Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Railways (18): LNER Days

Extracts from ‘Modern Locomotives of the L.N.E.R.’ published in 1938

There is but little doubt the steam locomotive cab still claim first place in meeting the varying conditions which arise in ordinary railway working, and is almost unassailable against the challenge of its competitors, electric power and internal combustion engines, and entitled to priority in the alluring influence which railways have over so many of us.

Whilst the union of the British Railways into four large groups under the Railway Act of 1921 has necessarily reduced by standardisation the number of different types of locomotives, as well as their numerical strength, it has also led to the introduction of many new and interesting designs and has imparted a gratifying stimulus to locomotive building and performance.

As the second largest of the four British Railway systems, the London & North Eastern, with a total route mileage of 6590, serves the whole of the east of Great Britain from the Thames to the Moray Firth, in addition to the extensive areas in the centre and west of both England and Scotland. It covers the amalgamation of the following companies: Great Central, Great Eastern, Great Northern, Hull & Barnsley, North Eastern, Great North of Scotland and North British, as well as many small railways. Over 60 per cent of the towns with a population of over 50,000 are directly served by the L.N.E.R., or by other lines in which it has a share. The L.N.E.R. owns 2500 stations and goods depots. Last year (1937) the number of passengers carried exclusive of season ticket holders totalled 165,537,972, also 135,831,123 tons of goods and 3,880,816 head of live stock.

The locomotive policy of the chief engineer, Sir Nigel Gresley, C.B.E., D.Sc., may be briefly summed up – that the engines are to be as far as possible well ahead of requirements in power, efficiency and ease of maintenance; to have as few types as possible to operate the various services, and to be considered as standard locomotives in the construction of which many of the details are interchangeable, wherever possible.

The “Sandringham” Class of 4-6-0 Express Engines – “B17” Class.

To cope with the increased traffic requirements of East Anglia, in 1928, Sir Nigel Gresley introduced a special design of three-cylinder 4-6-0 engine (“B17” class). It is a compact looking machine, and powerful for its size and weight, and well suited for the heavy gradients on the main lines of the Great Eastern section. Later more engines of this class have been built and allocated to the main line trains of the former Great Central Railway. The first engine of the series bears the name of “Sandringham”, by special permission of His late Majesty King George V, this being followed by a long list of names from famous country seats on the L.N.E.R.; three are named after East Anglian regiments, while the latest series are named after famous football clubs, such as the “Tottenham Hotspur”.

There are now 73 engines in the class.

The “Sandringham” class engine and tender in working order weigh 116 tons, and are 58 ft. 4 in. long over buffers, but the later “Football Club” class weigh 129 tons 15 cwt., and are 62 ft. 2 in. long.

Two engines of the “Sandringham” class have been streamlined for working the high-speed “East Anglian” train between Norwich and London, Liverpool Street, and have been named “East Anglian” (No. 2859) [see photograph], and “City of London” (No. 2870). They are painted the standard L.N.E.R. green.

4-6-0 Express Engine, Great Eastern Section.

Known as the “B12” class this represents a modernisation of the old Great Eastern “1500” class engine, originally built in 1911, and is fitted with a larger boiler, carrying a working pressure of 180 lb. per sq. inch. The result of this re-building is that these engines are now capable of working any passenger train on the Great Eastern section.
The weight of the engine and tender in working order is 108 tons 16 cwt., and the tender capacity is 3,670 gallons of water and 4 tons of coal.

4-4-0 Type Passenger Engines – Great Eastern Section.

For many years the Great Eastern main line services were worked by the generally useful engines of the “1900” class, the first of which, named “Claud Hamilton”, in honour of the Chairman of the Great Eastern Railway, was exhibited at the Paris Exhibition of 1900. They are of the 4-4-0 type, with 7 ft. diameter coupled wheels, and cylinders 19in. by 26in.; they have always done excellent work, often of a very exacting nature. During recent years they have been supplied with the new L.N.E.R. standard boilers. In their rebuilt form these engines continue to render good service on other than the heaviest duties. They are known as the “D16” class.

The “East Anglian” Train

In September 1937 a fast service was introduced between Norwich and London (Liverpool Street) and an entirely new six-coach train was built for this purpose at the York works. The train, which has been named the “East Anglian,” runs daily from Monday to Friday in each direction, leaving Norwich at 11.55a.m., and Liverpool Street at 6.40p.m., completing the journey between the two cities in 2 hours and 10 minutes, including a four minute stop at Ipswich; the distance is 114 miles 77 chains. Owing to the difficult nature of the route between London and Norwich, it has not been possible for the train to be timed to such high speeds as to justify streamlining the whole train, the locomotives only are so arranged. The train weighs 219 tons, and accommodates 54 first and 144 third class passengers. As the journey time is comparatively short and it is essential meals should be taken as rapidly as possible, no separate restaurant car accommodation is provided, the passengers taking meals at the seat which is allotted for the journey.

For more information go to the following:
B12 class:
B17 class:
D16 class:
East Anglian:

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