And now for for something slightly different… Along with the other railway companies at the time , the Southern Railway, during the 1930’s, were also looking for the future of locomotive power. In 1937 Maunsell ordered three six coupled 350hp diesel electric locos, built by the SR at Ashford with English Electric power units, to compare against the Z class 0-8-0 tanks. These along with later versions ordered by Bulleid, were the ancestors of the British Railways large class of 350hp shunters that became the 08/09 class.
The construction of the frames, cabs and bodywork was completed at the Southern Railway’s Ashford works. English Electric, at their Preston works, then installed their 6K power units developing 350bhp at 680 rpm, traction equipment and motors after which they were returned to Ashford for final assembly.
The coupled wheels were 4’6″ in diameter and the weight in working order was 55¼ tons. Numbers 1 and 2 entered service in August 1937 with Number 3 following in September.
One distinctive feature of the Ashford body was the overhang at the rear of the cab with two angled lower windows, as well as the more normal two vertical windows, giving clear visibility of the buffers and coupling area. Most drawings available for these locos do not show these two lower angled windows, and at least one photograph shows they were not fitted when first delivered so they were a later modification, but one made very soon after they entered service.
All three were allocated to Norwood yard for the majority of their working life on the Southern. It is therefore somewhat modellers licence that my model sometimes makes an appearance on Fisherton Sarum. When these locos were first introduced they were not described by the Southern as ‘shunters’ but as ‘trip’ locos. However, in trials on short freight trip workings around London the maximum speed of 25 mph was found to be too slow for regular use on the heavily used suburban passenger lines. On nationalisation they were renumbered 15201, 15202 and 15203 in the BR numbering scheme. All three were withdrawn and broken up in 1964.
My model was build from a Golden Arrow Productions resin body on a Lima chassis, (being the best option available at the time, although it might end up on a more recent finer Bachmann or Hornby 08 chassis eventually).