Printout of a story from The Last Main Line:

Introduction to Contractors' Locomotives.

What were the contractors' locomotives?

The construction of the 'London Extension' was divided into seven separate sections, each one being a contract. These contracts were:

Contract No. 1: Annesley to East Leake - awarded to Logan & Hemingway
Contract No. 2: East Leake to Aylestone - awarded to Henry Lovatt of Wolverhampton
Contract No. 3: Aylestone to Rugby - awarded to Topham, Jones & Railton
Contract No. 4: Rugby to Woodford - awarded to T. Oliver & Son
Contract No. 5: Woodford to Brackley - awarded to Walter Scott & Co. of Newcastle-upon-Tyne
Contract No. 6: Brackley to Quainton Road - awarded to Walter Scott & Co. of Newcastle-upon-Tyne
Contract No. 7: Canfield Place (London) to Marylebone - awarded to J. T. Firbank of London Bridge.

Each of the seven contracts were awarded to the particular contractor that had put in the most competitive tender for the construction of each separate section of the railway. The contractors that won the contracts, by the nature of their business, had an army of men at their disposal along with tools, machinery and materials.

Each contractor was familiar with the kind of heavy engineering required to build the railway and knew that it would take more than pack horses to move the excavated earth and bring in materials. Then how would they do it? The answer lay with temporary portable railways that could be laid wherever they were needed. In total, over 200 miles of these tracks would be laid. The engines that worked on these contractors' railways were the contractors' locomotives and MAINDEE here, seen at Wilford in Nottingham, was a typical example.

Manning Wardle & Co. 0-6-0 saddletank, No. 1153, built in 1890. The locomotive was owned by the contractor Topham, Jones & Railton and given the number '14'. It is seen near Ashlawn Road, Rugby circa 1897.

Manning Wardle & Co. 0-6-0 saddletank, No. 1153, built in 1890. The locomotive was owned by the contractor Topham, Jones & Railton and given the number '14'. It is seen near Ashlawn Road, Rugby circa 1897.

A gang of navvies, most likely bricklayers, pose for the camera near Twyford, circa 1897. They were in the employment of Walter Scott & Co. who built this section of the London Extension between Brackley and Quainton Road.

A gang of navvies, most likely bricklayers, pose for the camera near Twyford, circa 1897. They were in the employment of Walter Scott & Co. who built this section of the London Extension between Brackley and Quainton Road.

Manning Wardle & Co. built 'K' class 0-6-0 saddletank, MAINDEE, No. 488 built in 1874. MAINDEE was in the employment of Logan & Hemingway (contractors) and was photographed on 22 May, 1897.

Manning Wardle & Co. built 'K' class 0-6-0 saddletank, MAINDEE, No. 488 built in 1874. MAINDEE was in the employment of Logan & Hemingway (contractors) and was photographed on 22 May, 1897.