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London & North Western Whale Precursor class
London, Midland & Scottish class 3P
Great Britain | 1904 | 130 produced
No. 513 “Precursor”
No. 513 “Precursor”
J.R. Howden, „The Boys' Book of Locomotives”

Since 1877, Francis Webb had the “Improved Precedent” built for the LNWR, but it still had to be run double headed for heavy express trains. So later George Whale developed the Precursor class, which was basically based on its predecessor and had a leading bogie. Since Webb had already developed a Precursor class, it is also referred to as “Whale Precursor”. A 4-4-2T tank locomotive called the “Precursor Tank” soon followed.

Between 1904 and 1907 130 locomotives were built. From 1913 onwards, the first ones were rebuilt with a superheater and received new cylinders with a diameter of 20.5 instead of 19 inches. The LMS took over the locomotives in 1923 and assigned them power class 3P. The remaining ones without superheaters were withdrawn between 1927 and 1936, the ones that were superheated until 1949.

Two developments were designed based on the Whale Precursor class. The first was the Experiment class, which Whale developed as a ten-wheeler in 1905. Whale's successor Bowen Cooke developed the “George the Fifth” class on the same basis, which still had the 4-4-0 wheel arrangement.

Axle config4-4-0 (American) 
Gauge4 ft 8 1/2 in (Standard gauge)
Dimensions and Weights
Wheelbase25 ft 1 1/2 in
Fixed wheelbase10 ft
Total wheelbase47 ft 3 3/4 in
Service weight132,160 lbs
Adhesive weight85,120 lbs
Total weight201,600 lbs
Axle load42,560 lbs
Water capacity4,323 us gal
Fuel capacity14,112 lbs (coal)
Power sourcesteam
Estimated power925 hp (690 kW)
Optimal speed34 mph
Starting effort17,237 lbf
Power Plant
Driver diameter81 in
Boiler pressure175 psi
Expansion typesimple
Cylinderstwo, 19 x 26 in
Grate area22.4 sq ft
Firebox area161.3 sq ft
Tube heating area1,848.7 sq ft
Evaporative heating area2,010 sq ft
Total heating area2,010 sq ft
Calculated Values
steam locomotive
George Whale
last changed: 04/2024

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