|Introduced||1910 – 1915|
|Company||London & North Western Railway|
|Driving Wheels||6ft 9ins|
|Cylinders||Inside – 20½ in x 26in|
|Valve Gear||Joy (piston valve)|
In the late 19th century the loadings of express passenger trains had increased by the provision of better train heating, electric light, dining cars, tea cars, corridor stock etc. More powerful locomotives were needed to pull them.
In 1904 following Webb’s retirement, the LNWR embarked upon a massive programme of locomotive and carriage building that was to transform this railway and bring it into the 20th century. The newly appointed Chief Mechanical Engineer, George Whale, undertook a whole new generation of locomotives. His Precursor, a relatively simple, compact but powerful 4-4-0 was the first of a succession of locomotives that would be streets ahead of its predecessors. These locomotives incorporated boiler features from the earlier Precedent and Whitworth classes.
130 Precursor class locomotives were built between 1904 and 1907 without superheaters but most were rebuilt with superheaters.
|Precursor introduced by Whale in 1904|
|George V introduced by Bowen Cooke in 1910|
Then in 1910 Bowen Cooke built ninety locomotives, followed the Continental European and US practice of incorporating a Schmidt superheater and modernised their front ends, calling them the George V the class after the first member of the class in line with normal LNWR practice.
The George the Fifth class went on to be the pride of the London & North Western Railway, they were designed to fit their needs and the limitations of their permanent way. Their exploits included standing in for broken down early Royal Scots in the early days of the LMS, taking on 550 ton trains and meeting the schedule of the much larger locomotive are incredible but true.
The first Precursor was withdrawn from service in 1927 and only one (58010) was taken into BR stock but it never carried the BR number although it was not officially withdrawn from service until June 1949.
The first George V class was withdrawn in 1935 and three of the ninety built were taken into BR stock but only two were given BR numbers (58011 & 58012) but both of these were withdrawn from service in May 1948.
Accidents and Incidents
On 14 August 1915, locomotive 1489 Wolfhound was hauling the 08:45 Birmingham to Euston express passenger train between Weedon and Stowe Hill tunnel when it suffered a mechanical failure in its motion, with the result that the opposite track was damaged. The failure was to a taper pin whose purpose was was to lock a screwed collar which retained the offside coupling rod to its crank pin. The coupling rod detached and struck one of the sleepers on the up line; pushing the track out of alignment.
This happened as the 08:30 Euston to Holyhead Irish Mail train was approached. It consisted of 15 coaches hauled by two locomotives LNWR Renown class 1971 and Precedent class 1189 and was travelling at 60 miles per hour. Both locomotives and every carriage was derailed; several being thrown down an embankment, killing 10 passengers and injuring 21 more.