I like big tank engines and by ‘big’ I mean larger than a GWR ‘61xx’ class 2-6-2T. Perhaps it was because my first trainset had a BR Standard ‘4MT’ 2-6-4T as its motive power that big tanks represent ‘real’ model locomotives to me. However, it was as a result of growing up in a house beside the railway between Staines and Egham that I became acquainted with full-size big tanks. In the last years of Southern steam, these were usually the BR ‘Standard Fours’ reduced to menial duties such as the pick-up goods which passed home at 8.35am and which had introduced me to ‘700’ class 0-6-0s.
However, prior to that, and before their withdrawal in the savaging of SR designs that took place in late 1962, I had come to know and love the ‘H16’ 4-6-2Ts. These were really big, big tanks, introduced by Robert Urie to work transfer freights across south-west London from the newly-completed Feltham hump yard. There were also two similar ‘G16’ 4-8-0Ts built at the same time, but these generally stayed within the confines of the yard where they performed hump shunting duties.
What is it?
The ‘H16s’ were regular sightings for me and I had copped all five in a very short space of time. Their intended transfer work should not have brought them past home but by the BR period, and probably earlier, they were being much more widely used, alongside ‘S15’ 4-6-0s on heavy mixed freights to Reading and Woking, and through to Eastleigh and Southampton Docks. They were rugged and powerful and in bad weather their large, fully-enclosed, cab was no doubt appreciated by crews rather more than the open cabs and weather-sheets of the ‘S15s’ and their Urie ‘H15’ cousins.
As well as working heavy mixed freights, one or two of the class ended their days substituting for ‘M7’ 0-4-4Ts on empty coaching stock workings out of Waterloo to Clapham Junction and Walton-on-Thames.
What would make it viable?
Southern locomotives are always popular with modellers, perhaps because the density of population in the South-East means there are more modellers with ‘local’ interests. However, more recent Southern models have reflected small SR types, the Beattie Well Tanks, ‘O2’ and ‘H’ 0-4-4Ts, Model Rail’s ‘USA’ 0-6-0T dock tank and even narrow-gauge L&B 2-6-2Ts, plus the front-line original ‘Merchant Navy’. True, on the freight front, we had Hornby’s ‘S15’ 4-6-0 and ‘700’ class 0-6-0 a while back, but the ‘H16’ sits perfectly alongside these, completing the ‘Feltham set’.
It’s a big locomotive providing plenty of space for a powerful motor, flywheel, and room for a speaker and DCC sound fittings. The Southern Railway painted the ‘H16s’ in olive green, while in BR days they carried unlined freight black. Who can resist a big, handsome workhorse?
Can I see a real one?
No, all five ‘H16s’ were scrapped and they aren’t a class which is likely to prompt construction of a replica but in my view that’s another good reason why we need one in model form. At present there aren’t even any kits or resin bodies.
What do you think? Comment below and see other thoughts in MR246, out March 15th!
I remember the old days, when if you wanted to offer a certain livery, you could, as long as the model you were painting as long as the model looked a bit like the locomotive you wanted to portray. Sometimes even that didn’t matter… Lima’s LNER ‘J50’ in LMS red is just one example.
There have been more recent examples, such as the Bachmann Class 08 offered in Longmoor Military Railway blue by ModelZone. The reason for the latter was that the ’08’ was the nearest thing available to the LMS 350hp, of which two ended up on Longmoor.
These days, we’re less tolerant of such things. So, taking the LMR 0-6-0DE as inspiration, why doesn’t someone offer the LMS-built BR Class 11?
Yes, they may look like a Class 08 but there are some subtle differences. The profile is shallower, the wheel diameter smaller and the footplate box arrangements different.
With the number of available diesel prototypes yet to be modelled in ‘OO’ down to just a handful, the LMS 350hp shunter has to be a priority. Doesn’t it?
What is it?
LMS diesel shunter development culminated in 7120, built in 1944. It has worked in partnership with English Electric since the 1930s and 7120’s shape, with its inside frames, tall radiator grille, narrow bonnet and end cab, essentially became the standard British diesel shunting locomotive. Over 1,000 locomotives would follow and this shape could be see not only elsewhere in Europe but also in Australia.
The locomotive has 4ft diameter driving wheels, a useful 11ft 6in wheelbase and was just over 29ft long. There were no complex arrangements of rods and jackshafts, as on previous LMS locomotives, just an English Electric 6KT engine driving three axlehung EE traction motors.
The War Department took 14 of the first 20 and the LMS and BR subsequently ordered more. The total fleet number 105 examples, which became Class 11 under TOPS. Production stopped in 1952 as work started on what would become Class 08, BR’s standard shunting locomotive.
The LMS design inspired locomotives built for the LNER (different body profile), Southern (different wheel diameter and longer) and the GWR (identical).
What would make it viable?
The Class 11s survived in BR service into the early 1970s so that gives you a huge number of liveries you could offer: LMS black, BR black, BR green (with ‘wasp stripes’) and BR blue. Then, of course, you’ve got an accurate canvas for Longmoor Military Railway blue, not to mention War Department livery. And you’d have to offer a Western Region version in green with ‘British Railways’ lettering in GWR ‘Egyptian’ typeface. And that’s before we get onto the three virtually identical locomotives built by English Electric for ICI in 1948.
There were a couple of minor variations to make things a bit more interesting too. You could have the later version with electric lights and with or without nose end ladders.
What’s not to like?
Can I see a real one?
Eight Class 11s survive in the UK along with ex-WD 70272 at the Lakeside & Haverthwaite and ICI ’12139 Redcar’ at the North Yorkshire Moors Railway. WD70269, built at Derby in 1944, is displayed at the Spoorwegmuseum in Utrecht.
What do you think? Comment below and see other thoughts in MR245, out February 15th!