LNWR 17in Coal Engine

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LNWR 17in Coal Engine
LNWR Webb 17in coal engine 3209.jpg
No. 3209 stands outside Manchester
London Road station
Type and origin
Power type Steam
Designer Francis Webb
Builder LNWR, Crewe Works
Build date 1873–1892[1]
Total produced 499[2]
 • Whyte 0-6-0
Gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Driver dia. 4 ft 3 in (1.295 m)[1]
Wheelbase 15 ft 6 in (4.724 m)
Loco weight 32.00 long tons (32.5 t)
Fuel type Coal
Water cap 1,800 imperial gallons (8,200 l; 2,200 US gal)
 • Firegrate area
17.1 sq ft (1.59 m2)
Boiler pressure 140 psi (0.97 MPa)
Heating surface:
 • Tubes
1,074.6 sq ft (99.83 m2)
Cylinders Two, inside
Cylinder size 17 in × 24 in (432 mm × 610 mm)
Valve gear Stephenson
Valve type Slide valves
Performance figures
Tractive effort 16,530 lbf (73.5 kN)
Operators LNWR · ROD · LMS · BR
Power class LMS/BR: 2F
Number in class 499
Disposition All scrapped

The LNWR 17in Coal Engine was a class of 0-6-0 steam tender engines designed by Francis Webb for the London and North Western Railway. They were simple locomotives and in UK service they were very reliable.[2] "17in" refers to their cylinder diameter in inches. They were called "Coal Engines" because they were used for hauling coal trains.

Design and Construction[edit]

The 17in Coal was the first new design of engine to be built by Webb since he became Chief Engineer of the LNWR in September 1871. A policy of 'low costs' was in force at the LNWR, with running costs per engine mile reduced from 10 34d per engine mile in 1857 to 7 34d by 1871.[3] The first 17in Coal was constructed in 1873, the first of five hundred built. Ernest L. Ahrons is quoted as regarding the type as "probably the simplest and cheapest locomotives ever made in this country",[4] and O.S. Nock described them as "splendid".[1]

No. 1140 (works number 2153 was built from raw materials and in steam within 25 12 hours in February 1878

Many aspects of the 17in Coal's design reflected John Ramsbottom's final design: the 0-6-0 Special Tank, including the identical wheel diameter and cylinder dimensions, but the new engines had a larger, improved boiler.[1] In February 1878, one engine of this design was built from scratch in 25 12 hours.


During the First World War the Railway Operating Division of the Royal Engineers took many Coal Engines for use overseas, including many to the British Expeditionary Force in France and 42 to the Palestine Military Railway.[5] Those in Palestine were reported to have performed badly and Palestine Railways sold them all for scrap by 1922.[6] This may have been due partly to the poor quality of water used in Palestine.[7]

In the 1923 grouping 227 Coal Engines passed into LMS stock.[1] 35 survived until the nationalisation of Britain's Railways in 1948 and entered British Railways stock. BR numbers were 58321-58361 (with gaps).



  • ABC of British Railways Locomotives, Part Three. Ian Allan. 1948. p. 51. 
  • Cotterell, Paul (1984). The Railways of Palestine and Israel. Tourret Publishing. pp. 28, 57, 127. ISBN 0-905878-04-3. 
  • Hughes, Hugh (1981). Middle East Railways. Continental Railway Circle. pp. 98, 116. ISBN 0-9503469-7-7. 
  • Nock, O.S. (1952). The Premier Line – The Story of London & North Western Locomotives. Ian Allan. pp. 64–65. 

External links[edit]