V2  60800 – 60983  2-6-2  LNER  Gresley  Green Arrow  

v2.jpg

Power Classification 6MT
Introduced 1936 – 1944
Designer Gresley
Company LNER
Weight – Loco 93t 2cwt
               Tender 52t 0cwt
Driving Wheels 6ft 2ins
Boiler Pressure 220psi superheated
Cylinders Three – 18½in x 26in
Tractive Effort 33,730lbf
Valve Gear Walschaert with derived motion (piston valve)

 

The V2s were the first three-cylinder 2-6-2 locomotives to appear in Britain. They were designed for express mixed traffic duties, they were in fact able to hold their own alongside the pacifics on the top link duties on the LNER main line when required.

The design of the class can be traced back to 1932 when a modification of the K3 2-6-0 was being considered. This modification included a rear bogie which was shared with the tender and was described a 2-6-4-4. By 1933 the articulated tender was abandoned to give a 2-6-2 arrangement. One advantage of removing the articulated tender was that the 2-6-2 arrangement allowed the classic Gresley wide firebox to be fitted. By 1934, the proposed design was streamlined and was essentially a 2-6-2 version of Gresley’s P2 class, and included features such a Kylchap exhaust, rotary cam poppet valve gear, and ACFI feed water heater. The V2 also can be seen as a development of the A3 class.

 

 k3 K3 introduced by Gresley in 1920
 v2 V2 as introduced by Gresley in 1936
 a3 new A3 introduced by Gresley in 1922
 p2 P2 class as introduced by Gresley in 1934

 

The design found favour within the LNER and as a result the first five V2s were ordered in May 1935, although the final appearance was still being decided. In August 1935 a diagram was prepared featuring A4-style streamlining. This diagram featured a larger firebox resulting in a boiler which was 1ft longer. Also, the ACFI waterfeed heater and the rotary cam poppet valve gear were abandoned. The diagram of October 1935 had a conventional boiler shape without the streamlining. However, the partially-streamlined A4 cab was kept, along with the partly-hidden steam pipe covers to the cylinders. The first locomotives (4771-4775) were built in 1936. These were virtually identical to the October 1935 diagram, except the firebox was back to its original size, and the boiler barrel was 2ft longer. Also, the centre-coupled wheels were moved forward by 3 inches.

The five engines were all allocated to a variety of depots which was to foreshadow their later wide distribution for working express passenger and mixed traffic trains. The five were allocated as follows-

4771 Kings Cross
4772 York
4773 York
4774 Peterborough
4775 Dundee

At the time these locomotives came into service Gresley was looking to replace the many medium powered express locomotives that were becoming too old. Gresley initially proposed building more Sandringham (class B17) engines but was encouraged by the footplate crews to use the limited financial resources he had available to build more V2 locomotives which were more powerful but had a greater utilisation potential.

The V2 class were fitted with the so-called monobloc cylinders, whereby all three cylinders were cast as a single unit, constituting an outstanding piece of foundry work. Such castings were a speciality of the LNER Gorton Works, which produced them, and where R A Thom who was the Works Manager at Doncaster when the V2 was constructed had previously been Works Manager for many years. The cylinders, steam chests, and various passages were in one large monobloc casting, which saved weight and reduced the number of potentially leaky flange joints used. A similar system was employed in the P2 class locomotives although these had a separate casting for the smokebox saddle. Another advantage of the V2 monobloc was that the steam passages were streamlined, unlike the complex steam passages in the A3 pacifics.

A total of 184 V2s in eleven batches were built between 1936 and 1944. A further four were planned in the last batch, but Thompson had these built to his A2/1 pacific design.

The V2s were allocated to all regions of the LNER, although most were posted to sheds along the East Coast Main Line between Kings Cross and Aberdeen. It was a versatile locomotive, capable of hauling fast fitted freights and express passenger trains. Their relatively heavy 22 ton axle load meant their use was restricted to around 40% of the LNER’s route miles. For example, they were barred from all of the former Great Eastern Railway main lines.

The first V2, 4771 Green Arrow quickly became famous working the first leg (to Peterborough) of the 3:35pm Kings Cross to Glasgow express goods after which it was named. Although they were designed for this kind of express goods work, the V2s proved adaptable and occasionally substituted for the A1 & A3 pacifics and even the streamlined A4s. One locomotive was reliably timed at 93 mph on the Yorkshire Pullman while another attained 101.5 miles per hour on a test train.

During the Second World War, the V2s worked many heavy passenger trains. Trains of over 20 carriages loaded to 700 tons  proved within their abilities. On at least one occasion a single V2 hauled 26 coaches from Peterborough to London. Given this capacity for work it was not surprising that construction was allowed to continue through the war years.

There was a number of incidents with the lead pony truck. This pony truck used Gresley’s patented double swing link suspension. Gresley was successfully using this mechanism on the K3s, but had already abandoned it for use on the leading bogies on his A1 & A3 pacifics. During the war the maintenance of both the track and the locomotives suffered. The double swing link mechanism tended to suffer from wear of the pins and insufficient lubrication. In 1946 plans were made to fit a mechanical lubricator to one V2 as a trial, although it is thought that this was never acted upon due to a more serious pony truck problem which appeared in 1946.

1946 saw a series of V2 accidents involving derailment and often excessive speed. Common to all of these accidents was the poor condition of the track, and it was conceded that Gresley’s double swing link pony truck design was very sensitive to poor track. It was decided to replace the pony truck with the type then being used on the Thompson L1s. This incorporated a spring side control borrowed from the O6 2-8-0 (Stanier 8F) design, then in use by the LNER. One conversion was completed in four weeks. This was followed by an order for 25 conversions, and in 1947 conversions on all of the remaining V2s was ordered. With the conversions and the gradual improvement in track condition, only one V2 suffered a derailment due to the new pony truck (60807 in January 1952).

In the late 1930s and early 1940s, the V2s suffered a number monobloc cracks, and a modified design was used from January 1942. This moved the upper flanges to ease maintenance, and the oil feed for the middle cylinder was also moved.

By the mid-1950s, maintenance of the monobloc cylinder castings was proving difficult and expensive. If only one cylinder had cracked, then the entire monobloc would need replacing. So, from May 1956 if a cylinder needed replacement, the opportunity was taken to replace the entire monobloc casting with three separate cylinder castings. With the imminent withdrawal of steam, only 71 V2s would have their monobloc castings removed.

During tests of self-cleaning smokebox plates at Swindon in September 1952, 60845 managed to break loose from the test station. This was due to a gradual build-up of steam in the cylinders. The driver quickly put 60845 into reverse, and the cab experienced significant damage due to its impact with the test station. This build-up of steam led to the order in December 1952 to fit a single-seat regulator as standard on all V2s and LNER pacifics (excluding those with multiple valve regulators).

In 1953 following a fracture on the crank axle of 35020 Bibby Line whilst running at 70mph the whole fleet of Merchant Navy class locomotives was withdrawn from use on the Southern Region until they were rebuilt. During this period the Southern Region was short of motive power and so Standard class Britannias, ex-LMS Class Fives, ex-LNER V2s and B1s, were despatched to both South Western and South Eastern Divisions of the Southern Region.

During the 1960s, there were a number of trials with Kylchap blastpipe/chimney arrangements. This actually started with trials on 60817 and 60963 running with an arrangement borrowed from the LMS Royal Scot class, rather than the LNER Pacific double chimney Kylchap arrangement. This did not give a significant performance boost, and the Kylchap arrangement was tried instead. 60817 and 60881 were fitted with Kylchap cowls in January 1961 which resulted in performances comparable to a pacific, and the recommendation was made to convert all V2s to use this arrangement. With the imminent replacement by diesels, only eight V2s were eventually converted to use the double chimney Kylchap arrangement.

Number in Service.

Built Withdrawals No. in Service
BR Numbers Quantity
1936 60800-4

  5

    5

1937 60805-24

20

   25

1938 60825-43

19

  44

1939 60844-75 & 60882-91

42

  86

1940 60876-81 & 60892-917

22

108

1941 60918-33

16

124

1942 60934-62

29

153

1943 60963-78

16

179

1944 60979-83

  5

184

1945-61

184

1962

   69

115

1963

   43

  72

1964

   32

  40

1965

   26

  14

1966

   14

    0

  • 60800-60804, 60872-60881 and 60928-60937 were built at Doncaster
  • 60805-60871, 60882-60927 and 60938-60983 were built at Darlington
  • Locomotive allocations during British Railways operation
  • 60836 was the last to be withdrawn in December 1966 whilst based at Dundee Tay Bridge depot.

The last of the class in service was 60836 which was withdrawn on the 31st December 1966 whilst based at Dundee Tay Bridge. This locomotive had had its last new boiler as recently as August 1963 which was one of the last ones to be made. The locomotive was however one of the older ones having been built at Darlington in 1938.

Locomotive allocations during British Railways operation

Depot as of January

1948 1960 1963 1964 1965

1966

Aberdeen Ferryhill

   11

10   4

  5

Ardsley   3   5   4

  2

Copley Hill

     1

  3

Darlington

  2

  3   3   3

  1

Doncaster

30

21

12

Dundee Tay Bridge

  8

12   6   6   5

  4

Gateshead

25

11   3 13

10

Grantham

  2

Haymarket

14

  4

  1

Heaton

12

17

10

Kings Cross

18

12

  5

Leicester Central

  3

March

  6

Perth

17

11

  6

New England

17

12

  6

St Margarets

16

13 11   8

  6

Tweedmouth

  1

  7

  2

Thornaby

  6

  2

West Hartlepool

  2

Woodford Halse

  6

York

28

30 31 26 12

  3

 184

 184  115 72 40

14

The V2s performed equally competently for British Railways, leaving their mark on the East Coast Main Line, the Waverley Route between Carlisle and Edinburgh and on the ex-Great Central main line between London Marylebone and Sheffield.

The last major duty for the V2 locomotives was on the Edinburgh – Aberdeen run, working alongside the last LNER A2s and A4s.

Accidents and Incidents

  • On 29 January 1939, locomotive 4813 (60842) was hauling a passenger train which ran into the rear of another at Hatfield, Hertfordshire. Two people were killed and seven were injured.
  • On 5 January 1946, a freight train became divided on the East Coast Main Line in County Durham. The front portion was brought to a halt at Browney Signalbox, but the rear portion crashed into it. The wreckage fouled signal cables, giving a false clear signal to a passenger train hauled by locomotive 4895 (60924). This train collided with the wreckage, Ten people were killed.
  • On 10 February 1946, a passenger train was derailed at Potters Bar, Hertfordshire due to a signalman’s error. The wreckage fouled signal cables, giving a false clear to an express passenger train hauled by locomotive 4876 (60905), which collided with the wreckage. A third passenger train hauled by locomotive 4833 (60862) was travelling in the opposite direction, It crashed into the wreckage. Two people were killed.
  • On 15 July 1946 V2 3645 (60933) was hauling an express passenger train from King’s Cross to Aberdeen, which comprised of 14 coaches, derailed when approaching Hatfield station on a right hand curve. There were nearly 400 passengers in the train, and considering the extensive nature of this derailment at high speed, there were remarkably few casualties, though 11 passengers were injured and detained in hospital.
  • On 9 August 1947, Locomotive 936 (60936) was hauling a passenger train that was in a rear-end collision with another at Darlington, County Durham due to a signalman’s error. Twenty-one people were killed and 188 were injured.
  • In September 1952 during tests of self-cleaning smokebox plates at Swindon, 60845 managed to break loose from the test station. This was due to a gradual build-up of steam in the cylinders. The driver quickly put 60845 into reverse, and the cab experienced significant damage due to its impact with the test station. This build-up of steam led to the order in December 1952 to fit a single-seat regulator as standard on all V2s and LNER pacifics (excluding those with multiple valve regulators).
  • On 2 December 1953, a train ran off the end of the loop at Billingham, County Durham and was derailed. Locomotive 60891 was hauling an express freight train which ran into the wreckage and was also derailed.
  • On 19 April 1955, locomotive 60968 was in collision with Fairburn tank No. 42073 at Newcastle Central station, Northumberland. Both locomotives were derailed.
  • On 7 August 1958, a V2 class locomotive was hauling an express passenger train that was derailed at Barby, Northamptonshire due to excessive speed through a crossover. One person was killed and seventeen were injured. Errors by a pilotman and confusion over where the train was to be diverted during a period of single line working were major contributory factors.
  • On 19 November 1958, a freight train overran signals and was involved in a rear-end collision with another at Hitchin, Hertfordshire. Locomotive 60885 was hauling a third freight train, which ran into the wreckage and was derailed.
  • On 15 December 1961, an empty coaching stock train was in a rear-end collision with a freight train at Conington, Huntingdonshire during permissive block working. A second freight train then ran into the wreckage. Locomotive 60977 was hauling a freight train which then ran into the wreckage.
  • On 7 January 1962, locomotive 60954 was hauling a freight train which was derailed at Mirfield, Yorkshire.
60836 Dundee July 1965.jpg

60836 on Dundee Tay Bridge shed-July 1965. 60836 spent all of its working life in Scotland. It was withdrawn from services at Dundee in December 1966.

 

60859 Heaton November 1965.jpg 60859 at Heaton (Newcastle)-November 1965. 60859 had been withdrawn from service the month before I took this photograph whilst based at Gateshead.
60877 York February 1966.jpg 60877 at York on what is now the site of the National Railway Museum-February 1966. 60877 was withdrawn the smae month as I took this photograph.

Preservation

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