H2 4-4-2 LBSCR Marsh 32421 – 32426

h2

Power Classification 4P
Introduced 1911 – 1912
Designer Marsh, modified by L Billinton
Company LBSCR
Weight – Loco 68t 5cwt
               Tender 39t 5cwt
Driving Wheels 6ft 7 ins
Boiler Pressure 200psi superheated
Cylinders Outside – 21in x 26in
Tractive Effort 24,520lbf
Valve Gear Stephenson (piston valve)

The first atlantic (4-4-2) locomotives in Britain were the twenty-two engines built between 1898 and 1903 by Ivatt for the GNR. These became the C2 class and all were withdrawn between 1935 and 1946 although the original engine 990 Henry Oakley is preserved as part of the National Collection.

A much larger version was built in 1902 and by 1910 ninety-four of these C1 class locomotives had been built. These engines had much larger boilers and very wide fireboxes extending over the frames. They were regarded by many as the most handsome of LNER locomotives. They were used on all the principal main lines until the pacifics (4-6-2) locomotives took over these duties. The original engine 251 is preserved as part of the National Collection.

Marsh worked at Doncaster under Ivatt before he took up office at Brighton with the LBSCR in 1905. Prior to this Marsh had worked under Dean of the GWR where he had risen to become the Aissistant Works Manager at Swindon. When he left he took with him a set of drawings for Ivatt’s large boilered atlantics (LNER class C1), with which he had been heavily involved in, and constructed his own engines to the same design. The appropriate modifications were marked on the drawings in red ink. The main differences were longer piston stroke and increased boiler pressure.

Five engines were built as LBSCR class H1 locomotives but Marsh abandoned the Brighton practice of naming locomotives and as a result only one carried a name during LBSCR days. This was number 39 which was named La France in 1913 prior to hauling a train carrying the French President. In 1926 the Southern Railway renamed it Hartland Point.

The H1 class engines were subsequently supereheated and recylinders. The first two were withdrawn in 1944.

In 1911, the last year of Marsh’s reign at Brighton, there was a need for further large express engines so five more Atlantics were built. These ‘H2’ class locomotives were very similar to the ‘H1’ class but were superheated and had larger cylinders with the boiler pressure reduced to 170 lb sq in. The footplates were less undulatory with the raised section covering the whole area from the cylinders to the driving wheels.

 c1 C1 class introduced by Ivatt in 1902 on the GNR
 h1  

H1 class introduced by Marsh on the LBSCR in 1905

h2

H2 class introduced by Marsh on the LBSCR in 1911

In 1911 Marsh introduced the H2 class which were a development of the earlier H1 class engines. They differed in appearance from the H1 class in the curvature of the framing at the front end. They were superheated and had larger cylinders than the H1 class.

These were Marsh’s last engines to be built, the last one appearing after L Billinton came into office.

They were an immediate success and shared with the H1 class the London to Brighton express trains including the heavily loaded Pullman services the Brighton Limited, and the Southern Belle.

They were gradually replaced on the London-Brighton express trains in 1925/6 by the King Arthur and River classes, but there was still plenty of work for them on other express services, including boat trains connecting with the Newhaven-Dieppe ferry service. At the same time they were all named after geographical features of the south coast.

Following the cessation of the cross-channel ferries after 1940, as a result of the Second World War, the class were left with little work to do and several were put into store or else moved to miscellaneous duties in southern England. The H2 class however returned to the boat trains after the end of the war and continued until May 1949 when the principal boat train duties were handed over to the Bulleid-Raworth electric locomotives, but the H2 engines continued to haul the majority of relief boat trains until the mid 1950s.

Other workings synonymous with the H2s were the heavy rush hour trains from Victoria to East Grinstead, the Brighton to Plymouth service which they hauled as far as Portsmouth and the inter-regional, summer Saturday services which they collected at either Kensington Olympia or Mitre Bridge.

They were known to stray further afield on rare occasions, indeed there is a report of one seen on the Brighton-Plymouth train at Yeovil Junction, possibly the furthest west they worked.

32424 which was withdrawn from service in May 1958 was the last 4-4-2 locomotive to run in service on British Railways. The last train it hauled was an enthusiasts special in April 1958 from London to Newhaven and then to Brighton shed for the last time. After this it hauled the 12 coach empty stock to Eastleigh where it was withdrawn from service.

Number in Service.

Built Withdrawals No. in Service
BR Numbers Quantity
1905 32037 & 32038

2

2

1906 32039, SR 2040 & SR2041

3

5

1911 32421, 32422, SR2423, 32424 & 32425

5

10

1912 32426

1

11

1913-43

11

1944

2

9

1945-48

9

1949

1

8

1950

8

1951

3

5

1952-55

5

1956

3

2

1957

1

1

1958

1

0

  • The five H1 class locomotives were built in 1905 and 1906 and were all withdrawn by September 1951. These engines were built by Kitsons at Leeds.
  • The six H2 class locomotives were built in 1911 and 1912. These were built at Brighton.

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