2P 54397-54416 4-4-0 HR Drummond Small Ben

Power Classification 2P
Introduced 1898 – 1906
Designer P Drummond
Company HR
Weight 46t 17cwt
Driving Wheels 6ft 0ins
Boiler Pressure 180psi  
Cylinders Inside – 18¼in x 26in
Tractive Effort 18,400lbf
Valve Gear Stephenson (slide valves)

When Drummond succeeded Jones on the Highland Railway in 1896 he built his own design of inside cylinder 4-4-0s. These were the Small Ben class built in 1898-1906, and the Large Ben class built in 1908-1909.

The first eight locomotives were built by Dübs & Co. in 1898 and 1899. A second batch of nine locomotives were built by the Highland Railway at their Lochgorm works and a final batch of three were constructed in 1906 by the North British Locomotive Company

The Small Bens were Peter Drummonds first design for the HR and they were very similar in design to the T9 class introduced by his brother in 1899, Dugal Drummond, on the LSWR.

The locomotives were the first Highland tender engines to be fitted with inside cylinders.

All of the locomotives survived to be taken into LMS stock on Grouping in 1923 and all were subsequently rebuilt with Caledonian type boilers.

The first member of the class was withdrawn from service in 1931 but half of the class of twenty locomotives survived to come into BR stock.

Under BR ownsrship the locomotives were mainly based at Inverness but a two or three were based at Wick. Another was based at Forres which is east of Inverness.  

54398 Ben Alder was the last to remain in service and servived in operation until February 1962.

It was then stored for many years and it had been hoped that it would be preserved but it was cut up in 1967. One of the reasons given for it not being preserved was that the boiler was not the original Highland Railway design.

New Build

In June 2019 the New Build Locomotive (Scotland) group announced that they intended to build a new Ben Alder at an estimated cost in the region of £1m to £1.25m. It is thought that the project will take 15-20 years to achieve the objective of a working Ben class locomotive.

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