Category Archives: History

Anniversaries all round, a diamond look back to 1963

This is not only incredibly my 750th post on this here little part of the interweb Southern Railway related blogosphere, but more importantly today marks the 60th and Diamond Wedding anniversary of my dear Mum and Dad.

One of my favourite pictures of my Mum, in happier health times, and my Dad, celebrating his 80th Birthday on the Bluebell Railway in dining style, five years ago.

The last 18 months has been a huge challenge for all the family due to my Mum’s health, thankfully she fought off a frightening and emotional life threatening low point in time, and she is now being wonderfully looked after by the excellent and dedicated staff at the Hulcott Nursing Home,  although her ongoing condition is still an emotional challenge to us.  Dad has coped admirably with great compassion, strength and dignity to the change of life routines that has inevitably evolved.

I offer them both my most hearty congratulations, love and also thanks for sticking with it and coping with bringing up myself and my older Brother. Also of course it was Dad and his upbringing in Salisbury, where my Granddad worked on the railway, that gave me the interest in all things Southern Railway.

So in addition to the joining in matrimony of my parents Ken and Wendy, 1963 was a notable year for a number of other things, I won’t go into the politics of the time, dreams, or assassinations (as I definitely can’t remember where I was at the time as I didn’t exist!) however the following are railway related:

  • The year started on Monday 1st January when the British Railways Board took over responsibility for the running of the railways from the British Transport Commission’s Railway Executive.
  • On the same day all the Southern Region west of Salisbury, was transferred to the British Railways Western Region for the final time. This was really the first nail in the coffin of the old Southern Railway route to Exeter, North Devon and Cornwall.
  • 1963 also started with the worst winter conditions since 1946/7 and I am sure many of you will have the footage of railway locomotives stuck in the snow across the network. For example on the 8th February snow totally blocked the old Southern main line route at Meldon and no doubt many other place over that period too.
  • The 27th March saw the publication of the infamous Dr Beeching “Reshaping British Railways” Report as I discussed in my post earlier this year here.
  • On Saturday 31st March the Railway Clearing House (RCH) was disbanded after 120 years and its functions and staff transferred to the Chief Accountant’s Department of the British Railways Board. The RCH had been apportioning railway receipts between the British railway companies since 1842.
  • A more sinister event took place on 8th August with what has become known as the “Great Train Robbery” (although not so great for Jack Mills the driver), I used to  drive past the farm they used as their initial hide out every day to and from my then place of work.
  • Metropolitan Railway Loco No.1, that so successfully returned steam to the UndergrounD ten years ago  to celebrate the the Underground’s 150th Anniversary, was originally withdrawn from service in 1963 having taken part in the centenary celebrations earlier in that year.
  • In November the Bluebell Railway was just 4 years old when the line from Haywards Heath to Horsted Keynes was closed leaving them without a connection to the British Rail Network right up until ten years ago when the northern extension to East Grinstead was triumphantly reopened.

Finally: The Beatles released their first album “Please please me” and gained their first Number One with “From me to you” and later that year had Number One singles with “She Loves you” and “I want to hold your hand” all perhaps very apt for my parents starting their new stage of life together!

So to Mum (although she will not be able to read this) and Dad, I say with love, congratulations and many heartfelt thanks!

To regular readers of this blog, I thank you for your time taken to read my ramblings over the last 750 posts, I hope you found them to be informative and sometimes entertaining regarding all things Southern Railway.
I also thank you for the comments and messages received, I always try to respond to as many of them as I can.

With the quantity of posts continuing to increase, the menu / category structure has continued to evolve to make finding relevant, all things Southern Railway, content easier to find, as well the original menu items such as Workbench Witterings and Talking Stock and newer menus including  model news, model reviews, history and book reviews I have also now indexed them further to help you find Modelling Tips and Techniques topics that might be of interest to you. If in doubt you can also use the search facility, or click here for any random post, you never know what you might find.

Celebrating Waterloo 175 with the ‘The Waterloo Story’ exhibition

Told through over 100 historical and contemporary images, The Waterloo Story recounts the sometimes surprising history of this 175 year old railway station and will be located on the main concourse of the station. Compiled by friend Mike Lamport and Network Rail, with assistance from the South Western Circle, The Waterloo Story is well worth viewing if you are passing through Waterloo.
A ceremony to mark the occasion is being held on platform 19 at 11am this morning to unveil a plaque as well naming one of the brand new South Western Railway class 701 Arterio electric multiple units.

An early view of the original platform 9

Waterloo station opened by the then London and Southampton Railway on this day Tuesday 11th July 1848 as a ‘roadside station’, supposedly just a stop on the way to a planned for major city terminus that was never realised. This original station, known as ‘central station’, had six platforms.
Waterloo was extended in an ad-hoc way to cope with demand. In 1860 the ‘Windsor station’ was opened on the north-west side of the original central platforms. In 1878 Waterloo gained an additional two platforms on the south-east side for mainline suburban trains in an extension known as the ‘south station’.

In 1885 the ‘north’ station was opened, adding a further six platforms bringing the total at Waterloo to eighteen.
It was however a very confusing station for passengers with platforms divided between four different sections of the station, the platform numbering was unclear, four different areas which were classed as concourses along with very poor information displays. In 1899 London & South Western Railway (as the London & Southampton had become) sought permission to completely rebuild and expand the station.

One of my views taken during a helicopter ride showing the expanse of the current station, the Victory Arch and International station to the left can also be seen.

The Company sent its chief engineer J W Jacomb-Hood to America to gather information on termini buildings to assist its redesign. Following the rebuilding work, that took twenty years to fully complete, Waterloo became a spacious station with a large open concourse.
With 21 platforms under a huge ridge-and-furrow roof it became light and airy compared to the dark maze it once was. Widely praised for its architecture, the new curved building to the front of the station housed the LSWR’s offices and facilities for passengers including a large booking hall and upstairs dining room which were simple and elegant with Georgian style panelling in the dining room and Edwardian decoration in the bars.

The Victory Arch at Waterloo

As the station rebuild was drawing to a close, and as a memorial to their staff that died in the First World War, the LSWR commissioned the Victory Arch; designed by J R Scott, their chief architect and made of Portland stone and bronze it depicts War and Peace, with Britannia holding the torch of liberty above. Leading from Station Approach onto the concourse, the Victory Arch forms the main entrance to Waterloo.

Waterloo remained largely unchanged until early 1990s when platforms 20 and 21 were demolished to make way for Waterloo International. Opened in 1994 this was the terminus for Eurostar services running through the Channel Tunnel until 2007. In July 2012 a first-floor balcony opened at Waterloo to help reduce congestion at the station, additional space has been created by repositioning shops from the middle of the main concourse onto the balcony.

Please Note: The free to view exhibition that opened on the main concourse of Waterloo station at 12.00hrs on Tuesday 11 July has now closed (slightly earlier than planned). It will however return as a permanent fixture in the station later this year.

The lager must be mine… Graham’s Golden Lager and a tenuous link to Canute Road Quay

Released by Oxford Rail, back in February 2021 , their OR76TK2006 Graham’s Golden Lager No113 12 Ton Tank wagon was a bit of impulse buy due to its branding and the fact that I feel their 12T tank wagon is one of Oxford Rail’s best models to date. Little did I realise at the time that a wagon of a Scottish larger brewer would have an interesting Southampton, and by association Canute Road Quay, connection…

The real Graham’s Golden Lager tank wagon, image copyright and embeded from HMRS website

In 1927 a new beer was brewed in Arrol’s Lager brewery in Alloa, Graham’s Golden Lager. This was produced on behalf of Allsopp’s of Burton, following the moving their lager plant to Arrol’s in 1921.
Being sucessful, and as now Arrol’s were brewing all Allsopps lagers, Allsopp’s took a controlling interest in Arrol’s in 1930, prior to their 1934 merger with Ind Coope.  Arrol’s was completely bought out in 1951 and the brewery converted to a lager-only plant.
Arrol’s of Alloa appeared to have a number of branded rail mounted tanker wagons that included the example as model by Oxford Rail.
In 1959, Graham’s Golden Lager was rebranded as Skol, though for a while it was branded Graham’s Skol Lager. It became the main lager of Ind Coope and later the whole Allied Breweries Group.

I think the Waterloo Tavern (Ian…) might have over ordered… the picture that uncovered the story…

…So where does this fit in with Southampton…
…following posting the picture left, on  my layout thread on RMweb, Pete Cottrel kindly related the story that the Southampton branch of the Wine Merchants business of the Eldridge Pope Brewery was bombed in 1940 and that buried in the rubble were several intact crates of bottled Graham’s Golden Lager.

They weren’t actually near the docks but in Above Bar Street, in the area that is now Guildhall Square, no rail connection though, it was in the heart of the Old Town, inside the medieval walls.

The Oxford Rail 12T Graham’s Golden Lager tank wagon, picture courtesy KMRC

In 2005 while doing trial excavations on the site the crates were discovered with a JCB bucket that broke several of the bottles. The Eldridge Pope brewery and bottling plant were at Dorchester, so bulk lager could have been sent there.  However Cooper’s Brewery in Southampton had a bottling plant and had ceased actual brewing due to war damage, so it could in theory have bottled Graham’s Golden Lager post war.

The find was also reported on the BBC website:

Archaeologists’ intoxicating find, by David Fuller BBC News June, 2005

One of the best and well detailed wagons produced by Oxford Rail to date. Picture courtesy KMRC

Archaeologists searching for remains of a city’s medieval past have made an intoxicating discovery, a cache of World War II beer.
The hundred-or-so bottles of lager buried beneath Southampton’s Guildhall Square were still capable of developing a head when they were opened. It is thought they had been stored in the cellar of an off-licence which was destroyed in the Blitz. The routine dig was to study the site before a new arts centre was built.
Pete Cottrell, the dig leader, was hoping to find evidence of a medieval leper hospital known to have been in the area. He said the bottles were in very good condition, but the liquid inside was not. “I think you’d be very ill if you drank that, it’s absolutely rank.”
Some of the bottles have now been handed to the city’s museum, while the rest has been reburied.

I thought this was a fasinating story emanating from a simple impulse buy and a picture, and was worth sharing (even as a real ale drinker), I hope this little diversion from the normal is of interest…

 

#OnThisDay… O.V.S. Bulleid passed away

Today marks 53 years since the passing of Oliver Vaughan Snell Bulleid CBE. He was of course Chief Mechanical Engineer of the Southern Railway  between 27th May 1937 and 31st December 1947 and then briefly for  the Southern Region of British Railways until 1st October 1949.

A line up of malachite Bulleid Pacifics , a Q1 and even the Leader, at Fisherton Sarum. I make no apologies if you have seen this excellent picture by Chris Nevard / Model Rail magazine before but it’s one of my favourites!

On the 10th May 1937 Sir Nigel Gresley advised O.V.S Bulleid, who was working away from Kings Cross, by  telegram stating that “Sir Herbert Walker wishes to see you 12.30 tomorrow” at the meeting Bulleid was asked by Sir Herbert Walker, the SR General Manager, to apply for the position of CME…

This post is not an attempt to outline the whole of Bulleid’s career, but to mark the anniversary of his passing, and also an excuse to show one of my favourite pictures of some of his achievements on Fisherton Sarum.  Also it’s an opportunity to reiterate the fact that order for the first ten express passenger locomotives, that became the first series Merchant Navy’s, was approved by the board in March 1938, and it was a myth of convenience that they were rumoured to be classed as mixed traffic locomotives due to being introduced during the war and having 6’2″ driving wheels (actually the same as the LNER P2 class that Bulleid had previously worked on)!

1st January 1950 Bulleid was awarded CBE in the New Years Honours list. He retired from being Chief Mechanical Engineer CIE in May 1958, firstly living in Devon before moving to Malta in December 1967.

 

 

60 years since “The Reshaping British Railways” – the Beeching report

It is sixty years to the day when Dr Richard Beeching’s report “The Reshaping of British Railways” was officially published on the 27th March 1963. The report and its effects are still discussed with many opinions to this to this day,  often in connection with the proposed reopening of some lines and the actual reopening of Exeter to Okehampton in November 2021. This post is an attempt to offer some, hopefully balanced, thoughts and discussion about the report, with of course a slight Southern perspective.

Dr Beeching was at the time Chairman of the British Railways Board. The report identified 2,363 stations and 5,000 miles of railway line for closure, 55% of stations and 30% of route miles, with an objective of stemming the large losses being incurred during a period of increasing competition from road transport, that also had the support from the then Conservative Government Minister of Transport Ernest Marples and had also appointed Dr Beeching in the first place.
It would seem however Marples had a direct conflict of interest between his role as Minister of Transport and the civil engineering road building firm Marples Ridgway. This firm was founded in 1948 by engineer Reginald Ridgway and the then accountant Ernest Marples, whose shares he “sold” to his wife.

The Reshaping of British Railways report published on 27th March 1963

Many of the ex Southern Lines especially in the South West of England, already coined the ‘Withered Arm’ were closed as a result of the report.  A few protests resulted in the saving of some stations and lines, but the majority were closed as planned and Beeching’s name is to this day associated with the mass closure or ‘axe’ of railways and the loss of many local services in the period that followed.

One such line that was included in the report for closure was the Tamar Valley line, however due to the poor road links in the area some of the line was reprieved and survives to this day between Plymouth, Bere Alston and Gunnislake. In fact there is currently a growing movement and support for the line to be reopened north of Bere Alston back to the south end of Tavistock and even through to Okehampton to complete the Northern route to counter the issues sometimes experienced along the ex GWR coastal route via Dawlish.

In addition to the main report there were a number of maps included within Part 2 of the report  that diagrammatically showed data such as : Density of passenger traffic, Distribution of passenger receipts, Density of Freight Traffic, etc. and of course the main outcome of the report the map of Proposed Withdrawal of Passenger Services. I have reproduced part of a couple of these maps in this post showing the Southern Region area.

Map 3 of the report shows the Distribution of Passenger Traffic Station Receipts (click for larger version)

Map 9 of the report shows the Proposed Withdrawal of Passenger Services (click for larger version)

Map 9 Proposed Withdrawal of Passenger Services shows the almost total eradication of the ex Southern Railway lines in the South West as already mentioned above, and a number of other lines in the South of England identified for closure. Happily some of these lines have now since reopened as preserved railways such as the Alton to Winchester line that between Alton and Alresford now forms the Mid Hants Watercress line.

Although the Unions at the time released their own version of the report titled “The Mis-shaping of British Railways” a number of facts (although in some cases it can also be argued that the figures used within the report were not statistically strong as only a weeks worth of data of passenger numbers from stations etc. were used) within the report appear compelling, (even though the phenomenal subsequent rise in both car usage and ownership could hardly have been predicted at the time), it is perhaps not surprising that the conclusions reached were so wide ranging.

The report with respect to freight on the railways proposed the move to quicker, higher capacity trains, serving the main routes, transporting greater loads to hubs. Not with the then traditional wagons, that were essentially unprofitable perhaps due to the carriage rate structures inherently set by the Government a hundred years previously, but trains loaded with containers. Does that seem familiar today?

Whilst Dr Beeching is a much maligned name (or in some eyes “Scapegoat”) for the passenger line closure section of the report, the majority of the actual line / station closures occurred whilst Barbara Castle was the then Labour Government Minister of Transport, this despite the Labour Party opposing the closures whilst in opposition. It it is also easy, perhaps, to forget that this report also proposed investment in alternative passenger services such as high speed coaches, that of course never occurred, and that this report dramatically modernised freight on the rail network promoting containerisation and long-distance freight haulage.

Who knows if the current growth and success of the railway network as it stands today would have been possible if some of the harsh decisions as a result of “The Reshaping of British Railways” were not taken…

Marking 100 years since the formation of the Southern Railway – a potted history

It would be remiss of me not to mark the fact that today is 100 years since the Grouping and the formation of the Southern Railway, it also of course marks the demise of its constituent companies. This post attempts to provide a simplified potted history of the Grouping and the Southern Railway.

The Southern Railway coat of arms incorporated heraldic elements from the main constituent companies.

Although the actual Grouping occurred on 1st January 1923, it’s instigation can be traced back to the First World War where all railways were under state control until 1921. The Railways Act 1921, followed discussions at the time on potential nationalisation, had the aim of stemming the losses being occurred at the time by many of the 120 or so railway companies.

The form of Grouping originally proposed in 1920, by former North Eastern Railway executive, the Minister of Transport, Eric Geddes, was for five English and one Scottish regional companies, by 1921 this was amended to four English and two Scottish companies before the Scottish routes were incorporated in the companies that we know as the ‘Big Four’.  Royal Assent for the Railways Act was in August 1921.

The main Constituent companies of the Southern Railway were the well known three, actually four: The London and South Western Railway (LSWR), The London, Brighton and South Coast Railway (LBSCR) and the combined South Eastern Railway and the London, Chatham and Dover Railway, under the South Eastern & Chatham Railways’ Managing Committee (SECR).

The first SR passenger livery was a continuation of the LSWR style in Olive Green with expanded Clarendon ‘Egyptian’ style ‘Southern’ font as seen on ex LSWR Adams A12 0-4-2. From 1937 the Bulleid malachite green and ‘Sunshine’ lettering as seen on the ex LSWR M7 in the background was introduced.

Also incorporated were the three Isle of Wight railway companies and the Plymouth, Devonport and South Western Junction Railway (Bere Alston and Callington section).
Some non-working or joint companies that had been previously leased or worked by the main constituent companies, including for example (not an exhaustive list): the North Cornwall Railway, Sidmouth Railway, Lee-on-the-Solent Railway, Hayling Railway, Cranbrook and Paddock Wood Railway, London and Greenwich Railway, Croydon & Oxted Joint Railway and Dover & Deal Railway, were also included, as was the Lynton and Barnstaple Railway although not covered by the Railways Act 1921, it had been absorbed by the LSWR.

The Southern Railway also was to share or jointly operate a number of lines including: the East London Railway, West London Extension Railway, Weymouth & Portland Railway and of course the Somerset and Dorset Joint Railway.

The Southern Railway Network

The total route mileage owned whole by the Southern Railway at Grouping was 2,186 miles, with the main constituents not surprising forming the majority with 1,020 miles ex LSWR, 457 miles ex LBSC and 637 ½ ex SECR. The SR was operated essentially as three Districts: Western, Central and Eastern based approximately on the previous main constituents.

There were two Chief Mechanical Engineers; Richard Maunsell, ex SECR, between 1923 and 1937 and Oliver Vaughan Snell Bulleid, ex GN / LNER, from 1937 to 1948.

And just because you can never have enough Bulleid pacifics or Southern malachite green…

Although originally three general managers were appointed from each of the main constituents, with a year Sir Herbert Walker became the single General Manager and the development of the SR was built upon many of his ex LSWR practices. Following his retirement in 1937 he was succeeded as general manager by his long-time assistant Gilbert Szlumper. In 1939, Szlumper left the Southern Railway for war service and Sir Eustace Missenden took over.

The Southern Railway officially lasted, of course until Nationalisation in 1948, although in reality, just as during the First World War, the Railways due to the outbreak of The Second World War were taken once again under Government control via The Railway Executive on 1st September 1939 and would remain so until the 1st January 1948 becoming the Southern Region of British Railways.

With the passing of the Transport Act 1947 that nationalised the Railways, Missenden became the first Chairman of the Railway Executive and John Elliot became acting General Manager of the SR and would later become Chief Regional Officer of the Southern Region of British Railways.

I hope this brief simplified history of the Southern Railway has been of interest, and appropriate to mark the 100 years since its formation. I thought it was about time that it was included on my corner of the blogsphere!

Operation Dynamo; not just small ships…the Southern Railway played its part…80 years on

Following on from marking the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe day earlier this month on 8th May, today marks 80 years on since the evacuation of Allied soldiers commenced from the beaches and harbour of Dunkirk, France, between 26 May and 4 June 1940. This is essentially a repost from 5 years ago but the sentiment remains true and strong.
The Dunkirk evacuation, code named Operation Dynamo, was decided upon when large numbers of British, French, and Belgian troops were cut off and surrounded by the German army. The event is renown for the use of a flotilla of 800 small ships used to assist in the ferrying of some 338,226 soldiers to safety.

The Southern Railway played very much an unsung role in Operation Dynamo, as once back on English shores the soldiers that did not require immediate hospitalisation or were already based at local South Eastern England barracks were dispersed across England away from the main reception ports of Margate, Ramsgate, Folkestone, Dover, and Newhaven. During the nine period of Operation Dynamo the Southern Railway laid on and coordinated an amazing number of special trains comprising of : 327 from Dover, 82 from Ramsgate, 75 from Margate 64 from Folkestone and also 21 ambulance trains.
These trains, known as ‘Dynamo Specials’ moved 180,982 troops, many of these services were routed via  Redhill, Guildford and Reading, in order to bypass the capital and avoid congestion. Where possible during this period the Southern Railway maintained its usual passenger services with the except of some ‘omnibus replacement services’ to free the most heavily utilised routes between Guildford, Redhill and Tonbridge. Not only was coordination required of the departing trains but also the routing of the return empty stock workings and the necessary prepared engines required to keep the transportation of soldiers as quick and efficient as possible.

The Southern Railway mustered at very short notice nearly 2000 additional carriages, many borrowed from other railway companies including 47 complete rakes from the LNER, 44 from the LMS and 40 from the GWR.  Also 180 engines and crews were required from across the network, to operate these services.

To avoid delay at Dover and Ramsgate it was decided that the soldiers, many of whom had not eaten properly for days, would be fed on the trains. Just simply feeding the men provided Southern Railway with a major logistical problem,  therefore certain rail stations were designated feeding stations. These stations included Headcorn, Tonbridge and Paddock Wood Although the Royal Army Service Corps were primarily responsible many local Women’s Voluntary Service members were involved to provide food and drink, much of which was also donated or paid for with monies rasied from the local communities. Due to the number of trains involved only an eight-minute stop for soldiers to be provide with food and drink that bearing in mind this could have been 550 per train, was again an impressive feat.  Trains often had to pull into a siding at these food stops to ensure that any ambulance trains had priority over the use of the main lines.

Given that Southern Railway had practically no time to organise and plan such an activity, what it achieved without the use of modern day communication systems was very impressive; improvisation and word of mouth were the order of the day. One unknown Army general was famously heard to say: “I wish the Army could operate with as few written instructions as Southern Railway does in an emergency.”

The Southern Railway, as well as coping with troops from Dunkirk, was also evacuating no less than 48,000 school children from the coastal areas due to fear of a German invasion. It should not go unmentioned that a number of the Southern Railway’s shipping fleet and crew, varying from cross channel passenger vessels, Isle of Wight ferries and cargo vessels were actively involved out on the channel itself,  with a number being either badly damaged or lost to enemy action.

We should also pause to remember the 68,000 of our soldiers whom didn’t make it home safely from this particular French campaign.

I hope this post goes just a little way to remember and honour the part that the Southern Railway played in the overall success of Operation Dynamo out of what was a defeat in military terms in Flanders.

 

75 years on – Marking VE Day – Putting the Southern Railways war effort into perspective

Today marks 75 years since Victory in Europe Day or VE Day.
VE Day is the day on which Allied forces formally announced the surrender of Germany, which brought the Second World War to a close in Europe. The military surrender was first signed on May 7, but a slightly modified document with the final terms was signed on May 8 in Berlin. Celebrations immediately erupted throughout Britain and more than one million people celebrated in the streets. In London, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth appeared on the balcony alongside Prime Minister Winston Churchill.

Too late for printing in many diaries / calendars, in more normal times today was announced as being a Bank Holiday by moving the traditional May Day Bank Holiday Monday to today, although many at the moment must be wondering what is the difference?
Many celebrations and events were planned to mark the 75th Anniversary today, but the current Covid-19 lockdown (stay safe, stay at home and thank the NHS) has changed those plans.
Her Majesty the Queen will address the nation at 9pm, the exact time the Queen’s father, King George VI, made a radio announcement declaring the end of the war on the continent in May 1945, and I hope you will join the 2 minutes silence at 11 am this morning as we remember the sacrifices made by all.

The cover of the May 1945 Southern Railway Magazine. Note that it includes an image of 21C11 General Steam Navigation. (click the menu link above to find out more about the Restoration Society and it’s aim to restore 35011 back to this original condition)

By its obvious geographical nature the Southern Railway paid a vital part in the entire war effort. The dedication and efforts of the railway workers that worked tirelessly, in all too often difficult and life threatening conditions themselves, indeed many did also fall, should be remembered along with the military personnel.

In this post I provide details in numbers* of the efforts made under wartime conditions to put things into to perspective. Many will be familiar with some of the major events in which the railway played such a large part such as Operation Dynamo, the mass moving of personnel from Dunkirk 80 years ago at the end of this month, and of course Operation Overlord, the planning, logistics for the moment of men and machines to support D-Day in June 1944. For the Southern Railway it wasn’t just these two events but a continued effort for the duration.

Although the overall number of Southern Railway staff when compared between 1939 (67,680) and 1945 (67,570) didn’t change that much the number of women employed increased from 1,861 to 9,167. The company managed to maintain an operational workforce despite 10,956 men and 212 women being enlisted to active service during the same period.

The Southern Railway was to suffer severe damage, disproportionate to that of its three rivals. From July 1940 to March 1945, the LNER suffered 1737 incidents of enemy damage; the LMS experienced 1939 and the GWR fell victim to 1202. But in the same time the Southern Railway, covering a much smaller route mileage than the others, recorded 3637 incidents of damage through enemy action. This amounts to 170 incidents per 100 miles.

Between 1939 and VE Day the Southern Railway had moved 9,367,886 military personnel on 30,890 special troop trains, an additional 6,269,160 on duty service staff were carried on ordinary trains. 1,797 Ambulance trains carried 408,051 wounded. An additional 35,360 military freight trains were run.
At the outbreak of war the Southern Railway had 1,819 locomotives, 61 were built during the war comprising of: 1 Q Class 0-6-0, 40 Q1 class 0-6-0, 20 Merchant Navy Class 4-6-2 and 4 West Country Class 4-6-2. Whilst only 1 locomotive was destroyed by enemy action, 189 were damaged. A further 130 locomotives were built for other railway companies.
153 Carriages were destroyed by enemy action (Steam 49, Electric 93 and 11 NPCS), whilst 4,040 were damaged (Steam 1,806, Electric 1,784 and 450 NPCS).
An amazing 13,820 wagons were constructed: 7,500 for SR, 1,755 for LMS, 2,230 for LNER, 650 for GWR and 1,885 for Government WD of which 1,600 went overseas. 169 wagons were destroyed by enemy action, along with 69 Private Owner wagons, those damaged amounted to 1,355 along with 800 PO wagons.

At 11am this morning we should remember the 387 Southern Railway staff killed whilst on active service and 170 killed whilst on railway duty. A further 687 men and 59 women were injured by enemy action on duty.

I hope this post allows a pause for thought and reflection on the immense efforts and sacrifices made at the time.

*Source: War on the line: The Southern Railway in wartime, Bernard Darwin, published 1946

Talking Stock #31 my own thoughts on the 1948 Locomotive Exchange trials

I have now made two previous posts on this blog about the 1948 locomotive exchange trials, and my models of the locomotives that featured on Southern metals and would have passed through Salisbury and therefore can occasionally be seen on Fisherton Sarum. The first Talking Stock # 2 post focused mainly on  the Express Passenger and general purpose locomotive trials whilst the second post Talking Stock #30 focused on the less often referred to freight locomotives trialed. This post is by way of my own thoughts and conclusion about the actual trials themselves.

Ex LMS City of Bradford Heads past Fisherton Sarum onm an Exteter to Waterloo working. Note the WD tender fitted due to lack of water troughs on the SR.

These trials were not attempting to judge an overall winner but to gain an insight and comparisons of good design and practice that could be in theory carried across into the future design of new British Railways steam locomotives.

A number of observers are of the opinion that the trials should have been larger to encompass more locomotive varieties and that there are some notable missing classes.

Ministry of Supply WD 2-10-0 number 73774

Some of the missing classes that have been mentioned include: the Western Region’s Castle Class, the London Midland Region’s Royal Scots or Jubilees, the Eastern Region’s V2s and of course the Southern Region’s Lord Nelson; of which a direct comparison with the Royal Scot Class would have been very interesting due to similarity on the origins of the designs. Also as I mentioned in my Talking Stock #30 post the Southern did not put any freight locomotive forward so perhaps the design of the S15 whilst being a possible contender was considered to be too old.

ex LNER A4 Seagull heads towards Exeter.

One major inconsistency that directly affected all the recorded parameters, despite all the precautions taken, was with the locomotive crews. The method of engine control varied; from those crews trying to be as economic as possible, such as the London Midland crews, whom allowed timings to slip to the benefit of coal consumption; whilst others, especially the Southern Region crews,  were keen to show the best of what the engines could do performance wise including some extremely impressive hill climbs. Coal and water, but not oil, consumption’s were all recorded and compared along with horsepower outputs and overall efficiencies. These therefore varied considerably by the style of driving. Additionally; loads on each test run varied rather than being controlled to be something near constant and that on a number runs considerable signal checks were experienced rather than Control ensuring a clear run where possible.

Ex LMS Royal Scot Hussar

Also the Southern Region crews were not used to such prolonged running due to the relatively short maximum length of route available; 143 miles, between Waterloo and Exeter compared to runs on other regions ranging from 172 to 299 miles. The later being between Euston and Carlisle which was also longer than usually worked by the Eastern Region crews too.

Eastern Region O1 class 2-8-0 number 63789

As all locomotives were coaled with Yorkshire hard coal this immediately put the Western Region engines at a slight disadvantage as the drafting arrangements for these engines had been designed around the use of softer South Wales steam coal. Subsequent additional tests were carried on the Western Region with these engines on their more usual South Wales steam coal which did result in an improvement in coal consumption.

Due to the inconsistencies explained above it is very difficult to grade or score the performances of individual locomotives designs. In some cases locomotives were inconsistent on consumption, horsepower between runs or varied from route to route.  Some of the possible conclusions that can be drawn are as follows:

  • In the express passenger group it was a close run thing on efficiencies between the Eastern A4s and the London Midland Duchess Class.
    All of the Pacific’s were very consistent across all runs; however the results of the 4-6-0s varied more across the different routes.
  • In the general purpose engines group the Southern Region West County Pacific’s put in some brilliant and very impressive performances but these were at the expense of efficiency figures as already implied. The London Midland Region Class 5’s showed the best efficiencies of this group. The Eastern Region B1 class showed some considerable fluctuations in efficiencies between routes.
  • The greatest variation in overall efficiencies was experienced with the freight group with no engine type being consistent across all routes although the closest to this was the Eastern Region O1 class, but it put in a variable performance on the Eastleigh – Bristol route for an unexplained reason.
  • The widest variation of all in efficiencies and performance was seen with the Ministry of Supply WD 2-8-0 and 2-10-0 locomotives. In fact the 2-8-0s did not on the whole distinguish themselves very well at all.
  • Whilst the Eastern Region A4 class locomotives put in some fine performances they were marred by the fact that there were three failures during the testing attributed to the middle big end overheating on each occasion.

The data recorded and utilised in the final report was not generally seen by most as being fully conclusive, not helped by the fact that it took no account of the costs of construction or average costs of maintenance for each locomotive design.

Whilst it is also generally considered that future British Railways standard designs perhaps bore more resemblance to the origins of their designer, the trials were if nothing else a Public relations exercise for the newly formed British Railways as a show of unity between the now Regions.

Talking Stock #30 The 1948 Locomotive Exchanges from the freight perspective

Much has been written in the past about the locomotive exchanges that took place in 1948 shortly  after nationalisation; indeed my own Talking Stock #2 post here discussed the exchange trials and featured some of the locomotives that appeared on the Southern with respect to the Express Passenger, General Purpose locomotive trials.  Not discussed so often is the fact that as well as passenger locomotives a number of trials were also conducted with the freight locos of the time. This post looks at some of the freight locomotives that appeared through Salisbury on the Eastleigh to Bristol freight trials and therefore I have modelled to occasionally be seen on Fisherton Sarum.  My thoughts on the overall effectiveness or otherwise of the 1948 locomotive exchange trials will form the basis of a further post.

Hornby have produced models of three of the freight locomotives used on the trials on the Southern and whether by complete coincidence or not are two correctly numbered for the actual locomotives used. It should be noted that the Southern did not put forward a freight locomotive.  I am not sure why an S15 was not put forward perhaps the Southern felt it was not a modern enough design when compared to their Bullied Pacifics? I am yet to model the London Midland Region 8F number 48189 but it on the list of things to do.

28xx number 3803 from a Hornby model passes Fisherton Sarum during the trials.

First up is the 28xx class 2-8-0 from the that other railway the Western Region number 3803. I have fitted etched brass number plates over the original printed number plates to enhance the appearance, added real coal to the tender and lightly weathered. I am pretty certain this is not the first picture that has appeared on this blog of a WR locomotive, or for that matter run on Fisherton Sarum, but they are pretty rare!

Eastern Region O1 class 2-8-0 number 63789

The second Hornby locomotive is the Eastern Region O1 class 2-8-0 number 63789 and is generally thought of as being an excellent model. I have replaced the later British Railway crest (that did not exist at the time of the trials) with the correct style for the period wording ‘British Railways’ in Gill Sans.  Again just the addition of real coal in the tender and weathering was required before entering the fleet.

In addition to the above two locomotives the WD 2-8-0 and 2-10-0 classes were also trialed, although the 2-10-0 was larger with a larger firebox and grate area it was essentially the same boiler as its slightly smaller brother and in fact the 2-8-0 generally gave better results.

A back dated Bachmann WD 2-8-0 as 78531 allocated to the SR in 1946

The Ministry of Supply WD 2-8-0 produced by Bachmann is in my opinion currently one of their finest steam outline models in terms of both looks and performance. My model does not strictly represent the exact locomotive used in the trials as she is based one of the class as allocated to the Southern Railway in 1946 having been backdated with the Westinghouse pump etc but is pretty much in the same condition as number 77000 that was used in 1948.

Ministry of Supply WD 2-10-0 number 73774

My model of the WD 2-10-0 number  73774 is built from a DJH kit specifically to match the condition of her real life counter part used on the Eastleigh to Bristol runs. For those confused by the 77xxx and 73xxx numbers of the WD Locomotives they were renumbered into the BR standard 90000–90732 number range in the early 1950’s.

During the trials the freight runs to assess performance, just like the passenger runs the ex North Eastern Railway Dynamomenter car was attached to the locomotive. My model is  from Golden Age Models and will also feature in a future Talking Stock post.