LMS Class 5 (Black Five) 4-6-0 No.45305

The London, Midland and Scottish Railway was formed in 1923 by the Grouping of the many former railway companies. For the first eight years of its existence it suffered from the diametrically opposed locomotive policies of its constituent companies. The Midland Railway faction favoured a small engine policy whilst that of the London and North Western Railway broadly favoured a large engine policy. As the Midland policy came to dominate it was apparent, in the late 1920s and early 1930s, that the increasing weight of goods and passenger trains and the increased speeds demanded by the Operating Department was causing the frequent double-heading of small locomotives. This was expensive and inflexible and had to be changed.

To introduce this change a new broom was required and the LMS appointed William Arthur Stanier, from the Great Western Railway, as Chief Mechanical Engineer (Stanier was later knighted in 1943). He commenced work on 1st January, 1932 and set about the task with gusto. In two short years, having already introduced three successful designs, he produced one of the most successful of locomotive classes of all time.

The Class 5 (or Black 5 as they became known as they were always painted black) satisfied a specification that required network wide access at a time when parts of the railway had a slightly more restricted loading gauge than others. They also had to have a general capability to handle second rank express passenger, cross country and freight trains. They had to be, and did become, the Maid of all Work in the LMS fleet hauling fast passenger services or heavy goods trains, often substituting at short notice for locomotive classes designed for those specific purposes.

The first Black 5s appeared in 1934 and were an instant success. Changes to the boiler were rapidly introduced and included the fitting of a dome, increased boiler pressure and an increase in super-heating. In all 842 were built, a total second only to the Stanier 8F where the latter’s selection as a wartime military locomotive saw the total construction for domestic and overseas use at 852.

With such a large class there were of course many small design variations and the big building programme meant they were sourced at private builders Vulcan Foundry and Armstrong Whitworth as well as the LMSR’s own workshops at Crewe, Derby and Horwich. Construction continued until 1951 when the last examples emerged from Horwich works.

The design was robust with two outside cylinders and, on most locomotives, outside Walschearts valve gear giving good access for maintenance. With 6 foot diameter driving wheels they were capable of a good turn of speed whilst at the same time being able to move heavy loads.

No.5305, curiously and unlike most preserved Black 5s, is usually known by its LMS number. It is an Armstrong Whitworth locomotive constructed in 1937. It spent its working life all over the more southerly sections of the former LMS network and saw its final allocation to Lostock Hall (in Preston), and  lasted to the end of main line steam on British Railways in the summer of 1968. It was then sent for scrap.

No.5305 became  the last locomotive on the scrap line of Drapers of Hull, who broke up 742 former BR locomotives. No.5305 was to have been the 743rd and last, but it was decided to keep it and bring it back to full running order.

Albert Draper was, at the time, the president of Hull Kingston Rovers Rugby League Football Club, and it was his fond wish that No.5305 would one day head a special train from Hull to Wembley, where he hoped the club would be playing in the Rugby League Challenge Cup Final.

No.5305 was put in the care of the Humberside Locomotive Preservation Group and based at Hull Dairycoates MPD where it was eventually brought up to full main line standard. The locomotive left Hull Dairycoates in April, 1992 on the closure of that shed and went to RAF Binbrook in Lincolnshire. It arrived on the GCR 20th November, 1996 and was returned to service in 2003. On 26th April, 2005 the Mayor of Charnwood, Mike Jones, welcomed the Lord Mayor of Hull, John Fareham, to the Great Central Railway to re-name the engine “Alderman A E Draper’” using the plates used when the locomotive was first named in 1984. The locomotive remains in the ownership of A E Draper and Sons and is in the long term care of the 5305 Locomotive Association, the successor to the Humberside Locomotive Preservation Group.

The locomotive has enjoyed spells on the main line but remains firmly based at the GCR. Recently it has operated trips to Chester, Shrewsbury, Stratford on Avon and Ely while working out of its main line base at Tyesley, Birmingham. The main line trips are organised by the 5305 Locomotive Association and more are planned. Between main line trips it operates the GCR services and is used on passenger services, demonstration goods trains, the Windcutter 16 ton mineral wagon train and on the GCR’s unique mail train where it is able to demonstrate its useful turn of speed whilst exchanging mail at speed at Quorn & Woodhouse.

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