Steam Locomotives of a More Leisurely Era
1892 Worsdell 4-4-0 Classes M and Q
North Eastern Railway
Wilson Worsdell, who succeeded his brother T.W.Worsdell as locomotive superintendent in 1890, built several classes of 4-4-0 engines for express work, which it will be convenient to deal with in two groups.
First came twenty engines designated Class M1, turned out in 1893, and numbered 1620-39. They proved to be very speedy engines, and Nos. 1620 and 1621 both distinguished themselves in the 1895 Race to the North, when No. 1620 ran from York to Newcastle at an average speed of 61½ mph and No.1621 thence to Edinburgh at an average speed of 66 mph, the time of 113 minutes for the 124¼ miles remaining a record for many a day, if indeed it has ever been beaten. Even the schedule of the high speed ‘Coronation’ train introduced in 1935 allowed 120 minutes for this section.
There was also an odd engine, No.1619, which was built in 1894 as a 2-cylindered Worsdell – von Borries compound. This system the NER had been adopting extensively under T.W.Worsdell, and his brother wished to try out an engine of his own on the same principle. It proved a very satisfactory machine in this form, but nevertheless in 1898 it was altered to a new system of compound working, patented by one W.M.Smith, which involved the use of three cylinders, two low pressure outside and one high pressure between the frames. The design provided that the engine could be worked either as a compound, a semi-compound or as a simple. By the use of a second regulator live steam could be admitted into all three cylinders, an immense advantage in starting a heavy train. An intermediate stage between the full simple and compound working could be obtained through a reducing valve controlled by a spring-loaded regulating valve which the driver could adjust to vary the pressure in the low pressure steam chest. This method of semi-compound working also proved invaluable in working a heavy train over a steep gradient or under adverse conditions.
Although no more like 1619 appeared on the North Eastern, it can be regarded as a notable engine in that it was the direct ancestor of the very famous Johnson compound introduced on the Midland Railway in 1902, to be perpetuated by his successor R.M.Deeley, and again in large numbers by Sir Henry Fowler for the LMS after the grouping.
In anticipation of a renewal of the rivalry between the East and West Coast routes fro the Scottish traffic, and following on the exploits of Nos.1620 and 1621 the previous year, two more engines, Nos.1869 and 1870, were built in 1896, with 7’ 7¼” driving wheels, the largest coupled wheels ever used in this country. These could moreover be said to be the only engines ever constructed for the special purpose of racing, and it is a pity that owing to the abandonment of the historic races to the north they were never really called upon to show their paces, although they are said to have attained very high speeds on test.
Another thirty engines, Nos.1871-80, 1901-10, and 1921-30 appeared in 1896 and 1897, generally similar to the 1620 class but with larger cylinders. These were known as Class Q.
All of the above engines lasted into LNER days, but they began to be taken out of service from 1927 onwards.
Nos.1619, 1869 and 1870 all went in 1930. By 1946, only Nos.1873 and 1902 were left and as Nos.2111 and 2112 these two just survived into BR days, being scrapped in 1948. No.1621 was not withdrawn until 1945, when it found an honourable resting place in York Museum, repainted in its old NER colours.
Class M as 2-cyl compound Driving wheels – 7’ 0”, Cylinders (1) 19”x 26” (1) 28”x 26”, Pressure – 200 lb.,
Class M as 3-cyl compound Driving wheels – 7’ 0”, Cylinders (2) 20”x 24” (1) 19”x 26”, Pressure – 200 lb., Weight – 53¼ tons, LNER Classification – D19
Class M1 Driving wheels – 7’ 1¼”, Cylinders – 19”x 26”, Pressure – 160 lb., Weight – 50¾ tons, LNER Classification – D17/1
Class Q Driving wheels – 7’ 1¼”, Cylinders – 19”x 26”, Pressure – 160 lb., Weight – 49½ tons, LNER Classification – D17/2
Class Q1 Driving wheels – 7’ 7¼”, Cylinders – 20”x 26”, Pressure – 160 lb., Weight – 50¾ tons, LNER Classification – D18