Steam Locos of a Leisurely Era
North Eastern Railway Worsdell rebuilt Fletcher 2-2-4T ?66? class locomotive number 66 AEROLITE on display in the great hall at the National Railway Museum, York. Monday 1st June 2009 David Ingham from Bury, Lancashire, England. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license
Some authorities regard this interesting engine as dating back to the year 1851, but although there was an engine constructed in that year bearing the same name, it can only be regarded as an ancestor of the 1869 machine, which was in fact an entirely new locomotive. It was built by E.Fletcher as a 2-2-2 well tank with sandwich pattern outside frames and various features characteristic of Fletcher’s practice of which the plain stove-pipe chimney and the large dome with Salter spring balance safety valves were amongst the most prominent. In 1886 it was rebuilt by T.W.Wordsell as a side tank with new frames and completely altered in appearance. At this period it was numbered 66 and lost its name. It ran in this form for only six years, and was rebuilt again by William Wordsell in 1892, this time as a Wordsell-von Borries 2-cylinder compound, and at the same time a leading bogie was added, making it a 4-2-2T. As such it seems to have been a very handsome little engine, although no satisfactory photograph of it in this condition in known. In 1902 it was once again rebuilt, this time the wheel arrangement being reversed, and in its final form it became a 2-2-4T. At the same time its name Aerolite was restored. In this condition it bears little or no resemblance to the original engine of 1869. It ran in this form until 1933, usually being employed in hauling an officers’ inspection saloon. On withdrawal the LNER repainted it in North Eastern colours and placed it in York Museum, where it now rests.
Original Condition Driving wheels – 5’ 6”, Cylinders – 13”x 20”
First rebuild as 2-2-2T Driving wheels – 5’ 7¾”, Cylinders – 13”x 20”, Pressure – 140 lb, Weight – 36 tons 19 cwt
As 4-2-2T Driving wheels – 5’ 7¾”, Cylinders – (1)13”x 20”, (1) 18½”x 20”, Pressure – 160 lb, Weight 38 tons 15 cwt
As 2-2-4T Driving wheels – 5’ 7¾”, Cylinders – (1) 13”x 20”, (1) 18½”x 20”, Pressure 175 lb, Weight 44 tons 9cwt, LNER Classification – XlPic – The engine as restored for preservation in York Museum. c.1960