GWR Iron Duke Class

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Iron Duke class engines awaiting scrapping

The Great Western Railway Iron Duke Class 4-2-2 was a class of broad gauge steam locomotives for express passenger train work.

History[edit]

The prototype locomotive, Great Western, was built as a 2-2-2 locomotive in April 1846, but was soon converted to a 4-2-2 arrangement, with the leading wheels set rigidly within the sandwich framing, rather than in a separate bogie.[1] The remainder of the class entered service between April 1847 and July 1855.

Locomotives of the Iron Duke class were extremely fast and had an estimated top speed of about 80 mph (133 km/h). They were used to haul the Flying Dutchman express train which, for several decades, was the world's fastest train. In 1852 the daily service from London Paddington Station to Exeter (194 miles) was achieved with an average speed of 53 mph (88 km/h); with the flatter section between London and Swindon covered at an average speed of 59 mph .[2]

From about 1865, the Iron Duke Class was known as the Alma Class.

In May to July 1870, three locomotives (Great Britain, Prometheus and Estaffete) were extensively rebuilt with new frames and boilers, but retaining their original names. Following these, further locomotives were built to similar specifications, entering service between August 1871 and July 1888. These new locomotives are generally referred to as the Rover class. Although these locomotives took the names of withdrawn locomotives of the original design, they were not rebuilt from them like the first three, but entirely new locomotives (though it is believed that Rover, Swallow and Balaklava may have included some parts from the earlier locomotives of those names).

Apart from the three conversions, the original locomotives were withdrawn between December 1870 and June 1884. Lord of the Isles (the last to be withdrawn) was initially preserved by the GWR at Swindon Works, but was scrapped in January 1906 owing to pressure of space. The three conversions were withdrawn between September 1880 and October 1887, while the other locomotives to the later design were all withdrawn with the end of the GWR broad gauge in May 1892 (except Hirondelle, which had been withdrawn in December 1890).

Many of the nameplates can be seen at the National Railway Museum and at Swindon Steam Railway Museum, while the driving wheels from Lord of the Isles can also be seen at Swindon.

Locomotives[edit]

2-2-2 Great Western[edit]

Great Western
Specifications
Power type Steam
Designer Daniel Gooch
Builder Great Western Railway
Configuration 2-2-2
Gauge 7 ft 0.25 in (2.140 m)
Leading wheel
diameter
4 ft 6 in (1.37 m)
Driver diameter 8 ft 0 in (2.44 m)
Trailing wheel
diameter
4 ft 6 in (1.37 m)
Wheelbase 16 ft 0 in (4.88 m)
Locomotive and tender
combined weight
41 long tons 14 cwt (175,600 lb or 79.7 t)
Boiler pressure 140 psi (0.97 MPa)
Cylinders Two, inside
Cylinder size 18 in × 24 in (460 mm × 610 mm)
Career

The prototype for this class was named the Great Western and built in 1846. Named after the railway, it was designed to show how the 2-2-2 express engines could be improved; its 8-foot-diameter (2.4 m) driving wheels were a foot larger than those of the successful Fire Fly class. It broke its leading axle after a short while in service and was subsequently rebuilt as a 4-2-2, becoming part of the Iron Duke class.

Iron Duke class[edit]

Iron Duke Class
GWR Hirondelle.jpg
Hirondelle
Specifications
Power type Steam
Designer Daniel Gooch
Builder Great Western Railway
Configuration 4-2-2
Gauge 7 ft 0.25 in (2.140 m)
Leading wheel
diameter
4 ft 6 in (1.37 m)
Driver diameter 8 ft 0 in (2.44 m)
Trailing wheel
diameter
4 ft 6 in (1.37 m)
Wheelbase 18 ft 8.5 in (5.702 m)
Cylinder size 18 in × 24 in (460 mm × 610 mm)
Career
Iron Duke replica, at Bristol.
Iron Duke Model at STEAM-Museum, Swindon
Name Built Withdrawn Details and information
Great Western 1846 1870 rebuilt from the 2-2-2 The first, prototype, locomotive, with 18'11½" wheelbase. Name of the Great Western Railway company and Brunel's first steam ship, SS Great Western of 1838.
Great Britain 1847 1880 Second production locomotive, one of the first batch built, 18'6" wheelbase. Name of the country, Great Britain, and Brunel's SS Great Britain steamship of 1843.
Iron Duke 1847 1871 One of the first batch built, with 18'6" wheelbase. Name of the class, Iron Duke was a reference to the Duke of Wellington.
Emperor 1847 1873 One of the first batch built, with 18'6" wheelbase. Emperor is a ruler of an empire
Lightning 1847 1878 One of the first batch built, with 18'6" wheelbase. lightning is a fast and powerful discharge of electrostatic energy from clouds
Pasha 1847 1876 One of the first batch built, with 18'6" wheelbase. pasha is a Turkish chieftain
Sultan 1847 1874 One of the first batch built, with 18'6" wheelbase. Involved in an accident at Ealling: it ran into some goods wagons that were being shunted, and six passengers were killed. Sultan is a Muslim ruler.
Courier 1848 1877 courier is a person who carries packages
Dragon 1848 1872 dragon is a mythological fire-breathing beast
Hirondelle 1848 1873 hirondelle is French for a swallow
Rougemont 1848 1879 Rougemont Castle is a site of historic interest in Exeter, within the GWR region
Tartar 1848 1876 Tartar is an eastern European Turkic speakers
Warlock 1848 1874 warlock is a male witch
Wizard 1848 1875 wizard (fantasy) is a traditional magician or magus
Swallow 1849 1871 swallow is a fast-flying bird
Timour 1849 1871 Timour also called Timur or Tamerlane was a 14th-century central Asian ruler.
Tornado 1849 1881 tornado is a powerful wind
Estafette 1850 1884 Rebuilt 1870: new boiler and wheelbase increased to 19'. Estafette is French for military courier
Perseus 1850 1880 Perseus was a character in Greek mythology
Prometheus 1850 1887 Prometheus's boiler exploded at the locomotive sheds at Westbourne Park outside Paddington Station, 8/11/1862. Rebuilt in 1870: new boiler, wheelbase increased to 19', it was similar to the Rover class introduced the following year. Prometheus was a character in Greek mythology.
Rover 1850 1871 a rover is a wanderer
Amazon 1851 1877 the Amazons were a mythical tribe of warrior women
Lord of the Isles 1851 1884 Before entering service, named Charles Russell in honour of a GWR director; exhibited at the Great Exhibition in London. The following year it hauled the director's inspection train from Paddington station to Birmingham and was involved in a collision at Aynho railway station. After withdrawal in 1884, the locomotive was stored at Swindon railway works until 1906; during this time it was exhibitied at Edinburgh in 1890, Chicago in 1893, and Earls Court, (London) in 1897. Lord of the Isles was a hereditary title of the Scottish nobility, given to the eldest son of the British monarch.
Alma 1854 1872 commemorates the Battle of Alma (1854, Crimean War)
Balaklava 1854 1871 commemorates the Battle of Balaklava (1854, Crimean War)
Crimea 1855 1876 commemorates the Crimean War (10/1853–02/1856)
Eupatoria 1855 1876 commemorates the Battle of Eupatoria (1855, Crimean War)
Inkermann 1855 1877 commemorates the Battle of Inkerman (1854, Crimean War)
Kertch 1855 1872 commemorates the Capture of Kertch (1855, Crimean War)
Sebastopol 1855 1880 commemorates the Siege of Sebastopol (1854–1855, Crimean War)

Rover class[edit]

Rover Class
(or Iron Duke Class rebuilt)
GWR Dragon at Taunton 1892.jpg
Dragon at Taunton while working the last broad gauge train from London to Penzance on 20 May 1892
Specifications
Power type Steam
Designer Joseph Armstrong
Builder Great Western Railway
Configuration 4-2-2
Gauge 7 ft 0.25 in (2.140 m)
Leading wheel
diameter
4 ft 6 in (1.37 m)
Driver diameter 8 ft 0 in (2.44 m)
Trailing wheel
diameter
4 ft 6 in (1.37 m)
Wheelbase 19 ft 0 in (5.79 m)
Cylinder size 18 in × 24 in (460 mm × 610 mm)
Career
Scale model of GWR Emperor at STEAM Museum, Swindon
Name Built Withdrawn Details and information
Balaklava 1871 1892 name reused from Iron Duke class locomotive withdrawn in 1875 (see above for details)
Hirondelle 1871 1890 name reused from Iron Duke class locomotive withdrawn in 1873 (see above for details)
Iron Duke 1873 1892 name reused from Iron Duke class locomotive withdrawn in 1871 (see above for details)
Timour 1873 1892 name reused from Iron Duke class locomotive withdrawn in 1871 (see above for details)
Sultan 1876 1892 name reused from Iron Duke class locomotive withdrawn in 1874 (see above for details)
Tartar 1876 1892 name reused from Iron Duke class locomotive withdrawn in 1876 (see above for details)
Warlock 1876 1892 name reused from Iron Duke class locomotive withdrawn in 1874 (see above for details)
Amazon 1878 1892 name reused from Iron Duke class locomotive withdrawn in 1877 (see above for details)
Courier 1878 1892 name reused from Iron Duke class locomotive withdrawn in 1877 (see above for details)
Crimea 1878 1892 name reused from Iron Duke class locomotive withdrawn in 1876 (see above for details)
Eupatoria 1878 1892 name reused from Iron Duke class locomotive withdrawn in 1876 (see above for details)
Inkermann 1878 1892 name reused from Iron Duke class locomotive withdrawn in 1877 (see above for details)
Lightning 1878 1892 name reused from Iron Duke class locomotive withdrawn in 1878 (see above for details)
Alma 1880 1892 name reused from Iron Duke class locomotive withdrawn in 1872 (see above for details)
Bulkeley 1880 1892 This locomotive worked the last broad gauge passenger train out of Paddington Station on the afternoon of Friday, 20 May 1892. It worked this as far as Bristol Temple Meads and then returned early the following morning with the last train from Penzance, thus being the last broad gauge locomotive to work a passenger train on the main line. The name, Bulkeley, honoured a long-standing Great Western Railway director. It had previously been carried on a Sir Watkin class0-6-0T that had been sold to the South Devon Railway Company in 1872.
Dragon 1880 1892 name reused from Iron Duke class locomotive withdrawn in 1872 (see above for details)
Emperor 1880 1892 name reused from Iron Duke class locomotive withdrawn in 1873 (see above for details)
Great Britain 1880 1892 name reused from Iron Duke class locomotive withdrawn in 1880 (see above for details)
Sebastopol 1880 1892 name reused from Iron Duke class locomotive withdrawn in 1880 (see above for details)
Great Western 1888 1892 Great Western had the honour of hauling the last broad gauge "Cornishman" service from Paddington Station, which was the last through train to Penzance, although the locomotives were changed at Bristol Temple Meads. The name was reused from an Iron Duke class locomotive withdrawn in 1870 (see above for details)
Prometheus 1888 1892 name reused from Iron Duke class locomotive withdrawn in 1887 (see above for details)
Tornado 1888 1892 name reused from Iron Duke class locomotive withdrawn in 1881 (see above for details)

Replica[edit]

1985 replica of Iron Duke locomotive. Taken at the Maritime Heritage Centre alongside the Great Western Dockyard, Bristol for the duration of the Brunel 200 celebrations.
Iron Duke replica view, at Bristol.

In 1985 a working replica of Iron Duke was constructed using parts from two Hunslet Austerity tanks as part of the Great Western 150 celebrations. The boiler certificate has expired so it cannot currently be steamed.

It part of the National Railway Collection but is currently on long-term loan to the Didcot Railway Centre, which has a section of working broad gauge track.[3]

The replica appeared in The Railway Series book Thomas and the Great Railway Show, in which it was portrayed with whiskery eyebrows and a walrus moustache.

References[edit]

  • Reed, P. J. T. (February 1953). White, D. E., ed. The Locomotives of the Great Western Railway, Part 2: Broad Gauge. Kenilworth: RCTS. pp. B18, B19–B20, B29–B31. ISBN 0-901115-32-0. 
  1. ^ Casserley, H.C. (1960). Historic locomotive pocket book. London: Batsford. pp. 12–13. 
  2. ^ "History of the Broad Gauge". The Broad Gauge Society. Retrieved 2007-01-30. 
  3. ^ "Steam locomotive entitled Iron Duke". Our collection. National Railway Museum. Retrieved 2013-12-13. 

External links[edit]