Vulcan Foundry

From Festipedia, hosted by the FR Heritage Group

Vulcan Works were established by Charles Tayleur in 1830.

With the opening of the Liverpool & Manchester Railway it was realised that a locomotive manufacturing works in Lancashire would obviate the cost involved in transporting locomotives from Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Robert Stephenson joined Tayleur in 1832, but left the partnership probably due to pressure from Stephenson's Tyneside associates.

The first locomotive was completed in 1833, one of two 0-4-0s ordered by Hargreaves for the North Union Railway.

In 1847 the firm's name changed from Charles Tayleur to the Vulcan Foundry and in 1864 it became a limited liability company, though "Limited" wasn't added to the title until 1st January 1898.

The first Vulcan narrow gauge locomotives were built very early, in 1845. Four 2ft 6ins gauge units are listed for the War Department, two 0-4-0 with 10" x 16" cylinders and two 0-4-2 with 11"x18" cylinders. However, details of these large locomotives are very sparse so possibly they were failures produced well ahead of their time.

The first Fairlie locomotives to be built by Vulcan were two for the Dunedin & Port Chalmers Railway (3ft 6in gauge) and two for the Peruvian Government Railway (2ft 6in. gauge). All were 0-4-4-0Ts built in 1872. Other Fairlie locomotives supplied included the single Fairlie Taliesin for the Festiniog Railway (1876), and the large 0-6-6-0Ts in 1910 for the Mexican Railways,

Vulcan Foundry secured the FR's order for a new boiler for Welsh Pony at a cost of £228 in 1890. (Jones & Dennis, 2018, p.306) In 1895 they supplied a new boiler for Merddin Emrys at a cost of £494. (Jones & Dennis, 2018, p. 322) In 1902 they were paid £190 for a new boiler for Prince. (Jones & Dennis, 2018, p. 314). In 1903 a new boiler was made for Princess at a cost of £190. (Jones & Dennis, 2018, p. 318) In 1899 they supplied a new boiler for Taliesin at a price of £295. (Jones & Dennis, 2018, p. 329) Little Giant was rebuilt with a new boiler from Vulcan Foundry in 1904 at a cost of £266. (Jones & Dennis, 2018, p. 340) Livingston Thompson received a new boiler from Vulcan Foundry in 1905 at a cost of £627. (Jones & Dennis, 2018, p. 341) Then in 1906 they provided a new but untubed boiler boiler for James Spooner at a cost of £510. The FR completed the tubing with ones they had in stock. In 1919 they won a tender to supply a new boiler for Merddin Emrys at the price of £1,905. (Jones & Dennis, 2018, p. 365) This was the last boiler they made for the old FR Co.

The Vulcan Foundry was re-equipped to manufacture diesel and electric locomotives and in March 1955 Vulcan Foundry became a member of English Electric group together with Robert Stephenson & Hawthorn. So ended a magnificent record of steam locomotive building with a total of 6210 units.

Vulcan Foundry was responsible for the rebuilding of double engine Taliesin II in 1956 at a time when the resources at Boston Lodge were very limited. Portable components were taken to Newton le Willows but the large items were worked on at Boston Lodge.

(liberally adapted from an online history, which can be found here)

There is a Vulcan Foundry website at ...

Of particular interest is their locomotive catalogue ...

... which has works pictures of Single Fairlie locomotives Snowdon Ranger, Taliesin and many Double Fairlie locomotives.

The site also has works photographs of two Spooner & Company-designed locomotives built by Vulcan for quarries connected to the NWNGR: VF 805/1876 Kathleen of Alexandra Quarry; VF 810/1877 Kelso of Braich Quarry.

Vulcan products in this wiki include[edit]

and boilers for some more locos


Jones C and Dennis P (2018) Little Giants: a history of the Ffestiniog Railway's pre-revival locomotives, their mentors, manufacture and maintenance, Lightmoor Press, Lydney, Glos, GL15 4EJ, UK.

See also[edit]