Great Central 4-4-0 Locomotives in Great_Britain


Class Details by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

Class 11 / D5 (Locobase 7474)

Data from [], the 4-4-0 entries in Richard Marsden's online LNER Encyclopedia, last accessed on 1 March 2006.

Although the Manchester, Sheffield & Lincolnshire's Parker was the principal designer on this class, the first of the locomotives wasn't actually built until 1895. The boiler contained 231 tubes and a Belpaire firebox. Cylinders were inside and fed by slide valves inclined 1 in 10. By the time they first entered service, the new Chief Engineer Pollitt had determined to use piston valves in place of slide valves and production was stopped in favor of the later 11As.

As they continued in service, the 11As received a new boiler with fewer tubes; it's this variant that is the source of the specifications. Still later, the frames received superheated boilers identical to those in the superheated D6s and were reclassed D5/2. Even so, they never quite fit in the service in which they operated. Bumped from mainline express passenger service, they eventually worked on stopping service in the Cheshire area. As Marsden notes, this usually requires tender-first running, for which a 4-4-0 arrangement is not well suited. As a result, the first D5 went out of service in July 1930 and the last in March 1933.


Class 11A (Locobase 8971)

Data from C J Bowen Cooke, British Locomotives: Their History, Construction, and Modern Developments (3rd rev and enlarged ed), (London: Whittaker and Co, 1900).

Pollitt sized up the Parker Class 11 design of 4-4-0 (Locobase 7474) and concluded that the cylinders would be better supplied by 8" piston valves than the slide valves being fitted. The pistons were located under the inside cylinders and the latter were raised and inclined to make room. He kept the Belpaire firebox, however.

The result was the 11A and series production began in 1897 with a test batch of 2 and a production run of 13. Beyer, Peacock's contract for ten more to be built simultaneously was held up by a strike. Gorton then began work on 20 more, which were finished by Beyer, Peacock in 1899 once the strike was settled.


Class 11B/C/D (Locobase 3178)

Data from [] (a page of the ca. 1920 Vulcan Foundry catalogue), Ahrons (1927). Designed by John George Robinson. [] . According to the Great Central's website -- [], accessed 31 May 2007 -- these had the nickname of "bogie pom-poms", although it does not say why.


Class 11E/Directors (Locobase 2287)

Data from Ahrons (1927). See also "An Eight-Wheel English Locomotive," Railway Mechanical Engineer, Vol 90, No 8 (August 1916) , pp. 395-398; and "Four-Coupled Superheater Express Engine, Great Central Railway", Locomotive Magazine, Volume XIX [19], No. 255.

Glover (1967) says 4-4-0s with inside cylinders "made a somewhat sensational reentry on the Great Central with the very competent Directors ...." designed by JG Robinson. RME comments favorably on the "entire absence of complication of detail [in the inside motion] and frictional losses are thereby reduced to a considerable extent, so that the engine develops its power under the most favorable circumstances."

They equalled the 4-4-2s on the GCR in performance, says Glover, aided by a firebox with 4 sq ft (0.4 sq m) more heating surface (157 sq ft/14.6 sq m total), a boiler 63" in diameter (1,600 mm) as opposed to the Atlantics' 60"/1,524 mm) in a design that weighed 10 tons less in running condition. Elements of the design included a Belpaire firebox and 10" (254 mm) piston valves positioned over the inside cylinders. (Note: RME's 1916 article reported 210 sq ft (19.51 sq m) of superheater area shown in the specs. Both the 1913 LM article and Ahrons' later account reported 304 sq ft (28.25 sq m).

Indeed, says RME, the class had "proved successful in every way in hauling the fastest and heaviest trains on that road" being "economical in fuel consumption, and ...capable of reaching very high speeds with heavy train loads." Coal consumption of 39 lb/mile (11 kg/km) was only slightly higher than the compound superheated 4-4-2s.

The LNER took these engines in as Class D10; D11 was an 11-engine Improved Director class built in 1919-1922 (see Locobase 4541).


Class 11F / D11 (Locobase 4541)

Data from ; and "New 'Director' Class Locomotive, Great Central Railway", Locomotive Magazine, Volume XXVI [26] (15 April 1920), p. 74. See also Richard Marsden, "The Robinson Class D11 (GCR Class 11F) 'Improved Director' 4-4-0 Locomotives" on Marden's LNER Encyclopedia website at [], last accessed 9 August 2020.

Designed by John G Robinson for the GC's London Extension, these were Directors (Locobase 2721] with better internal steam distribution. One change was the adoption of 38 fewer small tubes in a bundle of tubes each 1//8" (3.18 mm) greater in diameter than those in the 1913 engines. Marsden added that a key feature was the adoption of inside-admission piston valves that measured 10" (254 mm) in diameter. LM's report paid particular attention to the new cab that was "a most commodious and convenient form." Side windows and a roof that extended well back afforded "excellent protection from the weather even under the worst conditions of side wind."

According to Richard Drew ([]), this class was considered to be "among the finest 4-4-0s to be built in Britain."

He adds that Nigel Gresley added 24 to the class for Scottish sections of the grouped LNER. Marsden added a good deal of detail. Compensating for the "relatively restrictive [former NBR or North British Railway] loading gauge", Gresley flattened the D11's dome and adopted his "flowerpot" chimneys. Marsden acknowledges that the NBR crews found the "foreign" Great Central D11/2 design "took some adjusting". He adds that it was "also true that the D11/2s became very popular locomotives with the NBR engine crews."

Long-travel piston valves added in the late 1930s and were credited with a 5 % savings in coal consumption.


Class 2/2A / D7 / Green Bogies (Locobase 7472)

Data from [], the 4-4-0 entries in Richard Marsden's online LNER Encyclopedia, last accessed on 1 March 2006; and 1923 GCR diagram reproduced on Facebook at [], last accessed 21 September 2022. See also "History" on the GCR567 Locomotive Group at [], last accessed 21 September 2022. Kitson works numbers were 3010 in 1887, 3440-3451 in 1892

When the Manchester, Sheffield & Lincolnshire (MS & L) exhibited at the 1887 Manchester Exhibition, they showed two locomotives - one of their own and this one from Kitson & Company. A gap of three years followed, then the MS&L and its successor, the GCR, built four batches from 1890-1894. Kitson supplied twelve, the railway's Gorton shops the rest.

Even for their day, these were small for a British 4-4-0 design. At service advent, however, these were the MS&L's mainline express engines and regarded as economical and quite satisfactory.

From 1913-1923, all of the 2 (leaf spring) and 2A (coil spring) had their original round-top boilers replaced with Belpaire boilers. LNER's takeover meant the substitution of the Grouping leader's "flowerpot" stacks for the stovepipes originally fitted.

Retirements began in 1926 and extended over the next 13 years. During the first years of the LNER, they were painted in passenger colors and were thus known as "Green Bogies."

Beginning in 2017, the 567 Group announced that the first components of the new-build 567 had taken shape. The 567Group projected that "It is estimated it could be complete in ten years at a cost of around half a million pounds."

By July 2018, the group received the two plate frames that form the backbone of the engine. Delays attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic slowed several new-build steam locomotive projects in Great Britain. In March 2021, the group could report progress on the bogie frame and wheelsets and the delivery of the cylinder casting..


Class 6DB/D8 (Locobase 7473)

Data from [], the 4-4-0 entries in Richard Marsden's online LNER Encyclopedia, last accessed on 1 March 2006.

Locobase is a little surprised that these three "stopgap" locomotives held on to service life for so long. They evolved from the 6D 2-4-0s that had given rise to complaints about poor riding. Substituting a bogie for the single-axle leading truck smoothed the ride; as such, these were then 6DB[ogies]. Parker didn't like the double-frame construction for the driving axles and ended production of the 6DBs in favor of the Class 2 engines based on the Kitson exhibit at the 1887 Manchester Exhibition (see Locobase 7472).

After a short period as the Manchester-London (King's Cross) express engines, they moved to Liverpool for the cross-country Liverpool-Hull service. When the GCR was subsumed under the LNER, the latter disposed of two D8s almost immediately and scrapped the third by 1926.

Principal Dimensions by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

Class11 / D511A11B/C/D11E/Directors11F / D11
Locobase ID7474 8971 3178 2287 4541
RailroadGreat CentralGreat CentralGreat CentralGreat CentralGreat Central
CountryGreat BritainGreat BritainGreat BritainGreat BritainGreat Britain
Whyte4-4-04-4-04-4-04-4-04-4-0
Number in Class633401035
Road Numbers694-699 / 5694-5699268-70, 852-8811017429500
GaugeStdStdStdStdStd
Number Built633401035
BuilderGortonGortonGortonGorton
Year18951897190119131919
Valve GearStephensonStephensonStephensonStephensonStephenson
Locomotive Length and Weight
Driver Wheelbase (ft / m)9 / 2.74 9.75 / 2.9710 / 3.0510 / 3.05
Engine Wheelbase (ft / m)23.42 / 7.1423.89 / 7.2825.25 / 7.7025.25
Ratio of driving wheelbase to overall engine wheelbase 0.38 0.41 0.40 0.40
Overall Wheelbase (engine & tender) (ft / m)44.67 / 13.6244.67 / 13.6246.31 / 14.1241.71
Axle Loading (Maximum Weight per Axle) (lbs / kg)38,080 / 17,27336,736 / 16,66341,440 / 18,79744,576 / 20,21943,680
Weight on Drivers (lbs / kg)70,896 / 32,15879,296 / 35,96889,152 / 40,43989,152
Engine Weight (lbs / kg)104,832 / 47,551117,824 / 53,444136,976 / 62,131136,976
Tender Loaded Weight (lbs / kg)94,080 / 42,674103,040 / 46,738108,100 / 49,033108,192
Total Engine and Tender Weight (lbs / kg)198,912 / 90,225220,864 / 100,182245,076 / 111,164245,168
Tender Water Capacity (gals / ML)4400 / 16.674400 / 16.674800 / 18.184800 / 18.184400 / 16.67
Tender Fuel Capacity (oil/coal) (gals/tons / Liters/MT) 5.50 / 5 5.60 / 5 6.60 / 6 6.60 / 6
Minimum weight of rail (calculated) (lb/yd / kg/m)59 / 29.5066 / 3374 / 3774 / 37
Geometry Relating to Tractive Effort
Driver Diameter (in / mm)84 / 213484 / 213481 / 205781 / 205781 / 2057
Boiler Pressure (psi / kPa)160 / 11160 / 11180 / 12.40180 / 12.40180 / 12.40
High Pressure Cylinders (dia x stroke) (in / mm)18.5" x 26" / 470x66018.5" x 26" / 470x66018.5" x 26" / 470x66020" x 26" / 508x66020" x 26" / 508x660
Tractive Effort (lbs / kg)14,407 / 6534.9114,407 / 6534.9116,808 / 7623.9919,644 / 8910.3819,644 / 8910.38
Factor of Adhesion (Weight on Drivers/Tractive Effort) 4.92 4.72 4.54 4.54
Heating Ability
Tubes (number - dia) (in / mm)190 - 1.75" / 44230 - 1.75" / 44195 - 1.75" / 44157 - 1.88" / 48
Flues (number - dia) (in / mm)24 - 5" / 12724 - 5.25" / 133
Flue/Tube length (ft / m)12.61 / 3.8412.61
Firebox Area (sq ft / m2)108 / 10.04109 / 10.13130 / 12.08157 / 14.59155 / 14.41
Grate Area (sq ft / m2)19.59 / 1.8220 / 1.8621 / 1.9526 / 2.4226.60 / 2.47
Evaporative Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)1101 / 102.321318 / 122.491378 / 128.071659 / 154.121543 / 143.40
Superheating Surface (sq ft / m2)304 / 28.24209 / 19.42
Combined Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)1101 / 102.321318 / 122.491378 / 128.071963 / 182.361752 / 162.82
Evaporative Heating Surface/Cylinder Volume136.11162.94170.36175.48163.21
Computations Relating to Power Output (More Information)
Robert LeMassena's Power Computation31343200378046804788
Same as above plus superheater percentage31343200378053825363
Same as above but substitute firebox area for grate area17,28017,44023,40032,49931,248
Power L145445159609213,31510,793
Power MT320.85338.74658.53533.80

Principal Dimensions by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

Class2/2A / D7 / Green Bogies6DB/D8
Locobase ID7472 7473
RailroadGreat CentralGreat Central
CountryGreat BritainGreat Britain
Whyte4-4-04-4-0
Number in Class313
Road Numbers561-567, 682-593, 700-711
GaugeStdStd
Number Built313
BuilderseveralGorton
Year18871888
Valve GearStephensonStephenson
Locomotive Length and Weight
Driver Wheelbase (ft / m) 8.58
Engine Wheelbase (ft / m)21.75
Ratio of driving wheelbase to overall engine wheelbase 0.39
Overall Wheelbase (engine & tender) (ft / m)44.25 / 13.4944.46 / 13.55
Axle Loading (Maximum Weight per Axle) (lbs / kg)35,840 / 16,25735,616 / 16,155
Weight on Drivers (lbs / kg)70,560 / 32,006
Engine Weight (lbs / kg)103,000 / 46,720
Tender Loaded Weight (lbs / kg)83,552
Total Engine and Tender Weight (lbs / kg)186,552 / 46,720
Tender Water Capacity (gals / ML)3700
Tender Fuel Capacity (oil/coal) (gals/tons / Liters/MT)
Minimum weight of rail (calculated) (lb/yd / kg/m)59 / 29.50
Geometry Relating to Tractive Effort
Driver Diameter (in / mm)81 / 205781.50 / 2070
Boiler Pressure (psi / kPa)180 / 12.40160 / 11
High Pressure Cylinders (dia x stroke) (in / mm)18.5" x 26" / 470x66018" x 26" / 457x660
Tractive Effort (lbs / kg)16,808 / 7623.9914,057 / 6376.16
Factor of Adhesion (Weight on Drivers/Tractive Effort) 4.20
Heating Ability
Tubes (number - dia) (in / mm)190 - 1.75" / 44190 - 1.75" / 44
Flues (number - dia) (in / mm)
Flue/Tube length (ft / m)11.08 / 3.38
Firebox Area (sq ft / m2)99 / 9.2099 / 9.20
Grate Area (sq ft / m2)18.30 / 1.7018.30 / 1.70
Evaporative Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)1063 / 98.761063 / 98.79
Superheating Surface (sq ft / m2)
Combined Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)1063 / 98.761063 / 98.79
Evaporative Heating Surface/Cylinder Volume131.41138.82
Computations Relating to Power Output (More Information)
Robert LeMassena's Power Computation32942928
Same as above plus superheater percentage32942928
Same as above but substitute firebox area for grate area17,82015,840
Power L146804422
Power MT292.45

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