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Ex-LNWR 4-6-0 No 2340 'Tara' seen on 4th June 1924 carrying the nameplate the 'Prince of Wales'

Ex-LNWR 4-6-0 No 2340 'Tara' seen on 4th June 1924 carrying the nameplate the 'Prince of Wales'. Its not known why No 2340 was carrying the name plate 'Prince of Wales' as it was due to be fitted to ex-LNWR 4-6-0 'Prince of Wales class' No 5845 for display at the Wembley Exhibition. Harry Jack of the LNWR Society writes 'LNWR No 2340 (Crewe motion No 5326, built April 1916) was named 'Tara' before and after this photograph was taken, so it is a bit of a mystery as to why it should have been photographed (just after rebuilding with outside valve gear) on 4th June 1924, with the nameplate later fitted to the Wembley Exhibition engine LMS No 5845. Ted Talbot's book "An Illustrated History of LNWR Engines" has a broadside photo of No 2340 taken at the same time as the above photograph (plate 485). It looks like No 5845's nameplate, which was different in detail from that on the first of the class No 819, but maybe it's a fake put on just for the photograph. (When did the Wembley Exhibition open? When did No 5845 first appear there? Did it have its nameplate from its first appearance? The engine is mentioned in the Railway Magazine of June 1924 as being exhibited at Wembley by Beardmore & Co, but no mention of a nameplate. More research needed!) I can only guess why these photos were taken - maybe LMS publicity shots when No 8545 wasn't available? More later, perhaps'.

The locomotive No 2340 was one of five outside valve-gear engines which were nicknamed after a racehorse, "Tishy", which (apparently) had a disastrous habit of getting its forelegs crossed during races. It is assumed this nickname was derived from the action of the 'crossed rods' of the outside Walschaerts gear. Only one major alteration was made to this class, and although arranged by Beames in the final months of the LNWR, it was not implemented until after the Grouping. Instead of the normal Joy valve motion between the frames, Walschaerts gear outside the frames was provided to operate the inside cylinders. That new motion required the running plate to be raised for most of its length. Engines No 964 and No 867 were so rebuilt in March 1923, followed by No 56 in March, and No 2340 in April 1924. An interesting new detail on No 964 was a combined socket and lamp iron for those above the buffer beam, but socket only, on top of the smokebox. All were changed to LMS lamp irons throughout in 1925, when No 964 (retaining that number and unlined black) was also altered to Belpaire firebox, although it reverted to round-top at its next general repair. None of these four changed from LNWR to LMS number before September 1926.

The final engine built to LNWR design was a Prince of Wales class with outside Walschaerts valve gear, ordered by the LMS, and completed by Beardmore in February 1924. Painted red, with emblem on cab side, and numbered No 5845 it was fitted with 'Prince of Wales' nameplates (new ones - not those from LNWR No 819) whilst displayed on the Beardmore stand in the British Empire Exhibition at Wembley, open from 23rd April to 1st November 1924. Later that month, the LMS added it to stock, when the new name-plates were removed, and it was then nameless to withdrawal. To avoid duplication, No 819's nameplates were taken off in 1924, but were restored in November 1924 when out from repair, and renumbered No 5600. No 5845 was built with Belpaire firebox, on which were pop safety valves, but in 1933-35 carried a boiler with round-top firebox, actually one of the 1911 type with only two washout plugs, although its Ramsbottom valves had been changed to pops. Whilst on exhibition at Wembley, No 5845's buffer beam lamp irons were standard LMS type, but curiously, that on smokebox top was an LNWR socket, changed later by Crewe to an iron. In January 1935 the number was changed to No 25845, and it was not withdrawn until November 1947, the other four with Walschaerts gear having all gone by December 1936.

Jim of LMS 2968 fame wrote on National Preservation Steam Traction Forum 'I've now had a look in Willie Yeadon's "A Compendium of LNWR Locomotives 1912 - 1949 Pt 1" (Challenger Publications 1995, ISBN 1 899624 01 5). He states: Only one major alteration was made to this class, and although arranged by Beames in the final months of the LNWR, it was not implemented until after the Grouping. Instead of the normal Joy valve motion between the frames, Walschaerts gear outside the frames was provided to operate the inside cylinders. This new motion required the running plate to be raised for most of its length. Engines No 964 and No 867 were so rebuilt in March 1923, followed by No 56 in March, and No 2340 in April 1924.

An interesting new detail on No 964 was a combined socket and lamp iron for those above the buffer beam, but socket only, on top of the smokebox. All were changed to LMS lamp irons throughout in 1925, when No 964 (retaining that number and unlined black) was also altered to Belpaire firebox, although it reverted to round-top at its next general repair. None of these four changed from LNWR to LMS number before September 1926. The final engine built to LNWR design was a Prince of Wales class with outside Walschaerts valve gear, ordered by the LMS, and completed by Beardmore in February 1924. Painted red, with emblem on cab side, and numbered 5845 it was fitted with PRINCE OF WALES nameplates (new ones - not those from LNWR No 819) whilst displayed on the Beardmore stand in the British Empire Exhibition at Wembley, open from 23rd April to 1st November 1924.

Later that month, the LMS added it to stock, when the new name-plates were removed, and it was then nameless to withdrawal. To avoid duplication, No 819's nameplates were taken off in 1924, but were restored in November 1924 when out from repair, and renumbered No 5600. No 5845 was built with Belpaire firebox, on which were pop safety valves, but in 1933-35 carried a boiler with round-top firebox, actually one of the 1911 type with only two washout plugs, although its Ramsbottom valves had been changed to pops. Whilst on exhibition at Wembley, No 5845's buffer beam lamp irons were standard LMS type, but curiously, that on smokebox top was an LNWR socket, changed later by Crewe to an iron. In January 1935 the number was changed to No 25845, and it was not withdrawn until November 1947, the other four with Walschaerts gear having all gone by December 1936. The text doesn't mention anywhere about No 2340 (later LMS No 5688) carrying PoW nameplates though. And of course, it wasn't this engine that was exhibited at Wembley but the Beardmore built one (Feb 1924) - LMS No 5845.

Photographer Henry L Salmon

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