GNR Stirling 4-2-2
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Stirling No. 1 on the turntable at National Railway Museum
The Great Northern Railway (GNR) No. 1 class Stirling Single is a class of steam locomotive designed for express passenger work. Designed by Patrick Stirling, they are characterised by a single pair of large driving wheels which led to the nickname "eight-footer". Originally the locomotive was designed to haul up to 26 passenger carriages at an average speed of 47 miles per hour (76 km/h)."[not in citation given]
On his arrival at GNR, Stirling set out to standardise the railway's rolling stock. He also borrowed a 'single-wheeler' from the Great Eastern Railway and, in 1868, designed two versions of 2-2-2 with 7 ft 1 in (2.159 m) driving wheels.
The outcome, in 1870 was a locomotive with 8 ft 1 in (2.464 m) driver wheels, designed specifically for high speed expresses between York and London. The norm in those days was inside cylinders. Not only were there frequent failures of the cranked axle shafts, with such large drivers, they would have set the boiler too high. He therefore used outside cylinders with a four-wheeled bogie for lateral stability at the front end. According to Hamilton Ellis's description entitled 'Pat Stirling's masterpiece,' the design was a version of a 2-2-2 designed by Stirling for the Glasgow and South Western Railway, 'considerably enlarged, and provided with a leading bogie.'
A total of 53 were built at Doncaster between 1870 and 1895, in three series introduced in 1870, 1884, and 1894;. (George Frederick Bird, referred to the three series as 'G, G2 and G3 classes' in 1910, and this classification has been used in other sources but it does not appear to have been used officially by the GNR.)
The GNR did not number its locomotives sequentially, instead using numbers freed up by withdrawing older locomotives. Thus the 1870 series was numbered between GNR No. 1 and 671, the 1884 series 771-8 and 1001-2, and 1894 series 1003-8.
They were able to haul 275 long tons (279 t; 308 short tons) trains at an average of 50 miles per hour (80 km/h), with a top speed, on lighter trains, of 85 miles per hour (137 km/h), taking part in the 1895 Race to the North. GNR Stirling No 775 made the 82 miles (132 km) from Grantham to York in 1 hour 16 minutes. This means an average speed of 64.7 mph (104.1 km/h).
Members of the 1894 series were originally built weighing 49.55 long tons (50.35 t) but following two high-speed derailments in 1895 the weight was reduced to 48,755 long tons (49,537 t; 54,606 short tons).
Accidents and incidents
- On 7 March 1896, a passenger train hauled by locomotive No. 1003 was derailed at Little Bytham, Northamptonshire due to the premature removal of a speed restriction after track renewal. Two people were killed.
- On 10 November 1895, an overnight Scottish express hauled by locomotive No. 1006 derailed at St Neots when it encountered a broken rail. One person was killed. The accident report by Her Majesty's Railway Inspectorate commented on the abnormally heavy axle loading of the locomotive: nearly 20 tons on the driving axle.
Withdrawal and preservation
With the arrival of the Ivatt Atlantics after 1898, the class began to be displaced from the most prestigious express services. Several examples were rebuilt by H.A. Ivatt after 1898 with a domed boiler, but withdrawals of the 1870 series began in 1899. The last examples of the class were in use on secondary services until 1916.
The locomotive is in good mechanical condition, and was used recently to act as a star player in York Theatre Royal's stage-performance of The Railway Children play, in which it was seen to move into a stage set of a period station, created initially at the National Railway Museum and more recently in the redundant Waterloo International station.
The locomotive appeared to be in steam for its 'performances', however it was not, with fog machine generated smoke being used to portray escaping steam. In reality the locomotive was shunted into position during the performance using a Class 08 Diesel Shunter which remained out of sight of the main stage.
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An 18" gauge model of No.1 was built in 1898, at the Regent Street Polytechnic, from a set of parts supplied by W. G. Bagnall. Amongst the students at Regent Street who worked on the model was Henry Greenly who later became a celebrated miniature locomotive builder and supplied locomotives for the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway. The locomotive was initially sold to Mr.E.F.S. Notter the Great Northern Railway District Locomotive Superintendent at Kings Cross, who between 1910 and 1914 operated it at Alexander Park (London) and later kept it in King Cross 'Top Shed', the home of the full size Stirling Singles. In 1926 this locomotive was bought by the Fairbourne Miniature Railway and in 1936 it was sold to the Jaywick Miniature Railway, which ran it until 1939. It then passed through the hands of a number of private owners until it was bought by the World of Country Life Museum at Sandy Bay, Exmouth, Devon, in 1986.
Bagnall had earlier, in 1893, supplied a similar model (works number 1425) to Lord Downshire of Easthampstead Park, Crowthorne Berkshire. This engine was later preserved by Mr Hoare in the Boys Reading Room at the Training Ship Mercury at Hamble. It was subsequently sold to a private owner in Southampton in 1946. Its current whereabouts is unknown.
Nuremberg toymaker Georges Carette's range included a 2.5 inch-gauge model of Stirling Single 776, in around ~1900. It was marketed in the UK by Bassett-Lowke, appearing in their 1904 catalogue.
Kitmaster produced an injection moulded plastic kit of the Stirling Single in the 1950s. David Boyle, founder of Dapol Model Railways, recalls seeing the moulds being destroyed in the early 1980s, leading him to purchase the tooling for and reissue the remaining Kitmaster kits.
In April 2015, Rapido Trains announced that a forthcoming OO gauge model would be exclusively available from Locomotion Models. Two tender variants will be offered.
- Maw, W. H.; Dredge, J. (1871). Engineering. Retrieved 2011-03-23. pp. 140
- Herring, Peter (2004). Classic British steam locomotives. Wigston: Abbeydale Press. pp. 22–23. ISBN 1-86147-138-6.
- Ellis, Hamilton (1949). Some classic locomotives. London: George Allen & Unwin. p. 78.
- Casserley, H.C. (1960). Historic locomotive pocket book. London: Batsford. pp. 12–13.
- Bird, George Frederick (1910). The Locomotives of the Great Northern Railway 1847–1910. London: Locomotive Publishing Company.
- Herring, p.23.
- Herring, p. 23.
- Ellis, pp.79-80.
- Trevena, Arthur (1981). Trains in Trouble: Vol. 2. Redruth: Atlantic Books. p. 8. ISBN 0-906899-03-6.
- Rolt, L.T.C. (2009). Red for Danger: The Classic History of British Railways. Stroud: The History Press Ltd.
- "Great Northern Railway locomotive Stirling Single". National Railway Museum. National Railway Museum. Retrieved 15 June 2016.
- "The forgotten railway". Archived from the original on 10 August 2007. Retrieved 2 December 2007.
- Great Northern Railway Stirling Single
- Collecting Aster Locomotives
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to GNR Stirling Single.|
- Groves, Norman (1987). Great Northern Locomotive History: Volume 2 1867-95 The Stirling Era. RCTS. ISBN 0-901115-62-2.
- Herring, P., (2000) Classic British Steam Locomotives Leicester: Abbeydale Press