F. W. Webb's Three-Cylinder Compounds


A splendid book on what has always been a controversial family of steam locomotives, F. W. Webb's three-cylinder compounds which, in their, day were the subject of both praise and condemnation.

History has, however, largely been unkind to them and their creator Frank Webb - at the time one of the the best known railway mechanical engineers in the world.

Many stories and reports, mainly bad, have been published about these machines during the century or more since the last of their number was scrapped, after Webb's retirement. The speed with which this happened is perhaps the best indicator of the problems encountered with them in general service. As with most compounds, they could perform well enough with a dedicated and knowlegeable crew, but inherent design faults meant they were never going to fulfil Webb's hopes.

The result of forty years of research, this book traces the development of the compounds, their continuous improvement in terms of engineering detail and day to day performance as well as what it was like for those men who operated and maintained them. A book anyone with an interest in the developement of the steam locomotive should have.

Hardback, 268 pages, black & white (plus a few colour) illustrations, drawings.

The engine in this film clip is a Webb Compound