Steam Locos of a Leisurely Era 1891 – Dean 2-2-2 ‘Convertibles’ and 4-2-2 Great Western Railway

Steam Locos of a Leisurely Era

1891 – Dean 2-2-2 ‘Convertibles’ and 4-2-2

Great Western Railway

One of the ‘convertibles’, No.3024 during its short period as a broad gauge engine.

 As early as the 1870s it was becoming obvious that the Great Western was fighting a losing battle over the question of its broad gauge, and that it would only be a matter of time before it had to be abandoned in favour of the 4’ 8½” gauge universal for the rest of the country.  From 1876 onwards, therefore, several classes of engines were constructed for the 7’ 0” with a view to their conversion when the time came.  They had their driving wheels placed outside the frames and completely exposed, presenting a very ugly appearance.  After conversion they became outside-framed engines with a very considerable improvement in looks.  The classes involved were 0-6-0 engines, both tender and saddle tanks, some 0-4-2Ts (these after conversion to standard gauge went through various stages of rebuilding as 0-4-2T, 0-4-4T, 2-4-0, and 4-4-0 tender engines) three 2-4-0s and eight 2-2-2s.

Dean “Convertible” 2-2-2 No. 3024, later converted to narrow gauge and named “Storm King.” Photograph by F. Moore

The last mentioned belonged to a new class of thirty engines under construction by William Dean fro main line work on the standard gauge routes, but owing to the urgent need for increased power on the broad gauge during the last years of operation, eight of them were turned out as 7’ 0” engines to help the ageing ‘Iron Dukes’ on the expresses.  These engines were Nos. 3021-8, the complete series running from 3001-30.  They ran only for about a year as broad gauge engines, from 1891 until May 1892, when the 7’ 0” gauge was finally abolished.

No.3050 Royal Sovereign in 1915, the last of the class to remain in service.  It had then acquired an extended smokebox and top feed apparatus on the boiler.

In 1893 all were named, many of them perpetuating names from the scrapped broad gauge ‘Iron Duke’ class.  From 1894 they were all converted to 4-2-2 tender engines, and between then and 1898 another fifty were constructed to this design, the whole class then running from Nos. 3001-80.  They did fine express work fro some years, but were gradually superseded by the larger coupled engines of the early 1900s.  In later years many acquired varying types of modified boiler, some of the larger domeless variety.  All were scrapped between 1908 and 1915.

Driving wheels – 7’ 8½”,  Bogie wheels – 4’ 1”,  Trailing wheels – 4’ 7”,  Cylinders – 19”x 24”,  Pressure – 160 lb.,  Tractive effort – 12738 lb.,  Weight – 49 tons.

GWR 4-2-2 Achilles class 7′-8” Single No 3050 ‘Royal Sovereign’ is seen at the head on an express near Knowle and Dorridge circa 1909. The class were then officially known as the 3031 Achilles class, but are frequently known as the 3001 class or ‘Dean Singles’. The rest of the class appeared in batches until the last, number 3080 Windsor Castle, was delivered in March 1899. The final ‘Dean Singles’ to be withdrawn were numbers 3050 Royal Sovereign and 3074 e- Princess Helena in December 1915.  http://www.warwickshirerailways.com

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