Category Archives: Steam Locomotive Classes of a Leisurely Era

Steam Locomotives of a Leisurely Era 1941 – Gresley Lightweight 2-6-2 – London & North Eastern Railway

Steam Locomotives of a Leisurely Era
1941 – Gresley Lightweight 2-6-2
London & North Eastern Railway

No.61701 as running in 1950

No.61701 as running in 1950

This was Sir Nigel Gresley’s last design, and consisted of two engines only, No.3401 ‘Bantam Cock’ and No.3402, unofficially known as ‘Bantam Hen’, although it never actually bore the name.
They were intended to become the prototypes of a new standard class of lighter general purpose engine to replace the aging ‘Atlantics’ and other types from the former GNR, GCR and the rest of the various LNER constituent companies, but owing to Sir Nigel’s untimely death no more were built. E.Thompson, who succeeded him, had different ideas on the subject, and introduced his B1 4-6-0 mixed traffic class for the same purpose. The two Gresley engines spent most of their time in Scotland, mainly on the West Highland lines, but as a non-standard class both were withdrawn in 1957. In 1946 they had become Nos.1700 and 1701, and later BR Nos. 61700-1.
Driving wheels – 5’ 8”, Cylinders (3) – 15”x 26”, Pressure – 250 lb., Tractive effort – 27420 lb., Weight – 70 tons 8 cwt., LNER classification – V4, BR classification – 4MT

Bantam Hen

Steam Locomotives of a Leisurely Era – 1939 3-Cylinder 4-6-0 – Great Southern Railway

Steam Locomotives of a Leisurely Era
1939 3-Cylinder 4-6-0
Great Southern Railway

No.801 as running in 1948.

No.801 as running in 1948.

Three engines built in 1939 for working the heaviest expresses over the main line between Dublin and Cork. They were named after the Queens of Ireland, No.800 ‘Maeve’, 801 ‘Mocha’ and 802 ‘Tailte’, and were destined to be the last new conventional steam locomotives constructed for the GSR or Coras Iompair Eireann, as it later became. They were the most powerful express locomotives ever built for an Irish railway, and their remarkable similarity to the English rebuilt ‘Royal Scots’ will be noted.
Since dieselisation there has been little suitable work for them, and No.802 was broken up in 1957. As a matter of interest the dimensions of the LMS rebuilt ‘Royal Scots’ are shown for comparison.
GSR 800 class – Driving wheels – 6’ 7”, Cylinders (3) – 18½”x 28”, Pressure – 225 lb., Tractive effort – 33000 lb., Weight 84 tons
LMS rebuilt ‘Royal Scots’ – Driving wheels – 6’ 9”, Cylinders (3) – 18”x 28”, Pressure – 250 lb., Tractive effort – 33150 lb., Weight 83 tons

GSRLoco Spellerweb



Steam Locomotives of a Leisurely Era – 1937 ‘Coronation’ Pacifics – London Midland & Scottish Railway

Steam Locomotives of a Leisurely Era
1937 ‘Coronation’ Pacifics
London Midland & Scottish Railway

6229 Duchess of Hamilton as first built

6229 Duchess of Hamilton as first built

Following the success of the ‘Princess’ class Pacifics an improved design was put in hand, and five engines appeared in 1937 for working the newly inaugurated high-speed service between London and Glasgow. The heating surface, cylinders and piston valves were enlarged, and the driving wheel diameter increased to 6’ 9”, but the most striking change was the fully streamlined casing, which while impressive was also aesthetically extremely ugly. The engines were also painted a bright shade of blue with horizontal white bands to match the new train, which was similarly adorned. Nos.6225-9 which followed, were, however, painted in standard LMS maroon. The next batch, Nos.6230-4, were non-streamlined and presented a handsome appearance. Further additions to the class were Nos. 6235-48, all streamlined, and finally, between 1944 and 1948 there came Nos. 6249-57, without streamlining. No.6256 was named after its designer, Sir William Á. Stanier, F.R.S. This, and No.6257 had roller bearings. The outer casing was removed from all the streamlined engines, as it was found to be of little value at speeds below 90 mph or so, and was a nuisance to the maintenance staff as it rendered parts of the engine somewhat inaccessible. To combat the trouble of drifting steam over the cab, all the class was fitted with smoke deflectors, but strangely this was never found necessary with the earlier ‘Princess’ class.

6251 as first built

6251 as first built

Prior to the introduction of the ‘Coronation’ flier in July, 1937, No.6220 was tried out with a special train and attained 114 mph just south of |Crewe, thus beating the record of 113 mph at that time held by the LNER.
The ‘Coronation’ class have since shown themselves to be magnificent engines, not only in the realms of speed, but in their ability to handle very heavy expresses over the West Coast route. On test in 1939, No.6234, then newly fitted with a double chimney, worked a train of twenty coaches, 610 tons behind the tender, between Crewe and Carlisle, 102 miles in 118 minutes. This included of course the ascents of Shap and Beattock. All were still in service in 1959, as BR Nos. 46220-57, although beginning to be displaced by diesels on many of the top link workings.

TheRailwayMagazine-Nov1998-page21loco‘Duchess of Hamilton’ dressed up as ‘Coronation’

In January, 1939, No.6229 ‘Duchess of Hamilton’ was sent on exhibition to New York, and later made an extended tour over the USA railways. It was still there when the Second World War broke out, and was not returned to this country until 1943. During this time it had exchanged numbers and nameplates with No.6220 ‘Coronation’, but these were altered back on the engine’s return. This was a great mistake, as many American servicemen in this country, seeing the real 6220, were naturally under the erroneous impression that it was the same locomotive which had toured their own native land.

Duchess of Montrose
Driving wheels – 6’ 9”, Cylinders (4) – 16½”x 28”, Pressure – 250 lb., Tractive effort – 40000 lb., Weight – 105 tons 5 cwt., Nos. 46256-7 weighed 106 tons 8 cwt., LMS classification – 7P, BR classification – 8P

Duchess of Hamilton in the NRM 2014

Duchess of Hamilton in the NRM 2014

Railroad Glory Days – Glen Brewer G+

Railroad Glory Days – Glen Brewer


The lovely little Sonoma at the California State Railroad Museum is one of three locomotives built in 1876 by Baldwin Locomotive Works for the narrow gauge North Pacific Coast Railroad.

The NPC operated in the northern California counties of Marin and Sonoma that carried redwood lumber, local dairy and agricultural products, express and passengers. The NPC operated almost 93 mi (150 km) of track that extended from a pier at Sausalito (which connected the line via ferry to San Francisco) and operated northwest to Duncans Mills and Cazadero (also known as Ingrams).

The NPC became the North Shore Railroad (California) (NSR) on March 7, 1902. In 1907 the North Shore Railroad became part of the Northwestern Pacific Railroad (NWP). Southern portions of the line were standard gauged and electrified by the North Shore for suburban passenger service, though tracks north of Point Reyes Station remained 3 ft (914 mm) narrow gauge until abandonment in the late 1930s.(Wikipedia)

Via G+

Steam Locomotives of a Leisurely Era – 1935 A4 Pacifics London & North Eastern Railway

Steam Locomotives of a Leisurely Era
1935 A4 Pacifics
London & North Eastern Railway


'Mallard' as originally built

‘Mallard’ as originally built

When the question of providing a high-speed service between London and Newcastle in the early 1930s was being mooted, the question of utilising a diesel-electric train was at one time seriously considered, but as this would have given neither the desired standard of comfort nor the required speed, the idea was dropped. It was decided to use conventional type of rolling stock with steam propulsion and a certain amount of streamlining to reduce wind pressure at the high speeds contemplated, as Sir Nigel Gresley assured the directors that he could produce an engine and train which would amply cover the requirements. His ‘Silver Link’, which appeared in 1935, was in effect an improved version of his already successful ‘Pacific’ design, but greatly altered in appearance. The now familiar wedge-shaped streamline casing was certainly startling at the time.
The first four engines, Nos.2509-12, soon showed themselves fully capable of doing all that was required, and in 1937 further examples were built for working the even more ambitious high speed non-stop ’Coronation’ between London and Edinburgh. Eventually the class consisted of 35 engines, Nos.2509-12, 4462-9, 4482-4500 and 4900-3. No.4498 was named ‘Sir Nigel Gresley’ after its designer.

Sir Nigel Gresley at Bridgnorth

Sir Nigel Gresley at Bridgnorth

The exploits of these remarkable engines is comparatively recent history and needs no repetition here, but the 126 mph speed attained by No.4468 ‘Mallard’ in July 1938 remains to this day a world record for steam which can be substantiated. A claim of 127 mph by a Pennsylvania ‘Atlantic’ in 1905 seems to have been based upon somewhat flimsy evidence and can hardly be accepted.

Union of South Africa - Shildon 2014

Union of South Africa – Shildon 2014

No.4469 was destroyed at York in 1842 in an air raid, but the remainder were renumbered 1-34 in 1946 although not in chronological order. They duly became BR 60001-34 and were still in service in 1959. In recent years the valances over the driving wheels have been cut away to give easier access to the motion, and most of them have now Kylchap blast pipes and double chimneys, which were originally fitted to Nos.4468 and 4901-3.

Sir Nigel Gresley leaving Highley

Sir Nigel Gresley leaving Highley

Driving wheels – 6’ 8”, Cylinders (3) – 18½”x 26”, Pressure – 250 lb., Tractive effort – 35455 lb., Weight – 103 tons, LNER classification – A4, BR classification – 8P6F

Mallard at Shildon - 2014

Mallard at Shildon – 2014

Steam Locomotives of a Leisurely Era – 1934 – Class 5 – London Midland & Scottish Railway

Steam Locomotives of a Leisurely Era
1934 – Class 5
London Midland & Scottish Railway

No.4777 when new in 1947

No.4777 when new in 1947

One of the most successful designs ever built, these engines have been firm favourites with the operating staff ever since William Stanier first introduced them in 1934. A general purpose mixed traffic locomotive which can be used on almost any duty, reliable and easy on maintenance, is bound to establish itself quickly, and the class multiplied rapidly in consequence, replacing many older and some not-so-old types over all the wide ramifications of the LMS from Wick to Bournemouth.

Nos.5000-5471 were built between 1934 and 1938, and after a hiatus owing to early war conditions the class was resumed in 1943 with 5472-99, 4800-99, then working backwards in batches until the complete series of 842 engines ran under BR numbers from 44658-45499, the final lot coming out in 1950. There are several varieties found in the class, consisting to a great extent of variations in the boiler mountings, and a few have double blast pipes and chimneys. No.44767 is unique in being fitted with Stephenson’s outside link motion instead of the usual Walschaert gear. The main variation occurs with engines 44738-57 which have Caprotti valve gear and with somewhat lower running plates and small splashers (absent in the standard design) present a noticeably different appearance, as do Nos.44686 and 44687, which have no running plates at all, to the great detriment of their looks.

Apart from these 842 engines the type was perpetuated by BR in its 73000 class, totalling another 172 locomotives, which are the obvious descendants of the LMS engines.

All of the class were still in service in 1959, and as far as could be seen there was no immediate likelihood of any withdrawals taking place in spite of the general widespread scrapping proceeding at an ever increasing rate in consequence of dieselisation and electrification. It seems reasonably certain that these useful engines may well be amongst the last to remain for as many more years as steam propulsion continues to find a place in the British Railways system, and they will undoubtedly have earned themselves the right to take their place amongst the ranks of the historic locomotive designs.

Driving wheels – 6’ 0”, Cylinders – 18½”x 28”, Pressure 225lb., Tractive effort – 25455lb., Weight varies between 72 and 75 tons, LMS and BR classification 5.



Steam Locomotives of a Leisurely Era – 1933 – ‘Princess’ Pacifics London Midland & Scottish Railway

Steam Locomotives of a Leisurely Era
1933 – ‘Princess’ Pacifics
London Midland & Scottish Railway

Princess Louise in 1948 at first temporarily numbered M6206 and later 46206, in 1948

Princess Louise at first temporarily numbered M6206 and later 46206, in 1948

One of Mr. (later Sir) William Stanier’s first designs after his appointment as Chief Mechanical Engineer of the LMS. Stanier came from the Great Western, and introduced a number of features of that Company’s practice to the LMS for the first time, including the use of a taper boiler. His first two Pacifics, Nos. 6200 ‘The Princess Royal’ and 6201 ‘Princess Elizabeth, which appeared in 1933, were given thorough trials before any more were built, after which ten similar engines, Nos.6203-12 came out in 1935 with slight modifications following the experience gained with the first two engines, chief amongst these was an increase in the superheater heating surface. The four cylinders on this class has each its own independent set of Walschaert valve gear, but No.6205 later had its inside sets replaced by rocking levers actuated from the outside pair. As might have been expected, these locomotives soon proved themselves to be greatly superior to anything previously seen on the North Western main line. In 1936, in anticipation of the introduction of a high speed service between London and Glasgow, No.6201 was tested with a light load of 230 tons, seven coaches, and succeeded in covering the distance of 401½ miles, non-stop, in the remarkable time of 353½ minutes.

Concurrently with Nos. 6203-12, there appeared No.6202, which differed radically from its sisters. The boiler, wheels, etc., were identical, but in place of the normal cylinders and reciprocating motion it was propelled by turbines, a large one on the left hand side of the engine, for forward motion, and a smaller one on the right hand for reverse running. It was not the first turbine driven locomotive in this country, other experiments in this direction having been made in the 1920s, but it was undoubtedly the only successful turbine design to appear. Many snags were encountered and the engine spent a good proportion of its life in the works undergoing modifications, but nevertheless when it was in service it was a very good engine, and performed work equal to that of its orthodox sisters. It was a beautiful machine to see in action, with its soft purr and even torque, which resulted in almost complete absence of slipping, even with the heaviest load, a fault to which most ‘Pacifics’ designs are particularly prone.

It ran as a turbine until 1952, when it was rebuilt with a normal 4-cylinder propulsion. Previously nameless, it now became ‘Princess Anne’, but its life under its new metamorphosis was exceedingly short, as it was involved in the disastrous Harrow accident in that year, and damaged beyond repair. All the other ‘Princesses, now BR Nos. 46200, 46201 and 46203-12, were in active service in 1959.

Anne Turbine
‘Princess’ class – Driving wheels – 6’ 6”, Cylinders – 16¼”x 28”, Pressure – 250 lb., Tractive effort – 40285 lb., Weight – 104½ tons, BR classification – 8P
No.6202 – Driving wheels – 6’ 6”, Cylinders – N/A, Pressure – 250 lb., Tractive effort –N/A., Weight – 110½ tons, BR classification – N/A

Anne rebuilt

Steam Locomotives of a Leisurely Era – 1932 – 0-4-2T Great Western Railway

Steam Locomotives of a Leisurely Era

1932 – 0-4-2T

Great Western Railway

No.1425 with a trailer, as running in 1947

No.1425 with a trailer, as running in 1947

These engines were in effect a modernised version of a very much older class dating back to 1868, the first 54 of which were built as saddle tanks, but later converted to side tanks to conform with the subsequent engines. In all 165 had been constructed between 1868 and 1897, and many of them were still in service in the 1930s, but in need of renewal. It became a common practice on the GWR in later years to replace older engines with completely new ones of the same basic design, instead of the more usual method of giving the original machines extensive overhaul or rebuilding. Latterly this method was applied to some even comparatively modern classes.

In this instance the old 0-4-2Ts were replaced by a series of 95 new engines, Nos.4800-74, which were provided with pull-and-push apparatus, and Nos.5800-19, which were not motor fitted. The most noticeable features in the new engines when compared to the old ones were an extended smokebox and a more modern cab, but they were not superheated. All were built between 1932 and 1936. They replaced their predecessors on the numerous branch lines of the Great Western and in some cases stopping trains along the main lines. With their loads of one or two coaches, sufficient for the local needs which they served, they were very efficient and economical in operation. They were, moreover, quick in acceleration and could show a surprising turn of speed. The advent of the diesel railcar and the closing of many branch lines had rendered many of them redundant, and from 1956 onwards they began to be taken out of service. Nos.4800-74 were renumbered 1400-74 in 1946.


Driving wheels – 5′ 2″,  Cylinders – 16″x 24″,  Pressure – 165 lb.,  Tractive effort – 13900 lb.,  Weight – 41 tons 6 cwt.,  BR classification – 1P


The Great Goodbye – Shildon, February 2014

The Great Goodbye – A4 locos at Shildon, 2014

Steam Locomotives of a Leisurely Era – 1932 – 4-4-0 Compounds Great Northern Railway of Ireland

Steam Locomotives of a Leisurely Era

1932 – 4-4-0 Compounds

Great Northern Railway of Ireland

No.86 'Peregine' in 1937 after receiving the then new blue livery

No.86 ‘Peregine’ in 1937 after receiving the then new blue livery

For working the fast expresses over the GNR main line between Dublin and Belfast, the timings of which it was desired to accelerate, G.T.Glover built five 3-cylinder compound 4-4-0s in 1932. This was made possible by reconstructing the Boyne viaduct so as to permit a heavier axle loading which in the new engines amounted to 22 tons. They were built with round-topped boilers with the unusually high working pressure of 250 lb. per square inch, but these were latterly replaced with Belpaire type boilers with reduced pressure. In some ways they followed the design of the well-known Midland compounds. It was the last new compound design to appear in the British Isles. For many years these engines formed the mainstay in working the somewhat difficult schedules of the tightly timed expresses, but were superseded in 1948 by five new somewhat similar engines employing simple propulsion instead of compound, and more recently, by diesel railcars.
They were numbered 83-7, and were named ‘Eagle’, ‘Falcon’, ‘Merlin’, ‘Peregrine’ and ‘Kestrel’, and like so many engines for this railway, came from the works of Beyer Peacock & Co.

Driving wheels – 6’ 7” , Cylinders – 1 HP inside: 17¼”x 26”, 2 HP outside: 19”x 26”, Pressure – 250 lb., (later reduced to 215 lb.), – Tractive effort – 23760 lb., (later reduced to 20435 lb., Classification – W