Steam Locomotives of a More Leisurely Era
1907 – Marsh 4-4-2T
London, Brighton & SouthCoast Railway
In 1907 D. Earle Marsh built the first of a very fine series of express tank engines for the Brighton main line. The importance of this design lay in the fact that they were practically the first main line locomotives in the country to be fitted with high degree superheaters.
The first of the new engines, No. 21, was built as a saturated engine, the superheater being added later, but Nos. 22-6, which appeared in 1908-9, came out with Schmidt superheaters. For comparative purposes the next six, Nos. 27-30, 75 and 76 were also non-superheated to begin with, but the apparatus was fitted to the rest of the class, Nos.77-91, built between 1910 and 1913, when new.
An important series of trials took place in 1908, which had considerable influence on the subsequent locomotive practice in this country. The experiment consisted of working the ‘Sunny South Express’, which was a through train between Brighton and the North, throughout between the former place and Rugby alternately by a North Western ‘Precursor’ and one of the Brighton tanks, instead of changing engines at Willesden. Each locomotive stayed overnight at the other Company’s shed, returning the next day. LBSCR engines used were Nos. 23 and 26, and the LNWR locomotive was No.7 ‘Titan’. The results of the tests, which lasted a month, showed a considerable economy in both coal and water consumption for the Brighton, which, notwithstanding its being a tank engine, with a coal capacity of only three tons, it was found could make the full round trip of 264 miles between Brighton and Rugby without refuelling. Moreover, the LBSCR engine could run the ninety miles between Croydon and Rugby without taking water, which ‘Titan’ had to do at Willesden. The load was about 250 tons. The results of these tests were conclusive enough to influence locomotive design on all other major Companies, and after a year or two, superheating not only became standard equipment as a matter of course for new express engines, but also became to be applied widely to older existing types. It has never become practice to apply it universally to smaller shunting engines, where its benefits are comparatively negligible.
The Brighton tanks, known as Class I 3, performed fine work on the main line for many years, taking their turn on the ‘Southern Belle’ and other fast expresses to Brighton, Eastbourne and Portsmouth, until displaced by electrification, after which they were relegated to less spectacular duties. Many of them finished up at Tunbridge Wells, working stopping trains on the Oxted line. They became SR Nos. 2012-30 and 2075-91 at the grouping, and all except No. 2024 lasted until Nationalisation days, in most cases to have 30000 added to their numbers. The last to remain in service was No. 32091, withdrawn in 1952.
No.21 – Driving wheels – 6’ 9”, Cylinders – 19”x 26”, Pressure – 180 lb., Tractive effort – 17730, Weight – 75½ tons
Nos. 22-30, 75-81 – Driving wheels – 6’ 7½”, Cylinders – 20”x 26”, Pressure – 180 lb., Tractive effort – 20015, Weight – 76 tons
Nos. 82-91 – Driving wheels – 6’ 7½”, Cylinders – 21”x 26”, Pressure – 180 lb., Tractive effort – 22065, Weight – 76 tons