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Thursday, 18 August 2011

Compare and Contrast

The title of today's post, 18th August 2011, is self explanatory. I want you to study the pictures of the early, pioneering locomotive of George Stephenson (left) and an example of a 1943 'giant', designed by Sir William A. Stanier (right), and come to your own conclusions.

It is doubtful if communities have ever been as involved with railways, as the thousands of people who turned up to watch the opening of the Stockton & Darlington Railway (S&DR) in 1825 or the Liverpool & Manchester Railway (L&MR) in 1830. Similar crowds had gathered to witness George and Robert Stephenson's Rocket claim the £500 first prize at the L&MR Locomotive Trials, at Rainhill, in 1829.  At all of these events, the physical presence of steam powered 'monsters' caused fear among some beholders, curiosity among others and admiration among the majority. A few, particularly landowners and those with canal interests, who realised that they might lose out financially, showed contempt. The L&MR is well represented in jigsaw manufacture, the S&DR, less so.

George and Robert Stephenson's north-east engineering works also won the right to build the initial locomotives for the L&MR. A superb painting by Alan Fearnley, Rocket at Rainhill, reproduced as a 1000-piece jigsaw by Waddingtons and titled Stevenson's Rocket, (with incorrect surname spelling) is shown above. The painting / jigsaw expertly conveys the crowd's emotions displayed at the Rainhill Locomotive Trials, of 1829. 

The battle for speed and supremacy between the East Coast Main Line and the West Coast Main Line for the London to Glasgow / Edinburgh rail traffic, (which had begun as early as1888), eventually resulted in huge 4-6-2 locomotives being designed by (Sir) Nigel Gresley and (Sir) William A. Stanier, respectively. The latter built his 'Princess' and 'Princess Coronation' class locomotives in response to Gresley's 'A1/A3' and 'A4' class equivalents. Stanier's class of thirty-eight, 'Princess Coronation' 4-6-2 or 'Pacific' locomotives, were built over many years, 1937-1948, as World War II intervened. The picture I have chosen shows a 120-piece jigsaw titled Ready for the Run. Illustrated is one of  Stanier's 'Princess Coronation' class locomotives, No.6248 City of Leeds, in the maroon and gold streamlining of the London Midland & Scottish Railway. However, the jigsaw manufacturer / brand name (Ian Allan?) and artist are unknown to me.