Highland Railway Ben Class

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Highland Railway C and U classes
'Small Ben' and 'Large Ben'
Inverness Locomotive Depot geograph-2748319-by-Ben-Brooksbank.jpg
No. 14416 Ben a’Bhuird, at Inverness Locomotive Depot 22 August 1948, shortly prior to withdrawal.
Type and origin
Power type Steam
Designer Peter Drummond
Builder
Serial number
  • Dübs: 3686–3692 (small)
  • NBL: 17398–17400 (small), 18269–18272 (large), 18803–18804 (large)
Build date
  • 1898–1906 (small)
  • 1908–1909 (large)
Total produced
  • 20 small
  • 6 large
Specifications
Configuration 4-4-0
UIC class 2′Bn
Gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Leading dia. 3 ft 6 in (1.067 m)
Driver dia. 6 ft 0 in (1.829 m)
Loco weight
  • 46 long tons 17 cwt (104,900 lb or 47.6 t) (small)
  • 52.30 long tons (53.14 t) (large)
Firebox:
 • Firegrate area
  • 20.5 sq ft (1.90 m2) (small)
  • 20.25 sq ft (1.881 m2) (large)
Boiler
  • 4 ft 6 14 in (1.38 m) diameter (small)
  • 5 ft 3 in (1.60 m) diameter (large)
Boiler pressure
  • 175 lbf/in2 (1.21 MPa) (small)
  • 180 psi (1.24 MPa) (large)
Heating surface:
 • Tubes
  • 1,061 sq ft (98.6 m2) (small)
  • 1,516 sq ft (140.8 m2) (large)
 • Firebox
  • 117 sq ft (10.9 m2) (small)
  • 132 sq ft (12.3 m2) (large)
Cylinders Two, inside
Cylinder size
  • 18 14 in × 26 in (464 mm × 660 mm) (small)
  • 18 in × 26 in (457 mm × 660 mm) (large)
Valve gear Stephenson
Performance figures
Tractive effort 17,890 lbf (79.6 kN)
Career
Operators HRLMSBR
Class HR:
  • C (small)
  • U (large)
Power class LMS/BR: 2P
Withdrawn
  • 1931–1953 (small)
  • 1932–1937 (large)
Disposition All scrapped

The Highland Railway Ben Class were small 4-4-0 passenger steam locomotives. There were actually two separate 'Ben' classes, usually referred to as the 'Small Bens' and the 'Large Bens'.

Introduction[edit]

Despite the large and small tags, there was actually little difference between the two groups, the most crucial being larger boilers with an increase in tube heating surface. Cylinder and wheel dimensions were identical.

The class was originally designed by Peter Drummond, whose elder (and better known) brother Dugald had been in the company's locomotive department in earlier years and was at that time Chief Mechanical Engineer of the London and South Western Railway.

In appearance they were fairly typical Drummond family products with the stiffener across the cab roof. They were also inside cylindered, almost uniquely among HR bogie locomotives.

Build details[edit]

First batch[edit]

No. 14401 'Ben Vrackie' at Dingwall, 25 August 1948.

The first 8 locomotives were of the Small Ben type and were built by Dübs and Company of Glasgow in the period 1898 to 1899. They were:

HR No. Name Manufacturer Built Withdrawn LMS No. BR No. Notes
1 Ben-y-Gloe Dübs & Co. 3685 July 1898 February 1949 14397 54397 Renamed Ben Y’Gloe in 1939. Withdrawn before BR number applied
2 Ben Alder Dübs & Co. 3686 July 1898 February 1953 14398 54398 Set aside for preservation, but scrapped in 1967
3 Ben Wyvis Dübs & Co. 3687 July 1898 May 1952 14399 54399
4 Ben More Dübs & Co. 3688 February 1899 October 1946 14400
5 Ben Vrackie Dübs & Co. 3689 February 1899 October 1948 14401 54401 Withdrawn before BR number applied
6 Ben Armin Dübs & Co. 3690 February 1899 December 1939 14402
7 Ben Attow Dübs & Co. 3691 February 1899 February 1949 14403 54403 Withdrawn before BR number applied
8 Ben Clebrig Dübs & Co. 3692 February 1899 October 1950 14404 54404

No. 1 was originally named Ben Nevis for its works portrait, an action that attracted the ire of the board as it was in the territory of a competitor (the North British Railway). It was renamed before entering service.[1]

Second batch[edit]

The Highland Railway built another nine during 1899–1900 at their own Lochgorm works:

HR No. Name Built Withdrawn LMS No. BR No. Notes
9 Ben Rinnes July 1899 September 1944 14405
10 Ben Slioch August 1899 July 1947 14406
11 Ben Macdhui November 1899 December 1931 14407
12 Ben Hope April 1900 July 1947 14408
13 Ben Alisky June 1900 April 1950 14409 54409 Withdrawn before BR number applied
14 Ben Dearg August 1900 December 1949 14410 54410 Withdrawn before BR number applied
15 Ben Loyal February 1900 October 1936 14411
16 Ben Avon February 1901 April 1947 14412
17 Ben Alligan February 1901 December 1933 14413

Third batch[edit]

Finally, three more were built by the North British Locomotive Company of Glasgow in 1906.

HR No. Name NBL Serial Built Withdrawn LMS No. BR No. Notes
38 Ben Udlaman 17398 April 1906 December 1933 14414
41 Ben Bhach Ard 17399 July 1906 May 1948 14415 54415 Withdrawn before BR number applied
47 Ben a'Bhuird 17400 July 1906 September 1948 14416 54416 Withdrawn before BR number applied

Large Bens[edit]

In 1908 a larger version appeared, initially four examples from North British Locomotive, with two more the following year

HR No. Name NBL serial Built Withdrawn LMS No. BR No. Notes
61 Ben na Caillich 18269 May 1908 May 1936 14417 Renamed Ben na Caillach in 1926
63 Ben Mheadhoin 18270 May 1908 December 1932 14418
66 Ben Mholach 18271 May 1908 October 1935 14419 Renumbered 64 in 1909
68 Ben a'Chait 18272 May 1908 April 1934 14420 Renumbered 65 in 1909
60 Ben Breac Mhor 18803 May 1909 October 1932 14421 Renamed Ben Bhreac 'Mhor in 1924
62 Ben a'Chaoruinn 18804 May 1909 March 1937 14422 Renamed Ben Achaoruinn in 1926, then Ben a'Chaoruinn at unknown date

Grouping and Nationalisation[edit]

All of these locomotives survived to be taken over by the LMS at the Grouping in 1923. The Large Bens were all withdrawn between 1932 and 1937. The first of the Small Bens was withdrawn in 1931, but ten survived into British Railways ownership. The last of these, 54398 Ben Alder, was withdrawn in 1953 and placed in storage in the hope that it would be preserved.

Unfortunately the hopes for 54398 – which included the intention to restore the locomotive to Highland Railway condition – came to nothing, and following storage at various locations (including Boat of Garten) it was eventually cut up in 1967; and so, none were preserved.[2] However, the possibility of building a new HR Ben Class steam locomotive for Scottish Railway Preservation has been raised.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Baxter 1984, pp. 197–198.
  2. ^ Cormack & Stevenson 1990, pp. 24–25
  • ABC of British Railways Locomotives, part 3 (1948 ed.). Ian Allan. p. 44. 
  • Baxter, Bertram (1984). Baxter, David, ed. British Locomotive Catalogue 1825–1923, Volume 4: Scottish and remaining English Companies in the LMS Group. Ashbourne, Derbyshire: Moorland Publishing Company. pp. 197–199. 
  • Cormack, J.R.H.; Stevenson, J.L. (1990). Greenwood, William, ed. Highland Railway Locomotives Book 2: The Drummond, Smith & Cumming Classes. Locomotives of the LMS. Lincoln: RCTS. ISBN 0-901115-72-X. 
  • Longworth, Hugh (2005). British Railways Steam Locomotives 1948-1968. 
  • Vallance, H.A. (1938). The Highland Railway. 

External links[edit]