Vulcan Foundry Timeline

We are always on the lookout for articles material &  photographs to populate this list, this page also contains links to other relevant on and off site pages.

YEAR Foundry Number & Description Article Photo Document
1828 First document we have dated to 1828 and shows the land to be purchased laid out with the works managers house and a rudimentary square for the works. The 'Warrington Railway' is shown to the West with the proposed 'Railway to Wigan' later part of the West Coast Main Line to the East as a broken line. Penciled on the map at the top is the faint line of the works reservoir. Map
1829 Horatio Allen assistant engineer of the delaware and Hudson Canal Company comes to England and becomes involved with George Stephenson whilst organising the purchase of Locomotives. 
1830 The Vulcan Foundry is established at Newton-le-Willows by Charles Tayleur a Liverpool Engineer and Entrepreneur. The nearby Liverpool and Manchester Railway is also opened. Portrait
1831 The Warrington and Newton Railway was opened passing the front of the works.
1832 Robert Stephenson joins Charles Tayleur in partnership at the Vulcan Foundry.
1833 The first complete locomotives are produced at the works, Locomotive No.1 'Tayleur' and No. 2 'Stephenson' named after the works co-founders. The locomotives are delivered to 'Mr Hargreaves of Bolton' and were of the Stephenson four wheeled Planet type.

The Vulcan Foundry develops the swiveling bogie truck in conjunction with Horatio Allen thus enabling early locomotives to cope with the rigours of poorly laid track in North Americas then agricultural economy. 

Two bogie locomotives, 'Firefly' and 'Red Rover', each with single driving wheels are exported to the USA for the construction of the Camden and Woodbury Railroad.




1834 Daniel Gooch (later Sir Daniel Gooch the Great Western Railways outstanding locomotive designer) enters the Vulcan Foundry as an engineering apprentice.
1835 Horatio Allen returns to England and the Vulcan Foundry purchasing three bogie locomotives, Cinncinnati, Allen and Kentucky for the South Carolina Railroad Company these simple, durable locomotives set the standard for subsequent American locomotive design. One of the first locomotives to run in Russia, a 2-2-2 type is supplied to the St. Petersburg Pavlosk Railway. Drawing
1837 Two 0-4-2 goods engines are supplied ito the Kaiser Ferdinand Nordbahn Railway in Austria and L'Elephant is supplied to the Belgian Ralways.
1838 First engine delivered to the fledgeling GWR #1 runs on 9th January 1838, works number 45 it is a regauged locomotive from an undelivered Russian order . Drawing
1838 The Raleigh and Gaston Railroad of North Carolina choose Vulcan Locomotives in preference to the then unreliable domestic product opting for an improved version of the Vulcans original 1833 Type 'A' locomotive 'Tayleur'. Drawing
1846 The worlds first side tank engines are built at the foundry and delivered to the Waterford and Kilkenny Railway.
1847 The Vulcan Foundry takes over the Bank Quay Foundry in Warrington.
1852 The worlds first iron sea-going vessel, 'Tayleur' is built at the now Vulcan Foundry owned Bank Quay Foundry. The Vulcan Foundry exports eight 2-4-0 passenger locomotives to the Great Indian Peninsula Railway and these locomotives are used at the railways opening hauling the first public railway service in India. These locomotives are the first of 2750 supplied to India between 1852 and 1952, averaging one per fortnight for 100 years.
1862 Single driver express locomotives are supplied to the South Eastern Railway and reduce the 87.5 miles run from London to Dover to 1hr 55mins.
13th June
Thomas Qullem Roberts the Vulcans first employee to be eaten by a Tiger is consumed in Jamalpore India whilst working as a foreman at the erecting shop.


1865 The Vulcans workforce hits a total of 537.
1870 The Vulcan supplies the first railway locomotive to run in Japan, this locomotive now preserved is one of Japan's national treasures.
1872 The Vulcan Foundry produces the first of a line of  Fairlie patent locomotives.
1873 The Vulcan build's the worlds last flangeless locomotive for the Tredegar Iron Company who are still using an angled rail network dating back to at least 1805. Photo
1888 The worlds first ten-wheeled coupled locomotives, tank engines with inside cylinders are built for the Taft Valley Railway.
1890 Rhymney Railway receives five unique saddle tank locomotives combining a 2-4-2 wheel arrangement with double frames to all wheels except the trailing pair.
1899 A rolling road 'friction wheel set' is designed, installed and tested at the Vulcan Foundry for the static testing of locomotives. The set consisted of three cast iron drums mounted on journals with steel tyres shrunk on at the various gauges used in the erecting shop. The whole assembly was set in a cast iron pit and lined up with the existing multi-gauge track.
1904 The Vulcan design for a 4 cylinder Atlantic type balanced compound locomotive (based on the De Glen system) is accepted by the Great Northern Railway and features Vulcan Patent starting valve and reversing gear.
1906 Workforce rises to 1390
1907 The last of the 'Old Part' of the foundry is destroyed by fire. This part of the foundry was the last remaining part of the original foundry as built by Stephenson and Tayleur in the 1830's. The fire starts around 1AM on Tuesday 15th January.

The Vulcan social centre known as the Vulcan Institute is opened.

1914 Locomotive number 3000 is built.
1914-1918 WW1 disrupts normal production, shells, gun mountings and Paravanes for mine sweeping fill the order book.
1929 The first non-steam locomotive is built at the Vulcan and is an electric locomotive for India.
The Vulcan are the first company in the world to transport locomotives by road, the foundry is besieged by reporters and photographers. Photo
1934 Twenty-four remarkable locomotives are built for the Chinese Government for use on Chinese National Railways, the 4-8-4 locomotives were the largest locomotives ever built at the works at 93'2" (28.41m). The locomotives were equipped with booster engines that could drive either the locomotives rear or the tenders front bogies. Class 5 locomotives are built for the LMS.
Vulcan commences production of Light Infantry Tanks for the War Office. Photo
1936 The first Oil Engine (Diesel) is built at the Vulcan Foundry a Vulcan-Frichs 275-300hp Air Start Engine Photo
Vulcan entrusted with the design of the Matilda Tank for the War Office.
The first of the 'Waltzing' Matilda tanks produced at the foundry was completed and made ready for trials. Photo
6th September
It is a Friday between approximately 4 & 5pm and the Foundry is subjected to some attention by the Luftwaffe, fortunately its only for the benefit of the aerial photographer. Photo
1941 The foundry is visited by their Majesties the King & Queen and tour the factory guided by Messrs Whalley & Saunders amid scenes of great enthusiasm. Photo
1943 Vulcan start production of 2-8-0 Austerity locomotives and over 500 are built up to the end of WW2 


The Vulcans workforce reaches an all time high with 4128 employees on the books including 850 female employees.
1945 Total Vulcan contribution to the war effort in terms of military equipment totals:-

250 Mk V and Mk VI light tanks
600 Matilda Tanks
1700 Machine Gun Mountings
10,000 Torpedo Parts
40,000 smaller Torpedo details

1946 120 2-8-0 Liberation Locomotives are built for the UNRRA and sent to the war ravaged railways of Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Poland and Luxembourg.
1949 Diesel and electric locomotives are now produced in co-operation with English Electric and the first mainline diesel electric locomotive to operate in Egypt is built at the foundry and fitted with and English Electric 16SVT engine.
1955 English Electric diesel engines are built at the Vulcan Foundry for the first time.
1956 The 6204 steam locomotive is built for East African Railways, this is the last big steam order and consists of 46 4-8-4 locomotives.
1957 22 Deltic locomotives are ordered by British Rail, each locomotive being powered by two Napier Deltic 18 Cylinder Engines.
1962 The Vulcan Foundry is assimilated into the English Electric Company. 

Foundry records, some dating back to the 1840's are destroyed under English Electric supervision despite the protestation of Vulcan staff on the pretence that they were taking up space. Small quantities of material were filched from under the eyes of the English Electric staff and stashed in various safe houses and forms part of the material on the site.

1964 By May 1173 diesel and electic locomotives have been built at the foundry.
1965 Engine production to British Rail totals 2000 units with the 2000th one, a 12CSVT being installed in a type 3 diesel locomotive.
1970 Continuous locomotive production since 1832 at the site ends with the last mainline locomotive to be supplied to Ghana Railways and Ports.

Ruston Paxman Diesels Limited are formed as a management company with their headquarters at the Vulcan Works.