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SR Bulleid Q1 Class 0-6-0

photograph: Mike Morant collection

Q1 Class N°33038 in early British Railways days, still bearing the name "SOUTHERN" on the tender.

Text hereThe Second World War saw a vast increase in goods traffic traversing the rails in the south of England and the Southern Railway found itself short of suitable motive power to haul it. In peacetime the railway was primarily a passenger hauler and as such had a fleet consisting mostly of passenger and mixed traffic rated locomotives with a comparatively small number of specialised goods engines. The most obvious option would have been to produce a further batch of Q class goods 0-6-0s, a type which had been commissioned by Richard Maunsell before his retirement but only introduced after Oliver Bulleid had taken over. Bulleid disliked the Q class, regarding it to be dated for the time (indeed it was because essentially it had its origins in Victorian loco design) and of disappointing performance, and he regretted his arrival had been too late to prevent construction of the class. So the decision was taken to build a new design - his second for the Southern Railway.

Bulleid never needed an excuse to be innovative in locomotive design and construction methods but the requirement for a rugged, lightweight goods locomotive with wide route availability at a time of scarce raw materials and labour provided a suitable challenge for his talents. What resulted was a powerful (30,000 lb at 85% boiler pressure) acceptably reliable loco with the largest fire grate area of any British 0-6-0 (27 sq. ft) weighing some 14 tons lighter than a comparable engine which could operate over 93% of the Southern system. However the need to keep the weight down and make efficient use of materials resulted in a controversial design - most notably a very boxy appearance, a lack of a running plate and splashers - which appalled students of British locomotive design, locomen and railway enthusiasts alike. The Q1 class attracted more nicknames, mostly uncomplimentary, than any other SR loco class (see our Steam Locomotive Directory for further details).

The class of 40 locos was built at both Brighton and Ashford Works during 1942. The Q1's greatest weakness was its restricted braking power on unfitted goods trains and it is this that prevented further batches being built after the war. It was built as an "Austerity" design to serve during the war but such was its success that it lasted well towards the end of steam operations on British Railways, mostly hauling heavy goods trains over short distances. Throughout its service life the class did also get used on occasions on passenger services and proved quite capable of delivering a respectable turn of speed - so much so that some think the railway would have been better served building fewer light Pacifics and more Q1s. However the lack of running plate and splashers proved a liability at speed in rain with loco crew only leaning out of their cab windows when absolutely necessary!

Only one Q1 is preserved and forms part of the National Railway Museum's working collection. Having been on long term loan to the Bluebell Railway it returned to the NRM in 2004, a couple of years after its boiler certificate expired.

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  • C28
    Hither Green
    N°C28 on shed at Hither Green during Southern Railway ownership.
    Photograph: Mike Morant collection.
  • 33040
    A nice clean photograph of N°33040, location unknown.
    Photograph: Mike Morant collection.
  • 33006
    N°33006 on shed at Eastleigh and all spruced up for railtour duty!
    Photograph by Ray Soper.
  • 33015
    Three Bridges
    N°33015 and N°33017 on-shed at Three Bridges.
    Photograph by Keith Harwood.
  • 33026
    Three Bridges
    N°33026 on-shed at Three Bridges.
    Photograph by Keith Harwood.
  • 33006
    Goods train
    N°33006, this time working a goods train, the traffic it had been designed to handle.
    Photograph: Mike Morant collection.
  • 3309
    N°33009 at Feltham in November 1963. Latterly shedded at Guildford, this was one of the last Q1s to be withdrawn from service.
    Photograph by Keith Harwood.
  • 33006
    N°33006 at Guildford. Note the smokebox number plate has been doctored to look more like C6!
    Photograph by Keith Harwood.
  • 33030
    N°33030 passes Gomshall with a goods train heading towards Redhill.
    Photograph by Keith Harwood.
  • 33034
    N°33034 captured on shed at Guildford on 5th August 1963.
    Photograph by John Bradbeer.
  • 33009
    Nr Gomshall
    Although designed as a freight locomotive the Q1 0-6-0s occasionally worked passenger services. Keeping to the snow theme, N°33009 is seen here climbing the gradient on the approach to Gomshall and Shere on a Reading-Redhill service in the early winter of 1964.
    Photograph by Keith Harwood.
  • C1
    Sheffield Park
    This impressive shot shows the Q1 at Sheffield Park at the head of a passenger train consisting a SECR 100 seater and Maunsell stock, all in SR olive colours - something that probably was not often seen in service.
    Photograph by Michael Taylor.
  • 33001
    Horsted Keynes
    During 1999 the Bluebell Railway temporarily repainted the NRM's Q1 into early British Railways livery as N°33001.
    Photograph by Michael Taylor.
  • C1
    n 2004 the NRM called its loco home to be featured in Railfest 2004 at York. The out-of-ticket locomotive is due to remain at York for some time filling a gap in the display of wartime era locomotives. Here she is again (as C1 once more) on 3rd June 2004 - one of the rainy days!
    Photograph by Colin Duff.
  • Tender
    When it comes to historical study or modelling it can often be difficult to find a photograph of the prototype in action illustrating the specific details we need. This rare view of the rear top of the tender will hopefully solve a few queries.
    Photograph by Mike Watts.
  • Tender
    The yellow arrow points to the tender filler in the cab, a useful feature enabling the tender to be watered from platform level rather than climbing onto the tender top.
    Photograph by Michael Taylor.
  • Lubricator
    A close-up vierw of the lubricator linkage.
    Photograph by Colin Duff.
  • Boiler
    A close-up view of the boiler backhead.
    Photograph by Colin Duff.

Technical Details

Driving Wheel:
Total Weight:
Water Capacity:
Cylinders (2):
Boiler Pressure:
Tractive Effort:
Coal Capacity:
Power Classification:
5 ft 1 ins
54 ft 10½ ins
89 tons 5 cwt
3,700 gals
19 in x 26 in
230 lb sq in
30,080 lb
5 ton 0 cwt


SR N° BR N° Builder Built Withdrawn
C1 33001 Brighton Mar 1942 May 1964 *
C2 33002 Brighton May 1942 Jul 1963
C3 33003 Brighton May 1942 Jun 1964
C4 33004 Brighton Jun 1942 Jan 1965
C5 33005 Brighton Jun 1942 Jun 1963
C6 33006 Brighton Jun 1942 Jan 1966
C7 33007 Brighton Jul 1942 Jan 1964
C8 33008 Brighton Jul 1942 Aug 1963
C9 33009 Brighton Jul 1942 Sep 1965
C10 33010 Brighton Sep 1942 Jan 1964
C11 33011 Brighton Sep 1942 Aug 1963
C12 33012 Brighton Sep 1942 Nov 1964
C13 33013 Brighton Oct 1942 Jul 1963
C14 33014 Brighton Oct 1942 Jan 1964
C15 33015 Brighton Nov 1942 Nov 1964
C16 33016 Brighton Nov 1942 Aug 1963
C17 33017 Ashford May 1942 Jan 1964
C18 33018 Ashford Apr 1942 Jul 1965
C19 33019 Ashford May 1942 Dec 1963
C20 33020 Ashford May 1942 Jan 1966
C21 33021 Ashford Jun 1942 Aug 1963
C22 33022 Ashford Jun 1942 Jan 1964
C23 33023 Ashford Jun 1942 Jun 1964
C24 33024 Ashford Jun 1942 Aug 1963
C25 33025 Ashford Jul 1942 Jul 1963
C26 33026 Ashford Jul 1942 Sep 1965
C27 33027 Ashford Jul 1942 Jan 1966
C28 33028 Ashford Aug 1942 Feb 1963
C29 33029 Ashford Aug 1942 Jan 1964
C30 33030 Ashford Sep 1942 Jun 1964
C31 33031 Ashford Oct 1942 Sep 1963
C32 33032 Ashford Nov 1942 Jan 1964
C33 33033 Ashford Nov 1942 Jun 1964
C34 33034 Ashford Nov 1942 Jan 1964
C35 33035 Ashford Dec 1942 Jun 1964
C36 33036 Ashford Dec 1942 Jun 1964
C37 33037 Brighton Dec 1942 Oct 1963
C38 33038 Brighton Dec 1942 Jan 1964
C39 33039 Brighton Dec 1942 Jan 1964
C40 33040 Brighton Dec 1942 Jan 1964
*  Preserved by NRM, formerly at the Bluebell Railway, now at York

This page was last updated 7 July 2011

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