More from The Mercian, 1968 Vol.1 No.2
Steam Locomotives of a Leisurely Era – by Casey Jones
Improved Precedent 2186 ‘Lowther’
The Ex LNWR ‘Jumbos’
At the 1923 Grouping, the LNWR handed over to the LMSR a stud of diminutive 2-4-0s of various ages dating back to 1867. Most of them had since been rebuilt at Crewe Works by F.W. Webb the CME to form an efficient stud of light engines for secondary, semi-fast, inter-urban, piloting duties and engineering duties. The ‘Jumbos’ as they were nicknamed were comprised of the survivors of the ‘Precedent’, ‘Whitworth’, ‘Newton’ and ‘Samson’ classes and were allotted the numbers 5000-5109 by the LMSR.
Certain of the dimensions in the final form were:
Cylinders, 17” X 24”
Pressure, 160 lbs.
Driving Wheels, 6 feet or 6 feet 6 inches
Weight, 34 tons
Allan straight link valve gear.
Names which were indeed a very motley collection – the LNWR named practically everything possible – were listed here, along with the building dates with the LMSR numbers but just too many to list here, but if anyone has a query about a particular engine, please ask.
Out of a total of 110 locos which survived into LMSR stock, 42 were ‘Precedents’, 26 ‘Newtons’, 28 ‘Whitworths’ and 4 ‘Samsons’. The Precedents were much the same as built, whilst the Newtons and Whitworths had been renewed as Precedents between 1887-94 and again between 1893-1901 to form one standard class. In later rebuildings some had their driving wheels enlarged to 6’ 9”. The Samsons were virtually as built apart from Webb cabs and chimneys.
In their heyday the class had to cope, either singly or in pairs, with the heavy West Coast trains out of Euston due to the lack of larger engines and the shortcomings of the Webb three and four cylinder compounds about which the least said the better. How they managed to cope with the trains during those difficult times in the motive power department no-one will ever know, nevertheless they acquitted themselves very ably until the coming of the Whale 4-4-0s and 4-6-0s.
The highlight of any one member of the class was during the Races of 1895 when ‘Hardwicke’ (LMS 5031) ran the 141 miles from Crewe to Carlisle non-stop at an average speed of 67 mph, no mean feat for such a small locomotive over such a difficult road.
As already mentioned, later train loadings were too much for the class and they were drafted to secondary work all over the system, some specially attached to the Engineers’ Department. Withdrawal began almost immediately after the Grouping until by 1936 the last had gone, gone that is except for the redoubtable ‘Hardwicke’ which had been restored to LNWR livery and kept as a treasured relic at Crewe Works along with Cornwall, the unique 2-2-2, until its recent removal to the Transport Museum at Clapham.