Great Northern Railway locomotive Stirling Single

1870 in Doncaster Railway Works
Great Northern Railway
Patrick Stirling

Steam locomotive and tender, Great Northern Railway, 4-2-2 No 1, designed by Patrick Stirling, built at Doncaster in 1870, withdrawn in 1907.

The Great Northern Railway No.1 class Stirling Single is a class of steam locomotives, designed by Patrick Stirling. These locomotives were characterised by a single pair of large driving wheels, of 8ft 1in diameter.

Stirling chose a large wheel diameter in order to increase the adhesive grip on the rails, but the choice of such large wheels compelled him to put the cylinders outside the frames. Inside cylinders and connecting rods would have caused the boiler to be pitched at an unacceptably high level for that period.

This locomotive formed the prototype for a series of similar engines which were built over a 25-year period. A total of 53 locomotives were built at Doncaster between 1870 and 1895, designed for high speed expresses between York and London which could haul up to 26 passenger carriages. Each batch showed slight detail differences and improvements as Stirling gradually perfected the design. Some later improvements were applied retrospectively to No.1, for example a larger firebox.

Stirling Single No.1 was built at Doncaster in 1870 and was withdrawn from service in 1907. It is the only example of the class which was preserved. It was also used in York Theatre Royal’s performance of the Railway Children both at the National Railway Museum and at Waterloo International Station.

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National Railway Museum: Great Hall

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Locomotives and Rolling Stock
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steam locomotive
  • vehicles and vehicle components
  • vehicle
  • locomotive
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