Bulleid WC/BB 'West Country' and
'Battle of Britain' class 4-6-2

Recognising the Southern's close association with the west of England, and also that this class of locomotive would be able to serve the area comprehensively, some 66 were named after places and features in that area whilst some 44 were named after squadrons and other aspects associated with the Battle of Britain. These were referred to as the Battle of Britain "class" but it must be remembered that in all aspects other than the naming they were identical locos to the WC "class". Although the engines were prone to similar problems encountered with the MN class the Southern stole a march on the other railway companies and gained a considerable amount of public support by at the time introducing a bold forward looking design wearing a bright livery and by their naming policy honouring the war effort. Far, far from Waterloo, beyond Okehampton to Launceston and Padstow, from Barnstaple via the 1 in 36 Morthoe bank to Ilfracombe, over Meldon viaduct or along the GWR route to Plymouth, on the S&D line to Bath, the "West Country" pacifics were doing their stuff, and more than holding their own if rostered for a MN turn to Salisbury.
34056 Nº34056 Croydon at Yeovil MPD on 3rd August 1959.

photograph: Mike Morant collection

Nº34079 141 Squadron arriving at Barnstaple Junction with a train from Ilfacombe, 20th April 1960. The first coaches are Bulleid 3-set 782 of 1947 consisting of BSK 4325, CK 5763 and BSK 4326.

photograph reproduced with kind permission of Joanes Publications

34054 Nº34054 Lord Beaverbrook passing Raynes Park station on 27th August 1960.

photograph: Mike Morant collection

Nº34024 Tamar Valley, date not known but before the engine received a modified tender on February 1961.

photograph: Mike Morant collection

34103 Nº34103 Calstock arriving at Southampton, date also not known.

photograph: Mike Morant collection

Nº34078 222 Squadron on an up train at Ashford Strand by the River Taw between Braunton and Barnstaple. The date is sometime in the summer of 1962.

photograph by John Bradbeer

34080 Nº34080 74 Squadron at Barnstaple Junction during early 1963.

photograph by John Bradbeer

Nº34007 Wadebridge passing Raynes Park on 12th April 1963 with a service for Bournemouth West via Sway.

photograph by Mike Morant

34094 On 27th April 1963 fifteen specials from Southampton took supporters to an FA Cup semi-final. Ten of the specials from Southampton ran via Basingstoke, Oxford and Leamington to Snow Hill, nine of them with Southern Pacifics throughout, one of which was Nº34094 Morthoe, pictured here at Hatton.

photograph: Mike Morant collection

An immaculate-looking Nº34054 Lord Beaverbrook taking on water.

photograph: Mike Morant collection


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This page was last updated 12 December 2010

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