LBSCR class H1 and H2 "Atlantic" 4-4-2

When the London Brighton and South Coast Railway needed a new Locomotive Superintendent in 1904 they turned to Douglas Earle Marsh, the then Chief Assistant to Harry Ivatt on the Great Northern Railway. Prior to this Marsh had begun his career under no less a person than William Dean of the Great Western Railway where he had risen to the position of Assistant Works Manager at Swindon in only eight years. During his time at Doncaster Marsh had been heavily involved with the design of the first of the large Great Northern Atlantics so it was hardly surprising that immediately he assumed office at Brighton and found he needed a new large express engine that he set about designing a very similar machine, the 'H1' class Atlantic. The outward similarity was very noteable with just the footplate undulations, the chimney and the cab (standard RJ Billinton fittings) differing from the GNR example. The undulations referred to were a rise over the driving wheels and then again a similar rise over the cylinders.
Class H1 Nº37 at Lewes with the early 'LB&SCR' on her tender. Note the footplate that is raised over the driving wheels, then again over the cylinders.

photograph: Dave Searle collection

The boiler, at 5' 6" inches in diameter with a 6' 6" long and 5' 11" wide firebox, was far larger than anything the Brighton company had built previously. It differed from the GNR '251' class in that the firebox was deeper but with the same grate area and with the working pressure at 200 lb sq in in place of 175. Cylinder sizes differed with 18½ in x 26 in fitted to 37, 38 and 40 whilst 39 and 41 had ones of 19 in diameter. These compared with the GNR locomotives' 18¾ x 24 in cylinders. The coupled wheels were 6' 7½" with wheelbase of 6' 10", exactly the same as on the Great Northern.
40 Left: Class H1 Nº40 with the later 'LBSC' livery.

Right: A close-up view of the design on the splashers.

photographs: Dave Searle collection


Marsh abandoned the Brighton practice of naming locomotives and as a result only one of the H1s bore a name during LBSC days, Nº39, which was named La France in 1913 prior to working the train for the visit of the French President, as seen above. The name was carried until January 1926 at which time the Southern Railway renamed the locomotive Hartland Point.

photograph: Graham Watson collection

In 1911, the last year of Marsh's reign at Brighton, there was a need for further large express engines so five more Atlantics were built. These 'H2' class locomotives were very similar to the 'H1' class but were superheated and had larger cylinders with the boiler pressure reduced to 170 lb sq in. The footplates were less undulatory with the raised section covering the whole area from the cylinders to the driving wheels.
H2 class Nº421 in photographic grey and sporting the LB&SCR livery. The difference in the footplates is all too obvious between this photograph and those above.

photograph: Dave Searle collection

425 Nº425 in the later LBSC guise. Note the use of lamps rather than discs in this photograph.

photograph: Dave Searle collection

Marsh had plans for another locomotive to be built as a four cylinder engine, but in the event Lawson Billinton built it in 1912 as a sixth 'H2' class.
Class H2 Nº424 Beachy Head on a Pullman working in LB&SCR days.

photograph: Mike Morant collection

2424 Nº2424 Beachy Head awaiting departure from Victoria during Southern Railway days. As well as the difference in the footplate when compared with the H1s, note too that the cylinders, which are larger than on the H1 class, are set higher and inclined at a slight angle.

photograph: Mike Morant collection

Nº2425 Trevose Head also photographed awaiting departure from Victoria.

photograph: Mike Morant collection

2424 Nº2425 Trevose Head again, this time photographed whilst at the Eardley Carriage Sidings.

photograph: Mike Morant collection

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This page was last updated 9 July 2020

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