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This led to his appointment as the company's locomotive engineer in 1854, a post he held for eighteen years.
Among the first locomotives bought by the railway from outside contractors were five 0-4-2 saddle tanks. After that, all were constructed at Bow, London. The works also had a sizeable wagon repair shop. Adams introduced his noted series of 4-4-0 tank engines, the first to utilise the laterally-sprung bogie, and the first continuous train brake
When the railway was merged into the LMS it was the smallest of fifteen workshops. It not only repaired NLR locomotives but, from 1927 those from the former London, Tilbury and Southend Railway (LTSR).
In the 1930s the works developed and manufactured the Hudd automatic control system for the LTSR, which later on led to a British Railways team from the national headquarters setting up in Bow to develop BR's standard Automatic Warning System.
In 1956 the workshop repaired diesel-electric locomotives for the motive power depot at Devons Road (the first to become all-diesel). After a while it was receiving locos in the morning and turning them round by the evening, which initially confused the statistical returns since locos were entering and leaving the works on the same day.
1960 The works closed.