Leicester & Swannington 0-4-0 Locomotives in Great_Britain

Class Details by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

Class Comet (Locobase 20327)

Data from James Dredge (ed.), "Section V Historical Locomotives and Rolling Stock -- No 95, 'The Comet", in A Record of the Transportation Exhibits at the World's Columbian Exposition (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1894), p. 343. See also "Links in the History of the Locomotive-No.XVIII", The Engineer, Volume LVIII [58] (19 December 1884), pp. 468-469. Works number was 4 in 1832.

A debate erupted in the pages of The Engineer in 1884 when some correspondents claimed that the "Comet" was a somewhat reworked Rocket of the previous year that was renamed after its initial run on the L&S. Others contested that opinion, describing the Comet as the result of 11 months of hard work at the Stephenson Works. Clement Stretton presented the strongest case for the latter with considerable detail. Basing much of his analysis on a sketch of the 1830 "Rocket" (the second locomotive to bear that name) by James Nasmyth and a later one of the Rocket/Comet by W Stenson on 12 March 1832, Stretton cites an "Old West Bridge Man" for much of his commentary.

The argument offers some convincing reasons for arguing that this locomotive was the one that left the Stephenson Works in February 1832 for Hull, transferred to a canal boat for the leg to Leicester and began work as a ballasting engine in March. It seems certain, for example, that it is this engine that opened L&S's rail traffic from West Bridge Station to Bagworth Station on 17 July 1832. Stenson's sketch shows a locomotive with coupled axles (the original Rocket drove a front set of wheels only) and cylinders raised from their original mounting at the base of the firebox to its shoulders.

The question of one-Rocket-or-two seems to have been laid to rest.

The name "Comet" allegedly was suggested by Robert Stephenson as a way of avoiding confusion. Another reason for regarding this as an upgraded design from the Rainhill Trials winner was the presence of George Stephenson and his son Robert on the Comet's footplate on that inaugural day. (Robert Weatherburn, the usual engineer, also rode along.)

On the other hand, Dredge's 1894 diagram of the Comet shows a Planet-type locomotive with low-mounted cylinders inside the frame (and drivers) with valves on top.

Principal Dimensions by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

Locobase ID20327
RailroadLeicester & Swannington
CountryGreat Britain
Number in Class1
Road Numbers1
Number Built1
BuilderRobert Stephenson & Co
Valve Gear
Locomotive Length and Weight
Driver Wheelbase (ft / m) 5.25 / 1.60
Engine Wheelbase (ft / m) 5.25 / 1.60
Ratio of driving wheelbase to overall engine wheelbase1
Overall Wheelbase (engine & tender) (ft / m)
Axle Loading (Maximum Weight per Axle) (lbs / kg)
Weight on Drivers (lbs / kg)21,224 / 9627
Engine Weight (lbs / kg)21,224 / 9627
Tender Loaded Weight (lbs / kg)7840 / 3556
Total Engine and Tender Weight (lbs / kg)29,064 / 13,183
Tender Water Capacity (gals / ML)
Tender Fuel Capacity (oil/coal) (gals/tons / Liters/MT)
Minimum weight of rail (calculated) (lb/yd / kg/m)18 / 9
Geometry Relating to Tractive Effort
Driver Diameter (in / mm)60 / 1524
Boiler Pressure (psi / kPa)50 / 3.40
High Pressure Cylinders (dia x stroke) (in / mm)12" x 18" / 305x457
Tractive Effort (lbs / kg)1836 / 832.80
Factor of Adhesion (Weight on Drivers/Tractive Effort)11.56
Heating Ability
Tubes (number - dia) (in / mm)97 - 1.75" / 44
Flues (number - dia) (in / mm)
Flue/Tube length (ft / m)
Firebox Area (sq ft / m2)37.30 / 3.47
Grate Area (sq ft / m2)6 / 0.56
Evaporative Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)340 / 31.59
Superheating Surface (sq ft / m2)
Combined Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)340 / 31.59
Evaporative Heating Surface/Cylinder Volume144.30
Computations Relating to Power Output (More Information)
Robert LeMassena's Power Computation300
Same as above plus superheater percentage300
Same as above but substitute firebox area for grate area1865
Power L11117
Power MT232.05

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