790 Hardwicke  2-4-0  L&NWR Precedent Class



Power Classification 1P
Introduced 1887
Designer Webb
Company London & North Western Railway
Weight – Loco 35t 12cwt
               Tender t cwt
Driving Wheels 6ft 9ins
Boiler Pressure 150psi
Cylinders Inside – 17in x 24in
Tractive Effort 10,918lbf
Valve Gear Allan

Although Webb was very interested in experimenting with compound locomotives this was his most outstanding design of engine. Webb had started his career in 1851 as a fifteen year old apprentice to Francis Trevithick and rose to the position of works manager under John Ramsbottom in 1961.

A total of 158 were built in batches by Crewe Works 1887–1897 with two further additions in 1898 and 1901 respectively. The 158 engines were officially “renewals” (i.e. replacements) of 96 Newton Class and 62 Precedent Class, so that, accountancy purposes, they could be charged against the Revenue account rather than the Capital account of a “new” locomotive. On renewal, they kept the numbers and names of their predecessors, and as a result the numbering system continued to be completely haphazard. In addition, the eight Precedent class locomotives that were not renewed, were rebuilt to an improved specification.

 newton Newton class introduced by Ramsbottom in 1866 for working on the Lancaster to Carlisle line over Shap
 790 Precedent class introduced by Webb in 1887

The Improved Precedent class or Renewed Precedent class were nicknamed Jumbos.

They performed great feats of hauling heavy loads but at a high rate of coal consumption.

In August 1895, 790 Hardwicke took 2 hours and 6 minutes for the 141 miles from Crewe to Carlisle, with an average speed of 67.1 mph and a top speed of over 90mph, setting up a new speed record during the Race to the North. The run took place after the run by the Stirling Single locomotives on the East Coast. This record remained intact until November 1936 when it was broken by 6201 Princess Elizabeth achieved an average speed of 70.15 mph over a distance of 401.4 miles hauling a train of 8 vehicles. This was part of an 800 mile journey over two days from London Euston to Glasgow and back. This record still stands.

Another member of the Precedent class (955 Charles Dickens) is said to have worked the 8:30 am express from Manchester to London Euston and the 4 pm return for twenty years and in doing so covered more than 2 million miles, a record that has never been broken by any other British steam locomotive. It is also claimed that this locomotive achieved 1 million miles in service in less than a ten year period.

The Precedent class locomotives were initially responsible for hauling many of the prestigious services between Euston and Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool. In addition they worked parts of the majority of the Euston to Scotland trains. In the latter days of employment they were used on secondary services with six based at Rugby to work to Stamford and Peterborough.

Withdrawals started in December 1905.

The London, Midland and Scottish Railway acquired 76 upon the grouping of 1923, and gave them the power classification 1P. The LMS assigned these the numbers 5004–79, in order of build date, though not all received them as withdrawals continued apace. By the end of 1933, only 5001 Snowdon survived and in April 1934 it was renumbered 25001 to clear the number 5001 for an LMS Stanier Class 5 4-6-0, but was withdrawn in October that year.

Accidents and Incidents

  • On 15 August 1895, locomotive 275 Vulcan was one of two locomotives hauling an express passenger train that derailed at Preston, Lancashire due to excessive speed on a curve. One person was killed.
  • On Saturday, 14 August 1915, the 08:45 Birmingham to Euston express passenger train hauled by LNWR George the Fifth Class locomotive 1489 lost a taper pin; its purpose 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 just as the 08:30 Euston to Holyhead Irish Mail train 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.


790 Hardwicke (LNWR 790 and LMS 5031)

790 l.jpg

Hardwicke was built at Crewe in 1873, and of a numerous class known as the Precedents which in the event formed the mainstay for working the L&NWR main line passenger trains for many years.

In 1892 it was virtually rebuilt as a new engine.

In August 1895, 790 Hardwicke took 2 hours and 6 minutes for the 141 miles from Crewe to Carlisle whilst hauling a load of 72½tons, with an average speed of 67.1 mph, setting up a new speed record during the Race to the North. This is why it was selected for preservation.

It was withdrawn in 1932 having completed 1,326,479 miles whilst in service.

It was stored at Crewe Works until it went on display at the new Museum of British Transport at Clapham in 1962. When the Clapham museum closed in 1974 Hardwicke was moved toCarnforth where it was returned to steam in July 1975.

This enabled the locomotive to take part in the Rail 150 Stockton & Darlington cavalcade at Shildon in August 1975. In fact the locomotive was main line certified and after a runs on the Cumbrian coast line piloted Flying Scotsman to Shildon for the event

Hardwicke returned to Carnforth and in 1976 hauled some excursion trains on the main line including a special run on the Settle – Carlisle railway, double heading with Midland compound 1000, to celebrate the line’s centenary. It remained based at Carnforth but made some visits to York.

After taking part in the 1980 Rocket 150 cavalcade at Rainhill spent the rest of the year at Dinting Railway Centre before going on static display at York.

The boiler which Hardwicke now has was built by Ruston & Hornsby of Lincoln, who did not normally build locomotives but who built a number of locomotive boilers during the 1920s, including for the GWR.


Home Base Current Status Owner
National Railway Museum – York Static display National Railway Museum NRM Object Number{1975-7023}


790 Hardwicke at Ulverston after double heading at train from Carnforth with 60103 Flying Scotsman - May 1976 790 Hardwicke at Ulverston after double heading at train from Carnforth with 60103 Flying Scotsman – May 1976
790a 1992.jpg 790 Hardwicke in the National Railway Museum at York-1992
790b.jpg 790 Hardwicke in the National Railway Museum at York-2008
790c.jpg 790 Hardwicke in the National Railway Museum at York-2009
790 l 790 Hardwicke at Locomotion Shildon-2015

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