About the Duke of Gloucester

The Duke is a much-loved locomotive inspiring all age groups and appealing to both stalwart steam enthusiasts and those who are new to the appeal of steam railways. What all supporters of the Duke have in common is a deep-seated affection for this unique and very special piece of our steam railway heritage.

Type and origin
Power typeSteam
DesignerRobert Riddles
BuilderBR Crewe Works
Build dateApril 1954
Total produced1

The BR Standard Class 8 was a class of 4-6-2 Pacific steam locomotive designed by Robert Riddles for use by British Railways. Only the prototype was constructed, which was named Duke of Gloucester. Constructed at Crewe Works in 1954, the Duke, as it is popularly known, was a replacement for the destroyed Princess Royal Class locomotive number 46202 Princess Anne, which was involved in the Harrow and Wealdstone rail disaster of 1952.

International Railway Congress – 1954

The result was an operational period of only eight years. This unique locomotive was saved from being scrapped at Woodham Brothers scrapyard in Barry, Vale of Glamorgan, South Wales when it was purchased by a group of railway enthusiasts who restored it from scrapyard to as-built condition in 13 years. Since then, modifications have been made to the original design, resulting in one of the most efficient and powerful steam locomotives ever to run in Britain.

Derby works open day – 27 Aug 1960

The Duke was based on the BR Standard Class 7 Britannia design. It incorporated three sets of modified Caprotti valve gear, relatively new to British locomotive engineering and more efficient than Walschaerts or Stephenson valve gear. The Duke was regarded as a failure by locomotive crews due to its poor steaming characteristics and its heavy fuel consumption. Trials undertaken by British Railways also returned negative feedback, reporting problems with the poor draughting of the locomotive which resulted in difficulty adhering to the timetables.

Configuration4-6-2 (Pacific)
UIC classification2′C1′h3
Gauge4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1435 mm)
Leading wheel diameter3 ft 0 in (0.914 m)
Driver diameter6 ft 2 in (1.880 m)
Trailing wheel diameter3 ft 3 1⁄2 in (1.003 m)
Length67 ft 8 in (20.62 m)
Width9 ft 0 in (2.74 m)
Height13 ft 0 1⁄2 in (3.98 m)
Axle load22.00 long tons (22.35 t)
Weight on drivers66.00 long tons (67.06 t)
Locomotive weight101.25 long tons (102.87 t)
Tender weightBR1E: 55.50 long tons (56.39 t)
BR1J: 53.70 long tons (54.56 t)
Tender type1954–1958: BR1E
1958–1962: BR1J
Fuel typeCoal
Fuel capacity10 long tons (10 t)
Water capacityBR1E: 4725 imp gal (21480 l; 5674 US gal)
BR1J: 4325 imp gal (19660 l; 5194 US gal)
Boiler pressure250 psi (1.72 MPa)
Firegrate areaHeating surface: 48.6 sq ft (4.52 m2)
Tubes and flues 2264 sq ft (210.3 m2)
Firebox226 sq ft (21.0 m2)
Superheater area677 sq ft (62.9 m2)
Cylinder size18 in × 28 in (457 mm × 711 mm)