Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 136,378 pages of information and 219,137 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Middleton Colliery

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1814. Middleton Colliery and Railway.


Middleton Colliery near Leeds was owned by Charles John Brandling

In 1758 the colliery built a wagonway to carry coal into Leeds, using horse-drawn vehicles, now known as the Middleton Railway. Not all the land belonged to C. J. Brandling and it was the first railway to be authorised by Act of Parliament since this would give him power to obtain wayleave.

In 1811, John Blenkinsop the manager was interested in using steam locomotives at the Middleton Colliery and had patented a rack and pinion system to avoid problems with adhesion. Fenton, Murray and Wood were asked to design a suitable locomotive.

Matthew Murray made for John Blenkinsop, manager of C. J. Brandling's Middleton Colliery, near Leeds, a steam locomotive whose drive was by means of a rack cast into the rails on which the engine travelled. The line is now known as the Middleton Railway. This was the first commercially successful steam locomotive and steam railway.


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