During our 2015 UK holiday I visited the National Railways Museum's annexe "Locomotion" in Shildon
1 Quite frankly I had little idea what to expect. I had not had much attention for Locomotion so far. I knew it was a modern buidling, but I had no idea how big or how small, and I only had a vague impression of the collection. But I happened to be in the area and I suddenly had a day to spare, having been at the NRM in York just the previous day. I came here to see at least two locomotives: - the Stirling Single and - the Gresley V2 "Green Arrow".
2 On entering the museum I was pleasantly surprised by the presence of an S160 war locomotive on display.
3 When the USA entered the war, the US Army Transportation Corps needed locomotives which would fit within the European loading gauge to deploy military hardware and civilian goods. Using experiences gained from the S159 and S200 classes which had already been supplied to the British railways, this class was designed on austerity principles using methods which preferred efficient and fast construction speed over long life.
4 The austere construction led to some difficulties in operation. The axle boxes tended to run hot, braking was poor, and the crown stays proved weak, which in combination with a faulty water gauge led to several boiler explosions. Yet the class was there for a job: to sustain the war effort and more specifically to work behind the advancing allied front to provide a continuous stream of fresh supplies, a job which they did well.
5 After the war the class was dispersed all over Europe: Austria (30), Czechoslovakia (80), France (121), Germany (40), Greece (27), Hungary (510), Italy (244), Poland (575), Soviet Union (200), Spain (6), Turkey (50), Yugoslavia (80). Many others landed as far as Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Mexico, Peru, China, India and the Koreas.
6 Characteristic for the American practise is the air pump on the front of the smokebox and consequently the small smokebox door
7 Its squat build makes for a very powerful appearance. With a good 140 kN they do have quite a lot in store but less than the WD 2-8-0 (152 kN) or the GWR 28xx (157 kN).
11 Also telltales this locomotive is of Amercan origin: lots of cast parts.
15 Grease pump
18 This plaque commemorates the locomotive's chequered history. Despite the austere design it proved long-lived.
19 The car behind the S160 carries a Crusader tank. Important during the Desert Campaign in WWII they were disliked by their crews for their unreliable engines.
20 Adjacent to the S160 stood this narrow gauge locomotive. Unnamed and no text to reveal its origin. By the gauge I suspected it to come from southern Africa, probably South Africa itself. I photographed it and dug into my books.
21 Carrying number 390 with no further clue was peculiar. South African Railways / Suid Afrikaans Spoorwee always proudly stated their name on the number plate. Some research showed it was one of a class originally belonging to one of SAR's predecessors the CGR, Colonial Government railways, in a batch numbered from 385-398.
22 Built between 1896 and 1901 class 7A numbered 81 examples. They proved to be longlived, the last was not retired until 1972! In SAR service, the Class 7 series worked on every system in the country. Sorry for the unsharp photo, but was the only one I had from this angle. This reminds me to ALWAYS take two.
23 A view in the cab. Once again I was extremely pleased with my 10 mm super wide angle lense, which I bought especially for the usually tight spaces in which to work in locomotives or workshops. The distortion of the perspective is the price I have to pay
25 After the two surprises I turned my attention to one loco I came for: the Stirling Single. Unfortunately it was at a next to impossible place to photograph, so I had to make do with just few shots.
26 The Stirling Single had, the name says it all, only one single pair of driving wheels. They were exceptionally large for that, in order to attain high speeds in light passenger service.
27 A top speed, on lighter trains, of 85 mph (137 kmh) may not seem much to us in our day but they did certainly impress in their day!
28 A total of 53 were built at Doncaster from 1870 until as late as 1895. They were able to haul 275 ton trains at an average of 50 mph (80 kmh).
29 This is the other locomotive I was here for: the Gresley V2. I haven taken interest in the life and work of the man, Sir Nigel Gresley that is, and I certainly find this a design of very pleasing lines and quality.
30 Primarily built for mixed traffic (so both freight and passenger service) they were capable of working freights at up to 60 mph (97 kmh). But they soon proved true runners despite their wheels being smaller than those of the pacifics. Moreover, a well maintained V2 could compete with the pacifics. Instances have been recorded of 93 mph (150 km/h) and the fastest recording ever clocked 101.5 miles per hour (163 km/h).
31 The smokebox design reminds me a little of the elegant front end design of the Dutch HSM 501-535 (later NS 21XX)
33 A symphony in steel
36 The wheel arrangement allowed the fitting of a large firebox, which is usually limited by the presence of the last driver wheelset.
37 The V2s were the only major class of 2-6-2 tender locomotives in Britain. The last of the class was withdrawn in 1966.
42 Again the Gresley conjugated valve gear.
45 Only this first V2 survived. The cylinder block is cracked and replacement, though technically not impossible, seems out of league.
46 The famous Gresley teak coach
48 Built in 1847 (!). The loc was originally a 4-2-2 but later rebuilt to 2-2-2, having little resemblance with the initial design. The large wheels originate from the idea that high speed could only be attained by large wheels. Given the state of the technology that was probably true.
49 BIG wheels The driver wheels size 8 ft 6 in (2.591 m) and are among the largest in the world (2.690 m seems to be the record). It was withdrawn in 1902 but survived as locomotive for maintenance and inspection service until 1925. Then it was preserved.
51 North Eastern Railway class M1. Twenty built between 1892 and 1894
52 Stanier Black Five. One of the competing designs together with the Great Western designs of King and Hall classes and the Thompson B1. Between 1934 and 1951 no less than 842 engines were turned out.
54 One of the engines that scored a record during the races to the North in the 1890's. It covered the distance from Crewe to Carlisle, 227 km, in 2 hours and 6 minutes, setting a new average speed record of 67.1 mph (108 kmh)
55 On two different locations in the Hall I found a surviving coach of the Stockton-Darlington railway.
56 No 59 dates from 1845
57 No 31 is a year "younger"
59 A royal coach
61 This Atlantic by the hand of Henry Ivatt was another unexpected pleasure. Atlantics, locomotives with the 4-4-2 wheel arrangement, so having only two driver wheelsets, had a brief but dashing spell of glory in railway history. They were the answer to the increasing demand foor power for light and fast passenger services. If some freight engines were referred to as Elephants or Jumbos than certainly the Atlantics must have been the hares of the rail.
62 As said, the Atlantic had only two driver sets. The aim was to reduce drag from an unnecessary third axle. It was possible to provide enough power through only two wheelsets, but as a result they became slippery, especially at starting but they were also reputed to have slipped at 40 mph
63 Most innovative design aspect is the firebox that was placed well behind the driver wheels over a carrying axle, allowing a large and wide firebox to develop sufficient heat for a free steaming boiler that on its turn then can provide enough steam for the fast running engine.
65 These Ivatt Atlantics were built form 1898 (251 being the first) numbering 94 in the class. With the advent of the Gresley Pacifics they were relegated to lesser services, but even during the thirties they did a tremendous job on the high profile express services. He last was withdrawn in 1950.
66 I couldn't resist
69 Well this concludes my visit to Locomotion. I missed one opportunity. A volunteer told me he had especially come today because A1 Tornado would be here in steam today, but he had just heard there was a delay and the loco was now due in three days. Ah well, you can't have at all, says a good Canadian friend of mine.