35004 Cunard White Star and the SR Bullied “Merchant Navy” class 4-6-2 steam locomotives

  

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The Fleet:

SR Number:

BR Number:

Name:

Built:

Rebuilt:

Withdrawn:

Preserved:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

21C1

35001

Channel Packet

Jun 1941

 Aug 1959

Nov 1964

 

21C2

35002

Union Castle

Jun 1941

 May 1958

Feb 1964

 

21C3

35003

Royal Mail

Sep 1941

 Aug 1959

Jul 1967

 

21C4

35004

Cunard White Star

Oct 1941

 Jul 1958

Oct 1965

 

21C5

35005

Canadian Pacific

Dec 1941

 May 1959

Oct 1965

Yes

21C6

35006

Peninsular & Oriental S. N. Co.

Dec 1941

 Oct 1959

Aug 1964

Yes

21C7

35007

Aberdeen Commonwealth

Dec 1941

May 1958 

Jul 1967

 

21C8

35008

Orient Line

Jun 1942

 May 1957

Jul 1967

 

21C9

35009

Shaw Savill

Jul 1942

 Mar 1957

Jul 1964

Yes

21C10

35010

Blue Star

Aug 1942

Jan 1957 

Sep 1966

Yes

21C11

35011

General Steam Navigation

Dec 1944

 Jul 1959

Feb 1966

Yes

21C12

35012

United States Lines

Dec 1944

 Feb 1957

Apr 1967

 

21C13

35013

Blue Funnel

Feb 1945

 May 1956

Jul 1967

 

21C14

35014

Nederland Line

Feb 1945

Jul 1956

Mar 1967

 

21C15

35015

Rotterdam Lloyd

Mar 1945

 Jun 1958

Feb 1964

 

21C16

35016

Elder Fyffes

Mar 1945

 Apr 1957

Feb 1964

 

21C17

35017

Belgian Marine

Apr 1945

Mar 1957 

Jul 1966

 

21C18

35018

British India Line

May 1945

 Feb 1956

Aug 1964

Yes

21C19

35019

French Line CGT

Jun 1945

 May 1959

Sep 1965

 

21C20

35020

Bibby Line

Jun 1945

 Apr 1956

Feb 1965

 

 

35021

New Zealand Line

Sep 1948

 Jul 1959

Aug 1965

 

 

35022

Holland America Line

Sep 1948

 Jun 1956

May 1966

Yes

 

35023

Holland Afrika Line

Nov 1948

 Feb 1957

Jul 1967

 

 

35024

East Asiatic Company

Nov 1948

 Apr 1959

Jan 1965

 

 

35025

Brocklebank Line

Nov 1948

 Dec 1956

Sep 1964

Yes

 

35026

Lamport & Holt Line

Dec 1948

 Jan 1957

Mar 1967

 

 

35027

Port Line

Dec 1948

 May 1957

Sep 1966

Yes

 

35028

Clan Line

Dec 1948

 Oct 1959

Jul 1967

Yes

 

35029

Ellerman Lines

Feb 1949

 Sep 1959

Sep 1966

Yes

 

35030

Elder Dempster Lines

Apr 1949

 Apr 1958

Jul 1967

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brief History:

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21C11 / 35011 General Steam Navigation, showing the Merchant Navy class in its original air smoothed condition.

When Oliver Vaughan Snell Bulleid took over as Chief Mechanical Engineer of the Southern Railway in 1937, the outlook for steam traction looked bleak. In the five years from 1932, the Southern had concentrated much of its efforts on further electrification. However, there was much of the Railway's territory that still relied on steam traction. The "Lord Nelson"' class of 1926 was not all it was intended to be and the "King Arthur" class, dating back to 1918, was not of the power class really required, particularly for the heavy boat trains.

After some early work designed to improve the existing steam fleet Bulleid set about the task of designing a new locomotive. Engines were required to haul 550 to 600 ton trains at 70 miles per hour on the Western Section and the heavy Continental Boat Trains at 60 mph. After 4-8-2 and 2-8-2 designs had been rejected as being too heavy by the Civil Engineer, Bulleid opted for the "Pacific" wheel arrangement - 4-6-2. These locomotives were introduced in 1941 by the Southern Railway to a design by Oliver Bulleid the first one being 21C1 Channel Packet. They incorporated a number of novel features new to British practice including an all-steel welded firebox and boiler, chain-driven valve-gear, “Boxpok” wheels, inside motion enclosed in an oil bath and "air-smoothed" casing. Even the numbering system was revolutionary.

The 'Merchant Navy' is the safest steam locomotive to be built for service in this country. The firedoor is a patented type with air-holes, intended to be kept closed except while firing is taking place, thus minimising the risk of blow-backs. Originally, it was power operated. The blower is operated by levers, duplicated on both sides of the cab, so that either driver or fireman can knock it full on instantly without having to step in front of the firehole. The cab is laid out to be convenient for the crew. Mr R. E. L. Maunsell. Bulleid' s predecessor, had adopted the practice of consulting with the enginemen in his cab designs, many years before the term ergonomics' was coined, and Bulleid followed his example.

The engines were produced by the Southern Railway to alleviate their acute shortage of express passenger locomotives although they were originally classified as mixed-traffic (suitable for passenger and freight) to circumvent wartime restrictions on the construction of passenger locomotives. Because of their connections with the boat traffic they were named after famous shipping lines (at the suggestion of the then Chairman of Union Castle Line) and the class became known as the "Merchant Navy" class. The locomotives had a 280 pounds per square inch boiler pressure. This was, no doubt, a contributory factor in their ability to out-perform all their British contemporaries in load haulage over heavy gradients. The engines were able to handle with ease such prestige expresses as the Atlantic Coast Express, the Royal Wessex, the Golden Arrow, the Night Ferry, the Bournemouth Belle and Boat Trains to Southampton Docks. The boiler, with which the locomotives were fitted, was the most prolific steam raiser ever used on a British locomotive, a fact verified by the Rugby Test Bulletins published in the early 1950s.

The class performed well on the Southern Region's principle express trains. However, the locomotives were not without their problems. These included particularly the valve gear in which the driving chains stretched to give uncertain valve events and the extreme difficulty of repair. To overcome some of the problems, boiler pressure was reduced to a more conventional 250 psi.
In the mid 1950s, it was decided that the numerous problems could no longer be tolerated and all of the 'Merchant Navy' locomotives and many of the similar, but smaller, 'West Country' and 'Battle of Britain' locomotives were rebuilt to a more conventional pattern under the direction of R. G. Jarvis, the engineer in charge of Southern Region steam power at the time. This controversial rebuilding started in 1956 with the class being rebuilt on more conventional lines. During the following two years all thirty members of the class were rebuilt at Eastleigh Works. There is no doubt that the locomotives remained excellent machines after the re-building but they did lack some of their original sparkle. However, the rebuilt engines were much more reliable and less costly to maintain. The class after rebuilding successfully worked the Southern Region’s principle trains until they were displaced by electrification in 1967 and withdrawn from service.

Preservation:

Several of the SR Bullied “Merchant Navy” 4-6-2 class happily have survived into preservation including:

35005 Canadian Pacific
35006 Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company
35009 Shaw Savill
35010 Blue Star
35011 General Steam Navigation
35018 British India Line
35022 Holland America Line
35025 Brocklebank Line
35027 Port Line
35028 Clan Line
35029 Ellerman Lines

So at least some of the famous British shipping company names live on in the names of the preserved SR Merchant Navy class steam locomotives and their classmates.

Merchant Navy class Vital Statistics:

BR Power class designation: 8P
Designer: O.V.S. Bullied
Wheel arrangement: 4-6-2
Overall length: 69 ft 8 in.
Total weight: 150 tons
Cylinder Bore: 18 in.
Piston stroke: 24 in.
Valve diameter: 11 in.
Valve travel: 6.75 in.
Coal Capacity: 5 tons
Water capacity: 5000 gallons
Firegrate area: 49 sq. ft.
Heating surface: 2450 sq. ft.
Boiler pressure: 280 lb/sq. in.
Tractive effort: 37,515 lb.
Driving wheel diameter: 6 ft 2 in.
Bogie wheel diameter: 3ft 1 in.
Trailing wheel diameter: 3ft 7 in.

Websites:

Merchant Navy Locomotive Society - 35028 Clan Line
www.clan-line.org.uk

National Railway Museum York - 35029 Ellerman Lines
www.nrm.org.uk

Great Central Railway - 35025 Brocklebank Line
www.gcrailway.co.uk

35025 Brocklebank Line Association
http://brocklebankline.bravepages.com/index.html

Southern Locomotives Ltd - Swanage Railway - 35027 Port Line 35022 Holland America Line
www.southern-locomotives.co.uk
www.swanagerailway.co.uk

Mid Hants Railway - 35005 Canadian Pacific 35018 British India Line
www.watercressline.co.uk

35006 Preservation Society - 35006 Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Company
www.po35006.fsnet.co.uk

Colne Valley Railway - 35010 Blue Star
www.cvr.org.uk

Bullied Society
www.mcnealybrown.co.uk/bulleid/

35009 Shaw Savill - under restoration at the East Lancashire Railway.

35011 General Steam Navigation - stored at the RAF Binbrook airfield in Lincolnshire.

 



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