N Thompson’s


Regular visitors to the Midlands Model Engineering Exhibition admire the display put on every year by the LNWR Society. One of its features has been this model of a Claughton locomotive by N Thompson in 5” gauge.

In its early years the LNWR had the reputation for locos which were either top class or dubious, like the Webb three-cylinder compounds. In the early 1900s the company realized that things were changing and there was a need for faster, heavier trains. Previously 40mph was the top average speed. With nothing to compare with the 4-6-0s and 4-4-2s of other railways, the LNWR resorted to double heading.

That set in motion trials with engines from elsewhere. Among those tested: GNR Atlantic, Caledonian 4-6-0 Cardean, Brighton 4-4-2 tank and later a Great Western Star. A few years later, in 1913, a large 4-6-0 emerged from Crewe Works, no 2222, Sir Gilbert Claughton, also the subject of this model. Apart from the Walschaerts valve gear it was instantly recognizable as a Crewe product, complete with Webb double radial truck to support the front end. Nine more followed and they were quite successful, although after ten years or so they started to need frequent, extensive repairs. Even so a total of 130 were built. After re-grouping the LMS rebuilt 20 with larger boilers, ten of them also fitted with Caprotti valve gear.

Claughtons were the main engines used on West Coast Main Line express trains, starting to give way to the Royal Scot class following its introduction in 1927.

None survived into preservation. All but one were scrapped by 1939. War-time shortages meant that no 6004 soldiered on in a poor condition to see nationalization in 1948 and be allocated the BR number 46004 but was scrapped in 1949 before it could be applied.

Claughton cylinders were 16” dia and 26” stroke. Driving and coupled wheels were 6’9” dia, and those on the leading truck 3’3”. The engine weighed 77tons 15cwt. The tender carried 3000 gallons of water and 7 tons of coal.