Pete Robinson’s


Pete Robinson built this 3.5” gauge Stirling Single 4-2-2 locomotive many years ago to the Clarkson design using castings from the late lamented York firm. When first steamed the feed water clack failed and he had to drop the fire. The design included only one clack to deal with both methods of pumping the feed water. He quickly fitted a second clack, but hasn’t steamed it since. Pete says he prefers building them to running them. It was photographed at the Midlands Model Engineering Exhibition in 2014.

Patrick Stirling designed his original single in 1870 after he moved to the Great Northern Railway in 1866. At that time new engines were required for the many new routes that were being opened up. Stirling built his single engines for speed and power, which could handle the continuous gradients on the main London to York GNR line, and compete against the Midland Railway and L&NWR in the ‘Races to the North’.

A product of these races were the famous Stirling Singles. These were elegant 4-2-2 engines with eight-foot driving wheels, and domeless boilers. These popular engines regularly set speed records in the races of 1888 and 1895. None survived into regular LNER stock, although Stirling Single No.1 is now a part of the National Collection at the National Railway Museum in York.