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LMS Route: Trent Valley Line

LMS Route: Nuneaton to Leamington

Nuneaton Station: lnwrns1634

LNWR 2-2-2 Problem class No 1 'Saracen' is seen standing at Nuneaton station's original platform three on a North bound local service

LNWR 2-2-2 Problem class No 1 'Saracen' is seen standing at Nuneaton station's original platform three on a North bound local stopping service circa 1904. This class, designed by John Ramsbottom who became locomotive Superintendent of the LNWR Northern Division (lines north of Rugby) based at Crewe, was also known as the 'Lady of the Lake' class and sixty were built between 1859 and 1865. In the middle of the 19th century it was standard railway design practice to use only one set of driving wheels as it was felt this would provide better freer running that coupled wheels and the use of very large diameter wheels were employed to reduce piston speeds. The increased loads of trains required more powerful locomotives to be employed and the advent of a 2-4-0 configuration was initiated. The use of sanding to aid grip on the rails when starting or during wet weather led to an Indian summer for the single driver design and prolonged their use until it was eventually realised that coupled wheels, initially of 4-4-0/4-4-2 and then later 4-6-0/4-6-2 configuration, could be used without impacting on the ability of the locomotive to run at speed.

Peter Davis writes, 'All 60 of the class were rebuilt 1895-9 mainly for use as pilot engines for heavy expresses. Saracen is seen here in wintertime heading a down Trent Valley stopping passenger train (not an express). The engine was allocated to Stafford shed in the 1902-05 period finally moving to Coleham shed, Shrewsbury from where it was withdrawn from service in June 1907. The date is more likely to be 1903 or 04, no later as the engine still carries the second (redundant) brake whistle and the tender the redundant davits to support the obsolete communication cord. By the way the location cannot be Nuneaton as there are only two sidings in the background as well as a water tower. The corresponding situation at Nuneaton would show no water tower and countless sidings and an urban, rather than rural, background. I have a cropped version of this photo stamped R.S.Carpenter Photos Neg. No. 153E and handwritten notes by Roger C. 1 Saracen Problem Class Stafford local Lichfield Trent Valley c.1904.'