|Matching the correct tender with the correct locomotive
can be a nightmare where the Merchant Navy class is concerned! Despite there
being just 30 engines, the complexity of tender options is vast so this is not
meant to be an in-depth detailed work on the subject, more a summary. For those
wishing to delve more deeply then AJ Fry's excellent book, "Bulleid Power
- The 'Merchant Navy ' Class", ISBN 0-86299-751-8, is highly
There were three series of builds, the first of 5,000 gallon capacity for 21C1 to 21C10, the second of 5,100 gallon capacity for 21C11 to 21C20 and the third of 6,000 gallon capacity for 35021 to 35030. Each series held 5 tons of coal in a self-trimming bunker, had a double-framed chassis with six 3 ft 7 ins Bulleid-Firth-Brown wheels, three top mounted vacuum reservoir cylinders, cab steps and a water capacity plate. The main water filler was situated in the center at the back of the tender with a lid that folded back giving uninterrupted access to the filler. The top of the tender sides were curved inwards (known as raves) to match the shape of Bulleid's coaches, although the curvature was different on each series of tender! All bar two were modified between 1952 and 1956 with cut-down raves to assist with taking water (the two not modified were 5,000 gallon tenders that were fitted with 5,250 gallon tanks) and all tenders had BR-pattern rear ladders installed.
The First Series
Based on Maunsell tenders, the frames were outwardly almost identical to those of the "Schools" class tenders. Both front and back ends of these first tenders were soon modified although the basic design remained. The front was connected to the engine's cab with flexible sheeting. On 3111 and 2 the coal bunker filled the width of the tender and on all of them the bunker was hidden from view by the raves. These raves ran level with the top of the cab, hiding the coal bunker, then behind the bunker were cut down slightly. The well to the tank had a strainer fitted to ensure almost particle free water for the injectors, but as the only access to the strainer was from inside the tank it was a major task, involving draining the tank, to clean the filters.
The rear of the first three tenders had three footsteps and two short handrails with a two-rung ladder fixed to the right-hand side of the buffer beam. 3114 onwards had twin tubular steel three rung ladders in place of the footsteps and hand rails, although these themselves varied in design between tenders! After the war the raves were cut down by some 1 ft 8 in to just 4 in which required new, shorter, ladders being installed of the same type as fitted to the "Q1" class tenders. When the twin ladders were installed the single, two-step, ladders were removed and replaced with two that were suspended, one beneath each buffer, at right angles to the buffer beam. From the mid-fifties BR moved these to a postion behind the buffer beam. In addition to the normal water filler, two smaller dome-shaped ones were fitted to enable the water tank to be filled without the need for clambering on top of the tender, but these made it difficult for shutting off the water in time to avoid the crew being soaked and tended to send water cascading onto the footplate under heavy braking so were removed in the early 1950s.
On the front of the tender were two hooks labelled "Helmet" for the crew's wartime steel helmets and behind the front water fillers canvas blackout sheets were fitted that could be pulled forward over the cab entrances which, from 3113 onwards, were replaced by slides. The driver and fireman were each supplied with a locker, although the fireman's was smaller in order not to foul the handbrake.
One of the biggest problems with these early tenders was caused by the need to save weight resulting in thin welded sheet being used, which was not as strong as the normal, rivetted, sheet used previously. Tenders could be seen to bulge, and the welds would split, so during 1944 and 5 strengthening was carried out. Starting from 1956 eight of the tenders had their raves further cut down by BR but 3115 and 3117 were in such poor condition that their tanks were scrapped and replaced by one of BR's own design (3115 had been previously altered in 1948 when it was fitted with a mechanical stoker and paired with 35005 Canadian Pacific). 3111 was fitted with TIA water treatment, the tank for which was in the right-hand corner of the tender. This led to the three vacuum cylinders being stacked in a pyramid shape, banded as in Southern Railway days. (When the BR water treatment system was subsequently installed, the vacuum cylinders were fully covered and positioned behind the coal bunker, offset to the left.) Then, between 1959 and 1963, five tenders, 3111/2/5/7/8 were fitted with new bodies that still held 5 tons of coal but had an increase in water capacity to 5,250 gallons.
The Second Series
These were very similar to the first series, but with 5,100 gallon water tanks and later pattern springs and hangers. The raves, that no longer completely hid the coal bunker, ran in a straight line from front to rear, curving inwards at the top. The front of the coal bunker had raves that continued up and round to form a roof. The two ladders at the rear stopped short with no hand loops protruding above the back. The front fillers were now oval, but tenders 3128/9/30 had them plated over before entering service. Those on the first seven were plated over shortly afterwards. A glass spectacle was fitted between the front of the coal bunker and the rave thereby improving rear vision when running tender first.
The second series tenders were modified between 1952 and 1959. When the raves were cut down the three vacuum cylinders were completely enclosed, unlike the modified first or third series but in the same way as the BR rebodied tenders. There were no alterations to the cab front other than to remove the front water fillers, sandboxes and add a water gauge on the fireman's side. A variation in these tenders was caused by the different siting of the TIA water treatment boxes which protruded from the lower left-hand side of the vacuum cylinder cover to enable it to be filled with the water treatment fluid.
The Third Series
Initially, 35021/2/4/6/7 entered service with either a 4,500
gallon or 5,000 gallon Light Pacific tender as their own were not ready in
Modification between 1952 and 1959 (the first tender to be modified being a third series one) involved the cutting down of the raves plus the addition of a water gauge as with the series two tenders. The TIA box was sited on the right-hand side of the rear of the tender tank, the later change to the BR water treatment left the filler more or less in the same place. All the third series were eventually fitted with the BR water treatment and ladders.
Mechanical Stoker, 3115
In October 1947 Bulleid had obtained a reconditioned Berkley Mechanical Stoker in Canada that was fitted to s21C5 Canadian Pacific in March 1948, at the cost of some coal and water space. To offset the loss of water capacity the tank was raised by 14 in, and four rung ladders were fitted. The stoker was driven by an auxiliary steam engine and had a three section helical conveyer screw that moved the coal from the tender to the firebox. As this required smaller, uniform coal a coal crusher was provided but this created a lot of dust which was only partly contained by installing a canvas cover to the bunker. The experiment concluded in April 1951 but the tender was not restored to its former state and was eventually, in May 1959, rebodied with the 5,250 gallon tank.
Coal-weighing Tender, 3343
In 1952 BR decided that each region should have coal-weighing tenders in connection with the testing of coal and water consumption. The LMR and ER had four, the WR two but the SR only one, 3343 (fitted first to 35014, then 35015 from June 1956 and from May 1958 to 35024) a standard 6,000 gallon third series Merchant Navy tender. The modification required the removal of most of the top of the tender. The new bunker had straight sides and a curved top giving an Ivatt-style appearance. Behind the bunker was the weighing equipment, in a rectangular metal box, which had a steel yard-arm suspended by two camshafts, one on each side. The larger one measured in 10 cwt divisions to 8 tons and the smaller in 7 lb divisions to 10 cwt. The rear of the tender was like a normal third series tender though the vacuum cylinders were replaced with two larger, "Lord Nelson" ones to provide room for the extra equipment. When first converted there was no tender cab, but one was installed almost immediately. The tender was removed from 35024 in December 1961 and, after the weighing equipment had been removed, was re-bodied. 3343 had, more than any other, suffered badly from split welds to the front of the tank.
Due to the corrosion problems mentioned above, which to a lesser extent affected the Light Pacifics as well, a completely new tank body with 5,250 gallon capacity was designed and ten were constructed at Ashford. Five were fitted to first series Merchant Navy tenders, one to a third series, three to Light Pacifics and one was not used. They were provided with two vacuum cylinders which were completely covered and had two rectangular water filler holes. The BR water treatment equipment was positioned between these under a circular cover. The two ladders at the back were replaced with one central ladder and two handrails towards the outer edges. As with the modified tenders, a water gauge and coupling light were provided. The new body fitted to the third series tender had to be lengthened by 2 ft due to the longer frames. This tender also maintained the two ladders at the rear, both the of the SR pattern.
For the 1948 Locomotive Exchanges 35017/8/9/20 were chosen to represent the Southern Region's express passenger locomotive, 35018 to work on the Southern whilst the other three travelled "abroad". As the Southern tenders had no water scoop facility these three were fitted with ex-LMS 4,000 gallon six wheel tenders, unfortunately finished in black with white "BRITISH RAILWAYS" legend that didn't sit well with the malachite and yellow engine.
Lightweight Pacific Tenders
As mentioned above, five engines were finished before their tenders were ready and entered service temporarily paired with spare Light Pacific 8 ft 6 in wide, 4,500 gallon or 9 ft wide, 5,000 gallon versions. These locomotives and tenders were finished in unlined malachite with various styles of lettering.
|Merchant Navy Tenders|
|Tender||Loco number & date||Modified||Re-bodied||Wdwn|
|21C1 Feb 41, 35001, 35026 Apr 65
21C1 May 41, 21C2 Jun 41, 35002
21C3 Sep 41, 21C4 Jan 44, 35004, 35029 Oct 65
21C4 Oct 41, 21C7 May 44, 35007, 35017 Sep 66
21C5 Dec 41, 35005, 35002 Mar 52, 35005 Apr 52,35014 Sep 65
21C6 Dec 41, 35006
21C7 Jun 42, 21C3 Feb 44, 35003
21C8 Jun 42, 35008, 35018 Dec 61, 35008 Oct 64
21C9 Jun 42, 35009
21C10 Jul 42, 35010, 35012 Dec 64
21C11 Dec 44, 35011, 35004 Oct 65
21C12 Jan 45, 35012, 35010 Dec 64
21C13 Feb 45, 35013, 35014 Jun 50, 35024 Nov 52, 35016 Jun 58
21C14 Feb 45, 35014, 35013 Aug 50
21C16 Mar 45, 35016
21C15 Mar 45, 35015, 35014 Jul 56, 35028 Mar 65, 35012 Oct 65
21C17 Apr 45, 35017, 35007 Sep 66
21C19 Jun 45, 35019
21C18 May 45, 35018, 35029 Jul 52, 35011 Oct 65
21C20 Jun 45, 35020, 35026 Jun 52, 35027 Mar 65
35023 Nov 48
35021 Nov 48, 35028 Oct 65
35025 Nov 48, 35012 Jul 52, 35018 Jul 52, 35014 Oct 52, 35015 Jul 56, 35024 May 58, 35008 Feb 62, 35018 Oct 64
35028 Dec 48, 35020 Jul 56
35022 Jan 49, 35020 May 56, 35028 Jul 56, 35014 Mar 65, 35030 Oct 65
35024 Feb 49, 35018 Oct 52, 35024 Dec 61
35029 Feb 49, 35020 Jun 52, 35022 Jun 56
35030 Apr 49, 35005 Oct 65
35027 Apr 49, 35026 Mar 65, 35001 Mat 65
35026 Jul 49, 35025 Jun 52
Sep 66 #1
Aug 64 #2
Sep 64 #3
Sep 66 #4
Feb 66 #5
Sep 66 #6
Jul 67 #7
Oct 64 #8
May 66 #9
Oct 65 #10
Sep 64 #11
Modified to self weighing tender May 1952
3113 preserved, attached to 35029 Ellerman Lines
3116 preserved, attached to 35027 Port Line
3119 preserved, attached to 35005 Canadian Pacific
3122 preserved, attached to 34101 Hartland
3129 sold with frames and wheels to Briton Ferry Steelworks for use as an ingot carrier
3130 preserved, attached to 34067 Tangmere
3342 preserved, attached to 35028 Clan Line
3343 preserved, attached to 34105 Swanage
3347 sold with frames and wheels to Briton Ferry Steelworks for use as an ingot carrier
3348 preserved, attached to 34039 Boscastle
3350 preserved, attached to 35018 British India Line
|Light Pacific Tenders|
|Loco number||Tender number||Water capacity||Date fitted||Date 6,000 gallon
|Allocation by locomotive:|
|35001||3111 New||3112 5/41||3111 5/41||3349 3/65|
|35002||3112 New||3115 3/52||3112 3/52|
|35003||3113 New||3117 2/44|
|35004||3114 New||3113 1/44||3121 10/65|
|35005||3115 New||3348 8/65|
|35007||3117 New||3114 5/44||3127 9/66|
|35008||3118 New||3343 2/62|
|35011||3121 New||3129 10/65|
|35012||3122 New||3343 7/52||3122 7/52||3120 12/64|
|35013||3123 New||3124 8/50|
|35014||3124 New||3123 6/50||3343 11/52||3126 7/56||3345 3/65||3115 9/65|
|35015||3126 New||3343 7/56||3123 6/58|
|35017||3127 New||3127 4/45||LMS 10123 4/48||3127 6/48||3114 9/66|
|35018||3129 New||3343 7/52||3346 10/52||3118 12/61||3343 10/64|
|35019||3128 New||LMS 10219 4/48||3128 5/48|
|35020||3130 New||LMS 10373 5/48||3130 6/48||3347 6/52||3345 5/56||3344 7/56|
|35021||3333 New *||3342 11/48||3126 10/65|
|35022||3335 New *||3345 1/49||3347 6/56|
|35024||3333 New *||3346 2/49||3123 11/52||3343 5/58||3346 12/61|
|35025||3343 New||3350 6/52|
|35026||3260 New *||3350 7/49||3130 6/52||3349 3/65||3111 4/65|
|35027||3288 New *||3349 4/49||3130 3/65|
|35028||3344 New||3345 7/56||3126 3/65||3342 10/65|
|35029||3347 New||3129 7/52||3113 10/65|
|35030||3348 New||3345 10/65|
|*||Temporarily fitted to a light pacific tender.|
|Please note, this article only touches on the complexity of this subject
andfor more in-depth information you are recommended to read Mr Fry's
Richard Derry's The Bookof the Merchant Navy Pacifics,
or Bradley's Locomotives of the Southern Railway, Part 2.
Original Locos | Modified Locos | Nameplates | Data | Tenders | About those fires...
return to picture gallery page
This page was last updated 29 January 2008