The Baguley RailGrip Locomotive

Gallery opened: 12 Dec 2014
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The idea behind the Baguley RailGrip system of 1923 was to make it easier to lay track in areas with varying levels. The track would be laid in flat section interspersed with slopes at about 1 in 12. These inclined ramps would be laid with special rails with notches formed into the sides of the upper bullhead part of the rail. To climb these ramps a separately driven pair of double flanged and notched driving wheels would be lowered to engage with the special rails and give a sort of rack and pinion propulsion, combined with the usual adhesion wheels.

Left: The RailGrip locomotive: 1923

The prototype locomotive was a standard Baguley 0-4-0 design with 6" by 9" cylinders carrying works number 2020. It was modified by adding a pair of double flanged wheels between the two standard adhesion wheels; these were driven by a separate pair of cylinders mounted above the usual ones, as shown in the photograph. Only one example was built.

The locomotive was eventually scrapped at Baguley in the mid-1930ís. Here it stands outside the old Shobnall Road Works in Burton-on-Trent; these closed in 1931, the site now being occupied by the steel foundry of Lloyds (Burton) Ltd.

Left: The RailGrip rack wheels

The separate rack drive cylinders were connected to the cranks seen at the ends of the upper shaft. Because of the positive engagement with the tracks, a differential had to be incorporated between the two wheels. This is believed to have been of the spur type, built inside the large central gear on the middle shaft.

The Railgrip wheels were raised or lowered by means of a steam cylinder. It is not clear exactly how the wheels were lifted, as the upper shaft has to remain stationary. I suspect that the large blocks connecting the shafts hinge around the middle shaft, so this would move forwards or backwards while the lower shaft moved vertically upwards, guided by the vertical boxes at each side.

The idea apparently worked quite well, but was not proceeded with. It sounds as though laying the special track might be complicated.

The proprietor of Baguleys, Ernest E. Baguley, has his own wikipedia page.

There is more information on Baguleys at the Steam Index.

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