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LMS Route: Trent Valley Line

LMS Route: Nuneaton to Leamington

Nuneaton Station: lnwrns3264

LNWR 2-2-2-2 Greater Britain Class No 525 'Princess May' stands with a down express service at Nuneaton circa 1900

LNWR 2-2-2-2 Greater Britain Class No 525 'Princess May' stands with a down express service at Nuneaton circa 1900. The Class of ten Compound locomotives were built commencing 1891 and had three cylinders, two outer cylinders of 15 inch diameter and one internal cylinder of 30 inch diameter. The outer cylinders drove the second set of 7 foot 1 inch driving wheels whilst the inner cylinder drove the first set of driving wheels. Because the two sets of drivers were not connected this could, on starting, result in one pair of drivers turning in the opposite direction to the other pair. The Class were followed by ten members of the 'John Hick' Class which were of the same configuration but fitted with 6 foot 3 inch driving wheels. The 'Greater Britain' Class locomotives were distinguishable from the smaller 'John Hicks' Class by the noticeably larger wheels and by the presence of a pair of rectangular access (lubricating) slots in the horizontal component of the splasher.

Peter Lee, the notable Nuneaton Historian, writes 'I have shown this photo around at the LNWR Society Crewe Dinner and Peter Davies the expert on Webb Compounds says that 'Greater Britain Class' No 525 'Princess May' must have been photographed between 1904 when the Capuchon was applied to the chimney and when it was withdrawn prior to scrapping in September 1906. He thinks from the style of photo, the quality etc., date etc. the original photographer might have been Henry Shefford, although he could not be certain. Another outside possibility might be Percy Coleman, the local newspaper owner, who took the photos which went with his article on Nuneaton as a railway junction which appeared in the Railway Magazine circa 1917 (from memory). Percy was known to be a great railway enthusiast and had a model railway as well which would have been very early for a Nuneatonian at that date. He was around Nuneaton as well in 1904-1906. But again that is pure speculation.