TURTON & PLATT BUFFERS
Ted Talbot & Mike Williams
The buffers used on LNWR engines are
normally referred to as
‘Webb’, ‘Whale’, or ‘Cooke’ types,
and these are convenient
descriptions by which the various types can be readily identified.
However, the ‘Webb’ type was actually introduced before
to the LNWR as head of Crewe, whilst both other types appear to have
been standard commercial products bought in by the LNWR. Some Crewe
General Arrangement drawings even have the name ‘Turton and Platt’
written beside the buffers.
The drawing reproduced here comes from a Turton and Platt
advertisement in the February 1897 ‘Railway Engineer’, and shows
what is called a ‘Whale’ buffer. The ‘Cooke’
type was similar, but
had a longer parallel section at the front. To further emphasise the
point, the LNWR started using the ‘Cooke’ type made by
Turton and Platt
on the back of tenders during the late Whale period, though their general
adoption for engines took place during Cooke’s term of office.
The second drawing comes from the same advertisement and shows a type-of
buffer used only rarely on the LNWR, on some wagons to D.10 (20 ton open
merchandise or sand wagon), D.65 (20 ton steel Loco Coal wagon) and very
A note at the PRO shows that in about 1933 new buffers were ordered by
the LMS from George Turton, Platt & Company Ltd. of Sheffield to be
fitted to ex-LNWR engines at a rate of 100 per annum, shunting engines
to be dealt with first. The same firm supplied springs for the bogies
of the Coronation Scot train built
by the LMS to go to the USA in 1939.
So did they also supply springs generally to Wolverton? and perhaps to
Earlestown? and to other companies?
The works of Turton and Platt was beside that of the Yorkshire Engine
Co. Ltd at Meadow Hall, Sheffield, and was founded before 1860. It
remained in business until only a year or two ago. They were one of
the leading suppliers of railway springs – leaf and coil – for
wheel sets, bogies and buffers, with buffer castings and assemblies,
and delivered all over the world.
So why did the generally self-sufficient LNWR buy springs from an
outside supplier? Possibly, springs, or at least certain types of
springs, required special steel which was not produced in the steel
works at Crewe, and so the company preferred to buy in its buffers,
and the LMS followed suit (perhaps most railways did too). Perhaps
the LNWR was self-sufficient when it paid to be so but things difficult
and specialised to make were bought in. A known example is pressure gauges
One wonders how many other fittings used by the ‘self sufficient’ LNWR
were actually standard commercial products. Our thanks to Mike Swift
for his help in compiling these notes.