The rolling stock was—Locomotives, 367; passenger-carriages and vans, 1261; waggons, 16,277; other vehicles, 159.

The only railways not belonging to or worked by the five companies above mentioned are the Forth and Clyde Junction (thirty miles); the Leven and East of Fife (nineteen miles); and the Drumpeller Railway, which belongs to the Forth and Clyde Navigation Company (two miles). The capital of the Forth and Clyde Junction is L.192,000 by shares, and L.64,000 by loan—total, L.256,000. The total paid up on shares and debentures at 31st December 1866, was L.250,051. The receipts from all sources were L.17,168, of which sum L.5381 was from passengers, and L.11,787 from goods and live stock. The number of passengers, exclusive of 72 season- ticket holders, was 92,243, carried in 1387 trains, which travelled in the aggregate 41,612 miles. 60,000 tons of minerals, and 32,241 tons of general merchandise, were carried in 1092 trains, which traversed 32,752 miles. The rolling stock consisted of 4 locomotives, 14 passenger carriages and vans, and 289 waggons. The capital of the Leven and East of Fife Railway is L.130,000 by shares, and L.43,300 by loans—total, L.170,300. The paid up shares and debentures on loans were L.136,170. The receipts from all sources were L.15,030, of which sum L.6592 was from passengers, and L.8438 from goods and live stock. The number of passengers, exclusive of 131 holders of season-tickets, was 121,027, carried in 2584 trains, which travelled in the aggregate 54,507 miles. The number of goods trains is not stated, but 19,687 tons of minerals and 48,429 tons of general merchandise, were carried. The rolling stock consisted of 3 locomotives, 7 passenger carriages, and 168 waggons and vans. The Drumpeller Railway, which carries no passengers, conveyed 239,867 tons of coal, the revenue from which was L.2177.

It will be seen from the above figures that the number of passengers who travelled on the railways of Scotland in 1866 was 23,082,369, exclusive of 20,567 season-ticket holders. The other traffic comprised 345,430 cattle, 1,788,321 sheep, and 82,230 pigs; 13,195,851 tons of coal and other minerals; 4,336,512 tons of general merchandise. 771,613 trains of all kinds were run, and the aggregate distance traversed was 17,680,579 miles. The receipts from passenger traffic amounted to L.1,596,135, and from goods and live stock to L.2,530,996—total, L.4,127,131. Under the head of working expenditure the following facts are stated:—The maintenance of way and works of the Scotch railways in 1866 cost L.387,425; locomotive power, L.587,195; repairs and renewals of carriages and waggons, L.142,280; traffic charges (coaches and merchandise), L.519,053; rates and taxes, L.71,872; Government duty, L.33,911; compensation for personal injury, &c., L.16,989; compensation for damages and loss of goods, L.19,829; legal and Parliamentary expenses, L.34,038; miscellaneous expenses, L.200,494—making a total working expenditure of L.2,013,087, representing an increase of L.234,754 as compared with the preceding year. The proportion per cent. of expenditure to total receipts was 49. There is some difficulty in ascertaining the number of persons engaged about railways, but a careful calculation leads to the conclusion that not fewer than 30,000 persons are so employed in Scotland.

Of the works in progress, the Callander and Oban Railway is the most extensive. Powers were obtained in 1865 for the construction of this line, which is to extend from Callander to the town of Oban, a distance of 70/ miles. The authorised capital is L.600,000 in shares, and L200,000 on loan. An arrangement was made with the Scottish Central Company (now merged in the Caledonian) that they should subscribe L.200,000 to the undertaking, and also work the line. In 1867 the Caledonian Company were empowered to construct new lines, seven and a-half miles in length, in substitution of a portion of a line from Dundee to Forfar, for which an Act was obtained by the Scottish North-Eastern in 1864. The Caledonian Company have also, with a view of rendering their system more efficient, constructed a number of short branches in Lanarkshire and Mid-Lothian. Other works were contemplated by this company, but in consequence of financial complications and for other reasons, powers were obtained in 1867 for the abandonment of certain branches, extension of time for the construction of other authorised works, power to raise additional money, and alteration of application of monies and terms of issue of certain unissued share and loan capital. In 1868 the North British Company also obtained powers to relinquish certain works. The Glasgow and South-Western Company have, during the past year or two, been forming a number of now branches in Ayrshire.

Glasgow - Fort William - Mallaig : Cab Ride

The Sutherland Railway, extending from the Bonar Bridge station of the Highland Railway to Brora, a distance of 321 miles, was completed in 1868, and opened as far as Golspie (27 miles). The capital of this line is L.180,000 in shares, and L.60,000 on loan. The traffic is being worked by the Highland Company, who subscribe L.15,000 to the undertaking. A few years ago, a number of capitalists in Caithness thought that the iron road might be advantageously extended to John o'Groat's, and a spirited movement was made to get up a railway leading from the Sutherland line at Brora to Wick, and thence to Thurso. It was decided to promulgate the Wick and Thurso section first, and an Act was passed in 1866 authorising the construction of that section, 21i miles in length, the capital to consist of L.130,000 in L.10 shares, and L.43,000 on loan. The Highland Company undertook the working of the line, and subscribed L.10,000. The scheme, however, has not received sufficient support to warrant the commencement of operations for the formation of the line.

A necessary part of the organisation of a railway of any extent is an engineering and carriage building establishment, at which the rolling stock may be made or repaired. It is also necessary, on an extensive railway, to have at convenient stations workshops at which slight repairs may be executed on locomotives and carriages. Thus, the North British Company have a great central establishment at Cowlairs, and workshops at St Margaret's, Coatbridge, Stirling, Haymarket, Burntisland, Hawick, Berwick, and Carlisle. The chief establishment of the Caledonian is at St Rollox, and the minor workshops at the Southside Station, Glasgow, at Greenock, Motherwell, Gartsherrie, Carstairs, Stirling, Perth, Edinburgh, and Carlisle. The chief workshops of the Glasgow and South-Western Company are at Kilmarnock; those of the Highland Company at Inverness; and those of the Great North of Scotland at Aberdeen. The North British workshops at Cowlairs are the most extensive and completely appointed of the kind in Scotland, and a brief description of them will give an idea of the kind of work carried on, and also of the vast expense of maintaining in a state of efficiency the rolling stock of a railway.

Before the Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway Company was amalgamated with the North British, the chief workshops of the latter were at St Margaret's, in the neighbourhood of Edinburgh; but the Edinburgh and Glasgow Company's workshops at Cowlairs occupied a more convenient situation; and they have been extended and adapted to answer the purposes of a central establishment for the entire North British system, and all the heavier repairs are done there. A process of centralisation has been going on, and a reduction has been made in the number of persons employed in the district workshops, at which, except in one or two cases, only what are designated "running repairs" are now made. The Cowlairs works cover several acres of ground, and are arranged in two departments— one for making and repairing locomotives and tenders, and the other for building and repairing carriages and waggons. In the former about 800 men and boys are employed, and in the latter between 400 and 500. About twenty per cent. of the locomotives owned by any railway company are usually undergoing repairs at a time, so that there are rarely fewer than from forty to fifty engines in the "hospital" at Cowlairs. Some engines are brought in which require only a few trifling repairs, and are turned out cured in a day or two; others give way in a vital part, and it requires weeks of work to put them right; a third class are the aged and debilitated, which can only be set going again by being fitted with new boilers, cylinders, &c. In addition to the invalids, one or two new locomotives are generally on hand. Only the best material will stand in a railway engine, and that material can be properly operated upon only by efficient workmen. A first-class locomotive may indeed be said to be the greatest achievement of the mechanical engineer.

Like other adjuncts of railways, the locomotive has had a gradual growth to perfection. George Stephenson's "Rocket" was a clumsy toy compared with an express engine of our day. The "Rocket," with its tender, weighed seven tons nine cwts., and was capable of drawing two waggons, weighing nine and a-half tons, at an average speed of fourteen miles an hour. One of the North British express locomotives weighs, with its loaded tender, about forty tons, and exerting a force equal to 750 horse power, can convey a load of upwards of 200 tons at the rate of forty miles an hour. One of these engines is calculated to run about 100,000 miles without requiring repairs, except of a trivial kind; and the average distance run by each engine at work is 130 miles a-day. A locomotive does not break down at once in all its parts; some portions require frequent renewal, while others continue good for a number of years. Generally, the first important part of the engine that gives way is the crank-axle, which, though of great strength, is pretty sure to break after accomplishing a certain amount of work. The average distance rim by an engine on the North British system before the crank-axle gives in is from 80,000 to 100,000 miles; but before that mileage is accomplished, certain working parts of the engine and their bearings have to be renewed, and once in twelve months or so the tires of the wheels have to be "turned up" on the bearing surface. The deterioration in the value of a locomotive is estimated to be three-halfpence for each mile run. A locomotive of the best kind costs upwards of L.2000, and at the end of three or four years' service requires renovations to the extent of L.200 or L.300. It will thus be seen that the maintenance of the locomotive power of a railway amounts to a large proportion of the working expenses. No less a sum than L.100,000 is expended annually on the repair and renewal of engines at the North British Company's workshops. The cost of new stock, and the running expenses, amount to an additional annual sum of L.129,000.

Excepting the cylinders, axle-boxes, and fire-bars, there is little or no cast iron used in the construction of a locomotive, while in the passenger carriages and goods waggons only the axle-boxes and buffer cylinders are made of that material. The foundry department at Cowlairs is on a considerable scale, and in it is made all the cast-iron work required for the company's locomotives, steamboats, carriages, and waggons, as well as a considerable quantity of castings for the permanent way. About fifty men are employed in the iron and brass foundries; but their operations do not call for special notice, all the work being of a simple kind. A large quantity of malleable iron is used, and, with the exception of the crank-axles, all the forgings are made at the works. The smithy is an immense place, containing upwards of sixty fires, and having among its fittings four steam hammers, which are kept going constantly. A great number of bolts and rivets are required, and these are turned out by the workmen at a rapid rate. The bolts are screwed at machines attended by boys, who are paid by piece-work, and make excellent wages. One little fellow about twelve years of age is so expert that he makes ten or eleven shillings a-week. In an adjoining place springs are made.

The turning and fitting shops are abundantly supplied with all the appliances of a first-class engineering establishment, and there appears to be no end to the variety of operations that are carried on in them. Upwards of 5000 separate pieces of metal are used in the construction of a locomotive; and the making, adjusting, and uniting of these entails, as may be supposed, a vast expenditure of painstaking labour. The tires of the engine wheels are now for the most part made of steel by an ingenious process which dispenses with welding, and so lessens risk of breaking. None of the engine tires are made by the company, it being found most profitable and convenient to obtain these, as well as the crank-axles, from firms who devote special attention to their production.

In the boiler-shop about 120 men and boys are employed. The boilers, with the exception of the inner shell of the fire-box, are made of the best iron, in plates half an inch thick. In consequence of the intense heat of the furnace, the fire-box is made of copper of the same thickness as the iron. The boiler plates, after being shaped, punched, and bent, are riveted together by a machine which is capable of doing as much work in two hours as half a dozen men could accomplish in a day, and in a much superior style. Two men and a boy are required to work the machine.

When the parts of an engine are ready to be put together, they are taken to the erecting-shop, in which a special class of workmen called "erecters" are employed. There the engine is completed, and steam got up, and thence, radiant in paint and polished brass, it goes forth a thing of beauty and of strength, ready to do good service alike to prince and to peasant.

The Jacobite - October 2012
Footage from the last week of the 2012 season of 'The Jacobite' operated by West Coast Railways and featuring LNER class K1, no.62005. Photographers who travelled to Scotland for the final week were rewarded with some stunning lighting and cold, still conditions for most of the week which enhanced the beautiful autumnal colours.

Jacobite Steam Train by the BBC

The carriage building department comes next under notice. There huge logs of timber are converted into carriages, waggons, and vans, by the hands of upwards of 400 workmen, aided by a large assortment of beautiful machines. The logs are conveyed by rail to the saw-mill, where they are cut by vertical and circular steam-saws into planks of the required dimensions. The planks are piled in a drying-shed, and, after remaining there a certain time, are taken to the cutting-out shop, where they are planed, moulded, morticed, tenoned, and bored by machines. Every piece is fashioned according to a standard pattern, and little skill is required on the part of the workmen. They have to make scarcely a single measurement or calculation, but simply to mark the wood according to the patterns and place it on the machines.

When the wood leaves the cutting-out shop it is returned to the drying-shed, where it remains until required by the carriage builders. The latter occupy a vast range of workshops, in which carriages in all stages of completion may be seen. The frames of the carriages are of oak, and the planking of fir; but in the first-class carriages a good deal of teak is used. There is in all classes of carriages a considerable quantity of iron work, which is brought from the smithy in. a finished state. The carriage and waggon builders have everything prepared to hand, and they have simply to put the materials together. They are paid according to piece-work, and generally two or four work together and contract to build a carriage or waggon for a certain sum. The building of goods and cattle waggons is a coarser kind of work; but for these the wood is prepared in the same way as for passenger carriages. The working power is equal to producing fifty waggons and six passenger carriages a-month. In the finishing department women are employed in making the trimmings of first- class carriages. The painting-shop is on a scale of vastness commensurate with the other parts of the establishment. In it the carriages are painted and varnished, and when they leave it are ready for use on the line.

So far as practicable, piece-work is the rule at Cowlairs, and is attended with the most satisfactory results to employers and employed. When piece-work was first proposed, some of the men demurred, until they discovered that they could thereby increase their wages by a few shillings a-week; and, in certain cases, men are making thirty per cent. more money than they received for the same number of hours when paid according to time. Fifty-eight hours a- week is the working time throughout the establishment, and the average 'rate of wages is as follows :—Locomotive department— moulders, turners, and boiler-makers, 27s. a-week; smiths, fitters, and erecters, 26s.; machine attendants, 20s.; boiler-makers' assistants, 18s.; boys, from 4s. to 10s. Carriage building department— carriage builders and joiners, 24s. to 26s. a-week; painters, 24s.; machine attendants, 15s.

After a railway is made and opened for traffic, it becomes of the utmost importance to pay close attention to the permanent way; for, notwithstanding the perfection which has been attained in the making and laying of rails, fractures and displacements are not impossible, and are terribly dangerous things. There is a staff of officials whose sole business is to look after the line. These immediately repair any defect, or give warning in cases of danger. The inspector of the permanent way has got under him a certain number of sub-inspectors, to each of whom a section of the railway, generally from twenty to thirty miles long, is intrusted, and who is responsible for maintaining it in a safe working condition. Each section is divided into portions from two to three miles in length, and to each of these four or five platelayers are allotted. One of the platelayers acts as foreman, and is responsible for his portion of the line, every yard of which he has to examine carefully twice a-day. His men traverse the line after him, replace fractured chairs, turn or remove bad rails, trim the ballast, and repair the fences. When a rail has to be turned or replaced one of the men is sent along the line with a signal to stop any train that may approach before the operation is completed. The platelayers are chiefly drawn from the agricultural or labouring class. The foremen receive 18s. a-week, and the assistants 15s.

In. conducting the traffic two sets of officials are engaged—one having charge of, and accompanying the trains, and the other attending at the offices or stations. Of the travelling officials the engine- driver is the most important, for on him the safety and punctuality of the train chiefly depends. A keen eye, a steady hand, and a clear judgment are essential qualities in a driver, and to these must be added the power of close application to duty. The guard having got the passengers and luggage on board the train, and proclaimed " all right," the driver releases the breaks of his engine and turns on the steam. Immediately the driving wheels revolve, and the train moves off. The controlling appliances are concentrated at the left- hand side of the engine, and there the driver stands with his hands on the levers which regulate the steam and the draught of the fire. His eyes are always forward, except when they glance occasionally at the steam and water gauges. He must keep a sharp look-out for signals, and at the same time work the engine so as to maintain a steady pace. In descending an incline the steam is shut off, the momentum of the train being sufficient to carry it along without assistance from the engine. A careless or incompetent driver generally makes the train travel by fits and starts. He expends his steam injudiciously on the level parts of the line, and makes no provision for the extra effort required from the engine in ascending a slope. Time is thus lost; and to make amends the fire is urged, and the passengers are by-and-by startled by a series of spurts which are not only dangerous, but most destructive to the engine and rails. Each driver has an assistant or stoker, whose duty is to prepare the engine for work, keep the fire up, work the breaks, and make himself generally useful about the engine. The stoker's chief care is to keep up a good supply of steam, and prevent the water from falling too low in the boiler. In approaching a station, the driver shuts off the steam and applies the breaks gradually, so as to stop the train at the proper point, and in doing that he has to take into account the state of the rails; if they be wet, he must apply the breaks sooner than if they were dry, for when the rails are wet a train will run a considerable distance on a level even though the breaks should be full on. There are many other little niceties in driving an engine; and, though railway travellers generally may not be aware of the fact, the comfort of a journey depends a good deal on the competency of the driver. A number of the drivers have served an apprenticeship at the engineering trade, but the greater proportion of them have merely had a course of training as cleaners and stokers. Men entering the service as cleaners must be able to read and write. Their duties are to clean the engines after they come in from their spell of duty, and to make themselves useful in other ways. According to capability, the cleaners are promoted to be stokers, and have their wages increased to from 16s. to 20s. a-week; but no cleaner is so promoted until he is nineteen years of age. In course of time the stoker becomes a driver if he shows sufficient ability for that responsible post. Some men get through the preliminary grades in four or five years, while others, if they be promoted at all, are so only after seven or eight years' probation. Drivers receive from 4s. 6d. to 7s. a-day, according to the nature of the work in which they are engaged. On all trains there is a guard whose duty is to look after the freight in the case of goods trains, to see that everything is properly stowed, and to pick up and let off waggons from or to certain places on the route; and in the case of passenger trains, 'to see that the passengers are safely on board before starting the train, take charge of the luggage, see that sufficient time is allowed for passengers to alight at intermediate stations, and pay polite attention to any one asking information respecting the train. The guards are selected from the station porters, and begin by taking charge of goods trains. Their wages range from 188. to 30s. a-week.

At the more important stations are concentrated large numbers of officials—such as managers of departments, clerks, and accountants. The most numerous class are the porters, who look after the loading of trains, passengers' luggage, and so forth. Their wages range from 15s. to 18s. a-week. Each station is in charge of a stationmaster, who has to see to the proper working of the traffic in his district, keep a set of books relating thereto, and superintend and pay all the subordinates on the portion of the line over which his authority extends. The office of stationmaster at the centres of traffic is an important and responsible one, and those who hold it must have considerable powers of administration. In addition to the officials enumerated, there are signalmen, pointsmen, telegraphists, greasers, lamp-trimmers, and others. The signalmen and pointsmen require to exercise great watchfulness and care, as the slightest blunder on their part might be attended with serious results. Their wage is 18s. a-week, but their work is light. Neglect of duty on the part of any of the officials is punished by the infliction of a fine, or by immediate dismissal. As a rule, they are well treated, and have every inducement to attend to their work. It has come out in connection with accidents on English railways, that some of the subordinates have been kept on constant duty for an excessively long time, amounting in some cases to sixteen and even eighteen hours in a day; but the employ& on Scotch railways are not worse off with regard to the time they have to work than men engaged in other departments of labour. Several benefit societies exist among them. Most of the drivers and stokers are members of the Locomotive Engine-Drivers' and Firemen's Amalgamated Benefit Society. Members pay sixpence a-week, and when sick or injured receive 10s. a-week. An additional payment of 2s. 6d. a-quarter entitles a member to a sum of L.70 in the event of his being injured to an extent which prevents him from again following the occupation of a driver or fireman.

Flying Scotsman with Robson Green

Report on the Caledonian Railway (pdf)

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