IN the final decade of the nineteenth century the first claim was made to have reached a three-
One claim was that in May 1893, 4-
Apart from the fact that none of these claims had the support of a detailed log, including exact passing times, it is impossible to imagine that at that early date the technique of locomotive valve-
Meantime, however, some well-
Returning to steam, we come to the year 1904, when a maximum speed of 102½ mph was claimed for 4-
New York Central Railroad No. 999 was the subject of a non-
Thirty years elapsed before another British claim was made of a speed with a steam locomotive at the three-
On the latter test run Gresley Class A3 Pacific No. 2750 “Papyrus” was the engine, with a six-
These two records were the curtain-
The next LNER test was on August 27, 1936, when the dynamometer car was attached to the up Silver Jubilee train, and on the customary racing stretch down from Stoke Summit, with eight coaches of 254 tons tare and 270 tons gross, A4 Pacific No. 2512 “Silver Fox” fractionally exceeded “Silver Link’s” record by touching 113 mph near Essendine. A further LNER maximum speed of note was on the trial trip of the Coronation streamlined train, on June 30, 1937, when with a considerably heavier nine-
On the previous day, June 29, 1937, another British railway achieved a three-
There the driver succeeded in working No. 6220 up to 114 mph, and so to 1 mph above the LNER maximum. But this maximum was reached at milepost 156, only 2 miles from Crewe, and so near that disaster was but narrowly averted when, after hard braking, speed was still 57 mph as the train reached the first of the crossover roads leading into Crewe station. Mercifully neither engine nor train suffered any damage, as was proved when on the return journey “Coronation” just touched the 100 mph mark down the 1 in 330-
On July 3, 1938, however, the LNER supremacy was put in no doubt by the Gresley A4 pacific No. 4468 “Mallard”, as the climax to a series of tests connected with the braking of high-
LNER No. 4489 Gresley streamliner “Mallard” which did 126 mph in July 1938.
On the broken grades that followed the dynamometer car registered an absolute maximum of 126 mph for a short distance. Between mileposts 94 and 89 (steam was shut off at milepost 89¾ to ease the speed round a slight curve at Essendine) 5 miles were covered in 2 minutes 29½ seconds, at an average of 120·4 mph, and speed was actually at or above the 120 mph mark for the 3 miles between mileposts 92¾ and 89¾. So far as is known from properly authenticated records. “Mallard’s” 126 mph is the highest speed that has been reached by steam power in any part of the world.
It is of interest to note what developments had taken place in the design of the Gresley Pacifics of the London & North Eastern Railway between the attainment of the first 100 mph by “Flying Scotsman” in 1934 and of 126 mph by “Mallard” in 1938. With the improved valve-
With the A4 Pacific “Silver Link”, which achieved 25 miles continuously at over 100 mph and a maximum of 112½ mph, later fractionally increased by “Silver Fox” to 113 mph, there had been a further reduction in cylinder diameter to 18½-
The nearest known approach by steam power to “Mallard’s” 126 mph was 124½ mph attained in 1938 by the German streamlined 4-
The LMSR competitor in speed. No. 6220 streamlined Stanier Pacific “Coronation”, which took the British record from the LNER in June 1937 for about a year, with 114 mph.
The only railway in the world which has ever brought into operation schedules demanding 100 mph speeds with steam power has been the Chicago, Milwaukee & Pacific Railroad. In 1935 the company introduced a streamlined express called the “Hiawatha” between Chicago, St Paul and Minneapolis timed to cover the 410 miles in 6½ hours, inclusive of six intermediate stops and 58 speed restrictions of varying severity.
For its haulage the company built the world’s most powerful “Atlantics”, with 7 ft coupled wheels, 19-
Patronage of the train then grew to such an extent that the original nine cars had to be increased to twelve, of 550 tons weight, and for their haulage a magnificent new coal-
One of the most remarkable three-
Norfolk & Western Railway “J” Class 4-