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British Railway Steam Locomotive

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Please read this statement on the accuracy of the data shown below

Note: To Obtain Consistency in the Steam System, Shed Codes used are those Registered at Nationalisation on 1st January 1948
Number30473 b
2nd Grouping Number
1st Grouping Numbersr 473
2nd Pre Grouping Number
1st Pre Grouping Number
Works/Lot Number
Class CodeH15
DesignerUrie R W
Designation4-6-0
Built29/02/1924
BuilderEastleigh Works (LSWR/SR/British Railways)
1948 Shed71A Eastleigh
Last Shed71A Eastleigh
Withdrawn31/07/1959
Disposal detailsEastleigh Works (B.R.)
DisposalCut Up
Disposal Date31/08/1959
NotesMaunsell superheater fitted Nov 1931

Class Information

The LSWR/SR H15 class was a class of 2-cylinder 4-6-0 steam locomotives designed by Robert Urie for mixed-traffic duties on the LSWR. Further batches were constructed by Richard Maunsell for the SR. It was his first 4-6-0 to appear on the LSWR.

This, Robert Urie's first design for the LSWR was created in response to a desperate lack of adequate locomotives in service on the LSWR that could be utilised for heavy freight duties. Reliability was also an issue, with ageing locomotive designs taking their toll on the LSWR's resources The result of his deliberations was the 2-cylinder simple H15 with outside Walschaerts valve gear and easy accessiblity for maintenance, which latter was a major and welcome departure from his predecessor's 4-6-0 designs.

The resultant design was an outside 2-cylinder locomotive fitted with outside Walschaerts valve gear for ease of maintenance, with all the working parts relatively accessible when compared to previous designs operating on the LSWR system. There was one externally obvious design difference within the class with some having a lower running plate which was raised in order to clear the cylinder casing, whereas the remainder had a straight running plate above the driving wheels which made them difficult to distinguish from the later Maunsell S15 when viewed from a distance. The type with the lower running plate had a single straight splasher above the driving wheels in the same form as the N15s.

Twenty six engines were constructed in total in seven batches over a period of twelve years. The first two batches of five in each were constructed in 1914. These were numbers 482 - 491, built new by Eastleigh Works with 180 lbf/in² (1.24 MPa) boilers. They appeared in January to July 1914. A further fifteen were constructed in three batches during 1924 with the final one appearing in January 1925. Those later builds received the numbers 521 - 524, 330 - 334 and 473 - 478. The 330 - 334 batch consisted of rebuilds of F13 class locos, this rebuilding was first earmarked by Urie and then subsequently authorised by Maunsell, although they did not actually appear until 1924-25. The F13s were four-cylinder engines and poor performers, while the rebuilt engines had two-cylinders and retained very little of the original Drummond design, having basically the same appearence of his earlier ex Class E14 loco. These locos retained their Drummond eight-wheeled tenders. The 1924 built engines all had the running plate level from the front rise to the rear fall whilst the other members of the class had a rise in the running plate above the cylinders.

As Urie was a proponent of superheating, these locomotives were a bit of a test-bed for superheating, something the LSWR was rather late in adopting. So, in order to gain experience and data on performance and fuel economy, four of the locomotives (482–485) were fitted with Schmidt superheaters, four (486–489) with Robinson superheaters, whilst 490 and 491 were built to use saturated steam. The result was Urie's own design, known as the Eastleigh Superheater, that was later fitted to 490 and 491. These last two had a lower weight than the first eight.

Engines numbered 482-5 were fitted with Schmidt apparatus, numbered 486-9 with Robinson's apparatus In June 1927 No. 491 was fitted with a King Arthur boiler working at 200 lb sq in, and fitted with a Maunsell style superheater. Subsequently the other nine of the above engines were fitted with Maunsell superheaters, but retained their original boilers.

490–491 ran for a while with their saturated boilers for comparison purposes but Urie was a fervent proponent of superheaters and so, eventually, the entire class was fitted with them. With their 21" x 28" cylinders allied with 6' 0" driving wheels and a free-steaming boiler they proved to be excellent workhorses. Indeed, they were so well built that when 30487 was stripped down for general repairs in 1954 it was found that the frames showed little sign of forty years of hard graft.

While the data gained from this small experiment showed the benefits of superheating, neither design of superheater was deemed suitable by Urie, so he designed and patented his own: the Eastleigh superheater, which was subsequently fitted to all members of the H15 class.

An additional locomotive was a rebuild of the 1905-vintage E14 class locomotive, number 335, undertaken in December 1914. This one-locomotive class had been earmarked by Urie's predecessor, Dugald Drummond, for major modifications in the light of poor operational performance. Urie however, instead of modifying it, rebuilt it as the eleventh member of the H15 class. It was the first locomotive to be fitted with an Eastleigh superheater, but it retained its original boiler pressure of 175 lbf/in² (1.21 MPa).

The earlier built locos had a new style of tender with external bogie frames and large capacity - 5,200 galls of water and 7 tons of coal. No. 335 and the 1924 built locos had the more usual "watercart" tenders with 5,000 galls and 5 tons. The 5,000 gallon Drummond 'watercart' eight-wheeled tender design enabled them to travel on the long distances of the LSWR network which never had water troughs. Further modifications to the class were made by Maunsell during the mid-1930s with the provision of smoke deflectors.

However, improvements were made to the overall design whilst the locomotive was under production at Eastleigh Works. The earlier class members mounted a lower running plate that was raised above the cylinders for clearance. These locomotives also sported a single, straight splasher above the driving wheels, an embellishment that would feature on Urie's later N15 class. The later production locomotives did not feature this design, with a higher-mounted straight running plate above the driving wheels, a feature that was perpetuated on the later S15 class design by Urie.

A total of 26 locomotives were completed in six batches, including number 335, over a period of twelve years. The first two batches of five in each were constructed in 1914. A further fifteen locomotives were constructed in three consecutive batches during 1924, the final one appearing in January 1925, and these were constructed under the auspices of Richard Maunsell, Urie's successor. Amongst the final batches of the class was another rebuild project concerning five members of the Drummond F13 Class. Maunsell's own batch of ten locomotives were a continuation of the design set out by Urie with number 491.

With their 21 Χ 28 inch cylinders allied with 6 ft 0 in driving wheels and a free-steaming boiler they proved to be excellent workhorses. General overhauls revealed that they were very well built. When 30487 was stripped down for general repairs in 1954 it was found that the frames showed little sign of forty years of hard graft. During their careers they were used on fast, heavy freights, and were particularly familiar around Okehampton hauling stone trains.

The Drummond F13 rebuild were notable for having very tall cabs, requiring footplate staff shorter than 6 foot in height to stand on improvised stools to reach some controls. This resulted in those class members with this feature being nicknamed 'Cathedrals'. This nickname does not seem to have been applied to the rest of the class, although crews from Guildford depot referred to the others as the 'City Breed'. All members of the class had been withdrawn by 1961 as a result of the BR 1955 Modernisation Plan, and no locomotives survived into preservation.

Livery was initially LSWR Drummond Lined Passenger Green livery, this being complemented by purple-brown edging and double yellow lining. The initials 'LSWR' were located on the tender, and the number was placed on the cabside.

The first Southern livery, as displayed by the 1924 batch, continued that of the LSWR, though with the number displayed on the tender. However, from 1925, a darker Olive-type green was substituted, and the entire class was so outshopped. Wheels were green with black tyres. Primrose Yellow 'Southern' and locomotive number transfers were placed on the tender tank.

By 1939, after Oliver Bulleid's appointment as Chief Mechanical Engineer, the locomotives had been outshopped in an unlined black livery to denote their freight status subject to livery experimentation. 'Southern' remained on the tender, though the number transfer was moved to the cabside, both in 'Sunshine Yellow' lettering. During wartime service, a further modification to the livery was made with a green shading on the 'Sunshine' lettering. The final Southern livery reverted to 'Sunshine Yellow' lettering and numbering.

The first two batches of five were numbered 482–491. The later batches received the numbers 521–524, 330–334 (F13 rebuilds) and 473–478. There was an oddity amongst the final quantity, No. 335, which brings the final total to 26. No. 335 was a Class E14 rebuild, which provided the basis for the entire class. Before Urie's reign started, his predecessor (Drummond) had set aside E14 class 4-6-0 No. 335 for major modifications as a result of poor performance. Urie knew of this state of affairs when he took office and had so little regard for the loco's design that he gained authorisation, under the auspices of a rebuilding order, to use it as the basis of a completely new locomotive. This engine became H15 No. 335 and was the only one built as a one-off project.

The class was given the BR Power Classification of 4P5F. Livery immediately after Nationalisation was transitional, with 'British Railways' on the tender in Southern Yellow. Numbers were initially given an 'S' prefix. From the early 1950s the class was given the new BR mixed traffic Black with red/white lining.

The class was numbered according to the BR Standard Numbering System, given the series 30482–30491; 30521–30524; 30330–30334 (F13 rebuilds) and finally 30473–30478

The first withdrawal was 30485 in 31 Jan 1955 from Nine Elms shed.
The last 4 locos 30475, 30476, 30521 and 30523 were withdrawn in December 1961 from Eastleigh (2), Nine Elms and Salisbury sheds respectively.
None are preserved.

Technical Details

Designer : Robert Urie
Builder : LSWR/SR Eastleigh Works
Build date : 1914 (11) 1924–1925 (15)
Total produced : 26 - Total to BR 26
Configuration : 4-6-0
UIC classification : 2'Ch
Gauge : 4 ft 8 ½ in (1,435 mm)
Leading wheel diameter : 3 ft 7 in (1.092 m)
Driver wheel diameter : 6 ft 0 in (1.829 m)
Length : 65 ft 6Ύ in (19.98 m)
Locomotive weight : Loco 81 tons 5 cwt; 82 tons 1 cwt (a), 79 tons 19 cwt (b)(c), 80 tons 11 cwt (d)
Tender Weight : 57 tons 14 cwt (e-i)(d) 48 tons 12 cwt (a), 57 tons 11 cwt (b), 49 tons 3 cwt (c)
Fuel type : Coal
Fuel capacity : 5 tons (5.1 tonnes)
Water capacity : 5,000 imp gallons (23,000 l; 6,000 US gal)
Boiler pressure : New: 180lb/sq in Su (1.24 MPa), Rebuilt E14 175lb/sq in Su (1.21 MPa)
Cylinders : Two (outside)
Cylinder size : 21 in Χ 28 in (533 mm Χ 711 mm)
Valve Gear : Walschaerts (piston valves)
Tractive effort : 26,240lb (e-i)(b)(d), 25,510lb (a)(c)
Career : London and South Western Railway, Southern Railway, British Railways (Southern Region)
Class @: H15
Power class : LSWR/SR A, BR 4MT later 4P5F
Nicknames : Chonker
Withdrawn : 1955–1961
Disposition : All scrapped

30482-30490. Introduced 1914. Urie London & South Western Railway (LSWR) design with Maunsell superheater from 1927. Classification 4MT.Introduced 1914. Urie LSWR design with Maunsell superheater from 1927.
(a) 30335 Introduced 1915. Urie rebuild with two outside cylinders of Drummond 4-cylinder Class E14. Originally fitted with Eastleigh Superheater, rebuilt with Maunsell Superheater.
(b) 30473-30478. 30521-30524 Introduced 1924. Maunsell development of Urie design with N15 type boiler and smaller tender. Originally fitted with Eastleigh Superheater, rebuilt with Maunsell Superheater.
(c) 30330-30334 Introduced 1924. Maunsell rebuild with two outside cylinders of Drummond 4-cylinder Class F13. Built with Maunsell Superheater.
(d) 30491. Modified 1927. Original Urie Class H15 of 1914 rebuilt with later N15 type boiler and smaller firebox. Originally fitted with Eastleigh Superheater, rebuilt with Maunsell Superheater.
(e) Built with Maunsell Superheater.
(f) Introduced 1924. Maunsell development of Urie design with N15 type boiler and smaller tender. Built with Maunsell Superheater.
(g) Originally fitted with Schmidt Superheater, rebuilt with Maunsell Superheater.
(h) Originally fitted with Robinson Superheater, rebuilt with Maunsell Superheater.
(i) Originally fitted with Eastleigh Superheater, rebuilt with Maunsell Superheater.

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