Great Northern Railway 1870

Locomotives 1 1870-1903

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The 4-2-2 Great Northern Railway (GNR) No. 1 class Stirling Single is a class of steam locomotive designed for express passenger work. Designed by Patrick Stirling, and built at Doncaster works in 1870, they are characterised by a single pair of large driving wheels which led to the nickname “eight-footer”. Originally the locomotive was designed to haul up to 26 passenger carriages at an average speed of 47 miles per hour (76 km/h). On his arrival at GNR, Stirling set out to standardise the railway’s rolling stock. He also borrowed a ‘single-wheeler’ from the Great Eastern Railway and, in 1868, designed two versions of 2-2-2 with 7 ft 1 in (2.159 m) driving wheels. The outcome, in 1870 was a locomotive with 8 ft 1 in (2.464 m) driving wheels, designed specifically for high speed expresses between York and London. The norm in those days was inside cylinders. Not only were there frequent failures of the cranked axle shafts, with such large driving wheels, they would have set the boiler too high. He therefore used outside cylinders with a four-wheeled bogie for lateral stability at the front end. The engine is now owned by the National Railway Museum and is currently held at the Shildon Locomotion Museum, Co Durham in England.

Additional information

Dimensions 43 × 25.5 cm