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The Great Northern Railway (GNR) Class N2 is an 0-6-2T side tank steam locomotive designed by Nigel Gresley and introduced in 1920. Further batches were built by the London and North Eastern Railway from 1925. They had superheaters and piston valves driven by Stephenson valve gear.

GNR Class N2
LNER Class N2[1]
Harringay wth Gresley N2 0-6-2T geograph-2882480-by-Ben-Brooksbank.jpg
No. 9505 at Harringay
Type and origin
Power typeSteam
DesignerNigel Gresley
Build date1920–1929
Total produced107 (N2/1: 60, N2/2: 12, N2/3: 12, N2/4: 23)
 • Whyte0-6-2T
 • UICC1 h2t
Gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Driver dia.5 ft 8 in (1.727 m)
Trailing dia.3 ft 8 in (1.118 m)
Wheelbase23 ft 9 in (7.24 m)
  • N2/1, /2, /3: 37 ft 10 34 in (11.55 m)
  • N2/4: 37 ft 11 34 in (11.576 m)
Axle load19.00–20.00 long tons (19.30–20.32 t; 21.28–22.40 short tons)
Adhesive weight55.75–56.90 long tons (56.64–57.81 t; 62.44–63.73 short tons)
Loco weight70.25–71.45 long tons (71.38–72.60 t; 78.68–80.02 short tons)
Fuel typeCoal
Fuel capacity4.00 long tons (4.06 t; 4.48 short tons)
Water cap2,000 imp gal (9,100 l; 2,400 US gal)
 • Firegrate area
19.00 sq ft (1.765 m2)
BoilerLNER diagram 7
Boiler pressure170 psi (1.2 MPa)
CylindersTwo, inside
Cylinder size19 in × 26 in (483 mm × 660 mm)
Valve gearStephenson
Valve type8-inch (203 mm) piston valves
Performance figures
Tractive effort19,945 lbf (88.72 kN)
Power class
  • LNER: 2
  • BR: 3MT
Axle load classLNER/BR: Route availability 6
DispositionOne preserved, remainder scrapped

Some locomotives were fitted with condensing apparatus for working on the Metropolitan Railway Widened Lines between King's Cross and Moorgate.


In serviceEdit

The N2s were designed for suburban passenger operations, and worked most of the duties out of King's Cross and Moorgate, often hauling one or two quad-art sets of articulated suburban coaches. These ran to places such as New Barnet and Gordon Hill on the Hertford loop. They also hauled some empty coaching stock trains between King's Cross and Ferme Park carriage sidings.

They were also a common sight in and around Glasgow and Edinburgh operating suburban services, mainly on what is today known as the North Clyde Line.


  • Class N2/1 built 1920-21, GNR locos with condensing apparatus
  • Class N2/2 built 1925, LNER locos without condensing apparatus; vacuum brake, for Scotland
  • Class N2/3 built 1925 & 1928-29, LNER locos without condensing apparatus; air brake
  • Class N2/4 built 1928-29, LNER locos with condensing apparatus

British Railways numbers were: 69490-69596.

Accidents and incidentsEdit

  • On 12 July 1932, locomotive No. 4738 was hauling a passenger train that ran back in a tunnel at London King's Cross station and was derailed by catch points. The derailed carriages fouled an adjacent line and a freight train ran into them and was also derailed. There were no injuries.[2]
  • On 10 February 1946, locomotive No. 2679 was derailed at Potters Bar, Hertfordshire due to a signalman's error. The wreckage fouled signal cables, giving a false clear signal to an express passenger train, which ran into the wreckage. A third passenger train travelling in the opposite direction then ran into the wreckage. Two people were killed.[3]


Preserved GNR 0-6-2T Class N2 No. 1744 at Leicester North on the Great Central Railway

One, No. 1744/4744 (BR No. 69523) survived into preservation, and after initially running at the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway and Great Central Railway (heritage railway), now resides at the North Norfolk Railway. It is owned by the Gresley Society, and has appeared in LNER Black, BR Black, and GNR Apple Green while in preservation. The loco's most recent overhaul was completed in 2009, with the engine being given its GNR Apple Green livery at the same time, and is usually based at the NNR when not visiting other railways. The engine re-visited King's Cross on Tuesday 5 April 2016 for the unveiling of a statue of Sir Nigel Gresley, the engine in question was moved to and from Bounds Green behind a diesel.


The N2 was the basis of the Hornby Dublo 0-6-2T tank engine, which was offered in the liveries of all the 'Big Four' companies - despite being clearly one of the LNER N2s fitted with condensing gear for use on the London Underground. Mainline also produced models of the N2 in the 1980s, theirs depicting engines No. 4744 in LNER Black and No. 9522 in LNER Apple Green (9522 was the only N2 to wear this livery, which was applied in 1946).

Hornby currently owns the toolings for the N2, and released a model of engine 69563 as part of the R2981 London Olympics 1948 set including two British Railways (ex-LNER) 60-foot (18 m) teak coaches, 3rd class composite 1435 and 3rd Brake 24387. The set, while receiving a generally good review, was criticised for Hornby's use of a 'rather tired tooling', and that the real 69563 had been a Scottish engine which had not been fitted with the condensing gear - which the model had. The choice of rolling stock was also criticised as an N2 would not be used to haul mainline stock on suburban duties - most likely this was only seen if an N2 was on station pilot duties, and was removing such stock from King's Cross.

Hornby also produced models of the N2 up until 2005 using the original Mainline tooling in GNR Apple Green as locomotive No. 1763, among others. These models were painted in a slightly darker shade of green than that used on the Mainline model of 9522 in 1983.

Hornby produces the LNER number 4765 in black livery using existing tooling, as R3465.[4]

In fictionEdit

The Thomas & Friends character Ryan, is based on a GNR N2/1.[5]


  1. ^ Boddy et al. 1977, pp. 58, 75–77.
  2. ^ "Metropolitan Railway" (PDF). Ministry of Transport. 5 October 1932. Retrieved 12 April 2017.
  3. ^ Hoole 1982, pp. 36–37.
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Ryan - Character Profile & Bio". Thomas & Friends - Official Website. Retrieved 26 August 2017.
  • Boddy, M. G.; Brown, W. A.; Fry, E. V.; Hennigan, W.; Hoole, Ken; Manners, F.; Neve, E.; Platt, E. N. T.; Proud, P.; Yeadon, W. B. (March 1977). Fry, E. V. (ed.). Locomotives of the L.N.E.R., Part 9A: Tank Engines—Classes L1 to N19. Kenilworth: RCTS. ISBN 0-901115-40-1.
  • Hoole, Ken (1982). Trains in Trouble: Vol. 3. Redruth: Atlantic Books. ISBN 0-906899-05-2.
  • Ian Allan ABC of British Railways Locomotives, 1948 edition, part 4, page 54.

External linksEdit