Steam Locomotives of a More Leisurely Era
1942 – ‘USA’ Class
Southern Region 0-6-0T
Roger Monk sent these 2 photos of a model of the locos.
For anybody interested this was built in the 1980s from a white metal kit. A ready to run version is due to be released in the near future. A couple of locos of this type worked in the West Midlands – at the Austin (later BL & Rover) plant at Longbridge. Details are in the IRS West Midlands Industrial Locomotives Handbook.
Origin – USA, Purchased by Southern Region – Dec. 1946, Driving wheels – 4’ 6”, Length 29’ 8”, Weight – 46 tons 10cwt, Water capacity – 1,200 US gallons, Designer – US Army Transportation Corps, Purpose – Heavy-duty Dock Shunting, Cylinders (2) – 16½”x 24”, Boiler pressure – 210 lb., Coal capacity – 1 US ton, Power classification – 3F.
A typically American ‘Switcher’ or shunting engine. Stove-pipe chimney and three domes, the centre one of which carries the whistle. Quite un-English in appearance. Outside cylinders and valve gear. Connecting rods drive on rear axle. Very wide cab necessitating special warning notice to shunters riding on steps.
Number series: 30061- 30074 (Total 14).
A total of 382 of these locomotives were built to this design by three American builders – Davenport, Porter and the Vulcan Iron Works.
After the war, forty two of these locomotives were stored at the War Department’s Newbury depot awaiting disposal. A number found their way to Yugoslavia but others were sold for £2,500 each to the Southern Railway at the end of 1946. The latter found the locomotive’s 10 feet coupled wheelbase very useful and they were allocated to Southampton Docks where they subsequently became very well known to British enthusiasts.. Indeed, some of these locomotives have survived and can still be seen working on preserved railways – I believe there is one the Bluebell Line, on on the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway and two on the Kent and East Sussex Railway.
The National Coal Board purchased three of the locomotives in May-June 1947 for use at its collieries in the north east. It would appear that their new surroundings were not to their liking and all three locomotives had short lives. Presumably their unusual pedigree posed a problem when major renewal was required. NCB No.32 (Davenport 2521 of 1943, number 4372) operated at Rising Sun Colliery and from Backworth Shed before it was scrapped in June 1954.
The other two locomotives – No.35 (Davenport 2509 of 1943, number 1944) and No. 36 (Davenport 2595 of 1944, Number 6006) worked on the Hartley Main system until they were scrapped in May and October 1953 respectively.