The Thompson O1 2-8-0 Locomotives
Thompson became the LNER's CME in 1941, and
quickly initiated a programme of standardisation. One of
Thompson's first standardised designs was for a heavy
goods 2-8-0 to replace all of the existing 2-8-0s,
0-8-0s, and a variety of
0-6-0s including the
Wartime restrictions made the construction of new locomotives difficult, so
Thompson chose to create his new O1 class by
rebuilding the numerically large O4 'ROD' locomotives.
The original design used the B1 boiler and
cylinders, Walschaerts valve gear, L1
pony truck, 9in-shorter frames, side-window cab, and a Group Standard 4,200 gallon tender.
This design was amended slightly by the time the first O1 was built. The boiler pressure was increased slightly
from 220psi to 225psi, and a straight running plate ran from just ahead of the cylinders back to the cab. The maximum
axle load was also increased. For economic reasons, the original
O4 pony truck and tender were kept, and the frames were not shortened.
Rebuilding started in February 1944 with No. 6595, and operated in parallel with the
O4/8 rebuild programme. The condition of the locomotive, especially the cylinders and
valve gear, determined the choice of rebuild.
The O1 rebuilds were included in the LNER's post-war modernisation programme, but slowed due to the LNER's immediate need
for heavy goods locomotives being met by Stanier 8F (O6) and
Riddles WD (O7) locomotives. The rebuild programme finally ended in 1949 after a
post-Nationalisation review of rebuild programmes. A total of 58 O4 locomotives were
rebuilt as O1s.
The cylinders were of the standard
B1 type, 20in diameter with a 26in stroke.
They were inclined at 1-in-50 and fitted with 10in diameter piston valves. The drive was to the third of the driving
axles. The new cylinders represented a reduction in diameter, but this was compensated for by an increase in boiler
Gravity-fed sanders were fitted ahead of the first and third coupled axles for forward running.
An extra pair of sanders were fitted behind the fourth coupled axle, for reverse running.
The first O1s were put through an extended series of trials throughout the LNER network.
By the end of 1946, the forty of the class were allocated to Gorton, with much smaller numbers allocated to March,
Tyne Dock, and Thornton. The Gorton engines were used over the Woodhead route, whilst
the March locomotives mainly worked freight traffic from Whitemoor to Temple Mills.
The Thompson O1s were chosen for the British Railway Interchange Trials in 1948. These trials showed the
design to be good but suffered from poor maintenance. The original GC (Great Central) side rods also
tended not to work well with the
Walschaerts valve gear, and their boilers suffered the same firebox problems as the
Allocations changed quite a bit with Nationalisation (1948). By 1951, Tyne Dock's allocation stood at five, and
the remaining 53 Class O1s were allocated to
Annesley. Due to the poor water quality present in the Annesley area,
these locomotives had their tenders fitted for water treatment. A cylindrical container was fitted in the tender's
water tank, and chemical briquettes were dropped into the container. These chemicals reduced scaling in the boiler
tubes. The 'scale' either remained in suspension, or accumulated at the bottom of the boiler as a sludge.
A blow down valve was then fitted in the lower part of the boiler, so that the sludge could be removed.
The five Tyne Dock engines were also fitted with these valves by 1956.
In 1952, the five Tyne Dock engines were fitted with two 10in diameter Westinghouse pumps to operate the
iron ore block trains from
Tyne Dock to Consett. These trains ran with specially build hoppers that used compressed air to operate their hopper doors.
The trains were also vacuum braked, so a vacuum ejector was also fitted.
During the 1960s, March received an allocation of O1s to work south to Temple Mills.
Withdrawals started in 1962, and were completed by 1965. The last O1s to be withdrawn were from Staveley shed.
The Thompson O1s were outlived by three classes that they
were intended to replace (J38,
The following details describe the original Thompson O1 locomotives. From November 1945, the number of boiler
tubes was reduced from 143 to 141. This resulted in a reduction of the tube heating surface to 1033 sq.ft., and a reduction
in the total heating surface from 2020 sq.ft. to 2005 sq.ft.
||1048 sq.ft. (143x 2in)
||460 sq.ft. (24x 5.25in)
||344 sq.ft. (24x 1.244in)
||(@ 85% boiler pressure)
||121 tons 12cwt
||73 tons 6cwt
||48 tons 6cwt
|Max. Axle Load:
None of the Thompson O1s survived into preservation.
I am not aware of any models of the Thompson O1 locomotives.
Thank you to Malcolm Peirson for the photograph of BR No. 63752.