Steam Locomotives of a More Leisurely Era
1897 Inside Cylinder 6’ 8½” 4-4-0
Great Western Railway
These engines originated with the ‘Badminton’ class of 1897-8, a series of eighteen locomotives, Nos.3292-3309, constructed with conventional domed boilers. No.3310 ‘Waterford’, however, which came out in 1899, set the fashion for future Great Western practice so far as main line types were concerned, which was to last for the rest of the Company’s existence, in having a boiler with the well-known brass safety valve cover in the place normally occupied by the dome.
No.3311 completed the original twenty engines, and the ‘Atbara’ class followed in 1900, also with the new type boilers, but these and all the subsequent series differed from the original twenty in that the framing over the coupled wheels was straight instead of following a graceful curve over each of the coupling rod cranks.
The ‘Atbara’ class consisted of Nos. 3373-3412, built in 1900-1. Churchward continued the design with some modifications, the ‘Cities’, Nos.3433-42 coming out in 1903 and the ‘Flowers’ Nos.4101-20 in 1908. Later the whole class was renumbered 3700-19 and 4100-69, 4100-19 being the original ‘Badmintons’. No.3382 ‘Mafeking’ was destroyed in an accident in 1911 and was not included in this renumbering. Finally four older engines of 1894-5 were rebuilt to conform with the class, and became Nos.4169-72. These were somewhat similar to the #Badmintons’ and like them had the curved framing.
Various types of boiler were carried by individual engines at different times, but eventually all acquired modern conical domeless boilers with superheaters.
No.3440 ‘City of Truro’ achieved fame in 1904 by attaining a speed of 102.3 miles per hour, then a world record. Some doubt has been cast in recent years on the accuracy of the recording, but it is beyond dispute that something very close to 100 mph was reached on this historic occasion. On withdrawal in 1931 the engine was placed in York Museum, where it rested until 1957, when it was again restored to running order, mainly for running special trains. When not so engaged, however, it is also used in ordinary service. It has its old Great Western livery restored and also its original number 3440, having run as 3717 during its later years of service.
All the remaining engines were scrapped between 1927 and 1931.
Dimensions apply to the engines as finally rebuilt
Driving wheels – 6’ 8½”, Bogie wheels – 3’ 8”, Cylinders – 18”x 26”, Pressure – 200 lb., Tractive effort – 17790 lb., Weight – 55 tons 6 cwt. GWR classification – A, BR classification – 3P