Ian Smith’s 2-6-0 ready for its annual steam test

Cover Image for Ian Smith’s 2-6-0 ready for its annual steam test

The loco’ pictured, Southern (Railway) No 2343 was photographed as club member Ian Smith prepared his steed for running on the elevated track. It is a model of a Class K, 2-6-0 loco’ originally built for the London, Brighton & South Coast Railway (aka the LBSC) under CME, L. B. Billinton. This mixed-traffic design was intended both to obviate the need for double-heading by smaller engines and to further the integration of goods services into traffic flows on a largely passenger carrying railway.

The design was quite innovative for its day, starting with the wheel arrangement under the Whyte system of notation of 2-6-0 … a first for the Railway. They were also the LBSC’s first loco’s to be fitted with a Belpaire firebox and were superheated from new. Their outside, inclined cylinders were combined with inside Stephenson’s valve gear. In addition, water was fed to their boilers by hot water injectors fed by a Weir pump; with surplus steam fed back to the tender to pre-heat the water.

The first examples appeared shortly before the ‘Great War’. Two No’s 336 & 338 appeared in 1913 and after testing the next three, slightly modified examples No’s 339 – 341, entered service in 1914. A further five were ordered but were delayed until 1916 due to material shortages. The initial batch is reported to have given sterling service during the conflict.

A further ten were ordered after the war but due to a backlog of repair work only seven, No’s 347 – 353 were completed between December 1920 and March 1923, with the last three remaining part-built. With the railway ‘Grouping’ looming, further construction was paused and ultimately the last three were never completed. Sadly, none of this class of elegant engines survives.

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Mike Pinder