Railway Performance Society Magazine - Milepost

20th Century Southern steam

An evaluation of steam locomotive Practice and Performance on passenger trains in Southern England at the end of the nineteenth century and throughout the twentieth.

Links to the Index and Volumes 1 to 3 are at the bottom of this page

The work consists of three volumes: the last years of the nineteenth century and up to the Grouping of 1923 - the Southern Railway – British Railway Southern Region 1948-67, respectively. It is assembled in chronological order within the various chapters eg Chapter 1 – London and South Western Railway pre 1900, Chapter 31 Boat Trains 1948-67. The overall mantra is to interrelate the development of the steam locomotive with Timetable requirements, social backgrounds and the evolution of first the Southern Railway Company and then British Railways Southern Region.

The area covered is essentially East and South of and including the Waterloo to Bournemouth and Weymouth line. [Occasionally there are areas outside eg Basingstoke to Oxford and Southampton to Salisbury in the context of inter Railway/Regional services. There is an overall contents [chapter] list at the beginning of Volume 1 and indices at the end of each volume which inter alia list all references to particular locomotives.

The intention is to include by narrative all published performance references up to 1963. [Bearing in mind the vast coverage of the 1963-7 period in various periodicals this period concentrates on personal experiences]. The author would appreciate any omissions and is aware of material within the RPS members database, specifically from Messrs G.J.Aston and C.Hudson which fill in certain areas where information is scant eg Portsmouth Direct in 1930 and Southampton Boat trains in the early sixties. These with other data will form the basis of a future Appendix.

Each page has a heading to facilitate selective reading.

Although there are reference lists and notes throughout [some at the end of individual chapters others at the end of several chapters] a brief resume may be apposite. The 19th century London and South Western chapter [1] relies heavily on recordings by H.H.Brindley within the author’s collection. Those on the South Eastern, London Chatham and Dover and London Brighton and South Coast Railways [2.3 & 4] are written around J.Pearson Pattinson’s monographs published by Cassell in 1895, 6 & 7. From July 1897 through until the demise of steam in 1967 the Railway Magazine is a continuous source [particularly from the first “British Locomotive Practice and Performance” article in September 1901]

Current sources used for the years up to the outbreak of the first World War include the following Journals/Magazines: “Railway Club Journal”, “Railway Notes”, “Railway and Transport Monthly” and H.Brindley’s private papers: for the period 1914-23: “Locomotive News”, “Railway Notes” and “Railway and Transport Monthly”. The inauguration of the Southern Railway corresponded with the demise of magazines with the exception of the “Railway Magazine”, an additional major source for the 1923-37 period is H.Holcroft. During the Thirties the Journals of the Railway Correspondence and Travel Society and the Stephenson Locomotive Society are valuable and from 1940 “Railways” later “Railway World”. The post WW11 area saw “Trains Illustrated” [later “Modern Railways”] and “Railway Pictorial and Locomotive Review” plus an increasing number of books related to Practice and Performance in total or part.                                                                        

Timetable information is where possible taken from Working Time Tables, otherwise from Bradshaw [including Bradshaw derived Southern Railway Timetables]’

Equivalent Drawbar Horsepower [EDHP] has been used as a performance comparison criterion. The EDHP is quoted within a range which endeavours to reflect the various errors inherent in all performance analysis, It should always be remembered for instance that with BR Mark 1 stock the Resistance in pounds per ton on the level at 70 miles per hour was measured as 11.6 for a head wind of 7.5mph and 10.5 in “very nearly still air.   


Links to downloadable PDF copies of this fine work

Twentieth Century Southern Steam Index

Twentieth Century Southern Steam Volume 1

Twentieth Century Southern Steam Volume 2


Twentieth Century Southern Steam Volume 3

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