Steam Locos of a Leisurely Era 1853 – Bristol & Exeter railway – 4-2-4T

Steam Locos of a Leisurely Era

1853 – Bristol & Exeter railway – 4-2-4T

No.40, taken some time between 1873 and 1876 – H.C.Casserley

The first of these somewhat extraordinary engines appeared towards the end of 1853, B&ER Nos. 42 – 46.  Their 9’ 0” flangeless driving wheels were practically the largest ever used in this country*, or probably anywhere else for that matter.  They were amongst the first engines to be fitted with bogie wheels.

They were obviously intended to be fliers, and they seem to have justified themselves in this respect, a speed of over 81 mph being recorded on one occasion, a very high figure for those days.

The distinctive designs by James Pearson, the railway company’s engineer, featured single large flangeless  driving wheels and two supporting bogies . The water was carried in both well and back tanks, leaving the boilers exposed in the same way as tender locomotives.

They were numbered 39 – 46.  Nos. 39 – 42 were withdrawn in 1868/1873, and replaced by new, almost identical engines having 8’ 10” driving wheels and a few other modifications.  Nos. 43-6 were scrapped during the same period and not replaced.  In 1876 Nos.39 – 42 became GWR 2001 – 4 on being absorbed into that Company’s stock.  In the same year No. 2001 was derailed at Long Ashton when travelling at speed, as a result of which the other three were rebuilt in 1877 as 4-2-2 tender engines.  No.2001 did not run again, and No. 2004 took its number on conversion.  In their rebuilt form they took their place along with the ‘Iron Dukes’ between Paddington and Newton Abbot.  No. 2002 lasted until 1890.

* An engine had been built in 1838 with 10’ 0” driving wheels, but it probably did little work as it ran for only two years.

Driving wheels – 8’ 10”,  Bogie wheels – 4’ 0”,  Cylinders – 18”X 24”,  Weight – 49 tons 14cwt. (18½ tons on the driving axle).Bristol and Exeter Railway 4-2-4T running as Great Western Railway 2002 in 1876, standing outside Exeter St Davids engine shed.

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