By the mid-1920s there was a critical need
for locomotives suitable for 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 the LNER to produce a 4-6-0 design to supplement the
existing B12 locomotive 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 but with a tractive effort of about
25,000lb and restricted axle loading of 17tons. The Doncaster Works had
many problems meeting the specifications and the contract was given to
the North British Locomotive Company (Glasgow) in December 1927. The
eventual axle loading was 18tons.
The final design of the B17 Class
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 B17 locomotives were produced
by Robert Stephenson & Co. at Darlington and Glasgow.
Continuous modifications throughout the
building programme resulted in four sub classes, 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 sub class B17/2 which has
lighter driving axle box springing and stiffer bogie springing, however
the problem continued. Further modifications resulting in sub class
B17/3 included horn blocks in place of guides on the middle axle.
Despite further attempts to improve their springing, the Class was
always considered a 'rough rider'.
The final B17s to be built (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 17/1 in 1937 with 3700 gallon GE tenders.
Between 1943 and 1958, 55 of the Class underwent further modifications
including the fitting of Diagram 100A boilers, thus becoming B17/6.
The first 47 of the Class were named after
English Country Houses, with most of the remainder being named after
football teams, thus the Class became known as 'Sandringhams' or
Locomotive 2837, outshopped on the 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 After 26 years of service, it was withdrawn on the 24th September
1959 and was cut up at BR Doncaster Works on the 30th September of that
year. None of the class were preserved.
Designer: Sir Nigel Gresley
Entered Service: 1928
Number Built: 73
Purpose: Express Passenger
Wheel Configuration: 4-6-0
Motor: 5 Pole Skew Wound. Loco Drive
DCC Ready: DCC Fitted
Detailed scale model. Not suitable for
children under the age of 14. Please refer to safety notes in enclosed
instruction leaflet. Colours and contents may differ from those
illustrated. Please retain these details and the address for future