Hornby R2921: BR 4-6-0 'Thorpe Hall' B17/2 Class

Manufacturer's Description

By the mid-1920s there was a critical need for locomotives suitable for the increasing passenger traffic on the GE District (formerly Great Eastern Railway) but track limitations prevented the transfer of locomotives from other regions. Nigel Gresley was required by LNER to produce a 4-6-0 design to supplement the existing B12 locomotives serving that region. Initial specifications were for a three-cylinder 4-6-0 borrowing the cylinder and motion arrangement of the D49 4-4-0 with a tractive effort of about 25,000lb and restricted axle loading of 17 tons. The Doncaster works had many problems meeting the specification and the contract was given to the North British Locomotive Company (Glasgow) in December 1927. The eventual axle loading was 18 tons.

The final design of the B17 incorporated many features of the A1 Pacifics built in 1924, but several modifications were required before the first B17 was delivered in late 1928. Between 1930 and 1937 a total of 73 B17s were produced by Robert Stephenson & Co. at Darlington and Glasgow.

Continuous modifications throughout the building programme resulted in four class parts B17/1 – B17/4. One of the many teething problems suffered by the class included cracked frames, and an attempt to cure this resulted in B17/2 with lighter driving axlebox springing and stiffer bogie springing, but the problem continued. Further modifications included horn blocks in place of guides on the middle axle (B17/3). Despite further attempts to improve their springing, the class was always considered a ‘rough rider’.

The final B17s to be build (B17/4) intended for routes with fewer length restrictions, were produced with 4,200 gallon LNER Group Standard tenders. Locomotive Parts 1, 2 and 3 were merged to form the new class B17/1 in 1937 with 3,700 gallon GE tenders. Between 1943 and 1958, fifty-five of the class underwent further modifications, including the fitting of Diagram 100A boilers, thus becoming B17/6.

The first 47 of the class were names after English country houses, most of the rest were names after football teams, thus the class became known as ‘Sandringhams’ or ‘Footballers’.

Locomotive 2837, outshopped on 1st March 1933 was named ‘Thorpe Hall’. On passing to British Railways in 1948 it was re-numbered 61637 and was one of the class modified to become a B17/6. After 26 years of service it was withdrawn on 24th September 1959 and was cut up at BR Doncaster on 30th September of that year. None of the class is preserved.

  • Class: B17/1
  • Designer: Sir Nigel Gresley
  • Entered Service: 1928
  • Number Built: 73
  • Purpose: Express Passenger
  • Wheel Configuration: 4-6-0
  • Dimensions: 249mm
  • Motor: 5 Pole Skew Wound. Loco Drive
  • DCC Ready: DCC Ready
  • Finish: Pristine

Special Features

  • Sprung Buffers
  • Extensive Detail
  • Brake rods
  • Loco drive
  • NEM Couplings
  • Tender Detail


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