Chris Aspinwall on NCC locomotive design (e-mail in response to steamindex website)
I wish to correct a red herring which is persistently sold in respect of
the NCC U2 Class of locomotive. It is NOT based on the Midland 2P.
The NCC commenced a locomotive and coaching stock renewal programme under William Kelly Wallace after the Railway Settlement Act (Ireland) 1921. Wallace, a civil engineer, was put in charge of locomotive matters, after the retirement of locomotive engineer Bowman Malcolm. Wallace would go on to be appointed Chief Civil Engineer of the LMSR and sit on the Board at Euston. Valentine Wood, another NCC railwayman and accountant, would be appointed Vice President of the LMSR.
The locomotive renewal programme's aim was to replace the existing large number of small engines which were under powered to meet traffic needs, of larger 57 foot modern bogie carriages. The NCC after the railway settlement in 1921, still had a large amount of 6 wheel stock, and the renewal programme began in earnest in 1924 with the U1 class 4-4-0, and new 57 foot bogie carriages at York Road. These locomotives were ostensibly rebuilds but only the frames, motion and wheels were used. The cylinder castings were obtained from Derby and were those used in the earlier MRNCC U Class. The boiler was a Midland RG7 which required the boiler centre line to be raised, so the frames had parts welded on at the smokebox saddle. The styling was now pure Midland, and the existing 6 foot driving wheel size was retained. The Crewe style cab of the BNCR and MRNCC was set to disappear in the course of the renewal programme. The locomotives had Walschaerts valve gear. The BNCR was the first UK railway to use these valve gears in the 19th Century. The locomotive styling was pure Midland under the renewal programme, which stayed in place until 1940 and put in abeyance for the course of the war.
The U2 Class were never build at Derby and Radford is completely wrong on this. Familiarity with NCC locomotives would have meant this falsehood would never have been put into print. The U2 class were designed at Derby, but were built by the North British in Glasgow. Number 74 Dunluce Castle, currently in the Ulster Folk & Transport Museum has it's North British maker's plate still afixed. An additional three U2 locomotives were complete new builds at York Road, the remainder of the class, all being rebuilds under the renewal programme.The drawings for the U2 available from the North British Archive at Glasgow University, clearly denote 'Designed Derby'. The class was an improved U, not a 2P. The NCC also had an RG7AS boiler designed and built at Derby, which had a wider firebox taking advantage of the wider locomotive frames.
The NCC renewal programme also created the A1 class and B3 class 4-4-0s which used the same cylinder castings, but a Midland RG6 boiler. The formula was the same of re-using frames, motion and wheels.
The renewal programme provided for the building of bogie coaches. The NCC began building the two compartment open thirds of Diagram J4 in 1924. The workshops did not have the capacity to produce all that was needed, so 30 coaches were supplied by Derby to six Diagrams. the coaches were alotted LMS Diagram numbers, the designs mainly being existing Midland Railway diagrams widened for the NCC loading gauge.
Bill Scott's book is good, but is fatally flawed, in that he didn't reference any primary sources, or list any bibliography. Bill also perpetuated the shibboleth about Stewart resigning over Malcolm Speir's choice of 2-6-0 instead of Stewart's proposal. I have listened to this myth for decades. The facts are that Major Speir as the NCC General Manager had to attend the LMS Board Meeting at Euston. He was not a member of the Board. He brought forward Stewart's proposal for a 4-4-0, but Stanier was a board member, two NCC railwaymen were now members of that board and present. After discussion, Stanier proposed a 2-6-0 mixed traffic locomotive, and his suggestion was adopted. The decision about the style of locomotive had nothing to do with Major Speir. It was the LMS Board's decision. The outline proposal for the locomotive was forwarded to Major Speir by Stanier's assistant Symes. This primary documentation was available in the Public Record Office for Northern Ireland, Belfast. I doubt the only people who bothered to trawl the files were the late Russell Currie and myself.
Again you cite Middlemas as a definitive source. He isn't, his books were riddled with errors. A problem of using and citing secondary sources.
The Irish Railway Record Society has been in existence since the late 1940s, growing out of a newsletter that was circulated before the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939. Your conclusions on that it only covers recent developments is wrong as it has covered various aspects of Irish railways and their history in detail, never covered in the UK railway press. The Society also holds a substantial archive of documents and artifacts.
Another publication, which was typed foolscap, was the Irish Railfan's News which covered a lot of new developments and the destruction of the railways in the post WW2 era. It ceased publication in the early 1970s.
The above information is not offered as any form of criticism, but to try and correct the historical record. All of my information has been gleaned from primary sources or from railwaymen who have since passed away.
Locomotives of the LMS NCC and its predecessors.
Newtownards: Colourpoint, 2008. 192pp. Bibliog.