BR 2-8-0 Class O1 – Late BR (R3227)
The Thompson Class O1 locomotive was introduced in 1944 as a re-build of the Great Central Railway (GCR) Class 8K 2-8-0 heavy freight locomotive, designed by John George Robinson in 1911. Robinson was Chief Mechanical Engineer (CME) of the GCR Gorton Works, Manchester from 1902 until Nigel Gresley succeeded him in 1922.
The 2-8-0 configuration quickly became the standard for heavy freight steam locomotives in the early part of the 20th Century. A total of 521 Class 8K locomotives were built, 130 at GCR Gorton Works, Manchester and the remainder built by other companies. The Class was adopted by the Railways Operating Department during WWI for use in Europe.
In 1923 the GCR was merged with the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway to form the London & North Eastern Railway (LNER) and the locomotive was re-classified as LNER Class O4.
Following the sudden death of Sir Nigel Gresley in 1941, Edward Thompson was appointed as CME to the LNER where he immediately started a badly needed programme of reform and standardisation, discarding many of his predecessor’s designs and methods.
Due to wartime restrictions on the building of new locomotives it was decided to rebuild some of the Class O4s to meet the need for heavy freight locomotives. A total of 58 were rebuilt between 1944 and 1949, and re-classified as Thompson Class O1, the last being number 63856 in October 1949 for the newly nationalised British Railways (BR).
The main modifications to the original GCR Class 8K design was the incorporation of a standard LNER 100A boiler, Walschaerts valve gear and new cylinders. It weighed 73 tons 6 cwt, plus a tender of 48 tons 6 cwt.
The locomotives passed to BR Eastern and North Eastern Regions on the 1st January 1948 and were given BR running numbers in the range of 63570–63920. However, this range included many unrebuilt O4s. The withdrawal of the Class began in the late 1950s, with the final withdrawals in April 1966 being from the Doncaster area.
The locomotive represented in this pack, commenced service as ROD No.1625 in June 1918, becoming a Robinson Class O4 No. 6359 in February 1924. Rebuilt as a Thompson Class O1 in June 1945 and numbered as No. 3663 in November 1946. On passing to BR in 1948 it was re-numbered yet again as 63663 and was finally withdrawn from service in November 1964.
OO Gauge (1:76 Scale)