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Despite the nickname ‘Jones Goods’ that was commonly applied to the class, it was Chief Engineer David Jones’ Chief Draughtsman, David Anderson Hendrie, who suggested that the 4-6-0 arrangement, common in other countries, could work for the HR.The result was a handsome 4-6-0 with 20in by 26in cylinders, 5ft 3 1/2in diameter driving wheels and a tractive effort of 24,362lbs. The HR board authorised construction in January 1894 and Sharp Stewart of Glasgow delivered all 15 by the end of the year. Nos. 103-117 were put to work between Perth and Inverness and, aside from some minor tweaks to the draughting arrangement, were an instant success. As the Highland expanded and modified its network, the locomotives began to run north of Inverness and out to Kyle of Lochalsh as well as on the new Aviemore Direct line. Supplying the Royal Navy, based at Scapa Flow, during the First World War taxed the ‘Big Goods’ to the limit but the locomotives continued to prove their worth well into the LMS era.
The LMS withdrew the first ‘Big Goods’ in 1929, by which time it had re-numbered the whole class 17916-17930. It took, however, until 1940 before the last, No. 17925 (No. 112) was condemned. Happily, the LMS saw fit to preserve one of this historic machines and cosmetically restored pioneer No. 17916 (HR No. 103). No. 103 was tucked away inside St Rollox works along with Caledonian Railway 4-2-2 No. 123 until 1958 when BR Scottish Region General Manager James Ness ordered it to be returned to service. Alongside other classic Scottish locomotives, No. 103 ran numerous railtours around the Scottish Region as well as making as far south as Bedfordshire for the filming of Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines. No 103 was retired in 1965 and, restored to close to original condition as possible, is now one of Glasgow Riverside Museum’s star exhibits.