Maunsell U class 2-6-0

The U class of 1928 was produced in response to the operating department's needs for a two cylindered tender engine for semi-fast and cross country services. This need had latterly been met on the Southern Railway by the 2-6-4T K class "River" tanks, though they were somewhat limited by their water capacity, and parts were already on order for more of the class. This order was instead converted to produce the U class 2-6-0, and following a series of serious derailments with the K class, culminating in the Sevenoaks accident, the decision was taken to convert the entire class to Us. A total of fifty engines was completed inclusive of the twenty K class conversions.
Photographed at Salisbury during the twilight years of the Southern Railway - Nº1794 in June 1947.

photograph: Mike Morant collection

Although originated from the K class the U class also had many parts in common with the earlier N class and their appearance was similar. The U class had six feet diameter drivers as befitting its passenger status, and a boiler pressure of 200lb psi providing a tractive effort of 23,866 lb at 85 percent of boiler pressure. The total weight of engine and tender in working condition was 102 tons 16 cwt.
1790 Nº1790 captured on shed. Location not certain but is thought to also be at Salisbury.

photograph: Mike Morant collection

Nº1804 photographed working hard at Bickley.

photograph: Mike Morant collection


Engines were built or rebuilt as follows:
A610-A619 1928 at Brighton
A790-A796 rebuilt 1928 at Eastleigh
A797-A802 and A805 rebuilt 1928 at Ashford
A803-A804 and A806-A809 rebuilt 1928 at Brighton
A620-A629 1929 at Ashford
A630-A639 1931 at Ashford

The K class conversions were identifiable by a lower running plate leading to larger splashers, double spectacles to the cab front and cab side cutaways which extended into the curved part of the roof. They also retained their original numbers although they lost their names.

1792 Nº1792 photographed at Yeovil Junction in 1947.

photograph: Mike Morant collection

Nº31799 with a rake of Maunsell coaches is seen here approaching Betchworth with a train from Reading to Redhill on 28th August 1964. 31799 was one of 20 former "River" class 2-6-4Ts rebuilt as 2-6-0 tender locomotives in 1928, following the Sevenoaks accident.

photograph by Keith Harwood

31803 Nº31803 at Redhill shed prior to working The Wealdsman (LCGB) tour on 13 June 1965. The state of 31803 is something to behold and indicates that the scheduled loco had failed at a late stage as Redhill was well known for its ability to turn out smart locos for special occasions. The loco behind, 31411 which double headed with 31803, is testimony to that.

photograph by Mike Morant

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This page was last updated 13 March 2012

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