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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 11, Issue 3 (June 1, 1936)


“Pacifics,” outside King's Cross Locomotive Sheds, London.

Of all steam locomotive types, probably the “Atlantic” and the “Pacific” are the best known, alike to railwaymen and railway users. These two designs of locomotives have performed, and are performing, wonderful work throughout the world of railways, although the “Atlantic” engine is rapidly disappearing from the track to make way for more powerful equipment.

The first “Atlantic” engine to be employed on the Home railways was the “Henry Oakley,” built in 1898, in the Doncaster shops of the Great Northern (now London & North Eastern) Railway. This historic locomotive is shortly to be scrapped, after nearly forty years of service in fast passenger working. Just prior to the construction of the “Henry Oakley,” a type of machine had been evolved in America which consisted of a fourcoupled bogie locomotive, with the addition of a pair of trailing wheels helping to support the very large firebox. This engine was the world's first “Atlantic,” and the “Henry Oakley” was, to all intents and purposes, an adaptation of the American plan. The first British “Atlantic” weighed 58 tons. It had two pairs of coupled wheels, 6 feet 8 inches in diameter, set very close together, and driven by outside cylinders. Many sister locomotives were built, and these performed fine service on the AngloScottish main-lines, later being relegated to the London-Cambridge, working out of Liverpool Street station in the metropolis.