John Speller's Web Pages Dean/Churchward 36xx Class 2-4-2 Tank

John Speller's Web Pages

Dean/Churchward 36xx Class 2-4-2 Tank
Several railways made substantial use of 2-4-2 radial tanks, most notably the London & North Western and Lancashire & Yorkshire Railways. The Great Western's experiment with this wheel arrangement was notably less successful. The original parallel-boilered design of the 36xx Class was brought out under William Dean in 1900. The prototype was originally No. 11, changed to 3600 when the class went into production in 1902. While the prototype was picking up water at the Rowington Troughs near Birmingham, the water came in with sufficient force to split the tanks open. To prevent a recurrence of this larger vents were fitted to both the side and rear tanks. G. J. Churchward brought out an 30 additional locomotives in 1902-03 and later locomotives were fitted with the tapered Swindon Standard No. 3 Boiler, as also fitted to the 2251 Class and Dukedogs. All 31 locomotives were eventually retrofitted with tapered boilers. The locomotives were intended for fast suburban services. Like the 2251 Class they had 5 ft. 2 in. driving wheels. They had 17 in. x 24 in. cylinders, and a boiler pressure of 180 psi, giving a tractive effort of 17,116 lb., later increased to 195 psi, resulting in an increased tractive effort of 18,542 lb. They were nicknamed the "Birdcages," owing to their (for the GWR) comparatively commodious cabs. Their main drawback was that having only two axles meant a higher axle weight over over 17.5 tons, and consequent reduced route availability. Furthermore, as their trains increased in weight they came to be underpowered for the job. Their 5 ft. 2 in. wheels did perhaps give them one slight advantage over the the Churchward Large Prairies that replaced them. All the 36xx Class were withdrawn during the 1930s.

Radial tank No. 3611 as originally constructed in 1902, before the fitting of copper-capped chimneys and top feed apparatus
No. 3620 as built, 1902
Another shot of No. 3611 in a postcard view of around 1905
An unidentified 36xx radial tank on a fast suburban service, probably in the Birmingham area
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