Once again looking at the steam engines built over the years for railway companies in Great Britain in have one or two that I would like to convert into the Hornby 00 live steam models and one that takes my fancy is the Southern Region Lord Nelson class this is because it has a very large tender and it is hoped would run for longer than the 30 minutes that the Hornby engines run for before they run out of water.
Ironically this was for the same reason as SR had no water troughs so picking up water on the move was not a possibility.
Like all railways about this time building bigger and fast engines was always a challenge plus keeping the weight down to limits that the permanent way could accommodate and this type of 4-cylinder 4-6-0 steam locomotive was going to be the next new designed for the Southern Railway by Richard Maunsell, so in August 1926 the first of the class was rolled out they were intended for Continental boat trains between London Victoria and Dover
Harbour. These express passenger trains were to be about 500 tons and in all sixteen of them were constructed representing the most powerful if not the most successful Southern 4-6-0 design and were all named after famous admirals.
The class operated with British Railways until they were withdrawn in 1961 and 1962.
Only one engine of the class survived the first engine built Lord Nelson all the others were sent to the scrap yard.
Richard Maunsell was the Chief Mechanical Engineer at the time and started his design for a 4-cylinder engine with an improved boiler and Belpaire firebox.
The drive would be divided between the front coupled axle for the inside cylinders and the middle coupled axle for the outside cylinders giving better weight distribution and reduced hammer blow. The new design was a compromise between the need for additional power and to keep the weight down to an acceptable limit.
There were two unusual features of the design one was the setting of the crank axles at 135° rather than the standard 90° of other locomotive types. This gave eight beats per
revolution, rather than the usual four this way it would also give an even draw to the fire. The second difference was that fire grate was in two sections, the rear portion was
horizontal and the front sloped away sharply some crews found this hard to fire.
The prototype E850 named Lord Nelson was ordered from Eastleigh railway works in June 1925 but production proceeded slowly at Maunsell’s insistence to ensure that the weight was kept to a minimum at every stage so the locomotive did not appear until August 1926.
It was tested on a variety of duties over the next year, with sufficiently encouraging results for an initial order for ten more locomotives for delivery between May 1928 and April 1929 to be placed.
These were originally scheduled to be allocated to Battersea depot and fitted with 4,000
gallon 6-wheeled tenders suitable for the Continental ports. However, during
construction, it was decided to equip half of the class with 5,000 gallon 8 wheeled tenders necessary for the longer West of England routes which will be the design that I will have a go at these engines were allocate to Nine Elms depot.
A further batch of ten locomotives was ordered in 1928, before the previous batch had been delivered, but when it became apparent that the Stock Market Crash of October 1929 would be likely to reduce the demand for Continental travel, this second order was reduced to five.
I do have an old A3 chassis which was to be part of a GWR tank engine that I was building but will switch it to this engine and hope I can pick up a replacement A3 later for that