The Southern Railway purchased 14 (plus one extra for spares) of these powerful, short wheel based locomotives from the United States Army Transportation Corps in 1946 for use within Southampton Docks to replace the ageing ex LSWR B4 0-4-0t. They were built to US Army specification T1531, all bar one of the 14 were built by Vulcan Iron Works, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania; whist one, that became SR No.61 was built by H K Porter & Co Pittsburgh.
They were modified at at Eastleigh works to suit Southern Railway use including: adding steam heating, vacuum ejectors, sliding cab side windows, square instead of circular front and rear cab windows (which ironically gave them more of an American look than British but improved visibility from the cab), Ross ‘pop’ type safety valves, a whistle, additional lamp irons and new cylinder drain cocks.
Once the locomotives started to enter traffic, large roof-top ventilators were fitted, British regulators to replace the US-style pull-out one, extended coal bunkers increasing capacity from 26cwt to 30cwt, separate steam and vacuum brake controls and wooden tip-up seats.
It should be noted that engines entered service before all these modifications were totally completed and some locomotives did not receive all the modifications into early British Railways days, the last being October 1948..
Later in British Railways days they were fitted additional hand rails and an additional flat fold down platform beneath the front of the smokebox that folded down over the buffers to assist staff cleaning out the smokbox.
Post 1957 thet were also fitted with wireless two way cab radios, a whip aerial on the drivers side cab sheet and a steam driven turbine generator to power them. These steam generators were in fact second hand having been previously fitted to the various T9 and L11 class locomotives that were fitted with them when fitted for oil-firing in 1947/8.
Six of the class were later transferred to departmental stock and could be found at locations such Guildford shed and Meldon Quarry. They were eventually replaced at Southampton by the Class 07 diesel shunters. Withdrawal of the class took place between 1964 and 1967. Foiur survive into preservation, along with one similar ex USATC locomotive from Yugoslavia that was never in SR /BR(s) service.
Those pictured on this post are based on the excellent ready to run model commissioned by Model Rail Magazine by Bachmann. Dapol have produced the ex LSWR B4 0-4-0t that the USA tanks replaced and Heljan have now also produced the 07 Class diesels that displaced the USA from Southampton docks. All of which are very suitable for my Canute Road Quay layout. See my exhibition diary page here to see where Canute Road Quay can be seen next.