The Evolution of the Locomotive Engine by Theodore West (Late Chief Draughtsman N.E.R Loco. Works, Darlington, Dresser & Sons. [ebook]


The Evolution of the Locomotive Engine by Theodore West (Late Chief Draughtsman N.E.R Loco. Works, Darlington, Dresser & Sons.

Booklet cord bound, thin card covers, 11.25”x 8.5” pp6, plus 14 plates locomotive drawings.


Drawings of early locomotives originally 1/8 inch to foot scale, but reproduced at 1/20 “ to foot when published William Dresser & Sons of Darlington. Each plate has been scanned to  include a ruler so that zooming and or printing can be carried out to the original size if desired.

Theodore West was born at Leeds in 1826 of a Quaker family and during his boyhood had watched the Blenkinsop/Murray rack locomotives working on the Middleton railway.  He died at Darlington in March 1898, and had been Chief Draughtsman at the NER North Road Works from 1865 until retirement in 1892.

As a young man (1853-1862) he spent some time working as a mining engineer in Australia where he built a traction engine designed to lay its own “rails” as it moved.  Weighing 20 tons and towing trucks loaded to 30 tons it embarked on a journey from Sydney to Colburn of 120 miles which took six months. After his return to England he moved to Darlington taking up the position mentioned above under the William Bouch, brother of Sir Thomas. In the 1880s West   published several broadside sized sheets of sketches of locomotives at 1/8” to the foot scale showing their development from the earliest days. This was a labour of love spread over several years using original drawings as references loaned by locomotive builders and railway companies throughout the country and also from the USA and the Continent.   Two of these sheets showed locomotives of the Stockton & Darlington and early North Eastern Railways.  Resulting from this publication, West was asked to present a paper on the development of the   locomotive engine to the Cleveland Institution of Engineers: one on general development, on 1 March 1886, and second on Stockton & Darlington and N.E. Railway locomotives and also American locomotives, on 5 April 1886.

Many of the earlier sheets were “out of print” before the work was completed. A full set was awarded a special bronze medal at the Paris Exposition of 1889. After West’s death the Darlington printer and bookseller, Dressers, managed to assemble a set of the broadsheets in good condition to produce this “miniature” edition. The result was this one of the most delightful railway books published at the turn of the century. Highly recommended




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