Birmingham New Street Station
LNWR Locomotives: lnwrbns_pg438
View of LNWR 2-2-2-0 Dreadnought class No 2064 'Autocrat' as
it stands on the up middle road between Platforms 2 and 3 waiting to take
forward an incoming train circa 1903. This engine was one of a class of forty
compound locomotives built between 1884 and 1888 all with the unusual feature
of the inside low pressure cylinder driving the forward set of wheels whilst
the outside high-pressure cylinders drove the rear set of wheels. Because the
two sets of driving wheels were not connected by coupling rods the apparent
2-4-0 wheel configuration was in fact the highly unusual 2-2-2-0
The steam from the boiler passed through the high pressure
cylinders and was re-used by passing through the low pressure cylinders.
Engines utilising steam twice in providing power were described as compounds.
The lack of coupling rods between the wheels was rare and legend has it that
because the two sets of cylinders and wheels were independent of each other it
wasn't unknown when locomotives started away to see one set rotate forward and
the other set rotate backwards. Reality is that there were few instances
recorded of this ever happening.