Grace's Guide To British Industrial History

Registered UK Charity (No. 115342)

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,919 pages of information and 233,587 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,919 pages of information and 233,587 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Vulcan Foundry

From Graces Guide
1840 and 1901. Vulcan Foundry old and new.
1872. "Josephine".
1872. "The Patillos".
1873. "The Mountaineer".
1876. Narrow gauge loco for the Indian State Railways.
1885. Locomotive Mars shown at the 1885 Inventions Exhibition.
Four cylinder compound engine for the Great Northern Railway.
1886. Express bogie engine for the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway.
1889. Tank locomotive for the Indian Midland Railway.
Historical locomotives.
1902. Pattern Shop.
1902. Wheel Shop.
1904. Colonial Locomotives.
1904. Tank Locomotive.
1906 .
Skeleton Structure. 1906 .
Steam Motor Coach Rear View. 1906 .
Steam Motor Coach Cabin. 1906.


Express Passenger Engine. 1907.
1927. Buenos Aires Great Southern Railway, Six Coupled Three Cylinder Locomotive.
February 1929.
May 1929.
1930. Four Cylinder Engine with Caprotti Gear. For the N.W.R.India Railway.
1935. KF 4-8-4 engine. Exhibit at the National Railway Museum.
1950. Name Plate. No 1816/D110. Exhibit at Launceston Museum, Tasmania.
January 1953.

Vulcan Foundry Co was a British locomotive builder sited at Newton-le-Willows, Lancashire (now part of Merseyside).

c. 1830 Charles Tayleur began work on building a foundry at Newton-le-Willows. Robert Stephenson was a member of the firm from an early date but retired on being appointed to the London and Birmingham Railway[1]

1832 The foundry was opened as Charles Tayleur and Co to produce girders for bridges, switches and crossings, and other ironwork following the opening of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway - because of the distance from the locomotive works in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, it seemed preferable to build and support them locally. In 1832, Robert Stephenson became a partner for a few years.

The first two locomotives were 0-4-0 Tayleur and Stephenson for the North Union Railway, similar to Stephenson's Samson design. The next locomotives built were three 2-2-0s of a later Planet type for the Warrington and Newton Railway. Other early orders came from the Leicester and Swannington Railway and the Birmingham and Derby Junction Railway.

There were then some 4-2-0s locomotives built for America which were possibly the first British bogie locomotives, though there is no record of how, or whether, these were pivoted.

From 1835 the company was selling to France, Austria and Russia, the beginnings of an export trade which was maintained throughout the life of the company. The company's locomotives had a strong Stephenson influence, many during the following decade being of the "long boiler" design.

c.1842 Henry Dubs was recruited as works manager

1843 Edward Tayleur joined the firm[2].

1847 George Samuel Sanderson entered into partnership with Charles and Edward Tayleur; they opened a foundry at Bank Quay, Warrington.[3]

1847 The company had become The Vulcan Foundry Company.

Bank Quay Foundry Co built a pair of hydraulic presses for lifting the girders into position on the Britannia Bridge

c.1852 Built an iron ship, the Tayleur, a tea clipper, at Bank Quay

1852 the first locomotives ever to run in India were supplied to the Great Indian Peninsula Railway.

1854 The Bank Quay Foundry was closed

1864 The company acquired limited liability. The company was registered on 24 August. [4] William Frederick Gooch became general manager.

A number of Fairlie locomotives were built, including Taliesin for the Ffestiniog Railway.

1870 During 1870 the company supplied the first locos to run in Japan, and a flangeless 0-4-0T for a steelworks in Tredegar which was still using angle rails. A number of Matthew Kirtley's double-framed goods engines were also produced for the Midland Railway.

1876 Details of a narrow-gauge engine (0-4-2) for the Indian State railways. [5]

1892 William Collingwood succeeded W. F. Gooch as managing director

From the beginning of 1898, the name changed again to the The Vulcan Foundry Limited, dropping the word 'company.' The healthy export trade continued, particularly to India and South America, and continued after World War I.

1911 Locomotive 4-4-0 No.3064 for North-western Railway in India. Exhibit at Manchester's Museum of Science and Industry

1920 Jan. Article on history of the works in 'The Engineer'. Read it Here. [6]

1924 Following the formation of the London, Midland and Scottish Railway some very large orders were received, including over a hundred 0-6-0T engines and sixty-five 4-4-0 "Compounds".

1934 Throughout the thirties the company survived the trade recessions with the help of more orders from India, some from Tanganyika and the Argentine, and a large order in 1934 from the LMS for 4-6-0 "Black Fives" and 2-8-0 Stanier-designed locomotives.

1938 ten Railcars were ordered by New Zealand Railways, the NZR RM class (Vulcan). They were supplied in 1940, although one was lost at sea to enemy action.

From 1939 the works was mostly concerned with the war effort, becoming involved in the development and production of the Matilda tank. From 1943 large orders were received from the Ministry of Supply for Locomotives, nearly 400 2-8-0s and fifty 0-6-0 saddle tanks.

1944 the Vulcan Foundry acquired Robert Stephenson and Hawthorns.

1945 Received a large order for 2-8-0 locomotives for UNRRA in Europe.

1947 The war had left India's railways in a parlous state and in 1947, with foreign aid, embarked on a massive rebuilding plan. The Vulcan Foundry benefited from orders sub-contracted from the North British Locomotive Company, but the writing was on the wall for all British manufacturers. Not only was the competition fierce from other countries, but India had developed the ability to build its own locomotives.

1955 The company had experience of both diesel and electric locomotives, having built thirty-one so-called "Crocodile" electric locomotives in 1928 for India and, in 1931, the LMS's first experimental diesel shunter, so the factory gradually changed over to diesel and electric production.

1955 became part of the English Electric Co group.

1961 Under the new ownership, the works has produced many locomotives for both domestic and foreign railways, notably the Deltic of which 22 were built here, although the prototype had been made by English Electric in Preston in 1954.

1961 the works ventured briefly into gas turbine power with the experimental British Rail GT3.

1962 New wholly-owned subsidiary formed: English Electric Traction to bring all English Electric's railway-related activities under one management. These included The Vulcan Foundry, Robert Stephenson and Hawthorns and W. G. Bagnall[7].

1968 English Electric Co taken over by GEC.

1969 T. P. Spares Ltd changed its name to Ruston Gas Turbines Ltd[8]

1970 Although the works still produced diesel engines under the name Ruston Paxman Diesels, which operation had been moved from Lincoln, locomotive manufacture finished in 1970. Output was mainly for marine and stationary applications, but the company was the engine supplier of choice for British Rail Engineering for locos built at Doncaster and Crewe.

The factory passed through various hands firstly as GEC Alsthom then Alstom, and finally as part of MAN B&W Diesel in 2000. At the end of 2002 the works closed. It is now an industrial estate (appropriately called "Vulcan Industrial Estate") and this can still be seen as one passes on the train. The site is just North of Winwick Junction where the line to Newton Le Willows branches off to the East from the West Coast Main Line.

Vulcan Foundry Company, Newton-le-Willows [9].

Historically the Vulcan Works at Newton-le-Willows is one of the most interesting of the group of locomotive building establishments in this country. The founder was Charles Tayleur, with whom was associated at some time or other men whose names have helped to make locomotive history. The first and most prominent among them was Robert Stephenson, who subsequently retired from the firm to take up the appointment of engineer-in-chief to the London and Birmingham Railway. There is some uncertainty about the exact date when the original works were erected, but it seems probable that building operations were begun in 1830 and that the works were completed in 1832. It was not very long before the senior Tayleur handed over the control of the establishment to his son, who was also named Charles, and when the latter’s health failed the management devolved upon a third member of the family – Mr Henry T. Tayleur.

It seems that at this period the works manager was Mr. Loam, while Mr Kirtley, later the locomotive superintendent of the Midland Railway, was in charge of the shop engine......[more



1862 Broad gauge metropolitan tank engines built for the Great Western Railway[10]:

  • Bee
  • Locust
  • Wasp
  • Mosquito
  • Hornet
  • Gnat

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Engineer 1920/01/23
  2. The Engineer 1920/01/23
  3. The Engineer 1920/01/23
  4. The Stock Exchange Year Book 1908
  5. The Engineer 1876/10/13 p255
  6. The Engineer 1920/01/23 p84
  7. The Times, 5 May 1962
  8. Companies House filing
  9. The Engineer 1920/01/23
  10. The Engineer 1910/12/16 Supplement
  • British Steam Locomotive Builders by James W. Lowe. Published in 1975. ISBN 0-905100-816