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Beam engine

Museum of Transport

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Beam engine

The beam engine used to control the movement of trains entering and departing from Queen Street Station along the Cowlairs incline.

Queen Street station was built in 1842 as the western terminus of the Edinburgh & Glasgow Railway. The final approach to the station from Cowlairs was through a tunnel nearly one mile in length, down a steep slope of 1 in 46.

The steep gradient was too great for the steam trains of the day to negotiate unaided, and the stationary engine was installed to assist them. Trains departing or approaching Queen Street Station were attached to cable and they were hauled up or lowered down the slope by the engine. This practice continued until the start of the 20th century, when powerful tank engines were employed to assist trains to move along the incline.

Reproduced with the permission of Glasgow City Council, Glasgow Museums

beam engines, cable-hauled trains, cables, Edinburgh & Glasgow railway, Queen Street Station, railway stations, stationary engines, steam engines, trains

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