Modern Practice on Four Great Railways
“RADLEY”, a “Schools” class engine of the Southern Railway, at the head of a Portsmouth and Isle of Wight express at Waterloo Station. The well-
IT must be apparent to any student of locomotive practice that the train services of Great Britain are worked in general by smaller and lighter engines than those of many other countries, and of America in particular. Several reasons may be advanced to account for this fact. Continental rolling stock is heavier than British, and American rolling stock very much heavier, so that in other countries greater demands are made on tractive power even at speeds equal to those in force in Great Britain, to say nothing of the higher speeds that are being developed by degrees in Europe and the United States. Of all railway systems in the world working on a track gauge of 4 ft 8½-
of construction gauges, and the cross-
But perhaps the most important factor is that of coal. Some of the finest steam coal in the world is mined in Great Britain, and full utilization of the heat units developed in its combustion may be obtained in fireboxes of relatively small dimensions. Not only so, but the cheapness of fuel in Great Britain has tended, in earlier years, to arrest locomotive development.
At the beginning of the present century it had become the common practice to build nothing but 4-
Perhaps the extreme expression of this principle in design was found in the “Precursor” type 4-
Mr. Whale’s predecessor, Mr. F. W. Webb, had flooded the LNWR with compound engines of inadequate power and uncertain performance, as the Webb system of compounding employed had certain serious defects. In 1904, therefore, a straightforward design of simple 4-
In 1910 a superheated version of this type was developed, in the “George the Fifth” type. In the latter, the cylinders were enlarged from 19-
the engine was almost exactly 60 tons without tender. In proportion to their size, these engines did some astonishing
work in their day. The writer’s most outstanding experience, probably, was with the engine “Wild Duck”, which, after stalling on greasy rails on the ascent of Camden bank, out of Euston, recovered over thirteen minutes between Willesden and Crewe, with a train of twelve coaches, weighing 410 tons. This locomotive covered the 150.6 miles from Willesden to mile-
When the twentieth century opened, therefore, the 4-
“OTTERHOUND”, a 4-
It was the line last mentioned that now laid the foundations of a revolutionary change in British locomotive practice. At Doncaster works Mr. H. A. Ivatt had succeeded Mr. Stirling as Locomotive Superintendent. It was in 1898 that he broke new ground by introducing Britain’s first “Atlantic” locomotive, with a leading bogie, four-
5 ft 6-
But the wisdom of Ivatt has been fully justified by the results. Probably there are no other locomotives which have seen such consistent success through more than three decades of history as the Ivatt “Atlantics”; especially since the addition of superheating equipment from 1910 onwards.
Another British railway was also beginning to set new locomotive fashions at the opening of the present century, and that was the Great Western. Mr. G. J. Churchward -
sufficient steam to the cylinders without the engine having to be “thrashed”, by the use of wastefully long cut-
Churchward’s aim was that the expansive properties of the steam should be used to the utmost, as thermal efficiency is obviously increased if the same weight of steam can be made to do more work than before.
In the years 1904 and 1905 the Great Western Railway purchased three compound “Atlantic” locomotives from France, modelled generally on the lines that had proved so successful on the French Northern Railway. While the Great Western did not follow, in its new designs, the two stages of expansion embodied in these compounds, the valve-
High Working Pressure
To increase the expansive properties of the steam itself, Churchward copied the working pressure of the French engines -
express engines of other lines.
These principles were first developed in the two-
were all, at a later date, converted to the 4-
In the next batch of 4-
subsequent series were built, such as the “Monarchs”, “Queens”, “Princes”, “Princesses”, “Knights”, and “Abbeys”, all coming within the “Star” class, but with slight differences in dimensions.
THE FIRST “ATLANTIC” express engine in Great Britain was introduced by H. A. Ivatt on the Great Northern Railway in 1898. The cylinders measured 18¾-
Mr. C. B. Collett then succeeded Mr. Churchward, and the year 1923 saw the first “Castle” class four-
The most outstanding success of the “Castles” was achieved, however, not on Great Western metals at all, but on those of the LNER and LMS Railways, when engines were exchanged for trial purposes with those of the latter companies.
At various previous periods of British locomotive history engines had been “exchanged”. In 1909, for example, the LNWR exchanged a 4-
“Polar Star” of the Great Western created somewhat of a sensation in 1910 on LNWR metals by the ease and low coal consumption with which she undertook the duties assigned to her. But the LNWR engine “Worcestershire” -
Then came the more famous exchange of 1925. In the year 1922, Mr. H. N. Gresley having succeeded Mr. H. A. Ivatt as Chief Mechanical Engineer of the Great Northern Railway, there appeared from Doncaster Works the first of the famous series of “Pacific” locomotives now known as the “Flying Scotsman” type. It was not the first 4-
111 and called “The Great Bear”. But this was the least successful of all Mr. Churchward’s designs. Because of the constant reverse curvature of the West of England main line beyond Reading, No. 111 was not found suitable for the workings to Exeter and beyond, and throughout its existence as a 4-
But the new Gresley 4-
Then came the Wembley Exhibition of 1924, when No. 4472, “Flying Scotsman”, was exhibited alongside No. 4073, “Caerphilly Castle”, the new and enlarged 4-
powerful express engine in Great Britain”. The claim was based on the tractive force formula, which, with the considerable help of 225 lb per sq in pressure in place of 180 lb, gave the GWR locomotive such an advantage that her calculated tractive effort was certainly slightly greater than that of the bigger and heavier LNER engine.
But tractive effort needs an adequate supply of steam to make the figure effective. And the upshot of the matter was an invitation from the LNER to the GWR to prove the correctness of the latter’s contention. In May, 1925, therefore, LNER
“Pacific” No. 4474, “Victor Wild”, was handed over to the Great Western Railway authorities for a fortnight, and “Castle” class 4-
The “Pacific”, with the LNER driver Pibworth on the footplate, ran between Paddington and Plymouth in competition with the Great Western No. 4074, “Caldicot Castle”; and “Pendennis Castle”, with the GWR driver Young on the footplate, ran between King’s Cross and Doncaster in competition with “Pacific” No. 4475, “Flying Fox”. It was one of the most exciting events in British railway history. Crowds lined the tracks to see the strangers fly by, and the public interest in this sporting contest was great. The result of the trials was to prove up to the hilt the economic soundness of the principles underlying the Great Western design. Both engines succeeded in doing each other’s work without difficulty. The driver of the LNER “Pacific” on Great Western metals probably had the harder task.
“BUCKINGHAMSHIRE”, one of the “Shire” class three-
But the most astonishing outcome of the trials was that the smaller Great Western “Castle”, whether burning its own Welsh coal or the Yorkshire product favoured by the LNER “Pacifics”, burned less of both qualities, while making slightly faster times with equal loads. A similar test, in the following year, of No. 5000, “Launceston Castle”, against “Claughton” class
A SCOTTISH EXPRESS descending from Shap Summit, Westmorland, on the way to Scotland. The train is hauled by one of the LMS “Royal Scot” class locomotives. There are over seventy of these powerful engines, but they are among the relatively few locomotives in Great Britain with a boiler pressure as high as 250 lb.
The LMS Railway turned out in 1927 the first of the 4-
In 1909, the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway Company, which was practically the first railway to introduce to Great Britain the practice of superheating steam on locomotives -
Brighton and Rugby in one direction each day, while the LNWR worked the train in the opposite direction.
The competitors were one of the Brighton “I.3” class 4-
consumption of coal and water -
“SIR FRANK REE”, one of the “Baby Scot” class 4-
The immediate outcome of this exchange was the building in 1910 of, the superheated version of the London and North Western “Precursors” -
Taking all these developments in conjunction, it is clear that a substantial advance in locomotive design has been made in the quarter of a century between 1910 and 1935. First and foremost, practically all locomotive types now built in Great Britain, apart from shunting engines, are designed in such a way that they can be worked with their regulators wide open, and cutting off early in the stroke, thus making the most economical use possible of their steam. Much higher pressures
than formerly are now general; they are limited only by the fact that increasing the pressure demands a corresponding
increase in the strength of the boiler shell and the steam passages, and tends also to add to the costs of maintenance.
Superheating is universal, except for shunting engines, and allows of a greater range of expansion of the steam without loss of efficiency by condensation.
Other changes have been the widespread introduction of three-
“PRINCESS MARGARET ROSE”, a 4-
A striking example of this principle is seen on the Great Eastern Section of the LNER, where weak under-
LNER, the use of three cylinders permitted a raising of the adhesion weight to 54 tons. Again, whereas previously no greater total than 20 tons had been imposed on coupled axles before the introduction of multi-
In the same period from 1910 to 1935 valve-
The size and equipment of engine cabs have vastly improved between 1910 and 1925. Cab roofs are now extended well over the engine tenders; side sheets have been widened and provided with side-
credited with having taken a lead in thus having planned greater comfort for enginemen. In many modern designs tip-
leading dimensions of all the various express locomotive types which are now regarded as standard in Great Britain.
“SIR MENADEUKE”, a “King Arthur” class locomotive on the Southern Railway. These engines have cylinders 20½-
On the LNER the principal express duties are allotted to the “Pacifics”, of which nearly one hundred have been put in service between 1922 and 1935. This has been an outstandingly successful design. Whether in the matter of load haulage or in that of high-
exceeding 650 tons have been hauled on normal schedules by the “Pacifics” without assistance. To a “Pacific” also are due the honours of the London-
The “Mikado”, or 2-
Edinburgh and Aberdeen, is fully dealt with in the chapter beginning on page 400, and no further reference is here necessary.
Successful Passenger Types
For intermediate express passenger work on the LNER two other standard types have been built, both with three-
The “Shires” and “Hunts” are used almost exclusively on the North Eastern area, and in Scotland. Among other express passenger classes that have done, and are still doing, successful work, the Great Northern “Atlantics” have already been mentioned. There are also the Great Central “Directors” -
Great Britain) and the North British “Atlantics”.
On the LMS Railway, the brunt of the hardest work during recent years -
Great Britain to share so high a working pressure as 250 lb per sq in, although this is now a fairly common figure abroad.
These engines appeared during the reign of Sir Henry Fowler as Chief Mechanical Engineer of the LMS in the earliest years of that group, when increased locomotive power was once again urgently necessary to reduce the double-
Of other types then in service, the 4-
the road in Mr. S. W. Johnson’s day, and later improved by Mr. R. M. Deeley. To-
Twenty of the “Claughtons” had been rebuilt with boilers of larger diameter and 200 lb per sq in pressure, when another rebuilt variety appeared, which from its resemblance to the “Royal Scots” immediately earned the nickname “Baby Scot”. The four cylinders of the original engines were replaced by three. There was little of the original engines left, and the later
“Baby Scots” were brand-
Then came the advent of Mr. W. A. Stanier to the LMS as Chief Mechanical Engineer in 1932. Before this he had been second-
The principle underlying low super-
Most notable among them, of course, are the “Pacifics”. The original three comprise the “Princess Royal”, “Princess Elizabeth”, and a third engine -
pressure of 250 lb per sq in. Two years of trials were conducted with the first two engines before the next ten were put in hand.
The other Stanier type for express passenger work is the “5XP” -
Great Western express locomotive practice has proceeded for many years past on such uniform lines that little needs to be said about the various Great Western express passenger types. Four-
“Stars”, “Castles”, and “Kings” -
Domeless boilers are a standard feature of Great Western equipment. Another is very large cylinder ports, which explain the sudden and almost explosive exhaust of Great Western engines, and, by the freedom with which they allow the steam to escape from the cylinders, do much to account for the traditional freedom of running of Great Western locomotives at speed. A third feature is lengthy valve-
“SILVER JUBILEE”, built in 1935. This LMS 4-
Locomotive history has been made on the Southern Railway with the “King Arthurs” -
1 in 80, and flying down the ensuing descents, all within the compass of start to-
DIMENSIONS OF STANDARD BRITISH EXPRESS LOCOMOTIVES
Their larger development is the “Lord Nelson” type, with four cylinders in place of two, and 220 lb working pressure in place of 200 lb.
An interesting feature of the “Lord Nelsons” is that, instead of the usual 90-
“Lord Nelsons”, it is surprising to find that the latter weigh only 2½ tons apiece more than the former -
The final express locomotive type to be mentioned on the Southern Railway is that which has been named after famous schools. For their size and weight the “Schools” are notable engines. By careful design and the use of three cylinders, Mr. R. E. L. Maunsell has produced a 4-
The “Schools” can be worked over sections of the line which have restrictions on total engine weight or on cross-
on which hilly lines they are responsible for the major part of the work.
“PAPYRUS”, a LNER “Pacific” 4-
[From part 46, published 13 December 1935]
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