The lone K Class to run for the SECR, River Avon NºA790, photographed in Southern Railway days hauling "The Southern Belle" near Merstham.
photograph: Steve Roffey collection
|The K class 2-6-4 tank was designed by Richard Maunsell, CME of
the SECR, more or less at the same time as the N
Class 2-6-0. It caused a bit of a stir as the 2-6-4T was not a common
design when Nº790 entered traffic in 1917, as well as being a completely
new departure for an Ashford design. Due to the restrictions of the First World
War no more of the class were built until 1925. The Southern Railway then
ordered another twenty locos in 1925 (nine from Armstrong Whitworth & Co.,
ten from Brighton works and one from Ashford) and gave them all names of
rivers. Nº790 was also named, as River Avon.
The motion, cylinders and boiler were all the same as on the N Class though the coupled wheels were appreciably larger at 6'. The radial and bogie wheels were the same at 3' 1". Although generally a successful class, they were prone to water shortages on the long Kent Coast routes and some crews, particularly on the Central Section, complained that they would roll heavily and unpredictably when at speed on indifferent track.
NºA795, River Medway, also near Merstham.
photograph: Steve Roffey collection
|The Ashford 1925-built loco, Nº890, River Frome, was
built with three cylinders and designated class K1. The loco had Ho;croft
conjugated valve gear similar to the N1 Class of
1923. The riding of this loco was less stable that that of the two cylinder K
Class and it was twice derailed. The more serious was the second occasion when
it and seven of the eleven coaches behind it were derailed at Bearsted during
1927, fortunately whilst travelling at only 35 m.p.h. and without any serious
injuries being sustained.
Four days after the Bearsted accident there was a far more serious one at Dunton Green involving NºA800, River Cray when travelling at speed with a Cannon Street to Deal express. Following this serious accident trials were carried out on both the LNER and the SR which resulted in the decision to withdraw the classes and to rebuild all the locos as 2-6-0 tender types, a decision that was probably rather unfair to the 2-6-4T design as it is almost certain that the major cause of the accident was the poor state of the track rather than the locomotive design. When rebuilt the K Class locos became the U Class, with the solitary K1 becoming the first of the U1 class.
|SECR Nº||SR Nº||SR Name||Builder||Built||Rebuilt||By|
|790||A790||River Avon||Ashford||Jun 1917||Jun 1928||Eastleigh|
|-||A791||River Adur||A W &Co||May 1925||Jul 1928||Eastleigh|
|-||A792||River Arun||A W &Co||May 1925||Jul 1928||Eastleigh|
|-||A793||River Ouse||A W &Co||May 1925||Jun 1928||Eastleigh|
|-||A794||River Rother||A W &Co||May 1925||Jun 1928||Eastleigh|
|-||A795||River Medway||A W &Co||Jun 1925||Jun 1928||Eastleigh|
|-||A796||River Stour||A W &Co||Jun 1925||Jul 1928||Eastleigh|
|-||A797||River Mole||A W &Co||Jun 1925||Jun 1928||Ashford|
|-||A798||River Wey||A W &Co||Jun 1925||Aug 1928||Ashford|
|-||A799||River Test||A W &Co||Jun 1925||Jul 1928||Ashford|
|-||A800||River Cray||Brighton||Jul 1926||Dec 1928||Ashford|
|-||A801||River Darenth||Brighton||Jul 1926||Jul 1928||Ashford|
|-||A802||River Cuckmere||Brighton||Aug 1926||Jul 1928||Ashford|
|-||A803||River Itchen||Brighton||Aug 1926||Jun 1928||Brighton|
|-||A804||River Tamar||Brighton||Sep 1926||Jun 1928||Brighton|
|-||A805||River Camel||Brighton||Oct 1926||Mar 1928||Ashford|
|-||A806||River Torridge||Brighton||Oct 1926||Jun 1928||Brighton|
|-||A807||River Axe||Brighton||Nov 1926||Jun 1928||Brighton|
|-||A808||River Char||Brighton||Nov 1926||Jul 1928||Brighton|
|-||A809||River Dart||Brighton||Dec 1926||Jul 1928||Brighton|
|-||A890||River Frome||Ashford||Dec 1925||Jun 1928||Ashford|
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This page was created 28 January 2009