GNR Locomotives

Manufacturer: Yorkshire Engine Company

The Yorkshire Engine Company (YEC) was a small independent locomotive manufacturer in Sheffield, England. The company was formed in 1865 and produced locomotives and carried out general engineering work until 1965. They mainly built shunting engines for the British market, but also built main line engines for overseas customers.

Steam locomotives were built from 1865 to 1956 and diesel locomotives from 1950 to 1965.

The early years

The idea of a locomotive builder based near Sheffield was first suggested in 1864 by W. G. Eden, who later became the fourth Baron Auckland. At the time, Eden was Chairman of the South Yorkshire Railway, and a director of the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway (MSLR), posts which he had taken up after retiring as a diplomat. He invited Archibald Sturrock, who was employed by the Great Northern Railway as its locomotive engineer, to be the Chairman of the new company. Alfred Sacré would be the Managing Director, and his older brother, Charles, then the Engineer and Locomotive Superintendent for the MSLR, was also part of the team.

By April 1865 investors had promised £120,000 towards the estimated cost of £200,000 for setting up the company. Although Sturrock joined the board in May 1866, he did not become chairman until January 1867. A 22 acres (8.9 ha) site near Blackburn Meadows was chosen for the works. Construction and the procurement of machinery began in mid-1865, and Meadowhall Works was virtually complete in May 1867, by which time all of the 2,000 shares had been taken up.

The first order received was for three 2-2-2 locomotives for the Great Northern Railway. The specification was changed and they were supplied with a 2-4-0 wheel arrangement. They were delivered two months late, the last in February 1867, and the company made a loss on them, largely because the works was not yet complete. An order for ten more followed, which were also delivered late. The first was two months late, but the final one was eight months overdue by the time it was delivered in March 1869.

Early YEC locomotives produced for the UK market consisted mainly of 0-4-0ST and 0-6-0ST types. The style of these was typical of small locomotives of the time with the so-call ‘ogee’ tanks and very little protection for the driver. That did not stop early locomotives surviving with industrial users until the 1950s. The collieries and steelworks of Yorkshire were regular customers, with five narrow gauge locomotives going to the Chattenden and Upnor Railway, a military railway in Kent.

Edited from Wikipedia: