Classes O/O1

James Stirling's first design for the SER was the O Class 0-6-0 goods tender engines of 1878, the year he assumed the role of Locomotive Superintendent. These were very similar to those he had produced for the G&SWR, maintaining the domeless boilers and round-top cabs he had used previously. Initially 20 locomotives were built but by the time construction ceased in 1899 the class numbered some 122 engines. One departure from his Scottish designs was the siting of the Ramsbottom safety valves on the boiler rather than over the firebox. Initially only a screw brake was fitted but in due course vacuum brakes (and some Westinghouse brakes) were provided. 55 of the class were built by Sharp Stewart with the remainder being built at Ashford. For a while Nº297 and Nº298 were given short stovepipe chimneys for working on the Canterbury and Whitstable branch, until such time as they were replaced by Class R 0-6-0 tanks.
O Class NºA376 in Southern Railway days, believed to have been photographed here at Ashford. Note the locomotive has a rectangular number plate, presumably a hangover from SER practice.

photograph: Mike Morant collection

In 1903 Wainwright started rebuilding the class with domed boilers and a squared cab. 57 were so treated by 1918, with another rebuilt by the Southern Railway in 1927. Several of the rebuilt locomotives were given tenders from the LC&DR M, M1 and M2 classes which led to a variety of water capacities within the class! The rebuilt engines had similarities to the C Class apart from the tender, and have been referred to as a 7/8 scale C. Engine Nº65 (as BR 31065) double-headed with 31592 (Bluebell's C Class 592) the last passenger train over the Hawkhurst Branch.
O1 A late 1920s Southern Railway photograph of NºA65 with its Stirling tender. This replaced an ex-M2 tender attached from September 1918 until March 1926. This and subsequent photos have oval number plates, as fitted by the SECR and containing that company's name.

photograph: Michael Taylor collection

NºA251 of 1896. Date and location of this photograph unknown, though it is suggested it may have worked over the East Kent Railway.

photograph: Mike Morant collection

O1 Sharp Stewart built Nº1377 of 1891.

photograph: Mike Morant collection

Nº31434 with the SLS London, Chatham & Dover Rail Tour of 19th May 1957.

photograph: Mike Morant collection

31064 Nº31064 approaches Clapham Junction's platform 17 with the BR/Ramblers The Kentish Heights Special on 10th November 1957.

photograph: Mike Morant collection

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This page was last updated 18 June 2011

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