Fairburn Class 4 2-6-4T

With the abandonment of Bulleid's "Leader" project the issue of the introduction of intermediate range tank engines in the Southern Region had still not been resolved. Whilst memories of the use of heavy tank engines with leading pony trucks lingered on after the Sevenoaks disaster it was clear that the lastest LMS 2-6-4T locomotives seemed to have a good pedigree starting with the Fowler, through Stanier to the current design by Charles Fairburn. It was decided then that the Fairburn class 4 engines should be built at Brighton for use on the Southern.
A Photo of Fairburn 2-6-4T number 42085 taken on 21st February 2010 during a visit to the Bluebell Railway at the Branch Line Weekend. The loco is seen at Horsed Keynes in typical February weather for the time of year.

photograph by Neil Walkling

42085 The same engine but this time at Sheffeild Park on the Bluebell Line at the end of March 2010

photograph by Chris Reeve

Nº42098 Calling at Faversham on a Victoria to Ramsgate service in April 1958. It seems that electrification is in progress with the conductor rail only installed on the up line

photograph by A J Wills

42088 Nº42088 Also calling at Faversham but on a Victoria to Dover service in March 1959. Since the conductor rail is now in place on both lines this photograph seems to have been taken shortly before the withdrawal of steam services

photograph by A J Wills

Nº 42069 passing Hall & Co's yard at East Croydon in July 1955 on its way from Victoria to Tunbridge Wells West via Oxted

photograph by A J Wills

42096 Is this proof that at least some of the Fairburns qualify as truly Southern locomotives? A shot of taken in January 1950 of 42096 under construction in Brighton Works

photograph by A J Wills

Nº42066 Awaiting its next turn at Stewarts Lane MPD in Battersea in March 1960.

photograph by A J Wills

Of the total number of 277 Fairburn engines 41 of them were built at Brighton in 1950 and 1951. They were classified by the LMS as 4P and by British Railways as 4MT and formed the basis for the British Railways Standard class 4 2-6-4T engines. The most obvious difference between the Fairburns and the Standards was the curved profile of the Standards' tanks, cab and bunker where they followed Bulleids least controvercial innovaton of designing his locomotives so that the profile followed the curved profile of his coaching stock. Many of them were stationed at Stewarts Lane in Battersea, Dover and Ashford(Kent) for use on the South Eastern Section. One of the routes which became a favorite stamping ground was the Maidstone to Ashford line on which one notorious derailment of one of Maunsell's River class had taken place at Bearsted. Your author rode behind one of them on that route in 1960 and there was certainly no suggestion of a derailment on that occasion. Two of the Brighton-built locomotives, nos. 42073 and 42085, survive in preservation on the Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway.

Technical Details

  • Introduced (on LMS): 1945
  • Introduced (on BR[S]): 1950
  • Driving Wheel: 5ft 9ins (1.753m )
  • Pony and Trailing Wheels: 3ft 3 1/2ins (1.003m )
  • Length: 45ft 9 3/4ins (13.964m )
  • Weight: 42050 - 146 84tons 14cwt (86.05 tonnes ) Remainder 85tons 5cwt (86.62 tonnes)
  • Water Capacity: 42050 - 146 1,875 gals (8,520 litres ) Remainder 2,000 gals (9,100 litres )
  • Cylinders (2): 19 5/8 x 26ins ( 500 x 660mm )
  • Boiler Pressure: 200 psi(1.38 Mpa )
  • Tractive Effort: 24,670 lbf ( 109.7 kN )
  • Coal Capacity: 3 1/2 tons (3.6 tonnes)
  • Power Classification (LMS/BR): 4MT
  • Power Classification (BR[S]): 4P/4FA

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This page was last updated 3 October 2012

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