O1 0-6-0 SECR Stirling & Wainwright Various between 31003 & 31439


Power Classification 1F
Introduced 1878 – 1899, rebuilt by Wainwright 1903 – 1927
Designer Stirling
Company SECR
Weight – Loco 41t 1cwt
               Tender 28t 5cwt – some fitted with eight-wheel tenders
Driving Wheels 5ft 2ins
Boiler Pressure 150psi superheated
Cylinders Inside – 18in x 28in
Tractive Effort 17,325lbf
Valve Gear Stephenson (slide valve)


Stirling’s first design for the South Eastern Railway (SER) was the O class, built between 1878 and 1899. They had his usual domeless boilers and rounded cabs and 122 were built. The last five entering service after the SER locomotive stock had been pooled with that of the London, Chatham & Dover Railway (LCDR) to form the South Eastern and Chatham Railway (SECR). Sharp, Stewart and Company received four orders totalling 65. The balance (57 locomotives) were built at Ashford Works between 1882 and 1899, their numbers being scattered between 1 and 258, plus 299–301, 314–8, 331–4.

The South Eastern Railway (SER) O Class was a class of 0-6-0 steam locomotive designed for freight work, and were the main freight engines of the SER, and later the South Eastern and Chatham Railway (SECR) for a number of years. However, they were displaced by the more powerful C class locomotives following the amalgamation of the South Eastern Railway and London, Chatham and Dover Railway (LCDR) in 1899. This relegated the class to working on the numerous branch lines in Kent, on both passenger and freight work. They worked most notably on the Kent & East Sussex Railway and East Kent Railway, operating coal trains from the Kent coal fields to London, as well as shunting work at such locations as Shepherds Well, Hoo Junction and Ashford. The majority were withdrawn before the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, and those that remained were slowly withdrawn from nationalisation onwards.

Fifty-eight of these were rebuilt by Wainwright between 1903 and 1927 with domed boilers and new cabs, becoming the O1 class. The last O class engine was withdrawn in 1932, the first of the O1 class going in 1912.

31372 (one of the East Kent Railway engines) retained its original Stirling round cab roof and smokebox wing-plates allied to the front sandboxes above the running plate as originally built.

Three locomotives (31371, 31372 and 31383) had been sold to the East Kent Railway (EKR) and were re-acquired on nationalisation. The first to be sold to the EKR was 31372 which was sold for £409 6s 1p and after an Overhaul at Ashford started work on the EKR in June 1923.

Two locomotives (31041 and 31048) were rebuilt with smaller (5ft 1ins) wheels in 1903.

Fifty-five engines came into British Railways stock. The death knell for the final few members of the class came with the Modernisation Plan of 1955, which closed down many of the branch lines they continued to serve in Kent, which included the branch lines to locations such as Hawkhurst, New Romney, Tenterden and the Kent coal fields. Those lines which remained open generally either lost their freight services or were dieselised.

Allocation of locomotives in service as at 1st of January.


1948 1955





Bricklayers Arms


Dover Marine








Hither Green




St Leonards


Shepherdswell (East Kent Rly)







The last two in service were withdrawn in 1961 – 31065 in June and 31258 in January whilst based at Dover Marine.



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