Sold August 2005 Back to Archive

5 inch gauge Stirling Single with Briggs boiler - stock code 2523

An ancient model of Patrick Stirling's glorious 8 foot single, the original designed and built for the Great Northern Railway in the late nineteenth century and a leading protagonist in the "Race to the North" pitted against the London, North Western's Precursors. No.1 is still preserved at the NRM - well worth a visit if only to go and see the most beautiful engine ever built (I may be biased here).

I know little of the history of this engine, other than it appears to have been a long one. The chassis appears ancient, with brass frames and cylinders, the valve gear is quite elegantly wrought. The driving wheels have the correct square section profile spokes, the front bogie has working leaf springs. The tender appears to have gone missing a long time ago and the current one is a modern creation, new and unused, containing a handpump.

Unusually, the engine is fitted with a Briggs boiler - first one I've had through my hands although have read plenty about them. Copper construction, silver soldered with copper water legs in the firebox. It's fed by an axle pump and injector, along with the auxiliary hand pump in the tender mentioned above. The motion will tick over with less than ten pounds on the clock, at 80 the old girl still has a healthy bark (rather characteristic of Stirling Singles in all sizes given the tall gearing) and pulls rather better than I expected, to be honest.

Various bits and pieces missing, most obviously the cab (although a late-nineteenth century GNR cab is not the most complicated thing in the world), along with the boiler handrails. The whole plot has been badly painted in the wrong green - it really needs stripping and repainting properly.

Locomotive 31 inches
Tender 25 inches
Driving wheel 8 inch diameter

gauge 5 inch