SEmG

Bulleid MN "Merchant Navy" Class 4-6-2

The first member of the class - Nº21C1 Channel Packet - was completed at Eastleigh Works in February 1941 - design and construction having been overtaken by the outbreak of World War Two. Two further batches of 10 were ordered, the final batch in the early days of nationalisation which never carried Bulleid notation numbers. With a tractive effort of 37500lb at 85% boiler pressure the Merchant Navy class provided the Southern with a modern powerful express passenger locomotive. Three members of the class, Nº35017 Belgian Marine, Nº35019 French Line C. G. T. and Nº35020 Bibby Line (the reserve engine), all temporarily matched with higher capacity LMS water scoop tenders, took part in the British Railways locomotive exchange trials of 1948 in the express passenger class trials where they more than held their own.

However in the early days the class experienced persistent teething troubles whilst in their original condition some of the novel features failed to deliver their original labour and cost saving intentions. The steam reverser and the oil bath enclosed motion gave particular problems. It proved impossible to keep the oil bath sealed with the result that the boiler lagging became oil soaked and prone to catching fire, and the class was also known for its slippery starts. The air-smoothed casing also caused a maintenance headache, and they were inefficient users of coal and oil.

 
Nº35008 Orient Line, calling at Salisbury. This loco was involved in an accident in 1947 when she collided with an electric service whilst running in with a West of England train, doing considerable damage to her front end. The loco was soon repaired, however, was fitted with a modified cab and returned to traffic with a fresh coat of malachite green, the last of the class to be re-painted from the Southern Livery. She was modified in May 1957.

photograph: Mike Morant collection

35008
 
35014 Nº35014 Nederland Line passing Eastleigh with the up Bournemouth Belle on 28th March 1954.

photograph: Mike Morant collection

 
Nº35008 Orient Line again and M7 class Nº30321 in the carriage sidings at Clapham Junction circa 1955/6. This photo is a little later than the one above as the valances covering the cylinders and leading up to the buffer beam have now been removed.

photograph by Mike Morant

35008
 
35029 35029 Ellerman Lines departing from Waterloo with "The Royal Wessex" during 1956. Modified in September 1959 and withdrawn in 1966, the loco was rescued from Barry Island in 1974, only to sufferer the ignominy of being sectioned and put on display at the National Railway Museum, York, to show how a steam engine works. See photo on later page. The headboard on this train is of the newer BR(S) design.

photograph by Mike Morant

 
Now Nº35014 storms through Clapham Junction in the summer of 1956. In 1946 she had been involved in a series of fuel and haulage trials with Lord Nelson and King Arthur class locomotives and was one of only three Merchant Navy class locos not to have been painted blue. She had experimental self-weighing tender Nº3343 from October 1952 until being modified in July 1956.

photograph by Mike Morant

35014
 
35003 Nº35003 Royal Mail photographed near Worting Junction on 19th July 1958.

photograph: Mike Morant collection

 
Another view of Nº35006 Peninsular & Oriental S N Co, this time at Eastleigh and looking both quite different from the photo on the previous page and a little the worse for wear. Date not known.

photograph by Mike Morant

35006

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This page was last updated 27 September 2011

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