Tag Archives: GNR

Steam Locomotives of a More Leisurely Era 1920 – 3-Cylinder 2-6-0 Great Northern Railway

Steam Locomotives of a More Leisurely Era

1920 – 3-Cylinder 2-6-0

Great Northern Railway1935 as running in 1947

1935 as running in 1947

A powerful class of mixed traffic locomotives introduced by Gresley in 1920.  Ten engines were constructed for the GNR, Nos. 1000-9, and after grouping another 183 were built between 1924 and 1937, with slight modifications.  At the time of their appearance these engines had the largest boilers, 6’ 0” in diameter, yet seen in this country.  They were the first of Gresley’s engines to employ the rocking shaft device whereby the piston valve of the inside cylinder is actuated by levers connected with the tail rods of the Walschaert’s valve gear of the two outside cylinders, thus dispensing with the need for a separate eccentric or valve gear for the inside cylinders.  This arrangement was later used most successfully by Gresley for his ‘Pacifics’ and several other classes, and worked very well when kept in good order.   It is inclined, however, to become uncertain under conditions of poor maintenance so frequently met with towards the end of the steam era.

The GNR built engines became Nos. 4000-9 after the grouping, and the post-amalgamation ones had scattered numbers over the LNER range, between 17 and 3832.  At the 1946 renumbering the whole class became 1800-1992, and subsequently BR 61800-61922.61863

In 1945 No. 206 (now No. 61863) was rebuilt with two cylinders, and increased boiler pressure, but no further conversions took place.  Scrapping of the class commenced in 1959.

The general class – Driving wheels – 5’ 8”,  Cylinders (3) 18½”x 26”,  Pressure – 180 lb.,  Tractive effort – 30030 lb.,  Weight – 72 tons 12 cwt,  GNR classification – H4,  LNER classification – K3,  BR classification – 5P6F

Engine 61863 -Driving wheels – 5’ 8”,  Cylinders (2) 20”x 26”,  Pressure – 225 lb.,  Tractive effort – 29250 lb.,  Weight – 71 tons 5 cwt,  GNR classification – N/A,  LNER classification – K5,  BR classification – 5P6F61935

Some Early Lines – West Riding and Grimsby Railway

Some Early Lines

West Riding and Grimsby Railway

770 Bridge Plate

 Bridge plate from the West Riding & Grimsby Railway, now in Chasewater Railway Museum.

The West Riding and Grimsby Railway was a joint railway whose main line linked Wakefield with Doncaster, while a branch line ran between Adwick and Stainforth. The companies involved were the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway and the Great Northern Railway. The WR&G gave the Great Northern Railway a new direct line to Wakefield from Doncaster on its north-south main line, and onwards to the Woollen District towns and the cities of Leeds, Bradford and Halifax over the tracks of the former West Yorkshire Railway, which it acquired in 1865; while the M.S.& L.R. could offer connections to Grimsby, and its docks, and the seaside resort of Cleethorpes.

The line was inherited by the LNER in 1923, and today is still the main route for East Coast Main Line expresses to Leeds.

HemsworthStnHemsworth Station


The main line ran from Wakefield, the county town of the West Riding of Yorkshire, to Marshgate Junction, just north of Doncaster and the branch from Adwick Junction near Adwick-le-Street and Carcroft to Stainforth Junction, just to the west of the present day Hadfield and Stainforth. There were also three further lines: a triangular junction was created at Adwick, opened in November 1866, which made it possible, should it be required, to run from Doncaster to Grimsby by this route; secondly a line from Hare Park Junction, near Wakefield, to the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway near to Wakefield Kirkgate, and lastly a connection to the Midland Railway at Oakenshaw Junction, south of Wakefield.


The main line was opened in February 1866 with intermediate stations at Sandal, Hare Park, Nostell, Hemsworth, South Elmsall and Adwick-le-Street and Carcroft. Since that time halts were opened at Hampole and Bentley Crossing. One station was built on the “branch” line at Bramwith.

Modern times

New stations at Adwick, Bentley, Sandal and Agbrigg (30 November 1987) and Fitzwilliam (1 March 1982) have been opened as population shift has made these viable. South Elmsall is the only original station but this has been extended and the Doncaster-bound (Up) platform rebuilt.

StainforthStnStainforth Station


Some Early Lines GNR from Leicester Belgrave Road Railway Station

Some early Lines

GNR from Leicester Belgrave Road railway station

Leicester Belgrave Road was the Great Northern Railway terminus in Leicester, England. It was the terminus of the GNR’s branch line from the Great Northern and London and North Western Joint Railway at Marefield Junction.

4A Sundays only express to Skegness leaves Leicester Belgrave Road behind B1 class 4-6-0 No. 61209 on 16th July, 1961.  (P.H.Wells


The station opened on 2 October 1882. Marefield Junction was triangular and allowed through running north or south.


The main services from Leicester were to Peterborough and Grantham. The station was also well provided in summer with specials, especially to Skegness and Mablethorpe.

The Peterborough trains were stopped as a war economy in 1916. Local traffic was never heavy, and by 1950 there were only two Grantham trains remaining, one of which was a semi-fast with limited stops which connected with the Flying Scotsman at Grantham. This train was withdrawn in 1951, the remaining stopping train survived until the end of regular services over the joint line in 1953.

Summer specials continued to run until 1962, in the later years with severe speed restrictions on the Leicester branch.

1A Bank Holiday special nears John O’Gaunt behind an unknown B1 class 4-6-0 on 6th August, 1952.  (P.H.Wells


The line closed in 1962 but various depots continued in use for a few years using a reinstated connection with the Midland Railway which had last been used for materials delivery during construction. The last of these, Catherine Street oil depot, closed on 1 January 1969.

The Leicester station site has been since been developed as a supermarket and adjoining car park.

2The 1.00pm (S.O.) Belgrave Road to John O’Gaunt approaches Humberstone on 6th October, 1956.  The GNR picture is almost complete with the 0-6-0 and the somersault signal.  (G.D.King

Steam Locomotives of a More Leisurely Era 1898 Ivatt 4-2-2 Great Northern Railway

Steam Locomotives of a More Leisurely Era

1898 Ivatt 4-2-2

Great Northern Railway

No. 266 in early days

The first engine of this class, No. 266 appeared in 1898, and a second, No.267, in 1900.  These were followed by a further ten in 1901, Nos. 92, 100, 261-5, and 268-70, and these were notable in being the last express engines with single driving wheels to be built for use in this country, and probably almost the last in the world.  (Four 4-2-2 engines were built by Kerr Stuart & co. for the Shanghai-Nanking Railway in China.)

The new engines spent a few years on express working on the GNR main line, but as the new ‘Atlantics’ were coming out at the same time they never had very much chance to distinguish themselves.  They spent their last days over the level Lincolnshire lines mainly based on Grantham and Peterborough, and were all somewhat prematurely withdrawn in 1917.

Driving wheels – 7’ 8”,  Cylinders – 19”x 26”,  Pressure – 175 lb.,  Weight – 48 tons 11 cwt.,  GNR classification – A4 (No.266), A5 (the others).


Steam Locomotives of a More Leisurely Era 1898 ‘Atlantics’ Great Northern Railway – London Brighton & South Coast Railway

Steam Locomotives of a More Leisurely Era

1898 ‘Atlantics’

Great Northern Railway – London Brighton & South Coast Railway

990 in early LNER days

H.A.Ivatt’s No.990, which emerged from Doncaster Works in the summer of 1898, was the first 4-4-2 tender engine to run in this country.  This type had already established a firm footing in the USA, and this was no doubt the reason for the nickname ‘Atlantic’ which has always been applied to engines of this wheel arrangement.

No.990 subsequently received the name ‘Henry Oakley’ and was unique in that it was the only GNR engine ever to bear a name until almost the close of that Company’s independent life, when Gresley’s two ‘Pacifics’, which appeared in 1922, were likewise honoured.

After extended trials with 990, ten more of the class were built in 1900, Nos.949, 950 and 982-9.

No.271, which followed in 1902, was a much more powerful engine, in that although similar in appearance to the 990s, it was provided with four high pressure cylinders in place of the two carried by the earlier examples.  It remained the only engine of its class, and after various modifications it ended up with two inside cylinders only, in the form in which it remained until scrapped in 1936.4433 in early LNER days

Also in 1902 appeared No.251, the pioneer of the larger and better known class of Atlantics which did so much yeoman service on the GNR main line for very many years.  This engine was provided with a much bigger boiler, and was the largest passenger engine in the country at the time.  Another essential difference between the new engine and the ‘small Atlantics’ was the wide firebox extending over the whole width of the frames.  The large grate which it was thus possible to provide was one of the contributory reasons for the success of the design.  Whilst 251 was undergoing trials ten more of the small class appeared in 1903, Nos. 250 and 252-60, after which the enlarged version came out in considerable numbers between 1904 and 1910, eventually totalling 94 engines.  The numbers were 251, 272-301, 1300, and 1400-61.  The last ten were built new with superheaters and had sundry other improvements.  Eventually the remainder of the class was also superheated.

There were a few add deviations from the standard design amongst these engines.  No. 292 was built as a 4-cylinder compound, and was scrapped as such in 1927.  No. 1421 also started as a 4-cylinder compound, but was converted to a standard 2-cylinder simple in 1921.  No. 279 was rebuilt as a 4-cylinder in 1915, but reverted to two cylinders in 1928.  No. 1419 acquired a ‘booster’ to the trailing wheels in 1923, a small auxiliary engine to assist in starting, but this was not greatly successful, and the apparatus was later removed.  Finally, No. 1300, which was a 4-cylinder compound constructed by the Vulcan Foundry in 1905, and which differed considerably from the standard class in appearance, was converted to 2-cylinder simple in 1917, and scrapped in 1924, the first of the class to go.

By 1946 all of the small-boilered Atlantics had been taken out of service, and withdrawal of the large ones had already begun in 1945.  All except Nos. 292 and 1300, however, were included in the 1946 renumbering scheme as 2800-91, although many of them never actually carried these numbers.  Seventeen survived to be incorporated in BR stock in 1948, but only No. 62822 was actually renumbered as such.  This engine, the last to remain in traffic, was scrapped in 1950.

The originals of both small and large designs, Nos. 990 and 251, have been preserved in their old GNR colours, but No. 990 is not exactly in its original condition, as it acquired, in common with others of its class, an extended smokebox.

When D.E.Marsh, who had been at Doncaster when the ‘251’ class came out, and probably had a hand in their design, went to the LBSCR, he built eleven almost exactly similar engines for that line, Nos. 37-41, originally un-superheated, in 1905, and another six, with superheaters, in 1911-12, Nos. 421-6.  Most of the latter outlasted their GNR antecedents, one of them remaining in service until 1958 as BR No. 32424.  This was the last ‘Atlantic’ type engine in regular service in this country.3258 pic by M.Peirson – LNER Encyclopedia

Dimensions as finally running:

GNR 990 class – Driving wheels – 6’ 8”,  Cylinders – 19”x 24”,  Pressure – 170 lb.,  Tractive effort – 15649 lb.,  Weight – 60 tons,  LNER classification – C2,  LBSC & SR classification – NA,  BR classification – NA

GNR 251 class – Driving wheels – 6’ 8”,  Cylinders – 20”x 26”,  Pressure – 170 lb.,  Tractive effort – 18735 lb.,  Weight – 70 tons,  LNER classification – C1,  LBSC & SR classification – NA,  BR classification – 2P

 LBSC 37-41 – Driving wheels – 6’ 7½”,  Cylinders – 19”x 26”,  Pressure – 200 lb.,  Tractive effort – 20070 lb.,  Weight – 68¼ tons,  LNER classification – NA,  LBSC & SR classification – H1,  BR classification – 4P

LBSC 421-6 – Driving wheels – 6’ 7½”,  Cylinders – 21”x 26”,  Pressure – 200 lb.,  Tractive effort – 24520 lb.,  Weight – 68¼ tons,  LNER classification – NA,  LBSC & SR classification – H2,  BR classification – 4P

GNR 4-4-2 Class C2 “Klondyke” no. 990 “Henry Oakley” at Doncaster Works open day on 27th July 2003.

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Steam Locomotives of a More Leisurely Era 1898 Ivatt 4-4-2T Great Northern Railway

Steam Locomotives of a More Leisurely Era

1898 Ivatt 4-4-2T

Great Northern Railway 

No.1529 as running in 1920 in war-time grey livery.

H.A.Ivatt’s first design of tank engines for the GNR suburban services.  Nos.1009,1010,1013-20 and 1501-20 were turned out in 1898-9, Nos.1521-30 in 1901, Nos1531-40 in 1903 and finally Nos.1541-50 in 1907.  Nos.1502 onwards were fitted with condensing apparatus and shorter chimneys for working over the Metropolitan lines, and spent most of their earlier lives in the London area.  From 1921 onwards, however, they were displaced by larger Ns Class 0-6-2Ts and sent to country branches, the condensing apparatus being in most cases removed, and some being fitted for pull-and-push working.

Their numbers were increased by 3000 at the grouping (the first engine had become No.1009A owing to the construction of a new No.1009 in 1920, and duly became No.4009A).  A few were scrapped in 1937-9, and those that remained were renumbered 7350-99 in 1946.  Most of these survived to become BR 67350-99, and the last of the class did not disappear until 1958.

Driving wheels – 5’ 8”,  Cylinders – 18”x 26”,  Pressure – 175 lb., Tractive effort – 18424 lb.,  Weight – 62 tons 6 cwt., LNER classification – C12,  BR classification – 2P

1505 – lner.info

Some Early Lines The Erewash Valley Line

Some Early Lines

The Erewash Valley Line


To be geographically accurate, the designation ‘Erewash Valley’ can only be held to apply to the stretch between Trent and Pye Bridge, at which point the river Erewash parts company with the railway to the north.  From a railway aspect, however, the term Erewash Valley Line is more generally understood to refer loosely to the whole of the Midland main line between Trent or Nottingham, at least as far north as Chesterfield.  The section from Long Eaton to Pye Bridge (originally a branch terminating at Pinxton) was opened as far as Codnor Park in 1847, extended to Pye Bridge in 1849, and to Clay Cross in 1862 where it joined the original North Midland main line from Derby to Masboro’.

This area contains one of the richest coal deposits in the country, and is strewn with innumerable collieries.  The Midland had a monopoly of this business until 1875 when it was challenged by the Great Northern who pushed westwards from Nottingham to tap some of the lucrative traffic, and later still, to a limited extent, by the Great Central.  In the Leen Valley, a little to the east, all three railways, the MR, GNR and GCR, had lines running almost parallel and crossing one another in several places.

The GNR route, which had been opened in 1881, was officially known as the Leen Valley Line although the MR had always been the predominant railway in the area.  The Erewash Valley line in particular is a very busy one as not only does it carry an enormous , although nowadays (c1969) diminishing, amount of coal traffic, but it is also part of the main line from London to Leeds and Carlisle; its for tracks carry a constant stream of trains of all sorts.  From a speed point of view it has always been much bedevilled by permanent way restrictions made necessary by the danger of subsidence due to the numerous colliery workings in the area.

Steam Locos of a Leisurely Era – GNR Class C1

Taken from the Mercian July-Aug 1966 5.4

Steam Locomotives of a Leisurely Era – Casey Jones


The large boilered Atlantics of the Great Northern Railway were without a doubt one of the most outstanding machines to work on the East Coast main line.

Number 251 the doyen of the class emerged from Doncaster Works in 1902 to the design of Mr. Ivatt of CME.  It had a boiler 5’ 6” in diameter; the largest then fitted to a British locomotive, two cylinders 18¾” x 24”, 175lbs. pressure, a tractive effort of 15,690 lbs., and weighed 65½tons.   It had a stove pipe chimney and flat-sided firebox which were later replaced by the wider Wooton firebox and cast GNR chimney which gave later members of the class their typical looks.

At first the class did not come up to expectations and various experiments were tried in order to improve their performance.  Between 1905 and 1907 numbers292 and 1421 were rebuilt as four cylinder machines on the compound system.  They were then tested against No.1300, an ugly machine of similar design built by the Vulcan Foundry on the De Glehn system of compounding.  All three designs proved weak and all three locos were converted to two cylinder simple machines.  In 1910 numbers 1452-61 were fitted with 20”x 18” cylinders and 18 element superheaters.  These locos were an immediate success and superheaters were fitted to the remainder of the class.  The degree of superheat was stepped up during Gresley’s term of office to a 32 element superheater.  Gresley was also responsible for another interesting experiment applied to No.1419, this being a booster unit on the rear pony truck.  This booster increased the tractive effort up to 50%, and although it proved satisfactory in service, it was not perpetuated.Henry Oakley – Wikipedia

Altogether 94 of the class were built, and it is to their credit that they were entrusted with most of the crack high-speed trains out of King’s Cross between the Wars, in spite of the larger A3s.  It is in their Gresleyfied form that they achieved their real claim to fame during this period.  Although they were ageing at the outbreak of the Second World War they could still put up some fantastic performances with 15 and 20 coach trains.  However, age tells and the coming of the more modern B1 4-6-0s spelt the end of the line, thus when 62832 left Grantham for scrap in 1950 the last of the class disappeared from the chapters of history of the East Coast main line.

Later Years

They were eventually superseded on the heaviest trains by Gresley A1 Pacifics in the early 1920s. They continued to haul lighter expresses up until 1950, although this did include the Harrogate Pullman for a period during the 1920s and 1930s. They were often called upon to take over trains from failed Pacifics and put up some remarkable performances with loads far in excess of those they were designed to haul. One once took over the Flying Scotsman from a failed at Peterborough and not only made up time but arrived early.

Happily the prototype is preserved as number 251 in company with its equally famous forebear ‘Henry Oakley’, and has periodically been used for enthusiasts’ specials.

Original numbers were 251/72-301, 1300, 1400-61, later increased by 3xxx.  Numbers 4300 scrapped 1924, 3292 in 1927.  Survivors became BR’s 62800-91 and withdrawn between 1943 and 1950.Peter Langsdale

Chasewater Railway Museum July 1960 Bits & Pieces 10

From RPS Newsletter July 1960 Vol  2 No. 1

From the General Secretary’s Page

More Activity Wanted

You will read in the West Midland notes the present state of our first scheme to be launched.  From the enthusiasm of one member, David Ives, and a group of his friends and acquaintances has grown the reality of rolling stock being restored on a length of line which has been offered as temporary accommodation.  There is no reason why similar successes could not be recorded from most areas of dense population.  We have enough members in the South-East, North-West and North-East to make a start.

Well done the West Midland District – later to become Chasewater Railway.

West Midland District

Stafford – Uttoxeter Line.  Great Northern Railway

Date: 23 April 1957Description: The Stephenson Locomotive Society (Midland Area) ran the last train on the Uttoxeter to Stafford line on 1957. The locomotive is seen here arriving at Stowe-by-Chartley Station with 200 railway enthusiasts on board.

The line was opened in December 1867 by the Stafford-Uttoxeter Railway Company. Nineteen years later the company folded and the line was sold to the Great Northern Company.

Passenger traffic was withdrawn in 1939, but the line was kept open for milk traffic. The high cost of maintenance proved too expensive and the line closed in 1951, having never shown a profit. It was broken up in 1959.

Staffordshire Past Track – Pic & Info

This was one of the lines under consideration as a running line for the WMD.

Date: 1920 – 1930 (c.)

Description: Stafford Common Railway Station was built in 1867, to serve the Stafford-Uttoxeter line.

The station closed to passengers in 1939, but continued to carry freight. It closed completely in the 1970s.

Staffordshire Past Track – Pic & Info

16 members of the West Midland District walked along the Great Northern Railway disused branch line from Chartley to Stafford on Sunday, 27th March.  Members assembled at Stafford Station and were taken by car to Chartley.  Our President, Mr. C. E. Ives, although not being able to take part in the walk, very kindly took members to the starting point.  A considerable number of photographs were taken en route for record purposes, as demolition of this line had already begun.  Very keen interest was shown in station buildings at Chartley, Ingestre and Weston and Salt.  Hopton cutting was duly noted as a great work of civil engineering, a tribute to the railway navvies of the 1860s.  The walk finished at Stafford Common Station (part of which is still worked by BR) where a welcome cup of tea brewed by Mr. A. Holden was much appreciated by all.  A special note must be made concerning one of our very enthusiastic members, Vice President Mr. J. Strong of Hereford, who stayed overnight in Stafford in order to take part.

Stowe and Chartley Station looking neglected. Note the two lines merging in the distance and the crossover in the foreground. Photo Hixon Local History Society.

.Unlike The building on the left was not demolished and was still there in 1990 and 1991 when we walked there. It now has been completely restored and has been moved to the Amerton Railway nearby.
Jan en Fons

Aug 7, 2008 9:52 PM


The West Midland District Depot has been kindly offered to us by our President Mr. C. E. Ives as temporary accommodation until a branch line has been acquired.  It is situated at Penkridge Engineering Co., Chase Works, Rugeley Road, Hednesford, Staffs.  This can be reached from Cannock along the Rugeley Road and from Rugeley along the Hednesford Road and is adjacent to Messrs. Bestmore Drop Forgings Ltd.

The depot consists of approx. 150 yards of siding with access to BR and NCB sidings.  Good covered space covers approx 50 yards of the track.  Members have already been advised of times of working parties, etc. and will continue to get these each month through the summer.  Negotiations are going ahead for the acquisition of two six-wheeled coaches, a full 3rd Maryport & Carlisle Railway and a full brake Great Eastern Railway.  It is hoped to have these under our covered space by the time this Newsletter reaches you.

More hands wanted at Hednesford

On June 3rd the Honorary Yardmaster, Albert Holden, gave a talk on the practical side of track maintenance to a group of members.  He expressed disappointment at the turnout of members and pointed out that work was being carried out by a small proportion of members.  If they did not get the support of more members they could become discouraged and work cease altogether.

It is the declared intention of the WMD to lease or purchase a line and run its own services.  But this needs a reservoir of skilled members and a strong organisation.  This depot gives us a chance to introduce all members to the technical side of maintenance of rolling stock and permanent way.  If full use is made of it, we shall have a reliable band of voluntary workers who can restore a line to serviceable condition in the shortest possible time.

The future of railway preservation in the West Midlands is in your hands.  Let’s all pull together and show the rest of the RPS how to run a branch line!

Stop Press

The first two coaches were moved in Hednesford depot at 9.45 am on Wednesday, 22nd June 1960.  How about coming along and helping with their restoration?