Steam Locomotives of a More Leisurely Era
1898 Drummond 4-4-0
London & South Western Railway
No. 292 of the earlier class in 1934
Apart from the experimental 4-cylinder engine built in 1897, Drummond’s first express passenger engines for the LSWR consisted of a class of inside cylinder locomotives very similar to those ha had primarily introduced on both the North British and Caledonian Railways, whilst he had been the CME of those lines. This class, known as C8, consisted of ten engines, No. 290-9, and the boilers were interchangeable with his M7 class 0-4-4Ts of 1896. The new engines were moderately successful but suffered from too small a firebox which sometimes resulted in a shortage of steam. This defect was remedied in the following year with a somewhat enlarged version of the same design, in which a longer wheelbase – ten feet between the coupled wheels – allowed the firebox to be lengthened from 6’ 4” to 7’ 4” This made all the difference, and the new engines were an unqualified success from the start. 66 of the new class were built, Nos. 113-22 and 280-9 in 1899 and 1900, these being turned out from the Company’s works at Nine Elms, whilst Dubs and Co. of Glasgow built Nos. 702-19 and 721-32. A further batch from Nine Elms appeared in 1900-1, Nos. 300-5-7, 310-14 and 336-8, whilst finally Dubs & Co. built one more in 1901 for displaying at the Glasgow Exhibition of that year, after which the engine was taken over by the LSWR and numbered 773.No. 773 in 1924 as first rebuilt
There were a few differences between these various batches. The 702 series and the 300s were fitted with Drummond’s firebox water tubes, distinguished by a rectangular casing at the side of the smokebox. The 300s were provided with wide splashers which could accommodate the coupling rods, and the separate coupling rod splashers of the earlier years consequently disappeared. They also had the leading sandboxes below the running plate, these doing away with the angular sandbox attached to the face of the leading splasher. All the engines of both T9 and C8 classes were eventually modified in this way. Most of the class had the large 8-wheeled tenders as illustrated, but a few have had smaller 6-wheelers at various times (Class C8 was originally built thus).
The major rebuilding of the T9 class commenced in 1922 when No. 314 was provided with a superheater, extended smokebox and a modified design of chimney, and eventually the whole of the class was so treated. Even before rebuilding they were fine engines indeed, fast and free running, and deservedly earned the nickname of ‘Greyhounds’. For many years they bore the brunt of main line working over the LSWR heavily graded Salisbury – Exeter line, until the appearance of the ‘King Arthurs’ in 1925. Although other much larger engines followed them, both 4-4-0s and 4-6-0s, none was found so satisfactory as the evergreen T9s, which were undoubtedly the best of all Drummond’s express engines. The fact that a number of them still survived sixty years later, whereas all the later designs had gone to the scrap heap, is ample testimony to this fact. Between 1924 and 1939 a number of them worked on the South Eastern section, where they did fine work on the Kent Coast line. Between 1935 and 1946 No. 119 was kept in immaculate condition and frequently used for working Royal trains.
The smaller C8 engines were never rebuilt, and were broken up between 1933 and 1938, but all the T9s survived to be incorporated into BR stock in 1948, although in a few cases they never received their new 30000 numbers. The odd engine, No. 773, had, by the way, been altered to 733 in 1924.
Withdrawal commenced in 1951, but at the close of 1959 there were still about a dozen in service, mostly on semi-main line duties in the West Country, the oldest express passenger engines in the country still in service.
Class C8 – Driving Wheels – 6’ 7”, Bogie wheels – 3’ 7”, Cylinders – 18½”x 26”, Pressure – 175 lb., LSWR & SR power classification – I
Class T9 (Rebuilt) – Driving Wheels – 6’ 7”, Bogie wheels – 3’ 7”, Cylinders – 19”x 26”, Pressure – 175 lb., Tractive effort – 17675 lb., Weight – 51 tons 16 cwt., LSWR & SR power classification – H, BR power classification – 3P