Steam Locomotives of a More Leisurely Era 1897 Webb 4-Cylinder 4-4-0 London & North Western Railway

Steam Locomotives of a More Leisurely Era

1897 Webb 4-Cylinder 4-4-0

London & North Western Railway

No.1974 ‘Howe’, which ran as a compound until scrapped in 1928

Two months after the appearance of the G&SWR engine came two 4-4-0s from Crewe, one 4-cylinder simple and the other a compound, respectively Nos.1501 ‘Iron Duke’ and 1502 ‘Black Prince’.  The compound engine differed radically from Webb’s previous efforts in this direction, firstly in having four cylinders in place of three, secondly in that the driving wheels were coupled, and lastly, in seeing the introduction of a leading bogie on an express engine for the first time on the North Western.  Piston valves were used on the two outside high pressure cylinders, and balanced slide valves on the two inside low pressure ones, Joy’s valve gear being employed.  It was at first fitted with a divided exhaust and double chimney, thus anticipating modern practice by many years.  The two engines were thoroughly tested against one another, and the compound made the better showing, as a result of which another 38 of the class were constructed, and the ‘Iron Duke’ was also converted to compound working.  Nos.1501-2 were renumbered 1901-2, and the new engines followed as Nos.1903-40.  Between 1901 and 1903 another 40 engines were built, with slight modifications and increased dimensions.  These were Nos.1941-80, and the complete series 1901-80 was the only case in the history of the LNWR where a large class was numbered in one consecutive series.  In 1920, No.1914 was renumbered 1257, as it was desired to allocate the former number to the LNWR War Memorial engine ‘Patriot’.


In 1908 No.1918 ‘Renown’ was altered to a simple with two inside cylinders only, and conversion of most of the others followed gradually, although a few remained as compounds to the end, the last being ‘Howe’, withdrawn in 1928.  This engine had received a superheater in 1921.  All but three lasted into grouping days, and were allocated Nos.5110-86 in the LMS list, but many never survived to carry them, and all were taken out of service by 1931.  The two original engines, both rebuilt to ‘Renown’ class in 1919, were amongst the last.  They finished up as Nos.5156 ‘Jubilee’ (renamed from ‘Iron Duke’) and 5157.

1901-40 ‘Black Prince’ Class – Driving wheels – 7’ 1”,  Bogie wheels – 3’ 9”,  Cylinders – 2 HP 15”x 24”, 2 LP 19½”x 24” (later 20½”x 24”),  Pressure – 175 lb., later raised to 200lb.,  Weight – 54 tons 8cwt.

1941-80 ‘Alfred the Great’ Class – Driving wheels – 7’ 1”,  Bogie wheels – 3’ 9”,  Cylinders – 2 HP 16”x 24”, 2 LP 20½”x 24”,  Pressure – 200 lb., Weight – 57 tons 12 cwt.

L&NWR Webb Alfred the Great 4-cylinder compound locomotive 1942 King Edward VII Date 1907 Source Scan from Howden, J.R. (1907) The Boys’ Book of Locomotives, London: E. Grant Richards, pp. facing p. 81 Author Andy Dingley (scanner)  Showing new valve-gear for high-pressure cylinders, fitted by Whale


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