The UK business of Davies & Metcalfe was most famous for key components on locomotives and rolling stock, from steam injectors, to brake systems and latterly to automatic couplers for rapid transit and light rail systems.
Most of the company’s business was carried out from the wortks in Romiley, Cheshire, south of Manchester. It was a long established family business, begun in North Wales in Aberystwyth in 1878, and after a move to Romiley became a household name in manufacturing steam locomotive injectors in the 20th century. Diversification into braking systems came by way of a partnership with the Swiss company Oerlikon, and sold braking technology under the brand “Metcalfe Oerlikon”.
These arrangements continued after the UK’s railways were nationalised in 1948, and Metcalfe-Oerlikon brake systems were fitted to many diesel and electric locomotive and rolling stock designs. By the 1970s, when the UK rail industry was awarded the contracts to design and build the Hong Kong MTR trains, Davies & Metcalfe, supplied the braking technology and the essential, automatic, close-couplers for the new rolling stock.
This comprehensive activity continued throughout the decades, and in 1989, Davies & Metcalfe appeared at ‘Light Rail ’89’ in Bristol, and were collaborating with Bergische-Stahl-Industrie. The Romiley company were then offering a ‘one-stop shop’ for Brake Control Systems, Safety and Vigilance Equipment, Wheel Slip/Slide Control Systems, Multi-function Automatic Couplers, Disc and Track Brakes and, Transmission Drive Systems.
A number of changes took place in the industry in the last years of the 20th century, and the company continues to supply key components to this day, whether it is for Hong Kong, or even some of the legacy steam railways in Britain.