Vulcan Products 1914 ~ 1918

By 1914 Vulcan Foundry had produced its three thousandth locomotive ~ this was a broad gauge 2-6-2 for the Great Indian Peninsular Railway. However, any celebrations relating to the delivery of this locomotive were muted because of the outbreak of the First World War.

During the war period, 1914 – 1918, locomotive production at Vulcan was inevitably disrupted, although five large side-tank engines were built for the Taff Vale Railway in 1916. The major part of the factory was turned over to the production of war supplies. Shells were produced in vast quantities, with most of the machines being operated by girls and women. It was only the emergencies of wartime that permitted this invasion into what had been a resolutely held male preserve.

One of the more unconventional units that were made at Vulcan during this period was the Paravane or Burnley Sweep. These highly successful anti-mine devices were towed on either side of a ship where the wire ropes deflected mines to the Paravane which cut through the mine’s mooring wire. Severed from its mooring the mine could then be destroyed at a safe distance away from the vessel.