Beyer, Peacock and Company

Beyer, Peacock and Company was an English railway locomotive manufacturer with a factory in Gorton, Manchester. Founded by Charles Beyer, Richard Peacock and Henry Robertson, it traded from 1854 until 1966. It received limited liability in 1902, becoming Beyer, Peacock and Company Limited.

Beyer, Peacock and Company
IndustryLocomotive manufacturer
Founded1854 (1854)
FoundersCharles Beyer
Richard Peacock
Henry Robertson
Defunct1966 (1966)

In 1854, the German born Charles Beyer resigned as head engineer at Atlas works (Sharp Roberts and Co). It was Beyer that was responsible for success of locomotive production at Atlas. He had trained under the guidance of the prolific inventor of cotton mill machinery, Richard Roberts.

Richard Peacock resigned from his position as chief engineer of the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway's locomotive works in Gorton in 1854. Confident in his ability to secure orders to build locomotives, Beyer’s resignation presented Peacock with a partnership opportunity. However, this was not a limited company and all partners were liable for debts should the business fail; in a mid-Victorian economic climate of boom and bust, it was a risky venture. Beyer could raise £9,524 (nearly £900,000 in 2015) and Peacock £5,500 but still required a loan from Charles Geach (founder of the Midland Bank, and first treasurer to the Institution of Mechanical Engineers). Beyer and Peacock were founder members of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, but Geach died, the loan was recalled and the whole project nearly died. To the rescue came Thomas Brassey who persuaded Henry Robertson to provide a £4,000 loan in return for being the third (sleeping) partner.[1]

Beyer appointed and worked closely with Hermann Ludwig Lange (1837–92), in 1861. A native of his home town, Plauen, Saxony (now Germany), Langer trained as an engineer in Germany, became chief draughtsman in 1865, and chief engineer after Beyer`s death. Langer was heavily involved in the development of the world's first successful condensing locomotives for the Metropolitan Railway, This 4-4-0 tank engine can, therefore be considered as the pioneer motive power on London's Underground London's first underground railway[8]. These locomotives proved to be extremely successful and 148 were built between 1864 and 1886 for various railways including the District Railway, London, in 1871, most still running until electrification in 1905.[1]

Beyer Peacock exported locomotives and machine tools to service them all over the world

Important designs were the Garratt articulated locomotives widely used in Africa, notably on South and East African Railways, and Australia and the 4-4-0 T locomotives used on the Metropolitan and District Railways in London from 1864 until electrification in 1905. They also built 2-4-0 T locomotives for 3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm) lines in Norway and the famous Manx Peacock design for the 3 ft (914 mm) gauge Isle of Man Railway

The first Garratt locomotive constructed was the Tasmanian Government Railways K class on the western Tasmanian North East Dundas Tramway; K1 is now preserved on the Welsh Highland Railway together with the last Garratt Beyer Peacock built SAR NGG 16 Class No.143. Four New South Wales Government Railways AD60 class Beyer-Garratt Patent locomotives are preserved being the most powerful steam locomotives in the southern hemisphere when introduced.

Gorton Foundry was on the opposite (south) side of the railway line to the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway works at Gorton. Between 1855 and 1966, the company built nearly 8,000 railway locomotives, over a thousand of which were Garratts.[2] Several of their 1874-built steam locomotives for the Isle of Man Railway remain in daily use. A Gorton-built South African Railways GL class Beyer-Garratt locomotive is on display in the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester.

In addition to building steam locomotives, Beyer, Peacock & Co. also built the 10 British Rail Class 82, 25 kV AC electric locomotives to a Metropolitan-Vickers design, the 101 British Rail Class 35 diesel hydraulic locomotives, and, the last of all built, British Rail Class 25/3 diesel-electrics. They also collaborated with Metropolitan Vickers in building the Western Australian Government Railways X class, diesel electric locomotives, and the New South Wales 46 class, 1500 V DC electric locomotives at Bowesfield Works, Stockton-on-Tees.

Gorton Foundry

The foundry was at Openshaw near Manchester, England, and was built in 1854 and designed mainly by Beyer. The site was chosen because land was cheaper than in the city and had good water supply from a local reservoir (It should not be confused with the Gorton locomotive works of the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway, locally known as Gorton Tank which was on the north side of the railway line, which had been built by Richard Peacock, when he was chief engineer, before he resigned and joined forces with Beyer to form Beyer-Peacock.). Beyer had designed the works so it always allowed room for expansion. In its 112-year history no buildings needed to be demolished as the works developed.

In 2012 the former boiler-shop remains in use, as the Hammerstone Road Depot of Manchester City Council.

Locomotives produced




Steam turbine

Beyer-Ljungstrom Turbine Locomotive The Beyer-Ljungstrom Turbine Locomotive



Preserved locomotives

Steam locomotives

Preserved Locomotives
BP No.BuiltCompany built forLocomotive numberClassWheel arrangementPreserved at
331856Statens Järnvägar3 (43) Prins AugustB2-4-0On display at Swedish Railway Museum, Gävle
2391861Statens Järnvägar22 (506) ThorÄ(Qä)0-4-2}TOn display at Swedish Railway Museum, Gävle
5331865Maatschappij tot Exploitatie van Staatsspoorwegen13 (NS 705)9-162-4-0On display at Dutch Railway Museum, Utrecht
7101866Metropolitan Railway23A4-4-0 TLondon Transport Museum, at Covent Garden
6271866Statens järnvägar75 GötaA(Aa)2-2-2On display at Swedish Railway Museum, Gävle
8091867Statens järnvägar93 JernsidaG(Gc)0-6-0Nynäs, Swedish Railway Museum, Gävle, see 1442
8461868St. Petersburg & Helsingfors Railway9B10-4-2 TFinnish Railway Museum, Hyvinkää
12551873Isle of Man Railway1 Sutherland2-4-0 TStored pending rebuild (Isle of Man Railway)
12551873Isle of Man Railway3 Pender2-4-0 TOn display at the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry (sectioned exhibit)
14161874Isle of Man Railway4 Loch2-4-0 TIn service (Isle of Man Steam Railway)
14171874Isle of Man Railway5 Mona2-4-0 TStored (Isle of Man Railway)
14421867Statens järnvägar161 WikG(Gc)0-6-0Nynäs, Swedish Railway Museum, Gävle marked Gc 93
15241875Isle of Man Railway6 Peveril2-4-0 TOn display at the Port Erin Railway Museum
16471877NSW Government Railways1905Z190-6-0NSW Rail Museum
18271879Beyer, Peacock and Company18270-4-0 STOperational at Foxfield Railway
19331880Bergslagernas Järnvägar27K0-6-0Nynäs, Swedish Railway Museum, Gävle
20281880Manx Northern Railway3 Thornhill2-4-0 TPrivately preserved (Isle of Man)
20381880Isle of Man Railway7 Tynwald2-4-0 TDismantled for spares. Frames moved to Southwold Railway
21011881Maatschappij tot Exploitatie van Staatsspoorwegen326 (NS 1326)301-4752-4-0On display at Dutch Railway Museum, Utrecht
22541911South Maitland Railways10, 17–20, 22–28, 30–31102-8-2 T2 Operational, 12 in
26011886Mersey Railway/J. & A. Brown1 The MajorI0-6-4 TNSW Rail Museum, Thirlmere, NSW, Australia
26051886Mersey Railway5 Cecil RaikesI0-6-4 TMuseum of Liverpool
27111886Western Australian Government Railways A11A2-6-0Meredith, Victoria, Australia?
32761890Ferrocarril Alcoy Gandia2 "Villalonga"2-6-2 TOn display at Al-Azraq Square, Alcoi, Spain
32821891Ferrocarril Alcoy Gandia7 "Cocentaina"2-6-2 TOn display at Gandia station, Spain
34021891NSW Government Railways3203C324-6-0NSW Rail Museum
34131892NSW Government Railways3214C324-6-0Valley Heights Locomotive Depot Heritage Museum
34361892NSW Government Railways3237C324-6-0Operational, Lachlan Valley Railway
36101894Isle of Man Railway8 Fenella2-4-0 TIn service (Isle of Man Railway)
36411894Nippon Railway, JapanB104B104-4-0 -> 4-4-2 TKominato Railway, Ichihara, Chiba, Japan
38151896Isle of Man Railway9 Douglas2-4-0 TStored (Isle of Man Railway)
39111897Nippon Railway, Japan554055004-4-0Ome Railway Park, Ome, Tokyo, Japan
40281898Tobu Railway, Japan5B14-4-0Tobu Museum, Sumida, Tokyo, Japan[3]
40291898Tobu Railway, Japan6B14-4-0Tobu Museum, Sumida, Tokyo, Japan[3]
42211901NSW Government Railways3265 HunterC324-6-0Operational, Powerhouse Museum
43721902NSW Government Railways5069D502-8-0Dorrigo Steam Railway & Museum
46621905Isle of Man Railway10 G. H. Wood2-4-0 TIn service (Isle of Man Steam Railway)
46631905Isle of Man Railway11 Maitland2-4-0 TStored pending rebuild (Isle of Man Railway)
47481906Central Uruguay Railway88N2-6-0On display (Paysandú station, Uruguay)
47501906Central Uruguay Railway92N2-6-0On display in bad shape (San José, Uruguay)
47511906Central Uruguay Railway93N2-6-0On display (Young, Uruguay)
49431907Central Uruguay Railway96N2-6-0On display (City bus terminal, Artigas, Uruguay)
50541908NSW Government Railways5112D502-8-0Bathurst
50741909NSW Government Railways5132D502-8-0Dorrigo Steam Railway & Museum
51261908Isle of Man Railway12 Hutchinson2-4-0 TIn service (Isle of Man Steam Railway)
52921909Tasmanian Government RailwaysK1K0-4-0+0-4-0Welsh Highland Railway (Caernarfon)
53821910Isle of Man Railway13 Kissack2-4-0 TAwaiting new boiler (Isle of Man Railway)
53991910Central Uruguay Railway119N32-6-0In working order (CEFU, Montevideo, Uruguay)
54001910Central Uruguay Railway120N32-6-0In service (AUAR, Montevideo, Uruguay)
55481912Victorian RailwaysD2 604D2 4-6-0On display at ARHS Vic Railway Museum, Australia
58071914NSW Government Railways3112C304-6-4 TStored, Private ownership, Canberra
62681926Victorian RailwaysG 42G 2-6-0+0-6-2Puffing Billy Railway
62961926Isle of Man Railway16 Mannin2-4-0 TOn display at the Port Erin Railway Museum
15721928 London and North Eastern Railway8572LNER B12 (GER Class S69)4-6-0Operational at the North Norfolk Railway
66391930South African Railways2352GL4-8-2+2-8-4Manchester Museum of Science and Industry
69351939Fyansford Cement Works Railway22-6-0+0-6-2Bellarine Railway, Victoria, Australia
73401950Rhodesia Railways 398 "Isidumuka"15A4-6-4+4-6-4Flying Fifteen Group, Steam Incorporated Paekakariki
74281951South African Railways127NGG 162-6-2+2-6-2Puffing Billy Railway, Victoria, Australia
74301951South African Railways129NGG 162-6-2+2-6-2Puffing Billy Railway, Victoria, Australia
75311954NSW Government Railways6029AD604-8-4+4-8-4Canberra Railway Museum
75411956NSW Government Railways6039AD604-8-4+4-8-4Dorrigo Steam Railway & Museum
75421956NSW Government Railways6040AD604-8-4+4-8-4NSW Rail Museum
75441956NSW Government Railways6042AD604-8-4+4-8-4Dorrigo Steam Railway & Museum
75821953Rhodesia Railways 50914A4-8-2+2-8-4Mainline Steam Heritage Trust Plimmerton New Zealand
76811956South African Railways4083GMAM4-8-2+2-8-4Mainline Steam Heritage Trust Mercer, New Zealand
78631958South African RailwaysNG138NGG 162-6-2+2-6-2Welsh Highland Railway (Caernarfon)
78651958South African RailwaysNG140NGG 162-6-2+2-6-2Welsh Highland Railway (Caernarfon)
78681958South African RailwaysNG143NGG 162-6-2+2-6-2Welsh Highland Railway (Caernarfon)

Diesel and electric locomotives

Preserved Locomotives
BP No.BuiltCompany built forLocomotive number(s)ClassWheel arrangementPreserved at
1956NSWGR460146 ClassCo-CoValley Heights Locomotive Depot Heritage Museum
1956NSWGR460246 ClassCo-CoDorrigo Steam Railway & Museum
1956NSWGR461546 ClassCo-CoJunee Roundhouse Museum on permanent loan from the Sydney Electric Train Society
1956NSWGR461746 ClassCo-CoPrivately owned, Junee (cab only)
1956NSWGR462746 ClassCo-CoSydney Electric Train Society
1956NSWGR463846 ClassCo-CoNSW Rail Museum, Broadmeadow Locomotive Depot[4]
1961British RailwaysE3054, 82008BR Class 82Bo-BoBarrow Hill Engine Shed
79111962British RailwaysD7017BR Class 35 HymekB-BWest Somerset Railway
79121962British RailwaysD7018BR Class 35 HymekB-BWest Somerset Railway
79231962British RailwaysD7029BR Class 35 HymekB-BSevern Valley Railway
79801963British RailwaysD7076BR Class 35 HymekB-BEast Lancs Railway
80381965British RailwaysD7628, 25278 SybillaBR Class 25Bo-BoNorth Yorkshire Moors Railway - Operational
80391965British RailwaysD7629, 25279BR Class 25Bo-BoGreat Central Railway (Nottingham) - Operational
80431965British RailwaysD7633, 25283BR Class 25Bo-BoDean Forest Railway - Operational


  1. Bruce, J Greame (1971). Steam to Silver. London: London Transport. ISBN 978-0853290124.
  2. Atkins (1999), p. 104.
  3. Tobu Museum exhibit guide Archived 22 December 2008 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved on 11 March 2009 (in Japanese)
  4. "Veteran Electric Finds New Home as In-Traffic Units Face Uncertain Future" Railway Digest July 1998 page 10


  • Hills, Richard L.; Patrick, D. (1982). Beyer, Peacock, locomotive builders to the world. Glossop: Transport Publishing Co. ISBN 0-903839-41-5.
  • Atkins, P. (1999). The Golden Age of Steam Locomotive Building. Atlantic. pp. 66–67. ISBN 978-0906899878.
  • Lowe, James W. (1989) [1975]. "Beyer, Peacock & Company". British Steam Locomotive Builders. London: Guild Publishing. pp. 59–64. ISBN 0900404213.
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