John Speller's Web Pages Patrick Stirling Locomotives

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Patrick Stirling Locomotives
Patrick Stirling (1820-1895) was the son of the Rev. Dr. Robert Stirling (1790-1878), of "Stirling Engine" fame, and brother of James Stirling, who succeeded him as Locomotive Superintendent of the Glasgow & South Western Railway in 1866. He also had a talented sister, Jane Stirling, who helped both Patrick and James Stirling with their locomotive designs. Patrick Stirling, was Locomotive Superintendent of the Glasgow & South Western Railway 1853-66 at the then new Kilmarnock Locomotive Works and then of the Great Northern Railway at Doncaster until his death in 1895. According to The Railway Engineer for May 1896, Mr. Stirling left an estate of £118,750. His son, Matthew Stirling, was Locomotive Superintendent of the Hull & Barnsley Railway.

While Locomotive Superintendent of the Glasgow & South Western Railway, Patrick Stirling produced a total of seventeen designs. These included four classes of 2-2-2, two of 2-4-0, six of 0-4-2, one 0-4-0, three 0-6-0s, and an experimental divided-drive 0-(2-2)-0 about which almost nothing is known. None of them were tank engines, for which the G&SWR had a particular aversion.

Probably Patrick Stirling’s most famous design for the G&SWR was the “45" Class 2-2-2, of which eleven were built between 1865 and 1868, and which survived into the late 1880s. Details from The Locomotive, Railway Carriage and Wagon Review, Volume 9 (October 24, 1903), p. 246:

“The cylinders were 16-in. in diameter with a stroke of 24-in., placed with their centres 6-ft. 03/8in. apart; the driving wheels were 7-ft. in diameter, and the leading and trailing wheels had diameters of 3 ft. 7-in.; the wheelbase was 15 ft., equally divided. There were 144 tubes of 17/8in., giving a heating surface of 785 sq. ft., to which must be added 85 sq. ft. contributed by the firebox, thus providing a total of 870 sq. ft. In working order engines of this class weighed 28 tons 9 cwt. 3 qrs., distributed as follows: on leading wheels 8 tons 1 cwt. 2 qrs., on driving wheels 16 tons o cwt. 3 qrs., and on trailing wheels 4 tons 7 cwt. 2 qrs. The tender, which ran on six wheels, had a wheelbase of 11ft. 71/2in. equally divided, and weighed in working order 22 tons 13 cwt. 2 qrs.; the total for engine and tender being 51 tons 3 cwt. 1 qr.”

These engines were remarkable for having so much of their weight concentrated on the driving wheels, giving much better adhesion than is usual with single-wheelers. With their domeless boilers and outside cylinders Stirling’s G&SWR “45" Class 2-2-2s pointed the way to his later Great Northern 8 ft. 4-2-2s, which together, with Gooch’s 8 ft. 4-2-2s on the broad gauge Great Western Railway, were the finest locomotives of their day.

Patrick Stirling (1820-1895), Locomotive Superintendent of the Glasgow & South Western Railway 1853-66 and of the Great Northern Railway 1866-95
Patrick Stirling "45" Class 7 ft. 0 in. 2-2-2. Note the Stirling cab with circular side windows, applied to G&SWR locomotives in the latter part of Patrick Stirling's tenure, and perpetuated by his brother James
One of Patrick Stirling's second class of 2-2-2 locomotive, the Class "2," which were the first locomotives to be built at the newly-opened Kilmarnock Works in 1857. At this time Stirling was still using a domed boiler
Patrick Stirling's penultimate class of 2-2-2 for the G&SWR, the 6 ft. 6 in. "40" Class of 1860. Note that Stirling has now adopted the domeless boiler, but not yet the firebox position and distinctive casing of the safety valves
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