LNWR Bloomer Class

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LNWR "Bloomer" Class
LNWR engine No.895 'Torch' (grey).jpg
No. 895 Torch in photographic grey livery c.1880
Type and origin
Power typeSteam
DesignerJames McConnell
Builder(a.): Sharp, Stewart & Co. (25); Kitson & Co. (5); Wolverton Works (10)
(b.): R and W Hawthorn (7); Vulcan Foundry (4); Wolverton Works (20)
(c.):Wolverton Works (3)
Build date1851–1862
Total produced(a.): 40
(b): 31
(c): 3
Specifications
Configuration:
 • Whyte2-2-2
 • UIC1A1
Gauge4 ft 8+12 in (1,435 mm)
Leading dia.(a.): 4 ft 6 in (1.372 m)
(b.): 4 ft 0 in (1.219 m)
(c.): 4 ft 6 in (1.372 m)
Driver dia.(a.): 7 ft 0 in (2.134 m)
(b.): 6 ft 6 in (1.981 m)
(c.): 7 ft 6 in (2.286 m)
Trailing dia.(a.) & (b.): 4 ft 0 in (1.219 m)
(c.): 4 ft 6 in (1.372 m)
Loco weight(a.): 29.5 long tons (30.0 t);
(b.): 23.65 long tons (24.03 t);
(c.): 34.75 long tons (35.31 t)
Boiler pressure100 psi (0.69 MPa) later increased to 150 psi (1.03 MPa)
Heating surface(a.): 1,448.5 sq ft (134.57 m2)
(b.): 1,230 sq ft (114 m2)
(c.): 1,222.8 sq ft (113.60 m2)
CylindersTwo, inside
Cylinder size(a.): 16 in × 22 in (406 mm × 559 mm);
(b.): 16 in × 21 in (406 mm × 533 mm);
(c.): 18 in × 24 in (457 mm × 610 mm)
Valve gearStephenson
Performance figures
Tractive effortvarious between 5,700 lbf (25 kN) and 11,016 lbf (49.00 kN)
Career
OperatorsLNWR Southern Division
Withdrawn1866, 1876–1888
DispositionOriginal locomotives all scrapped. Replica for static display completed 1991. Full-size working engine under construction

Bloomer was a name used to refer to three similar classes of 2-2-2 express passenger locomotives designed by James McConnell for the Southern Division of the London and North Western Railway (LNWR). A total of seventy-four were built between 1851 and 1862. The classes were similar in design and layout but differed in dimensions.

History[edit]

The name "Bloomer" was at first a nickname, but was quickly adopted officially. The nickname was a topical one in the autumn of 1851 when the first engine arrived on the line, because of the current popular excitement aroused by the appearance of women wearing trousers, as advocated by Mrs Amelia Bloomer. The widespread belief that they were awarded this nickname because they showed more of their wheels than earlier engines makes no sense: most earlier engines on the line had naked wheels.

Another enduring myth is that until 1862 the Bloomers (and other Southern Division engines) were painted vermilion. They were not, although some were painted a very dark plum-red from 1861, before the standard livery reverted to green in the following year, and then changed to black from 1873.

In April 1862 the Southern Division locomotives were renumbered into the all-LNWR series by the addition of 600 to each engine's number.

Apart from two of the 6 ft 6 in engines which were scrapped in 1866, all the Bloomers were given nameplates in 1872; the names awarded were of the usual miscellaneous variety customary on the LNWR.

(a) 7 ft driving wheel, Bloomers, known as Large Bloomers from 1862.[edit]

Large Bloomer No. 895 Torch at Monument Lane shed in 1877

The design of these was derived from six successful 2-2-2 locomotives supplied to the railway by Bury, Curtis and Kennedy in 1848. McConnell substituted plate frames, provided larger boilers and 7 ft 0 in (2.134 m) driving wheels. The first twenty were built by Sharp, Stewart and Company in 1851–1853. A further twenty examples were built in 1861/2: five by Sharp Stewart & Co., five by Kitson and Company, and ten at the Wolverton railway works of the LNWR.[1]

They were numbered 247–256, 287–296 and 389–408, until 1862 when they were renumbered by the addition of 600, becoming 847 (etc.) to 1008.

The locomotives were primarily used on express passenger services between London and Birmingham and, from 1860, also from Rugby to Stafford.

During the 1860s and 1870s most of the class were rebuilt with new (Crewe) boilers; the tenders which originally contained 2000 gallons were reduced to hold 1700 gallons because of the introduction of water troughs on the main line.

Withdrawal took place between June 1876 and November 1888.

Table of locomotives[2]
1854
Southern
Division
No.
Maker Serial
number
Date
built
1862
LNWR
No.
1872
name
Date
scrapped
Notes
247 Sharp Brothers 677 Aug 1851 847 Odin Dec 1878
248 Sharp Brothers 678 Sep 1851 848 Hecate Oct 1883
249 Sharp Brothers 679 Sep 1851 849 Aeolus Dec 1879 Involved in Atherstone collision of 16 Nov 1860 and Easenhall bridge boiler explosion of 4 July 1861
250 Sharp Brothers 680 Sep 1851 850 Columbine Nov 1881 Involved in Harrow collision of 26 Nov 1870
251 Sharp Brothers 681 Oct 1851 851 Apollo Mar 1881
252 Sharp Brothers 682 Oct 1851 852 Basilisk Sep 1879
253 Sharp Brothers 683 Nov 1851 853 Vulture Jan 1877
254 Sharp Brothers 684 Nov 1851 854 Dalemain Dec 1877
255 Sharp Brothers 685 Dec 1851 855 Sandon Dec 1877
256 Sharp Brothers 686 Dec 1851 856 Ingestre June 1876
287 Sharp Brothers 700 Oct 1852 887 Knowsley May 1882
288 Sharp Brothers 701 Oct 1852 888 Hydra Apr 1882
289 Sharp Brothers 702 Nov 1852 889 Camilla Feb 1884
290 Sharp Brothers 703 Nov 1852 890 Helvellyn Mar 1877
291 Sharp Brothers 704 Nov 1852 891 Duke Apr 1883
292 Sharp Brothers 705 Dec 1852 892 Polyphemus Sep 1877
293 Sharp Brothers 710 Dec 1852 893 Harpy Mar 1885 Renumbered 1817 in Dec 1884
294 Sharp Brothers 712 Feb 1853 894 Trentham Apr 1883
295 Sharp Brothers 713 Feb 1853 895 Torch Mar 1887 Renumbered 1828 in Dec 1884 and 3050 in Nov 1886
296 Sharp Brothers 715 Feb 1853 896 Daedalus July 1877
399 Sharp, Stewart 1289 Oct 1861 999 Medusa Sep 1887 Renumbered 1898 in Dec 1884
400 Sharp, Stewart 1290 Oct 1861 1000 Umpire Mar 1885 Renumbered 1902 in Dec 1884
401 Sharp, Stewart 1291 Nov 1861 1001 Leviathan Dec 1884
402 Sharp, Stewart 1292 Nov 1861 1002 Theseus June 1882
403 Sharp, Stewart 1293 Nov 1861 1003 Tamerlane May 1886 Renumbered 1905 in Dec 1884
404 Kitson & Co. 899 Sep 1861 1004 Lucifer July 1883
405 Kitson & Co. 900 Sep 1861 1005 Achilles Oct 1884
406 Kitson & Co. 901 Oct 1861 1006 Proserpine Oct 1876
407 Kitson & Co. 902 Oct 1861 1007 President Dec 1877
408 Kitson & Co. 903 Oct 1861 1008 Rowland Hill Feb 1885 Renumbered 1907 in Dec 1884
389 Wolverton Works Mar 1862 989 Archimedes Sep 1887 Renumbered 1853 in Dec 1884 and 3071 in Nov 1886
390 Wolverton Works Mar 1862 990 Alaric June 1886 Renumbered 1881 in Dec 1884
391 Wolverton Works Mar 1862 991 Japan Jan 1882
392 Wolverton Works Mar 1862 992 Stork Nov 1888 Renumbered 1882 in Dec 1884 and 3023 in May 1887
393 * Wolverton Works Apr 1862 993 Burmah Feb 1881
394 * Wolverton Works Apr 1862 994 Ariel Sep 1884
395 * Wolverton Works Apr 1862 995 Briareus Sep 1879
396 * Wolverton Works May 1862 996 Raglan June 1882
397 * Wolverton Works Apr 1862 997 Baronet Jan 1882
398 * Wolverton Works May 1862 998 Una June 1885 Renumbered 1897 in Dec 1884

* Number assigned, but possibly never carried

(b) 6 ft 6in driving wheel, Small Bloomers.[edit]

Small Bloomer No. 602 at Rugby c.1868

Eleven smaller examples were built in 1854 with 6 ft 6 in (1.981 m) driving wheels intended for secondary fast main-line trains and branch lines of the Southern Division. These engines were originally intended by McConnell to be a 7 ft-wheel variant of his Patent class, but the design was altered by order of the directors to a smaller version of the successful Bloomers. Like them, the design was closely based on the Bury, Curtis & Kennedy 6 ft single of 1848; McConnell called the Small Bloomer design 'Bury's Improved'.

Seven were built by R and W Hawthorn and four by Vulcan Foundry. A further twenty of this design were built at Wolverton Works between 1857 and 1861.[1]

Numbers originally carried were an assortment from 2 to 381, renumbered 602 (etc.) up to 981 in 1862.

Two were withdrawn in 1866 but the others were rebuilt between 1868 and 1876; the last one was scrapped in 1887.

Table of locomotives[3]
1854
Southern
Division
No.
1856
Southern
Division
No.
Maker Serial
number
Date
built
1862
LNWR
No.
1872
name
Date
scrapped
Notes
310 13 Vulcan Foundry 358 June 1854 613 Dec 1866
311 14 Vulcan Foundry 359 June 1854 614 Wyre Feb 1879
312 15 Vulcan Foundry 360 July 1854 615 Lune Feb 1883
313 17 Vulcan Foundry 361 July 1854 617 Partridge June 1883
314 23 R. & W. Hawthorn 842 Apr 1854 623 Medea Dec 1877
315 24 R. & W. Hawthorn 843 Apr 1854 624 Dec 1866
316 25 R. & W. Hawthorn 844 May 1854 625 Mastodon July 1878
317 26 R. & W. Hawthorn 845 June 1854 626 Earl May 1879
318 27 R. & W. Hawthorn 846 June 1854 627 Bulldog Aug 1881
319 29 R. & W. Hawthorn 847 June 1854 629 Swan Jan 1883
320 30 R. & W. Hawthorn 865 July 1854 630 Ribble Feb 1882
7 Wolverton Works Aug 1857 607 Inglewood Feb 1883
21 Wolverton Works July 1857 621 Bela Feb 1882
103 Wolverton Works May 1857 703 Osprey Sep 1881
140 Wolverton Works Aug 1857 740 St. David Nov 1886 Renumbered 1947 in Nov 1884
238 Wolverton Works Oct 1857 838 Petrel Mar 1879
240 Wolverton Works 1857 840 Lonsdale Mar 1878
2 Wolverton Works July 1858 602 Caliban Aug 1881
165 Wolverton Works Oct 1858 765 Herald Mar 1885 Renumbered 1952 in Nov 1884
168 Wolverton Works Feb 1858 768 Glyn Mar 1884
180 Wolverton Works Dec 1858 780 Bucephalus Aug 1883
3 Wolverton Works Oct 1859 603 Langdale Dec 1884 Renumbered 1941 in Nov 1884
66 Wolverton Works Aug 1859 666 Pheasant Dec 1877
117 Wolverton Works May 1859 717 Swift Sep 1882
189 Wolverton Works July 1859 789 Cadmus Dec 1880
317 Wolverton Works Jan 1860 917 Napier June 1880
377 Wolverton Works Sep 1861 977 Sultan Feb 1887 Renumbered 1954 in Nov 1884
378 Wolverton Works Oct 1861 978 Mammoth Feb 1885 Renumbered 1957 in Nov 1884
379 Wolverton Works Oct 1861 979 Wasp June 1880
380 Wolverton Works Nov 1861 980 Vandal Mar 1887 Renumbered 1816 in Dec 1884 and 3038 in Nov 1886
381 Wolverton Works Nov 1861 981 Councillor Jan 1884 Renumbered 1925 in Dec 1883

(c) 7 ft 6in driving wheel, H-class Special Bloomers.[edit]

Three examples were built by Wolverton Works in 1861 with 7 ft 6 in (2.286 m) driving wheels together with McConnell’s patented firebox, which were intended for the fastest expresses. They were heavier than had been planned, so a further two engines, ordered and under construction, were cancelled in February 1862. This led to McConnell’s immediate resignation. The three completed engines (Nos. 372/3/5) went into store, so hardly ran in their original state. One of them (No. 373) was put on show at the International Exhibition in South Kensington from May to November 1862.

After rebuilding with normal boilers in 1866/7 they worked until withdrawal in 1880 and 1882. Many years later they were described as "Extra-large Bloomers".

Table of locomotives[4]
Southern
Division
No.
Date
built
1862
LNWR
No.
1865
Duplicate
No.
1871
Capital
No.
1872
Name
1879
Duplicate
No.
Date
scrapped
372 Aug 1861 972 1152 1198 Delamere 1940 Jan 1880
373 Nov 1861 973 1155 1199 Caithness 1885 Mar 1882
375 May 1861 975 1166 1200 Maberley 1871 Mar 1882

Replicas[edit]

Replica No. 1009 on a plinth outside Milton Keynes Central Station
LNWR Bloomer No. 670 at Tyseley

An accurate full-size non-working replica was built, by apprentices, for static display outside Milton Keynes station in 1991. It represented the type as in 1873–76 condition, was numbered '1009' as if to follow the last of the class, 1008, and was named 'Wolverton' to commemorate the Southern Division Works, although no engine was so named on the LNWR. It was taken into Wolverton Works (then owned by Alstom and later by Railcare) in 2006 for renovation and repainting. The renovation was funded and carried out by the various owners of Wolverton works and latterly by Knorr-Bremse RailServices at Wolverton Works. The Wolverton and Greenleys Town Council and the Wolverton Arts and Heritage Society wanted the replica to have a position on Stratford road outside the Railway works but this was not viable and led to much delay in the re-siting the model. On 3 March 2017, the replica was moved to its new home at Milton Keynes Museum.

A full-size working engine as in original Southern Division condition (pre-1862) was begun at Tyseley in 1986 and was 90% completed by 1990. It has never been finished; however, the LNWR Bloomer project was launched in June 2019 in order to complete the locomotive.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b London and North Western Railway Society.
  2. ^ Jack 2001, p. 248.
  3. ^ Jack 2001, p. 203.
  4. ^ Jack 2001, p. 238.
  • Baxter, Bertram (1978). Baxter, David (ed.). British Locomotive Catalogue 1825–1923, Volume 2A: London and North Western Railway and its constituent companies. Ashbourne, Derbyshire: Moorland Publishing Company. ISBN 0-903485-51-6.
  • Jack, Harry (2001). Locomotives of the LNWR Southern Division. Railway Correspondence and Travel Society. ISBN 0-901115-89-4.