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Beyer Garratt locomotive 1925

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Beyer Garratt locomotive 1925

The largest locomotive ever to run on the British main line. That’s the claim to fame of this 2-8-0+0-8-2 colossus. Built for the LNER by Beyer Peacock of Gorton, Manchester, it has several claims to fame: Beyer Garratt and its 72,940lb of tractive effort made it in those terms by far the most powerful steam engine ever to run in Great Britain; it was also the heaviest locomotive to run in the UK; and it was the only British conventional standard gauge loco to possess six cylinders.

Beyer Garratt locomotive 1925

Beyer Garratt locomotive 1925
TECHNICAL DATA
Introduced  1925
Builder  Beyer Peacock
Designer  Beyer Peacock / Gresley
Weight (loco) 178  tons
Boiler pressure  180psi
Cylinders (6)  18,5  x  26 in
Valve gear  Walschaerts
Driving wheel diameter  4 ft  8 in
Tractive effort  72,940lb

Other numbers 9999/69999
Withdrawn / Scrapped  1955

Effectively two Class 02 frames placed back-to-back, it was constructed in 1925, just in time to appear in the Railway Centenary celebrations at Darlington, and numbered 2395. The 178-ton giant was used on the 1-in-40 Worsborough incline, near Wath in Yorkshire, to bank coal trains, but after a quarter of a century of service there, it was made redundant by the Wodhead electrification scheme and moved in the early-1950s (by which time it had become BR 69999) onto the 1-in-37 Lickey incline at Bromsgrove. The crews there did not take kindly to its vast 56sq ft grate, however, and struggled to make sufficient steam.

In an attempt to appease them, the behemoth was converted to oil-burning at Gorton Works, but that earned it only a brief reprieve in the summer of 1955; and in December of that year, the 20-wheeled giant was withdrawn and subsequently cut up at Doncaster Works. As none of thee LMS’s 2-6-6-2 Garratts was preserved either, there is thus a large gap in the family tree of UK preservation.

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