2  0-6-2T  North Staffordshire Railway L Class

north staffs

 

Power Classification
Introduced 1903
Designer
Company North Staffordshire Railway
Weight – Locomotive 59t 10cwt
Driving Wheels 5ft 0ins
 Boiler Pressure 175psi
Cylinders Inside – 18½in x 26in
Tractive Effort lbf
Valve Gear

 

The North Staffordshire Railway (NSR) New L Class was a class of 0-6-2 steam locomotive designed by John H. Adams, third son of William Adams. They were designed as a development as the previous L Class, adding a boiler common to the M Class and differed from the L Class with, amongst other things higher bunker sides and new cab roofs, and the abandonment of the cast safety valve cover. 28 were built between 1908 and 1923, with the final four constructed under the auspices of the newly formed LMS with the whole class withdrawn by the end of 1937.

The class were built at the NSR’s Stoke works in four batches with a number of differences in weight, grate area and heating surfaces. Those built in 1913 had saturated Belpaire boilers identical to those on the H1 Class of 0-6-0s. The final batch had slightly fewer boiler tubes and did not have condensers nor lagging on the side tanks. in 1921 numbers 18 and 93 were experimentally converted to oil burning.

Although built primarily as a goods tank engine, it proved its worth on passenger trains as well and became an ideal mixed traffic tank locomotive. than any other NSR class, and thus became one of the most well known from the NSR.

During their early years the class were not only used on the heavy freight turns but also on express passenger turns between Stoke and Manchester-London Road.  The NSR kept them in immaculate condition in the deep madder lake livery, and they could turn in quite a good account of themselves, being extremely free running machines.

After grouping they travelled much further although the LMS relegated them to goods work, hump shunting and other menial tasks.

All entered the London, Midland and Scottish Railway (LMS) stock upon formation in 1923, although with the LMS policy of standardisation, many NSR classes were prime targets for early scrapping due to the small size of the classes. Excluding minor lines which only had a handful of engines, of all the more important railways which were merged into the Big Four at the 1923 Grouping, the North Staffordshire Railway had the unfortunate distinction of being the first to have its locomotives stock completely liquidated by ins new owners. As a result, all were withdrawn by the end of 1937.

One was sold to the Longmoor Military Railway whilst four more were sold to Manchester Collieries Ltd. The rest were scrapped.

Preservation

2 (NSR 2 & LMS 2271)

2.jpg

LMS 2271 was one of the last four engines built for the North Staffordshire Railway at Stoke Works, and which actually did not appear until after the Grouping, in the early months of 1923.

In 1936-1937, NSR 2 was one of the five locomotives sold to the Manchester Collieries Ltd and worked at Walkden where it received the name Princess. It was eventually rebuilt with a new saturated boiler and new tanks, bunker and cylinders in 1946.

It was restored to NSR livery to celebrate the City of Stoke-on-Trent in 1960 and put on show at Crewe works staged by British Railways. It then returned to colliery work but was then saved for preservation by being placed in the Staffordshire County Council museum at Shugborough Hall. In 1984 it was moved to Chatterley Whitfield Mining Museum, and at some point it moved into the National collection and is currently on display at NRM Shildon.

At Walkden Colliery it had received the name Princess, but this was removed when the engine was restored as North Stafford number 2. They did however, carry NSR livery for a while before being repainted LMS black.

In 1964 the boiler, tanks and cab from Princess were fitted onto the chassis of another former NSR New L loco (NSR number 72 built in 1920 which became LMS  2262 – had been subsequently named Sir Robert at Walkden). The NSR 2 identity was maintained however, and upon the end of service at Walkden the locomotive passed into the National Collection. This has created a high level of debate over the engines identity though, as traditionally locomotives took their numbers from their frames which would make the surviving locomotive NSR 72. As ‘New L’ class all had superheated boilers, the fact the locomotive survives with a saturated boiler takes the discussion much further as to whether it can even be classed as a NSR engine.

The original chassis of NSR number 2 received a new boiler plus the bunker and tanks from NSR 69 (named “King Gearge VI” at Walkden) in 1965, before this locomotive was scrapped in 1969 despite attempts to preserve it.

Number 2 was stored in the late 1960’s and through much of the 1970’s out of public site at the Shugborough Hall County Museum in Staffordshire. For almost ten years after 1984 it was mostly stored out of view at Chatterley Whitefield Mining Museum (seven miles north of Stoke on Trent). When the mining museum closed in 1993 the locomotive moved to the Churnet Valley Railway.

There were thoughts of returning the locomotive to steam but because of technical difficulties with removing the copper boiler tubes pushed it to the back of the restoration queue at Cheddleton. Any plans to restore the engine were further hampered by a shortage of funds

In 2004 the engine was put on display at Shildon Locomotion Museum. Its identity as NSR number 2 having been maintained.

In April 2016 the National Railway Museum gifted the locomotive (NRM Object Number{1978-7032}) to the Foxfield Railway although in October 2016 the National Railway Museum website still shows it as part of the National Collection based at Shildon. The view of the National Railway Museum is that the locomotive is an unremarkable engine other than that it is the sole surviving steam locomotive of a design from the North Staffordshire Railway (NSR). It did not actually work on the NSR as it was built under LMS jurisdiction and is actually the best part of three different locomotives.

The Foxfield Railway have stated that following moving the locomotive to its Blythe Bridge facility in April 2016 and it is being assessed with a view to running it to steam again.

 

Home Base Current Status Owner
Foxfield Railway Static display Foxfield Railway
2 at Shildon-2010.jpg North Staffs number 2 in Locomotion at Shildon-2010
North Staffordshire No 2 at the Foxfield Railway - July 2017.jpg North Staffordshire No 2 at the Foxfield Railway – July 2017


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