Beyer-Garratt by Jeremy Clements

Beyer-Garratt by Jeremy Clements


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By Jeremy Clements

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From the 1830s onward, there were hundreds of attempts to design articulated steam locomotives of which only a tiny percentage achieved commercial viability. The last to join this exclusive band was the Garratt, a British invention which unquestionably proved to be the most successful articulated steam locomotive type. The idea was born of engineer Herbert Garratt’s extensive experience with overseas railways that operated in difficult terrain and under challenging circumstances. Adoption by Beyer Peacock & Co Ltd, the highly regarded locomotive builder of Gorton Foundry, Manchester led to the type’s 1909 inauguration in Tasmania. By the First World War, thirty-one examples had been delivered or were under construction. This diverse group embraced seven wheel arrangements and five gauges from 2’ 0” to 5’ 3”, with designs ranging from miniscule tramway engines to 8-cylinder high speed double-Atlantics – cogent evidence of adaptability and competence. The 1920s saw progressive size increases culminating in eight-coupled giants that handled vast tonnages on five continents. With expiry of the original patent and product re-styling as the “Beyer-Garratt”, Gorton Foundry fought off challenges to its market leadership and during World War 2 played a pivotal role in military rail transportation. Post-war, the type accounted for the majority of Beyer Peacock’s steam production. Although production had ceased by the late 1950s, Beyer-Garratts continued to render sterling service in numerous countries. A century after introduction, there were still isolated examples at work in normal service. This is a story of courage, creativity, superb engineering, and adventure in the cause of mankind’s most romantic form of transport.




Additional information

Weight 1800 g
Dimensions 27.3 × 21.5 cm







273 x 215 mm





2 reviews for Beyer-Garratt by Jeremy Clements

  1. 5 out of 5


    Upon opening I could sense its contents would be `riveting`, pardon the pun. I was not to be disappointed, as in my hands its a book that one finds difficult to put down.
    At my first sitting of four hours, just perusing the text studying the illustrations felt I was to be both educated and enthralled.
    Always had a fascination for the Beyer Garratt, can briefly recall standing across from the `box` in the fields at the end of Clay`s Lane, Branston, Burton upon Trent and recall in seeing this machine at rest, hence slowly moving off and away effortless in the direction of Tamworth and on to Birmingham.
    I always wanted to know more as to the controversies created when theses locomotives were constructed, some say `born` also as some believe too severely `Hamstrung` by the LMS in their interference in design of bearings and valve actions.
    I do now with only a hundred or more pages read along with my amateur and enthusiast understanding believe this type of locomotive was so cruelly treated as both the LMS and in addition, the future British Railways were deprived of a beast of an engine, if Bayer – Peacock had not been so hampered and restricted.
    There was even the possibility of both a Southern and GWR example considered. Know doubt OVB would have made a real `meal` of one under `his` design.
    The narrative I find is easy to follow and understand, even if I have to re-ready some paragraphs to gain a clearer understanding with my slight dsylextick (?) disability.
    Not only is the type well covered, the pluses and minus`s of both the Beyer – Garratt are compared, with many other articulated types.
    Also to the politics going on, in and behind the scenes of sales and every day running needs, along with the preconceived prejudices of the engineers whom designed and whom needed to run such machines.
    In my amateur opinion Mr Clement`s book will be one hard book to follow and one I will never part with.

  2. 5 out of 5

    John Forman

    This book is 352 pages long, has many illustrations, including diagrams, works and other photos, reproduced well, and including many which I have not seen before, despite my ownership of several books on the subject, and various visits to the Beyer Peacock archive.
    It gives a short history of the formation of the company, and mini biographies of all the key players in the creation and development of the Garratt, and goes into some of the reasons for changes in specification of components over the years. It also includes information on Beyer Peacock’s efforts to sell Garratts, in competition to alternatives, and comparison data between Garratts and their credible alternatives.
    The majority of the book is a run through the various types, how they developed, and modifications made, and some discussion of their shortfalls and any improvements made. It includes more detail on development of each type, than I have seen before, and as the previous “standard work” on the subject by Hills and Patrick is very hard to find these days, this book is the best source of information.
    It also features a brutally honest assessment of the shortcomings of the design of certain Garratt classes, most notably the New Zealand G class, and the sole LNER banker class U1.
    It is not entirely without fault, as it has a significant number of typos, but unlike that £100 book on Bagnalls, they do not detract significantly from the enjoyment of the book, and the only one that may actually mislead is pretty obvious. Its an interesting read, whether you already have a fair bit of knowledge of the subject, or not.
    At £50, purchase of this book is not to be undertaken lightly, but despite having all the other previously published books on the subject, being a bit of a Garratt nerd, the simple summary is “Buy it”.

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