Great Northern 4-4-0 Locomotives in Ireland


Class Details by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

Class Class V (Locobase 2595)

Data from 1946 Beyer, Peacock catalogue hosted on Martyn Bane's website at [external link] (accessed 21 May 2006).

Batch #1524 (works# 6731-6735) (Production data from The Beyer, Peacock production list -- [external link], last accessed 29 May 2006).

History from [external link] of the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland website, last accessed 29 May 2006.

Harking back to the Smith compounds of the Midlands, these 4-4-0s came relatively late in the game. Designed by Chief Locomotive Designer George T Glover, they had names of birds of prey: Eagle, Falcon, Merlin, Peregrine, and Kestrel. Class V engines ran well, averaging just over 60 mph (97 km/h) on the Dublin to Dundalk leg and 45.6 mph (73 km/h) between Dublin and Belfast.

Soon after their introduction, however, the Great Depression hit harder even as the railroad was hit with a strike. Boiler pressure was cut to 200 psi as a result in a move to economize on fuel. Another account says that the schedules they ran were so tight and demanding and the locomotives thrashed so vigorously, the cut was an attempt to postpone heavy maintenance.

Class VS (Locobase 2596) came after World War II. Class V engines carried on until the early 1960s, with the last one leaving service in 1961. One - 85 - carried on in excursion service under the RPSI's oversight from 1986 until 2003, when its boiler ticket expired and the society chose to mothball it rather than delay other projects.


Class Class VS (Locobase 2596)

Simpled versions of the prewar Class V (Locobase 2595), these River engines (Liffey, Boyne, Lagan, Foyle, Erne) used three HP cylinders driven by Walschaerts gear. They also feature Belpaire boilers, which OS Nock (RWC VI, pl 32) contends is a change from the prewar round-topped design. (According to the Irish Railway Preservation Society ([external link], 17 Oct 2004), who presumably should know, "The Belpaire boilers were identical to those fitted to the V Class and certain other parts were interchangeable."

VS engines pulled trains until the mid-60s, the last one being retired in 1965.


Class JS - rebuilt (Locobase 10508)

Data from "Locomotives of Great Northern Ry, Ireland," The Locomotive Magazine, Vol XI (15 May 1905), p. 81. See also Steamindex's GNR(I) page -- [external link], last accessed 13 June 2009.

Steamindex missed this project in its survey. The two bogie singles that they reported to have been withdrawn in 1904 were rebuilt by Locomotive Superintendent Clifford as mixed-traffic 4-coupled bogies (Eight-wheelers). It's not clear if the boiler was replaced, but the tube layout was changed to more tubes of smaller diameter.


Class PP - Precursor (Locobase 8978)

Data from Ahrons (1927). Works numbers were 3799-3801 (1896) and 3926-3928 (1898)

Steamindex says this class of bogie express engines used coil springs on the driving axles, which led to their being nicknamed the "Wee Bouncers". Beginning with 75, boiler pressure rose to 175 psi.


Class PP - Tornado (Locobase 10557)

Data from "Passenger Locomotive, G N R (Ireland)", The Locomotive Magazine, Vol XII (15 May 1906), 77. Works numbers were 4736-4737 in 1906 and 5327 in 1909.

This quartet was named Tornado, Cyclone, Scirocco, and Typhoon. They are described in Steamindex as forming part of the PP class together with the Precursor-Jupiter batches. In this batch, however, Charles Clifford, the road's locomotive superintendent, specified 18"-diameter cylinders.


Class Q (Locobase 2684)

Information from Steamindex's GNR(I) page -- [external link], last accessed 12 June 2009.

Neilson, Reid works numbers for 133-136 (5557-5560 in 1899), 130-132 (5756-5758 in 1901), and 124-125 (6156-6157 in 1902). North British added 2 (works numbers 15766-15767) in 1903, and Beyer, Peacock completed the class in 1904 with 120-121 (works numbers 4565-4566) in 1904.

These bogie express engines were very much in the style of the British Isles at the time and were considered to rival the best of the rest. Only a shallow frame that proved prone to cracking could be considered a problem. The QL class with a larger grate is shown at Locobase 11499.

The class went through a brief bout of bushing when the cylinders were lined down to a 17 1/2" diameter to reduce volume and improve economy in 1913; the expedient was reversed 3 years later.

Superheating the class began in 1919 with the first group finishing in 1922; the second group received a new boiler pressed to 175 psi and 8"-diameter piston valves when they were superheated in 1923-1924. The first to be scrapped was 134 in 1951, but the others held out until 1957 and 133 was preserved.


Class QL (Locobase 10499)

Data from "Railway Notes: Great Northern Ry (Ireland)," The Locomotive Magazine, Vol XI (14 April 1905), p. 56. See also Steamindex's GNR(I) page -- [external link], last accessed 12 June 2009. North British works numbers were 16190-16191, 16510-16511 (1904) and 17814-17816 (1907). Beyer, Peacock's lone 1910 locomotive bore works number 5329.

It's a bit ironic that the principal difference between this class and earlier express engines on the GNR(I) was the larger grate as that element was later viewed as a less-than-satisfactory component. According to Steamindex, the locomotive was just a bit too big - its axle loading precluded use on certain lines and its grate required too much coal to operate light-density service economically. The weak frame design was perhaps a carryover from the earlier Q design.

Superheating was complicated by the desire to retain slide valves; these proved difficult to lubricate adequately, so the railway resorted to 6 1/2"-diameter piston valves that were too small for the boiler and grate. (Curious, that, because the earlier Qs with smaller boilers used 8" piston valves.) At least one QL remained in service until 1960.


Class S (Locobase 4786)

Data from ""New Superheater Locomotives, Great Northern Railway of Ireland", The Locomotive (15 May 1913), p. 96. See also Steamindexes coverage of Irish locomotives at [external link] and RPSI's 5 foot 3 newsletter.

An all-inside locomotive (cylinders, valves, valve gear, coupling rods), these locomotives were delivered with names as follows: 170 Errigal, 171 Slieve Gullion, 172 Slieve Donard, 173 Galtee More and 174 Carrantuohill. According to Steamindex, problems with steaming were rectified by removing the blower ring and reducing the diameter of the blastpipe. One supposes that removing the superheater dampers also aided flow even as it eliminated a maintenance item. The same motivation probably governed the removal of piston tail rods (unnecessary) and pyrometers.

In 1914, boiler pressure rose to 175 psi (12.07 bar), and 12 years later, pressure increased still further to 200 psi (13.8 bar). At some point, a larger tender was fitted that held 3,500 Imp gallons (4,200 US gallons, 15,897 litres) of water and 6 long tons (6.6. short tons) of coal.The class was further updated in 1938; see Locobase 4927.


Class S - updated (Locobase 4927)

Data from the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland (RPSI) website at [external link] (no longer active).

A Donaldson, a former driver for the Coras Iompair Eireann, notes that these engines were rebuilt in 1938 (Locobase 4786) with new frames and a slight weight increase to 119,392 lb

The RPSI entry described that rebuild in enough detail to merit this second record of the type. About names, Fred Graham notes: "The original names 170 "Errigal", 171 "Slieve Gullion", 172 "Slieve Donard", 173 "Galteemore" and 174 "Carrantuohill" were restored to the 1913 engines and new names given to the 1915 engines. These were 190 "Lugnaquilla", 191 "Croagh Patrick" and 192 "Slievenamon".

Graham's summary:"The engines were not "rebuilt" but, as I have already stated, merely "renewed", the most striking change being the beautiful blue livery officially described as Azure Blue with Signal Red underframing.

"They did, however, receive new and heavier frames, new 200 lb. pressure boilers, new cylinders with the valve travel increased from 3 inches to 5 inches, which gave much freer running and a harder exhaust beat. The brake rodding, which was formerly placed outside the driving wheels was moved inside, necessitating a change in the position of the injector which was now located just forward of the footstep on the fireman's side. This injector is the only pattern made in Ireland and is specially designed to enable any part to be serviced without dismantling. Its design is mostly the work of Paddy Mallon, now an RPSI member."

And his verdict on their performance: "They were a smooth and quiet riding engine, without doubt the finest of their type in Ireland, and preferred by the majority of the enginemen to the Compounds and VSs on the main line, although on the Derry Road the Qs were favourites."


Class T / BT (Locobase 10662)

Data from "Bogie Tank Locomotive, G N R (Ireland)", The Locomotive Magazine, Vol XIV (15 August 1908), p. 139.

J C Park's first design for production at the GNR (I)'s Dundalk shops was this 4-4-0T, which drew on the specs of the Beyer, Peacock trio (works numbers 2623-2635) that had arrived on the railway 2 years earlier. (The LM report shows 4 locomotives numbered 96-99

After the first Dundalk engine was delivered, Park increased cylinder diameter from 14" to 15" and turned out another in 1887, 2 in 1888 and 1889 each, one in each of 1891 and 1892, and 2 in 1893.

They were branch-line engines with short tanks and a cab that had no sides and seems to have comprised two weatherboards complete with spectacle windows joined by a slightly curved roof. The GNR (I) increased boiler pressure to 160 psi when the Ts started working push-pull, auto-train type trains.

In addition to serving the Belfast-Lisburn service until the adoption of steam rail motors, Ts also worked the Dublin-Howth suburban trains and the Ardee branch. When the Armagh-Castleblayney line opened in 1909 the Ts were put on that as well. The class was withdrawn in 1920-1921.


Class U (Locobase 2875)

Data from "New Locomotives for the Hull and Barnsley, Furness, and Great Northern of Ireland Railways", Railway Magazine, Volume 37, p. 198.. See also Irwin Price article on the Irish Railroad Preservation ([external link]) website (viewed July 2002) notes that this class was built in two batches widely separated by time. The first five (all Loughs -- Gill, Neagh, Swilly, Derg, Melvin) were delivered by Beyer in 1915. Works numbers were 5904-5908.

Relatively old-fashioned in appearance, these branch-line engines had the thick plate frames, splashers, low running board, and inside motion of a turn-of-the-century British Eight-wheeler. But they were the first locomotives in Ireland to be fitted with the Robinson superheater and they used 8" (203 mm) piston valves to convey steam to the cylinders. Moreover, they were built with main frames capable of carrying a larger boiler when the permanent way restrictions then in force were lifted.

For some reason, probably funds Price believes, there were no others until the postwar period. The second five had names from GNR counties Antrim, Armagh, Down, Louth, and Meath; works numbers were 7244-7248. Their boiler data differed slightly in the superheater area (reduced to 169 sq ft/15.71 sq m) and boiler pressure raised to 175 psi (12.1 bar).


Class Ulster (Locobase 16078)

Data from "Great Northern Railway (Ireland)", The Locomotive Magazine, Volume XVII [17] (14 October 1911), 214

LM's short item says that this pair of locomotives was produced by Nasmyth Wilson, but steamindex.com at [external link] (last accessed 12 August 2017) says that Beyer Peacock manufactured them as their works numbers 5468-5469.

Principal Dimensions by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media
ClassClass VClass VSJS - rebuiltPP - PrecursorPP - Tornado
Locobase ID2595 2596 10,508 8978 10,557
RailroadGreat NorthernGreat NorthernGreat NorthernGreat NorthernGreat Northern
CountryIrelandIrelandIrelandIrelandIreland
Whyte4-4-04-4-04-4-04-4-04-4-0
Number in Class55264
Road Numbers83-87206-21088-8970-71, 74-77106-107, 46-47
Gauge5'3""5'3""5'3""5'3""5'3""
Number Built5564
BuilderBeyer, PeacockBeyer, PeacockGNRIBeyer, PeacockBeyer, Peacock
Year19321948190418961905
Valve GearStephensonWalschaertStephensonStephenson
Locomotive Length and Weight
Driver Wheelbase (ft / m)10.67 / 3.258 / 2.44
Engine Wheelbase (ft / m)24.75 / 7.5420.12 / 6.1320.37 / 6.21
Ratio of driving wheelbase to overall engine wheebase 0.43 0.40
Overall Wheelbase (engine & tender) (ft / m)55.29 / 16.8522 / 6.7140.77 / 12.43
Axle Loading (Maximum Weight per Axle) (lbs / kg)47,000 / 21,31947,000 / 21,31932,032 / 14,52935,280 / 16,003
Weight on Drivers (lbs / kg)92,000 / 41,73161,712 / 27,99264,400 / 29,211
Tender Loaded Weight (lbs / kg)86,464 / 39,21962,720 / 28,449
Total Engine and Tender Weight (lbs / kg)232,176 / 105,313155,568 / 70,564
Tender Water Capacity (gals / ML)4200 / 15.914200 / 15.913000 / 11.36
Tender Fuel Capacity (oil/coal) (gals/tons / ML/MT) 6.60 / 6 6.60 / 6 3.90 / 3.50
Minimum weight of rail (calculated) (lb/yd / kg/m)77 / 38.5051 / 25.5054 / 27
Geometry Relating to Tractive Effort
Driver Diameter (in / mm)79 / 200779 / 200767 / 170279 / 200779 / 2007
Boiler Pressure (psi / kPa)250 / 17.20220 / 15.20140 / 9.70160 / 11175 / 12.10
High Pressure Cylinders (dia x stroke) (in / mm)17.25" x 26" / 438x660 (1)15.25" x 26" / 387x660 (3)17" x 24" / 432x61017.5" x 24" / 470x61018" x 24" / 457x610
Low Pressure Cylinders (dia x stroke) (in / mm)19" x 26" / 483x660
Tractive Effort (lbs / kg)17,111 / 7761.4321,469 / 9738.1912,319 / 5587.8112,653 / 5739.3114,642 / 6641.51
Factor of Adhesion (Weight on Drivers/Tractive Effort) 5.38 5.01 5.09
Heating Ability
Firebox Area (sq ft / m2)160 / 14.87100.60 / 9.35109 / 10.13106.50 / 9.90
Grate Area (sq ft / m2)25 / 2.3225 / 2.3216.67 / 1.5518.50 / 1.7218.50 / 1.72
Evaporative Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)1244 / 115.611251 / 116.261176 / 109.291122 / 104.281120 / 104.09
Superheating Surface (sq ft / m2)290 / 26.95276 / 25.65
Combined Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)1534 / 142.561527 / 141.911176 / 109.291122 / 104.281120 / 104.09
Evaporative Heating Surface/Cylinder Volume353.77151.73186.52167.93158.45
Computations Relating to Power Output (More Information)
Robert LeMassena's Power Computation62505500233429603238
Same as above plus superheater percentage74386490233429603238
Same as above but substitute firebox area for grate area47,60014,08417,44018,638
Power L117,955416352565387
Power MT860.52297.44359.86

Principal Dimensions by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media
ClassQQLSS - updatedT / BT
Locobase ID2684 10,499 4786 4927 10,662
RailroadGreat NorthernGreat NorthernGreat NorthernGreat NorthernGreat Northern
CountryIrelandIrelandIrelandIrelandIreland
Whyte4-4-04-4-04-4-04-4-04-4-0T
Number in Class13420810
Road Numbers133-136, 130-132, 120-125113-114, 156-157, 126-128, 24171-190171-1901-8, 91-92
Gauge5'3""5'3""5'3""5'3""5'3""
Number Built1342010
BuilderseveralNorth BritishBeyer, PeacockDoncasterDundalk
Year18991904191319391887
Valve GearStephensonStephensonStephensonStephensonStephenson
Locomotive Length and Weight
Driver Wheelbase (ft / m) 9.25 / 2.82 9.50 / 2.90 6.50 / 1.98
Engine Wheelbase (ft / m)22.54 / 6.8723.04 / 7.0217.70 / 5.39
Ratio of driving wheelbase to overall engine wheebase 0.41 0.41 0.37
Overall Wheelbase (engine & tender) (ft / m)55.29 / 16.8542.87 / 13.0717.70 / 5.39
Axle Loading (Maximum Weight per Axle) (lbs / kg)37,968 / 17,22238,080 / 17,27340,320 / 18,289
Weight on Drivers (lbs / kg)74,816 / 33,93676,160 / 34,54679,072 / 35,866
Tender Loaded Weight (lbs / kg)62,720 / 28,44968,432 / 31,04086,240 / 39,118
Total Engine and Tender Weight (lbs / kg)173,600 / 78,743185,136 / 83,976205,632 / 93,27370,560
Tender Water Capacity (gals / ML)3000 / 11.363000 / 11.364200 / 15.91612 / 2.32
Tender Fuel Capacity (oil/coal) (gals/tons / ML/MT) 3.30 / 3 4.40 / 4 6.60 / 6 1.70 / 1.50
Minimum weight of rail (calculated) (lb/yd / kg/m)62 / 3163 / 31.5066 / 33
Geometry Relating to Tractive Effort
Driver Diameter (in / mm)79 / 200779 / 200779 / 200779 / 200754 / 1372
Boiler Pressure (psi / kPa)175 / 12.10175 / 12.10165 / 11.40200 / 13.80140 / 9.70
High Pressure Cylinders (dia x stroke) (in / mm)18.5" x 26" / 470x66018.5" x 26" / 470x66019" x 26" / 483x66019" x 26" / 483x66015" x 18" / 381x457
Tractive Effort (lbs / kg)16,755 / 7599.9516,755 / 7599.9516,663 / 7558.2220,198 / 9161.678925 / 4048.32
Factor of Adhesion (Weight on Drivers/Tractive Effort) 4.47 4.57 3.91
Heating Ability
Firebox Area (sq ft / m2)115 / 10.69133.34 / 12.39141 / 13.10140.96 / 13.1058.72 / 5.46
Grate Area (sq ft / m2)20 / 1.8622.14 / 2.0622.90 / 2.1322.06 / 2.0511.25 / 1.05
Evaporative Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)1354 / 125.841531 / 142.291116 / 103.681046 / 97.21594 / 55.20
Superheating Surface (sq ft / m2)250 / 23.23214 / 19.89
Combined Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)1354 / 125.841531 / 142.291366 / 126.911260 / 117.10594 / 55.20
Evaporative Heating Surface/Cylinder Volume167.39189.27130.80122.60161.34
Computations Relating to Power Output (More Information)
Robert LeMassena's Power Computation35003875377944121575
Same as above plus superheater percentage35003875445951621575
Same as above but substitute firebox area for grate area20,12523,33527,45332,9858221
Power L15495626010,36611,3483038
Power MT368.93600.13632.79

Principal Dimensions by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media
ClassUUlster
Locobase ID2875 16,078
RailroadGreat NorthernGreat Northern
CountryIrelandIreland
Whyte4-4-04-4-0
Number in Class101
Road Numbers196-20512, 42
Gauge5'3""5'3""
Number Built101
BuilderBeyer, PeacockNasmyth Wilson
Year19151911
Valve GearWalschaertStephenson
Locomotive Length and Weight
Driver Wheelbase (ft / m) 8.25 / 2.51
Engine Wheelbase (ft / m)20.37 / 6.21
Ratio of driving wheelbase to overall engine wheebase 0.41
Overall Wheelbase (engine & tender) (ft / m)48.67 / 14.8340.77 / 12.43
Axle Loading (Maximum Weight per Axle) (lbs / kg)32,928 / 14,936
Weight on Drivers (lbs / kg)65,408 / 29,669
Tender Loaded Weight (lbs / kg)68,432 / 31,040
Total Engine and Tender Weight (lbs / kg)167,664 / 76,051
Tender Water Capacity (gals / ML)3000 / 11.36
Tender Fuel Capacity (oil/coal) (gals/tons / ML/MT) 4.40 / 4
Minimum weight of rail (calculated) (lb/yd / kg/m)55 / 27.50
Geometry Relating to Tractive Effort
Driver Diameter (in / mm)69 / 175379 / 2007
Boiler Pressure (psi / kPa)175 / 12.10160 / 12.10
High Pressure Cylinders (dia x stroke) (in / mm)18" x 24" / 457x61018" x 24" / 457x610
Tractive Effort (lbs / kg)16,763 / 7603.5813,387 / 6072.25
Factor of Adhesion (Weight on Drivers/Tractive Effort) 3.90
Heating Ability
Firebox Area (sq ft / m2)106 / 9.85106.50 / 9.90
Grate Area (sq ft / m2)18.30 / 1.7018.50 / 1.72
Evaporative Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)863 / 80.181120 / 104.09
Superheating Surface (sq ft / m2)193 / 17.93340
Combined Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)1056 / 98.111460 / 104.09
Evaporative Heating Surface/Cylinder Volume122.09158.45
Computations Relating to Power Output (More Information)
Robert LeMassena's Power Computation32032960
Same as above plus superheater percentage37793641
Same as above but substitute firebox area for grate area21,88920,959
Power L1891114,045
Power MT600.70

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