Mystery Number 68
– supplied by Ted Talbot and John Stockton-Wood
Information is sought about the loco and the year. Note the odd fittings (whistle, tender railings and what is the pipe running from the boiler, and so on). The origional comes from the N. Reid collection. The name of the loco is known (though not provided).
|Philip Millard — 11-Jan-2008 6.36 PM|
To start the ball rolling, this appears to be a 'Samson' class 2-4-0 which has had its cabside Engineer XXX nameplates removed. Several of this class were assigned to engineer's saloons in the 1897-1903 period.
The loco on the right is a 'Precursor' 4-4-2T. As a fairly wild guess, the loco is Engineer Manchester, formerly no.631 'Hotspur' which became Engineer Manchester in 11/01 and was withdrawn in 6/14. My guess is that the photo shows this engine at Longsight at that date after it had been replaced by the 'Waterloo' class 2-4-0 'Sphynx'.
But it could be one of the others, which were mostly withdrawn in the early 1920s.
|David Patrick — 21-Jan-2008 11.40 AM|
The loco is, as Phillip says, a 'Samson' class. The non-standard fittings referred to, however, are, except for the whistle, explainable.
The whistle does seem to be taller than the normal LNW fitting, and it would be interesting to know if it emitted the standard LNW screech. The coal rails are standard for all tenders for the date in question (post- Whale) beng fitted from September 1895. The pipe from the boiler would appear to be a trick of the light. I think what is being referred to is the edge of the supporting saddle visible behind the reversing arm.
|Ted Talbot — 26-Jan-2008 12.00 AM|
The engine is a 'Samson' used by the Engineer's Department. On the left is a Cooke tender with straight-topped springs, which does not help a lot with the date as they were introduced in 1911. On the right is not a 'Precursor Tank', the bunkers of which had three coal rails round the top, steps up the back and handrails, but an 0-8-2 tank, with two coal rails and built-up water filler, a feature probably introduced towards the end of the Great War.
The 'Samson' has lost its Engineer's Department plate, which seems to have been a single-row plate (such as Engineer, Engineer Bangor and Engineer Crewe), but as the plate also seems to have been short, it is likely to have been Engineer.
Baxter lists these Engineer's Department engines in Part 2A, pages 119 and 120, and gives dates of when they were transferred to "Spare Engine", which presumably meant they lost their plates and had no means of identification, as here, until new ones were fitted on re-allocation. So perhaps the most likely candidate is what was originally no. 885 Vampire, which became Engineer in May 1897, became "Spare Engine" in 1923, losing its plates, and was scrapped in 1925 - that is, dating the picture as 1923-5.
But another possibility is no. 1166 Wyre, which became Engineer Bangor in January 1902 and was withdrawn in 1923. No. 2157 Unicorn became "Spare Engine" in November 1905 and was scrapped in 1923 but as it never carried a plate, cannot be the engine in the picture. See plates 189 and 190 in An Illustrated History of LNWR Engines.
Another mystery concerns the whistle, which does not seem to be the usual LNWR shape. But one puzzle which would face any modeller intending to build an Engineer's Department 'Samson' - what to put on the tender number plate - can be answered. Just as engines transferred out of the capital list lost their numbers when transferred, so did their tenders, which had plates showing "L.N.W.R./ENG. DEPT." in two lines as on normal tender numberplates, the lettering being in the same ornate style as "L. N. W. R." on normal plates. This is shown in the records of Eric Hannan, an indefatigable recorder from the 1920s onwards.
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