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SE&CR P class 0-6-0T - BRM article


bécasse
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In the March 2015 issue of British Railway Modelling there is a nice article by Phil Parker on building a model of an ex-SECR P class 0-6-0T using the SE Finecast kit.

 

Unfortunately the prototype notes which accompany the article err seriously in suggesting that there were only detail differences between the eight members of the class, although this isn't perhaps surprising as these differences are poorly documented.

 

The first two locomotives, originally 753/4, later (3)1556/7, had 4½ inch taller cabs, while the bunker and side tanks were also taller, probably by the same amount. With the cab spectacles at the same height as those of the other members of the class, their appearance was notably different. It is also possible that these two locos were marginally narrower than the other six (by perhaps no more than 1 inch each side), which would explain why the nominal weights and bunker and tank capacities were quoted as the same for all eight members of the class. These two locos also had a more pronounced curve in their smokebox saddle.

 

In my view, these differences are too great to model these two locos using the kit, even modified. However, if the taller cab, tank and bunker sides were scratchbuilt from sheet brass or nickel-silver, use of the footplate, boiler/smokebox, etc, and cab roof from the kit would simplify the remainder of the construction.

 

The article correctly states that the Furness lubricators, originally located either side of the smokebox saddle on all eight locos, were removed in the 1920s.

 

Three locos, (31)325, (31)555 and 754/(3)1557, sported boxes on top of the left hand tank immediately forward of the cab, these may have been tool boxes or may have had some other function ; the exact styling varied.

 

Wooden bunker extensions seem to have been tried twice in the lives of the class, A555 sported a single plank extension while at Dover in the early 1920s and 31325 had a much taller extension with two steel straps while at Brighton (for Kingston Wharf) in the early 1950s. Both were subsequently removed.

 

All the class were originally fitted with standard SE&CR buffers, as appear to be provided in the kit, similar in appearance to Collett GWR tapered ones. Around 1950, Stroudley round-base buffers were fitted to 31027 (rear only), 31325 (front and rear) and 31558 (rear only). A little later in the 1950s, SR stepped-parallel buffers were fitted to 31027 (front & rear), 31178 (front & rear), 31323 (front & rear), 31556 (front & rear) and 31557 (rear only). Some locos engaged in port shunting duties were fitted with larger diameter buffing heads.

 

The whole class was fitted with steam heating appartus which seems, perhaps surprisingly, to have been retained throughout their lives even to the extent of the provision of hoses. Even the locos used for port shunting retained their screw couplings.

 

Finally, I could find no evidence that the smokeboxes of any of the class were ever flush welded as they all always sport visible rivets.

 

The loco constructed in the article, no.27 in SE&CR WWI grey, appears correct for that period.

Edited by bécasse
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Thanks for sharing this, I actually bought BRM this month for this article - I very rarely buy BRM or other magazines for that matter. I'm sure it's not an easy task putting articles together for magazines as space is obviously a premium. Thanks to BRM and your good self this information which will go together with all the other information that I have collected in preparation for building this kit.

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Some more information on P class locos which I hope might prove useful to potential modellers.

 

The first two locos 753/4 (the “tall” ones) were built with lever reverse in the cab rather than the emerging SECR standard steam reverser. This seems to have found disfavour with the engine-men because the remaining six locos were built a year later with steam reversers (and the tell tale cylinders in front of the righthand tank), and 753/4 were also so fitted the year after that. Bradley suggests that it was the steam reversers which were originally located in the cab, but I am certain that he was wrong on this ; his comments probably came about because early photos showed 753/4 without steam reversers in front of the tank and he didn't realise that the locos originally had a lever reverse.

 

Conceptually, the P class locos were intended for working motor (pull-push in Southern parlance) trains. In practice though, there was never a period when the whole class was working motor trains, for which they were found to be a little under-powered, and by the late 1920s the whole class was relegated to shunting work in locations where their small dimensions were found to be an essential asset. However, they remained fully equipped as passenger locos throughout their lives (although they lost their passenger livery after 1936) and did occasionally work passenger trains, either substituting for the more powerful ex-LBSCR Terriers or on hire to the K&ESR.

 

The details of the actual motor train gear fitted to the P class are somewhat hazy although it is known that there were early and late versions and, importantly for the modeller, that neither was particularly obvious.

 

The early version, for which no documentation survives, is thought to have involved the use of cables which ran under (rather than over as in the LSWR version) the motor train carriages ; the system clearly had its shortcomings as reports survive of delay to motor trains as a result of the loco having to run round its train at each end of journeys rather than just pushing-and-pulling. This version was fitted from first construction but had been removed from all the locos by mid-1913 at the latest.

 

The later version, was more robust, using rods under the motor train carriages (a little like the GWR system), although there was still a cord for the whistle and an electrical cable for the driver-fireman communication bell. This version was fitted to just four locos, 178, 323, 558 and 754, in 1912/3, and later to 325 as well. A few motor-trains continued to be worked by P class locos using this system until 1926, after which the equipment was removed. The Southern eventually standardised on the superior air-worked LBSCR system for pull-push trains but none of the P class was ever so fitted.

 

Although P class locos were fitted with cab doors, these were almost always left open (hinged back against the bunker inside) except when the locos were working in particularly exposed dockside locations (or during WWII blackout hours). Consequently the closed cab doors of the SE Finecast kit look wrong and the appearance of a model is significantly improved by cutting (or filing) them out. The method of fitting the cab door handrails used by Phil Parker in the BRM article can be improved on by bending the wire to a sharp right-angle, filing or cutting a small slot in the cab-opening beading (preferably at 45 degrees viewed from above) and fixing each of the handrails into these slots. This doesn't quite replicate the prototype method but is much closer, and with a little titillation, will look very much better.

 

The two rear cab spectacles were fitted with 9 vertical protective bars each, however these were of a light construction which would be very difficult to model well. They were relatively inconspicuous and my advice would be to omit them from a 4mm scale model.

 

Finally, I have just opened my March copy of the Railway Modeller and there is a nice 7mm scale model of one of the later P class locos, the only thing wrong being that it is numbered 1556, one of the two early "tall" locos – oh dear !

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A couple of further points which both stem from revisiting the model of 27 as constructed in the BRM article.

 

Lamp irons

The model doesn't have any lamp irons fitted but should, of course.

As built the locos had three lamp irons spaced across the front running plate and another at the top of the smokebox (the British "standard" positions, in fact), and correspondingly three across the foot of the bunker back and another centrally at the top of the bunker. Some time in 1920 it must have been decided that the grouped Southern Railway would use six lamp positions and by the end of 1920 SECR locos were starting to be fitted with two additional lamp irons, winged out from the smokebox at the front, plus mid-way up the bunker back (but set more closely than the lower outer irons so that the lamps didn't clash) at the bank. Almost any photo of a P class loco will show the positions and they were standard across the class. The lamp irons fitted all had a "crank" in them, again refer to a photo for clarity.

 

Smokebox/boiler handrail

This handrail doesn't extend far enough back on one side of the BRM model of 27. On the left hand side of the loco (i.e. the side without the steam reverser cylinders), the handrail should extend back beyond the handrail knob as far as a position roughly midway between the clack valve and the boiler front where it just terminated (looking very odd) in mid-air. On the other side it terminated at the handrail knob in order to clear the reverser cylinders, and, on this side, there was also some pipe-work back from the cylinders over the tank top to the cab which ought to be included in a model, again refer to photos for details.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Yes, I had already said that "the loco constructed in the article, no.27 in SE&CR WWI grey, appears correct for that period". Although, as noted in post 4, I did later realise that the lamp irons were missing and that the handrail wasn't long enough on one side of the boiler, neither particularly heinous issues (but not rivet-counting ones either|). I did also say that I, personally, would have used a slightly different technique to produce more accurate cab-door handrails and would have modelled the loco with open cab doors (as they usually ran*).

 

​Apart from that, the major problem was with the suggestion in the prototype notes in the article that all 8 locos were sufficiently alike to be modelled from the kit as it came out the box, which is certainly not the case as the first 2 were significantly different. For most people the only effect of this is to be careful to number their model as one of the six later locos.

 

I also provided as much information as I am aware of concerning minor (and often later) variations between locos, in order to help those modelling the class to get their individual models as correct as possible. None of these variations are difficult to model as, at worse, they need little more than a few pounds spent on readily available alternative buffers.

 

Incidentally, I am not suggesting that the author of the article hadn't done his homework. It just happens that this was a class where normally-reliable published information failed to tell the whole story, perhaps because official documents themselves were misleading or incomplete.

 

* Quite a number of SE Finecast kits portray tank locos with their cab doors closed largely because they originated in the days when proprietary chassis were used and a closed cab door helped hide the presence of a large motor in the cab. In practice, most tank locos ran for much of the time with their cab doors open, and modelling the door open subtly changes the character of the model, making it look more like its prototype. As always, though, one needs to be guided by photographs.

Edited by bécasse
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Klaus Marx produced a nice little book about them - "The Wainwright P tanks". ISBN 187075414X. i'm sure a copy could be had for less than a fiver!

Indeed, I would suggest that having a copy to hand would be an essential adjunct to making a model of a P class, not least because the book well illustrates the vast variety of liveries carried by the class over the years (and which I have made no attempt to write up).

 

However, even Klaus Marx missed the fact that it wasn't only the cab but also the bunker and tanks that were taller on the first two locos, despite the fact that he can't have slavishly copied Bradley as he mentions the extra height of the cab as being 4½ inches whereas Bradley doesn't. Anyone doubting that the bunkers and tanks were taller on the first two locos should look at the photograph on the back cover of the Klaus Marx book where both the first two and one of the later six are stabled in line - the taller bunker and tanks (as well as the cab) are as plain as a pikestaff, as is the rather different "look" that this extra height lends to these two locos.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 months later...

Hello All

 

Just writing as I am in the process off doing a large scale P and have only recently seen this topic....surely the photo in the Marx book is showing both of the first  two ( 557 and 556) with one of the later batch (325) in between them ?.

 

Regards

Clive s

 

However, even Klaus Marx missed the fact that it wasn't only the cab but also the bunker and tanks that were taller on the first two locos, despite the fact that he can't have slavishly copied Bradley as he mentions the extra height of the cab as being 4½ inches whereas Bradley doesn't. Anyone doubting that the bunkers and tanks were taller on the first two locos should look at the photograph on the back cover of the Klaus Marx book where one of the first two and two of the later six are stabled in line - the taller bunker and tanks (as well as the cab) are as plain as a pikestaff, as is the rather different "look" that this extra height lends to the loco.

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Just writing as I am in the process off doing a large scale P and have only recently seen this topic....surely the photo in the Marx book is showing both of the first  two ( 557 and 556) with one of the later batch (325) in between them ?.

 

You are, of course, quite correct Clive, and it's obvious from the position of the cab spectacles relative to the cab roof, the "gap" being distinctly less on the later batch of six locos. I have corrected the original post to avoid misleading anyone else!

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You are, of course, quite correct Clive, and it's obvious from the position of the cab spectacles relative to the cab roof, the "gap" being distinctly less on the later batch of six locos. I have corrected the original post to avoid misleading anyone else!

Hello

 

Thanks.. I measured the height of the side tanks of the ex 556 at Rolvenden recently ( it's in bits at the moment which was ideal)  and they are 3'6" high....with the external top lip being around 2" higher. I compared them to a drawing , a 4mm one that I have blown up to 3/4" scale and they are higher than the drawing but not by what I was expecting....it may be an error in scaling up such a small drawing. What I should really do is find out what the height of the tanks are on the the three Ps on the Bluebell !. What I was trying to determine is what those 4mm scale drawings that appear in various publications are of...the original two locos or the later six.....not really much the wiser now. 

 

Clive s

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Hello

 

Thanks.. I measured the height of the side tanks of the ex 556 at Rolvenden recently ( it's in bits at the moment which was ideal)  and they are 3'6" high....with the external top lip being around 2" higher. I compared them to a drawing , a 4mm one that I have blown up to 3/4" scale and they are higher than the drawing but not by what I was expecting....it may be an error in scaling up such a small drawing. What I should really do is find out what the height of the tanks are on the the three Ps on the Bluebell !. What I was trying to determine is what those 4mm scale drawings that appear in various publications are of...the original two locos or the later six.....not really much the wiser now. 

 

Just measured the 4mm drawing ( Russell book on SR locos) , after getting brain in gear, and I believe these to be the later six as the tanks are lower than a scale 3'6" and the gap between spectacle holes and cab looks more narrow on the end facing diagram. Can adjust everything by a scale 4 1/2" now...tanks, bunker ,cab. Does anyone know anything about the chimney height on the early two locos...was that higher as well...or was the chimney and dome just like the later six ?. I understand from reading these pages that the smoke box  had a more pronounced curve at the bottom on the early locos ...although I've yet to see it in the photos I have..will have to put them under a large magnifier ?.

 

Clive s

 

 

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Study of every available photo has convinced me that the first two did have a slightly more pronounced smokebox saddle curve than the later batch when new. However, it isn't something that would worry me on a model since it is quite difficult to get the curvature of the saddles precisely right anyway and the difference is probably no more than ½ inch each side - it may well result from the plate being marked out with "compasses" for the first two, whereas the later, larger batch were marked out using a pre-cut profile.

 

Don't forget, too, that smokeboxes would have been replaced from time to time and smokebox saddle shapes may well have changed subtly on renewal. Indeed, study of later photos suggests that that was probably the case.

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