The Manson D44 (GNSR Class A) 4-4-0 Locomotives

D44 No. 65 in 1919 (M.Morant)

The GNSR Class A (LNER D44) locomotives were Manson's first 4-4-0 locomotives for the Great North of Scotland Railway (GNSR). Compared to earlier Cowan designs, the most noticeable differences were the cylinder and dome positions. Manson chose an inside cylinder design and moved the dome forward from the firebox on to the boiler barrel. However, Manson chose to keep the same boiler and cylinder sizes that Cowan had used on his D39s. Although they were a part of the 1881 building programme, the six D44s were not built until 1884. All six were built by Kitson & Co.

A year later, Manson produced a variant of the D44 that used smaller 5ft 6in driving wheels. These new locomotives became Class G (LNER D48).

In 1904, Pickersgill recommended that the D44s and the D48s should be rebuilt with larger boilers. The GNSR Directors agreed to an initial rebuilding of six locomotives. Boilers were ordered from the Yorkshire Engine Co, and four D44s and two D48s were rebuilt during 1905-6. The new boilers were to a new GNSR standard diameter of 4ft 6in. This was only an increase of two inches, and otherwise the new boilers were very similar to the older boilers. The total heating surface increased from 1036 sq.ft. to 1144 sq.ft. Inverurie supplied the new boilers for the remaining two D44s and one D48, and these were fitted in 1911-2.

Ramsbottom safety valves with a seat casing were fitted as standard. Later in GNSR years, an additional tall casing was fitted for the valve columns and spring. Another early standard fitted were the Roscoe and Furness lubricators. The GNSR later replaced these with Detroit sight-feed lubricators.

The six D44s were usually allocated to Kittybrewster, and they were mainly used to haul passenger and goods traffic on the Buchan section. Often they could also be found at Fraserburgh and Peterhead, as well as the Deeside line.

By Grouping (1923), Nos. 63 & 65 were allocated to Elgin for shunting and local duties. The remaining four were still allocated to Kittybrewster, although No. 64 was sub-shedded at Old Meldrum to haul services on the branch line to Inverurie. Nos. 66 & 67 took turns to be sub-shedded at Alford, to haul branch passenger trains to Kintore. The LNER quickly withdrew most of the D44s, and five were withdrawn between July 1924 and August 1926. The exception was No. 6867 (GNSR No. 67) which was finally withdrawn in November 1932. Later duties included shunting and ballast trains.

Technical Details

Cylinders (x2): (inside) 17.5x26in.
Motion: Stephenson
Valves: slide
Boiler: Max. Diameter: 4ft 6in
Boiler: Pressure: 150psi
Diagram No.: 90
Heating Surface: Total: 1144 sq.ft.
Firebox: 93 sq.ft.
Tubes: 1051 sq.ft. (220x 1.75in)
Grate Area: 16.05 sq.ft.
Wheels: Leading: 3ft
Coupled: 6ft
Tender: 3ft 9in
Tractive Effort: (@ 85% boiler pressure) 14,100 lb
Wheelbase: Total: 40ft 3.6in
Engine: 20ft 8in
Tender: 11ft 0in
Weight (full): Total: 70 tons 13cwt
Engine: 41 tons 13cwt
Tender: 29 tons 0cwt
Adhesive Weight: 27 tons 10cwt
Max. Axle Load: 14 tons 7cwt


The last D44 was withdrawn in 1932, and none have survived into preservation.


I am not aware of any models of the D44 in any scale.


Thank you to the Mike Morant Collection for the photograph of D44 No. 65.