photograph: Dr. Ian C. Allen/Mike Morant collection
700 class Nº306, date and location unknown but thought to be 1930s.
|Early in 1895 there was a need for a further 25 or 30 modern
goods locomotives on the LSWR. William Adams was ill at the time but his Works
Manager obtained permission to approach outside contractors for quotations and
delivery dates. No further action was taken in the hope that William Adams
would recover, but he was forced to resign from his position because of
declining health and in due course Dugald Drummond was appointed.
Drummond immediately substituted his own drawings for the 0-6-0 goods locomotives and obtained tenders from seven manufacturers. Eventually the tender by Dubs & Co was accepted for delivery of the locomotives by June 1897. Most were delivered by that date with a few a couple of months late. Drummond had designed locomotives that were very similar to a previous class of his built for the Caledonian Railway some years earlier.
The new engines subsequently had standardised parts, such as the boiler, firebox, cylinders and motion, common with the classes M7, C8 and K10 locomotives. At delivery time they were numbered 687-716, and logically the class should have become known as the '687' class as no. 700 was merely the 14th loco built and delivered.
Initially they suffered some mechanical problems, particularly with jamming regulators which caused some mishaps, and a few broken axles, but eventually they settled down to handling the company's heaviest goods trains, taking over duties from the Adams '395' and 'Jubilee' classes. Frequently they appeared on secondary passenger trains as well. They were allocated to most of the major sheds of the system, from Nine Elms through to Exmouth Junction.
Within one year of introduction, in 1898, nos. 702-16 were numbered, somewhat haphazardly, to 306/8/9/15/7/25-7/39/46/50/2/5/68/459, to make way for new T9 4-4-0s. Subsequently no. 459 was renumbered yet again, this time to 316, to make way for a new T14 4-6-0. And so things continued unchanged, each locomotive doing solid, unglamorous work, right through WW1.
|Nº309 photographed at Reading on 18th June 1939.
photograph: Mike Morant collection
|In 1919, Urie decided to apply superheating to no. 316
(ex-459, ex-716), requiring extended smokebox, extensions to the frames and
raising the boiler pitch by 9 inches. The raising of the boiler meant that the
cab design and shape required changes, making it seem taller, which was
emphasised by the substitution of a rather stark stovepipe chimney. In due
course superheating was applied to the remainder of the class by Maunsell after
the grouping. Many of the class were involved in a series of tender exchanges
with classes T9, D15, K10 and L11 to enable T9s to work on the ex-SECR lines in
the 1920s. At one point in 1936, the 700 class was reclassified as C class, but
this caused confusion with the ex-SECR C class
locomotives and the change was discarded.
The arrival of the S15s, the Maunsell Q 0-6-0s and subsequently the Bulleid Q1 0-6-0s, meant that some of the usual duties of the 700s were lost but there continued to be very useful goods work for them until almost the end of steam. In 1948 all had 30000 added to their numbers, but they all continued working into the 1950s. Except for no 30688, an accident casualty in 1957, they all survived until the rapid decline in goods traffic and local branch and secondary lines in the early 1960s. Wholesale withdrawal of the class took place in 1961 and 1962, although 30697 was steamed for the last time in January 1964, after a lifespan of almost 67 years.
|30326 photographed at Ashford in the late 1950s.
photograph by Alan Robinson
|30346 in the loco line at Feltham in the early 1960s.
photograph by John Roffey
|Nº30316 pictured at Eastleigh on 16 April 1963.
photograph by Alan Robinson
|Nº30317 at Barnstaple Junction during March 1961 on the
mid-afternoon freight from Barnstaple, eventually to Nine Elms. The 700s
hauled this train into the 1960s but several of the last survivors were taken
out of "normal service" and fitted with snow ploughs in the autumn of
1963 (a classic case of responding after the event!) and were finally withdrawn
with snow ploughs still attached.
photograph by John Bradbeer
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This page was last updated 19 February 2012