158A MR Class 156  2-4-0  MR    

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Power Classification
DesignerMatthew Kirtley (rebuilt by Samuel Johnson)
Weight – Loco41t 5cwt
               Tendert cwt
Driving Wheels6ft 3ins
Boiler Pressure140psi
CylindersInside – 18in x 24in
Tractive Effort12,338lbf
Valve GearStephenson (slide valve)

The Midland Railway (MR) had a preference for building small locomotives which led to the construction of several classes of 2-4-0 engines designed for hauling passenger trains. The MR logic was that it was cheaper to build smaller engines and maintain and they inflicted less ware on the track. When the weight of trains got heavier then two locomotives were used to haul passenger trains. Sometimes this meant three engines were required to haul the heaviest freight trains. This policy was firmly in place when Kirtly became the Midland Railways first Locomotive Superintendent.

The first of the Kirtly 2-4-0 designs emerged from Derby works in 1856 and this was followed by five variations on the original design. The original locomotives all suffered because of deficiencies in the frame design which limited their usefulness and working lives. The following designs overcame these problems and proved to be very good performers with some lasting in service for 80 years.

158A was built by W Kirtley at Derby in 1866 as MR 158 as part of a batch of 29 locomotives built for express passenger workings to Kings Cross, then the London Terminus of the Midland Railway until St Pancras Station was built. 158A has been rebuilt at various dates including being rebuilt with a Johnson boiler and mountings in 1907 and re-numberd 2. It finally ended its days at Nottingham in 1947 as station pilot after 81 years of service after previously been relegated to suburban stopping trains.

21 of the locomotives came into LMS ownership in 1923.

It became 158A in 1896, 2 in 1907 which it retained with the LMS until 1934 when it was renumbered 20002.

Upon withdrawal from service as the station pilot at Nottingham in 1947 it was repainted in the pre 1907 MR style and kept at Derby works for many years.

The 81 year working life that the engine had is unusual for a tender engine. Because of its long life it is a bit of a mongrel due to the mang different design influences.

  • The frames etc are Kirtley
  • The boiler and cab Johnson
  • The smokebox is Deeley/Fowler
  • The chimney is Stanier

158A appeared at the Stephenson Centenary Celebrations at Chesterfield in 1948 and was a static exhibit in Birmingham during the centenary celebrations for New Street station in 1954.

In March 1965 it joined the collection of National Railway Museum locomotives in store at the old engine shed at Hellafield. It only stayed there until August 1967 when it was moved to the Midland shed at Leicester. The following year it was displayed in the short lived museum at Leicester.

It then went for preservation at Derby Locomotive Works and it remained there until it moved to the Midland Railway Centre at Butterley in 1975. Although it was restored as close as possible to the original design the existing locomotive has Kirtley frames but the boiler and cab are Johnson, the smokebox is Deeley/Fowler and the chimney is Stanier.

Another member of the 29 built (156A) was similarly preserved in 1930 but was cut up two years later.

158A is part of the National Collection and but is on loan to the Midland Railway Centre where it is on display in the Matthew Kirtley Exhibition Hall at Swanwick Junction.

In July 2021 it was moved to Locomotion at Shildon for restoration and a mechanically assessed. This follows a course of asbestos removal by specialist contractors at Butterley. No decision on the future of the locomotive had been made by September 2021.

In August 2022 the locomotive was moved to Barrow Hill where it is to remain on loan for three years.

Home BaseCurrent StatusOwner
Barrow HillStatic displayNational Railway Museum NRM Object Number{1978-7016}
158A in its LMS days. Thought to be in Burton shed. The gentleman on the footplate is the grandfather of the copyright owner – 1930s
158A at Derby – August 1961
158A at Butterley – 1982

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