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No. 401: The peak of industrial locomotive development

No. 401, with surviving sister No. 403, are generally considered to represent the pinnacle of industrial steam locomotive design.

They were part of a trio built for the Steel Company of Wales (SCOW) for its Abbey, Margam and Port Talbot works, where they would be evaluated alongside three new six-coupled diesel electric locomotives, which had also been ordered from Bagnall at the same time.

Newly overhauled Bagnall 0-6-0ST No. 401 approaches Middle Engine Lane with the second train of the day at the North Tyneside Steam Railway on April 18. MATTHEW DITCH

Nos. 2994-2996 were delivered in early 1951 and, in order to make them as competitive as possible against the diesels, included such refinements as Walschaerts valve gear, piston valves, roller bearings (on axles and motion), hopper ashpans and rocking grates, self-cleaning smokeboxes and balanced reversing gear. 

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