Steam Locomotives of a More Leisurely Era
Great Northern Railway – London Brighton & South Coast Railway
990 in early LNER days
H.A.Ivatt’s No.990, which emerged from Doncaster Works in the summer of 1898, was the first 4-4-2 tender engine to run in this country. This type had already established a firm footing in the USA, and this was no doubt the reason for the nickname ‘Atlantic’ which has always been applied to engines of this wheel arrangement.
No.990 subsequently received the name ‘Henry Oakley’ and was unique in that it was the only GNR engine ever to bear a name until almost the close of that Company’s independent life, when Gresley’s two ‘Pacifics’, which appeared in 1922, were likewise honoured.
After extended trials with 990, ten more of the class were built in 1900, Nos.949, 950 and 982-9.
No.271, which followed in 1902, was a much more powerful engine, in that although similar in appearance to the 990s, it was provided with four high pressure cylinders in place of the two carried by the earlier examples. It remained the only engine of its class, and after various modifications it ended up with two inside cylinders only, in the form in which it remained until scrapped in 1936.4433 in early LNER days
Also in 1902 appeared No.251, the pioneer of the larger and better known class of Atlantics which did so much yeoman service on the GNR main line for very many years. This engine was provided with a much bigger boiler, and was the largest passenger engine in the country at the time. Another essential difference between the new engine and the ‘small Atlantics’ was the wide firebox extending over the whole width of the frames. The large grate which it was thus possible to provide was one of the contributory reasons for the success of the design. Whilst 251 was undergoing trials ten more of the small class appeared in 1903, Nos. 250 and 252-60, after which the enlarged version came out in considerable numbers between 1904 and 1910, eventually totalling 94 engines. The numbers were 251, 272-301, 1300, and 1400-61. The last ten were built new with superheaters and had sundry other improvements. Eventually the remainder of the class was also superheated.
There were a few add deviations from the standard design amongst these engines. No. 292 was built as a 4-cylinder compound, and was scrapped as such in 1927. No. 1421 also started as a 4-cylinder compound, but was converted to a standard 2-cylinder simple in 1921. No. 279 was rebuilt as a 4-cylinder in 1915, but reverted to two cylinders in 1928. No. 1419 acquired a ‘booster’ to the trailing wheels in 1923, a small auxiliary engine to assist in starting, but this was not greatly successful, and the apparatus was later removed. Finally, No. 1300, which was a 4-cylinder compound constructed by the Vulcan Foundry in 1905, and which differed considerably from the standard class in appearance, was converted to 2-cylinder simple in 1917, and scrapped in 1924, the first of the class to go.
By 1946 all of the small-boilered Atlantics had been taken out of service, and withdrawal of the large ones had already begun in 1945. All except Nos. 292 and 1300, however, were included in the 1946 renumbering scheme as 2800-91, although many of them never actually carried these numbers. Seventeen survived to be incorporated in BR stock in 1948, but only No. 62822 was actually renumbered as such. This engine, the last to remain in traffic, was scrapped in 1950.
The originals of both small and large designs, Nos. 990 and 251, have been preserved in their old GNR colours, but No. 990 is not exactly in its original condition, as it acquired, in common with others of its class, an extended smokebox.
When D.E.Marsh, who had been at Doncaster when the ‘251’ class came out, and probably had a hand in their design, went to the LBSCR, he built eleven almost exactly similar engines for that line, Nos. 37-41, originally un-superheated, in 1905, and another six, with superheaters, in 1911-12, Nos. 421-6. Most of the latter outlasted their GNR antecedents, one of them remaining in service until 1958 as BR No. 32424. This was the last ‘Atlantic’ type engine in regular service in this country.3258 pic by M.Peirson – LNER Encyclopedia
Dimensions as finally running:
GNR 990 class – Driving wheels – 6’ 8”, Cylinders – 19”x 24”, Pressure – 170 lb., Tractive effort – 15649 lb., Weight – 60 tons, LNER classification – C2, LBSC & SR classification – NA, BR classification – NA
GNR 251 class – Driving wheels – 6’ 8”, Cylinders – 20”x 26”, Pressure – 170 lb., Tractive effort – 18735 lb., Weight – 70 tons, LNER classification – C1, LBSC & SR classification – NA, BR classification – 2P
LBSC 37-41 – Driving wheels – 6’ 7½”, Cylinders – 19”x 26”, Pressure – 200 lb., Tractive effort – 20070 lb., Weight – 68¼ tons, LNER classification – NA, LBSC & SR classification – H1, BR classification – 4P
LBSC 421-6 – Driving wheels – 6’ 7½”, Cylinders – 21”x 26”, Pressure – 200 lb., Tractive effort – 24520 lb., Weight – 68¼ tons, LNER classification – NA, LBSC & SR classification – H2, BR classification – 4P
GNR 4-4-2 Class C2 “Klondyke” no. 990 “Henry Oakley” at Doncaster Works open day on 27th July 2003.
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