Locomotive Performance

Review: Jubilees & Black 5's

It is an often expressed view that the Stanier Black 5's were the most useful locomotives ever to run in this country. No less than 842 were built during the period 1934 to 1951. They were true mixed traffic locomotives that were equally at ease on a 350 ton express passenger service, or a 50 wagon goods. The Jubilees were different altogether. An express passenger locomotive designed for the lighter loaded express passenger services. And when a Jubilee was on form, it was splendid. The problem was, that they could be tricky steamers, and frequently were not on form. So Jubilee performances tended to be either very good, or very poor.

Being brought up in the Midlands, I was fortunate. Regularly running through Birmingham New Street were the Jubilees that were allocated to Bristol Barrow Road  (22A) and Bushbury (3B) , and the locos from each of these sheds were maintained to high standards. The running on the Bristol to York and Bradford services and on the Birmingham 2 hour trains was accordingly very good. But elsewhere the story was different. From St Pancras, once the XL schedules were introduced in 1957, you could be lucky and get a good run. But you were just as likely to get a bad one. In truth the XL schedules on the Midland lines to Leicester, Nottingham, and Manchester, were the hardest in the country at the time, and needed Class 7 power.

Three Jubilees (four if you include the kit of parts that is "Galatea") have survived. 45593 Kolhapur, 45596 Bahamas, and 45690 Leander. And there is seemingly an endless supply of Black 5's which have maintained the tradition of reliability and excellence.

I have chosen a selection of logs which cover the years 1955 to 1986. 

22nd June 1955: 45647 Sturdee: Birmingham New Street to Euston on the 7.55am Wolverhampton to Euston, two hour from Birmingham service  [view log of 45647]
25th July 1955: 45709 Implacable: Euston to Birmingham New Street on the 2.20pm Euston to Wolverhampton two hours to Birmingham service  [view log of 45709]
7th September 1955: 45685 Barfleur: Birmingham New Street to Gloucester Eastgate on the 7.30am Bradford Forster Square to Bristol   [view log of 45685]
6th August 1957: 45680 Camperdown: Hereford to Shrewsbury on the 7.30am Penzance to Manchester on a busy summer Saturday  [view log of 45680]
27th January 1958: 45683 Hogue: St Pancras to Derby Midland on the 2.25pm St Pancras to Manchester Central  [view log of 45683]

21st November 1958: 45675 Hardy: Leicester to Derby and Manchester on the 7.55am St Pancras to Manchester Central, The Palatine  [view log of 45675]

5th August 1962: 45696 Arethusa: Carnforth to Windermere and Lakeside to Carnforth on a Day excursion from Birmingham New Street  [view log of 45696]

6th June 1964: 45721 Inpregnable: St Pancras to Leicester, Sheffield and Leeds on the LCGB North Briton railtour  [view log of 45721]
12th July 1964: 45647 Sturdee: Leeds to Stockport and Crewe, via Standedge,  on the SLS Three Summits railtour  [view log of 45647]
6th September 1979: 5690 Leander: Ravenglass to Carnforth on a Cumbrian Coast Express, returning from Sellafield  [view log of 5690]
29th December 1979: 5690 Leander: Carnforth to Seascale on the outward SLOA Santa Steam Special over the Cumbrian Coast line  [view log of 5690]
26th April 1980: 5690 Leander: Carlisle to Garsdale on the Leander Limited railtour over the Settle & Carlisle line  [view log of 5690]
13th March 1982: 5690 Leander: Shrewsbury to Hereford on what was known as "the top leg" of the SLOA Welsh Marches Express  [view log of 5690]
8th June 1986: 5593 Kolhapur: Stratford on Avon to Tyseley, via the North Warwickshire line,  on the Birmingham Railway Museum Shakespeare Express  [view log of 5593]
JUBILEE HIGHLIGHTS are (1) 45647 Sturdee and 45709 Implacable on the Euston to Birmingham two hour trains in 1955. (2) 45680 Camperdown battling up to Church Stretton summit, then heading down to Shrewsbury at 80 mph, on a heavy Summer Saturday service in 1957. (3) 45647 Sturdee again, this time over the Pennines on a 1964 railtour, and (4) 5690 Leander battling up to Lindal summit, in dreadful weather conditions and with a 495 ton train, on a Christmas charter in 1979.

But to present a balanced view, I have to mention that I had several dreadful runs, probably the worst being on 45605 Cyprus from St Pancras to Derby in 1957. And there was some poor running on the North and West line on the morning Manchester to Swansea service.


  Click here for Sound Recording of 5593 Kolhapur at Wythall in 1986.

   STANIER CLASS 5MT 4-6-0:  
21st February 1957: 45074 & 45310: Birmingham New Street to Euston double heading on the 7.55am Wolverhampton to Euston  [view log of 45074 & 45310]

26th April 1958: 44815 Bristol to Birmingham New Street on the 7.20pm Bristol to Newcastle  [view log of 44815]

4th June 1958: 44662 Bristol to Birmingham New Street on the 7.20pm Bristol to Newcastle  [view log of 44662]

21st November 1958: 44717 Liverpool Central to Manchester Central on the 1.30pm service via Widnes and Warrington Central, the C.L.C route  [view log of 44717]
21st November 1958: 44816 Manchester Central to Derby and Leicester on the 2.25pm Manchester Central to St Pancras, The Palatine. At Derby, our load was increased from 8 coaches to 11, and we had a pilot, 44822, onwards to Leicester:  [view log of 44816]
29th July 1961: 45021 Birmingham New Street to Crewe, via Aston and Bescot, on the Saturday 9.25am Bournemouth West to Liverpool  [view log of 45021]
4th September1961: 45237 Crewe to Preston on the 6.40am Euston to Windermere & Workington  [view log of 45237] 
28th November 1964: 45018 Carnforth to Carlisle, replacing a failed Britannia on a Warwickshire Railway Society railtour from Birmingham to Carlisle  [view log of 45018]
12th June 1965: 44777 Birmingham Snow Hill to  Bath Green Park on the Warwickshire Railway Society Eastleigh, via the Somerset & Dorset, railtour  [view log of 44777]
15th March 1980: 5305 Skipton to Garsdale on the SLOA  Cumbrian Mountain Express Northbound  [view log of 5305]
21st February 1981: 4767 Hellifield to Garsdale on the SLOA Cumbrian Mountain Express Northbound  [view log of 4767]
28th February 1981: 4767 Carlisle to Garsdale on the SLOA Cumbrian Mountain Express Southbound  [view log of 4767]
7th March 1981: 5000 Hereford to Newport & return on the bottom leg of the SLOA Welsh Marches Express  [view log of 5000]
20th July 1981: 5025 Perth to Aviemore return on a BR excursion  [view log of 5025]
5th March 1983: 5000 Hereford to Shrewsbury and Chester on the SLOA Welsh Marches Express   [view log of 5000]
14th September 1983: 5407 Hellifield to Carnforth on the bottom leg of the SLOA Cumbrian Mountain Express  [view log of 5407]
10th May 1986: 5305 Howes Siding to Leeds and York on the SLOA Cumbrian Mountain Express Southbound   [view log of 5305]
The BLACK 5 HIGHLIGHTS are (1) The 45074 plus 45310 combination on the 14 coach 8.30am Birmingham to Euston service, with an 89 mph at Wembley. (2) 44816 on the up Palatine from Manchester Central in 1958, and (3) some good running south of Crewe with 45021 in 1961, and (4) north of Crewe with 45237 in the same year. (5) Some splendid running south of Gloucester with 44777 in 1964, and (6) in more recent times  4767, 5305 and 5407 have all put in some excellent performances on Main Line Steam specials.

But the feature of Black 5 performance is consistency. Poor runs are rare indeed.


 Click here for Sound Recording of Black 5 no 5407 leaving Lancaster in 2004.

Note: Both of the pictures on this page are copyright D Bailey, and are reproduced with his permission. The sound recordings come from David Bailey's Steamsounds Website. 
RECOMMENDED READING: (1) JUBILEES OF THE LMS (John F Clay-1971 Ian Allan)  (2) THE STANIER BLACK FIVES (John F Clay & J Cliffe-1975 Ian Allan)  (3) THE STANIER 4-6-0's OF THE LMS (J P Rowledge & Brian Reed-1977 David & Charles)