Friday, 15 February 2008

Coal Tank

Shortly after a discussion at Stafford Model Railway Exhibition 2008 about the dimensions of the L.&N.W.R. fabricated chimney used on the famous 'Coal Tanks', I came across a drawing of the class in the September 1947 issue of 'The Model Railway Constructor'. Mr. G. H. Platt had written the article (one of a series) and Mr. J. K. Nelson had traced the original drawing, loaned by Mr. J. P. Richards, to allow publication. The principal dimensions quoted in the article are given below:-

Coupled wheels: 4 ft. 5-1/2 ins. diameter.
Trailing wheels: 3 ft. 9 ins. diameter.
Wheelbase: 7 ft. 3 ins. plus 8 ft. 3 ins. with a further 5 ft. 9 ins. to the trailing axle.
Frame overhang:
- front: 4 ft. 5 ins.
- rear: 3 ft. 1 in.
- 7 ft. 6-1/2 ins. over buffer planks
- 7 ft. 0 ins. over footplate
- 6 ft. 8-1/2 ins. over tanks
- 6 ft. 7-3/4 ins. over cab sides.
- 4 ft. 0-1/4 in. to top of footplate
- 6 ft. 10-3/4 ins. to boiler centreline
- 10 ft. 7-3/8 ins. to cab eaves
- 11 ft. 0-1/2 in. to top of cab.
Radius of cab roof: 10 ft 8 ins.
Length of cab roof: 6 ft. 1 in.
Boiler diameter (over cleading): 4 ft. 6 ins.
Smokebox diameter: 4 ft. 8 ins.
Length of smokebox: 2 ft. 8 ins.
Chimney: 3 ft. 9 ins. long, placed 1 ft. 3-1/2 ins. from front of smokebox.
Height of buffers: 3 foot 4-3/8 ins.

The 1 inch frame plates were 4 foot 2 inches apart.
The wooden buffer planks were 1 foot 3 inches deep and 6-1/4 inches thick (including a steel facing plate).

The cab floor was at two levels - in the centre at running plate level but either side raised above the substantial rectangular balance pipes which connected the side tanks to the bunker water space.

Webb was a great believer in standardisation and the 'Coal Tanks' are a variation on his 0-6-0 tender engine - the 'Coal Engine' which was made in large numbers and contributed significantly to the consistent dividends paid to shareholders of the 'Premier Line'.

I've always had a soft spot for anything from the "Nor-Wessie" and I remember, back in the '50s, when the station pilot at Birmingham New Street was invariably a 'Coal Tank'. In my wildest dreams, I never imagined I'd one day actually drive a coal tank on a passenger train but, much later, it came to pass.