Great Northern Railway locomotives (Bury, Sturrock & Stirling)

This section is based almost entirely upon the RCTS Great Northern locomotive history which reflects upon G.F. Bird's earlier study and contains much material from it. The GNR was fortunate in having four outstanding engineers: Sturrock, Stirling, Ivatt and Gresley, and locomotive development evolved in a fairly straightforward progression. Prior to Sturrock's appointment there was a period of uncertainty when locomotive affairs were in the hands of Benjamin Cubitt and Edward Bury. In addition the line was still being constructed. A further problem is that the work of the different engineers tended to merge: thus, Gresley was responsible for further modifications to Stirling designs even after the Grouping.

Sturrock designs intermediate crankshaft Avonside 0-8-0Ts
Steam tenders
Stirling designs 8ft 1in 4-2-2 singles Ivatt designs

Major sources of information

Bird, G.F. The locomotives of the Great Northern Railway, 1847-1902. London, 1903.
Later edition: period extended to 1910, published 1910. Ottley 5879. Bird also produced a history of the broad gauge locomotive of the GWR. As is shown Groves had reservations about some of Bird's information. Began as series of articles in Locomotive Mag. (Some od drawings are marked by his initials).
Brown, F.A.S. Great Northern locomotive engineers. Vol. 1. 1846-1881. London, 1966.
This is mainly mainly based on the Company's Minutes of the Executive Committee and those of the Locomotive Committee. In addition, Brown was able to inspected many of the locomotive drawings, some of which (notably Sturrock's steam tenders) are reproduced as plates. The book is extremmely badly constructed and this not assisted by an unreliable "index" which fails to conform to normal indexing practice..
Groves, Norman. Great Northern locomotive history. Volume 1. 1847-66. RCTS.,1986.
Groves, Norman. Great Northern locomotive history. Volume 2. 1867-95. RCTS, 1991.
Groves, Norman. Great Northern locomotive history. Volume 3. 1896-1911. The Ivatt era. RCTS, 1990.
The use of "0-6-0's" (possesive apostrophe) is a major failing in Groves' works.

Pre-Sturrock: that is Benjamin Cubitt and Edward Bury

0-4-0 Bury-type goods

These were ordered on 11 December 1846, following a visit by Bejamin Cubitt to Bury, Curtis & Kennedy in Liverpool and to William Fairbairn of Manchester: six locomotives were ordered from each firm and were delivered in 1848/9: Nos. 121-6 were from Bury and 127-32 from Fairbairn. They were typical Bury locomotives, but differed slightly depending upon supplier. They were similar to the initial locomotives suplied to the London & Birmingham Railway under Bury. They had 15in x 24in cylinders. They were painted dark green. The first six were lent to Peto & Betts to assist in the construction of the railway. Most of the Bury type were rebuilt under Sturrock as 0-4-2ST. The exception was No. 124 which may have been rebuilt as as 0-4-2ST before being renewed in 1868 by Stirling as an 0-6-0ST with the same number. Bird stated that the Fairbairn locomotives were rebuilt as 0-4-2Ts, but this is questionned by Groves. Groves pp 36-8 and Figs. 25/6 (drawings from Bird) show locomotives as built. Figure 27 (drawing) shows 0-4-2ST.

Bury's prototype 2-4-0

This was supplied in by Bury, Curtis & Kennedy 1849 and was given the number 66, but was soon renumbered as No. 100. It was a typical Bury product with bar frames, 15in x 20in cylinders and a total heating surface of 944ft2. Following a derailment  (due to a crank axle failure Brown V. 1 p. 76)  in 1856 it emerged from Doncaster with extra outside plate frames and Hawthorn's compensating levers, new boiler and new cylinders (16 x 22in.). It was further reconstructed under Stirling in 1864 and 1875 and lasted until 1898. finally in the Sleaford area. Groves 1: 38-40. Figures 28 and 29 (drawings) show locomotive in original condition and as rebuilt under Sturrock.

Sharp 2-2-2 Singles

"The earliest locomotives ordered for the Great Northern Railway were of standard types by well-known makers of the time". According to Groves (but not Brown) the GNR always seemed to spell Sharp with a terminal "e": Sharpe. The relative lateness of the GNR's entry into the market gave it an advantage in that standrad designs had been evolved and improved. Order No. 198 of 5 February 1847 covered six locomotives, and a further 44 were covered by Order No. 203 of 4 March 1847.  These were taken into stock between 1847 and 1850. They were small: 15 x 20inch cylinders; 10.5ft2 grate area; total heating surface of 748.2 ft2; 5ft 6in driving wheels and 90 psi boiler pressure. Sturrock fitted compensating levers which assisted them to run on relatively poor and light track. Initially these were used on the Lincolnshire lines: Louth to New Holland on 1 March 1848, including the East Lincolnshire Railway from Boston to Grimsby. Groves Figures 1 and 2 show them in original condition (photographs at Grantham station in 1854). Groves: pp17-27..

Sharp 2-2-2T

Sharp 2-2-2s were converted to tank engines from December 1851 (at Boston), in some cases with virtually no modification to frames, but partly as a consequence of accidents (it is not really clear whether some frames were modified before the accidents dictated policy). Furthermore, frames were lengthened, and then lengthened still further to accommodate a water tank and coal bunker, and radial axleboxes were fitted on the rear axle. The footplate crews called them "tailwaggers". The redundant tenders were used on Hawthorne and Wilson 0-6-0s, and for the initial auxiliary steam tenders. The 2-2-2Ts were used on semi-fast trains between Boston, Lincoln and Grimsby, but later moved to rural branches.

Accidents invloved No. 29 on the up 21.10 Sheffield to Retford Mail on 8 September 1852 which derailed on Dore House embankment on the MSLR killing the driver and the guard. Captain Douglas Galton noted that the frames had not been extended and that there was no side play. Tests were arranged with No. 32 (a "precisely similar engine") on 17 September and it was found to be steady at 50 mile/h. Galton advised that the weight distribution should be modified. The 2-2-2Ts worked in the London area and were capable of running from King's Cross to Hatfield in 24 minutes. There was a further serious accident on 3 July 1866 when the 10.20 Hitchine to Cambridge train derailed at Littlington level crossing killing the driver and fireman. This led Captain Tyler to state that tank engines were not as safe as tender engines. At this point in the text Groves notes that the footplate crews called them "Boxers". The locomotives were further modified under Stirling.

Groves pp. 21-3: Figs. 3 and 4 (drawings: original condition & lenthened).Fig. 5: No. 1 (photograph) and FIg.6  No. 18 post-Royston accident at Hitchin.

Spilsby Station, Great Northern Ry., 40 years ago. Locomotive Mag., 1909, 15, 46-7. illus.
Photograph of No. 33 on passenger train taken c1869: 2-2-2 tank engine rebuilt by Sturrock of Sharp, Roberts 2-2-2 with 5ft 6in driving wheels.

Sharp 0-4-2T rebuilds 1858
2-2-2T Nos. 7, 12, 20, 39, 40, 42, 43 and 46 were further modified to become 0-4-2Ts for use in the West Riding. In 1863 Nos 7, 39, 40 and 46 were fitted with condensing apparatus for working over the Metropolitan Railway.  Numbers 12, 20, 42 and 43 may also have been modified Groves p. 24 and Goslin, Geoff. Steam on the Widened Lines. Volume 1: The Great Northern and Midland Railways and their successors. 1997 (No. 12 is shown on page 7).

Sharp 0-4-2 tender rebuilds.
Twelve original: 3, 14, 16, 23, 25, 27, 30, 36, 44, 47. Some of the work was after Stirling's succession. Worked between Boston, Sleaford and Lincoln. Bird incorrectly stated that worked between Leeds and Wakefield. Groves pp. 24-5.

Stirling rebuilds
2-2-2T Nos. 10, 28 and 29 were converted to 0-4-2Ts in late 1866 and may have been intended for London suburban work. Most of the Sharp locomotives were withdrawn during the 1870s, but five, Nos. 10, 12, 20, 42 and 43 were renovated for working light branch lines, and the last of these locomotives (No. 43) lasted until 1896. In ther case of No. 12 it was renovated at Doncaster with new frames, cylinders and a straightback boiler. Groves pp. 25-7.

"Small Hawthorn" 2-2-2 singles
Ordered by Benjamin Cubitt in October 1848 and in October 1850. They were ordered at the same time as the 0-4-2 goods engines. Works numbers 685-90 (GNR 51-6) had originally been intended for the Glasgow, Dumfries & Carlisle Railway and were fitted with Gooch's valve gear activating "vertical valves" and was probably specified by the original customer. Works Numbers 654-9 formed GNR 57-62 were delivered in 1849, but WN 660-7 (GNR 63-70) incorporated improvements to the boiler, following GWR practice and improved crank axles. Dampers were fitted to the ashpans. The cylinders were larger (15½ in) diameter. This was the prelude to a still larger design, but this was not constructed. Groves pp. 28-33

Sturrock rebuilt some locomotives with 16in cylinders and extended wheelbases: 54 in 1861; 52/9 in 1862 and 51 in 1865. Stirling rebuilt Nos. 60/2/9 in 1867 with straighback boilers and "all over" cabs (GSWR type). The livery was Brunswick green, but light green later. Nos. 52-7 were loaned by the GNR to the LCDR in 1860 for working the Strood to Beckenham extension. They acquired the nickname "Geordies". Groves pp. 29-30. H.T.B. (Loco. Mag., 1901, 6, 20).stated that Nos. 51-60 modified by moving the leading axle forward to be under smokebox, and weatherboards fitted.

Nos. 67 and 70
Rebuilt as 0-4-2s in 1879 with new frames, cylinders and 4ft straightback boilers. Later cylinders enlarged to 17in and then to 18in. Lasted until 1900/1901. No. 70 was included incorrectly in class E5. Groves pp. 32-3. Locomtive Mag., 1899, 4, 150 (Fig, 47)

Hawthorn 0-4-2 Goods.
Ordered by Cubitt as "luggage engines". Delivered in 1848/9. WN 633/635-47672. Running Nos. 101-115. Not entirely successful on entering service: problems with inadequate trussing of the frames and slack bearings. Spare wheels had to be supplied. The cylinder size was reduced to 15½in. Number 110 was fitted with condensing apparatus for working on the Metropolitan Railway in August 1863. Figs. 20 and 21: drawings: original condition: Fig. 21 No. 110 as modified with condensing apparatus. Groves pp. 33-6..

Number 111 1863 (0-6-0ST)
5ft 0in coupled wheels 17 x 24in cylinders; sole Hawthorn rebuild. Groves pp. 34-6. Stirling fitted new 16in cylinders and new boilers from 1866, and the locomotives were reboilered again in the early 1880s. The last was not withdrawn until 1899. Figs. 22-24 as rebuilt by Stirling: Fig. 24 No. 112A fitted with Westinghouse brake on 3 June 1902 (not finally withdrawn until August 1904).

116 Class 5ft 0in 0-6-0 goods
Ordered at same time as 71 class 2-4-0 type: i.e. under Bury, but delivered under Sturrock who required larger fireboxes. Fifteen were supplied by Wilson (144-58) and fifteen by Hawthorn (116-20/134-43) and these were delivered in 1850/1. An extra locomotive was supplied by Wilson in 1851 and it became No. 167. The products from the two manufacturers differed quite significantly: The Hawthorn firebox and tube areas were 69 and 823 ft2, whilst the E.B. Wilson were 78 and 815 ft2 respectively. Eight of the class were hired to the Metropolitan Railway from 10 October 1863. They were reboilered under Sturrock between 1864 and 1866. No. 116 was fitted with a steel boiler and a taper firebox as an experiment in late 1864. Groves pp. 41-5.

0-6-0ST conversions from December 1863
According to Groves 1 pp. 43-5: No. 113 was converted in April 1863. Nos. 117 and 144 also received new boilers. Nos. 143, 139, 140 and 149 in 1865. Nos. 153 and 155 in 1866. Figs 34 No. 139A in 1890; No. 134 c1887 (photographs). Locomtive Mag., 1899, 4, 150 (Fig, 50); drawing of 139A

Boiler explosions
No. 138 whilst on Metropolitan Railway at Bishop's Road on 9 May 1864. Captain Tyler stated that due to grooving of boiler (see also Hewison). No. 155 suffered a boiler explosion at Nottingham on 1 January 1866. Following this Sturrock lowered the boiler pressure of the class to 100psi. The class was withdrawn between 1871 and 1898.

Fig. 30: 116 (Hawthorn) drawing as delivered (from G.F. Bird); Fig. 31: 138 as fitted with condensing apparatus in September 1863 (drawing); Fig. 32: 157 with Stirling boiler (phot); Fig. 33 Wilson 155 as condensing (drawing); Fig. 34 0-6-0ST No. 139A in 1890 (phot.); Fig. 35 0-6-0ST No. 134 c1887 (phot.). Groves 1 pp. 41-5.

"Jenny Lind" type (2-2-2)
E.B. Wilson lent the GNR two as samples and these were thoroughly tried on heavy traffic in 1851 before being acquired and numbered as 201 and 202. They had an unusual and very short blast pipe and were fitted with the venacontracta ash clearance system. Groves states that they were amongst the most reliable express passenger singles on the system. Stirling rebuilt the two locomotives moving the leading wheels forward and fitting his GSWR-style cabs. Eventually straightback boilers were fitted. No. 201 suffered a crank axle failure at South Elmsall whilst working an up express on 12 April 1872. Groves (1) pp 45-7: Figs. 36 (original) and 37 (as rebuilt by Stirling in 1867). Locomtive Mag., 1899, 4, 150-2.

Acquired engines

Contractors locomotives acquired
Peto & Betts, contractors for the Loop Line (Peterborough to Gainsborough), sold their Nos. 1 and 2 (supplied Tayleur in 1847) and 4 and 6 (B. Hick, 1847) to the GNR where they became 133; 159; 160 and 161. They were 2-4-0 type, but rebuilt at Doncaster as 0-4-2 type in 1855, in which state No. 160 was not withdrawn until 1897. Fig. 38: Locomtive Mag., 1899, 4, 150 (Fig, 51) No. 133 (G.F. Bird drawing); Fig. 39 No. 161 (as fitted condensing apparatus: drawing); Fig. 40: 160A with Stirling boiler (G.F. Bird drawing). Groves 1 pp. 47-8

Goods engines purchased by Sturrock
Four cash purchases were made in 1850 from locomotive manufacturers (all 0-6-0 type) Groves 1 pp. 49-50.
R. & W. Hawthorn: GNR No. 163 (withdrawn 1875)
E.B. Wilson GNR Nos. 164/5 (withdrawn 1874 and 1900). No. 167 was ordered at same time, but not delivered until 1851 and was treated as part of 116 class.
C. Todd GNR No. 166 (withdrawn 1872): Bird stated that had solid disc wheels and Groves notes that ran poorly

Two passenger engines purchased by Sturrock
Groves 1 pp 50-1: On 22 November 1853 Charles Cave Williams, the contractor working the Oxford, Worcester and Wolverhampton Railway (whose Locomotive Superintendent was David Joy) offered the GNR two E.B. Wison 0-6-0s and these became GNR 368/9 and formed part of the 308 class.  At the same time two 2-4-0s were offered with 5ft 6in coupled wheels and 16½in x 22in cylinders: these were purchased for £3000 each. These were similar to OWWR Nos. 21-6 which became GWR Nos. 182-7 and are covered in Locomotives of the Great Western Railway Part 3 on page C24. These had large boilers. J.V. Gooch, Locomotive Superintendent of the ECR on his report on the OWWR locomotives ated that these were "unnecessarily large and heavy, and would be found expensive to work, as well as injurious to the permanent way". They became GNR 216-217. They were fitted with thicker tyres which increased the driving wheel size to 5ft 9in and with Stirling straightback boilers. There was an accident to No. 216 on 2 April 1862 at Algarkirk when the Mail was derailed due to spreading of the track. Fig 41 No. 216 (G.F. Bird drawing)

71 Class 2-4-0s
Originally ordered by Bury as Bury-type with bar frames, but modified to meet Sturrock's requirements. Nos. 71-5 supplied by Hawthorn (Works Numbers 729-733) and E.B. Wilson (Nos. 76-90). 16in x 22in cylinders; coupled wheels 6ft; grate area 13.2ft2 and total heating surface 904ft2. Groves argues that boiler pressure was probably 120psi, not the 150psi quoted by Bird who was prbably influenced by Sturrock's rewriting of history. Most reboilered between 1864 and 1867 and majority withdrawn between 1869 and 1874, leaving only four in service (78, 79, 87 and 88). These were reboilered with Stirling straightback boilers and were not withdrawn until the 1890s. The class was used mainly on secondary passenger work. Figs 42 and 43 are reproductions of G.F. Bird drawings of Wilson No. 76 and Hawthorn No. 71. Fig. 44 is a photograph of No. 79 as rebuilt by Stirling. Grove 1 pp.51-4. Locomtive Mag., 1899, 4, 150 (Fig, 48) See also 223 class.

Intermediate crankshaft (Crampton patent) locomotives
Groves entitles this section (pp. 54-5) Crampton locomotives and this is confusing as these were not typical Cramptons, but were intermediate crankshaft (or dummy crankshaft) locomotives for which Crampton held patents. Groves 55-9 describes how Longridge supplied ten locomotives in 1851/2 which Lowe described as 4-2-0s. Fig. 45 shows No. 91 in original condition (Bird drawing), Fig. 46 shows No. 200 as 2-4-0 (drawing), Fig. 47 shows No. 91 as 2-2-2 (drawing) and Fig. 48 (a Bird drawing) shows No. 99 as 2-2-2 in final condition with Stirling boiler. Locomtive Mag., 1899, 4, 150 (Fig, 49) These were given GNR Nos. 91-9 and 200 and Crampton was paid £50 per locomotive in royalties. They were not successful and were rebuilt as conventional 2-2-2s whilst retaining the original boilers. In 1865 Nos 93, 94, 97 and 98 received new boilers and Stirling continued this process. One of the "Cramptons" opened the King's Cross to York service by the direct route. But in their original form they could not cope with gradients of the new mainline due to lack of adhesion.. No. 200 ran ass a 2-4-0 using extra driving wheels in place of the crank axle, but slipping was still a problem. The 2-2-2 conversion involved new frames and the conversion was completed in 1853/4. The boiler of No. 98 exploded on 14 January 1865 whilst it was on test at Peterborough and this led to staff fatalities. The class was fitted with Stirling boilers and was still active in the 1880s.

Quote from Groves (p. 59)
Before proceeding, it may be as well to give some space to the motive behind the once well-known legend regarding the ten Cramptons - if only to illustrate how history may sometimes be perverted to suit one's whims and fancies. Archibald Sturrock was undeniably a good locomotive engineer, but because the initial engines advocated by him for the G.N.R. were originally unsuccessful, evidence points to the fact that for prestige reasons - which were quite unnecessary on his part - Sturrock preferred firstly to disown them, then verbally attempt to eliminate them; and finally even deny their existence!

Just before the turn of the century, when G.F. Bird was compiling his G.N.R. locomotive account, some information he was seeking regarding the earlier engines was, as Bird phrased it, "derived indirectly from that doyen of locomotive superintendents, Mr. Archibald Sturrock himself." Unfortunately, even during his long retirement, Sturrock retained little affection for the original Cramptons and therefore implied to Bird that they were ordered prior to his assumption of office. Later came another inference that" he "did his best to countermand the order", none of which is evident, and in later years hardly due to forgetfulness. Sturrock appeared still capable of memorising early events even in his 86th year of age, which is borne out in his letter to The Locomotive of 16th May, 1903, concerning some trivia about details of a brass coal scuttle of which he well remembered possessing since 1846!

The final elimination was attempted when Sturrock wrote to E.L. Ahrons claiming that "there was only one Crampton on the Great Northern, the others being of my own design." The acceptance of the claim by an historian of Ahrons calibre, convinced most locomotive students and confused many others. But in the above it will be seen how the legend gradually built up over a long period of years, and the reason motivating it.

It may be of interest to note that at the King's Cross Centenary Exhibition held in October 1952, the original G.N. Stock book revealed that a contract was placed with Longridge on 4th December, 1850 for ten passenger engines, with tenders, at £1,600 each. The entry "Crampton's Patent" appears and the running numbers are given as '91-99, 200' entered later in ink, confirming all ten were taken into Stock.


"Large Hawthorn" 2-2-2 singles 1852/3
Groves (1 pp60-5):"In historical retrospect, these engines certainly appear as good examples of the locomotive practice of their period. Moreover, they were spoken of as fine machines at the peak of their career, having a liberal heating surface and a boiler pressure capable of adjustment up to 150 lb. per sq. in. enabling them to put up sustained performances. In 1867-68, Stirling thoroughly rebuilt ten engines with his straightback boilers and cut-away cabs, thereby greatly extending their period of general usefulness."

As their running numbers were latterly required for new Stirling 2-4-0's, four engines were placed on the Duplicate list, becoming Nos. 204A in 1888, 208A in 1881, 209A in 1884 and 214A in 1889. Withdrawals of the class began in 1869 and the last rebuilt engine survived until 1892. Large Hawthorns were used on Manchester Flyers which run between London and Manchester in 5 hr 20 min and this was reduced to 5 hr in response to LNWR accelerations.

Cites Michael Reynolds' Engine driving life: or the stirring adventures and incidents in the lives of locomotive engine-drivers (Ottley 4042) which notes incident of No. 210 crashing through a MSLR freight train on the Retford crossing (although Groves records no official confirmation of this incidemt).

Crank axle failures
Double frames prevented many incidents being made public but:
203: Pigeon Bridge (east of Sheffield): 23 January 1859: up express from Manchester. Report Captain Ross. Crank axle mileage at failure: 62,704
206: Southgate Tunnel: 27 July 1860: up Scotch express: 10,000 miles.
Hoops shrunk over webs to minimize risk.

Nos. 203-214 (WN 795-806)
Fig: 49 No. 208 at King's Cross shed c1853 (phot.); Fig: 50 No. 203 (domeless boiler) (drawing); Fig: 51 No. 214 (domeless)(drawing); Fig:52 No. 212 at Hitchin c1868 (phot); Fig: 53 No. 211 as finally reb in 1867 (drawing)

Sturrock's 4-2-2 No. 215 Groves 65-8 (see also BT)
The Whyte notation is not successful at describing some early locomotives with a relatively rigid wheelbase. Many authorities refer to this locomotive as a bogie single and these include Sekon (pp. 171-3 including Fig. 57), Ahrons p97 (including Figure 108 where a bogie appears to be shown) and Groves who argues that the locomotive ran both as a rigid vehicle and with a bogie: interestingly Groves Figure 71 claims to show No. 215 before its conversion to bogie form, and this figure is obviously identical to Sekon's Figure 57! (except that the reproduction in Groves is clearer). Sekon also claimed the direct assistance of Sturrock (and there is a contribution in The Engineer in 1888 on this locomotive by Sturrock).

The aim of this locomotive was to run 100 miles at 60/65 mile/h. The Board agreed to a proposal to build an experimental locomotive on 27 July 1852 and Hawthorn received an order to build a locomotive which was completed on 31 July 1853. It cost £3500 (more than estimated). It had flangeless driving wheels and had Hawthorn's patent percolated steam-collecting pipe. Cylinders: 17½in x 24in. The midfeather firebox was 155.2ft2 and the total heatin surface 1719. Boiler pressure 120 psi. It was a a standard gauge version of the Gooch broad gauge 4-2-2s. The Sturrock contribution in The Engineer claimed that the locomotive would have been capable of reaching Ediburgh in 8 hours; was teh precursor of the Stiling 8ft singles. Groves was clearly unaware of the dangers associated with Clement E. Stretton and states that "true facts were made known by Clement E. Stretton who emphatically pointedv out that No. 215 "ran upon eight wheels, four in a group, but not in a bogie". In September 1853 the four front wheels were derailed on a crossover. The locomotive was subject to much test running. It was withdrawn in October 1869.

Adamson, Rob. Archibald Sturrock; an alternative perspective. Backtrack, 15, 434-8.
Questions whether Sturrock's boiler pressures were as high as he claimed. Questions concerning the GNR Crampton 4-2-0s and their subsequent rebuilding into successful 2-2-2s; the unsuccessful No. 215 supplied by Hawthorn's at a cost well in excess of estimate; condensing locomotives for Metropolitan Railway and steam tenders.

168 Class 5' 0" 0-6-0s
E.B. Wilson Works Numbers 267-318 of 1851/2 became GNR 168-197. W. Fairbairn of 1852/3 became GNR 198-9/300-307. Originally both  Wilson and Fairbairn were each to supply twenty, but troubles affecting Fairbairn caused this to be reduced to ten and Wilson provided the balance. There were slight differences between the two types. Figures 54-7 show the locomotives in their original conditions. Fig. 55 is a drawing of the Fairbairn type. Fig. 54 a drawing of the Wilson type and 56/7 early photographs of the Wilson type (c1866 and 1865: No. 177 in Hitchin yard). Figures 58-61 show the Stirling rebuilds. Groves (1) pp. 69-70
Hopwood photograph: Rly Arch., 2008 (18) 34.

308 Class 5' 3" 0-6-0s
In April 1851 tenders were received from Wilson, Sharp, Hawthorn, Stephenson, Nasmyth and Kitson for twenty locomotives: Stephenson and Nasmyth were successful and each supplied ten (Stephenson: 308 to 317 and Nasmyth 318-327). There were slight variations in the dimensions of the two lots. Groves (1) pp. 70-1.
Later 308 Class 5' 3" 0-6-0s
These were ordered to meet the needs of increasing coal traffic into London. Groves (1) pp. 71-3 noted the following entering traffic between 1853 and 1855:

5 Hawthorn 328-32
5 Kitson 333-7
10 Wilson 338-47
15 Sharp 348-62
5 Vulcan 363-7
2 Wilson 368/9 (a)
5 Wilson 370-4
5 Wilson 375-9
1 Wilson 380
5 Kitson 381-5
5 Sharp 386-90

(a) via C.C. Williams of the Oxford, Worcester & Wolverhampton Railway: similar locomotives were supplied to the OWWR: Nos. 27-30 and 34 which became GWR 248-52. They had 16in x 24in cylinders, 15 ft2 grate area and 1299.20 ft2 total heating surface and 140 psi boiler pressure. From 1864 many fitted with taper grate fireboxes for use with steam tenders.

No. 387 was working as a ballast engine in London Area with polished brass dome in 1909: see Locomotive Mag., 1903, 9, 350

223 Class 6' 6" 2-4-0s
Ordered in 1854 from Hawthorn and delivered in 1855, numbered 223-8 (Works numbers 915-920). Enlarged version of 71 class: 16½in diameter cylinders. Rebuilt by Stirling in 1866/7. Used in Leeds/Halifax areas. No. 224 suffered a broken axle on 14 November 1872 at Wortley Junction whilst hauling a Doncaster to Leeds train. Class withdrawn in 1880s. Groves pp. 78-9: Fig. 72 No. 223 as built (drawing). Figs. 73/4 photographs: No. 225 as rebuilt in c1874 condition and No. 224 at Leeds in final rebuilt condition.

Absorbed locomotives

Nottingham & Grantham Railway G80-4
Incorporated as Ambergate, Nottingham and Boston & Eastern Junction Railway on 16 July 1846. Both MR and LNWR were interested in acquiring it. Opened from MR at Colwick to Grantham on 15 July 1850. An agreement with the GNR enabled the GNR to work the line from 2 April 1855. Prior to this line had been worked under contract by E.B. Wilson with David Joy as locomotive foreman: thus Joy's Diaries are an important source: see August 1850 and details of Grantham. There were six locomotives in March 1853, but this had grown to nine when they were numbered. The following Table is taken from Groves vol 1 pp 80-4. Brown Great Northern locomotive engineers V.1 notes that the Wilson "0-4-0"s were what he termed "lay" or dummy crankshaft locomotives (and he would have got this information from Joy's Diaries).

N&G GNR Wheel Maker WN Date Withdrawn
1 Grantham 218 0-4-0T Wilson 11/1850 12/68
2 Rutland 219 0-4-0T Wilson 11/1850 5/74
3 220 0-4-0T Wilson 1/1851 3/69
4 221 2-2-2 Hawthorn 834 10/1853 7/76
5 222 2-2-2 Wilson 266 1852 4/68
6 391 0-6-0 Wilson 158 9/1850 3/90
7 392 2-4-0 Wilson 9/1853 5/68 R
8 393 0-6-0 Wilson 9/1853 6/78
9 394 0-6-0 Wilson 8/1854 2/01

R=renewed as saddletank: see 392

Leeds, Bradford & Halifax Junction Railway

Powers obtained 30 June 1852 and lines opened from 1 August 1854 which gave GNR access to Bradford and to Halfax (via LYR) whilst LYR acquired access to Leeds. In 1864 the GNR reached Bradford Exchange. The following table shows the locomotives absorbed into GNR stock from July 1863.

LBHJR GNR Wheel Maker WN Date
1 162 0-4-2T Kitson 690 12/1858
2 395 0-4-2T Kitson 691 12/1858
3 396 0-4-2T Kitson 692 12/1858
4 397 0-6-0PT Kitson 794 9/1860
5 398 0-6-0PT Kitson 795 10/1860
6 399 0-6-0 Hudswell Clarke 14 3/1863

Fig. 78 confirms that Numbers 4 and 5 were indeed pannier tank engines, although former Numbers 1 to 5 were all converted into 0-6-0s for working on their original territory, but from 1866 were converted into 0-6-0STs for the King's Cross area and eleswhere.

West Yorkshire Railway
Railway taken over by GNR in 1865. Groves called this an "obscure line", but its original title of Bradford, Wakefield & Leeds Railway described its ambitions fairly well: that is to serve the heavy woollen area around Dewsbury. The lines were steeply graded and the presence of two singles was perhaps surprising.

BWLR WYR GNR Manufacturer Wheel Works number Notes



261 Charles Todd 2-2-2 1, 2



262 E.B. Wilson 2-4-0 1, 3


3 263 E.B. Wilson 2-4-0 1, 3


4 - Walker Bros 2-2-2 4
- -


Manning Wardle 0-6-0ST 92 7
5 470 Manning Wardle 0-6-0T 95 5
6 471 Manning Wardle 0-6-0T 96 6

1. Acquired from builders at low cost as unsold stock
2. Possibly last locomotive manufactured by Charles Todd
3. Acquired via Mr Edwin Turner, one of Wilson's trustees.
4. This locomotive was probably worn out at the time of the takeover. Walker of Bury was licensed to manufacture Sharp type singles, but others have stated that this may have been a Bury type, possibly ELR No. 10 Diomed: see East Lancashire Railway.
5 Bird states WN 250. Also some suggestion may have been named Marquis.
6. Bird stated WN 251
7. Lent by Manning Wardle and on return sold to T. Nelson of Casleton [sic] & Grosmont Railway and named Earl Carlisle.

Edenham & Little Bytham Rly ...


Sturrock 7' 0" 2-2-2 Singles 1860 (except 236)
229 class
229-32 Kitson
233-6 Sharp Stewart (236 1861)
237-40 Robert Stephenson & Co.

Bird: "might almost be regarded as Mr Sturrock's masterpiece in designing". 7ft singles. Midfeather. 17 x 22in. cylinders. Grate area 20¾ ft2; 150 psi; total heating surface 1060.6ft2. Groves states: "necessary maintenance must have been expensive and troublesome". Sometimes known as 229 class. Built for coke burning, but No. 236 intended to burn mixture of coal and coke. In 1864 fitted with brich arch and deflector plate. Groves 1 pp90-6.

Bird's drawing of No. 229 (Locomotive, 1899, January, p. 2): based on later photograph as coal burning introduced in 1866 and whole class was coal burning by 1867.

Stirling rebuilding probably began in 1868: shorter firebox, straightback boilers.

Crank axle failures

No, 236 16 September 1876: newspaper train: 109,000 miles. Withdrawn 1895-1900.

J.F. Vickery. Famous Kings Cross engines. Loco. Mag., 1940, 46, 308-9. illustration
Sturrock 7ft singles with 17 x 24in inside cylinders: No. 240A illustrated: noted that latterly shedded at Hitchin and Hatfield

Sturrock 0-4-2 suburban Tank Engines
Long and relatively complex story. Covered in Groves (1) pp. 94-101 and briefly in Goslin, Geoff. Steam on the Widened Lines. Volume 1: The Great Northern and Midland Railways and their successors. 1997 (No. 12 is shown on page 7).Design evolved from little Sharp 0-4-2 tank engine conversions. The trailing axle employed Bridges Adams radial axleboxes.

First series (241-50)
Slaughter Gruning (became Avonside late 1865). The first series are often cited as well tanks, but back tanks would be correct designation. Sekon (Evolution p. 216) asserts that these locomotives were for working the Great Northern trains over the Metropolitan Railway. 16 x 22in cylinders; 5ft 6in coupled wheels; Grate area 12.5 ft2; total heating surface 854 ft2. 150 psi boiler pressure. coke capacity 15 cwt Groves notes that they were none too steady at the rear end. Sturrock wrote in The Engineer (5 January 1866) that the Adams radial axleboxes "answer admirably, both at high and low speeds; the engine running with perfect steadiness at above fifty miles an hour"
Illustation of No. 242A taken at Htfield in 1886: Locomotive Mag., 1946, 52, 44

270 series
Groves 96 et seq.The 270 series had a 12 in longer wheelbase and heavier framing. Nearly 4 tons heavier than 241 series. This series consisted of well tanks. Both series were known as Metro tanks. Originally designed to burn coke; in late 1869 burnt Welsh anthracite, and in 1874 coke again. Nos. 270-4 supplied Neilson 1867. Main dimensions: 16½ x 22in cylinders; 5ft 6½in coupled wheels; Grate area 13.6 ft2; total heating surface 874.75ft2;  160 psi  boiler pressure.. Royston accident July 1866: Captain Tyler criticised use of tank engines on passenger trains.

C.M. Doncaster. Sturrock's condensing tank, Great Northern Railway. Locomotive Mag., 1944, 50, 68. illustration

275 series
275-9 Avonside 1867

Groves p. 97: William Martley of LCDR planned a 2-4-0T in 1865, but Neilson suggested 0-4-2WT as per Avonside, and Sturrock supplied drawings to Martley Figs. 94-8 (phots); 273 as built, 274 post 1879; 275 Hatfield 13 September 1902 (also Rly Arch., 2008 (18). 35); 271 Hatfield 3 Aug 1901; 270A Lincoln 4 Aug 1902

Stirling rebuilding: 1878-1881
Fitted with straightback boilers and Ramsbottom safety valves. 241 series were fitted with longer frames and the compensating levers were removed. Liveries: originally Brunswick green, Stirling post 1880 bright green; mid-1880s black lined red for London area, later still bright green

When 270 series appeared in early 1867 they joined 241-50 at King's Cross where they performed well, were slightly less unsteady at rear end and were noted for their high acceleration. Until 1879 used on London suburban services, after which sent elsewhere, including West Riding. In May 1882 complaint from Chief Civil Engineer concerning rail damage on Derbyshire Extension line where speeds of 60 mile/h demanded which led to rail damage. Ahrons noted oscillation in trains.

Avonside 0-8-0 Tank Engines
Groves (1) pp. 101-5. Page 103 table compares GNR 0-8-0Ts with Vale of Neath type from which the GNR type was derived. Intended for working over Metropolitan Railway onto LCDR. Edward Slaughter had informed Sturrock of Vale of Neath design. The leading and trailing axleboxes were fitted with Caillet (a Frenchman) patented Edward Slaughter form of side control. The locomotives were numbered 472-3 and had Avonside Works Numbers 633-4. They were withdrawn in 1880. They were too big for the line and it is not clear for how long that they worked on the Metropolitan line. Figs. 99-100 (phot.). The condensing apparatus fitted was to the patent of Edward Slaughter: 2451/1863. Goslin, Geoff. Steam on the Widened Lines. Volume 1: The Great Northern and Midland Railways and their successors. 1997 (No. 472 is shown on page 9).

400 Class Auxiliary Steam Tender engines
Groves (1) covers this topic in detail in pages 105-116. Verpilleux in France had invented a similar system in 1843. The tender was fitted with outside cylinders. These were employed on the Lyons to St Etienne Railway. In 1859 Benjamin Connor of the CR fitted four 2-4-0 locomotives with steam tenders. Sturrock patented his system (1135) on 6 May 1863.

This is a complex issue on several levels:
(1) the lack of success of the system is generally associated with Sturrock's premature retirement;
(2) the relative complexity of the system which involved complex pipe work and runs of 23 feet (with live steam) and condensing;
(3) orders for locomotives; special tenders; conversions of existing locomotives and tenders and
(4) eventual conversion of tenders to locomotives.

The initial modification involved the redundant tender from Sharp single No. 46 which was fitted with inside cylinders and coupling rods. This was coupled to 0-6-0 No. 391. Another redundant tender was modified and fitted to MSLR 0-6-0 No. 124.

The MSLR ordered six steam tenders from Neilson for their locomotives Nos. 194-9,

Three ex-Nottingham & Grantham Railway 0-6-0s (Nos. 391-4) were modified with enlarged fireboxes, modified feed water pumps capable of handling hot water and 23ft long pipes from the boiler to the tender. The last had five bends to make them flexible. The steam was condensed in a tubular condenser on the bottom of the tender tank. The locomotives were run between Peterborogh and London and over the Lincolnshire Loop via Boston.

Groves (p. 106) lists the orders placed: Nos. 400-9 were ordered from Kitson and Nos. 410-19 were ordered from Hawthorn with steam tenders.
Further locomotives were ordered:
locomotives only (i.e. without tenders):
420-9 (Neilson)
430-9 (Kitson);
with ordinary tenders:
440-9 (Neilson),
450-5 (Vulcan),
ordered with steam tenders, but steam  tenders cancelled:
456-60 (Avonside)
461-9 (Hawthorn)  See also Six-coupled goods engines, Great Northern Railway. Loco. Rly Carr. Wagon Rev., 1925, 31, 79 for No. 465 as supplied by Hawthorn without steam tender.
Many of the locomottives, as rebuilt by Stirling, lasted long enough to be classified as J2 or J3 (mainly the latter) in the 1900 classification.

Between 27 March and 27 October 1866 comparitive tests were made between five locomotives with auxiliary tenders, and five without: the former consumed 30,035 cwt of coal and 3901 pints of oil in hauling 12368 wagons over 52815 miles, whilst the latter consumed 20284 cwt of coal and 2041 pints of oil in hauling 10566 wagons over 46053 miles.

Fig. 101 Kitson 0-6-0 coupled to steam tender is the only illustration in Groves (and according to hime one of only two Works photographs) of a steam tender in original condition. Fig. 85 (p. 218) in Sekon is a different photograph. Sekon mentionms the steam tenders in his text on p. 217

Locomotive, 1909, July, p. 127

Reminiscences of a retired fireman who stated that the footplate crews hated them and attempted to sabotage them. The footplate was very hot and uncomfortable, hot big ends were common on the tenders and condensing was unreliable. Further anecdotes in The Engineer (but where?)

Drawings of tender. The Engineer, 1919, 5 May (repro Vernon)

Rly Gaz., 1920, 27 August (repro Vernon)

Groves 1 pp73-4: Bennett personally remembered auxiliary steam tenders in use very well. With their engines they practically formed four-cylinder locomotives with two groups of six-coupled wheels, and as such had not many predecessors. They sometimes did very good work under competent and careful drivers, but were unsuccessful on the whole, chiefly because the heating surface provided was insufficient for the duplex engines when the load was such as to make a really severe call on the capacity of the machines. When no such demand was necessary, and especially when the engine was running light, the additional friction due to the extra motors and gearing was a positive disadvantage. This led drivers habitually to open both regulators, even when shunting. On such occasions it at least looked awkward to see two sets of six-coupled wheels and two exhausts engaged in giving a flying tip to a few, maybe only one or two trucks, and also engines running light with all cylinders working.

Besides removing steam tender equipment, Stirling rebuilt the majority of Sturrock 0-6-0's with new boilers and plate frames. Including the earlier 116 class, a total of 154 Sturrock goods tender engines came under Stirling's jurisdiction. Seven of the thirtyone 116 class were dealt with. Particulars of rebuilding by Stirling are noted below.

Amongst miscellaneous 0-6-0's reboilered by Stirling were Nos. 165 (purchased in 1850) and 391/4 (exNottingham & Grantham) which have been noted in their respective class sections.

Archibald Sturrock; an alternative perspective. Rob Adamson. Backtrack, 16, 434-8.
Questions whether Sturrock's boiler pressures were as high as he claimed. Questions concerning the GNR Crampton 4-2-0s and their subsequent rebuilding into successful 2-2-2s; notes on hotwater footstools; the unsuccessful No. 215 supplied by Hawthorn's at a cost well in excess of estimate; condensing locomotives for Metropolitan Railway and steam tenders. Lord Vernon questions some of the assertions made in this feature (see page 534). Illus.:Sketch; GNR no 100 as rebuilt in 1856, Details of Sturrock's first passenger design, 0-6-0 Good's engine, Express 2-2-2 of 1952/3,

Sturrock's steam tenders. Tony Vernon. Backtrack, 19, 85-9.
Notes his patent [113 published 6 May 1863 not submitted] and also Fairlie's [1210 13 May 1864 which Dewhurst described as the master patent] which also sought to increase the adhsion available. Sturrock's innovation is described in detail (drawings from The Engineer 9 May 1919 and Railway Gazette 27 August 1920) and also quotes estimates of the financial savings which Sturrock hoped to achieve. Charles Sacré, at that time Locomotive Superintendent of the MSLR, was also involved in the assessment of the steam tenders where initial tests indicated that 50% increased loads could be hauled up Clarborough and Kirton banks. Eventually the MSLR ordered six steam tenders as part of an order for twelve locomotives from Neilson's. Some fifty steam tenders were ordered by the GNR and Vernon estimates that the value of the orders (placed with more than one builder) was equal to about two years of his salary in terms of Royalties. The article attempts to rationalize the reasons for Sturrock's premature retirement. Certainly, the failure to find a system to reward the enginemen for the increase in their productivity was a major factor in the failure of the system. Patrick Stirling's eventual attack (quoted at length) on the system is understandable: he was an engineer who demanded simplicity [and this may have influenced the GNR's Board when it selected him]. Sturrock had got on well with the GNR Chairman Dension, but his replacement Col. Packe was a different sort of executive. The article notes that the needs of Sturrock's three motherless children, his substantial income from his second wife's estate and his rural life style meant that the problems of locomotive engineering were no longer worth pursuing. The article also notes that Sturrock was retained as a consultant to the GNR for three months, thus implying an immicable separation. Some of the steam tenders remained in use until 1868. The article notes that it was Gresley who supplied the information on the steam tenders to The Engineer (Gresley at that time was considering the booster as a similar means of increasing locomotive productivity. See letter in Issue 4 on page 253 from Brian Orrell on correspondence between W. Gooch of Vulcan Foundry and Sturrock and to Patrick Stirling at a date prior to his official appointment (that is in June 1866). A return to this material will be made once the GNR page on the website is developed.  


Sturrock 251 Class 6ft 0in 2-4-0s
Ten supplied by Sharp. Stewart in 1866 (GNR Nos. 251-60): double frames, 16½ x 22 cylinders; 22.7 ft2 grate area (with a cross-partition (midfeather) for coal burning); 150 psi. Worked in West Riding from Doncaster to Leeds and Bradford. Gradually fitted with Stirling boilers and with vacuum brakes. Last withdrawn in October 1902, by which time known as class E5. G116-18. Illustration by Hopwood: No. 258 at Hitchin on 5 July 1902 in Rly Arch., 2008 (18) 33.

Sturrock 264 Class (built as 2-4-0s)
Orders were placed before Sturrock's departure for six 2-4-0 locomotives: three from John Fowler (WN 747-9) given GNR Nos. 264-6 and three from Yorkshire Engine Co. (WN 1-3), GNR 267-9). Brown (p. 134) notes that these 2-4-0s were the first locomotives to be sold by the Yorkshire Engine Co. These were delivered in 1866/7. They were intended to combine the advantages of steel wheels on steel rails, but problems in design and construction led to their conversion to 2-2-2s by Stirling between 1873 and 1878. According to Groves the design problem was identified by J.C. Park (who was at Doncaster when the type was delivered): the cylinders had a 24 inch stroke, but the outside cranks had a 14 inch radius throw. Furthermore, at that time Bessemer steel tended to be brittle. Stirling rebuilt them between 1873 and 1878 as 2-2-2s with new boilers, following which they were restored to first-classs work. Latterly, they were used on secondary duties: the last was withdrawn in May 1902. There is some evidence according to Groves that the 2-4-0s may have run as 2-2-2s before being rebuilt. In 1878 Nos. 265 and 266 were fitted with Westinghouse brake for trials between Doncaster and Peterborough via Lincoln. Three locomotives lasted long enough to be classified as B6. Groves 1: pp.119-22

Sturrock designs



Built by John Fowler and Yorkshire Engine Co. (Ahrons). Double frames, 17in x 24in cylinders, 7ft coupled wheels, long wheel base (9ft 7in + 8ft 6in). Steel axles and tyres. Ahrons (168) states that type was not very successful and were rebuilt as 2-2-2 by Stirling.


The exact classification of this type is elusive: Ahrons (p. 155) states back tank: Doncaster stated well tank. Ahrons noted that these incorporated W.B. Adams' radial axles, outside bearings and sandwich frames. Fifteen were built by Avonside and five by Neilson. The cylinders were 16½in x 22 in. The coupled wheels were 5ft 6in, and the trailing wheels: 4ft. Fourteen similar locomotives were supplied by Neilson to the LCDR. Ahroins stated that they were excellent engines and performed a vast amount of hard work for many years. The one imperfection was oscillation at the trailing end which could be transferred to the train.


Doncaster, C.M. Sturrock's condensing tank, Great Northern Railway. Loco. Rly Carr. Wagon Rev., 1944, 50, 68.
Built by Avonside and by Neilson in 1863.

Stirling designs

As with the section on Sturrock the primary source is Groves (Volume 2), but the material is re-arranged to reflect the style adopted elsewhere, especially for railways incorporated into the LNER: that is tender before tank: six-coupled, before four-coupled, etc. Pages 209-20 of Brown note J. Ramsbottom's "short printed report" to the GNR Board of August 1878 which comments upon the reduction in coal consumption achieved between 1866 and 1877, and the need for greater workshop accommodation.


Groves (2) covers these on pp. 217-60.

174 class 5ft 2in mineral 0-6-0s
Covered by Groves on pp.217-20. Built Doncaster 1872-4 Total: 6. Withdrawn 1902-6. Larger design than subsequent batches: 19 x 28 in cylinders. Total heating surface: 1352 ft2. Intended for working coal trains over the Loop Line: via Lincoln and Boston to Peterborough. Larger locomotives fascilated by steel rails. But refuge sidings were too short. Screw reverse. Problems were severe at Lincoln due to length of trains and level crossings.

Standard 5ft 2in 0-6-0s

Groves (2) page 220 et seq: Initial batch 17 x 24 in cyclinders, from 1873 17½ x 26

date number class as rebuilt
1867-8 20 J7 J8
1869-73 15 J7 J8
1873-81 38 J6 J5 (LNER J4)
1882-6 45 J6 J5 (LNER J4)
1887-94 62 J6 J5 (LNER J4)
1896 15 J6 J5 (LNER J4)

24in stroke 5ft 2in locomotives
Groves (2) page 221 et seq

474 series
Groves (2) pages 221-2
J. Fowler 1867-8 10
Neilson 1867 10
Unpopularity of G&SWR type side window cabs led to their eventual replacement. Became J7 class, if unmodified

369 series
Groves (2) pages 223-6: fifteen constructed  at Doncaster 1869-73; John Fowler (Groves page  225) constructed six of this type for S&DJR in 1874.

26in stroke 5ft 2in 0-6-0s (J6)

171 series
Groves (2) pp. 227-8 note that type shared the general appearance of 24 inch locomotives except for deeper wheel splashers and slightly modified cabs. 38 were built at Doncaster 1873-81. Bird erroneously includes Nos. 171  and 193 with J7 class and No. 372 is listed as first J7. Bird's Fig. 63 fails to show coupling rod splashers.

716 series
Groves (2) page 229: Dübs built 20 and Vulcan built 15 at £2275 each during 1882 and Doncaster built a further ten from the same drawings in 1886. Ivatt fitted No. 743 with Marshall's valve gear in 1901.

No. 716 as Seaton Delaval Coal Co. No. 11 (sold via J.F. Wakes in 1919). Rly Arch., 2013 (39), 51 lower

322 series
Groves (2) page 229: 62 locos built Doncaster 1887-94 with frames at rear extended by 8½in.

1031 series
Groves (2) pages 229-31: Dübs built fifteen in 1891: fitted with wash-out plugs. Groves (2) p. 232: comencing with No. 743 in May 1897 125 class J6 locomotives rebuilt with 4ft 5in diameter boilers and reclassified as class J5 (most fitted with domed boilers, but 18 fitted with large straightback boilers. Remaining J6 withdrawn between 1903 and 1920. Nos. 320, 742 and 795 sold to J.F. Wake of Darlington and possibly No. 742 sold on to the Saeton Delaval Coal Co. in 1921 to become their No. 11 and eventualy Hartley Main Collieries Number 20.

Stirling/Ivatt engines (Class J5)
Groves (2) page 232-4 comments on 0-6-0s built with 4ft 5in boilers

1081 series
Doncaster ten 1896 Groves (2) pages 232-4

1091 series
Dübs ten 1897/8 Groves (2) page 234 order changed to accommodate domed boilers: all subsequent series so fitted

315 series
Groves (2) pages 234-6 record ten built Doncaster in 1898 and 35 at Dübs in 1898/9

343 series
Groves (2) page 236: Doncaster built 40 between 1899-1900; Kitson constructed 25 in 1900; Dübs built 13 in 1901, whilst another twelve of this series were diverted to M&GNJR. No. 1144 of this series was unique in carrying straightback boiler between 1907 and 1914: only Ivatt engine to change from domed to domeless boiler

Rebuilds to class J5 (LNER class J4)
Groves (2) pages 236-9: ten straightbacked 4ft 5in boilers built under Ivatt and fitted to Nos. 743, 737, 796, 724, 748, 328, 321, 848 between 1897 and 1899. Of these: Nos. 321 and 737 withdrawn in 1919/1920: remainder eventually received domed boilers. Ten J6 received secondhand 4ft 5in straightback boilers within period 1907-1919, but of these only No. 324, 383 and 1039 subsequently received domed boilers, remainder of these withdrawn 1916-21. Popst-grouping an LNER version of the boiler was developed with Ross pop safety valves set at 175 psi.

Rebuilds to class J4 (LNER J3)
Groves (2) 239 et seq note that in May 1912 No. 1163 was rebuilt under Gresley with 4ft 8in boiler and this became protype for GNR J3. 71 were converted to the new form by the Grouping and 82 by the LNER. The grate area was 16.14 ft2, subsequently 16.25ft2

Those built between 1874-9 retained their volute springs above the trailing axles. Some locomotives were fitted with helical in place of plate springs.

World War 1
Groves (2) pages 240-1 record that in 1916 26 locomotives were modified for ROD service with condensing gear, feed pumps and water lifting apparatus. All carried Doncaster works plates, even when the locomomtives concerned had been built by outside manufacturers. All returned in 1919/20.

Groves (2) pp 242-3: many were fitted with secondhand Sturrock tenders, although in many case these were rebuilt to bring them more up to date

Brunswick green, then black from 1882 to early 1890s, light green, until Gresley grey from 1912 onwards.

Allocations and work: Groves (2) pages 244-54. Mostly used for routine freight work: a few equipped for passenger work. During WW1 seven were lent to LSWR and were overhauled at Eastleigh (Groves (2) page 247). During the summer West Riding locomotives were used on excursions to Scarborough, Bridlington and Cleethorpes, and in the London area ran excursions for Southend as far as Victoria Park where GER motive power took over.

4ft 8in 0-6-0s (classes J9 and J10)
Intended for severe gradients in West Riding: Groves (2) pages 255-60

374 series
eight 1883-8

4ft 2½in boiler (straightback)

1021 series
4ft 5in boiler ten 1896 straightback boiler later fitted with domed. A few rebuilt with 4ft 8in boilers by LNER. Survivors from both series became LNER J7 (RCTS Locomotives of the LNER. Part 5.)

From 1905 Ivatt fitted Nos. 374 and 1024 with domed boilers and between 1911 and 1922 five of the 374 series and seven of the 1021 series were so-fitted. Three locomotives were fitted with secondhand 4ft 2½in straightback boilers. Livery was green until 1912, Gresley grey thereafter. Last withdrawn between 1927 and 1936.


Stirling introduced this type in 1867/8. The class nominally had 6ft 6in coupled wheels, although the tabulated data quotes 6ft 7in for the earlier series; 6ft 7½ for 751 on and 6ft 8½in for the Ivatt 1061 series. Boiler pressure increased from an initial 130 psi to 170 psi in the later locomotives. The grate area remained unchanged, but the boiler design evolved during the period of construction and subsequent rebuilding. Groves (2) pp. 14-43.

280 series
Original series: Nos. 280-9 were supplied by Avonside in 1867/8; Nos. 290-9 by the Yorkshire Engine Co. in 1868 and Nos. 261/2 were constructed at Doncaster in 1871. (G roves (2) pp. 10-14). Shared cylinders, boilers and motion with No. 6 class of 2-2-2

86 series
Fourteen in this series constructed at Doncaster between 1874 and 1879. (Groves (2) page 14-16)

223 series
Eight constructed Doncaster 1880/1. (Groves (2) page16-17)

78 series
Six built at Doncaster and six by Kitson in 1882/3. (Groves (2) page17).

707 series
Nine by Kitson and two at Docaster in 1884. Grove 17-19.
No. 708 was modified by Ivatt with the Druitt Halpin steam storage device in 1903 see Locomotive Mag., 1904, 10, 205 and was removed in 1911 when the locomotive received a Stirling domeless boiler: Locomotive Mag., 1911, 17, 72,

206 series
All Doncaster: 1884-95. Total: 72 locomotives. Groves 2 19-22.

1061 series (Ivatt modified design)
Ten built at Doncaster in 1897. Became class E1 and eventually, but briefly, LNER E1 class. Groves 2 22-5. Groves describes the Ivatt rebuilds on pp. 25-9. These were also classified as E1; the unrebuilt 2-4-0s became E2. One of the original Avonside 280 series (No. 286) locomotives was rebuilt with an Ivatt 4ft 5in domed boiler and became class E4

Cross-water tubes
two locomotives fitted and worked between Leeds and Doncaster in 1903.
Locomotive Magazine, 1903, 16 May

Spark arresters
several designs evaluated (Groves (2) page 28-32) from 1901 onwards

Class No. Fitted Type Removed
E3 293 2-1902 Drummond 5-1902 (a)
E1 1065 5-1903 Drummond 6-1904
E2 898 6-1903 Drummond 1904
E2 72 2-1906 Taylor (b) 2-1906
E2 704 10-1906 Younger 3-1907

a. refitted and removed June 1904
b. see Fig. 26 for Taylor's cinder box.
Only Taylor's device removed sparks, if the engine could still be worked hard: all devices greatly inhibited steaming. The Drummond devices were supplied via the Glasgow Engineering Co. A drawing dated 25 May 1909 shows a device based on asbestos rope in the smokebox. No. 1064 was fitted at King's Cross with a patented device by E.R. Notter and in 1911 No. 752 was fitted another device which aimed to cool the sparks. E2 No. 202 and E1 No. 209 were fitted with a McIntosh device in 1909.

1897 No. 21 was reboilered with a domed boiler and a total of four was modified in this way, but eight retained straightback boilers until withdrawn.
No. 55 was fitted with the simple vacuum brake and participated in the Newark brake trials of 1875.
Nos. 6 and 41 (latter Ivatt rebuild) equipped with Wynford Brierley (patented) signalling apparatus installed on Grantham to Lincoln line from 8 September 1897 and inspected by Lt. Col. Yorke on 12 October 1898. Figures 38 and 39 show modified locomotives. (G2 51-2)
Nos. 996 and 997 were lent to the MGNJR in 1895 and worked from Norwich City shed.
In 1913 the SECR borrowed fifteen E1 class. B was added to the numbers of 204, 206 and 820. The last was returned in 1915. The tenders were lettered SECR. Fig. 29 No. 1067 at Ramsgate Town on 23 May 1914.
The 34 locomotives handed over to the LNER are described in RCTS Locomotives of the LNER. Part 4. Illustrations include a Nottingham to Grantham express hauled by No. 715 in 1919 and No. 718 at Tutbury on a Stafford to Derby train in 1924.

7ft 6in. 2-2-2 single No. 92

Covered by Groves 2: pp59-62. Used wheels from Sturrock 4-2-2 No. 215. Brown states: "A Great Northern legend relates that sometime during 1869 Stirling and Shotton were examining locomotives lined-up at Doncaster for scrapping, when they came upon the Sturrock 4-2-2 No. 215. After agreeing that this engine should be withdrawn, Stirling is said to have remarked to Shotton: 'John, we can't scrap those beautiful wheels.' This legend is probably true, for we now know that Stirling had to inspect all vehicles before scrapping. But much more important is the fact that 'those beautiful wheels' had been made at Hawthorn's while Stirling was their Works Manager and, almost certainly, under his personal supervision.

Stirling now took the opportunity to build a 'one off' job around the 7 ft. 6 in. driving wheels from No. 215. Although generally similar to his 2-2-2 engines of 1868, this new engine, also a 2-2-2, carried a slightly longer boiler and slightly larger cylinders to propel its bigger driving wheels. Numbered 92, it was provided with a boiler 10 ft. 6 in. long by 3 ft. 10½ in. diameter and with cylinders of I7½ in. diameter by 24 in. stroke; there were 192 boiler tubes of I¾ in. diameter, the working pressure was 130 lb. The grate area remained at 16.4 sq. ft., though the wheelbase was six inches longer than on the 7 ft. 0 in. singles of 1868.

No. 92 was thoroughly rebuilt (with new wheels) in 1883 and was not withdrawn until October 1902. On p. 60 Groves notes that "C.E. Strettton surmised that" No. 92 also incorporated the old cylinders from No. 215, but the general arrangement drawings appear to show exactly the same design of cylinders as on the 7ft 0in singles. See also 7ft 6in singles Nos. 238 and 232.

Illustrated by W.J. Reynolds, Rly Wld, 1956, 17, 171 (page 175): photographed 1898.


Rolt, L.T.C. Patrick Stirling's locomotives. London: Hamish Hamilton, 1964. 64pp.
Surprisingly little text.

Holcroft, H. Three-cylinder locomotives. J. Instn Loco Engrs., 1918, 8, 355-68. Disc.: 368-95; 476-91. (Paper No. 65)
"Probably no bcttcr example of successful design can be taken than the 8 ft. single wheelers formerly running on the Great Northern Railway. The first of these appeared early in the history of that railway, and for nearly forty years, defied all competition in the running of express trains, the type being perpetuated with scarcely any alterations in detail until recent times. They gave excellent results, ran at the highest speeds, and no locomotives could have been simpler, although the single wheelers on the Midland Railway and other railways ran them closely" (opening page).
Reynolds, Michael. Locomotive engine-driving: a practical manual for engineers in charge of locomotive engines. London: 1877-
Brief description of Stirling single

Ivatt designs 1898 (No. 266)
No. 266 and eleven further locomotives constructed with larger cylinders. These Ivatt locomotives had much larger boilers than those fitted to the Stirling singles.

Fryer, Charles. Single wheeler locomotives. 1993. Chapter 11


7ft 0in singles
Groves 2 43-59

No. 6 class
Based on Sturrock 229 class, but devoid of the complications. Shared same cylinders, boilers and motion of 280 series of 2-4-0. Built Doncaster 1868-1870. On p. 59 described as "very useful machines".
In June 1900 classification the straightback boiler type became class B5 and the domed rebuilds class B7.
Some rebuilt with Stirling improved boiler as per the 2-4-0s: the 206 tubes were reduced to 192 and then to 176.
Illustration: No. 14 illustrated at Lincoln on 4 August 1902: Rly Arch., 2008 (18) 32: according to Armin who wrote notes also in Groves 2 (but reproduction quality better in Rly Arch.)

Le Fleming, Hugh M. International locomotives. Plate 28.
Painting shows two hauling express through Finsbury Park: one has an Ivatt cab

0-4-2 mixed traffic tender engines
Groves 2 116-39: Built for hauling fast freight, such as cotton and wool. Ahrons was impressed by their performance on the severe gradients in the West Riding: total 154 of this type..

18 series
Groves 2 117-21:
67 built Doncaster 1868-79
30 Sharp Stewart 1875-9
20 Kitson 1876

No. 18 was Doncaster WN 1 completed 3 January 1868. 5ft 6in coupled wheels. Sharp cost £2395 each. Eight supplied to L&YR March-June 1876 with replacements being constructed for GNR: see LYR. Kitson cost £2400 each. When withdrawn the cylinders were re-used in eighteen cases for classes F2, F3, G2, G4 and J7. The type lasted until 1921 and were classifed as F2.

218 series
Four locomotives 1868-9: Short wheelbase and four-wheel tenders. Became class F1. Groves: 2 123-4. Withdrawn 1903/4. Intended work not really known: Groves suggests Nottingham & Grantham line. Fig. 107 shows No. 11 at Hatfield shed c1886.

103 series
Longer frames and wheelbase: 33 locomotives; 1882-95: suspension on rear axle originally volute springs, but replaced by plate springs from No. 112 (i.e. third in series): Groves: 2 124-39.

Ivatt rebuilds (F3)
Ten rebuilt in 1900-2. Nos. 357, 596 and 959 received straightback boilers in 1910. During WW1 seventeen locomotives received domed boilers to prolong their lives. Groves: 2: 126 et seq

G.N.R. engine No. 61 (5ft 6in front coupled wheels) rebuilt with new standard boiler, cab, etc. Locomotive Mag., 1901, 6, 109.

Work until withdrawal
Page 132 et seq: Mixed traffic engines, including fast freight. From 1898 until formation of MGNJR in 1893 worked between Spalding and Sutton Bridge and from Stamford to Spalding via Essendine and Bourne. Page 133 Kenneth Leech noted the class's "fire throwing propensity" especially on the climb to Potters Bar. Page 136: At the beginning of 1921, no fewer than thirty-two Stirling 0-4-2's remained in service. The high proportion allocated to the three Lincolnshire sheds is notable. Light duties abounded in those places and it is interesting to record that one of the last survivors, No. 958, which had been in the Lincoln District for many years, spent its final days at Louth. From this small outpost No. 958 was subshedded at Mablethorpe, where accommodation for just one engine was provided. The day's work commenced at 8.00 a.m. taking empty coaches to Sutton-on-Sea to form the 8.35 a.m. passenger train to Louth, followed by a trip to Sutton, back to Mablethorpe and then to Louth again. Next was a goods through from Louth to Willoughby before the final trip with the 4.45 p.m. passenger train to Mablethorpe. By the summer of 1921 all had been withdrawn and this valedictory comment, quoted from contemporary observer Kenneth Leech, aptly sums up their useful versatility: " my view the Stirling 0-4-2's were really marvellous little engines, seeming almost to forget their limited adhesion weight when used on goods trains and their small driving wheels when on passenger work. They really were Stirling's "maids-of-all-work" and well earned their keep" . Which, to a type of engine such as the 0-4-2 mixed traffics, is as fitting a tribute as any.

No. 592 with domeless boiler (H.L. Hopwood). Rly Arch., 2008 (18) 36
No. 12 arriving Hitchin on 1 August 1903. Rly Arch., 2008 (18) 38
Nos. 12 (built 1887) and 520 (built 1875): see Rly Wld, 1956, 17, 236.


Eames Duplex vacuum brake locomotive Lovett Eames
Braking system developed by Frederick W. Eames and evaluated on both GNR and LYR. Trials took place on Barnby Don branch with a 1:20 gradient Gr 140-3. Locomotive built by Baldwin Locomotive Works for Philadelphia & Reading Railroad, but this was in receivership and on Bladwin's hands. Locomotive was re-assembled at Newton Heath for trials on LYR and GNR, but Stirling vetoed plans for it to run on GNR. In 1882 it was exhibited at Alexandra Palace. Broken up 1884.

Standard gauge American steam locomotives in Britain. Rob Adamson. Backtrack, 2004, 18, 366-73.
Includes 4-2-2 Lovett Eames, manufactured by Baldwin, was brought to Britain to demonstrate a braking system developed by Frederick W Eames., mainly on the GNR. .

Strangers on the shore -the foreign steam locomotive in Britain & Ireland. Robin Barnes. Backtrack, 1997, 11, 482-6.
Covers the Lovett Eames used to promote the air brake,

Intermediate 7ft 6in 2-2-2 singles

Nos. 238 and 232
Based on No. 92 which used wheels from Sturrock 4-2-2. Built in 1885 and withdrawn in 1908 and 1906. Originally used between Leeds and Doncaster but ended on light duties at York and Lincoln. Groves 2 pp.144-7.

Groves notes that the "necessity for using inside cranked axles was the main drawback, as the webs often cracked or completely broke under working condition stresses. Earlier engines had usually been provided with double frames and generous bearings as a precaution, as some engineering opinions held that they give safe support for the crank axle in the event of breakage. All the foregoing too, of course, had been experienced on the G.N.R., where, in addition, Sturrock's method of shrinking hoops round each crank axle web in order to relieve stresses was employed. Latterly, Sturrock had also taken an interest in using cast steel in place of wrought-iron in his locomotive work, and Stirling - ever plagued by crank-axle failures (Brown p. 153 noted that in 1872 had reported "every crank axle will break sooner or later. The average number broken on the G.N.R. during the last five years has been 82 per annum, none of which has caused an accident.") – had experimented for some years with crank axles of steel, but owing to its brittle qualities had not achieved much success. However, by the early 1880's, steel plates of high tensile strength had been developed and the technique in manufacture had reduced the price below that of wrought-iron, so that crank axles were now not only more reliable than ever, but also rendered less costly.

Groves also noted that "The introduction of No. 92 in 1870 had proved a success and validates Bird's statement in that it "led eventually to the building of a number of still more powerful engines of a similar general design"".

Enlarged 7ft 6in 2-2-2 singles
Groves (2) pp. 147-59 cover the enlarged 238/232 type with 18½in x 26in cylinders, a grate area of 18.4 ft2.

234 series 10 1886-1889
871 series 4 1892
876 series 6 1894

Table based on p. 148. There was variance between the actual dimensions and the drawings. They were free running. Groves (2) pp. 147-51

Ivatt rebuilds
Groves (2) pp. 153-9 describe the eleven locomotives rebuilt with domed boilers. Prior to then Nos. 876, 878, 880 and 881 had been fitted with Davies & Metcalfe exhaust steam injectors in 1896. No. 880 was fitted with a Macallan variable blast pipe in 1897.

The class took part in both the 1888 and 1895 races. (Groves (2) page 156). In June and August 1891 No. 240 was tested against 4-2-2 No. 1 and NER compound 4-2-2 No. 1519. The trial route was Doncaster-Leeds-Peterborough-Doncaster. Coal consumption was 30.6; 31.1 and 36.4 lb/mile respectively. One member of the class achieved 86.5 mile/h and they tended to be used on light fast trains or were involved in double heading. Last withdrawn at end of 1913.

8ft 1in 4-2-2 singles
This class is generally perceived to be one of the masterpieces of locomotive engineering and it is fortunate that No. 1 forms part of the National Collection. Groves devotes a considerable amount of space (160-216) to this class, but it should be noted that pp. 210-16 relate to the preserved loocomotive and its forays into service during 1938 and its prior exhibition at several locations.

Ellis, C. Hamilton. Some classic locomotives. 1949.
Chapter 6: Pat Stirling's masterpiece:
Hambleton, F.C. Locomotives worth modelling. 1977.
Chapter 15: The famous Great Northern Number One: based on author's drawings.
Leech, Kenneth H. and Boddy, M.G. The Stirling singles of the Great Northern Railway. Dawlish: David & Charles, 1965. 160pp.
Ottley 11772. Wealth of illustrative material including some taken from contemporary account in The Engineer
Nock, O.S. Historical steam locomotives. 1959. Chapter 6 Four famous 4-2-2 singles.
The most famous design has to take its place alongside other singles in the Nock galaxy

The opening section of Groves is important as this seminal design is linked to factors which led to it.

Stirling "claimed valid reasons for selecting a very large wheel diameter: piston speed would be lower, and he subsequently explained "the larger the wheel diameter the greater adhesion to the rail" and rebuffed suggestions that a coupled design would have more adhesive power. Early in 1868, personal steps were taken to prove to his satisfaction that sufficient adhesive power was obtained with a Single. Stirling had been instructed to visit London once a month to meet the Directorate and on return journeys he kept careful observation of comparative workings of his 7ft. 0in. Singles and 6ft. 6in. 2-4-0's already in service. With trains of equal weight, the Singles generally beat the coupled engines, especially on the uphill gradients between Kings Cross and Potters Bar.

Having justified his predilection for single express engines, the basic form for the projected design was drawn from the GSWR, where previously he had produced three progressive series of inside-frame 2-2-2's with outside cylinders. The final class had 7ft. 0in. diameter driving wheels and 3ft. 7in. carrying wheels; the last batch being completed by his brother James Stirling in July 1868. These engines weighed 28 tons 9 cwt. 3qrs., with an exceptional concentration of 15 tons on the driving axle. Stirling required an engine to work fast trains up steep banks at high speed, calling for high cylinder power and adequate adhesion, so chose a pattern based to an extent on the final GSWR 2-2-2s.

The latter design was greatly enlarged to be capable of accommodating a pair of driving wheels of 8ft. lin. diameter. To give ample power, he proposed cylinders of l8in. diameter by 28in. stroke — the largest cylinders hitherto used on any British passenger locomotive — requiring a long crank axle throw of l4in. The decision to employ an eightfoot wheel ruled out the consideration of inside cylinders, partly on account of the massive leverage which side pressure on the flange of such a large wheel could exert to flex the crank axle, especially one with a direct throw of l4in, But, in a period when a low centre of gravity was still considered important, that the boiler centre line would have had to be raised from the proposed 7ft. 1in. to the then unheard of figure of 7ft. 10½in. to clear the cranks at top centres, was an overruling reason for the choice of outside cylinders. The use of a large wheel also gave an advantage in obtaining permission to use the greatest possible axle loading, which would, in any event, be much less advisable to place on an inside crank axle.

The drawback of employing outside cylinders on fast express locomotives having six wheels and comparatively short wheelbases, was a tendency towards swaying or "nosing" from side to side at speed. Of this type, the well-known "Lady of the Lake" class 7ft. 7½in. 2-2-2s on the LNWR introduced by John Ramsbottom in November 1859 - though giving excellent main line service - were a shining example of "nosing". In October 1862, Robert Sinclair of the Great Eastern Railway had produced a 2-2-2 class (with outside frames for the leading and trailing wheels) which not only performed satisfactory work, but are recorded as being much steadier riding than many contemporaneous outside cylinder engines on other lines.

At this embryo stage, the projected 8-foot design was certainly in the form of an outside cylinder, inside-frame 2-2-2, and was to be larger and more powerful than any earlier examples of the type as Stirling was aware of their drawback. No records exist to show whether any preliminary sketches or further proposals were made with regard to the design as it stood; therefore the attitude relative to the carriage of the proposed engine is unknown, and he was most certainly not prepared to build one for trial. Here a dilemma arose. Although a front bogie would ensure a steady engine, Stirling had a strong aversion to bogies, while at the same time, even to make an exception on a large new engine estimated to be more expensive to build than his previous types, a bogie would simply add to the cost.

Borrowing of Sinclair 2-2-2

It is known that during 1868 Stirling approached S.W. Johnson of the G.E.R. and – in view of the above – it is probably no coincidence that he asked for permission to borrow a Sinclair 2-2-2 Single. According to the late K.A.C. Nunn, this was for the purpose of testing the merits of an outside cylinder engine having large diameter driving wheels and a pair of leading and trailing wheels within a short wheelbase, on the G.N.R. main line. The engine borrowed was No. 293, one of the Kitson-built series of August 1865, which had 7ft. 1in. diameter driving and 3ft. 7in. carrying wheels. From the end of August 1868, trials lasting some weeks were conducted in comparison with the Stirling and Sturrock 7ft. 0in. Singles on express trains between Peterborough and London in charge of G.N. driver Lloyd. No official reason for these trial runs was ever published as, apart from those involved on the footplate, they were undoubtedly regarded as of no concern to anyone outside Doncaster.

Although the actual performance of the Sinclair engine is not known, its running in comparison with inside cylinder engines of similar size, though of rather longer wheelbase, evidently proved at length its inferior riding qualities to those of the G.N. engines.

However, the Sinclair Single had slightly inclined outside cylinders, and may have momentarily suggested the idea of placing a suitable pair of leading wheels further forward and directly under inclined outside cylinders for the projected 8-foot design, thereby gaining a slightly longer wheelbase and avoiding the use of a bogie. No official evidence can be found in reference to this point, but Bird may well have unwittingly stumbled on the truth in stating "Stirling decided to lay the cylinders in a horizontal line with the driving wheel centres, to obviate the disadvantages of inclined outside cylinders. This position, with the great overhang that it caused, would have unduly loaded a single axle at the leading end". Thus, as a result of the 1868 trials, Stirling was compelled to adopt a bogie with the cylinders placed between the two pairs of leading wheels for his 8-foot design, if the highest speeds were to be attained with safety in regard to the riding quality of the locomotive.

The careful steps taken to settle the form of the 8-foot Single had been conducted whilst relaying of the main line with steel rails conveniently neared completion. Stirling, also in charge of the Running Department, was aware there was no particular necessity at the time to introduce a big engine and certainly never any encouragement from the Board to design engines against possible future requirements, therefore preparation of details was not immediately proceeded with. Concurrently, the Drawing Office had been put to work on an inside-frame version of Sturrock's suburban 0-4-2T and on development of a suitable 0-6-0ST, so at the close of 1868 the whole range of types to date would lay foundations for an efficient locomotive stud.

From then onward, Stirling's reports to the Board frequently drew attention to the cheap first cost and economical maintenance of his designs, compared with those of Sturrock. This evidently won the directors' confidence sufficiently to confirm Stirling's appointment as Locomotive Engineer by the end of September 1869, thus ending the probationary phase.

Shortly afterwards - with his position clarified work on the new big express design commenced. One of the first detail drawings, still in existence, was for the bogie and another for the boiler, both dated December 1869. A fresh drawing, T-39, for an 8ft. lin. diameter driving wheel was made in January 1870 and the general arrangement for the 8-foot 4-2-2 Single was dated March 1870. Owing to the use of 82 lb. double-headed steel rails on the main line, the full weight on the driving axle was brought up to 15 tons.

The prototype engine, No.1, was completed at a cost of £2,033 and turned out on 20th April 1870 with specially selected works and running numbers. Its Doncaster Works number 50 (49 and 51 were completed at the end of June 1870) was two months ahead of its date; thus the "No.1" was not a true replacement of Sharp Single No.1 of August 1847. The design clearly showed its genesis in the final G.& S.W.R. 2-2-2 Singles but greatly enlarged, equipped with a bogie and extremely beautifully proportioned. On No.1 – and all subsequent 8-foot Singles – the basic pattern of a combination of an exceptionally large driving wheel with outside cylinders formed the central eature of their external artistic excellence. Not only larger items, but every detail of the design was harmonious and balanced, except perhaps for the severe austerity of the cab.

As completed in 1870, certain details were unique to No.1 in comparison with all succeeding engines; the most fundamental  difference was a shorter firebox with a corresponding shorter wheelbase, for after experience with No.1 in service, it was found imperative to improve its steaming capacity. This involved some design changes, the major one being the necessity of providing future engines with a larger firebox, its length in turn, determining a longer engine wheelbase to which No.1 was eventually altered to conform.

Towards the end of the year, Stirling was ready to build further engines of the same general design in which known defects would be eliminated but the complete success of this type was not achieved immediately. As experience in service showed up weak points there were numerous changes made in some major, but chiefly minor, design details for the next six years before gaining temporary satisfaction. Finality was still not reached for further improvements continued to be made throughout their twenty five year period of construction, and it would indeed be surprisihg if this had not been the case! After completion of No. 1, the 8-footers were built in pairs, so that whilst each pair were often identical, other members of the class were merely "sister" engines, as in many cases changes were instituted between the building of each successive pair. In addition, there were often minor differences effected in bringing them into line with prevailing Doncaster practice at any given date, i.e. cast-iron wheel centres in place of wrought-iron, the closing of the earlier slotted splashers, the later provision of slightly larger boilers: at no time was the class standard throughout, although Groves notes that from No. 544 in 1877 some stability was reached and remained until the final 1894/5 batch Nos. 1003-1008 which were an enlarged version.

No. 1
Groves (165-8) makes it very clear that this was treated as a prototype and was the subject of many modifications to improve its steaming including the replacement of the original balanced slide valves.

Express passenger locomotive, Great Northern Railway constructed from the designs of Mr Patrick Stirling, Locomotive Superintendent. Engineering, 1868, 9 October, pp. 330-1.
Diagrams reproduced in Leech and Boddy

On page 167 of Groves v.2 J.C. Park's Doncaster drawing of 1870 for a 4-4-0 with 7ft diameter coupled wheels is mentioned. Fig. 140 includes J.N. Maskelyne drawing. from J. Stephenson Loco. Soc., 1952, March
Also cites J.F. Vickery, Rly Mag., 1903, March: articles on 8ft singles.

Nos. 8 & 11: 1871
Described by Groves in V. 2 p.168: new boiler design with midfeather in copper firebox; boiler feedwater delivery through clack boxes

[Description of No. 8]. Engineer, 1871, 29 September, p. 211
Nos. 2, 3, 5, 7, 22, 48: 1871/2
On page 170 Groves notes a return to brick arch in standard firebox; otherwise as per previous. improvements to suspension
Nos. 34, 47, 53, 62
Also on page 170: raised boiler level. No. 47 sent to Railway Jubilee Exhibition at Darlington in 1875.
Nos. 221, 94
Smith non-automatic vacuum brake
Nos. 69, 98 1877
Groves page 172
Nos. 544-9; 60, 550, 93, 95 1877-80
Groves page 172
Nos. 662-71 1881-3
Groves pages 172-5: series built to meet the needs of King's Cross to Leeds expresses which achieved the journey in 225 minutes at almost 50 mile/h. Incorporated improved bogie frames. No. 664 was in the procession at the Stephenson Centenary Exhibition in Newcastle on 9 June 1881.
Nos. 771-8 1884-5
Groves pages 175-9 deeper frames behind driving wheels. From 773/4 on: mild steel frames and boilers. from No. 772 automatic vacuum brake. No. 775 was fitted with cast steel wheel centres. From No. 776 Timmis helical springs were fitted to the driving wheels. No. 776 participated in the Diamond Jubilee Exhibition in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in 1887. No. 776 was at the Edinburgh Exhibition of 1890.
Nos. 1001/1002 1893
Groves 2 p.179. Based on replacement frames and were treated as "replecements" for Sturrock 2-4-0s rebuilt as 2-2-2s.
Nos. 1003-8 1895/6
Groves 2 pp.179-83: longer firebox: 20ft2 compared with previous 17¾ ft2; 170 psi boiler pressure; 19½ diameter cylinders. screw reverse. design plagued by cylinder failures. Adhesion stated to be 19 tons 4cwt, but probably in excess of 20 tons. Derailments in November 1895 (1006) and March 1896 (1003) where locomotives remained on track led to Ivatt loweing adheive weight to 18 tons and boiler pressure to 160 psi

Our Supplement. Locomotive Mag., 1902, 7, 22 + folding plate insert
Detailed sectionalised elevations of Stirling 4-2-2 for Great Northern Railway Nos. 1003-8

Rebuilt 8ft singles

Stirling: Groves (2) pp. 183-5. No. 1 thoroughly rebuilt in 1880 with larger boiler and this acted as the prototype for No. 662 and further rebuilds involving new frames and larger boilers.

Ivatt rebuilds Groves (2) pp. 186-95. Fitted with domed boilers with larger (23.26 ft2) grates and with a total heating surface of 1069.2 ft2. Nos. 22, 34, 93, 95, 221, 544 and 776 rebuilt, some with screw reverse. Ivatt straightback boilers were fitted to nine locomotives. No. 548 was subject to experiments with spark arrestors (pp. 192-5). 1901 GWR pattern with extended smokebox (Fig. 167): disappointing results. Drummond type assessed which led to hopeless steaming and refitting of GWR type.

Career & performance

Groves (2) page 195 et seq. Designed to haul 150 tons at 51 mile/h average speed, but at peak hauling 200 tons at 54 mile/h, but 250 tons was beyond their capacity. Large cylinders assisted expansive working. GNR competed on speed, MR on comfort (eventual twelve wheel rolling stock). GNR offered fast competitive services to Manchester and to Liverpool.

1888 races

GNR not a notable participant. Cites Ernest Foxwell Extra Publication of Pall Mall Gazette 6 September 1888 and Stirling in Engineer for August 1888 (Groves (2) page 198)

Compound vs simple trials of 1888

Groves (2) page 199 describes trials with Worsdell class 4-2-2 2-cylinderr compound No. 1519 against 8ft and 7ft 6in 2-2-2

1895 races

Groves (2) page 201 noted that no great effort was made by GNR

General performance (Groves (2) page 204): consistent very fast running, including excellent uphill work. KPJ relatively frequent locomotive changes. Number 60 first withdrawn in 1899; last (except No. 1) in 1916.

Preserved No. 1
Withdrawn from service on 23 September 1907 after 1,404,663 miles. In 1908 No. 1 received a thorough overhaul and was partially reassembled in 1870 condition, but with 1880 frames and larger boiler and modernn injectors. Old tender off Hawthorn 0-4-2 of 1849. In April 1909 exhibited at Imperial Internation Exhibition at Shepherds Bush. Then stored until transfer by LNER to York Railway Museum. Steamed for Stockton & Darlington Centenary procession. Overhauled and steamed in 1938 for fiftieth anniversary of 1888 races and new Flying Scotsman rolling stock and turned up in such unlikely places as Norwich and Yarmouth, but most photographed at Stevenage alongside new Flying Scotsman train. Even reached Edinburgh according to Groves. Stored at Ferryhill (Durham) during WW2. Post WW2 followed fate of NRM. Groves 2 pp. 210-15.

Johnson, E.M. 'The 'Flying Scotsman'1938 train and celebrations. Backtrack, 2005, 19, 718-24.
The fiftieth anniversary of the 1888 race to Edinburgh was used as one of the elements in a major publicity drive to amrk the introduction of new rolling stock for the Flying Scotsman train in 1938. To demonstrate the advance of travelling comfort on the ECML a train of vintage six-wheelers was prepared in East Coast Joint Stock livery and Stirling eight foot single No. 1 was overhauled and used to haul it, initially on a train on 30 June from King's Cross to Stevenage where the press and invited guests joined the new train for a demonstration run. Johnson describes the new train at some length, noting the pressure ventilation, the liberal use of Rexine, the colours of the upholstery, the ladies' retiring room and the buffet car additional to the normal restaurant car. Stock was provided for through carriages to Glasgow, Perth and Aberdeen. Subsequently, No. 1 was briefly placed on exhibition at Edinburgh, Newcastle and York and used on excursions from Manchester (to Liverpool), and from Norwich to Yarmouth and Ipswich.

Tank engines (Stirling)


Groves (2) (pp. 260-311) covers the large number of saddle tank engines built under Stirling's direction.

5ft 0in saddle tanks (classes J11/J12)

392 series

Originated with Nottingham & Grantham 2-4-0 rebuilt as 0-6-0ST in 1867. In May 1868 No. 372 No. 392 was rebuilt with a straightback boiler and given a new Works Number (7). Sturrock Nos. 124 and 162 were also rebuilt with straightback boilers in 1868 and were allocated Works Numbers 104/3). In addition four completely new locmotives were constructed between 1871 and 1873. In May 1898 four 392 series boilers were ordered: Nos. 1 and 2 were fitted to locomotives Nos. 124 and 167 in 1899, but boilers 3 and 4 (which had shorter fireboxes) are not quoted as being allocated until after 1908. Locomotives with the long fireboxes were classified as J11, the remainder as J12. Class withdrawn by 1910. Groves (2) pp. 263-4.

4ft 0in saddle tanks (class J19)

396 series
4ft coupled wheels, 16 x 22 cyls straightback boilers saddle tanks 1869-
Originated in West Yorkshire Railway Manning Wardle 0-6-0Ts, including replacements for WYR locomotives and may have retained their wheels for a time. Further four built new in 1874. No. 470A (nominal rebuild) was converted to Holden system of oil firing and to 0-4-2ST configuration and used at Hall Mills Creosote Works at Boston: became LNER 3470A and finally withdrawn in April 1927. Remainder withdrawn by 1912. Groves (2) pp. 265-7.

4ft 0in saddle tanks (class J20)

605 series
Two locomotives built Doncaster 1875. Withdrawn in 1906 and 1918. Groves 2 page 267. H.T.B. (Loco. Mag., 1901, 6, 20) notes that these were fitted with short chimneys for working traffic to docks: also called "4ft 1in saddle tanks"..

684 series J18
Built at Doncaster between 1882 and 1892. Known as J18 from 1900. Total 8. Some reboilered by Ivatt and some by Gresley. Became LNER J57 regardless of boiler type. Some reboilered with those from withdrawn J56 which in turn had been carried by 0-4-4Ts of clases G3 and G1. Until 1900 essential for passing under low bridge beneath GER mainline at Stratford to reach Royal Mint Street, Poplar Dock and Thames Wharf. Last not withdrawn until 1938. Groves 2 pp.268-73.

4ft 8in 0-6-0 saddle tanks

Groves (2) pp. 273-94: Table page 274 shows boiler types

494 series Doncaster 1874-6
Groves (2) pp. 276-7: Groves claims that Bird was incorrect to suggest that this series ever had sloping backs to their bunkers or shorter chimneys. Class J15 LNER J57

500 series Doncaster 1875-9
Groves (2) pp. 277-9: Ten  total. Modifications to frame length bunker and drawgear. Five withdrawn 1919. No. 602 had been withdrawn in 1910 and frames and motion converted into mobile demonstration unit for valve gear (unit survived Grouping).

601A (withdrawn 1919) sold to John F. Wake of Darlington who resold it to Wemyss Coal Co where it became No. 6; survived to be taken over by NCB and cut up Wellesley Colliery in Fife in May 1956. Four to LNER.

634 series: Doncaster 1880-91
Groves (2) pp. 279-83. Total 52 constructed. First six for "Yorkshire lines" Ten in 1881 for "Leen Valley line" J15/J16 LNER J55/J54 Only two withdrawn prior to Grouping.
RCTS Locomotives of the LNER. Part 8A.

854 series
Groves (2) pp. 283-4.
Doncaster 7: 1891/2
R Stephenson 1891 ten
Neilson 1891 ten
Withdrawal did not start until 1928

boiler changes covered in Groves (2) in pp. 284-6.

Class J17

606 series Doncaster 1876/7
Groves (2) pp. 286-7: ten short wheelbase shorter firebox. Nos. 606 and 610 rebuilt in 1919 to form J16 (LNER J55). pp 287-94 cover later boiler changes and withdrawn : some just made it into BR.

Stirling/Ivatt 0-6-0STs Class J14
Groves (2) pp. 294-9.

921 series:
30 Doncaster 1892-5
20 Neilson 1896/7
Two Doncaster 1897.
Originally ordered for banking at Ludgate Hill: J14 from 1900

The only improvement originally planned in these engines was an increase in the adhesion weight and steaming capacity, though after the first six had been constructed with 17½in. diameter cylinders it appears that 18in. diameter ones were decided upon. Some official records have shown these six with 18in. cylinders as built. Again, Bird quotes Nos. 921-30 as having 17½in. (as in the earlier saddle tank Series) and No. 961 onwards having 18in. diameter cylinders. This has proved impossible to confirm or disprove to any degree of satisfaction. The original drawing for the frames quoted 17½in. cylinders but it cannot be ascertained whether the change in design was actually effected before No. 921 appeared or at some date in 1893. The contemporary records all show No. 921 onwards having 18in. cylinders, except rather oddly in the case of Nos. 111 and 155, the last two to be built, which are shown as having 17½in. cylinders. The cylinder pattern charts do not admit of any of the Series having other than 18in. cylinders, yet elsewhere No. 922, for example, is quoted as having 17½ diameter cylinders in December 1923.

Ivatt 4ft 8in 0-6-0STs class J13 (LNER J52).
Groves (2) 299 et seq. RCTS Locomotives of the L.N.E.R. Part 8A.

1201 series

10 Doncaster 1897
10 R. Stephenson 1898-9
25 Sharp Stewart 1899
40 Doncaster 1901-9.

Bulk not withdrawn until 1950s. Gresley grey livery from Dec 1912. LNER black

Checkley, Sid. Shunting engines at Colwick. . in Hughes, Geoffrey. A Gresley anthology. Didcot: Wild Swan/Gresley Society, 1994. pp.  87-8.
See also feature on maintenance of other locomotives at Colwick (above). The J52 saddle tanks suffered from blowing joints through the piston glands and cylinder covers. Two types of packing were used: graphite impregnated hemp and metal where the edges could be as sharp as razor blades. The coil springs on the trailing axle could fall out when remetalling the axleboxes. Removal of the saddle tank involved an apprentice climing through the filler hole which was a tight squeeze and possibly finding the tank not to be completely empty. Some had wooden buffer beams until withdrawn. The removal of the weight bar spring (coil-type) on the bridle rod, part of the reversing gear was difficult and reassembly even more so. The N5 class was not popular for shunting due to having vacuum brakes. Illus.: J52 4252; 68877 at Grantham c1952 (John F. Clay); 68875 at Colwick in July 1958; N5 69309 on freight at Louth in 1950s (JFC).


120 class 5ft 6in 0-4-4 back tanks (G2 class)
Total 46: Built 1872-1881. Groves (2) 73-82. Last withdrawn 1918.Goslin, Geoff. Steam on the Widened Lines. Volume 1: The Great Northern and Midland Railways and their successors. 1997 (No. 12 is shown on page 7).

Rly Archive, 2005, (11), 45 (top) No. 654 on train for Shirebrook at Nottingham Victoria c1906. (Fred Gillford, phot.)
Rly Arch., 2008 (18) 37 upper: No. 625 at Hatfield on 13 September 1902 (H.L. Hopwood)

0-4-4CT 1905
No. 533 was rebuilt as a crane tank for Doncaster Works. It was condemned in November 1928. Groves (2) 83-4. also RCTS Locomotives of the LNER Part 10A p. 28-9 which note that from 1925 it carried a C12 type boiler.

629 class (G5 class)
5ft 0in 0-4-4 back tanks. Groves (2) 87-9. Two built in 1880, rebuilt in 1898/1900 and withdrawn 1909 and 1918. Intended for Essendine to Stamford line, but sent to Yorkshire. No. 630 worked Stamford and Wansford branches in 1915/1917.

658 class (G3, G4)
5ft 0in 0-4-4T: sixteen constructed 1881-5. Six fitted with short chimneys and condensing apparatus: remainder sent to West Riding. Ivatt rebuilt six with large domed-boilers and eight with domed boilers of original diameter. All withdrawn by 1926. Obvious error p. 92 Second World War when WW1 was intended, Groves (2) pp. 90-5.

766 class 5ft 6in 0-4-4T (G1)
29 constructed between 1889 and 1895. Groves (2) pp. 95-105: Thirteen rebuilt by Ivatt with 4ft 5in boilers and nine with 4ft 2½in domed boilers. Condensing apparatus for London area removed when moved elsewhere. Last withdrawn in 1925. No. 934 broke a crank axle whilst shunting at Hertingfordbury on 1 February 1907. Goslin, Geoff. Steam on the Widened Lines. Volume 1: The Great Northern and Midland Railways and their successors. 1997 (No. 12 is shown on page 7).

941 Class (1895)
Nos. 941-4 built in 1895 with shorter side tanks for working Victoria to King's Cross services: see W.J. Reynolds. Rly Wld, 1956, 17, 236


126 class
5ft 7in 0-4-2WT built Doncaster 1868-1871. Counterpart of Sturrock ouside frame 0-4-2Ts.  Total: 13. Groves (2) pp. 63-73. Goslin (p. 11) noted the wide gap of 13 feet between THE driving and trailing axles, which enabled a large firebox and well tank to be fitted. Reboilered 1884-9. In 1898 ten domed boilers were ordered, but only five fitted as class withdrawn from 1905 (last survivor 1918). First two (Nos. 126 and 127) sent to West Riding. remainder fitted with condensing apparatus and used in London area, including on cross-London freight. Classified as F6. Goslin, Geoff. Steam on the Widened Lines. Volume 1: The Great Northern and Midland Railways and their successors. 1997 (No. 12 is shown on page 7)..

501 class 0-4-2ST
Constructed for Stamford branch. 1876-8. Withdrawn by 1913, except for No. 632 (WN 244/1878) sold to Swanwick Colliery. Nos. 631/2 worked Stanningley to Pudsey branch. In 1902 worked Holmfield to Halifax St Pauls branch. Alterations made to Stamford branch c1911 removed need for special motive power. Groves 2 pp. 109-12. Fig. 7.Illustration of No. 501 (Hopwood) at Essendine on 16 July 1904 in Rly Arch., 2008 (18), 37 lower..

Stafford & Uttoxeter Railway Groves 2 113-115.
Authorised 29 July 1862, opened 23 December 1867, purchased GNR 1 August 1881. Complete history of line until closure in March 1951, although line remained extant for further six years.
Fig. 97 Shrewsbury and Talbot: Beyer Peacock 1868 2-4-0T
Fig. 98 Ingestre 0-4-2ST rebuilt from NLR No. 41 (Beyer 1868): see Loco. Rly Carr. Wagon Rev, 1943, p. 73: passed via J.H. Johnson of Wigan and Manager of Strangeways (Hindley) and Birkenshaw Collieries. They became GNR No. 682 which was quickly broken up and 683A which was relaced in 1882.



Groves (2) pp. 45-6 states that the Stirling cab originated with Stirling's sister: she had noted the men's suffering in harsh weather and designed a model cab with a strip of cardboard: via R.H. Whitelegg.

On page 197 of Brown (1)  there is a comment that notes that: "Chain brakes are to be taken off the twelve carriages so fitted as they go through the shops": the source was dated 9 August 1878.

Stamford & Essendine Railway
Essentially the Marquess of Exeter's own railway, but tended to be worked by GNR. Groves (2) describes the railway and its assorted motive power on pp. 106-9. The line opened on 1 November 1856. A lightly constructed bridge over River Welland affected the choice of locomotive. It was worked by GNR until January 1865 using two ex-Nottingham & Grantham Railway ex-dummy crankshaft locomotives as 0-4-2STs. From 1 January 1872 worked by GNR again. S&ER No. 1 (GNR 501) was a Fairbairn 0-4-2T with a long history: it had been acquired from the LNWR, but had originated on the Liverpool Crosby & Souithport Railway as a 2-4-0T; it then passed to the L&YR and thence to George Thompson, contractor on the Birkenhead, Lancashire & Cheshire Railway and becoming No. 34 on that railway before passing to the LNWR as No. 34 Phoebus. No. 2 Exeter was Manning Wardle 157/1865: it became GNR 502. No. 3 was R. & W. Hawthorn 1424/1867: it became GNR No. 503.