1948: BR’S FIRST YEAR
Of all the ‘Big Four’ railway companies, the Southern Railway was arguably the most adept at recycling its locomotives. Even in pre-Grouping days, the SR’s constituent companies routinely adapted, modified or totally rebuilt existing and obsolete designs to bring them up to par for contemporary traffic demands. Nowhere was this attitude more evident than in the Maunsell ‘D1/E1’ 4-4-0s. The ex-South Eastern & Chatham Railway lines through Kent proved most troublesome for the SECR’s last CME, as the lightly laid permanent way prevented the use of heavier, more powerful locomotives, which were just what the railway needed to handle increasing train loads during the inter-war years. In the pursuit of creating an adequately powerful locomotive with a light enough axle load, Maunsell took an ‘E’ 4-4-0 (No. 179), designed by his predecessor Harry Wainwright, and completely rebuilt it. The result was a locomotive far removed from the elegant lines of the Wainwright original, and which owed much to the Midland Railway ‘2P’ – thanks, in part, to Ashford’s chief draughtsman James Clayton, who had previously been employed in the works at Derby. So successful were these changes that Maunsell rebuilt a further ten ‘Es’ into his new ‘E1’ class. Maunsell also incorporated his modifications into 21 rebuilds of the Wainwright ‘D’ 4-4-0s, creating the ‘D1s’, which were all but identical to the ‘E1s’. The only difference between the two was that the coupling rods on the ‘E1s’ were fluted, whereas the ‘D1s’ were plain. An example of the latter, No. 31470, which was rebuilt from Wainwright ‘D’ No. 470 by Beyer Peacock in 1921, stands in ex-works condition at Ashford in April
1948, resplendent in BR unlined black livery. As was common during the early years of nationalisation, former Southern Railway locomotives carried ‘British Railways’ on their tenders, with the lettering, cabside and bufferbeam numbers depicted in the same ‘Sunshine’ font, introduced by Bulleid after his appointment as SR CME in 1937. This early style can also be seen on Wainwright ‘H’ 0‑4‑4T No. S1322. The tank engine is yet to receive its BR number with its ‘3’ prefix, and instead bears its Grouping‑era number with the ‘S’ prefix, denoting its Southern Railway origin. Showing how the process of renumbering on the Southern was a gradual one, behind the bunker of the ‘H’ is ex‑LSWR Adams ‘0395’ class 0‑6‑0 No. 30576, already displaying its BR cabside number.
Showing off its Midland Railwayinspired lines, ‘D1’ No. 31470 stands on display at Ashford during a Stephenson Locomotive Society visit to the works in April 1948.
Resplendent in BR unlined black, ‘H’ No. S1322 is also displayed during the April 1948 SLS visit to Ashford, in front of ex-LSWR ‘0395’ No. 30576, and an unidentified Maunsell SECR 4-4-0.