Steam Locos of a Leisurely Era
1874 – F.W.Webb’s 2-4-0 ‘Precedents’
Undoubtedly F.W.Webb’s most successful passenger class. Although he himself seems to have been fat more interested in his subsequent experiments in ‘compounding’, the ‘Precedents’ were the only really reliable express engines that the North Western possessed until Whale’s ‘Precursor’ appeared in 1904. The latter indeed may be regarded as a very much enlarged version of the ‘Precedents’.
The class consisted in the first place of ninety engines built between 1874 and 1882, but subsequently, between 1887 and 1894, 96 engines of an older class of 2-4-0, built by John Ramsbottom from 1866 onwards, the ‘Newtons’, were entirely renewed in conformity with the Webb engines. It was not until later years that the sterling worth of these remarkable locomotives came to be realised, and some of their prodigious feats of haulage, considering their small size, have probably seldom been equalled anywhere. As was to be expected, their coal consumption was high when greatly overloaded, but nevertheless they were capable of ‘doing the job’ when called upon, as they frequently were.
Two of the best known were No.955 Charles Dickens, which put in a total mileage of over 2,300,000 between its construction in 1882 and withdrawal in 1912, and No. 790 Hardwicke, which distinguished itself in the 1895 race to Scotland. This engine has been preserved.
Eighty of the class survived to be absorbed into the LMS at the grouping, and were allocated Nos. 5000-79 in the LMS list, although about half of them did not last long enough to carry these numbers. The last in service was No. 5001, as the new Class 5 4-6-0s were then beginning to appear, and were taking the numbers 5000 upwards.
Driving wheels – 6’ 9”, Leading wheels – 3’ 7½”, Cylinders – 17”x 24”, Pressure – 140 lb. (later 150 lb.), Tractive effort 10918 lb., Weight – 35 tons 12 cwt.
LNWR 2-4-0 Precedent class No 514 ‘Puck’ is seen standing at Platform 2 in company with an unidentified LNWR 4-4-0 Precursor class locomotive standing at Platform Three. The single lamp in the centre of the bufferbeam is the code for a light engine which together with a full tender of coal indicates the locomotive has only just reversed on to the train. Built at Crewe works in 1880 and rebuilt in December 1895, No 514 was named ‘Lawrence’ in December 1895 which it carried until August 1913. Following the change of name to ‘Puck’, No 514 remained in service until August 1926 when the locomotive was finally withdrawn from service without receiving its allocated LMS number. C1920 – Warwickshire Railways.com