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Joseph Hamilton Beattie (1808-1871) was a locomotive engineer with the London and South Western Railway. Joseph Beattie was born in Ireland on 12 May 1808.[1] He was educated in Belfast and initially apprenticed to his father, a Derry architect. He moved to England in 1835 to serve as an assistant to Joseph Locke on the Grand Junction Railway and from 1837 on the London and Southampton Railway. After the line opened he became the carriage and wagon superintendent at Nine Elms and succeeded John Viret Gooch as locomotive engineer on 1 July 1850.

Joseph Hamilton Beattie
Born12 May 1808
Died18 October 1871(1871-10-18) (aged 63)
ChildrenWilliam George Beattie
Engineering career
DisciplineLocomotive engineer
Employer(s)London and South Western Railway
Beattie 2-4-0 well tank



Initially he designed a series of singles, but the weight of the Southampton and Salisbury expresses led to the development of 2-4-0s. He continued to develop the design over the next 20 years. In addition he developed a series of 85 2-4-0 well tanks and 0-6-0s. His locomotives were amongst the most efficient of the time. Three of his most famous locomotive design, the 0298 Class 2-4-0 well tanks,[2] were in service for 88 years, until 1962. 2 have been preserved - see the Swanage Railway,[3] Bodmin & Wenford Railway[4] and the National Railway Museum, York.


Beattie was a highly innovative engineer, introducing the country's first successful 2-4-0 locomotive, pioneering feedwater heating, balanced slide valves and coal-burning fireboxes. Since the Rainhill Trials in 1829, it had been accepted that the smoke emitted by burning coal was a nuisance.[5] Railway companies accepted the need to burn coke (a smokeless fuel) in their locomotives, but this was much more expensive than coal, and several locomotive engineers sought a method by which coal could be burned smokelessly.[6] One such engineer was Beattie, who designed a boiler suitable for coal in 1853.[7]


On 18 October 1871,[1] Beattie died of diphtheria and was succeeded as locomotive engineer by his son William George Beattie.


  1. ^ a b Marshall 1978, p. 24.
  2. ^ "Beattie 2-4-0WT". Retrieved 2 April 2008.
  3. ^ "Swanage Railway News Gallery Page 275". Archived from the original on 28 September 2007. Retrieved 19 January 2007.
  4. ^ "LSWR (SR) Beattie Well Tank 2-4-0 WT No 30587". Archived from the original on 18 May 2011. Retrieved 19 January 2007.
  5. ^ Ahrons 1987, p. 12.
  6. ^ Ahrons 1987, p. 131.
  7. ^ Ahrons 1987, pp. 133-134.

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