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GWR No 7 (1859) and 110 (1862)



Two very early ones. This is GWR No 7 from 1859, Wolverhampton works no 1, and the first Joseph Armstrong design for the GWR. Holcroft tells us that Armstrong, very much a member of the Northumberland school, was much associated with George Gray. Gray's designs for the Hull & Selby and LBSCR had the same feature of inside frames on the driving wheels and outside on leading and trailing wheels. They were also the inspiration for the well known Jenny Lind type. My sources are quiet on what motion was fitted. There were eventually five of these early singles. No 8 was very much a sister of No 7 and came out the same year, whilst 30 and 32 (the last classed as a renewal) followed in 1860 and finally No 110 in 1862. They didn't really constitute a class, but had a number of common features.  There are plate frames rather than the sandwich frames Gooch would have used, and the very complex shaped Armstrong safety valve cover.  Early Armstrong boilers like this were domeless, although domes were adopted fairly soon.



The last of these similar singles was GWR No 110 from 1862. Surprisingly it was the second No 110, the first having been an 1851 locomotive for the Birkenhead Railway which lasted hardly a year under Armstrong. It's worth noting that by this time Armstrong had about 70 locomotives in his charge of many designs from most of the significant manufacturers of the period, so he should have been in a strong position to evaluate the best features for his own design. Unlike its predecessors No 110 had outside bearings on the driving wheels.  This 110 bears a distinct family resemblance to the 111 class 2-4-0s which came along in 1863. 


In later years the 1862 110 received larger cylinders, a weatherboard and maybe even a cab. It ran until 1887, when it was renewed as a 2-4-0 of the 111 class in the form that class had been rebuilt into at that time. It seems unlikely that many if any major components were reused. By contrast No 7 had been withdrawn in 1876, some years before any of its cousins, and seems to have been largely unaltered.

Edited by JimC

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Here's the strangely-shaped safety valve casing (on early 2-4-0ST 346):




I can't help wondering if there is a dome in the lower half. Wolverhampton had such fixtures on its R6 boilers.


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I suppose if you consider the raised casing seen on many Ramsbottom safety valve installations - Barry Railway A class sketch here for instance, then put the later style GW safety valve cover on top of that and merge the two into a single piece of metal then you get something very like the Armstrong style. Its an interesting thought that the steam collection pipe could have been under the safety valve fitting making it a sort of dome. It's certainly the highest point so it seems feasible. And when you look at that photo it does seem as if the first part is quite high. I don't know if I have an engineering drawing of anything that early to check. Holcroft doesn't seem to mention the subject from a quick run through his books, but I do note that "The Armstrongs" contains quite a few more Ahrons sketches of the very early types that I ought to work up.

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I found a sketch of No 7 in Holcroft's Armstrong book, so I've added it and reworked the original post. Holcroft also provides a drawing of No 30, which was somewhat intermediate between 7 and 110, but I'm not sure it adds very much to the story.

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375 at Hereford without a cab Joseph Armstrong 111 class 2-4-0

Here's a smugmug collection photo of 375, one of the 1866 (George Armstrong) built 111s with a dome. If you zoom in on the original it's clear it has the same safety valve cover shape as the domeless engines, so exploding a theory I was forming about the double curve shape only being associated with domeless boilers.


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