GCR Classes 8D and 8E

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GCR Classes 8D and 8E
LNER Class C5
Type and origin
Power type Steam
Designer John G. Robinson
Builder GCR, at Gorton
Build date 1905–06
Total produced 4
Configuration 4-4-2
UIC class 2′B1′ n3v, later 2′B1′ h3v
Gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Leading dia. 3 ft 6 in (1,070 mm)
Driver dia. 6 ft 9 in (2,060 mm)
Trailing dia. 4 ft 3 in (1,300 mm)
Wheelbase 51 ft 10 in (15,800 mm)
Length 61 ft 11 14 in (18,879 mm)
Axle load 18.5 long tons (18.8 t)
Adhesive weight 37 long tons (38 t)
Loco weight 73.3 long tons (74.5 t)
Tender weight 48.3 long tons (49.1 t)
Total weight 121.6 long tons (123.6 t)
Fuel type Coal
Fuel capacity 6 long tons (6.1 t)
Water cap 4,000 imp gal (18,000 l)
 • Firegrate area
26.24 sq ft (2.438 m2)
Boiler pressure 180 psi (1.2 MPa)
Heating surface 1,931 sq ft (179.4 m2)
 • Tubes 1,778 sq ft (165.2 m2)
 • Firebox 153 sq ft (14.2 m2)
Cylinders Three, one inside high-pressure, two outside low-pressure
High-pressure cylinder 19 in × 26 in (483 mm × 660 mm)
Low-pressure cylinder 21 in × 26 in (533 mm × 660 mm)
Valve gear Stephenson
Valve type HP: piston valve,
LP: slide valves
Train heating Steam
Loco brake Steam
Train brakes Vacuum
Performance figures
Tractive effort 13,321 lbf (59.25 kN)
  • GCR: 8D, 8E
  • LNER: C5
Number in class 4
  • GCR: 258/9, 364/5
  • LNER: 5258/9, 5364/5,
  • then 2895–8
Nicknames "Compounds"
Axle load class LNER: RA 7
Withdrawn 1946–47
Disposition All scrapped

GCR Classes 8D and 8E were two pairs of three-cylinder compound steam locomotives of the 4-4-2 wheel arrangement built in 1905 and 1906 for the Great Central Railway.


In 1903, the Great Central Railway (GCR) had given comparative trials to two pairs of two-cylinder express passenger steam locomotives designed by their Chief Mechanical Engineer, John G. Robinson. These were similar in most respects, the main difference being that one pair (class 8B) were of the 4-4-2 wheel arrangement, whereas the other pair (class 8C) were 4-6-0.[1] These trials demonstrated that the 4-4-2 was best for the GCR conditions, and so five more of class 8B were ordered, soon followed by a batch of 12.[2]

Whilst these were under construction, it was decided to compare the merits of these locomotives against a three-cylinder compound of similar size. Accordingly, two compounds of the 4-4-2 wheel arrangement were built: no. 258 in December 1905 followed by no. 259 in February 1906, and these formed Class 8D.[3][4]

The class 8D locomotives were designed by Robinson according to the principles of Walter M. Smith, in which there were three cylinders: the boiler fed a single high-pressure cylinder placed between the frames, where the steam was partially used; it was then passed to two low-pressure cylinders mounted outside the frames, which extracted the remaining useful work from the steam. The same system had already been tried by Smith's employers, the North Eastern Railway in their class 3CC of 1898, and with great success by the Midland Railway (MR) in their 1000 class of 1902.[3][5] The GCR engines used the same size cylinders as the MR engines, but were arranged differently. On the MR engines, all three cylinders drove the same axle, but the GCR engines were designed so that the high-pressure cylinder drove the front coupled axle as on the MR engines, whereas the low-pressure cylinders drove the rear coupled axle; the first use of this arrangement in Britain.[3]

Walter M. Smith's son, John W. Smith, joined the GCR at Gorton on 20 August 1906 as Works Manager & Chief Draughtsman.[6] The GCR ordered ten more 4-4-2s for delivery in 1906: of these, eight were to the class 8B design, and two were compounds. These two, nos. 364/5, shared a number of components with the eight class 8B engines, and were sufficiently different from the two compounds of class 8D to warrant a separate classification, so became Class 8E.[7] No more 4-4-2s were built for the GCR, of any of these classes, although in 1908, Robinson did consider ordering more compounds: but the introduction of superheating soon provided a simpler method of reducing coal consumption.[8]

The four locomotives therefore remained the only compounds on the GCR. They were later given superheaters: the first was no. 365 in 1911, but it was not until 1927 before the last, no. 258, was superheated.[9]

Initially based at Gorton, they were used on the express passenger trains between Manchester London Road and London Marylebone. In 1920/21, the Manchester-London trains having become too heavy for them, they were transferred to Leicester, for use on the expresses between Leicester Central and London Marylebone. In 1932/33 they moved to Immingham, where they were mainly used on services between Cleethorpes and Doncaster, Sheffield Victoria or Retford. Withdrawal occurred between December 1946 and December 1947.[10][11]

Numbers and names[edit]

Number Built Class Name Withdrawn
258 December 1905 8D The Rt. Hon. Viscount Cross G.C.B. G.C.S.I. December 1946
259 February 1906 8D King Edward VII April 1947
364 December 1906 8E Lady Henderson December 1947
365 December 1906 8E Sir William Pollitt August 1947

The locomotives were originally nameless. No. 259 was the first to be named, this occurring by November 1906 and was in honour of the reigning monarch; no. 364 was named by March 1907 after the wife of the GCR Chairman, Sir Alexander Henderson; no. 365 was named by October 1907 after the former GCR General Manager; and no. 258 was last, in June 1909, being named after the senior Director on the GCR Board.[12] The nameplate of no. 258 had the name in three rows, the lettering of the middle row (the words "VISCOUNT CROSS") being of normal size, whereas the lettering of the other two rows was significantly smaller.[13] No. 364 was renamed Lady Faringdon in 1917,[14] Lady Henderson's husband having been raised to the peerage as the first Baron Faringdon the previous year.[15]

After the Grouping, the LNER increased the GCR numbers by 5000, this occurring in 1924–5. Under the 1946 renumbering, they became 2895–8 in the same order.[14]


  1. ^ Haresnape & Rowledge 1982, p. 48.
  2. ^ Haresnape & Rowledge 1982, pp. 48, 52.
  3. ^ a b c Jackson 1996, p. 99.
  4. ^ Boddy et al. 1979, p. 83.
  5. ^ van Riemsdijk 1994, pp. 26–27, 29.
  6. ^ Dow 1965, p. 135–6.
  7. ^ Boddy et al. 1979, pp. 66, 83.
  8. ^ Jackson 1996, pp. 100–1.
  9. ^ Boddy et al. 1979, pp. 85, 88.
  10. ^ Jackson 1996, pp. 101, 103, 105.
  11. ^ Boddy et al. 1979, pp. 87–88.
  12. ^ Boddy et al. 1979, p. 87.
  13. ^ Boddy et al. 1963, fig. 60.
  14. ^ a b Boddy et al. 1979, p. 88.
  15. ^ Dow 1965, p. 287.


  • Boddy, M.G.; Fry, E.V.; Hennigan, W.; Proud, P.; Yeadon, W.B. (July 1963). Fry, E.V., ed. Locomotives of the L.N.E.R., part 1: Preliminary Survey. Potters Bar: RCTS. 
  • Boddy, M. G.; Brown, W. A.; Fry, E. V.; Hennigan, W.; Hoole, Ken; Manners, F.; Neve, E.; Platt, E. N. T.; Russell, O.; Yeadon, W. B. (November 1979). Fry, E. V., ed. Locomotives of the L.N.E.R., Part 3A: Tender Engines—Classes C1 to C11. Kenilworth: RCTS. ISBN 0-901115-45-2. 
  • Dow, George (1965). Great Central, Volume Three: Fay Sets the Pace, 1900-1922. Shepperton: Ian Allan. ISBN 0-7110-0263-0. 
  • Haresnape, Brian; Rowledge, Peter (May 1982). Robinson Locomotives: A Pictorial History. Shepperton: Ian Allan. ISBN 0-7110-1151-6. DX/0582. 
  • Jackson, David (1996). J.G. Robinson: A Lifetime's Work. The Oakwood Library of Railway History. Headington: Oakwood Press. ISBN 0-85361-497-0. OL98. 
  • van Riemsdijk, John T. (1994). Compound Locomotives: An International Survey. Penryn: Atlantic Books. ISBN 0-906899-61-3.