BR Standard Class 5

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BR Standard Class 5
St Pancras 2 railway station 2115487 10c7b92d.jpg
No 73142 ready to depart with the 10.50 Express from London St Pancras to Leicester in 1957. Note the Caprotti valve gear.
Type and origin
Power type Steam
Designer R. A. Riddles
Builder BR Derby Works (130)
BR Doncaster Works (42)
Build date April 1951 - June 1957
Total produced 172
 • Whyte 4-6-0
 • UIC 2′C h2
Gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Leading dia. 3 ft 0 in (0.914 m)
Driver dia. 6 ft 2 in (1.880 m)
Length 62 ft 7 in (19.08 m)
Width 8 ft 9 in (2.67 m)
Height 13 ft 0 in (3.96 m)
Axle load 19.70 long tons (20.02 t; 22.06 short tons)
Adhesive weight 58.05 long tons (58.98 t; 65.02 short tons)
Loco weight 76.00 long tons (77.22 t; 85.12 short tons)
Tender weight BR1/BR1H: 49.15 long tons (49.94 t; 55.05 short tons);
BR1B: 51.25 long tons (52.07 t; 57.40 short tons);
BR1C: 53.25 long tons (54.10 t; 59.64 short tons);
BR1F: 55.25 long tons (56.14 t; 61.88 short tons);
BR1G: 52.50 long tons (53.34 t; 58.80 short tons);
Tender type BR1 (50), BR1B (62), BR1C (35), BR1F (10), BR1G (3), BH1H (12)
Fuel capacity BR1C: 9.00 long tons (9.14 t; 10.08 short tons);
All others: 7.00 long tons (7.11 t; 7.84 short tons)
Water cap BR1/BR1H: 4,250 imp gal (19,300 l; 5,100 US gal);
BR1B/BR1C: 4,725 imp gal (21,480 l; 5,674 US gal);
BR1F: 5,625 imp gal (25,570 l; 6,755 US gal);
BR1G: 5,000 imp gal (23,000 l; 6,000 US gal)
 • Firegrate area
28.7 sq ft (2.67 m2)
Boiler BR3
Boiler pressure 225 psi (1.55 MPa)
Heating surface:
 • Tubes and flues
1,479 sq ft (137.4 m2)
 • Firebox 171 sq ft (15.9 m2)
 • Heating area 358 sq ft (33.3 m2)
Cylinders Two, outside
Cylinder size 19 in × 28 in (483 mm × 711 mm)
Valve gear Walschaerts (73000–73124, 73155–73171)
Caprotti (73125–73154)
Performance figures
Tractive effort 26,120 lbf (116.2 kN)
Factor of adh. 4.97
Operators British Railways
Power class 5MT
Numbers 73000–73171
Axle load class Route availability 7
BR (WR): Red
Withdrawn February 1964 – August 1968
Disposition Five preserved, remainder scrapped

The British Railways Standard Class 5MT 4-6-0 was one of the 12 standard classes of steam locomotive built by British Railways in the 1950s. It was essentially a development of the LMS Stanier Class 5 4-6-0 ("Black Five"). 172 were built between 1951 and 1957.


William Stanier's Black Five had been the most successful mixed-traffic type in Great Britain. Construction of the Black Fives had started in 1934 and continued past nationalisation to 1951. A new set of 'standard' locomotives was to be built by British Railways, based on LMS designs and incorporating modern ideas.

In particular, the Standard design incorporated features designed to make disposal easier: a self-cleaning smokebox and a rocking grate removed the necessity for crews to undertake dirty and strenuous duties at the end of a long shift.[1] The Standard 5 was a much more economical high speed express engine than the Black 5. Like the "Clan" class locomotives, Standard 5s, with their high-stepped running board, were partly conceived to be more economical and serviceable replacements for the Bulleid Pacific, and the Standard Class 5 were fast, they could really fly with good steam, easily to 100mph in the view of many engine drivers. Like the Clans, which could only manage one more carriage on an express than a 'Five' the Standard Fives took a long time to shake down, and only started to really pull when different firing techniques, which allowed them to steam using poor quality coal were developed,[2] for these low emission passenger locomotives, came into use. They pulled much of the traffic on the last express lines for steam in the mid and late 1960s: Edinburgh-Aberdeen, London- Southampton-Bournemouth- Weymouth and local express traffic in the North and Midlands around Sheffield and Leeds. They were also used on the locals between Liverpool, Manchester and Blackpool, some steam hauled to the last day of steam in 1968.[citation needed]

Design and construction[edit]

The design work was done at the ex-LNER Doncaster Works but the bulk of the construction was done at Derby Works. The locomotive featured a BR standard boiler very similar in dimensions to the Stanier Type 3B fitted to the Black Fives, but made from manganese steel instead of nickel steel. The most obvious visible changes were a higher running plate, slightly enlarged driving wheels (from 6 ft 0 in (1.829 m) to 6 ft 2 in (1.880 m)), a standard cab with external pipework and the regulator gland on the driver's side of the boiler below the dome.

The first of the class, 73000, was outshopped from Derby in April 1951 and 30 were in service by January 1952. There was then a gap in construction before Derby resumed building its remaining 100 engines. 42 were built at Doncaster, starting in August 1955 and finishing in May 1957, with Derby's last engine following a month later.

Thirty engines, numbers 73125 to 73154, were built with Caprotti valve gear and poppet valves. One of these engines (73129) survives today at Butterley. It and 71000 Duke of Gloucester are the only engines with Caprotti gear left in Britain.

Table of orders
Number Date Builder Valve gear Notes
73000-28 1951 Derby Walschaerts
73029-49 1953 Derby Walschaerts
73050-74 1954 Derby Walschaerts
73075-99 1955 Derby Walschaerts
73100-108 1955 Doncaster Walschaerts
73109-124 1956 Doncaster Walschaerts
73125-144 1956 Derby Caprotti Poppet valves
73145-154 1957 Derby Caprotti Poppet valves
73155-158 1956 Doncaster Walschaerts
73159-171 1957 Doncaster Walschaerts

In service[edit]

In 1959, 20 of the Southern Region locomotives were named, the names being transferred from SR King Arthur class locos that were then being withdrawn. These were:

73002 passing through Water Orton, 1964.

73020 is known to have been used on Southern Region, photographed departing Southampton Terminus on 18 September 1965.[3]

73020 has also been photographed in service on the Southern Region, pulling a boat train across Canute Road in Southampton on 29 September 1966.[3] This engine also starred in the BTC film Wash and Brush Up, showing the routine boiler washout and cleaning of the smokebox and ash screens every 12–16 days while in service. On completion of this, 73020 hauled the 12.10pm goods to Camden.

73114 Etarre has been photographed in service on 20 March 1966, pulling a boat train through Fareham while diverted due to electrification work on the Southern Region mainline from Southampton to London Waterloo.[3]

73116 'Iseult' is seen, at the head of a Southampton boat train, in Terminus, the 1961 British Transport Film documentary directed by John Schlesinger which presents a "fly-on-the-wall" look at a day at Waterloo Station in London.

Table of withdrawals
Year Quantity in
service at
start of year
Locomotive numbers Notes
1964 172 15 73012/17/24/27/46–47/52/58/61/74/76,
1965 157 43 73001/03/08/15/21/23/30–32/36/38/41–42/44/49/51/54/56/62–63/68/75/77/84/90–91,
1966 114 38 73005/07/09/13/16/28/55/57/72/78/80–83/86–89/95/98–99,
1967 76 53 73002/04/06/11/14/18–20/22/25–26/29/37/39/43/45/48/59–60/64–66/70–71/73/79/85/92–94/96–97,
1968 23 23 73000/10/33–35/40/50/53/67/69,

Accidents and incidents[edit]

  • On 25 August 1958, locomotive No. 73042 was hauling a sleeper car train which overran a signal and was in a head-on collision with a train formed from two electric multiple units at Eastbourne, East Sussex. Five people were killed and 40 were injured.
  • In 1958, locomotive No. 73111 was hauling a passenger train that derailed at Millbrook, Hampshire due to a faulty point motor moving a set of points under the train.[4]


Only five members of the class have survived into preservation and all have steamed and run in preservation with 73156 being the last to return to service. 73096 has also operated on the mainline. 73082 and 73156 are both operational with 73156 returning to steam in Aug 2017.

Number & Name Tender Attached Builder Built Withdrawn Service life Location Livery Status Image
73050 "City of Peterborough" BR1G Derby Works April 1954 April 1964 14 Years, 2 months Nene Valley Railway BR Lined Black, Early Emblem Boiler ticket expired in 2015, Under Overhaul BR Standard Class 5 73050.JPG
73082 "Camelot" BR1B Derby Works July 1955 June 1966 10 years, 11 months Bluebell Railway BR Lined Black, Early Emblem Operational, Boiler ticket expires in 2025. 73082 Camelot on shed.jpg
73096 BR1G Derby Works Nov 1955 Nov 1967 12 years Mid Hants Railway BR Green, late Emblem Purchased by and transferred to the Watercress Line, at which it was formerly a resident under private ownership, in November 2017. Coming on duty at Alresford - - 1289301.jpg
73129 BR1B Derby Works Aug 1956 Dec 1967 11 years, 4 months Midland Railway - Butterley BR Lined Black, Early Emblem Static Display, Boiler ticket expired in 2016. One of only two engines left in Britain with Caprotti valve gear. Bewdley - 73129.JPG
73156 BR1A Doncaster Works Dec 1956 Nov 1967 10 Years, 11 months Great Central Railway BR Lined Black, Early Emblem Running in, Boiler ticket expires in 2027. Rebuild from scrapyard condition including new tender and motion completed in 2017. BR Standard Class 5MT 73156 Tintagel.jpg


  1. ^ Terry Essery, Steam Locomotives compared, Atlantic Transport Publishers, ISBN 0-906899-65-6
  2. ^ Clive Groom(Engineman).DVD ' The story of the Standard, Southern and Western engines. Go Entertainment (2011)
  3. ^ a b c South Coast Railways - Portsmouth to Southampton. Vic Mitchell and Keith Smith. 1986. ISBN 0-906520-31-2
  4. ^ Bishop, Bill (1984). Off the Rails. Southampton: Kingfisher. pp. 76–77. ISBN 0 946184 06 2. 


  • A Detailed History of BR Standard Steam Locomotives, - Vol 2 - The 4-6-0 and 2-6-0 Classes. RCTS ISBN 0-901115-93-2
  • Bradley, Rodger P. (1984). The Standard Steam Locomotives of British Railways. David & Charles. ISBN 0715383841. 

External links[edit]