SEmG

Wainwright F1 class 4-4-0

The bitter rivalry between the SECR and the LCDR was pushed one stage further in the early 1880s with the LCDR setting the pace on both the lucrative Continental traffic and the bread-and-butter Kent Cost traffic where loadings were only going one way - up! The SER fought back in 1883 with the first of Stirling's "Mails". These graceful 7' bogie 4-4-0 express locomotives performed superbly despite poor fuel and a wheel diameter that ought to have been too large for the harder sections of the line. In all, some 88 of these class F locomotives were built.
 
Two F1s

Class F1 locos 1060 and 1183 double-head a train in 1936. (The stock is out of the picture!)

photograph: Mike Morant collection

 
Forward to 1903 and the SECR with Wainwright in charge. Wainwright set out to rebuild the "F Class" and thereby prolong their useful life and did such a good job that some would see service into early BR days. The "F Class" boilers had no dome over the safety valves, nor much of a cab to protect the crew in inclement weather. The rebuilt "F1 Class" had both a domed boiler whose centre was raised from the F's 7' 5" to 7' 10" (with Ramsbottom safety valves fitted on the firebox) and increased pressure which was up from 160 lb per sq in to 170. A larger cab was provided which was, in fact, similar to that fitted to Stirling's B Class engines. Minor modification to the smokebox front left the engines looking identical to the subsequent B1 Class of 1910, in fact the only way to tell the two classes apart is from looking at their tenders, the F1s having prominent outside springs! In all, some 76 of the 88 "F Class" were rebuilt as class F1.
 
Nº1043, believed to have been photographed at Ashford.

photograph: Mike Morant collection

1043
 
When Maunsell assumed the mantle of Locomotive Superintendent he, too, tinkered with the F1s, giving longer smokeboxes (5' 11" as against 5' 9") to all except one engine, Nº20, which was scrapped in 1920.
 
1042 Nº1042, also believed to have been photographed at Ashford.

photograph: Mike Morant collection

 
The final twist in the F1 story came during WWII when nine of the class were lent to the LMS, where they were classified as 2P. This arrangement lasted from 1941 until the last was returned in mid-September 1944.
 
Nº1043 once more.

photograph: Mike Morant collection

1043
 
1110 Nº1110 at Redhill, date unknown.

photograph: Mike Morant collection

 

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This page was last updated 28 March 2008

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