Of all Richard Maunsell's designs for the Southern Railway his "Schools" Class V is without hesitation not only his most successful but without doubt one of the finest applications of British steam locomotive practice ever
With the new Lord Nelson class and King Arthur class engines maintaining the majority of express passenger services the operating department issued a requirement for an express passenger locomotive of intermediate power that would be able to operate on lines with severe restrictions such as the Tonbridge to Hastings and Chatham to Ramsgate lines. The initial reaction was to offer a cut down (3 cylindered 4 drivered) Lord Nelson. However this was not found to be practicable since the use of the Nelson's Belpaire firebox within a such a restricted loading gauge would severely impede the forward view from the cab. The solution was to use a shortened King Arthur pattern boiler but retaining the full late series N15/S15 firebox. The boiler operating pressure was 220 psi - 20 psi higher than a King Arthur. The end result more than exceeded expectations since the design proved to be extremely free steaming even with poor grades of coal and with remarkably low internal friction contributing to a tractive effort of 25120 lb - only 200 lb less than a King Arthur. With that power and only 42 tons adhesion weight the class required careful handling when starting from rest!
Originally I was going to post an HDR version of this but realised it was really awful so the above is one of the original three pictures
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