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Friday, 21 March 2014

Bulleid's 'Pacifics'


This post, 21st March 2014, comprises pictures of two jigsaw puzzles both featuring 4-6-2 locomotives designed by Oliver V. S. Bulleid.  

Oliver Bulleid was the Chief Mechanical Engineer of the Southern Railway (SR) from 1937 until Nationalisation (British Railways) in 1948. He was a visionary in steam  locomotive engineering, incorporating many novel features in his designs. Probably his most famous among the latter were his 'Pacific' (4-6-2) locomotives used to head major Southern Railway and British Railways Southern Region (BRSR) expresses.

In the 1940’s Bullied’s ‘Pacifics’ - ‘Merchant Navy’ (‘MN)’ class (1941) and ‘West Country’ (‘WC’) and ‘Battle of Britain’ (‘BB’) classes (1945-51) - appeared on the SR and later, the BRSR.

The first, ‘MN’ class No.21C1 Channel Packet, left Eastleigh Works in 1941 liveried in her regal SR malachite green, and engulfed in her air-smoothed casing. The ‘Pacifics’ were numbered with a 21C prefix, a continental representation of wheel arrangement - the number of axles on the front bogie was denoted by a '2', followed by a '1' for the number of axles on the rear pony truck, the six driving wheels being represented by the letter 'C'. The final number was that of the locomotive, No.1 in the case of Channel Packet. Another twenty-nine ‘MN’ class members were built, the final one, No. 35030 Elder Dempster Lines, in BR days, 1949 (hence the BR numbering). This class was designed, principally, to operate the heavy expresses to the West and the prestigious Continental Boat Trains. Around ten members of the ‘MN’ class survived the scrap yard whilst another, No.35029 Ellerman Lines, is a sectioned exhibit at the National Railway Museum in York. Because the class was designed to haul the heavy boat trains, at the behest of one of the shipping line owners, they were named after shipping lines.

The ‘West Country’ and ‘Battle of Britain’ classes were scaled down versions of the ‘MN’ class, identical, mechanically, and known as the ‘Light Pacifics’. They were also known, affectionately, as ‘Spam Cans’. The ‘WC’ locomotives were named after cities, towns and tourist spots in south-west England. The ‘BB’ class carried wartime commemorative names of RAF squadrons, predominantly from the Battle of Britain. The first, light ‘Pacific’ No.21C101, Exeter was built in May 1945 with a further one hundred and nine examples following  by 1951.


The first picture shows a 400-piece puzzle from K.G. Games. The jigsaw features a re-built Bulleid ‘Merchant Navy’ class 4-6-2,  No.35030 Elder Dempster Lines, a typical locomotive used to haul the famous Atlantic Coast Express (ACE). This class followed on from 4-6-0 types such as ‘King Arthur’ and ‘Lord Nelson’ class examples. ‘Schools’ class 4-4-0’s were also used occasionally. The motif on the tender is the later BR totem design (from c1956).



Picture number two features another Bulleid 'Pacific' heading the famous 'Golden Arrow' express. The latter ran from London Victoria to Dover and was an all Pullman luxury service originally. The motif on the tender is the early BR 'cycling lion' type (1948-1956). The jigsaw is a 35-piece example, in wood, from Victory.