Thursday, May 18, 2006

Walter M. Smith

There are often people I coome across in railway history that I would love to have known more about. Usually they are engineers that didn't quite make it to the top of their profession and who don't appear in biographical dictionaries of famous scientists and designers.

Most of all I'd love to know something about Walter M.Smith - a Glaswegian who started as an apprentice with the North British Locomotive Company and ended up as Chief Draughtsman for the North Eastern Railway. If he hadn't had such a talented boss as Wilson Worsdell probably he would have been their Chief Mechanical Engineer. But he did design some engines of his own - and espcecially these beautiful 'Atlantics' which made very sophisticated compound use of steam.

But the really interesting thing about Walter Smith is that he made it to Japan in the 1870's and for several years was locomotive superintendent on the Tokaido line.

The North Eastern Railway and Japan - he and I would have had a lot to talk about! I still wonder sometimes if there's some correspondence or diaries lurking somewhere that might make a proper biography of hims possible.


Post a Comment

<< Home