Steam Locos of a Leisurely Era – 1876 4-4-0 Johnson Midland Railway

Steam Locos of a Leisurely Era

1876  4-4-0  Johnson

Midland RailwayNo.1579 (later 345), as rebuilt in 1906.

S.W.Johnson’s first thirty 4-4-0s were of two varieties, ten engines in 1876 with 6’ 6” driving wheels, Nos. 1312-21, followed by another twenty in 1877, Nos.1327-46, which had 7’ 0” drivers.  The 4-4-0 design type was continued in 1882 and remained substantially the same until 1901, but successive batches had increased dimensions, and some were built with 6’ 6” wheels and some with 6’ 9” and others with 7’ 0”.  The later-built ones, with their larger cylinders, proved themselves to be somewhat underboilered, and Deeley rebuilt the whole lot (with the exception of the original thirty engines) between 1903and 1910 with much larger boilers, at the same time as doing away with the decorative splashers and other Johnson features.  As rebuilt they were greatly improved, but when Henry Fowler (afterwards Sir Henry Fowler) appeared on the scene in 1910 he was still not entirely satisfied with them and the majority underwent a further nominal rebuilding, and emerged with superheaters and cut-away splashers.  It seems doubtful whether this second transformation can be classified as a true rebuild, as little if any of the original engine was used in the reconstruction, although the engines emerged from the shops bearing the numbers of those they replaced.  They are therefore regarded as an entirely new class originating in 1912.

Not all of these received this second treatment, some were modified later merely by the provision of Belpaire fireboxes or extended smokeboxes, or both, and thus a considerable number of minor varieties resulted.  Quite a few were scrapped in the intermediate condition, as it may be described, mostly in the 1920s, but a small number of engines of one batch of the 6’ 6” variety lasted much longer, in fact one of them survived to become BR No.40383 and was not withdrawn until 1952.  At the 1907 renumbering the rebuilt engines became Nos. 328-562.

Returning to the original batch, two of the 7’ 0” engines had been scrapped before 1907, when the remainder became Nos.310-27, whilst the 6’ 6” locos were 300-9.  The only one of all these to be altered to any extent was No. 323, which acquired an extended smokebox, but retaining the small boiler with Salter safety valves on the dome.  The last of the unrebuilt 6’ 6” engines was No. 306, scrapped in 1930, whilst No. 311 of the 7-footers was in service until 1934.

One of the M&GNR engines, No.77 after receiving a Belpaire firebox in 1930.

It should be mentioned that another forty engines of the same design were constructed between 1894 and 1899 for the Midland and Great Northern Joint Railway.  Ten of these were rebuilt with larger boilers corresponding to the intermediate stage of the Midland engines, the others retained their small boilers, but received extended smokeboxes like No.323, and a few of them also had Belpaire fireboxes in later years.  They passed into the hands of the LNER in 1936, which Company scrapped them all by 1945.  The magnificent work these small engines had done with heavy loads in M&GNJR days, however, deserves to be mentioned as bordering on the well-nigh impossible.  It was not unknown for them in the height of the summer season to cope with trains of sixteen bogies, a load more suited to a modern ‘Pacific’ in later days.

The dimensions of these engines have varied so considerably both in the original state and final rebuilding that it is not possible to tabulate full details.  The following, however, are provided as a specimen.

Original 1877 series of 7’ 0” engines – Driving wheels – 7’ 0”,  Cylinders – 18”x 26”,  Pressure – 140 lb.

6’ 6” class of 1888 as rebuilt by Deeley – Driving wheels – 6’ 6”,  Cylinders – 18”x 26”, Pressure – 160 lb.,   Tractive effort – 15960 lb.

 1757 Beatrice – ahisgett

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