Designed by Sir Nigel Gresley in 1935, the LNER V2 went on to become a highly successful design, working both freight and passenger services throughout the region until withdrawal in 1960 186 in total were built, the first, Green Arrow, was presented to the National Railway Museum and has, until recently, run on the main line. Coming nearly ten years after the first A3s, the V2s had the same three cylinders and conjugated valve gear layout of the Pacifics and similar lines.
This engine was four years in the building, the work
of a skilled modelmaker who built his first engine, a Maisie, over forty years
ago since when he has completed many engines (including a fine GWR Hall).
Completed in 1999, the V2 has seen little use its sheer size has tended to
deter the builder from taking it out (which was largely the reason for going on
to build an Ajax, his current club drive). Intended as his magnum opus, a high
note on which to finish, he has now decided to clear the decks in the workshop
and get cracking on a Standard Class 4.
Copper silver-soldered boiler with superheaters, feed by
twin injectors, working pressure 90psi. Twin soft-pop safety valves. The builder
has used a great deal of ingenuity to allow removal of the grate and ashpan from
beneath, the grate coming out in a single piece which is unusual for these
wide-firebox engines (which are usually a swine to clean out after a run).
Refitting when cold is easy, the grate latches over a fixed pin and is retained
by a removeable pin.
Three cylinders, piston valves actuated by Gresley-Holcroft valve gear with screw reverser in cab. Two mechanical lubricators mounted on running boards the offside pump is a twin ram unit feeding one outside and the centre cylinder, the nearside feeds the other outside cylinder. Axleboxes have extension oiling tubes running up the inside of the frames, making chassis lubrication much easier. Cast iron driving wheels with steel tyres, rear wheels working in Cartazzi truck as per prototype. Axleboxes are spli bronze with felt pads beneath.
It runs very well, similar to drive to the A3s I have had, which is probably unsurprising. The exhaust note is distinctive with its six beats per revolution, the large firebox carries a deep fire and the boiler makes steam quickly. After a couple of laps of the club track to warm through, the pressure gauge sat around 90 pounds for the rest of the afternoon - getting an injector on before coming into the station kept the safety valves under control. The engine is steady on its feet pulling away and, with slightly smaller wheels than the A3, accelerates well.