Edward Bury
A competitor to the Stephensons, Edward Bury popularised the bar frame in America and, for a time, the 'haystack' firebox (D-shaped fireboxes with hemispherical casing and top) which led to stronger boilers (at that time). In 1831-7 he exported twenty of his engines to the USA.

Bury was a partner in a locomotive building firm (Bury, Curtis, & Kennedy), and Locomotive Superintendent of the London & Birmingham Railway (1837-47) and later of the Great Northern (1848-50). He also designed a free-running steamboat engine. He is amongst the relatively few locomotive engineers to have produced an eponymous type of locomotive.


Bury was born in Salford on 22 October 1794. He was an enthusiastic modelmaker whilst still a boy, and was educated in Chester. By the time he was thirty was well established in the locomotive business.

His Dreadnought was not ready in time for the Rainhill trials of 1829, and was rebuilt into his Liverpool. This 0-4-0 anticipated by a few months Stephenson's Planet as the first locomotive to have inside horizontal cylinders, and also seems to have been the first locomotive to have 6ft wheels.
On the London & Birmingham Railway, he employed his own small four-wheel types, with bar frames and haystack fireboxes and to counter the inherent unsteadiness of a four-wheel vehicle, locomotive and tender were tightly coupled.  These machines were too small and three or four locomotives were used on one train. On the other hand, Rutherford (Backtrack, 11, 205) made a strong justification for Bury's use of small locomotives.

In 1841 he personally drove one of his engines up the Lickey Incline on the Birmingham & Gloucester Railway, in competition with an American-built (Norris) six wheeler; but the Americans came out well ahead.

In 1847 Bury appears to have been the first to design and build a shunting locomotive: an 0-4-0 saddle tank for the Shrewsbury & Chester Railway.


He succeeded Benjamin Cubitt as Locomotive Superintendent of the Great Northern Railway in 1848. Here he soon showed no attachment to small engines, ordering a 2-4-0 to his own design from Bury, Curtis, & Kennedy. It retained bar frames, but the Bury firebox was re-placed by a raised round-top design having the very large heating surface of 108 sq. ft.

He was briefly General Manager of the GNR (a grand-nephew Oliver Bury was to be far longer in this postion) and retired to Windermere in 1853, but moved to Scarborough where he died in 1858 and was buried on 2 December.
 His later years were passed as a consulting engineer. One non-locomotive standard which he established was the 'teak' livery of the GNR. He was elected as an FRS in 1844, and is one of the few locomotive engineers to have received this great honour (Stanier was another).  

Community Web Kit provided free by BT