Crewe Works
Overview
 
Crewe railway works is a British railway engineering facility built in 1840 by the Grand Junction Railway
Grand Junction Railway
The Grand Junction Railway was an early railway company in the United Kingdom, which existed between 1833 and 1846 when it was merged into the London and North Western Railway...

. It is located in the town of Crewe
Crewe
Crewe is a railway town within the unitary authority area of Cheshire East and the ceremonial county of Cheshire, England. According to the 2001 census the urban area had a population of 67,683...

, in the county of Cheshire
Cheshire
Cheshire is a ceremonial county in North West England. Cheshire's county town is the city of Chester, although its largest town is Warrington. Other major towns include Widnes, Congleton, Crewe, Ellesmere Port, Runcorn, Macclesfield, Winsford, Northwich, and Wilmslow...

.

The railway also built 200 cottages establishing a new community in what had been the rural township of Monks Coppenhall. Among the first workers to arrive were those from the old works at Edge Hill
Edge Hill railway works
Edge Hill railway works was built by the Liverpool and Manchester Railway around 1830 at Edge Hill, Liverpool. A second was built in 1839 by the Grand Junction Railway adjacent to it...

 producing an increase in the town's population by some 800 men, women and children.
The first locomotive built at Crewe went into service in 1843.
Encyclopedia
Crewe railway works is a British railway engineering facility built in 1840 by the Grand Junction Railway
Grand Junction Railway
The Grand Junction Railway was an early railway company in the United Kingdom, which existed between 1833 and 1846 when it was merged into the London and North Western Railway...

. It is located in the town of Crewe
Crewe
Crewe is a railway town within the unitary authority area of Cheshire East and the ceremonial county of Cheshire, England. According to the 2001 census the urban area had a population of 67,683...

, in the county of Cheshire
Cheshire
Cheshire is a ceremonial county in North West England. Cheshire's county town is the city of Chester, although its largest town is Warrington. Other major towns include Widnes, Congleton, Crewe, Ellesmere Port, Runcorn, Macclesfield, Winsford, Northwich, and Wilmslow...

.

The railway also built 200 cottages establishing a new community in what had been the rural township of Monks Coppenhall. Among the first workers to arrive were those from the old works at Edge Hill
Edge Hill railway works
Edge Hill railway works was built by the Liverpool and Manchester Railway around 1830 at Edge Hill, Liverpool. A second was built in 1839 by the Grand Junction Railway adjacent to it...

 producing an increase in the town's population by some 800 men, women and children.

Grand Junction Railway

The first locomotive built at Crewe went into service in 1843. By 1846 the demand for space was such that wagon building was moved, first to Edge Hill
Edge Hill railway works
Edge Hill railway works was built by the Liverpool and Manchester Railway around 1830 at Edge Hill, Liverpool. A second was built in 1839 by the Grand Junction Railway adjacent to it...

 and Manchester
Manchester
Manchester is a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England. According to the Office for National Statistics, the 2010 mid-year population estimate for Manchester was 498,800. Manchester lies within one of the UK's largest metropolitan areas, the metropolitan county of Greater...

, then to a new works at Earlestown
Earlestown
Earlestown forms the western part of Newton-le-Willows, a town in the Metropolitan Borough of St Helens, in Merseyside, England. At the 2001 Census the population was recorded as 10,274.-History:...

. By 1848 the works employed over 1,000 producing one locomotive a week.

London and North Western Railway

In 1845 the Liverpool and Manchester Railway
Liverpool and Manchester Railway
The Liverpool and Manchester Railway was the world's first inter-city passenger railway in which all the trains were timetabled and were hauled for most of the distance solely by steam locomotives. The line opened on 15 September 1830 and ran between the cities of Liverpool and Manchester in North...

 was merged with the Grand Junction. These, in turn, merged in 1846, with the London and Birmingham Railway
London and Birmingham Railway
The London and Birmingham Railway was an early railway company in the United Kingdom from 1833 to 1846, when it became part of the London and North Western Railway ....

 and the Manchester and Birmingham Railway
Manchester and Birmingham Railway
The Manchester and Birmingham Railway was built between Manchester and Crewe and opened in stages from 1840. Between Crewe and Birmingham, trains were worked by the Grand Junction Railway...

 to form the London and North Western Railway
London and North Western Railway
The London and North Western Railway was a British railway company between 1846 and 1922. It was created by the merger of three companies – the Grand Junction Railway, the London and Birmingham Railway and the Manchester and Birmingham Railway...

 (LNWR). All four had their own workshops but, in time, locomotive building was concentrated at Crewe.

In 1857 John Ramsbottom
John Ramsbottom (engineer)
John Ramsbottom was an English mechanical engineer who created many inventions for railways, including the piston ring, the Ramsbottom safety valve, the displacement lubricator, and the water trough.- Biography :...

 became Locomotive Superintendent. He had previously invented the first reliable safety valve
Safety valve
A safety valve is a valve mechanism for the automatic release of a substance from a boiler, pressure vessel, or other system when the pressure or temperature exceeds preset limits....

 and the scoop for picking up water from troughs between the tracks. He went on to improve the precision and interchangeability of tools and components.

In 1862 locomotive work was transferred from Wolverton
Wolverton railway works
Wolverton railway works was established in Wolverton, Buckinghamshire, by the London and Birmingham Railway Company in 1838 at the midpoint of the 112 mile-long route from London to Birmingham...

. Wolverton became the carriage works, while wagon building was concentrated at Earlestown
Earlestown
Earlestown forms the western part of Newton-le-Willows, a town in the Metropolitan Borough of St Helens, in Merseyside, England. At the 2001 Census the population was recorded as 10,274.-History:...

.

In 1853 Crewe had begun to make its own wrought iron
Wrought iron
thumb|The [[Eiffel tower]] is constructed from [[puddle iron]], a form of wrought ironWrought iron is an iron alloy with a very low carbon...

 and roll its own rails, and in 1864 installed a Bessemer
Bessemer process
The Bessemer process was the first inexpensive industrial process for the mass-production of steel from molten pig iron. The process is named after its inventor, Henry Bessemer, who took out a patent on the process in 1855. The process was independently discovered in 1851 by William Kelly...

 converter for manufacturing steel
Steel
Steel is an alloy that consists mostly of iron and has a carbon content between 0.2% and 2.1% by weight, depending on the grade. Carbon is the most common alloying material for iron, but various other alloying elements are used, such as manganese, chromium, vanadium, and tungsten...

. In 1868 it became the first place to use open-hearth furnaces
Open hearth furnace
Open hearth furnaces are one of a number of kinds of furnace where excess carbon and other impurities are burnt out of the pig iron to produce steel. Since steel is difficult to manufacture due to its high melting point, normal fuels and furnaces were insufficient and the open hearth furnace was...

 on an industrial scale. It also built its own brick
Brick
A brick is a block of ceramic material used in masonry construction, usually laid using various kinds of mortar. It has been regarded as one of the longest lasting and strongest building materials used throughout history.-History:...

works. Later the works was fitted with two electric arc furnace
Electric arc furnace
An electric arc furnace is a furnace that heats charged material by means of an electric arc.Arc furnaces range in size from small units of approximately one ton capacity up to about 400 ton units used for secondary steelmaking...

s.

Production increased steadily and, with the sale to the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway
Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway
The Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway was a major British railway company before the 1923 Grouping. It was incorporated in 1847 from an amalgamation of several existing railways...

 of ten 2-4-0
2-4-0
Under the Whyte notation for the classification of steam locomotives, 2-4-0 represents the wheel arrangement of two leading wheels on one axle, four powered and coupled driving wheels on two axles, and no trailing wheels....

 and eighty six 0-6-0
0-6-0
Under the Whyte notation for the classification of steam locomotives, 0-6-0 represents the wheel arrangement of no leading wheels, six powered and coupled driving wheels on three axles, and no trailing wheels...

 locomotives, privately owned manufacturers took out an injunction in 1876 to restrain the railway from producing anything but is own needs. (This remained in force until BREL
BREL
British Rail Engineering Limited , was the railway systems engineering division of British Rail, until the design and building of trains in the UK was privatised in 1993. On 31 October 1969, the company was incorporated as British Rail Engineering Limited.-Main products:The vast majority of BREL's...

 took over in 1974.)

London Midland and Scottish Railway

When the LNWR became part of the London, Midland and Scottish Railway
London, Midland and Scottish Railway
The London Midland and Scottish Railway was a British railway company. It was formed on 1 January 1923 under the Railways Act of 1921, which required the grouping of over 120 separate railway companies into just four...

 (LMS) in 1923 its passenger trains were eclipsed by those of the former Midland Railway
Midland Railway
The Midland Railway was a railway company in the United Kingdom from 1844 to 1922, when it became part of the London, Midland and Scottish Railway....

, which offered light, fast and frequent services. As traffic density increased there was a need for longer trains and more powerful locomotives to haul them. In 1932, William Stanier
William Stanier
Sir William Arthur Stanier, FRS was Chief Mechanical Engineer of the London, Midland and Scottish Railway.- Biography :...

 became Chief Mechanical Engineer and set out to rationalise production. Since Crewe had experience with heavier locomotives and had its own steel making facilities, he chose it as his main production location.

There followed the Princesses
LMS Princess Royal Class
The London, Midland and Scottish Railway Princess Royal Class is a class of an express passenger steam locomotive designed by William Stanier. They were Pacifics...

 and Duchesses
LMS Princess Coronation Class
The London Midland and Scottish Railway Coronation Class is a class of express passenger steam locomotives designed by William Stanier. They were an enlarged version of the LMS Princess Royal Class. Several examples were originally built as streamlined, though this was later removed...

, along with the Jubilees
LMS Jubilee Class
The London Midland and Scottish Railway Jubilee Class is a class of steam locomotive designed for mainline passenger work. 191 locomotives were built between 1934 and 1936...

 and the "Black Fives". Crewe produced all the new boilers for the LMS, and all heavy drop stampings and forgings. It also produced most of the heavy steel components for the track and other structures.

During World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, Crewe produced over 150 Covenanter tank
Covenanter tank
The Tank, Cruiser, Mk V, Covenanter was a British Cruiser tank of the Second World War. It was named for the Covenanters, a Scottish religious faction in the British Isles at the time of the Wars of the Three Kingdoms...

s for the army.

British Railways

After British Railways (BR) was formed in 1948, R.A.Riddles
Robert Riddles
Robert Arthur "Robin" Riddles, CBE, MIMechE, MinstLE was a British locomotive engineer.-LNWR and LMS:Riddles was born in 1892 and entered the Crewe Works of the London and North Western Railway as a premium apprentice in 1909, completing his apprenticeship in 1913...

 introduced the BR standard classes, and Crewe built Britannia
BR standard class 7
The BR Standard Class 7, otherwise known as the Britannia Class, is a class of 4-6-2 Pacific steam locomotive designed by Robert Riddles for use by British Railways for mixed traffic duties. Fifty-five were constructed between 1951 and 1954. The design was a result of the 1948 locomotive exchanges...

 and Clan
BR standard class 6
The Standard class 6, otherwise known as the Clan Class, was a class of 4-6-2 Pacific tender steam locomotive designed by Robert Riddles for use by British Railways. Ten locomotives were constructed between 1951 and 1952, with a further 15 planned for construction...

 passenger engines and some of the Class 9
BR standard class 9F
The British Railways BR Standard Class 9F 2-10-0 is a class of steam locomotive designed for British Railways by Robert Riddles. The Class 9F was the last in a series of standardised locomotive classes designed for British Railways during the 1950s, and was intended for use on fast, heavy freight...

 2-10-0
2-10-0
Under the Whyte notation for the classification of steam locomotives, 2-10-0 represents the wheel arrangement of two leading wheels on one axle, ten powered and coupled driving wheels on five axles, and no trailing wheels...

 freight locomotives. At the end of steam, it had built over 7000 locomotives in its long career. From 1957 it built a succession of diesel locomotives including the Class 43
British Rail Class 43 (HST)
The British Rail Class 43 is the TOPS classification used for the InterCity 125 High Speed Train power cars, built by BREL from 1975 to 1982....

 High Speed Train
High Speed Train
There are three types of trains in Britain that have been traditionally viewed as high speed trains:* Advanced Passenger Train - Tilting trains which never entered into regular revenue-earning service....

 power cars and over 200 Class 47 locomotives.

Privatisation

Much of the site at Crewe was cleared in a major redevelopment in the mid 1980s.

Crewe works became a part of British Rail Engineering Ltd.
BREL
British Rail Engineering Limited , was the railway systems engineering division of British Rail, until the design and building of trains in the UK was privatised in 1993. On 31 October 1969, the company was incorporated as British Rail Engineering Limited.-Main products:The vast majority of BREL's...

 in the privatisation
Privatisation of British Rail
The privatisation of British Rail was set in motion when the Conservative government enacted, on 19 January 1993, the British Coal and British Rail Act 1993 . This enabled the relevant Secretary of State to issue directions to the relevant Board...

 of 1988, along with the other heavy engineering works of BR. This company was soon sold to ASEA Brown-Boveri, which merged with Daimler Benz in 1996 to form ADtranz. ADtranz was itself taken over by the Canadian engineering company Bombardier
Bombardier Transportation
Bombardier Transportation is the rail equipment division of the Canadian firm, Bombardier Inc. Bombardier Transportation is one of the world's largest companies in the rail-equipment manufacturing and servicing industry. Its headquarters are in Berlin, Germany....

 in 2001.

Today

At its height, Crewe Works employed over 20,000 people; in 2005 fewer than 1,000 remained on site, with a further 270 redundancies announced in November of that year, and more cutbacks or even closure possible. Current work is largely focused on general maintenance, and the inspection of seriously damaged stock. Much of the site once occupied by the works has been sold off and is now occupied by a supermarket, leisure park, and a large new health centre.

Locomotive production

Under the London and North Western Railway, Crewe works produced many famous locomotives: the Webb
Francis Webb (engineer)
Francis William Webb was a British engineer responsible for the design and manufacture of locomotives for the London and North Western Railway .- Biography :...

 2-4-0
2-4-0
Under the Whyte notation for the classification of steam locomotives, 2-4-0 represents the wheel arrangement of two leading wheels on one axle, four powered and coupled driving wheels on two axles, and no trailing wheels....

 Jumbo class and the compounds
Compound locomotive
A compound engine unit is a type of steam engine where steam is expanded in two or more stages.A typical arrangement for a compound engine is that the steam is first expanded in a high-pressure cylinder, then having given up heat and losing pressure, it exhausts directly into one or more larger...

, the Whale
George Whale
George Whale was a British locomotive engineer who worked for the London and North Western Railway .Whale was born in Bocking, Essex. In 1858 he entered Wolverton Works under James Edward McConnell, and from 1862 under John Ramsbottom. In 1865 he entered the drawing office at Crewe Works, and in...

 Experiment
LNWR Whale Experiment Class
The London and North Western Railway Experiment Class of was a class of 4-6-0 steam locomotive designed by George Whale.They were an extended version of the Whale's Precursor Class 4-4-0, with slightly smaller driving wheels. The first of the class, 66 Experiment was built in 1905 and a total of...

 and Precursor classes, and the Bowen-Cooke
Charles Bowen-Cooke
Charles John Bowen Cooke was Chief Mechanical Engineer of the London and North Western Railway . He was the first to add superheating to the locomotives of the railway. He wrote a book called British locomotives: their history, construction; and modern development which was published in 1893,...

 Claughtons
LNWR Claughton Class
The London and North Western Railway Claughton Class was a class of 4-cylinder express passenger 4-6-0 steam locomotives.They were introduced in 1913, the first of the class No. 2222 was named in honour of Sir Gilbert Claughton, who was the Chairman of the LNWR at that time...

. In particular, Whale's 1912 superheated
Superheater
A superheater is a device used to convert saturated steam or wet steam into dry steam used for power generation or processes. There are three types of superheaters namely: radiant, convection, and separately fired...

 G1 Class
LNWR G Class
The London and North Western Railway G Class along with modifications that made them into G1, G2 and G2a classes, is a class of 0-8-0 steam locomotives designed for heavy freight work. They are known to railway enthusiasts as "Super Ds". This is because a large number of G1 class engines were...

 0-8-0
0-8-0
Under the Whyte notation for the classification of steam locomotives, 0-8-0 represents the wheel arrangement of no leading wheels, eight powered and coupled driving wheels on four axles, and no trailing wheels...

 developed from a locomotive introduced by Webb in 1892, lasted, in many cases until 1964, near the end of steam in 1968.

Under the London, Midland and Scottish Railway, the works was especially noted for Sir William Stanier's locomotives and in particular the 'Jubilee' 4-6-0s, the Class 5 mixed traffic 4-6-0s and the 'Princess Royal' and 'Princess Coronation' 4-6-2s.

Under British Railways, the works built many notable steam designs including the 'Britannia' 4-6-2s and the remarkable 'Franco Crosti' 2-10-0 freight locomotives.
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