Forest of Dean Railways and Tramways (General)

by Jefff @, West London, Middlesex, Saturday, February 09, 2019, 00:44 (75 days ago) @ rogerfarnworth

Hi Roger,
I've read about William Stewart's 1814 trials in various accounts going back some years, most of which seem to be based on his own letters to the Practical Mechanic etc some 30 years later. Somehow I can't help but feel he's biased in these reports - as an engineer meself I do wonder how his loco or the track would have coped with daily usage, breakages of the cast iron plateways were a major bugbear for all the early locos abt that time, as you'll know regarding Trevithick's one-off run at Penydarren, plus the Dean would presumably have meant worse gradients to tackle as well ?
I also wonder why I've not heard or read any more of Stewart's later career, if indeed there was one ??. His letters suggest he was from Drogheda, Ireland, but was resident in Newport Monmouthshire in the mid 1840s if not longer. I've tried to find him in the Census' etc, but without much luck. Please do you know anything of his activities or life after 1814 ? (William Stewart is NOT a rare name in Ireland at that time, many went to America, especially Pennysylvania which would have suited an engineer.)
As you've mentioned the S&W Railway used the exercise to reduce their existing haulage costs by a significant margin. I'm sure they'd have known the loco would probably be a fairly risky venture in the long term (eg rolled wrought iron rails wern't invented until the 1820s). As I understand it they were always very careful with their money, and throughout their existence were always reluctant to spend money unless absolutely necessary. So as much as I sympathise with my fellow engineer I can understand that they may have been happy to err on the side of caution, I guess the apparent lack ? of court cases by Stewart suggest both sides were at fault to some degree.
atb J


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