The L.T. & S. 2-6-4 Tanks
I have just read, with considerable interest. Mr. Norman Harvey's article in your February issue concerning the L.M.S. and B.R. 2-6-4 tank engines. Last summer I worked at Shoeburyness (L.T.S.) motive power depot and fired the Stanier three-cylinder and Fairburn two-cylinder varieties of the L.M.S. and also the standard type. The following notes may be of interest.
In general, the older L.T. & S. drivers seemed to prefer the three-cylinder engines, while the younger drivers and firemen preferred the standard engines. It is easy to see why the firemen like the standards. The rocking grates take much of the hard work out of cleaning the fire (I once put one away in 10-15min. with the driver's help) but difficulties may arise if a broken piece of brick arch gets stuck in the bars. Another advantage is that both steam and water controls for the two injectors are conveniently placed so that the fireman can set either injector without leaving his seat.
On the other hand the standard engines have several disadvantages. Drivers complain that these engines are very hot. Several controls, blower, brakes, etc. are placed in between the driving position and the fire. The driver is further protected by a metal sheet which extends from the back-plate into the cab. It seems that these must absorb the heat from the fire to make the driver's position almost unbearable in summer. I must confess that I did not notice this from the fireman's side.
Another disadvantage is that the lookout is so placed that one has to crane one's neck all the time: this is particularly bad for the shorter drivers.
Perhaps the worst part of the standard 2-6-4 tanks is that there is an exposed steam pipe fitted to the boiler barrel in such a position as to appear to be a continuation of the hand railing. I have seen several nasty burns sustained by firemen when filling the tanks of these engines.
The L.M.S. engines do have their disadvantages. Only a few are fitted with rocking bars and so all the clinker has to come out
through the firehole and the ashpan has to be emptied by hand. However, the general opinion seems to be that a Stanier three-cylinder in good condition is equal. if not superior, to the other types. It seems significant that as far as I know the fastest train in between Southend and London, the 9.5, is never hauled by a standard. I personally preferred the Fairburn engines; the Staniers tend to throw the heat back more.
Reading Colin J. Churcher
Railway World, May 1962.