A British Railways B1 class 4-6-0 locomotive, built by the North British Locomotive Co, at York station c 1952. The name "Gnu" indicates that it was part of the "Antelope" class. Forty locomotives were named after various species of antelope, originally to commemorate the visit to Britain of South African Prime Minister Field Marshall Smuts during the Second World War.
The locomotive was built at Queen's Park Works in 1947, as part of the largest single contract ever placed by the London & North Eastern Railway Co with any builder. A further order was placed by British Railways following nationalisation in 1948, the only order placed with the NBL by British Railways and the last steam locomotives to be built by the company for the home market.
Designed by the LNER's Chief Mechanical Engineer Edward Thompson, the B1 class was a popular and successful locomotive for hauling passenger or freight traffic. Large numbers were built as part of the railways' post-war modernisation programme and at one time the NBL was delivering an average of ten each month.
Reference: NBL 131
Reproduced with the permission of Glasgow City Council, Libraries Information and Learning
antelopes, BR, British Railways, Class B1, engineers, gnus, LNER, locomotive builders, London & North Eastern Railway Co, NBL, North British Locomotive Co, Queen's Park Works, railway stations, steam locomotives, trains