Mon 19 Feb 2018 03:56:02


British Railway History Item


Sir Henry Fowler

Sir Henry Fowler (1870-1938)

A mechanical engineer, he was the son of an Evesham cabinet-maker, who first worked on the railways as an apprentice under Aspinall, at the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway's Horwich works. He joined the Midland Railway in 1900, becoming assistant works manager at Derby in 1905, then works manager in 1907. He then became Chief Mechanical Engineer of the Midland Railway 1909-22 and the London Midland & Scottish Railway 1925-30. He was knighted for his wartime service to railways.

After the formation of the LMS, he was deputy CME under George Hughes, where one of his tasks was the integration of six pre-grouping companies design, building and repair practises. This proved to be a difficult task at which he was not really successful. He monitored early, partially successful attempts at line production in locomotive repairs aimed at reducing overhaul times, and a standardisation policy aimed at eliminating small locomotive classes and those which were costly to maintain.

Locomotive design innovations included:

  • Development of Hughes designs for more powerful 4-6-2 passenger and 2-8-2 freight locos and freight engines as four-cylinder compounds, using his MR experience. However, the designs were rejected by the operating department, partly because larger turntables would heve been required.

  • His parallel boilered Royal Scot class 4-6-0s, built 1927-30, were successful engines, but were rebuilt with taper boilers by his successor William Stanier.

    In 1931-33 he was adviser to the LMS research department's vice-president and authorised the purchase of prototype diesel shunting locomotives which were later introduced on a large scale.

    Last Updated : Friday 14th April 2006 05:47

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