In Great Britain, the Victorians built the vast bulk of the country’s railway system and constructed steam locomotives to work them - many different designs were created, with many different results. The final form of the steam locomotive was seen in the designs introduced in the early years of the 20th century, from there on development was in detail and power.
Using footage from the last quarter of a century, this programme looks at the way this final form was refined by some of the most famous engineers of their time, right up to the last steam locomotives built for main line service in the country.
This is The Streamline Age, examining the locomotives of the Great Depression.
The 1930s were the years of depression, and this had a marked effect on Britain’s railways. However, renewals of locomotive fleets were becoming urgent, so there was considerable change in the steam fleets, many of which would be the final designs of their types.
The Great Western renewed on an almost like-for-like basis, although there were some notable advances, whilst the Southern Railway saw some interesting machines such as the "Schools" class, the most powerful 4-4-0s in Europe. Both the northern rivals, the LMS and LNER saw great advances in steam machines, the former at last breaking out of its post-grouping slump and the latter producing some of the greatest steam locomotives of all - the immortal A4 streamliners.