John Speller's Web Pages Hesperus

John Speller's Web Pages - GWR Broad Gauge Locomotives
"Hesperus," the Greek name for Venus, the evening star, was one of Gooch's 2-2-2 "Sun" Class, a smaller version of his "Firefly" Class with 6' 0" driving wheels. The locomotive was listed by the GWR as having been delivered in January 1841 by R. & W. Hawthorn & Co. of Newcastle, but rather curiously does not appear in that company's records, though seven other "Sun" Class locomotives do. The engine was fitted experimentally with Hawthorn's system of return tubes and with a non-standard form of firebox. The idea was that by returning the exhaust gases to the firebox and running them through the tubes again a better fuel economy might be obtained. It might have been expected that lack of draught might compromise the evaporative qualities of the firebox, but this does not seem to have been the case. Indeed, the locomotive seems to have performed very well and to have obtained rather better fuel economy. The experiment, however, does not seem to have produced a sufficient improvement to make it worthwhile introducing on other locomotives, and "Hesperus" was rebuilt into conformity with the rest of its class.
"Hesperus" as pictured by J. C. Bourne in 1846
An early Fox-Talbot photograph of one of the standard members of the "Sun" Class, 2-2-2 "Javelin,"(left) at Cheltenham in June or July 1848. The class were all converted to 2-2-2 tanks in around 1849
A slightly different drawing of "Hesperus" with a chimney and safety valve, and without a haycock firebox. It is difficult to say which version is the more authentic depiction of the locomotive.
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