Steam Railway (UK) - - ‘GREAT WAR’ MALLETS -

Be­fore the war: Fran­cis Webb’s

‘Coal En­gines’ have been de­scribed as the sim­plest and cheap­est lo­co­mo­tives ever made in this coun­try.

The Lon­don & North Western Rail­way had re­lied heav­ily on the Rams­bot­tom ‘DX’ 0-6-0s of 1852 to haul its in­creas­ingly prof­itable freight busi­ness, which is why Webb made it a pri­or­ity to come up with some­thing newer. Some 500 were built be­tween 1873 and 1892.

Call-up: The LNWR sup­plied

Nos. 17/24/72/88/92/96, 153/63/75/ 86/98, 316/54/75, 650/70, 700/14/ 16/78, 809/73/78/81, 968, 1087/ 89/98/99, 1127/42/79, 1291, 1316/19/31/39/40/45/49, 2045/ 47/49/50/85/96, 2105/22/71/95, 2221/22/24/55/73/89/92/94/98

/99, 2302/36/37/41/47/48/71/ 74/79/81/83-85/91/95/97, 2403/ 09/18/21/25/32/34/36/48.

●● Note that num­bers are not al­ways those car­ried in Rail­way Op­er­at­ing Di­vi­sion ser­vice.

The­atre of op­er­a­tions: Sev­enty ‘Coal En­gines’ had been ear­marked for France since 1915 and they were the first main line lo­co­mo­tives sent to the coun­try in 1916. How­ever, their light weight meant that they were of­ten rel­e­gated to shunt­ing rail-mounted guns.

In 1917, 27 ‘Coal En­gines’ in France were sent to Egypt, where they joined 15 sent di­rectly from Eng­land. De­mo­bil­i­sa­tion: None of the lo­co­mo­tives sent to Egypt re­turned to Bri­tain; they were all scrapped in 1922. The 43 that re­mained in France came home in 1919.

Three – LMS Nos. 8108, 8182 and 8236 – were used on the Shrop­shire & Mont­gomery Rail­way dur­ing the Sec­ond World War, where they were painted cam­ou­flaged green.

Of the 46 ‘Coal En­gines’ in­her­ited by BR in 1948, ten were ex-ROD. No. 58332, which had served in France be­tween 1917 and 1919, was one of the fi­nal two with­drawn in Oc­to­ber 1953.

Sur­vivors: No ‘Coal En­gines’ sur­vived into preser­va­tion.


For­mer LNWR ‘Coal En­gine’ No. 8182 shunts at Kin­ner­ley on the Shrop­shire & Mont­gomeryshire Rail­way in 1944.

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