3020  Cornwall  2-2-2  L&NWR

Cornwall front

Power Classification
DesignerFrancis Trevithick rebuilt by John Ramsbottom
CompanyLondon & North Western Railway
Weight – Loco29t 18cwt
               Tender25t 0cwt
Driving Wheels8ft 6ins
Boiler Pressure140psi
CylindersOutside – 17½in x 24in
Tractive Effort8,575lbf
Valve GearStephenson (slide valve)

In the 1840s, express passenger locomotive design was focussed on the need for single large-diameter driving wheels of around 8 foot. Large driving wheels deliver the high linear tyre speed needed for fast locomotives, whilst keeping the axle bearing and piston speeds low enough to remain within the technology limits of the day.

Later on, increasing engine power would require better adhesion than could be achieved with single driving wheels, but that was not yet a problem at this time.

Along with needing large wheels for speed, stability required a low centre of gravity, and thus a low-slung boiler. The difficulty is that both of these needs are in conflict, requiring the driving axle position to overlap the boiler position.

One solution to this was the Crampton design, where the driving axle was moved behind the boiler’s firebox. These engines were relatively long in comparison to their contemporaries and had long rigid frames, sometimes with as many as three carrying axles ahead of the driving axle, for a 6-2-0 wheel arrangement. Cramptons were most popular in France and Germany, but some were also used in England, by companies including the London & North Western Railway (LNWR).

One of these LNWR Cramptons, Liverpool was notably long, with an eight-wheeler (6-2-0) layout and rigid wheelbase of 18′ 6″. Although fast and capable of working heavy trains for long distances, it damaged the roadbed owing to the long rigid frame.


LNER Cramptons, Liverpool


cornwall original

As originally built in 1847


Cornwall front
As rebuilt in 1858

Cornwall was built by Francis Trevithick (son of Richard Trevithick) at Crewe in 1847 with the boiler beneath the driving axle to obtain a low centre of gravity. This was only possible because of the very large diameter of the driving wheels.

Originally it was constructed as a 2-2-2 but it was very soon altered to 4-2-2. It was completely rebuilt by John Ramsbottom in 1858 as a 2-2-2 engine with the boiler in the orthodox position. The design of the rebuild under John Ramsbottom was undertaken by Francis William Baker and basically replaced all of the existing part except the driving wheels with standard parts.

Another minor rebuild in the 1870s provided a typically LNWR style of cab, with a short roof and semi-open sides.

Cornwall was a famously successful high-speed passenger express engine of its period. Charles Rous-Marten (reported an 1884 run from Crewe to Chester behind Cornwall at an average speed of 50.7 mph, reaching 70 mph down Whitmore bank. It remained in express service on the Liverpool-Manchester route until withdrawn in 1905 by which time it had completed 928,838 miles.

Originally Cornwall was numbered 173 but in 1886 it became 3020 and ran in ordinary service with this number until 1902.

In1911 it was put to work again, attached to a special saloon for the use of the Company’s directors. This was a six-wheel vehicle with a small coal bunker next to the engine, later replaced by an ordinary tender, and used with a modern separate bogie saloon. The engines normal black dome casing was reduced to polished brass, which was almost certainly unique on an LNWR engine, which it reputedly retained until 1927.

In 1913 it was transferred to service stock but in 1913 it was restored to working passenger trains.

In a letter to the National Railway Museum it has been claimed that the locomotive achieved a speed of 85 -90 mph in 1919. This followed the locomotive conveying Bowen-Cooke to Euston where he realised that he had left important paperwork at Crewe and Cornwall was dispatched back to Crewe to collect the missing papers for the late afternoon.

It is last known to have operated in July 1920 when it conveyed Charles Bowen-Cooke in the CME saloon to Euston to visit his doctor. Rather than returning light engine to Crewe it was coupled in front of  Claughton 4-6-0 1914 Patriot at the head of the “Midday Corridor”

The engine took part in steam in the Stockton & Darlington and Liverpool & Manchester Centenary celebrations in 1925 and 1930 respectively.  Cornwall retained its authentic LNWR livery until early 1949, when it was repainted at Crewe.  It was exhibited at the Museum of British Transport at Clapham, between 1963 and 1973. It then returned to Crewe Works in 1975 prior to going on display at York.

Cornwall was lent to the Severn Valley Railway (SVR) in August 1979 by the Department of Education and Science, with the intention of being restored to working order. The locomotive was scheduled to take part in the Rocket 150 celebrations at Rainhill, but was forced to withdraw when the BR boiler inspector put his hammer right through the front ring of the boiler barrel.

After further consideration, the cost of repairs to the boiler were deemed too expensive by the SVR and the Department of Education and Science. In September 1982 3020 Cornwall returned to the National Railway Museum at York.

In the late 1980s it was repainted by the NRM prior to being air-freighted to Japan for an exhibition after which it returned to Crewe.

Cornwall is part of the National Collection and was on static display at Locomotion, The National Railway Museum at Shildon for a long time. In early 2017 it was loaned to the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre for static display at Quainton. The loan is expected to be for a two year period.

Home BaseCurrent StatusOwner
National Railway Museum – Loaned to the Buckinghamshire Railway CentreStatic displayNational Railway Museum

NRM Object Number{1975-7026}

3020 Cornwall at unknown location and date
3020 Cornwall at Euston as part of the London & Birmingham Railway Centenary Exhibition – September 1938
3020 Cornwall in Clapham Museum November 1968
3020 Cornwall in the British Transport Museum at Clapham – November 1968
3020 Cornwall at Bridgnorth on the Severn Valley Railway – August 1979
Cornwall at Locomotion at Shildon – April 2015

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