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LMS Route: Water Orton to Walsall

Penns Station: mrp1145

Ex-LNWR 7F G2a 0-8-0 No 49210 trundles through Penns station on a north bound freight on 5th September 1959

Ex-LNWR 7F G2a 0-8-0 No 49210 trundles through Penns station on a north bound freight on 5th September 1959. Built as LNWR No 787 by Crewe works in July 1913 No 49210 remained in service until October 1961 when it was withdrawn from 9D Buxton shed. From the outset this class were considered impressive and underwent various rebuilds and evolved into three distinct sub-classes, but all were known by railwaymen as ‘Super Ds’, a title that is worthy of explanation. The term originally referred to a class of 62 engines that were, in fact, rebuilds from an earlier Francis W Webb three-cylinder design but had larger boilers. Between 1923 and 1927 these locomotives were rebuilt, becoming the G1 type. At that period in time, enginemen had become used to calling every 0-8-0 engine with a large boiler a ‘D’. After 1912, the practice of using superheating in boiler design gave rise to the term ‘Super’, hence these large-boilered 0-8-0s all became known as ‘Super Ds’. Steam created in the boiler at a specified pressure and temperature is known as saturated steam, as it is in contact with the water. Basically the principle involves passing the saturated steam through a series of heater elements situated in the boiler's large flue tubes.

The resultant steam when fed to the cylinders is hotter, drier and, as a result, has greater expansive qualities, thus producing more power. The ‘Super D’ earned the reputation of being a very vocal locomotive and they could be heard miles away with their ‘two-loud-then-two-gentle’ exhaust beats, with the second of the loud beats being noticeably louder than the first. In addition, the distinctive wheeze attributed to the type of Joy valve gear used on these engines, in conjunction with the constant ringing of the side rods, reportedly made them audibly unique even when they were not working flat-out. The combined class gave great service and, although withdrawal from traffic started in 1947, several engines earned a reprieve and were, in fact, given heavy overhauls owing to a shortage of freight engines in the period immediately after the Second World War. The last five to work were still allocated to the engine sheds at Bescot (21B) and Bushbury (21C) in 1964. Only one locomotive survived into preservation and that example is No 49395. It is a G2, which was built in 1921 and retired from Buxton depot in the late 1950s. It is part of the National Collection. Courtesy Keith Langston of Heritage Now