Wainwright C class 0-6-0

At the end of the 19th century, the two impecunious railways of the south-east decided to pool their resources and operate as one. Thus the South Eastern & Chatham Railway was created. Upon the appointment of Harry Wainwright as Locomotive and Carriage Superintendent steps were taken to replace the small and ageing locos of the two constituent lines with more powerful ones. From the team of draughtsmen drawn from primarily the LC&DR works at Longhedge came plans for 3 designs of locomotives: the D class 4-4-0s for express passenger work, the R1 class 0-4-4Ts for local passenger, and the C class 0-6-0s for goods work. Such was the success of the last design that all but 2 of the eventual 109 C class locomotives passed into BR ownership in 1948, and many lasted until the Kent Coast electrification took place in 1959 and 1960.

photograph: Mike Morant collection

Nº689, one of the early locomotives, constructed by Nielson, Reid & Co.

In most ways, the C class 0-6-0s owed their design heritage to LC&DR practice. They were robust, but of simple construction. They gave little trouble in traffic, had a good turn of speed, and had good riding qualities for an 0-6-0. They were at home equally on semi-fast passenger trains as well as all manner of goods trains. Through the years, representatives of the class were stationed at every depot on the SECR and Eastern Section of the SR.

The first two appeared simultaneously, both Nº255 from Ashford Works and Nº681 from Neilson Reid in June 1900. Between that date and June 1908, a further 107 appeared from Ashford (69), Longhedge (9), Neilson Reid & Co.(14) and Sharp Stewart (15), including the preserved Nº592, now running on the Bluebell Railway.

When new, they were painted in the Wainwright goods livery, not quite as ornate as his famous passenger locomotive livery, but a dark green with full and complex lining. They finished their days in plain BR black. No renumbering took place in the 60 years, other than the usual addition of 1000 to the numbers in Southern Railway days and the addition of 30000 in British Railways days.

1583 Nº1583 at London Bridge with what is thought to have been a hop pickers' special.

photograph: Mike Morant collection

Rear view! Tender-first C class Nº31588 at Paddock Wood station. No headcode discs suggest it is running round the stock - is it the Hawhurst branch train? If so, it is unusual for it to be in the main line platform.

photograph: Mike Morant collection

Nº31272 became DS240 in 1965 and was used as a stationary boiler at Ashford and Nº31592 became DS239 in 1966, and was subsequently sold for preservation.

However, a unique fate fell to one of the class. In 1916, Nº685 was converted at Ashford to a 'Special Tank Shunter', and became the solitary S class 0-6-0 saddle tank. It lasted until withdrawal in 1951.

DS239 One-time Nº592 became 1592 then 31592, photographed when in departmental service as DS239, complete with snowplough. This locomotive is now preserved on the Bluebell Railway and has reverted to being Nº592 once again.

photograph: Mike Morant collection

Nº31271 photographed on shed - believed to be Ashford.

photograph: Mike Morant collection

DS239 Nº31716, on railtour duty for the RCTS and SLS, is seen here at Kensington on 15th April 1950.

photograph: Mike Morant collection

Nº31054 photographed on shed at Hither Green.

photograph: Mike Morant collection


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This page was last updated 13 March 2012

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