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British Industrial History

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William Stroudley

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William Stroudley (March 6, 1833 - December 20, 1889) was one of Britain's most famous steam locomotive engineers of the nineteenth century, working principally for the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway (LB&SCR). He designed some of the most famous and longest lived locomotives, several of which have been preserved.

Born at Sandford-on-Thames, near Oxford, he began work at the local paper mill. From 1853 he trained as a locomotive engineer under Daniel Gooch of the Great Western Railway, but soon moved to Peterborough and the Great Northern Railway under Charles Sacré.

  • In 1861 he was appointed manager of the Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway Cowlairs Works.
  • On 19 June 1865 he was appointed locomotive superintendent of the Highland Railway at Inverness. * In 1870 he was appointed locomotive superintendent of the LB&SCR at Brighton after J. C. Craven. Whilst at Brighton, Stroudley dramatically improved the performance and reliability of the locomotive stock by introducing a number of successful standard classes. He is particularly remembered for his B1 class (Gladstone) express engines of 1882 which had a unique 0-4-2 wheel arrangement. The first member of this class is preserved at the National Railway Museum in York). He also designed three important tank engine classes. The diminutive LB&SCR A1 Class (Terrier) 0-6-0T were introduced in 1872 and a number were still in active use in the 1960s; several have been preserved. The D1 class 0-4-2T were used for London suburban services of the LBSCR from 1873 until electrification and some survivors lasted until the late 1940s. The last survivor of the E1 class goods 0—6—0T was withdrawn in 1962. Stroudley also designed railway carriages and the steam engines for the LB&SCR cross-channel ferries. He died at the Paris Exhibition in 1889 where he was exhibiting one of his locomotives. He was succeeded at Brighton by R.J. Billinton.