Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Beyer Peacock, Gorton

During the 2009 Transport Festival, the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester organised bus trips to the former Beyer Peacock Boiler Shop at Gorton

The Beyer Peacock works was established in 1854, ultimately expanding to occupy a site of around 22 acres and employ over 2000 workers. The site lay on the south side of the M.S. & L. line out of Manchester (which became part of the Great Central), in between the stations of Ashburys and Gorton. This line was eventually electrified as part of the Manchester, Sheffield and Wath route through the Woodhead Tunnels.

Plan of the site in 1950 (note that north is downwards). Click on the plan for a high-resolution version.

The plan above gives an idea of the range of skills involved in manufacturing a locomotive, with 'Shops' for the various disciplines all integrated on a single site.

The period after WWII was particularly busy as railways around the world attempted to recover from the ravages of the conflict. Later, as demand for steam locomotives reduced, Beyer Peacock produced diesel-hydraulics but the Glory Days were over and in 1966 the famous Gorton Works closed, although diversified production of steel roofing systems and large fans continued on other sites.

Around 8,000 locos were built by Beyer Peacock. More than 1,000 of them were of the articulated 'Beyer Garratt' type.

The first Beyer Garratt to emerge from Gorton in 1909 was the 'K1' for Tasmania. Repatriated and restored, this locomotive now works on the Welsh Highland Railway. On the 17th August 2009, as a publicity event, the 'K1' was taken back to her birthplace at Gorton during the 2009 Transport Festival at the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester (MOSI). This co-incided with the 'Great Garratt Gathering' at MOSI with full-size and model Garratts. The K1, as the world's first Garratt, took pride of place alongside 'William Francis' and MOSI's resident 1930 Beyer-Garratt, which ran on the South African Railways until 1972.

Much of the Beyer Peacock works at Gorton has been razed to become a modern Industrial Estate but the huge boiler shop remains, now owned by Manchester City Council. It now serves in various roles as storage, taxi inspection garage and cleansing department maintenance garage for the city.

As part of the 2009 Transport Festival, bus trips were run from MOSI to visit the Boiler Shop on Saturday and Sunday 15, 16 August 2009. I managed to join a trip on the Sunday.

The museum preserves extensive documents and drawings from Beyer Peacock. In addition, Manchester Library has a collection of photographs taken around the works.

Wikipedia have an article on Beyer Peacock here.

There's an interesting site on Beyer Peacock here.

A useful list of Garratts built at Gorton can be found here.

My post on the 2009 Transport Festival and the Great Garratt Gathering is here and my pictures are here.

Pictures taken on my trip to the Boiler Shop are here.