Great Northern 4-2-2 Locomotives in Great_Britain

Class Details by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

Class 1 (Locobase 3510)

The first of a relatively rare wheel arrangement for Patrick Stirling. This type of express locomotive "performed by far the greater part of the main line express service until the end of the nineteenth century" on the Great Northern, according to Ahrons (1927).

Hamilton Ellis (Pictorial Encyclopedia of Railways, 1968) says that the front bogie had a rigid pin and was not "so much to assist on curves to 'roll out the track' as the engine advanced; more accurately, to steady her." Nevertheless, some believed these engines to be not quite as fast on average as the 2-2-2s built in the same period.

Part of the secret of this design's success must have been its generous firebox heating surface that, by most measures, contributed at least 40% of all steam generation in the boiler.

Further information was published in the Scientific American Supplement, No. 458, October 11, 1884, which is reproduced by Project Gutenberg at, accessed 25 January 2007. The author wrote an extensive appreciation of this design:

"These engines are remarkable for their efficiency; the traffic of the Great Northern Railway is exceedingly heavy, and the trains run at a high rate, the average speed of the Flying Scotchman being fifty miles an hour, and no train in the kingdom keeps better time."

He notes an 1880 run that took the Lord Mayor of London, to Scarborough: "The train consisted of six Great Northern coaches, and ran the 188 miles to York in 217 minutes, including a stop of ten minutes at Grantham, or at the average rate of 54+ miles an hour ...and for 22+ consecutive miles the speed was 64 miles an hour."

"In ordinary working," the Scientific American author continued, "these engines convey trains of sixteen to twenty-six coaches from King's-Cross with ease, and often twenty-eight are taken and time kept. Considering that the Great Northern main line rises almost continuously to Potter's Bar, 13 miles, with gradients varying from 1 in 105 to 1 in 200,

this is a very high duty, while, with regard to speed, they have run with sixteen coaches for 15 miles at the rate of 75 miles an hour. Their consumption of coal with trains averaging sixteen ten ton carriages is 27 lb. per mile, or 8 lb. per mile less than the standard coupled engine of the North-Western with similar loads."

The author concludes that "Mr. Stirling's view, that the larger the wheel the better the adhesion, seems borne out of these facts; thus to take twenty-eight coaches, or a gross load of 345 tons, up 1 in 200 at a speed of 35 miles an hour, would require an adhesive force of 8,970 lb., or 600 lb. per ton--more than a quarter the weight on the driving wheels.

These engines are magnificent samples of the most powerful express engines of the present day."

Class 1003 (Locobase 2243)

Data from George Frederick Bird, The Locomotives of the Great Northern Railway 1847-1910 (London: Locomotive Publishing Company, 1910), p. 140-142.

Similar to the earlier 2-2-2s. "One feels sometimes," said OS Nock (RWC II, pl 63), " that Stirling carried artistry a little beyond the realms of practical engineering." He notes that the boilers were rather small for the cylinder sets, which had grown from 18" in 1870 to 19 1/2" in this last batch. Nevertheless, some believed these engines to be not quite as fast on average as the 2-2-2s built in the same period.

Class 215 (Locobase 3047)

Data from [], Steamindex's summary of Great Northern locomotive practice. See also George Frederick Bird, The Locomotives of the Great Northern Railway 1847-1910 (London: Locomotive Publishing Company, 1910), p. 23-2; and W J Reynolds, "The Great Northern Railway's 4-2-2 Express Engine, No. 215", Locomotive Magazine, Volume XXIX [29] (15 January 1923), pp. 17-18. Works number was 821 in 1853.

Designed by Archibald Sturrock and evincing the Great Northern's principle, as later expressed by Henry Ivatt, that "the power of an engine lay in its capacity to boil water." That this engine could do that is indicated by the outsized firebox heating surface of 155 sq ft (14.4 sq m), achieved in part by the use of a water midfeather, and a boiler diameter of 52" (1,321 mm). A water midfeather

Bird comments, however, that as originally configured, "...this engine does not appear to have been an unqualified success." He notes that the blastpipe orifice of 3 3/4" (95 mm) was apparently too small and was later enlarged to 4 1/2" (114 mm). Still later, Reynolds added, the shops increased the blast orifice to 5 1/8" (130 mm), 37% greater than the original version.

215's frequent derailments came from the swelling of the wood that formed part of both the main frame and the bogie frame such during wet weather. The clearances between the two thus reduced meant that the two components clashed and the bogie failed to turn. "Eventually the wood was cut well away and iron plates were provided to give the necessary sliding surfaces."

Reynolds's 1923 appraisal added the observation that the crowded boiler "proved to be a mixed blessing."

Glover (1967) adds that Sturrock believed this engine could have spanned the London-Edinburgh distance in eight hours. Unfortunately for the design, however, there was no real call for so large an engine at the time and the 215 was a one-of-a-kind. It was retired and scrapped in 1870.

Class 267 (Locobase 2248)

Ahrons, 1927 and George Frederick Bird, The Locomotives of the Great Northern Railway 1847-1910 (London: Locomotive Publishing Company, 1910), p. 177-178. See also George Montagu, Ten Years of Locomotive Progress (London: Alston Rivers Limited, 1907); and Reginald H Coe, "The Ivatt Single-wheelers of the Great Northern Railway", Locomotive News and Railway Notes, Volume IV [4], No 22 (25 January 1920). pp 92-94. Works numbers were 902 in 1900 and 934-943 in 1901.

About the last single-wheelers built in Great Britain, these were designed by Henry Ivatt.

George Montagu conceded that the Single had about reached its limits. But he nonetheless gives full marks to Ivatt's creation: "Mr. Ivatt's single engines, however, have shown themselves capable of maintaining a considerably higher rate of speed, and that even on adverse gradients, than those built by Mr. Patrick Stirling, and also able to haul a heavier load, so that up to a certain point the single engine might have been developed even more, had not the question of insufficient adhesion stepped in."

Coe commented in 1920 that they seemed :,.to possess only one fault--that of being rather sluggish starters. But once got going, their speed capabilities were tremendous, and their running on the rather light but sharply timed Leeds expresses has never been excelled."

Demoted by ever-increasing trailing loads to such secondary runs as the Grantham-Leicester trains (which took 90 minutes and "all stops" to cover 40 miles (64 km), the out-of-place highflyers "could by no means labeled important, "added Coe. "[T]heir speed was slow, and the general load of three small six-wheelers of antiquated appearanced, with sometimes a four-wheeled horse-box or truck added-- not a hundred tons [trailing load], even with 'passengers and luggage.' It was a very saddening sight ..."

Principal Dimensions by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

Locobase ID3510 2243 3047 2248
RailroadGreat NorthernGreat NorthernGreat NorthernGreat Northern
CountryGreat BritainGreat BritainGreat BritainGreat Britain
Number in Class1111
Road Numbers11003-1008215267, 92, 100, 261-265, 268-270
Number Built1111
BuilderDoncasterDoncasterR & W HawthornDoncaster
Valve GearStephensonStephensonStephensonStephenson
Locomotive Length and Weight
Driver Wheelbase (ft / m)
Engine Wheelbase (ft / m)22.92 / 6.9923.25 / 7.0921.71 / 6.6223 / 7.01
Ratio of driving wheelbase to overall engine wheelbase
Overall Wheelbase (engine & tender) (ft / m)40.11 / 12.23
Axle Loading (Maximum Weight per Axle) (lbs / kg)33,600 / 15,24143,904 / 19,91527,412 / 12,43439,760 / 18,035
Weight on Drivers (lbs / kg)33,600 / 15,24143,904 / 19,91527,412 / 12,43439,760 / 18,035
Engine Weight (lbs / kg)86,128 / 39,067110,992 / 50,34583,944 / 38,076108,752 / 49,329
Tender Loaded Weight (lbs / kg)60,480 / 27,43393,408 / 42,36973,920 / 33,53091,616 / 41,556
Total Engine and Tender Weight (lbs / kg)146,608 / 66,500204,400 / 92,714157,864 / 71,606200,368 / 90,885
Tender Water Capacity (gals / ML)3600 / 13.644620 / 17.503006 / 11.394404 / 16.68
Tender Fuel Capacity (oil/coal) (gals/tons / Liters/MT) 5.50 / 5 5.50 / 5 3.30 / 3 5.50 / 5
Minimum weight of rail (calculated) (lb/yd / kg/m)56 / 2873 / 36.5046 / 2366 / 33
Geometry Relating to Tractive Effort
Driver Diameter (in / mm)97 / 246497.50 / 247790 / 228692 / 2337
Boiler Pressure (psi / kPa)140 / 9.70170 / 11.70120 / 8.30175 / 12.10
High Pressure Cylinders (dia x stroke) (in / mm)18" x 28" / 457x71119.5" x 28" / 495x71117.5" x 24" / 445x61019" x 26" / 483x660
Tractive Effort (lbs / kg)11,130 / 5048.4915,779 / 7157.248330 / 3778.4315,176 / 6883.73
Factor of Adhesion (Weight on Drivers/Tractive Effort) 3.02 2.78 3.29 2.62
Heating Ability
Tubes (number - dia) (in / mm)217 - 1.56" / 40174 - 1.75" / 44240 - 2" / 51215 - 1.75" / 44
Flues (number - dia) (in / mm)
Flue/Tube length (ft / m)11.75 / 3.5811.42 / 3.4812.46 / 3.8011.67 / 3.56
Firebox Area (sq ft / m2)122 / 11.33121.70 / 11.31155 / 14.40125.80 / 11.69
Grate Area (sq ft / m2)17.60 / 1.6420 / 1.8620.30 / 1.8923.20 / 2.16
Evaporative Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)1165 / 108.231032 / 95.911719 / 159.701270 / 118.03
Superheating Surface (sq ft / m2)
Combined Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)1165 / 108.231032 / 95.911719 / 159.701270 / 118.03
Evaporative Heating Surface/Cylinder Volume141.27106.63257.28148.85
Computations Relating to Power Output (More Information)
Robert LeMassena's Power Computation2464340024364060
Same as above plus superheater percentage2464340024364060
Same as above but substitute firebox area for grate area17,08020,68918,60022,015
Power L14872468267195972
Power MT319.67235.10540.38331.14

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