Between 1928 and 1935, the former London and North Eastern Railway built a series of 48 locomotives to improve the service of their Great Eastern Section in East Anglia.
These were medium powered locomotives and were classified B17. They were given names of stately homes on the LNER system – the first being ‘Sandringham,’ after Royal permission had been obtained. Consequently, the locomotives were always known as the ‘Sandringhams.’
They worked express passenger trains out of London (Liverpool Street) to Ipswich, Harwich, Norwich, Yarmouth and Cambridge.
A second batch of these locomotives, with improved performance, was built between 1936 and 1937 and these were given names of football clubs located on the LNER system.
This new batch – consisting of 25 locomotives – was designed to work on the former Great Central Section from London (Marylebone) to Leicester, Sheffield and Manchester. In addition, consideration was given to some of the Class working in the North East (Newcastle, Darlington and York) and in Scotland but engine crews in those areas did not like them and, apart from occasional workings following overhauls, they never operated in those regions.
The ‘Football’ Class was designed by the Chief Mechanical Engineer of the LNER – Herbert Nigel Gresley (later Sir Nigel, and more famous for his Pacific locomotives such as ‘Flying Scotsman’ and the world record holder ‘Mallard’) – and were built in the LNER Darlington Works and some by Robert Stephenson and Co. Ltd., Darlington.
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