End of ‘Black Five’ dream for Duke of Gloucester engineer


An ambitious project to recreate one of a pair of LMS ‘Black Five’ 4-6-0s that were the forerunners of No. 71000 Duke of Gloucester has been called off, so ending the dream of Peter Kenyon, a former engineer on the restoration of the unique Standard Pacific.

One of the few: LMS ‘Black Five’ No. 44687 rests at Crewe on June 3, 1952. The 1951 Horwich-built 4-6-0 was one of only two members of the 842-strong class to be fitted with British Caprotti valve gear, which was also subsequently fitted by BR to No. 71000 Duke of Gloucester and Class 5MT Nos. 73125-54. A project to recreate one of the ‘Black Fives’ has foundered due to lack of finance. BKB GREEN/NORMAN PREEDY ARCHIVE

Peter is a member of the locomotive’s custodian, the BR Class 8 Steam Locomotive Trust, and organised the manufacture of all the Caprotti valve gear parts for the 14-year ‘mission impossible’ restoration that saw No. 71000 return to steam in 1987.

The Duke of Gloucester incorporates a British-developed outside drive form of Caprotti valve gear that was fitted by BR to the Pacific and also to Standard Class 5MT Nos. 73125-54, while its use had also been employed by BR earlier on 1951-built LMS-designed ‘Black Five’ Nos. 44686/7. Like the Duke, one of the Class 5MTs, No. 73129, survives in preservation.

Peter, a former Rolls-Royce engineer, is a strong advocate of what became known as British Caprotti valve gear, which was developed after the Second World War from the Italian inside drive design by former GWR engineer Tom Daniels in his role as chief engineer of the Worcester engineering company Associated Locomotive Equipment.

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