Britain’s first gas turbine locomotive was ordered by the Great Western Railway in the spring of 1946 from Brown Boveri of Switzerland, the revolutionary new locomotive did not arrive in Britain until February 1950. Today, 70 years later, she lives at the Didcot Railway Centre, and although there is no current prospect of operation, the locomotive is being restored to the original black and silver colour scheme and is to become a key exhibit at Didcot.
Sadly perhaps, the name of Edward Bury has not achieved the place of distinction it deserves amongst British steam locomotive engineers. Outside this country his influence on steam engine building has been very great indeed, with his techniques developed to their most advanced level in the USA. The largest steam locomotives in the world, the Union Pacific Railroad’s “Big Boy” 4-8-8-4 articulated giants were using techniques which, basically at least, would have seemed familiar to Edward Bury. Bury was the commercial driving force behind the locomotive building firm of Bury, Curtis & Kennedy of Liverpool. This company moved very rapidly into the field of locomotive construction, especially following the successful completion of the Liverpool & Manchester Railway. It was George and Robert Stephensons’ most serious early rival, although there were a number of other contractors in those early days. Edward Bury’s designs differed from those of Stephenson mainly in the use of lightweight bar frames, a feature decided upon not so much for technical reasons, but in order to allow Bury, Curtis & Kennedy to undercut Stephenson’s prices.