Tag Archives: Sir W.A. Stanier

A standard deception

The regular view of Goathland, with a twist, No.45344 is heading West on the East road – the eagle-eyed amongst you might have spotted the dolly is off. No.45344 isn’t bound for Pickering but for the loop. No.45344 isn’t No.45344 either which opens a whole fresh can of worms – the identity swap debate.  This debate has several sub-plots, how much of the original engine is original being the leading contender. That’s the thing about standardisation all the bits are, as far as possible, interchangeable and boiler swaps were routine.

Standardisation and interchangeability were important factors in the success of the railway venture. When the locomotive building business began even the nuts, screws, washers and bolts were hand made, the locomotive, if not an actual ‘work of art’ was the work of artisans.  Until 1841 the nearest thing to standardised was in-house, and then, along came the British  Standard Whitworth Thread. Mr. Whitworth was also involved with another vital innovation, the boiler inspection system, drawn up by the Manchester Society for the Prevention of Boiler Explosions, of which he was a Vice-President.

In the 1890s Whitworth’s engineering business merged with that of William Armstrong to become Armstrong Whitworth, and they in turn built 327 of the 842 locomotives to the design of Sir W.A. Stanier, which we call Black 5s, Mickeys, etc.

If you have enjoyed my blogs – I have written a book about my 60 years involvement with railways, from trainspotter, via steam age footplateman, to railway author and photographer, this is a link to it:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gricing-Real-story-Railway-Children/dp/1514885751

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A genuinely unique survivor

44767portraitedit1

Sir W.A.Stanier’s mixed traffic classic the ‘Black 5’ was one of the best loved and most versatile locomotives ever to run on British Railways, there were, at one time, 842 of them. However, only one of them was ever built with outside Stephenson’s link motion – and here she is No.44767, now named, possibly ironically, George Stephenson. No. 44767 was built the same year as I was, (1947), though she looks in better fettle!

The photograph was taken at one of the most photogenic locations on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, Darnholme about 1/2 mile east of Goathland – the mythic Aidensfield of TV series Heartbeat fame. No. 44767 has spent much of here life in preservation, working on the NYMR, though she did have a spell out on the main line, some years ago now.

The driver has the sanders on which accounts for the steam at ground level, but the action is all at the chimney top as she blasts her way round the curve on the 1/49 climb up to Goathland – a fairly stiff test for both engine and crew.

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