LMS Route: Rugby to Tamworth
Tamworth Station: lnwr_tam1258
A pair of unidentified LNWR 2-2-2-0 Webb Compound
locomotives are seen at the head of an up express service as the train enters
Tamworth station circa 1903. Webb's first three-cylinder compound express
locomotive was brought out in 1882 and called the "Experiment." This engine had
two outside high-pressure cylinders 11½ inch by 24 inch and one inside
low-pressure cylinder 26 inch by 24 inch. The driving wheels had a 6 ft.
7½ inch diameter and the weight of the engine and tender, in working
order, was 62 tons 15 cwt.
Webb's compound locomotives were considered by many
contemporaries as being a poor design as the two large driving wheels were
unconnected and therefore the power was not spread over the four driving
wheels. In the late 19th century the prevailing school of thought was that
uncoupled driving wheels would run freer than coupled driving wheels so the
single drivers were initially popular which gives credence behind Webb's
However mythology over his design soon took over and it was
stated that when starting it was possible for one set of driving wheels to turn
forwards whilst the other set of driving wheels turned backwards. The use of an
iron bar to 'push' the wheel in the right direction was said to be a common
sight. Much of this mythology appears to be false however they were not a
successful design insofar that they were complex pieces of engineering that did
not warrant the costs for the benefit (lower fuel costs) obtained.