Fowler's Ghost is a ghostly engine.
The Metropolitan Railway was a broad gauge line (7ft and 0 1/4in), that ran mainly underground. And because of it being underground, there was no where for smoke and steam emissions from the locomotives to go. So it's chief engineer, Sir John Fowler ordered a locomotive built to his design, by Robert Stephenson and Co. of Newcastle'. It was designed not to produce smoke emissions while in the tunnels. It arrived in 1861. A couple of test were tried on the experiment, but apparently afterwards, was never seen again.
Sir John Fowler originally claimed the locomotive never existed, but later on released pictures to the public. Also it was eventually cut up for scrap.
The reason for the locomotives mystery, was because after its apparent failure on the test runs, its designer banished it to a tunnel and sheeted it up.
The information on the events of the trials is quite limited, but is known that on the first trial on the Great Western line, (A few years before conversion to standard gauge), a test was tried about 7.5 miles to Hanwell station, but things appeared to go disastrously wrong, and there was much difficulty in getting the locomotive home. Another trial was run, on home territory between King's Cross and Edgware Road, but things appeared to go just as bad as before.
As explained before, after it failed to be successful on its runs, Sir John Fowler left it sheeted up in a disused tunnel. He claimed the test was never built but eventually, he released some pictures of it. Also, the locomotive was removed from its hiding spot and cut up for scrap.
The locomotive was a 2-4-0 tender engine. It had a small firebox, a very short length of tubes over the front wheels and a huge combustion chamber between the two, where a wall of firebricks were.
When not in a tunnel, the locomotives fire would heat up the firebricks. When it was in a tunnel, the dampers would be shut tightly to prevent smoke emissions, while the heated firebricks kept the boiler running.
But using firebricks was a bad choice in keeping the boiler hot. It would have been better to use a regular boiler, as water having the highest specific heat substance, would store heat much better than firebricks.
It was this bad design that lead to the locomotives failure on its test runs.
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