Resource Type: Image | Posted on 25th November 2011 by Liam Physick

Here we see a photograph of the London, Midland and Scottish Railway’s No. 5690 Leander. The Leander is a 4-6-0 tender locomotive belonging to the LMS’s Jubilee Class, built by William Stanier (later Sir William) primarily for main-line passenger services. 191 of these locomotives, numbered from 5552 to 5742, were built between 1934 and 1936: the Leander was built in March 1936 at Crewe, and named after HMS Leander, which was in turn named after the legendary Greek hero of the same name. Initially, it was based at Crewe running shed to haul semi-fast expresses between London and Glasgow and some fast goods trains on the West Coast Main Line. The first five Jubilees were the last five locomotives in Henry Fowler’s Patriot Class, which were built with Stanier’s taper boiler, as well as a revised cab and tender. Initially the Class was called Red Stanier locomotives due to their crimson livery, as distinct from the Black Staniers (the LMS’s Black Five Stanier Class, built at the same time): the name “Jubilee Class” came about after the first to be built, No. 5552, swapped identities on 29th April 1935 with No. 5642, which 10 days earlier had been named “Silver Jubilee” in honour of the Silver Jubilee of King George V on 6th May that same year. The Jubilees were a direct development of Fowler’s parallel boiler locomotives. At first they were a disappointment, as their inadequate degree of superheating often caused them to be short of steam: however, this problem was rectified by changes to the blastpipe and chimney dimensions, though they were never as fast as some other express locomotives. In September 1947, the Leander was transferred to Bristol Barrow Road and used to pull cross-country trains trains between Birmingham, Bristol, Sheffield and York. Following nationalisation in 1948, all Jubilee Class locomotives had the number 4 placed in front of their LMS numbers, following British Railways’ usual practice with ex-LMS locomotives: thus the Leander became No. 45690. In 1952, No. 45637 Windward Islands was scrapped following damage in the Harrow and Wealdstone rail crash on 8th October, in which three trains (one of them double-headed by the Windward Islands and No. 46202 Princess Anne, a Princess Royal Class locomotive) collided at Harrow and Wealdstone station, killing 112 people and injuring 340, in England’s worst railway disaster and the worst-ever peacetime crash in Great Britain (the all-time worst occurred at Quintshill, Scotland, in 1915, with 226 deaths and 246 injuries). Despite this, the Jubilee Class generally had a good safety record. The other 190 Jubilee locomotives were withdrawn from service between September 1960 (No. 45609 Gilbert And Ellice Islands) and November 1967 (No. 45562 Alberta). The Leander pulled a number of special trains in different parts of the country in 1962 and 1963, as steam traction on BR came to an end, and was withdrawn in March 1964 and joined the lines of scrap engines at Barrow Road. In July it was sold to Barry scrapyward in south Wales. In May 1972, it was rescued by Brian Oliver of Oliver, Taylor and Crossley Ltd. and overhauled over six months by the Leander Locomotive Society at BR’s Derby Works in 1973: it was the last steam locomotive to emerge from those works. Based in the former Great Central Railway single-road shed at the Dinting Railway Museum in Glossop, it pulled a number of main-line trains following its overhaul. In 1978, Oliver, Taylor and Crossley went into liquidation and the Leander fell into the ownership of Agfa Gevaert, the company’s major creditor, before being bought by Bill Ford and David Clarke. Ford and Clarke planned to run the Leander on the Great Central Railway, of which Ford was the chairman, on a commercial basis, with the GCR and the locomotives’ owners sharing the profits, but the GCR board rejected the idea and so the engine had to be run on the main line. In February 1979, it was moved to the Steamtown depot at Carnforth, Lancashire, and ran on main-line tours for the next seven years. It was then purchased by the Severn Valley Railway, following the expiry of its main-line ticket: after briefly running both on that line and on the North York Moors Railway, it was sold to Dr. Peter Beet, whose family still owns it, and restored to working order on the East Lancashire Railway. Now it is operated by the West Coast Railway Company, a railway spot-hire company and charter train operator based at the former Steamtown depot, that provides rolling stock and crews to other companies and runs charter trains, many steam-hauled, throughout the year: it is Britain’s main operator of special trains. The Leander has run both on the main line and at various railway galas on heritage railways since being returned to steam in October 2002 following an overhaul at Carnforth. Currently, it is out of action, undergoing a 10-year overhaul. Three Jubilee locomotives besides the Leander jhave been preserved: No. 45593 Kolhapur, No. 5596 Bahamas and No. 5699 Galatea. The Kolhapur and the Bahamas, like the Leander, have both been run in preservation and are currently awaiting overhaul at Tyseley Locomotive Works in Birmingham and the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway respectively, while the Galatea, like the Leander, was saved from Barry scrapyard by Brian Oliver, to provide a spare boiler for its sister locomotive, and is now being rebuilt by the West Coast Railway Company: in particular it needs a new set of driving wheels after one was cut up while the locomotive was in Barry.


Tagged under: steam locomotives, rocket 150, goods, british rail, passengers, freight, grand cavalcade, heritage railways, london midland and scottish railway, harrow and wealdstone crash

Categorised under: Landmarks, Landscapes & Locomotives

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