Steam Locos of a Leisurely Era 1871 – Wheatley 4-4-0 – North British Railway – The Tay Bridge Loco

Steam Locos of a Leisurely Era

1871 – Wheatley 4-4-0 – North British Railway

The Tay Bridge Loco

 Illustration:  the engine in its final form, probably taken about 1900.

In 1871 T.Wheatley built two express engines fro the North British Railway numbered 224 and 264, which were notable as being the first inside cylindered 4-4-0 engines with inside frames in Great Britain, a type which was destined for many years afterwards to become a standard express type on nearly every major railway.   A few years later one of them, No.224, achieved unenviable fame as the engine which was blown, with its entire train, into the waters of the Tay when the newly constructed bridge collapsed in a wild gale one December night in 1879, a disaster still well remembered as one of the most tragically spectacular in British railway history. 

North British Railway locomotive 224, recovered from the water after the Tay Bridge Disaster.  Originally issued as a postcard captioned “Old Tay Bridge Disaster, 1879 The Engine” Date 1880.  Source – Dundee Central Library  Author Alexander Wilson († 1922)

After immersion for some weeks the engine was recovered and put into service once more.  It was selected by Matthew Holmes for an experiment in tandem compound working in 1885.  After working thus for some years it was reconverted to simple, and as such, with some modernisation of the original design, remained, together with its sister, in service until 1919.  Latterly the two engines had been renumbered 1192 and 1198.

Driving wheels – 6’ 6”,  Cylinders – 17”x 24”,  Pressure140 lb.

During its period as a compound, No. 224 was provided with two 20” low pressure cylinders, in front of which was a pair of 13” high pressure cylinders, the stroke being 24”.

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