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DONCASTER WORKS

 

PART  1  -  STIRLING  PRACTICE 

 (1866-95)

 

First a few words on the engine numbering system, which by the time of Stirling’s death gave the impression of utter chaos.  When Stirling (1820-95) took over from Sturrock (1816-1909) at the close of 1866, the engines were numbered in orderly blocks, but his system of replacing older engines with new engines in a random fashion, soon put an end to that.  For example, the first 105 engines built at Doncaster were charged as renewals, replacing earlier engines and therefore taking random positions in the stock list.  In the meantime, twenty 0-6-0 from John Fowler were numbered 474-93, following on after the two 0-8-0T Nos. 472/73.

 

Stirling renewed his predecessor’s engines as and when required, fitting new frames and new domeless boilers.  Some renewals were in all respects entirely new engines, which simply took over the same running numbers as the engine they renewed.  The distinction, as a general rule, was that if the engine had a Doncaster Works number, then it was really a new engine. However there were 4 cases of hefty rebuilding where works numbers were allocated.

 

Works No.

Engine No.

 Date

101

43

1873

103

10

1873

139

20

1874

142

42

1874

 

Thereafter new engines were treated either as replacements of Sturrock engines, taking random numbers below 400, or charged to capital account and numbered at the upper end of the stock list.  Thus gradually the numbers at the lower end became more and more mixed.

 

There was some form of system to the allocating of numbers to new engines, suggesting that when authority was granted for a batch of engines, their numbers were then allocated at the end of the list.  According to priorities, the engines themselves tended to appear in a random order, intermingled as ever with the renewal engines.  Thus the first 50 new engines from Doncaster (as distinct from renewals) were ordered in 9 batches.  There is no evidence of the Works issuing Order Numbers, and the term Batch is used for illustrative purposes only and has no official basis.  Between Batches 9 and 10 came two orders placed with contractors (for new 0-4-2 engines.)  The following lists these batches.

 

 

Doncaster Batch

Engine Nos.

Type Period over which built
1 501-03 0-4-2ST 9-12/1876
2 504-07 0-4-4T 9/1873-4/1874
3 508-09 0-4-2 8-10/1873
4 510-17 0-4-4T 2-12/1874
5 518-27 0-4-2 2/1875-4/1876
6 528-33 0-4-4T 7/1875-4/1876
7 534-39 0-4-2 4-9/1876
8 540-43 2-4-0 11/1875-2/1876
9 544-50 4-2-2 12/1877-12-1878
(Sharp Stewart) (551-80) (0-4-2) (12/1875-12/1876)
(Kitson) (581-600) (0-4-2) (4-7/1876)
10 601-03 0-6-0ST 9-12/1875
11 604-05 0-6-0ST 8/1875
12 606-20 0-6-0ST 10/1876-5/1879

 

The 1st batch (0-4-2ST) was of such low priority that the engines did not appear until the 7th batch was almost complete and a start had been made on the 12th batch. The completion dates around late-1876 of new and renewed engines were:

  

Works No. Engine No. Batch Completed Remarks
207 538 7 24/7/1876 New
208 501 1 6/9/1876 New
209 502 1 3/8/1876 New
210 537 7 24/8/1876 New
211 539 7 9/9/1876 New
212 221   29/7/1876 Renewal
213 606 12 26/10/1876 New
214 607 12 9/12/1876 New
215 94   9/10/1876 Renewal
216 503 1 30/12/1876 New

 

So new engines were not necessarily completed in correct running number sequence, e.g. Engine No. 538 appeared before 537, nor did they always appear in works number sequence, e.g. Works No. 209 appeared before 208, and certainly did not appear in Batch order.

 

From 1884 a certain amount of order was introduced into the hitherto haphazard method of simply placing new engines (as distinct from renewals) at the upper end of the list.  Instead, neat blocks of ten numbers (or multiples thereof) were allocated to a particular type, though this may have simply been a fortuitous by-product of wherever possible ordering engines in multiples of ten.

 

Number Block

 Type

Period built

 Remarks

751-60

2-4-0

 3/1884- 6/1887

 

761-70

0-4-4T

11/1884- 6/1890

 

771-80

4-2-2

11/1884-11/1887

779/80 used for 0-6-0ST instead, 6/1887

781-90

0-6-0ST

 4/1885-1/1887

 

791-800

0-6-0

 4/1886-11/1886

 

801-10

0-6-0ST

 2/1888-4/1891

 

811-20

2-4-0

 2/1889-12/1889

 

821-30

0-4-4T

 7/1890-5/1891

 

831-50

0-6-0

12/1890-4/1892

 

851-60

0-6-0ST

 5/1891-4/1892

 

861-70

2-4-0

 4/1891-10/1892

 

871-80

2-2-2

 1/1892-6/1894

 

881-900

2-4-0

 7/1892-4/1894

 

901-30

0-6-0ST

10/1891-6/1893

Contractor-built engines

931-50

0-4-4T

12/1892-10/1895

Only 931-44 used

951-60

0-4-2

 8/1891-9/1895

See note

961-80

0-6-0ST

 7/1893-10/1895

 

981-90

2-2-2

 7/1894

Only 981 used

991-1000

2-4-0

 8/1894-6/1895

 

1001-10

4-2-2

 8/1893-4/1895

Only 1001-08 used. See note

1011-20

0-6-0

 1/1894-2/1894

Only 1011-12 used

 

The allocation of 951-60 is out of date sequence.  Nos. 951/52 (built 1891) were originally numbered 67/70, displacing two ancient 0-4-2 which then became 67A and 70A. It was later discovered that the number of Duplicate Stock engines was in excess of the authorised number.  The new engines were renumbered 951/52, and 67A and 70A returned to Capital Stock.  This choice of a block starting at 951 (rather than 871) suggests the renumbering took place around January 1893, though Norman Groves in his “GREAT NORTHERN LOCOMOTIVE HISTORY” (Volume 2) quotes a date of January 1892.  Later, it was found that 0-4-2 No. 359 (new 7/1893) duplicated a Sturrock 0-6-0 bearing that number and still in Capital Stock.  Presumably the Duplicate Stock already had its full quota so the new 0-4-2 was renumbered 957.  Norman Groves quotes the date of renumbering as January 1894, though at that date Nos. 955/56 had not yet been built (new 10/1894).  The allocation of 1001-10 is also out of date sequence.  It is possible that the allocation of 991-1000 had already been fixed, before agreement was reached for the two 4-2-2 Nos. 264/65 built in 1893 on the Renewal Account to be charged instead to Capital in the 1894 building programme, and renumbered 1001/02.  This all suggests Capital List numbers were allocated well in advance, and not deviated from.  This may well have been because certain parts, coupling rods, etc, were stamped with running numbers.

 

Apart from Nos. 779/80 (which should really have started a new Passenger series at 801), the system was faithfully followed until Stirling’s death.  The next batch of 0-6-0 became 1021 onwards rather than continuing from 1013.  Later, most of the missing numbers were filled in by Ivatt, e.g. 949/50/82-90 for his new 4-4-2 and 1009/10/13-20 for his new 4-4-2T.  But numbers 945-48/82-90, 1009-10/13-20 were never used.

 

Ivatt, too, may also have suffered from having too many Duplicate List engines, which he circumvented in 1899 by transferring a number of engines to the Departmental List, adding a few more at a later date.  Incidentally, when at a later date boilers were allocated numbers, this did not apply to those Departmental engines which just carried names (e.g. COLWICK), or letters (e.g. A, B, C, etc).

 

Many pre-Stirling engines were renewed, though details are sparse for engines withdrawn before 1901.  From available sources it seems likely that the majority of pre-Sturrock engines were renewed around 1866-67, and that a great number of Sturrock engines were renewed between 1869 and 1879.

 

As far as post-1866 Stirling engines were concerned, only the 4-2-2’s were sometimes renewed, and even this only applied to the engines built prior to August 1885, which had wrought iron frames.  (From No. 773 onwards, all his engines had steel frames.)  The frames of Nos. 1, 3, 5, 47/48, 546 were renewed in 1880-84, whilst those of Nos. 2, 8, 22, 33/34, 53, 60/62/69, 93-95/98, 221, 544/45/47-50, 662 were renewed with steel frames in 1886-89.  One unfortunate side effect of a renewal was its history restarted at its renewal date.  Clearly its previous history was of no relevance in the Works.  It was taken to be a brand new engine, and its previous history was lost for ever.

 

Stirling had started off with a degree of standardisation, with his first four classes:  2-4-0 (10/1867 from Avonside), 0-6-0 (11/1867 from John Fowler), 0-4-2 (1/1868 from Doncaster) and 2-2-2 (3/1868 also from Doncaster).  These all had the same pattern cylinders, 17in. diameter by 24in. stroke (drawing M19 of 4/12/1866), though the diameter afterwards became 17˝in. (drawing M42 of 25/5/1872).  Their boilers were similar, barrel diameter 4ft.-0˝in., firebox casing 5ft.-6in. long by 4ft.-0˝in. wide.  Oddly, the barrel lengths differed: 10ft. for the 0-4-2 and 0-6-0, and 10ft.-2in. for the 2-2-2 and 2-4-0.  The reason for the difference is not known, but may have been because Doncaster did not provide the contractors with boiler drawings, only N20 (27/2/1867) for bottom corners of fireboxes and N21 (2/4/1867) for firebox roof stays).  However they did provide General Plan drawings, P16 (3/1867) 0-6-0s and Q17 (10/5/1867) 2-4-0s, [and Doncaster Works made use of Q18 (8/1867) 0-4-2s and Q19 (1/1868) 2-2-2s], from which sufficient details would have been made available for the contactors to provide their own boiler drawings, which Doncaster Works then made use of for a while.  Thus the boilers on the Avonside engines were 2in. longer than those on the John Fowler engines. Stirling did not standardise the length at 10ft.-2in. which would have seemed logical, but instead the difference continued until Ivatt's time.  At a later date when N39 (8/6/1875) was made for the later 0-4-2s, the term "Standard" was applied.

 

As boilers were not interchanged the minor difference in barrel length was no problem.  Until late-1896 a boiler served its entire life on one engine, though an engine could have had two or three boilers during its lifetime.  When an engine was scrapped, so was its boiler.

 

In 1885 Stirling introduced steel plate in place of wrought iron for his boilers.  Boilers fitted from 1886 onwards would almost certainly have been made from steel.  It is possible this material could have lengthened the life expectancy of the boiler (though still subject to other issues such as pitting in hard water areas).  Stirling died only ten years later, so he may not have lived long enough to appreciate the benefit.  But in the not too distant future, the time would come when engines would start to be withdrawn for mechanical (or political) reasons, with their (steel) boilers still serviceable.  This appears to have been appreciated around 1896, though with the untimely deaths of both Stirling and his right-hand man Shotton (the Works Manager) the developments taking place around this time have become clouded, with uncertainty about actually who introduced what.

 

At the time of Stirling's death (November 1895) there were 73 new boilers under construction  (or authorised) for replacement on Sturrock and Stirling engines.  (In addition to boilers on order for new construction.)  These renewal boilers were fitted as follows in approximate fitting order.

 

Date Engine
No.
 Type   Date Engine
No.
Type
1/1896 234 2-2-2   9/1897 246 0-4-4T
" 281 2-4-0   " 706 2-4-0
" 531 0-4-4T   10/1897 65 0-4-2
2/1896 215 0-4-2   " 101 0-6-0
" 259 (s)(w) 2-4-0   " 278 0-4-2T
" 299 2-4-0 1/1898 106 0-4-2
" 310 0-6-0   2/1898 307 0-6-0
" 628 0-4-4T   " 718 "
" 657 "   3/1898 275 0-4-2T
3/1896 159 "   " 649 0-6-0
" 305 0-6-0   4/1898 164 0-4-2
" 773 4-2-2   " 444 (s) 0-6-0
5/1896 477 0-6-0   " 644 "
" 618 0-6-0ST   " 647 "
7/1896 482 0-6-0   " 651 "
" 613 0-6-0ST   5/1898 401 (s)(w) "
8/1896 664 (r) 4-2-2   6/1898 77 0-4-2
9/1896 754 2-4-0   " 578 (d) "
" 874 2-2-2   8/1898 418 (s) 0-6-0
10/1896 189 0-6-0   " 483 "

"
680 0-6-0ST   9/1898 152 "
11/1896 185 0-6-0   " 481 "
" 617 0-6-0ST   10/1898 55 2-2-2
" 674 "   " 81 0-4-2
" 787 "   " 700 2-4-0
12/1896 805 "   12/1898 38 0-4-2
" 808 "   2/1899 625 0-4-4T
1/1897 703 2-4-0   4/1899 539 "
" 704 "   5/1899 25 0-4-2
2/1897 395 0-6-0T   " 247 0-4-4T
3/1897 13 0-4-2   6/1899 76 0-4-2
4/1897 63 2-2-2   " 327 0-6-0
" 216 2-4-0   10/1899 504 0-4-4T
5/1897 39 2-2-2   11/1899 19 (z) 0-4-2
6/1897 728 0-6-0   11/1900 243 0-4-4T
7/1897 206 2-4-0   3/1901 505 "
" 297 "        

 

(d) There is doubt whether boiler 578 was new or second-hand, as its entry in the Repairs Volume is vague, neither showing N to denote New Boiler nor any reference to a previous fitting.  Two such boilers fitted to 0-4-2s in the same month does suggest both were new boilers.

 

(s) Sturrock engine. In the case of No. 259 (2/1896) it is assumed this was a new boiler because at this date the class was intact, so there was therefore no available second-hand boiler; the boiler was scrapped (8/1900).

 

The boiler in No. 259 (marked w) was withdrawn in 1900 and therefore never had a boiler number.

 

The other engine marked (w) (No. 401) went on the Duplicate List in 2/1901 and its 1898 boiler was given number 1430.  (Later that year Boiler Nos. 1701 onwards were reserved for duplicate numbers.)

 

(z) The boiler fitted to No. 19 was the last 4'-2˝" diam. straightback boiler built at Doncaster. Subsequently, under both Ivatt and Gresley, a small number of domed 4'-2˝" diam. boilers were built for 0-4-4Ts.

 

The boiler in No. 664 marked (r) was repaired in 1900 and then fitted to No. 1.  It was the only post-1895 "Stirling" boiler to be re-used before 2/1901 and therefore acquired a boiler number (in this case 1) that was not the same number as the engine to which it was first fitted.

 

Otherwise, in all other cases there had been no boiler changes prior to 1901, so their ultimate boiler numbers were the same as their engine numbers.

 

Ivatt also ordered some Stirling boilers and these will be dealt with separately under Ivatt (see PART 4 and PART 42).

 

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