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Dana Ashdown

SE&CR L-Class Livery, 1914

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Hello everyone!

 

Last Sunday I bought a 1960s vintage Triang SR/BR L1-Class engine for eventual conversion to an SE&CR L-Class. There are a few issues, mainly with the tender, but happily it ran quite well once the motor was oiled. One thing I’ve noticed is that the motor does not protrude too far into the cab. I seem to recall that with the Hornby SR version of the L1, released in 1970, the motor took up most of the cab.

 

The idea is to finish the engine in “as built” condition to fit a pre-Great War theme (or, in this case, a bare fit). This is an American report from 1914:

 

1777719192_1)RailwayLocomotiveEngineeringNewYorkSeptember1914.jpg.bed67566f858dfe3d6b4bfe74a1ec5f0.jpg

 

However, an online troll for pictures of the L-Class in 1914 has only produced two pictures so far, both of No.779 from Borsig of Berlin. The first is in works grey (as above, but better resolution), which suggests a simplified Wainwright livery was originally planned:

 

1262921514_2)SECRLClassNo.7791914worksgrey.jpg.f132b52a52bd6d1f901c15c99e2ab865.jpg

 

The second image shows No.779 at Ashford as she was finished.

 

739791832_3)SECRLClassNo.7791914ascompleted.jpg.805f5b7080c8d86b7404d2af19f08b2b.jpg

 

So far as I can make out, there is no hint of lining and no “SE&CR” written on the tender. The only embellishment seems to be the brass numbers on the rear splasher, and a perhaps a brass strip along the top of the splashers. The paint colour is definitely not Wainwright’s Brunswick Green (compare it with the rear of the tender behind the smokebox). The buffers might be painted a darker shade than the boiler and cab, so perhaps the footplate, frames and buffer housings are in Indian red, but this is not obvious elsewhere.

 

Given Maunsell’s influence over the L-Class’ final configuration, I wonder if the locomotives were actually painted in what we now think of as Maunsell green, but without lining? Or were they turned out in an early version of SE&CR grey? Plain paintwork would make life easier.

 

All opinions welcome!

 

Dana

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It should be lined green (in simplified Maunsel style) with tender initials.  Your lower photographs does not conform (!) so I'm not sure I can resolve the matter.

 

Whereas IIRC the Js had simplified Wainwright lined livery, the Ls had a new Maunsel green livery.  This is described by Bradley in the RCTS volume as a lined livery, though simper even than the simplified wainwright, with no polished brass. he makes the point that it would probably have become the standard SE livery but for the war.

 

He says that all the Ls entered service in this lined green livery.

 

I assume that it is this Maunsel style of lining that the photographic grey pictures represent, and the RCTS volume includes a picture of one of the Beyer-built locos in lined photographic grey. The tender carries the company initials

 

It looks rather like his SR lined green livery. Was it with SE&CR Brunswick green, rather than his SR olive green? 

 

Turning to your picture, it is a lot lighter than the Brunswick green tender behind it.  It could be grey.

 

It looks as if it could be lined to me; I thank I see it on the boiler and firebox bands.  The edging the splasher, however, looks like it's just raised beading.  I think the Ls had these, though always painted not polished brass. 

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I know nothing about SECR liveries, though I do know that there is unlikely to be an SECR volume of Southern Style from the HMRS. partly because a lot of the available information has been published by the SECR Society in its members' publications.

Have you contacted them ? http://www.southeasternandchathamrailway.org.uk/index.html

Jonathan

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The Wikipedia caption for the second photo reads: "L Class at Ashford shortly after delivery from the manufacturers" and the body text states:

"The Borsig locomotives were completed just in time before the outbreak of World War I. They were supplied in kit form and assembled at Ashford railway works by Borsig employees."

 

My money is on the second photo being in second (or third) undercoat after assembly and undergoing some form of live test.

 

The print has some spotting which doesn't help, but there's a line of white spots along the top edge of the smokebox saddle that look an awful lot like filler to conceal flush rivets/countersunk bolts, ditto a swathe of similar over the cab steps on the loco and tender. Not sure about the mess of splodges on the boiler barrel - if they're not defects on the print then someone's been rather careless.

There also seems to be either filler or a 'splot' of undercoat on the trailing driver around the 7 O'clock position, and possibly a thin 'wipe' on the cabside between the line of the splasher & the handrail. Something rather suspect about the dome too - the top appears to be shifted over by several inches.

 

Behind our subject lurks a tender that seems to be plated 764 & that's definitely fully painted & lined out.

 

Pete S.
 

Edited by K14
Added Wiki URL
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Thanks everyone for your replies!

 

The SE&CR Society is an idea.

 

Although the finish looks too glossy to be undercoat, Pete's suggestion that the engine is being tested prior to the final paintwork makes sense, so I will accept that this is not the finished scheme.

 

As to Edwardian's comment that the works grey image is similar to Maunsell's Southern livery, well you're probably correct. Here is a postcard of one of the rebuilt Southern L Class, A.781. There is an "SE&CR" plate still on the rear splasher, but otherwise its quite similar.

 

southern-railway-maunsell-l1-class-4-4-0-a781.jpg.02fa8af2e6780fcfffb2e923486ae004.jpg

 

I think, then, there may be a consensus that the L Class were delivered in a Mansell-style Southern livery, similar to the simplified Wainwright version, with SE&CR written on the tender. I'll presume Brunswick green for the time being, though the olive might be interesting to explore.

 

 

Dana

 

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I don't think they were delivered like that. All accounts suggest they were sent as a kit of parts via Dover and assembled at Ashford. Those photos are of photographic grey after assembly.

 

You need to find a decent one of them in service. Possibly difficult as there was a war on and photography would have been banned under the Defence Of The Realm Act. They certainly wouldn't be advertising they had German built engines.

 

Closest I can find is here. looks dark green with large numbers on the tender. Possibly lined.

 

http://www.semgonline.com/steam/lclass_01.html

 

 

 

Jason

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In my copy of the SECR Centenary Album published by Middleton Press and compiled by the SECR Society L Class No 773 features in photo number 12. The caption reads "The engine was built by Borsig of Berlin and was delivered just two months before the outbreak of the First World War. It is painted in the simplified Wainwright livery and must have been photographed in 1914 when almost new".

Wainwright and his Locomotives by K Marx has a photo of No 778 "lined out in the modified Brunswick green livery, with light brown underframes, a single scheme of black and yellow lining and brass numerals.

Both have SECR on the tender.

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Thanks Jason. I've seen the semgonline page, but all the engines in SE&CR condition appear to be in overall grey. Personally, grey would be much easier to do, but I would only do it if I decided to redo the Triang L1 as an E1 Class from 1919. This would only require a change to the cab, so far as the engine is concerned. Whichever version, the Triang tender is almost useless without major modifications.

 

Gareth, you've solved it! I have the paint, I have the technology (I think), I just need to sort out the lining transfers — possibly something from HMRS will work — and get a tender.

 

Dana

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Does the "light brown" noted differ from the "reddish brown" of the Wainwright livery, I wonder?

 

Generic lining transfers from Fox might be suitable, though I have never used any. 

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On 28/09/2019 at 12:30, Edwardian said:

Does the "light brown" noted differ from the "reddish brown" of the Wainwright livery, I wonder?

 

Generic lining transfers from Fox might be suitable, though I have never used any. 

 

Interesting question.

 

At the moment, I'm planning to use Precision LNER oxide for the light brown. I used it when I redid a Wrenn R1, and also when I altered a Wrenn R1 to an R, both using SEM's excellent artwork. Its probably not perfect, but it looks fine to me, so unless there is a significant difference, I'll go with it.

 

For the green, I'll probably use the same Humbrol Brunswick green that I used for the R and R1. However, if Maunsell used a lighter green, I may have to alter my choice.

 

HMRS do do yellow lining (sheet 105, I think), so I may use theirs — this might be the easiest approach. Otherwise, I might try a bow pen or even a yellow Posca pen. I was also thinking about printing the tender sides and splasher/cab sides with the lining and lettering, but time will tell if my skills are up to it.

 

 

Dana

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Just a note to those contemplating a similar conversion.

 

Potentially easier alternatives to converting the Tri-ang L1 Class include OO Works’ BR L Class from about 15 years ago: <https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/140910-suitable-tender-for-a-secr-l-class-4-4-0/>. This model reflects the condition of the class after the 1920s rebuilds, but would probably be the simpler route to achieving one as built in 1914.

 

DJH produce(d) a white metal kit, again as rebuilt in the 1920s, which has been featured on RMWeb:  <https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/97286-kitbuilt-secr-l-class-from-the-djh-kit/>. I would imagine unwanted details cast into the whitemetal would be harder to remove than plastic.

 

The L Class Tender question also came up: <https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/140910-suitable-tender-for-a-secr-l-class-4-4-0/>.

 

Mine is a budget project, so I'm not planning on any major investments if I can avoid it.

 

 

Dana

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I believe there's a shot of an L on the turntable at Caterham on one of the Caterham railway/branchline books - AFAIK  pre-grouping - I'm not clear on when it was photographed but I'll try to dig it out this weekend incase it helps.

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On 31/10/2019 at 04:18, Lacathedrale said:

I believe there's a shot of an L on the turntable at Caterham on one of the Caterham railway/branchline books - AFAIK  pre-grouping - I'm not clear on when it was photographed but I'll try to dig it out this weekend incase it helps.

Please do!

 

Dana

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Thanks Laecathedrale. That's a very useful picture. I can also see how the top of the cab roof was done.

 

In breaking news, I've just heard from John Arkell of the South Eastern & Chatham Railway Society regarding the livery. He has kindly supplied a 1914 profile painting diagram for the L-class, as well as a drawing for the brass numbers. The painting diagram is quite revealing, and definitely easier to do than the full Wainwright.

 

John has advises me that the diagrams are on the members page (with a reminder that membership has its rewards), but has let me post them here, so much thanks to John and the SECR Society. (Note, I've made the file size for the numbers smaller than the original sent to me.)

 

Dana

 

L_Class_Loco_and_tender_4160pq.jpg.a5ce74a75af91c286b0ee0679a3d36f5.jpg

1309895933_LClassNumbers4158pq.jpg.8eecf60cfa8f90bbc0742c8047ab6a69.jpg

 

 

L Class Loco and tender 4160pq copy.jpg

Edited by Dana Ashdown
New diagrams. Higher Resolution on Profile.
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13 hours ago, Dana Ashdown said:

Thanks Laecathedrale. That's a very useful picture. I can also see how the top of the cab roof was done.

 

In breaking news, I've just heard from John Arkell of the South Eastern & Chatham Railway Society regarding the livery. He has kindly supplied a 1914 profile painting diagram for the L-class, as well as a drawing for the brass numbers. The painting diagram is quite revealing, and definitely easier to do than the full Wainwright.

 

John has advises me that the diagrams are on the members page (with a reminder that membership has its rewards), but has let me post them here, so much thanks to John and the SECR Society. (Note, I've made the file size here smaller than the originals sent to me.)

 

Dana

 

 

 

 

They are brilliant drawings, thanks for sharing them Dana. 

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On 16/10/2019 at 18:30, Dana Ashdown said:

Just a note to those contemplating a similar conversion.

 

Potentially easier alternatives to converting the Tri-ang L1 Class include OO Works’ BR L Class from about 15 years ago: <https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/140910-suitable-tender-for-a-secr-l-class-4-4-0/>. This model reflects the condition of the class after the 1920s rebuilds, but would probably be the simpler route to achieving one as built in 1914.

 

DJH produce(d) a white metal kit, again as rebuilt in the 1920s, which has been featured on RMWeb:  <https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/97286-kitbuilt-secr-l-class-from-the-djh-kit/>. I would imagine unwanted details cast into the whitemetal would be harder to remove than plastic.

 

The L Class Tender question also came up: <https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/140910-suitable-tender-for-a-secr-l-class-4-4-0/>.

 

Mine is a budget project, so I'm not planning on any major investments if I can avoid it.

 

 

Dana

L Class were not rebuilt in the 1920s or at any other time, they remained essentially the same other than small details until withdrawal.

SE & CR - Locomotive No. 764.jpg

 

L CLASS 31773 1949.JPG

Edited by mclong
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On 07/11/2019 at 06:36, mclong said:

L Class were not rebuilt in the 1920s or at any other time, they remained essentially the same other than small details until withdrawal.

Hello McLong.  Thanks for posting the pictures.

 

I think you're right. I was under the impression that the cylinders were change along with the boiler pressure, but I must have confused this with the L1 class. However, the smokebox's and door's were altered/replaced, as your two pictures show.

 

Dana

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First off, I’ve replaced the painting diagram posted on Wednesday with the full-sized original, as the reduced resolution made it difficult to read the smaller numbers.

 

Having studied it, it appears that the wheels, boiler (including steam and safety dome), cab front and sides, splashers and tender tank sides are entirely brunswick green, with none of the black border seen on Wainwright’s livery, nor on the works grey photo of No.779. Even the boiler bands appear to be brunswick green with yellow-lined borders. The yellow lining is only 3/16-inches wide, so is quite narrow. It is discernible in the picture here of D-Class No.490 (I think this appeared on one of Edwardian’s threads last year), but it is subtle. The lining is barely visible in the picture LaCatherdrale posted of No.777 at Caterham, so again the effect is perhaps even more subtle when not well illuminated.

 

578962495_SECRDClassNo.490copy.jpg.3a73ec19f92bf5207d760998544c511f.jpg

 

The frames are painted “Purple Brown (Deep Red)”, with black springs, brake shoes and rods, and so on. The reference to “Deep Red” is interesting as it differs from the “light brown” quoted by Gareth from Marx’ Wainwright and his Locomotives. The works grey photo of No.779 has lining on the frames, steps and wheels where the diagram shows none.

 

Smokebox, chimney and cab roof are black.

 

Curiously, the Borsig engines don’t appear to have carried a builder’s plate.

 

To Corneliuslundie’s earlier point about HMRS probably not publishing a volume on SECR liveries. The SECR Society does seem to have covered the topic for its membership, and they have been very generous in helping non-members like myself, but I believe a handy reference along the lines of Great Western Way would still be valuable. Perhaps another joint HMRS/SECRS project?

 

Dana

 

 

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On 07/11/2019 at 11:36, mclong said:

 

That's a singularly perverse application of the LNWR livery - the triumph of following the book over following the curves!

Edited by Compound2632
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