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SUnsung workhorse of the ECML: Raven's B16

Recently, I've had a few model railway thoughts on my mind; among them being that the LNER (1923-1948) lineup feels like it's been a bit stodgy and same-y for years; It's basically been the same rounds of Gresley Pacifics, B12's and a semi-random assortment of mostly GNR-designed 0-6-0 tank engines like J83's and J50's, over and over again; there's always a Mallard, and there's always a Flying Scotsman, and so on. Meantime, the other Big Four, the GWR and LMS in particular, feel like every single steam engine class they ever had, both famous and obscure, has had at least one model made of it.


It would be nice, I feel, to get some more LNER designs at some point; the "Hush-Hush" and the Thompson Pacifics are a good start, but there's a lot of workhorse designs from the Pre-Grouping era that have been overlooked. Case in point, the North-Eastern Railway Class S3 mixed traffic 4-6-0, designed by Sir Vincent Raven, and known by the LNER as the B16's:

#2378 at York


#2372, uncertain location


They were introduced on the North-Eastern Railway in 1919, and could be found all over the LNER and BR's Eastern and North-Eastern Regions, pulling assorted goods trains and handing semi-fast passenger services, including heavy holiday excursion traffic to the seaside and so on, the last one being scrapped in 1964.


As an aside, the class was divided into three subclasses; most were of the B16/1 type, which were as they were designed by Raven; but the B16/2 and B16/3 subclasses retro-fitted the engines with "LNER Group Standard" cabs, raised the running plate above the driving wheels and replaced the Stephenson's valve gear with Walscharts; the 16/2's were modified by Gresley, and thus had his conjugated valve gear, while the 16/3's were modified by Thompson, which had seperate valve gear for all three cylinders- visually though the two subclasses were indistinguishable.


#2364, as rebuilt into a B16/2


10179 posts

Certainly there is a good jusification for introducing a RTR B16 being one of the more numerous classes of mixed traffic LNER locomotives.

Green trains are best!

Indeed; as a further note, the B16's had boilers and other sundry parts that were interchangable with the Q7 0-8-0 heavy goods locomotives; given that Hornby already makes the very similar Q6 class (main difference being that the Q6 has two cylinders, whiled the Q7 and the B16's have three cylinders), there's potentially some savings in mold manufacture there too.


10179 posts

It has been raised here before, but the NER was one of the most important pre-Grouping companies having a monopoly in the North East of England including all of Northumberland and Durham and a significant proportion of England's finest county, Yorkshire. 


Unlike the LMSR the LNER chose to continue using pre-Grouping NER designs so many survived long into British Railways service, and in fact the J27 proved to be the last pre-Groupiung class to work on BR.


The NER has to date been poorly represented in ready to run models, with for a long time only the J72 being available. The Q6 from Hornby was a complete surprise, and at last someone is going to add a J27.


A little anecdote about the B16 class.


In my days working in the Regional Controll Office at Newcastle upon Tyne, I worked alongside many railwaymen whose experiences went back to the 1950s and were able to speak with personal experience  Part of our job was to tell signalmen which trains were to be given preference over others and usually this meant sidelining a freight train to allow an express passenger train (EP) to get a clear run.  Our patch extended from Northallerton to Berwick upon Tweed, and out to Corby Gates just outside Carlisle. Using huge graph paper charts we monitored the running of all trains, and by looking at the slope of the line we drew in coloured pencil we could tell if a train was doing OK or if it was in difficulties. 


In my time there every thing was diesel hauled, but many of my colleagues had their roots in days when trains were all hauled by steam. A freight train running well might be allowed to run ahead of an EP with tighter margins than were officially allowed, and 99 times out of 100 they got away with it.  They said however that the  B16 did not perform very well, and if York Control informed them a down freight train had a B16 on the front, they would be prepared to side line it at the first opportunity. Giving a B16 a 'run' would nearly always result in delay to following services.


The V2 was always the preferred option for a fast freight train.

Green trains are best!

On that note, I can also see two other NER designs that could be worked in as well; the Z class (LNER C7 class) 4-4-2 Atlantics, or the R Class (LNER D20 class) 4-4-0's; with either of those two added in, alongside the B16's, you'd have a barebones 'full house' to cover the whole range of operations for the NER; the J72's for shunting and branchline/suburban trains, the Q6 for heavy goods trains, the B16's for mixed traffic work, and either the C7's or the D20's for mainline passenger services.

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