LNER Class V1/V3

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LNER Classes V1 and V3
Middlesbrough Locomotive Depot geograph-2361820-by-Ben-Brooksbank.jpg
V1 2-6-2T No. 67639 at Middlesbrough Locomotive Depot 1954
Type and origin
Power type Steam
Designer Nigel Gresley
Builder Doncaster Works
Build date V1: 1930–39
V3: 1939–40
Total produced V1: 82
V3: 10
 • Whyte 2-6-2T
 • UIC 1′C1 h3t
Trucks Front: double swing link;
Rear: radial
Leading dia. 3 ft 2 in (0.965 m)
Driver dia. 5 ft 8 in (1.727 m)
Trailing dia. 3 ft 8 in (1.118 m)
Wheelbase 32 ft 3 in (9.83 m)
Length 42 ft 1 in (12.83 m)
Width 18 ft 0 in (5.49 m)
Height 13 ft 0 in (3.96 m)
Axle load V1: 19.25 long tons (19,560 kg)
V3: 20.00 long tons (20,320 kg)
Loco weight V1: 57.05 long tons (57,970 kg)
V3: 58.10 long tons (59,030 kg)
Fuel type Coal
Fuel capacity Original: 4 long tons (4,100 kg)
With hopper-type bunker: 4.5 long tons (4,600 kg)
Water cap 2,000 imp gal (9,100 l)
 • Firegrate area
22.08 sq ft (2.051 m2)
Boiler 5 ft (1.52 m) diameter; Diagram 102
Boiler pressure V1: 180 psi (1.24 MPa)
V3: 200 psi (1.38 MPa)
Heating surface 1,609 sq ft (149.5 m2)
 • Tubes 830 sq ft (77 m2)
 • Flues 368 sq ft (34.2 m2)
 • Firebox 127 sq ft (11.8 m2)
 • Type Robinson
 • Heating area 284 sq ft (26.4 m2)
Cylinders Three
Cylinder size 16 in × 26 in (406 mm × 660 mm)
Valve gear Outside: Walschaerts valve gear;
inside: Gresley derived motion
Loco brake Steam
Train brakes Vacuum
Performance figures
Tractive effort V1: 22,464 lbf (99.9 kN)
V3: 24,960 lbf (111.0 kN)
Power class BR: 4MT; V1 downgraded to 3MT in May 1953
Axle load class V1: Route Availability 6
V3: Route Availability 7
Disposition All scrapped

The London and North Eastern Railway (LNER) Class V1 and Class V3 were two classes of related 2-6-2T steam locomotive designed by Sir Nigel Gresley.[1] A total of 82 V1s were built with 71 being rebuilt into the higher pressure V3s with an additional ten being built as V3s from the final batch of V1s. The V3 was a development of the V1 with increased boiler pressure and a resultant increase in tractive effort.

Development history[edit]

The development of large tank engines was somewhat delayed by problems on the Southern Railway following the Sevenoaks derailment thought to have been caused by the instability of the large K class 2-6-4 tanks. Gresley carried out stability tests on one of these locomotives and finding no trouble and without further delay produced his sophisticated V1 class suburban tank in 1930. This incorporated his 3-cylinder system and was the first example of all three cylinders and valve chests being incorporated into a single steel casting;[2] this arrangement was used for the P2 Cock o' the North and the subsequent V2, K4 and V4 types.

Construction history[edit]

A total of 71 V1s were built at Doncaster from 1930.

Operational history[edit]

V3 tank on 'pilot' duty at Newcastle Central station

They were first used in Scotland on the Glasgow-Edinburgh - Helensburgh services. One, no 2911, was also tried in 1931 with excellent results on the Hitchin-London trains before returning to Scotland.

Later development of the V3[edit]

From 1939, with working pressure increased to 200 psi gave higher power and better acceleration. A number of V1s were rebuilt to conform.[3] French-style hopper type coal bunker were also fitted. By 1956 there were 57 V1 and 35 V3 types in service,[4] many on Newcastle-Middlesbrough services.

During World War II a number were transferred to help with the heavy wartime loads from the Royal Ordnance Factory at Thorp Arch until the end of the war.

The V1 and V3s were comparatively powerful engines suited to heavy and tightly-timed suburban workings. As such they saw service on suburban services around Glasgow and Edinburgh. Several were also maintained at Hull for hauling suburban and branch-line workings in the area.

Some of the class were displaced by newer and more powerful Thompson L1 class. Withdrawals began in 1960, with the V1s being disposed of by 1962 and the V3s by 1964, as diesel multiple units took over increasing numbers of suburban services, and branch line workings became fewer as lines closed or were dieselised.

None of either class survived into preservation. However, the A1 Steam Locomotive Trust have announced that after the completion of no. 2007 Prince of Wales, they would start construction on a new V4 followed by a new V3.[5]

Accidents and incidents[edit]

  • On 8 September 1933, locomotive No. 2902 was hauling a passenger train that collided with wagons on the line at Bowling, West Dunbartonshire due to a signalman's error. Five people were injured.[6]


Bachmann produce models of both the V1 and V3 in 00 gauge in LNER green, BR Apple green and BR lined black.


  1. ^ Marsden, Richard. "The Gresley V1 and V3 2-6-2T Prairie Tank Locomotives". The LNER Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2007-04-08.
  2. ^ Brown, F.A.S: Nigel Gresley, Locomotive Engineer (Ian Allan, London, UK, 1961), pp.107-108
  3. ^ Brown, F.A.S: Nigel Gresley, Locomotive Engineer (Ian Allan, London, UK, 1961), pp.186-187
  4. ^ Ian Allan ABC of British Railways Locomotives
  5. ^ "News Archives - The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust". The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust. Retrieved 2016-10-07.
  6. ^ Hoole, Ken (1983). Trains in Trouble: Vol. 4. Truro: Atlantic Books. p. 19. ISBN 0-906899-07-9.