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British Railway History Item


Sir William Arthur Stanier F.R.S.

Sir William Arthur Stanier F.R.S. (1876-1965)

He first worked on the railways as an apprentice under William Dean, on the Great Western Railway at Swindon. In 1920 he became work's manager and in 1922 he was appointed principle assistant to the Chief Mechanical Engineer, Charles Collett. He moved to the London Midland & Scottish Railway in 1932, succeeding Sir Henry Fowler where he was CME from 1932-44.

When he arrived he found that there was an acute shortage of heavy express passenger and freight locomotives, which he met by developing a stock of capable, reliable and efficient engines. Over 2,000 were built in the period 1932-47, combining many features of GWR practice, such as tapered boilers, with LMS features such as outside Walschaerts valve gear which improved accessibility. His early boiler designs, with low-degree superheat and other Swindon characteristics, were unsatisfactory, for which he quickly rectified by revising the design with larger superheaters.

Locomotive design innovations included:

  • 843 Class 5 4-6-0 mixed traffic Black Five locomotives.

  • 852 Class 8F 2-8-0 locomotives, consideral numbers being built by other railway companies for World War II service.

  • His Princess Royal Class of 1933 introduced the 4-6-2 express Pacific type to the LMS almost ten years after Hughes and Fowler had first proposed it.

  • The Coronation Class introduced in 1937, an enlargement of the Princess class, was one of the most powerful locomotives ever to run in Britain.

  • Introduction of Class 2P 0-4-4 Tanks in 1932, 2-6-2 tanks and 2-6-4 tanks in 1935, 2-6-4 three cylinder tanks for the London Tilbury & Southend line in 1934, 2-6-0 'Lobster' freight engines in 1933.

  • The Jubilee 4-6-0 mixed traffic engines introduced in 1934, were a development of the Patriot Class, of which some were rebuilt by Stanier with taper boilers.

  • Rebuilding of Fowler's Royal Scot class 4-6-0s, built 1927-30, with taper boilers and other changes.

  • Introduction of 90 diesel-electric heavy shunting locomotives, including the type standardised by British railways.

  • A prototype three coach articulated diesel-hydraulic train in 1938.

    In 1943 he was appointed as scientific adviser to the Ministry of production and later as a director of Power Jets Ltd. He was knighted in 1944.

    Last Updated : Friday 14th April 2006 05:46

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