7.25” Gauge Society

The London and North Eastern Railway Class B17, also known as Sandringham or Footballer class was a class of 4-6-0 locomotives designed by Nigel Gresley for hauling passenger services on the Great Eastern Main Line. In total 73 were built.

By 1926, the former GER B12 class locomotives were no longer able to cope with the heaviest express passenger trains on the Great Eastern Main Line between London and Cambridge, Ipswich and Norwich and Gresley was unable to use his larger classes due to severe weight restrictions on the line. Designing a powerful lightweight 4-6-0 proved to be difficult.

After several unsuccessful attempts by Doncaster Works a contract for the detailed design and building of the class was given to the North British Locomotive Company in 1927. They used several features from a batch of A1 Pacifics they had built in 1924. The cab, cylinders, and motion had all been copied directly or slightly modified. Most of the boiler design was taken from the LNER Class K3 2-6-0 and LNER Class O2 2-8-0 designs. Darlington Works provided drawings for the bogies, and Stratford Works designs for the GE-type 3,700-imperial-gallon, and four ton tender.

Due to weight restrictions it proved to be impossible for all three cylinders to drive the middle coupled axle. Therefore, the design used divided drive with the middle cylinder driving the leading axle and was positioned forward above the front bogie.

None survived into preservation but now the B17 Trust, Patron Sir Rod Stewart, is to build 61673 Spirit of Sandringham.

The Rolling Chassis build has started and a tender donated.

This splendid model of 61671 Royal Sovereign, was shown by the 7.25” Gauge Society at a Midlands Exhibition.

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Editor: David Carpenter