A Chronology of the London & North Western Railway

Year Event
1825 The Stockton and Darlington Railway opens - the world's first public steam railway.
1830 The Liverpool & Manchester Railway opens - the world's first public passenger steam railway.
This same railway holds the Rainhill Trials, won by George Stephenson's Rocket.
1835 The Great Western Railway is incorporated.
1837 The Grand Junction Railway opens - from Birmingham, through Stafford, Whitmore and Crewe, to Newton and a junction with the Liverpool & Manchester Railway. Whitmore is the rail-head for North Staffordshire, with a horse-drawn carriage connection between the station and Newcastle. This situation prevails until 1848.
1840 The Manchester & Birmingham Railway opens - from Manchester, through Cheadle Hulme and Holmes Chapel, initially only as far as Sandbach, because of a dispute with the Grand Junction, but eventually into Crewe. The M&BR handed over all of its traffic to the GJR at Crewe. It's name was somewhat grander than its reality.
1843 Crewe Works established.
1862 Ramsbottom in sole charge of locomotive design.
1863 Ramsbottom introduces 'Samson' Class 2-4-0s. Ninety eventually built.
1865 Wolverton becomes the LNWR's Carriage Works and Saltley Works are abandoned.
1866 Ramsbottom introduces 'Newton' Class 2-4-0s. Ninety six eventually built.
1870 'Special' Tanks introduced for working Amercian Specials between Liverpool (Riverside) and Edge Hill.
1871 Ramsbottom is succeeded by F.W. Webb.
'Cornwall' is again re-boilered and later receives a cab.
1873 The General Manager, William Cawkwell, insists that the engine livery should be black.
1874 Webb introduces the first of seventy 'Precedent' Class 2-4-0s. The Stephenson curved-link motion of the 'Newtons' is replaced by the Allan straight-link motion.
'Charles Dickens' of this class - number 955 - was built in 1882 and completed 2,345,107 miles as a result of regular haulage of the Manchester to Euston express. The engine was broken up in November 1912.
Webb introduces the first of forty 'Precursor' class 2-4-0s. Identical to the 'Precedents' except for 5' 6" driving wheels, as opposed to the 6' 7" drivers of the former.
Webb system of signal interlocking introduced/
1876 Fifty 2-4-0 Tanks built, with 4' 8" driving wheels
1878 'Newtons' rebuilt with 140 lb. boilers and closed splashers.
LNWR brass number plates introduced.
1879 The first of 180 2-4-2 Tanks introduced. These have 4' 6" driving wheels. Forty of the 1876 2-4-0Ts are eventually converted to 2-4-2Ts to give a class total of 220.
1880 Eighteen-inch Goods ('Cauliflowers') introduced - the first of 310. These have Joy valve gear.
1881 The Special 'DX' Goods introduced, by rebuilding the 'DX' Class. Eventually 500 Special 'DXs' will be built.
The first of 300 4' 5" Coal Tanks are introduced.
1882 The 3-cylinder Compound 2-2-2-0 'Experiment' Class introduced. Thirty eventually built, 6' 7" driving wheels. Joy valve gear. The class had a reputation as bad starters.
1884 The 3-cylinder Compound 2-2-2-0 'Dreadnought' Class introduced. Forty eventually built, 6' 3" driving wheels. Joy valve gear. Similar faults to the 'Experiments'.
The first compund 4-2-2-0 Tank was introduced, re-built from Beyer Peacock's 'Metropolitan' Tank. Scrapped in 1897.
1886 'Cornwall' put on duplicate list as number 3020.
1887 Webb introduces his 'Precedent' Class, with 6' 6" driving wheels. Cast-steel tyres of 3" thickness give a wheel diameter of 6' 9". Class included no. 790, 'Hardwicke'. Notionally rebuilds of Ramsbottom 'Newtons', but in fact new engines. Frames increased in size from seven-eighths of an inch to one-inch.
The Railway Clearing House produces the first of its standard specifications for railway wagons.
1888 The first 'Railway Race to the North'
1889 The 3-cylinder Compound 2-2-2-0 'Teutonic' Class introduced. Ten eventually built, 7' 1" driving wheels. Joy valve gear for high-pressure cylinders, single eccentric for low-pressure. The best of the three-cylinder compounds.
The first of ninety 6' 2-4-0 'Whitworth' Class engines introduced. Took names and numbers of the 'Samsons'.
1890 '910' Class of 2-4-2 tanks introduced. One hundred and twenty built and a further 40 2-4-0 'Precursors' converted. Replaced old 'Samsons' on branch-line trains.
'Cornwall' begins three-year career on fast Liverpool-Manchester expresses.
1891 The first of 10 'Greater Britain' 2-2-2-2 3-cylinder compounds built. Seven feet 1' driving wheels. High-pressure cylinders had link motion valves and the low-pressure had a single eccentric. 'Greater Britain' ran for 6 consecutive days from April 17th 1893 on test between Euston, Crewe and Carlisle hauling an express of 160 tons average weight, at an average speed of 47.7 mph and coal consumption of 29.87lbs per mile.
1892 The first of 111 3-cylinder compound 0-8-0s introduced. Also one 2-cylinder simple 0-8-0 was built. Driving wheels were 4' 5". Joy valve gear.
1893 The 2 p.m. 'Corridor' express inaugurated on July 1st.
From this year a start was made on re-building the 'Precedent' 2-4-0s.
1894 The first of 10 'John Hick' 2-2-2-2 3-cylinder compounds built. Six feet 3' driving wheels. High-pressure cylinders had link motion valves and the low-pressure had a single eccentric. Intended for Crewe to Carlisle section. Poor performers. generally regarded as Webb's worst engines.
1895 Railway Race to Aberdeen
'Problems' rebuilt with new boilers and larger fireboxes.
Experimental 2-cylinder compound of 1878 rebuilt as triple expansion locomotive with three cylinders, 9", 13" and 19" diameter and a boiler pressure of 200 lbs. Named 'Triplex'. Needed pinch-bars to start it and then quickly an out of steam. Never entered service. Broken up in 1904.
1896 The first of twenty 0-4-2 Square Saddle Tanks introduced, for docks and sharp-curve locations.
The first 60' rails laid, between Crewe and Betley Road. Became an LNWR standard - hence the accolade, 'The Finest Permanent Way in the World'.
1897 The first of forty 4-cylinder compound 'Jubilees' introduced. Seven feet 1" driving wheels. Boiler pressure 200 lbs. Erratic and unreliable engines. Pulled well up hill, sluggish on level track and needed a pilot even on comparatively light loads. The use of coupling rods solved one problem, but a poor ratio between high and low pressure cylinder volumes and the fact that there were only two sets of valve gear meaning that high and low pressure cylinders were notched up together, resulted in the receiver becoming choked with steam.
1898 The first of eighty 0-6-2 Radial Tanks introduced. Design based on the 18" 'Cauliflower' Goods engines. Cylinders, motion, boiler and coupled wheels were identical. Excellent engines with a quick turn of speed and excellent starting. Used on suburban services in the London, Manchester and Birmingham districts. Not displaced from Watford services until 1932. Some adapted for rail motor train working.
1899 The use of dumb buffers on new wagons in England and Wales is prohibited.
1900 Dining cars provided on the morning Anglo-Scottish expresses and the Preston meal stop abolished.
1901 The first of forty 'Alfred the Great' Class 4-4-0 4-cylinder compounds introduced. Seven feet 1" driving wheels. Boiler pressure 200 lbs. As with the 'Jubilees' the performance wasn't satisfactory, and in October 1901 the rule was introduced that trains weighing in excess of 270 tons must be piloted. In 1908 a start would be made on re-building them into 'Renown' Class simples.
A start was also made on constructing one hundred and seventy 4-cylinder compund 0-8-0s. Cylinders and rocking levers were the same as on the 'Jubilees'. Boiler pressure 200 lbs. Driving wheels 4' 3". O.S. Nock described these as being "about the best compounds that Webb produced". Their subsequent history is complex and is best studied via Ted Talbot's excellent book, The London and North Western Railway Eight-coupled Goods Engines.
1902 By 1902 it was evident that all was not well in the Locomotive Department. O.S. Nock describes the situation as follows, "The lion's share of express work, especially north of Crewe, fell to the 'Precedents' and 'Whitworths'. As pilots, 'Problems', 'Experiments' (where speed was of no great importance), or even 'Cauliflowers', were used. Not even 'Jumbos' could hurry up the 4-cylinder compunds. For the heaviest and fastest trains, two 'Jumbos' were used, and south of Crewe a 'Problem' and a 'Jumbo' were often seen and were very speedy."
1903 F.W. Webb retired after 32 years at the helm, and was succeeded by George Whale.
Webb's last design, the '1400' Class 4-cylinder compund mixed traffic 4-6-0 was introduced. Thirty would be built up to 1905. Boilers, cylinders, motion, coupling rods and connecting rods were interchangeable with the 4-cylinder compound coal engines. The bogie was similar to that on the 'Jubilees', though with smaller wheels. Driving wheels were 5'. These engines were slow and sluggish, and failed when tried on the Crewe-Carlisle road in 1905. All were withdrawn by 1920.
The first of forty 'Benbows' was introduced. These engines were 'Alfreds' with modified valve gear and cabs. The low-pressure cylinder valves were kept in full gear, and the high-pressure valves could be notched up independently. This proved to be a very successful alteration.
Steel-framed tenders became the norm instead of wooden-frames.
Wholesale scrapping of 3-cylinder compounds commenced.
'Scrapping of 'Problems' commenced.
The use of dumb buffers on new wagons in Scotland is prohibited from October 1st.
1904 The first of one hundred and thirty Whale 'Precursor' Class 4-4-0s are introduced. Boiler 175 lbs. Driving wheels 6' 9". Simple, reliable engines, heavy on coal - but could withstand being thrashed - which they were. Many were to be re-built with superheaters, and some with extended smokeboxes, smaller bogie wheels and larger cylinders. Indeed some were initailly rebuilt with superheaters and then received the more extensive re-building at a later date.
Forty five square saddle tanks were introduced, conversions from 17" Coal engines.
1905 The first of one hundred and five Whale 'Experiment' Class 4-6-0s are introduced. Boiler 175 lbs. Driving wheels 6' 3". The engines ran poorly uphill, were sluggish on the level but were fast downhill.
The first of six rail-motors was introduced. Cylinders were 9" x 15" and the boiler was pressed to 175 lbs. Driving wheels were 3' 9" diameter.
1906 The first of one hundred and seventy Whale 19" Goods Class 4-6-0s are introduced. Boiler 175 lbs. Driving wheels 5' 2". Compared to the previous year's 'Experiment' class these were very successful engines which were, in addition to their mixed traffic duties, used for piloting work between Carlisle and Shap.
The first of fifty 'Precursor Tank' 4-4-2T engines were introduced. These had 6' 3" driving wheels, 19" x 26" cylinders and a 175 lbs per sq. in boiler. Initially they gave an unsteady ride because of the volume of water in the side-tanks. Once this was cured they were very successful engines, monopolising London suburban services until 1932, when they were replaced by 2-6-4Ts. The last two were scrapped in 1940. Some were at Oxenholme for piloting duties.
1907 The last 'Problem' Class engine, No. 618, Queen Alexandra, was withdrawn.
1908 Special twelve-wheeled stock was introduced for the 2 p.m. 'Corridor' express. These were the first corridor coaches to have entrances only at the vehicle ends.
The first of seventy rebuils of 'Jubilees' and 'Alfreds', into 2-cylinder simple 'Renown' Class engines was undertaken. Rebuilding took place until 1924. All but 10 of these 4-cylinder compounds were re-built. The 'Renowns' had 18" x 24" cylinders and were more powerful, faster and less costly to maintain than their forebears. The last 'Renown' was scrapped in 1931.
1909 George Whale retired and was succeed by C.J. Bowen-Cooke.
The LNWR took control of the North London Railway from January 1st and NLR outside-cylinder 0-6-0 and 4-4-0 standard types became available for use on the LNWR.
Locomotive Exchanges take place in the summer. 'Precursor' No. 7 Titan was pitted against LB&SCR super-heated 'I3' Class No. 23. the 'Precursor' consumed 10% more coal per ton-mile.
No. 510 Albatross competed against GNR Atlantic No. 1449 on the Euston-Crewe route.
No. 412 Marquis took on GNR Atlantic No. 1451 between London and Leeds. It burned 6% more coal.
'Experiment' No. 2630, Buffalo competed against CR No. 903, Cardean, on the Crewe to Carlile route and No. 1405, City of Manchester, was up against CR No. 907 over Beattock between Carlisle and Glasgow.
1910 The first of 90 'George the Fifth' Class of 4-4-0 are introduced, by C.J. Bowen-Cooke. Cylinders are 20" x 26" and the driving wheels are 6' 9". They had a 175 lbs. boiler. Like the 'Precursors' they had Joy's valve gear, but piston valves instead of 'D' slide valves. Of the first 20, half (the 'Queen Mary' Class), were not super-heated. This was for comparison purposes. Upon introduction the 'Georges' displaced the Whale 'Experiments'from top-link duties, but were themselves displaced, from 1926, by Midland Compounds, on account of lower maintenance and running costs.
'Coronation' was the 5000th locomotive built at Crewe Works. This was in 1911.
Forty seven 4-6-2Ts were also introduced. These had 20" x 26" cylinders, a 175 lbs. boiler and 5' 8" driving wheels. The class was powerful, fast running and used on suburban services from London to Bletchley and beyond, in the Manchester area, over the Central Wales line (where they were particularly successful), and later on banking duties at Oxenholme and tebay. The last one was withdrawn in 1941.
More Locomotive Exchanges take place in the summer. 'Experiment' No. 21455, Herefordshire was up against GWR No. 4005, Polar Star between Euston and Crewe and No. 1471, Worcestershire, was against GWR No. 4003, Lode Star on the Torquay Diner and the Cornish Riviera Express.
On the Preston to Carlisle run 'Experiment' No. 1483, Red Gauntlet, was against NBR 'Atlantic', No. 880, Borderer. The former's coal consumption was better to the tune of 13 ibs. per ton mile!
A seventh, more powerful, rail-motor was introduced. This had 11" x 16" cylinders.
1911 The first of two hundred and forty five 'Prince of Wales' Class 4-6-0s introduced. Built over the period 1911 to 1921. Beardmore's built 90 and North British 20. Cylinders are 20" x 26" and the driving wheels are 6' 3". They had a 175 lbs. boiler. All superheated. Joy valve gear. O.S. Nock reports that speeds in excess of 80 m.p.h. are rare but they are consistently fast on the level and most capable uphill. The engines were worked "prodigioulsy hard" and the "response to overloading was magnificent". A lighter axle load than the 'Georges'. Employed on passenger and mixed traffic duties. Ultimately condemend by the LMS because of high maintenance and running costs. One hundred and two members of the class were named. 'Bret Harte', 'Tara', 'Condor' and No. 56 were converted to 'Tishies' in 1923 and 1924 - outside Walschaerts valve gear, for the inside cylinders.
Thirty 0-8-2Ts were introduced for shunting Lancashire yards. Virtually a 'G' Class without a tender. Non-superheated.
1912 Superheated 'G1' Class 0-8-0 introduced. Cylinders are 20" x 24", the driving wheels are 4' 3" and the boiler is pressed to 160 lbs. They have Joy valve gear.
1913 Royal visit to Crewe Works, on April 21st. The locomotive fleet stands at 3,111 including rail-motors.
The first of one hundred and thirty 4-cylinder 'Claughton' Clas 4-6-0s is introduced. These were to be built up until 1921. Cylinders are 16" x 26", driving wheels 6' 9" and the boiler is pressed to 175 lbs. They have Walschaerts valve gear. The drive is to the leading coupled axle. Because of inadequate boiler capacity the cylinders on many engines will be, or will eventually reduced to be, 15". Sixty members of the class receive names. All pass into LMSR ownership. Patriot, built in 1920, eventually receives the number 1914, and becomes the War Memorial engine. It is the first to be fitted with Ross pop saftey valves.
The use of dumb buffers in England and Wales is banned entirely from December 31st.
1914 The outbreak of The Great War.
More LNWR employeess serve than from any other British railway.
1915 'Experiment' Class No. 1361, Prospero, re-built as a 4-cylinder loco. with Dendy-Marshall valve gear, designed to give 4-cylinder propulsion with no more gear than a 2-cylinder engine, even rocking levers being unnecesasry. Cylinders are 14" x 26", the boiler is pressed to 175 lbs, a Schmidt superheater is fitted and the smokebox extended accordingly.
The use of dumb buffers in Scotland is banned entirely from the end of this year.
1918 The end of The Great War.
The LNWR has sent one hundred and eleven engines overseas, eighty five 17" Coal engines and twenty six 'G' Class 0-8-0s. All the 0-8-0s are returned, but only forty three 0-6-0s come back.
The LNWR takes over thirty 2-8-0s.
1920 C.J. Bowen-Cooke is succeeded by H.P.M. Beames.
1921 The first of sixty 'G2' Class 0-8-0s introduced. Cylinders are 20" x 24", driving wheels are 4' 5" and the boiler is pressed to 175 lbs.
1922 The LNWR takes over the L&YR.
H.P.M. Beames is succeeded by George Hughes of the L&YR.
1923 The LNWR is incorporated into the London, Midland & Scottish Railway. George Hughes becomes the CME of the enlarged concern.
Thirty superheated 0-8-4Ts are introduced, to a 1921 design of Capt. Beames. Cylinders are 20" x 24", driving wheels are 4' 5" and the boiler is pressed to 185 lbs. The engines are fitted with Joy's valve gear. They are built for use in the Abergavenny district on heavy freight and passenger duties.
Five 'Tishies' are built - see 1911 for details.
1925 George Hughes is succeeded by Henry Fowler.
'Jumbos' are still in use as main-line pilots.
1926 'Claughton' class, LMSR No. 5908, Alfred Fletcher, is fitted with Caprotti valve gear.
1928 The large boiler is introduced on members of the 'Claughton' class.
1929 The un-named 'Claughton', LMSR No. 5977, is scrapped.
1930 The LMSR introduce the 'Patriot' Class. Nominally forty two 'Claughtons' will be rebuilt as 'Patriots' between 1930 and 1933 (though the reality will be markedly different) with a further ten new engines to follow in 1934 giving a class total of 52 engines. The three cylinders are 18" x 26", driving wheels are 6' 9" and the boiler is pressed to 200 lbs.
1931 Sir Henry Fowler is succeeded as CME by E.J.H. Lemon with H.P.M. Beames as deputy.
1932 E.J.H. Lemon is succeeded as CME by William Stanier.
'Claughtons' 5908, 5912 and 5975 are fitted with Kylala blast pipes.
1934 The last 'Jumbo' in ordinary service, 'Snowdon', is withdrawn in October.
1935 The last non-superheated 'Precursor, 'Moonstone', is withdrawn in April. 'Shakespeare', the last 'Experiment' is scrapped in October and 5984, the last un-rebuilt 'Claughton', is withdrawn in November.
Five 0-8-0s of 'G1' Class are fitted experimentally with a boiler pressed to 175 lbs. and designated 'G2a' Class.

The information in this chronology has been derived from and checked against The Locomotives of the L.N.W.R, by H.F.F. Livesey.