Steam Locomotives of a More Leisurely Era
1930 – ‘Schools’ Class
Maunsell’s last design of express passenger engines and in many ways his finest achievement. The need had been felt for a locomotive with approximately the same haulage capacity as the ‘King Arthurs’ but with greater route availability, particularly as regards the SECR Hastings line with its restricted loading gauge. The resulting ‘Schools’ class may be in some ways regarded as a 4-4-0 version of the ‘Lord Nelsons’, with two important differences, the use of three cylinders instead of four, and of a round-topped firebox in place of the Belpaire. The new engines quickly showed themselves as coming up to all expectations. In later years they did even more than had been anticipated when they were put to work on the heavy expresses between Waterloo and Bournemouth after being displaced to some extent from the South Eastern section, for which they were originally designed. They also did fine work over the Portsmouth road before electrification. With a tractive effort of only slightly less than the 4-6-0 ‘King Arthurs’, they were the most powerful and one of the most successful 4-4-0 designs ever built in this country.
They were incidentally the last new design of that wheel arrangement in Great Britain, although two others were yet to appear on the GNR of Ireland.
Like the ‘King Arthurs’, they soon had to be fitted with smoke deflectors, and about half of them were fitted with double blast pipes necessitating wide chimneys with sorry results to their appearance.
In all, forty were built, Nos.900-9 in 1930, 910-14 in 1932, 915-24 in 1933 and 925-39 in 1934-5. They were named after public schools. They were all still in service in 1959 as Nos.30900-39.
Driving wheels – 6’ 7”, Cylinders (3) – 16½”x 26”, Pressure – 220 lb., Tractive effort – 25135 lb., Weight – 67 tons 2 cwt., SR classification – V, BR classification – 5P