GWR 517 Class

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GWR 517 class
GWR 517 class 19thC image.jpg
GWR 517 Class on a mixed train, 19th century
Type and origin
Power type Steam
Designer George Armstrong
Builder GWR Wolverhampton Works
Order number Lots D, E, F, G, H, I, R, S, W, Z, C2, M2, P2
Build date 1868–1885
Rebuilder 156
Specifications
Configuration 0-4-2T
UIC classification B1 n2t
Gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Driver diameter 5 ft 0 in (1.524 m) or 5 ft 2 in (1.57 m)
Trailing wheel
diameter
3 ft 8 in (1.118 m)
Wheelbase 15 ft 6 in (4.72 m)
Length 28 ft 4 58 in (8.65 m)
Width 8 ft 2 in (2.49 m)
Height 12 ft 1 58 in (3.70 m)
Axle load 12 long tons 16 cwt (28,700 lb or 13 t) full
Weight on drivers 24 long tons 16 cwt (55,600 lb or 25.2 t) full
Locomotive weight 35 long tons 4 cwt (78,800 lb or 35.8 t) full
Fuel type Coal
Water capacity 620 imp gal (2,800 l; 740 US gal)
Boiler pressure 150 psi (1.03 MPa) or 165 psi (1.14 MPa)
Firegrate area 12.83 sq ft (1.192 m2)
Heating surface:
– Tubes
904.47 sq ft (84.028 m2)
– Firebox 83.14 sq ft (7.724 m2)
Superheater type None
Cylinders Two, inside
Valve gear Stephenson
Valve type Slide valves
Performance figures
Tractive effort 12,635–14,780 lbf (56.20–65.74 kN)
Career
Operator(s) Great Western Railway
Class 517
Power class Unclassified
Axle load class Unclassified
Withdrawn 1904–1945
Disposition All scrapped

The 517 Class were small 0-4-2T tank engines designed by George Armstrong for local passenger work on the Great Western Railway.[1] They were built at Wolverhampton Works and were outshopped between 1868 and 1885. They were built in thirteen lots commencing with 517–528 and ending with 1477–1488 in 1884–1885.

Dimensions[edit]

The class was far from uniform and encompassed three different wheelbases, saddle and side tanks, and various boilers to name just a few variations. Driving wheels were 5 ft 0 in (1.524 m) (later 5 ft 2 in or 1.575 m due to thicker tyres), cylinders 15 in × 24 in (381 mm × 610 mm), (later 16 in × 24 in or 406 mm × 610 mm) and boiler pressure 150 psi (1.03 MPa) (later 165 psi or 1.14 MPa).

Summary table[edit]

Table of GWR 517 class orders
Year Lot Quantity GWR No. Notes
1868 D 10 517–528 13 ft 7 in (4.14 m) wheelbase
1868–69 E 12 529–540
1869 F 12 541–552
1869 G 12 553–564
1869–70 H 12 565–576
I 12 1421–1432 15 ft 0 in (4.57 m) wheelbase
1873–74 R 12 826–837
1874–75 S 12 838–849
1875–76 W 12 1154–1165
1876 Z 13 202–205, 215–222
1877–78 C2 12 1433–1444
1883 M3 12 1465–1476 15 ft 0 in wheelbase
1884–85 P2 6 1477–1482
1884–85 P2 6 1483–1488

History[edit]

The earlier ones were rebuilt from saddle tanks while the later ones were built as side tanks from the beginning. The 3571 Class were very closely related, its prototype being a minor rebuild of 517 class No. 1477 in 1895. Then ten new locos followed in the next two years. Returning to the 517 class, various bunker and cab combinations also evolved, and after their last rebuilding, the locos with enclosed cabs and large bunkers were effectively the progenitors of Collett's 4800 class. In 1898 No. 1473 was named Fair Rosamund, to work a royal train on the Oxford-Woodstock branch. The engine was the usual one for the Woodstock branch in subsequent years.

The Armstrong brothers[edit]

The independence of the brothers Armstrong is aptly symbolised by the fact that Joseph at Swindon preferred the 2-4-0T wheel arrangement (the 455 Class "Metro" Tanks) to the 0-4-2; George, on the other hand, built no 2-4-0Ts at Wolverhampton.

Use[edit]

In the 19th century the 517s were principally Northern Division engines, and when new worked the Birmingham and Wolverhampton suburban traffic. Under Churchward the situation changed: about half of the class was fitted for autotrain working, and these engines were regularly maintained and moved around the system where needed; while the other, unconverted engines were demoted and became little more than shunters. Nevertheless as late as the 1920s the class was found in almost all parts of the GWR system. Most of the class ran between a million and a million and a half miles, No. 1163 holding the record at 1,652,661. None of the 517s was preserved, the last survivor No. 848 being scrapped in 1945 when aged 70.[2]

Accidents and incidents[edit]

  • On 15 April 1923, locomotive No. 215 was hauling Autocoach No. 70 when it was in a head-on collision with a freight train at Curry Rivel, Somerset due to a signalman's error. Nine people were injured.[3]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Holcroft 1971, pp. 34–35.
  2. ^ Tabor 1959, p. F9-F20.
  3. ^ Vaughan & 1989 pp-29-32.

References[edit]

  • Casserley, H. C. & Johnston, Stuart W. (1966). Locomotives at the Grouping 4: Great Western Railway. Shepperton, Middlesex: Ian Allan Limited. pp. 20–21. 
  • Whitehurst, Brian (1973). Great Western engines, names, numbers, types, classes: 1940 to preservation. Oxford: Oxford Publishing Company. pp. 16, 17, 102, 125. ISBN 0-902888-21-8. OCLC 815661. 
  • Holcroft, Harold (1971) [1957]. An Outline of Great Western Locomotive Practice 1837-1947. Shepperton: Ian Allan. ISBN 0-7110-0228-2. 
  • Tabor, F.J. (1959). The Locomotives of the Great Western Railway, part six: Four-coupled Tank Engines. RCTS. 
  • Vaughan, Adrian (1989). Obstruction Danger. Wellingborough: Patrick Stephens Limited. ISBN 1-85260-055-1.