On assuming the reins of government in the locomotive department, in succession to Mr. Sturrock, Mr. Stirling at once set about the task of bringing the engine power of the line up to the requirements of the rapidly-increasing traffic. His first order was for twenty four-coupled passenger locomotives, which were delivered on the railway in the following order :—
|Date||Engine Nos.||Builders||Builder’s Nos.|
|1867||280-285||Avonside Engine Co.||725-730|
|1868||286-289||Avonside Engine Co.||731-734|
|1868||290-299||Yorkshire Engine Co.||54-63|
The leading dimensions were :— cylinders 17-in. in diameter by 24-in. stroke; diameter of leading wheels 4-ft. i-in., and of coupled wheels 6-ft. 7-in. ; wheel-base : leading to driving wheels 9-ft. 6-in., driving to trailing 8-ft. 3-in.; total 17-ft. 9-in. ; boiler 3-ft. 10 1/2-in. in diameter, with its centre 6-ft. 11-in. above the rails ; inside firebox 4-ft. 8 3/4-in. long by 3-ft. 4 1/2-in. wide by 4-ft. 10-in. deep; 206 tubes of 1 3/4-in. diameter ; heating surface: firebox 94 sq. ft., tubes 991 1/2 sq. ft., total 1085 1/2 sq. ft. The weight of No. 295 is given as—empty 32 tons 6 cwt.; in working order, 34 tons 9 cwt. 3 qrs., of which the distribution was as follows :— leading wheels 10 tons 11 cwt. 3 qrs.; driving wheels 11 tons 11 cwt.; trailing wheels 12 tons 7 cwt. Another set of weights, applying particularly to No. 289, giving a total of 37 tons 4 cwt., distributed as follows : —leading wheels 11 tons 3 cwt. ; driving wheels 13 tons 5 cwt. ; and trailing wheels 12 tons 16 cwt., probably denotes a later period of the engines’ history, after they had been partially rebuilt and supplied with larger boilers; and to the same extent it must be understood that the accompanying illustration (Fig. 36) does not claim to depict No. 281 actually as she was when originally built, though it is sufficiently indicative of the general characteristics of the class.
In rebuilding, Mr. Stirling modified sundry details to the standard patterns shown in the drawing, and effected minor alterations, which will be referred to in due course. These engines are note- worthy on more than one account. Not only were they Mr. Stirling’s maiden production in his new sphere of office, but they served also to mark the dividing line between the old and the new practice of the railway.