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NER 1905 Darlington Works


    HITHERTO the building of the North-Eastern Railway Company's locomotives has been carried on a.t the Gateshead and Darlington works, but the work of repairing has been carried on chiefly at York. The building of the new erecting shop a.t Darlington, and the re-arrangement and re organisation which have been in progress for some time, together with the employment of more powerful engines for hauling heavier loads, causing fewer engines to be dealt with, decided the chief mechanical engineer, Mr. Wilson Worsdell, to recommend the closing of the York locomotive works, and the transfer of the machinery and half the York men to Darlington, the remaining men being provided for in other directions.

    Darlington therefore now serves a very large area, bounded by the lines running from Tebay, West Hartlepool, &c., on the south by York and Doncaster, and on the east by Hull. The works employ about 1800 men, have a repairing capacity of between 500 and 600 engines per annum, and can build yearly about 30 locomotives, those in hand at present being the very large and successful type of heavy goods and mineral traffic known as P2 class. In addition to locomotive work there is carried on at Darlington a large general engineering branch dealing with outside machinery, electrical repairs, &c. Then there is a department which, fortunately, does not require to be extended in the same ratio as the company's operations for the manufacture of artificial human limbs to replace those lost by the company's servants by accident.

    Through the courtesy of Mr. Wilson Worsdell, we are enabled to reproduce a number of illustrations which will serve to convey a. good idea of the extent of the Darlington works. The accompanying plan shows the whole of the present works; above are shown a plan, elevation, and end view of the new erecting shop which the chief mechanical engineer instructed his Darlington works manager

    (Mr. Ramsey Kendal) to submit designs for. The plans were approved, and the construction put into the hands of Mr. William Bell, the company's architect, to whom is due all constructional details, &c., and under whose supervision the erection of the building has been carried out. The result is a handsome erecting shop.

    The principal dimensions of this capacious building are as follows: Length 508ft., and width 196ft. 6in. It is divided into four bays - three large bays for engine repairs, and a fourth, or ancillary bay, 25ft. in width, which is used for offices, tool store, automatic and special machine shop, tool-fitting shop, brass-finishing, and grinding shops. Each engine repair bay has accommodation for twenty-four engines, seventy-two in all, each being served by a. 70-ton overhead electric traveling crane and one 15-ton crane - six in all. These are operated electrically.

    As the engine pits are arranged on what is known as the “stall” system, which gives equal light and access all round each locomotive and ample space to work in, it is not necessary to have more than one crane, fitted with two 35-ton grabs, to lift the engine, which, on entering the shop, may be carried over the engines into the allotted stall. The 70-ton cranes, as well as the 15-ton cranes, are each fitted with auxiliary light-load lifts. The cranes are provided with a. motor for every movement, and were built by Messrs. Craven Brothers, Manchester.


    In our brief survey of the Darlington works, under the guidance of Mr. Rendal, we were greatly impressed with the order and cleanliness which were everywhere noticeable. The arrangements for the convenience of the workmen have also been carefully thought out.

    Large bright mess rooms, with excellent cooking utensils, are provided, and there is probably no works in this country in which the building of locomotives is carried on under brighter and more wholesome conditions for the workers.


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