Steam Locomotives of a More Leisurely Era
1911 – Robinson 2-8-0
Great Central Railway
Robinson’s standard heavy freight engine of 1911 was destined to achieve much historic interest, as the design was adopted by the Government during the First World War for use in the various theatres of action abroad. Several hundred were built by outside firms for this purpose alone, apart from the 130 engines constructed by the GCR for its own use between 1911 and 1920. After the war the Government engines were disposed of, some to railways abroad, and at home the LNWR had fifty, and the Great Western 105, whilst the LNER eventually absorbed another 273 into its own stock along with the original Great Central engines.
A good deal of rebuilding and modification has since taken place, resulting in about seven different varieties from the original basic design. These mainly concern the boilers and boiler mountings, but a number have been completely rebuilt from 1944 onwards with raised framing, Walschaert valve gear, and LNER B1-type boilers.
The class was again one of those commandeered for overseas service at the beginning of the Second World War, and 92 of the LNER engines were sent abroad, some of them being the same ones which had done duty in 1917-18, thus being ‘called up’ for the second time. In 1946 the LNER renumbered the class from 3500 onwards, provision being made for the return of some of the war service engines, but in fact none of them ever came back. Consequently the remainder of the class eventually became Nos. 3570 to 3920 with some gaps, altered in due course under Nationalisation by the addition of 60000. Withdrawal on a general scale of the LNER engines did not commence until 1959, but it may be mentioned that the last of those acquired by the Great Western, which had been Nos. 3000-99 and 6000-4 in that Company’s lists, was scrapped in 1958, and the fifty engines of the LNWR, which became Nos. 9616-65 (some of which were later renumbered into the 9400s), had all gone as early as 1933.
Original design – Driving wheels – 4’ 8”, Leading wheels – 3’ 6”, Cylinders – 21”x 28”, Pressure – 180 lb., Tractive effort 31325 lb., Weight – 73 tons 4 cwt., GCR classification – 8K, LNER classification – 04, BR classification – 7F
1944 rebuilds – Driving wheels – 4’ 8”, Leading wheels – 3’ 6”, Cylinders – 20”x 28”, Pressure – 225 lb., Tractive effort 35518 lb., Weight – 73 tons 6 cwt., GCR classification – N/A, LNER classification – 01, BR classification – 8F