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Southern Railway Loco Class Designation

Discussion in 'Steam Traction' started by johnofwessex, Oct 8, 2023.

  1. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    Coming back to the original question - The SR clearly had no single scheme, but largely preserved the pre-grouping schemes, sometimes continuing them for new SR designs in a rather hotchpotch way.

    But turning the question round - why would you change?

    Any classification scheme arises because it solves some problem. Broadly it seems there are various audiences for such a classification:
    • The CME
    • The works manager and staff
    • The shed staff
    • The operating superintendent
    The LSWR scheme, for example, seems to be designed to aid the works manager - you have a works order, whether that is for cylinder blocks or whole locomotives, and you are primarily interested in the cost of materials and labour to deliver that. So what you trace is works orders, and resources expended to deliver them. The Stroudley scheme - that grouped locos of similar function together - really helps the CME get a picture of the overall locomotive stock, and how well that is adapted to the traffic needs of the railway when in discussion with the operating superintendent. The CME can say how many class B express passenger engines he's got, but the poor shed fitter would prefer to know whether he needs to stock up on spare parts for a "Gladstone" 0-4-2 or a Billinton 4-4-0!

    Presumably then each of the pre-grouping constituents devised a scheme that they felt best helped them manage given their own local peculiarities. The question then comes to why would Maunsell create a unified list? To a large extent (there were exceptions, particularly later) locos stayed on their own patch, and were repaired at their "home" works. So changing to a unified classification scheme would represent a considerable administrative upheaval (particularly in the days of paper records) without necessarily leading to a big management advantage.

    One thing that the newly-formed CME's department did do upon formation was compile a survey of all the locomotives they inherited, split into four classifications:

    Type letter
    • Passenger engines with 6ft or larger wheels able to run fast trains - P
    • Passenger engines with wheels smaller than 6ft, primarily tank engines or tender engines suitable for mixed traffic - M
    • Goods engines - G
    • Shunting engines - S
    Grade numeral
    A classification based on estimated hauling power, measured by finding the heaviest train that the loco could start on a 1 in 100 grade, thus taking into account the useful haulage at the drawbar.

    Power numeral
    A classification based on nominal power.

    Range numeral
    A classification that related water capacity to steam consumption, and thus gave an estimated range.

    In each of the last three classifications, the higher the number, the stronger / more powerful / greater the range.

    Each loco was then given a Type / grade / power / range classification (for example, a Urie N15 was P 5 / 8 / 3); somewhat cheekily, against the foreign locos, comparable SE&CR locos were listed, presumably because those would be most familiar to many of the senior officers! Having been compiled, I don't think there was any effort to make those class designations an official scheme, but it did allow a rapid appraisal to be made across the disparate loco stock to enable the departments to start to make sense of what they had inherited.

    Tom
     
  2. bluetrain

    bluetrain Well-Known Member

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    Adams had brought this order numbering system from the GER,where he had previously been loco superintendent. According to the RCTS "Locos of LNER", it is thought to have originated way back in the Robert Sinclair period (1856-66). However, it was only applied to loco classes built in Stratford Works, which were a minority prior to the 1880s. So of the six classes designed by Adams for the GER, only the K9 0-4-2T used this form of class designation, the other five classes being built by external contractors and denoted by the running number of the first built.

    https://www.gersociety.org.uk/locomotives/w-adams/k9

    In later years, the GER built most locos in-house so increasingly used the order number classification. For example, the three main varieties of Claud Hamilton were Classes S46, D56 and H88. But it was surely easier for everyone when the LNER re-designated them as D14, D15 and D16. The LNER had of course far more locos and classes than the SR, which strengthened the argument for moving to a new all-line classification system.

    I believe that, after Adams moved to the LSWR, all his locos were built by contractors for some years, and took the first running number as their class designation. It was 1887/8 before more locos were built at Nine Elms, and only then did Adams begin to apply the GER order-number class system.

    A good question! The Adams "Jubilee" 0-4-2s appear to have originally been called "Class 527", with a later modified batch sometimes called "Class O4". Order Number "A12" should not have been reached until 1903/4, just before the Drummond L12 4-4-0s. I wonder whether "A12" originated as a batch of new boilers, which might by 1904 have been required for locos built in the late 1880s, and somehow then got attached to the complete loco? But if that were the case, why were no other classes similarly re-designated? Very strange.

    That would be the LCDR T-class 0-6-0T.

    https://sremg.org.uk/steam/tclass.shtml
     
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  3. Dunfanaghy Road

    Dunfanaghy Road Well-Known Member

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    An article in the South Western Circular last year makes it look as though Beyer, Peacock supplied Nine Elms with what amounted to CKD kits during the Beattie eras (the personal friendship of Joseph Beattie and Charles Beyer went way back). I suspect that Mr. Adams found that the drawing office was incapable of design work (which goes some way to explaining the debacle of the 348 class, or 'Sharps Express', 4-4-0). Hamilton Ellis commented about the Beyer look of many of the early Adams LSWR classes - my guess is that he had to build up the Nine Elms establishment before embarking on a building programme. As well as Francis Pettigrew (as Works Manager) he also hired John Reid from Stratford as Chief Draughtsman, a post he held until Mr. Drummond translated him to his native Glasgow in 1902.
    Pat
     
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  4. John Petley

    John Petley Part of the furniture

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    Stirling's Q Class and the Wainwright rebuild could perhaps be easily overlooked as the all were withdrawn by 1930 and thus never co-existed with the Bulleid locos. One I shouldn't have missed is the B4 - either an L&SWR 0-4-0 dock tank or an LB&SCR 4-4-0. After all, two of the former still exist and indeed No.(300)96 has been in the news recently due to the announcement that it is to overhauled.
     
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  5. Dunfanaghy Road

    Dunfanaghy Road Well-Known Member

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    Following on from @Jamessquared 's comment about the different audiences for classification, I imagine the shed staff probably used the following:
    Saddleback: 0330 class 0-6-0ST;
    Ironclad: 046 class 4-4-0T (later 4-4-2T);
    Steamroller: 0380 class 4-4-0;
    Jumbo: 0395 class 0-6-0;
    Jubilee: 527 (A12) class 0-4-2;
    Flittermice: 177 (O2) class 0-4-4T;
    Black Motor: 700 class 0-6-0T;
    Drummond's Baby / Butterfly: 720 (T7) class 4-2-2-0;
    Pet of the Line / The Bug: 733 (F9) class 4-2-4T;
    Butterfly: 369 (E10) class 4-2-2-0;
    Greyhound: 113/300/702 (T9) class 4-4-0 (was this after superheating?);
    Motor Tank: M7 class 0-4-4T;
    Grasshopper / Small Hopper: K10 class 4-4-0;
    Large Hopper: L11 class 4-4-0;
    Bulldog: 415 (L12) class 4-4-0;
    The Turkey: 335 (E14) class 4-6-0;
    Potato Can / Rocket: C14 class 0-2-2T (later 0-4-0T);
    Double-Breaster / Paddleboat: 443 (T14) class 4-6-0;
    Jumbo No. 2 / Chonker: 482 (H15) class 4-6-0;
    Wonder: 736 (N5) class 4-6-0;
    Black Tank: 492 (G16) 4-8-0T;
    Green Tank: 516 (H16) class 4-6-2T.
    Some are doubtless from the SR era (Black and Green Tanks, for instance).
    I also have a note of a nickname for the Well Tanks, as Swan-Necks. No, no idea, the only swan neck I had heard of was Edith, the mistress of Harold Godwinsson!
    The Railway Magazine didn't use the Order Number style for some time; in Feb 1933 it referred to the 290 class now being the C8 class. I 1927 it referred to the S15 class as the 'New Goods' (presumably the 823 batch), but still referred to the 496 class until 1929. Former Guildford men that I encountered during my time in Woking Yard always referred to (300)53 as a Motor Tank.
    Thread drift. Sorry!
    Pat
     
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  6. Cartman

    Cartman Well-Known Member

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    We're slipping a bit..no one has mentioned The Leader yet!!
     
  7. 35B

    35B Nat Pres stalwart

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    Let's be honest, it's confusing enough without adding Bulleid's approach to classification and numbering!
     
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  8. Copper-capped

    Copper-capped Part of the furniture

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    If I could get my red pen out and correct your punctuation….

    The exclamation mark should have been a full stop, and the position of it should have been directly after “Bulleid”. ;)
     
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  9. 35B

    35B Nat Pres stalwart

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    Please put it away. I meant what I said, although in another context your version would also be correct.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
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  10. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    Off the top of my head, I think in SR days you can have the following separate classes with the same designation:
    • A1: LBSCR (Terrier, as classified by Marsh); LCDR Kirtley 0-4-4T
    • B1: LBSCR (Gladstone, as classified by Marsh); SER Stirling 4-4-0 with a Wainwright boiler; LCDR 0-6-0 Goods
    • B4: LBSCR Billinton 4-4-0; LSWR 0-4-0T
    • D1: LBSCR Stroudley 0-4-2T; SECR Waiwnright 4-4-0 with replacement boiler
    • E1: LBSCR Stroudley 0-6-0T; SECR Waiwnright 4-4-0 with replacement boiler
    • G: LBSCR Stroudley 2-2-2; SECR 4-4-0 of Great North of Scotland Design. (The former didn't make it into SR ownership)
    • J: LBSCR Marsh 4-6-2T; SECR Wainwright 0-6-4T
    • K: LBSCR Billinton 2-6-0; SECR Maunsell 2-6-4T
    • L: LBSCR 4-6-4T; SECR Wainwright 4-4-0
    • Q: SER Stirling 0-4-4T; SR Maunsell 0-6-0 (They didn't overlap)
    • Q1: SER Stirling 0-4-4T reboilered; SR Bulleid 0-6-0 (They didn't overlap)
    • R: LCDR design 0-4-4T; SER 0-6-0T
    • R1: LCDR design (SECR delivered) 0-4-4T; SER 0-6-0T as reboilered by Wainwright

    Tom
     
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  11. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    I heard Clive Groome refer to H15s as "chonkers", which suggests the term was still in use in BR days.

    Tom
     
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  12. Cartman

    Cartman Well-Known Member

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    Wasn't there two C class too? SECR 0-6-0 and LBSCR 0-6-0, both tender engines? Don't know if any of the LBSC ones made it to SR ownership, but one was sold to the Stratford on Avon and Midland Junction railway and ended up on the LMS
     
  13. bluetrain

    bluetrain Well-Known Member

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    A possible addition would be B2 (LCDR 0-6-0 and LBSC 4-4-0), although the 4-4-0s had been rebuilt to B2X before Grouping.

    Amusing to see how the same loco classifications were used by different railways (both British and Overseas) for very different types of loco. How many British companies had a Class A or Class A1?
     
  14. Cartman

    Cartman Well-Known Member

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    O2 as well, LSWR 0-4-4 tank and LNER 2-8-0
     
  15. John Petley

    John Petley Part of the furniture

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    I guessed you would have chapter and verse on this, Tom!

    One further complication regarding the South Western: By Adams' later years and going on through the Drummond and Urie eras, the letter-number classification seems to have been well established (B4, T3, M7 etc) but the "Black Motors" were always known as the 700 class, as they were not constructed at Nine Elms but by an outside contractor (Dubs & Co).
     
  16. Bill2

    Bill2 New Member

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    A minor point, but various LSWR classes had the designation changed when the locomotive concerned was put on the duplicate list by addition of an initial zero, e.g. 298/0298, but the SR did not then reclassify when renumbering into the 3XXX series.
     
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  17. bristolian

    bristolian Member

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    Transgressing slightly to nicknames, I don't have the Ian Allan book to hand, but in an original SR ABC book, there is a class of loco known as "W*nkers".
    I wonder what the name meant back in the 1940s?.
     
  18. Dunfanaghy Road

    Dunfanaghy Road Well-Known Member

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    At one level, yes. But, as shown by the note written by 'Jock' Finlayson that I posted a copy of, in 1923 the DO still used the number method (482, 736 &c.).
    Pat
     
  19. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    The Marsh I1 tanks. I don’t think it was complimentary back then either.

    Tom
     
  20. bristolian

    bristolian Member

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    Thanks Tom. I'm looking everywhere for my ABC now.
     

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