5at Train

  The Class 5AT Advanced Technology Steam Locomotive Project   

New Generation Steam -- The Ultimate 4-6-0 -- 380 mile range -- An Engineering Legacy 

5AT - Artistic Impressions by Robin Barnes

The beautiful illustrations on this page were all painted by Robin Barnes, and are reproduced with the kind permission of the artist.

The paintings are shown in descending date order - the newest appearing at the top of the page - and thus present a visual time-line of the evolutionary development of the 5AT's design.

The illustrations are for viewing only and are copyrighted to Robin Barnes.
They may not be reproduced in any way without written permission from the artist.
Robin may be contacted through this website by writing to webmaster@5AT.co.uk

Painting No 15 - November 2006


Painting No 14 - November 2006 ....  "Southbound from York"


Painting No 13 - November 2006  ..... "Northbound at Brock WCML"


Painting No 12 - November 2006  ...... "Departing Edinburgh Waverley"


Painting No 11 - November 2004

Robin Barnes comments: "This, as they say, is quite something! The FDCs (Fundamental Design Calculations) are done, necessary changes incorporated, and now we can see with some certainty how the 5AT will appear when it takes to the rails. Visually the most obvious differences in comparison with previous interpretations are the twin shoulder-mounted feedwater heaters, required to give sufficient volume, the fitting of a compressor of the kind used on latter-day DB steam (ie, Type 10 Pacific), and reversion to BFB driven wheels. This was done with some reluctance, but forced by the fact the expertise required to make the Scullin type is not available. Some design work still needs to be done on the tender bogies, but fortunately the locomotive happens to be just emerging from behind a retaining wall, and the problem of how to draw them did not have to be faced. As has been pointed out in the past by others more involved than this artist, the name a locomotive carries has no effect on how it performs, and it has been agreed that for the present at least, until the project has proceeded further, such an identifying feature is not necessary.

The artist's view is that the first illustration of the 5AT, although of course it did depict something genuinely different, was somewhat characterless, whereas what we have now is a locomotive which exhibits a strong and distinct personality. This is a head turner; visually dramatic yet utterly believable.

Produced in October 2004, this painting illustrates the final outline of the locomotive as defined by the completed Fundemental Design Calculations. "

[Note from Chris Newman: in addition to the BFB wheels, Chapelon-style feed-water heaters, and air compressor, revised features include:

  • parallel/tapered shaped light-weight connecting rod;
  • alligator-type slide-bars replace the earlier 5MT-type underslung cross-head arrangement;
  • a swinging hanger supports the valve-spindle/combination-lever joint, replacing the original slide-bar;
  • there is now a cross-head drop-arm to connect the union link to the bottom of the combination lever;
  • drophead buckeye centre-coupling is fitted to the front of the loco.]

Painting No 10 - July 2003

Robin Barnes comments: "The 5AT with a worthwhile load. Nice enough 'thirties' poster style image, but the whole thing really doesn't work very well, probably because the kind of full-length striping suggested does not sit easily upon anything other than a completely streamlined locomotive. In addition, as with illustration number six, the proportions seem a little awry. A lesson learned."

[Note from Chris Newman: Robin was asked to do this painting in order to represent the 5AT as it might appear hauling a branded "Premium" timetabled express, following the idea of the highly successful pre-war streamlined expresses. Scullin wheels and the transverse feed-water heater make their final appearance in this painting.]

Painting 9 - February 2003

Robin Barnes comments: "Straightforward, almost diagrammatic side elevation of the 5AT stretching its legs. Sprinting, but without strain we may be certain, returning to their homes several hundred contented excursionists. Again, no changes to the locomotive."

[The original of this magnificent painting is now proudly owned by Chris Newman!]

Painting No 8 - Feb 2003

Robin Barnes comments: "As in the case of the crimson lake of the sixth illustration, this was another attempt at showing a possible livery, and hopefully bring some variety to the Gallery. The overall effect with a matching train would be striking, but it is not a replacement for the interim standard scheme."

Painting No 7 - February 2003

Robin Barnes comments: "Exhaustion, artist's block perhaps, having set in, no further images were prepared for well over a year. No changes to the locomotive are evident, and the purpose here was simply to show it fitting comfortably into the modern railway environment. Clearly our friend visible at the fireman's side sees no clouds on the horizon.

Painting No 6 - July 2001

Robin Barnes comments: "A busy month indeed, with impressions materialising at the rate of one a week! Although it was accepted that when the 5AT took to the rails, exactly how it was painted might well be influenced by the wishes of its sponsors, the metallic grey, yellow wheels and brown frames, with silver trim line, was decided upon as an interim standard. This crimson lake and vermilion variant was intended to do no more than demonstrate possibilities. In the artist's personal view, it works well, but the painting itself is his least favourite amongst those completed so far, largely because somewhere along the line the locomotive's proportions have got somewhat out of kilter."

[Note from Chris Newman: I disagree - I think it looks great!]

Painting No 5 - July 2001

Robin Barnes comments: "This interpretation and the third in the Gallery form a natural pair, for here in contrast we see the 5AT really moving, even though we know for certain it has the same heavy load behind it. It will be noted the overall appearance is settling down, despite the fact considerable design work still is under way. Very properly, form is following function, and the curvaceous front-end is no indulgence. At sustained high cruising speeds, smoothing out the airflow has definite advantages, while the light clusters it is intended must conform to the applicable Railway Group Standards. This has been reproduced elsewhere a number of times, most recently in Jonathan Glancey's new book, The Train."

[Note from Chris Newman: the transverse feed-water heater is now fitted lower into the smokebox casing, where it remains for another 3 years.]

Painting No 4 - July 2001

Robin Barnes comments: "This close-up, although prepared at the same date as the third and fifth illustrations, had a different function, to indicate a number of features rare in, or new to British steam locomotive practice, bearing in mind, however, that they were not necessarily definitive. Notable are the clasp brakes on all wheels, having German-type double shoes, and the very thorough sanding provision. Just visible below the smoke deflector, tucked up against the steam pipe, is an auxiliary oil tank for the lubricator. Conventional spoked wheels not only create drag, at high speed they also generate noise, and the exceptionally smooth surface of the American Scullin type, dramatically making its first British appearance here, is superior aerodynamically even to the BFB."

Painting No 3 - July 2001

Robin Barnes comments: "This low-angle front view shows the 5AT running easily at the head of a lengthy train of matching stock The stormy sky is effective, but in the context of the project perhaps has unfortunate connotations - although the artist would argue firmly it is emerging into clear skies. The nameplate here is not legible, but it had been decided that the name Silver Streak used on the second impression also had unfortunate connotations, certainly in this modern age, and Silver Arrow therefore was adopted as a suitably evocative substitute. Nonetheless, it was disappointing to the artist his stylised art-deco railway locomotive variation of the Rolls Royce 'Silver Lady' (which can just be made out on the second painting), thereby was consigned to oblivion. He had grown inordinately fond of her."



Painting No 2 - March 2001

Robin Barnes comments: "It was agreed early on that in its painting style the 5AT would break away from traditional British norms, at least as applied to non-streamlined locomotives, which even towards the end generally followed patterns of decoration not much changed in a century. The second illustration was a calculated attempt by the artist to do just that; having decided the first effort looked rather bland, with this follow-up he shot off the scale at the other end. The base colour was not to be white, as it appears, but silver, and as David Wardale pointed out, in the politest manner possible, truly it would not be practicable, even on such a low-emission steam locomotive as this. Well, it is gaudy, but interestingly was the one chosen to accompany Jonathan Glancey's The Guardian article of 11 October 2003. It was about the time this painting was in preparation the classification 5AT was settled on, the project having previously passed through various incarnations such as 5X (misleading; too like the much less competent LMS Patriot and Jubilee classes), 5GT (boy-racerish) and ASL (Advanced Steam Locomotive; okay, but lacking impact)."

[Note from Chris Newman: the first painting to show the locomotive fitted with its enlarged 80 tonne tender. In fact, Robin had to modify the original version of this painting to show the enlarged tender. The illustration shows the original feed-water heater extending quite far above the smokebox casing. BFB driving wheels don't appear again on the locomotive for another 3½ years!]


Painting No 1 - August 2000


Robin's first painting of the 5AT

Robin Barnes comments:"This first attempt at an impression of the 5AT appeared on the cover of Locomotives International No.56 of November-December 2000, subsequently also in Railway Magazine and the German publication Lok-Report. The diagram on which it was based was a redrawn version of the BR Class 5, and with a rigid-frame eight-wheel tender, which before completion of the painting was remounted on two four-wheel bogies. Visually at least, the basic ingredients were there: wide chimney casing, feedwater heater, BFB driven wheels and the cab styling which has become such a distinctive feature of the locomotive.