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LMS Route: Rugby to Tamworth

Tamworth Station: lnwr_tam3650

An unidentified ex-L&Y Hughes designed 4-6-0 locomotive passes Tamworth Water Tower on a down express service

An unidentified ex-L&Y Hughes designed 4-6-0 'Dreadnoght' class locomotive passes Tamworth Water Tower on a down express service. For a short period of time L&Y Dreadnoughts operated on the West Coast as the LNWR and LMS searched for a locomotive both powerful and economic enough to haul the heavy loads. However the Dreadnought wasn't as good as the LNWR's Claughton class so this experiment did not last long. In their original form the locomotives were described as 'poor performers' suffering coal consumption as high as 100 pounds per mile which together with numerous mechanical problems caused very poor reliability. Around the time of their construction, they were nicknamed 'Dreadnoughts' on account of their large size, after the then new Royal Navy battleship HMS Dreadnought. As designed, they were fitted with a saturated boiler, slides valves and Joy valve gear. In 1919–20, fifteen were rebuilt with superheaters, piston valves, Walschaerts valve gear and slightly larger cylinders. The nominal tractive effort of the rebuilds was 28,879 lbf which made these engines for a time (at least on paper) the most powerful in Great Britain until 1922 when the Gresley Pacifics appeared. The rebuilt locomotives were reported to be 'a good workmanlike engine' and 'an engine thoroughly master of its work' although still with a coal consumption much too heavy.

The L&Y and LNWR had in fact merged one year before grouping combining on 1st January 1922. The LNWR's CME was Hewitt Pearson Montague Beames having only just taken over following the sudden death of Charles Bowen Cooke who had been in post since 1909 until his death in 1920. However George Hughes had been the L&Y CME since 1904 and as seniority was the driver of promotion, it was the latter who became CME of the LMS as he was also senior to the Midland Railway's CME Henry Fowler.