Tag Archives: Gresley

Steam Locomotives of a More Leisurely Era – 1922 – Gresley ‘Pacifics’ Great Northern Railway

Steam Locomotives of a More Leisurely Era

1922 – Gresley ‘Pacifics’

Great Northern RailwayNo.1473 as first built

No.1473 as first built

The final express design for the Great Northern, introduced by Mr. (later Sir) Nigel Gresley in 1922 just before the grouping.  Two engines were built initially, Nos.1470 and 1471.  They were a revolution in the size of power for express working on the GNR, which had hitherto been almost exclusively in the hands of the Ivatt ‘Atlantics’.  They were the only engines (apart from ‘Henry Oakley’) on that line ever to bear a name, No. 1470 being appropriately ‘Great Northern’, and 1471 ‘Sir Frederick Banbury’.  They may in some ways be regarded as a natural enlarged cross-development between the ‘Atlantics’, with their wide fireboxes, and the 3-cylinder K3 2-6-0s detailed in the previous post In this category.

Ten further engines quickly followed in 1923, Nos. 4472-81 (at first temporarily numbered 1472-81), whilst in 1924-5 there appeared Nos. 2543-82.60068

In 1925 No. 4474 underwent trials on the Great Western main line, being matched against the GWR engine No. 4079 ‘Pendennis Castle’, as a result of which No. 4480 was in 1927 rebuilt with a 220 lb. boiler, and four others were likewise treated a few months later.  Following the success of this conversion, further new engines were built with the higher pressure between 1928 and 1935, Nos. 2743-52, 2595-9, 2795-7 and 2500-8.  From 1925 onwards all the class were named, mostly after famous racehorses, but No. 4472, one of the best known of the whole lot had already become ‘Flying Scotsman’ after the train of that name, which it frequently worked.60103 Flying Scotsman

All eventually received the higher boiler pressure, and in 1945 Thompson rebuilt the initial engine No. 4470, when it was considerably modified, and as such became the prototype of a new class of his own, comprising in all fifty engines.  This locomotive received the number 113 under the 1946 renumbering scheme, whilst the remainder became 35-112, and later ran as BR 60035-60112, the Thompson rebuild and subsequent additions being 60113-62.

As Built – Driving wheels – 6’ 8”,  Cylinders (3) – 20”x 26”,  Pressure 180 lb.,  Tractive effort – 29835 lb.,  Weight – ___ ,  GNR & LNER classification – A1 (later A10),  BR classification – N/A

As Rebuilt – Driving wheels – 6’ 8”,  Cylinders (3) – 19”x 26”,  Pressure 220 lb.,  Tractive effort – 32910 lb.,  Weight – 96 tons 5 cwt ,  GNR & LNER classification – A3,  BR classification – 7P6F

No. 4470, modified by Thompson – Driving wheels – 6’ 8”,  Cylinders (3) – 19”x 26”,  Pressure 250 lb.,  Tractive effort – 37400 lb.,  Weight – 101 tons,  GNR & LNER classification – A1,  BR classification – 7P6F60113


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

Steam Locomotives of a More Leisurely Era 1900 – ‘Claud Hamiltons’ Great Eastern Railway

Steam Locomotives of a More Leisurely Era

1900 – ‘Claud Hamiltons’

Great Eastern Railway

CH as first builtClaud Hamilton as first built

The first engine of this famous class, ‘Claud Hamilton’, which appeared from Stratford in 1900, was numbered after the year of its birth, although GER numbers had not yet reached so high by several hundreds.  Subsequent engines of the class were built in batches of ten, and numbered successively backwards, as 1890-9, 1880-9, and so on, until Nos. 1790-9 appeared in 1911.  Ten more engines of larger dimensions, known as ‘Super Clauds’, appeared in 1923 after the amalgamation as LNER 1780E-1789E, the whole class eventually becoming LNER 8780-8900.

CH as running in 1937 after rebuildClaud Hamilton  as running 1n 1937 after rebuilding

The ‘Claud Hamiltons’ as originally built are considered by many to be one of the most handsome designs ever built.  With their well-proportioned outline embellished by the beautiful Great Eastern blue with its elaborate lining-out in red and yellow, they presented a sight which would be almost unbelievable in these drab days.

Not only in appearance, however, but in performance too, these engines soon showed themselves to be an exceedingly remarkable design, and many were the stupendous feats of haulage they were destined to perform over the GER main lines in their heyday.  The GER went in fairly extensively for oil burning around the turn of the century, and many of the earlier Clauds were so fitted for a time.


Commencing with the 1850-9 batch, which appeared in 1904, Belpaire fireboxes were provided, and the final ten, Nos. 1780-9, mentioned above, which came out under Hill’s regime, were considerably enlarged.

The later history of the class is somewhat involved, and cannot be fully detailed here.  Apart from the inevitable provision of superheaters, Gresley began rebuilding many of them from 1933 onwards.  This involved, amongst other things, a much larger boiler, with a reversion to the round-topped firebox and, in some cases, provision for piston valves.  Many, but not all, of the rebuilds lost the decorative framing and splashers, and had raised running plates to clear the coupling rods, which, together with the replacement of the handsome chimneys by one of Gresley’s pattern which somehow ill-suited these locomotives, completely ruined their appearance.

62547 SC

In 1946 the class was renumbered 2500-2620 in order of building (Nos.1780-9 becoming 2611-20) and on Nationalisation they were allocated in turn 62500-62620, although in few cases they never bore these numbers.  In fact, the prototype, No. 2500 ‘Claud Hamilton’, had already been scrapped in 1947, when its nameplates were transferred to No. 2546.  All of the rebuilt engines had gone by 1952, but a few Gresley rebuilds still remained in service in 1959.



Original – Driving wheels – 7’ 0”,  Cylinders – 19”x 26”,  Pressure – 185 lb.,  Weight – 50 tons 8 cwt.,  GER classification – S46 & S56 (Belpaire),  LNER classification – D14 & D15 (Belpaire)

Super-Claud – Driving wheels – 7’ 0”,  Cylinders – 19”x 26”,  Pressure – 180 lb.,  Weight – 54 tons 18 cwt.,  GER classification – H88,  LNER classification – D16

Gresley Rebuilds – Driving wheels – 7’ 0”,  Cylinders – 19”x 26”,  Pressure – 180 lb.,  Weight – 55 tons 18 cwt.,  GER classification –,  LNER classification – D16/3,  BR classification – 3P 1F