Steam Locomotives of a More Leisurely Era
1926 – ‘Lord Nelsons’
Soon after the grouping the need arose for an express passenger locomotive capable of working a 500-ton train on the Southern Railway at an average speed of 55 mph. It was not until 1926, however, that Maunsell was able to produce an engine that answered these requirements. When it did appear it was in the form of a 4-cylinder 4-6-0, No. 850 ‘Lord Nelson’. It was thoroughly tried out before any more were put in hand, but eventually fifteen more came out in 1928-9, No. 851-65, all named after famous sea lords. They worked mainly on the Continental expresses between Victoria and Dover and were very capable machines.
A peculiarity lay in the setting of the angles of the cranks by which the engine gave eight exhausts per revolution of the driving wheels instead of four, resulting in a very soft blast and even torque. The arrangement had already been tried out experimentally on one of Drummond’s early 4-6-0s. and was anticipated in the first place in Hookham’s 0-6-0T for the North Stafford Railway. One or two of the engines varied slightly, No. 859 had 4” smaller driving wheels, No. 960 a longer boiler barrel, and No. 857 carried for a time an experimental boiler with a combustion chamber, while No. 865 had the conventional 4-beat crank setting. They were handsome engines as built, but were later fitted with an ugly wide design of chimney to accommodate a double blast pipe, which completely ruined their appearance. All were still in service in 1959 as Nos. 30850-65.
Driving wheels – 6’ 7”, Cylinders (4) – 16½”x 26”, Pressure – 220 lb., Tractive effort – 33510 lb., Weight 83½ tons, SR classification – LN, BR classification – 7P
No. 859 had 6’ 3” wheels with 35300 lb. tractive effort, and No. 860 weighed 84 tons 16 cwt.