A Celebrated Locomotive Type that is now Defunct
THE single driver locomotive originated in England, and is specially identified with locomotive practice in Great Britain. It has had a long and honourable history, and the type was the first to demonstrate the possibility of high speed on the railway. Indeed, until its disappearance, it had always been associated with speed. Some authorities even claim that it was only the constant increase in train loads, which added so greatly to the deadweight, that led to the abandonment of the “single”.
Although coupled engines were in use at a very early date, and represented the standard type on the North of England colliery lines that preceded the first public railways, the “single” is the oldest of all locomotive types. The first locomotive on record, that built by the French engineer Cugnot in 1769, was of this type. Designed to run on the highways for the purpose of hauling the heavy artillery of those days, it was a three-
unconnected with the cylinder. Cugnot’s second engine, built in 1771, had the same wheel arrangement.
Murdoch’s model of 1780, the pioneer of steam traction in Great Britain, was also a three-
George Stephenson’s first locomotives, which were constructed for colliery lines, were four-
An English Type
George Stephenson, who left his mark so deeply on the locomotive, designed a considerable number of historic single drivers after “Rocket”. There was, for instance, “Northumbrian”, built for the Liverpool and Manchester Railway in 1830, and
similar in general design to “Rocket”, save that its cylinders were horizontal instead of being inclined. For the same railway in the same year Robert Stephenson built “Planet”, one of the first engines whose appearance suggested the locomotive as we know it to-
A drawback of the “Planet” class was that, although the engines weighed only eight or nine tons, they were too heavy for the light rails then in use. These were of the fish-
The beginnings of this type are of exceptional interest, since the 2-
A SINGLE DRIVER EXPRESS ENGINE designed by J. Holden for the Great Eastern Railway. The driving wheels were 7 ft diameter and the cylinders 18-
As the design of the earliest Continental and American locomotives was so largely influenced by contemporary British practice, the “single” was at one time also often to be met with abroad. For instance, there were built for the Camden and Woodbury Railroad, USA in 1833, two 4-
As early as 1780, Nathan Read, of Salem, Massachusetts, who is also claimed to have taken out the first patent for a multi-
drive was upon the rear driving axle. This machine has the distinction of being the first locomotive designed in America, but it does not appear to have gone beyond the theoretical stage. “Tom Thumb”, built for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, in 1829, and illustrated on page 1025 of this work, had geared drive on to one of its two axles, and cannot strictly therefore be described as a “single”.
In 1832, John B. Jervis, one of the great American Pioneers, built his “Experiment”, which had the 4-
and the typical American “cow-
A year after “Pioneer” there appeared another American locomotive that was celebrated in its day. This was “Lafayette”, built by William Norris of Philadelphia, who subsequently established locomotive works in Vienna.
Successful American “Singles”
The locomotive, an outside-
THE LAST “SINGLE” in regular passenger service in Great Britain, the famous “No. 123” of the Caledonian Railway, later Engine No. 14010 of the LMS. The locomotive is shown in its original condition. Its cylinders measured 18-
speeds they seem to have developed a common defect -
During the period between 1837 and 1841 six-
With the opening of the Great Western Railway, the real reign of the “single” may be said to begin. It remained the standard on this railway for express passenger work until the passing of the broad gauge in 1892. Even then the type was still so far from being doomed that the broad-
Various types of 2-
The London and North Western “singles”, designed by Alexander Allan, were of the “Crewe” type; they had slightly inclined outside cylinders and pierced driving wheel splashers, and in general design were forerunners of the same company’s well-
fuel than the coupled engines in use at the same time. The three fastest booked times in 1845 were all on the Great Western, which specialized in the employment of the “single”. Moreover, the fastest exceptional runs recorded on other lines, such as that from York to Darlington in the same year at an average speed of fifty-
“BULKELEY”, a broad-
The “Iron Dukes”
We will now trace the evolution of the single-
In 1846 the Great Western Railway built an 8 ft single-
considerably above the average for British locomotives of more than a generation later. Daniel Gooch, the designer, was justified; one of “Great Western’s” recorded performances was to run the 77.3 miles from Paddington to Swindon in seventy-
We thus get the origin of the “Iron Duke” class, which included “Lord of the Isles”, perhaps the most famous of all “singles”. Between 1847 and 1851 twenty-
A GREAT EASTERN EXPRESS ENGINE designed by Massey Bromley in 1879. The cylinders measured 18-
An inevitable result of the findings of the Gauge Commission, which advocated that no further broad-
These were six-
This 1855 class was of neat design; it had inside cylinders, was domeless, had the characteristic Great Western long, low tender, and, save for the absence of the additional pair of leading wheels, followed closely on the lines of the broad-
If we move forward ten years we shall find that the majority of British locomotive engineers had discarded the “single”, although the abandonment of the type was in many instances only temporary. There were, however, two exceptions, the Great Western and Great Northern Railways, the heads of whose mechanical departments continued to believe in the single-
and 1902 as six-
Both this class and the first of the single-
the only one to have a dome, the remaining twenty being without one. The heating surface of these engines was 1278.5 sq ft, the pressure 140 lb, and the weight in working order 33½ tons (without tender), of which 14 tons were on the driving axles. They were subsequently rebuilt with domes, and the weight was increased by a ton. They were employed to haul many of the fastest express trains until the beginning of the present century.
described as “probably the most graceful express engines of their day”. For twenty years they hauled fast trains between London and Swindon and London and Wolverhampton.
“PRINCESS ROYAL”, one of the “Lady of the Lake” class engines built by J. Ramsbottom for the LNWR between 1859 and 1865. They had cylinders 16-
Under William Dean’s regime at Swindon there was built a locomotive that was the only one of its class. This was the 2-
except that it was domeless, had an unusually long boiler, and had bogies of such faulty design that the engine was apt to leave the track. Little record of its service survives.
No. 9 established the reputation of being powerful, but not so fast as the standard six-
We come now to the last phase of the “single” on the Great Western Railway, and it makes an unusually interesting chapter in locomotive history. As already mentioned, the Great Western had ceased to be an entirely broad-
“ROVER”, a Great Western 4-
Most of the locomotive stock was already narrow-
with a view to their ultimate use on the 4 ft 8½-
These convertible engines were the forerunners of a class of bogie “singles” of which eighty were built in all, the last leaving the shops in 1899. The type replaced the broad-
reconditioned for the narrow gauge. They underwent a double conversion, since, as first converted, they still remained six-
STROUDLEY’S EXPRESS ENGINE, built for the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway in 1874. The cylinders measured 17-
Four batches were built in all. The first eight, the convertibles, were followed by twenty-
“NORTH STAR”, of the Great Western Railway, built in 1837 by Robert Stephenson and Co. The photograph shows the engine after it had been reboilered at Swindon in 1854. The cylinders were also enlarged to
had a diameter of 7 ft. The locomotive was one of the most successful of the Great Western Railway’s early engines.
These Great Western engines have several special claims to historical interest. They were built to carry on the traditions of the fastest broad-
“Single” Express Tanks
During the period that the Bristol and Exeter was a broad-
From the locomotive standpoint, the Bristol and Exeter is celebrated chiefly for its express tanks. These were ten-
features of the design were that the firebox was provided with transverse water tubes, and that the driving wheels, which supported 18½ tons of the load, were without counterweights.
The express tanks remained in service for nearly a quarter of a century, and they were withdrawn after one of them had in 1876 been involved with the “Flying Dutchman”, in an accident, due to defective permanent way. But their career was not yet at an end. The Great Western, which had in the meantime absorbed the Bristol and Exeter, converted them to 4-
tender engines, the trailing bogie, with wheels 4 ft in diameter, being replaced by a single pair of 4 ft 6-
between 1886 and 1894. The driving wheels had a diameter of 7 ft 7½-
The Bristol and Exeter ten-
Some noteworthy six-
Sixty were built, all of which, in accordance with London and North Western practice, bore names. Several are of historic interest. “Lady of the Lake” herself won a gold medal at the Great Exhibition of 1862, and “Marmion” set up speed records
between London and Crewe during the first “Race to Scotland” in 1888.
Although the “Problems” were small -
The “Problems” represented a development of the “Crewe” type, to which reference has already been made. They were also preceded by the “Bloomers”, introduced by J. E. McConnell in 1851, which were six-
and 7 ft driving wheels. Their designer disbelieved in the low, centre of gravity theory and placed the boiler centre 7 ft 1-
REBUILT. A Ramsbottom 2-
The most remarkable locomotives designed b McConnell were the six-
was represented by a combustion chamber. The working pressure was 150 lb.
“Cornwall”, a famous London and North Western “single”, which still survives as a six-
placed outside, and, with the exception of “Cornwall”, was the only engine of this wheel arrangement ever constructed for the North Western. It was subsequently rebuilt as a six-
To catalogue even the best known types of “singles” used on British railways would be tedious. But mention must be made of the “Jenny Linds”, 2-
Great Northern “Singles”
The celebrated Caledonian 2-
Nor must we forget the Great Eastern 2-
type with an excellent record of service on the Great Western, Great Central, Great Northern, Midland, Great Eastern, and North Eastern, and other railways. Those built for the North Eastern included a number of two-
Next to the Great Western, the “bogie single” is especially identified with the Great Northern Railway. This line used both the inside-
heating surface of 1719.2 sq ft.
The best known of the Great Northern bogie “singles” were, of course, Patrick Stirling’s “eight-
features of their design were the absence of a dome, pierced driving-
The type proved itself eminently suitable for the work for which it had been designed, that of hauling the fastest and heaviest expresses, and by the end of 1895, fifty-
The heating surface appears to have been unduly small for the comparatively large cylinders, especially when it is remembered that H. A. Ivatt’s Great Northern “Atlantics” of 1902 had 2,500 sq ft of heating surface to supply cylinders only 18¾-
The period between 1890 and 1901 may be regarded as the last stage in the building of single-
The railways in question were the Great Western Railway and certain lines now forming part of the LMS or of the LNER. The Great Western singles have already been dealt with in this chapter. The other railways concerned were the Midland, the North Eastern, the Great Eastern, the Great Central, and the Great Northern Railways. The London and North Western
Railway was a notable exception, as were the southern English lines and the Scottish lines. (No. 123, the famous Caledonian locomotive referred to below, was built in 1886.) The Locomotive Superintendent of the London and North Western Railway at this time was F. W. Webb, whose compound “double singles” are detailed in the chapter “The Evolution of Compounds”,
which begins on page 1046. As far back as 1874 W. Stroudley had built some 2-
The Last “Singles”
The Midland Railway, had two main classes of “single”. The “115 Class” had 7 ft 9-
The North Eastern locomotives of the “1517 Class” began life as two-
wheels remained unaltered. The total weight in working order, without tender, was 46 tons 19 cwt.
Great Eastern “singles”, of the “10 Class” had driving wheels of only 7 ft diameter, and cylinders 18-
The Great Central “singles”, designed by H. Pollitt, appeared about the time of the opening of the Great Central extension to London, in 1899. For some years after its opening they were often employed to draw the light expresses of the new trunk line between Marylebone and the north. They had 7 ft 9-
surface was 1,194 sq ft, and the grate area 24.8 sq ft. Working pressure was as high as 200 lb per sq in, and the total weight, in working order, without tender, was 47 tons 5 cwt.
The last “singles” built for a British railway were some Great Northern Railway 4-
As a class, the Midland Railway “singles” survived longer than any others. The last British “single” to remain in service was the former Caledonian Railway No. 123 (LMS No. 14010), which distinguished itself in the “Railway Race” of 1888, and was not withdrawn until March, 1935.
ON THE GREAT NORTHERN RAILWAY. A 4-