Following from my previous blog post (click here) on my visit to the Bluebell Railway, here are some pictures of the Maunsell U class 1638 that was in operation that day. The U class is no stranger to this website or to me and I’m happy to say that I’ve seen all four that survive in preservation in steam.
The U class was an unsung hero of the Southern commuter, sharing a lot in common with the N class; the main difference between these classes were the size of the wheels; with the U class having larger wheels (six feet in diameter). Interestingly the more numerous N class (80 N class locomotives were built compared to 50 U class) only have one survivor. Despite being the similar to the N class, we are yet to see a ready to run 00 scale model of the U class. Looking similar might help with tooling costs, but presumably it probably also means that demand isn’t too great. Bachmann produce a decent model of the N class (click here for the review); it would be nice to see the U class model too, simply because I see the real thing so often!
I have to confess that it was nice to see a U class in olive green, rather than BR lined Black example on the Watercress Line. The colour (in my opinion) suits the class better and adds a bit of colour. Like 31806 on the Watercress Line; 1638 is a regular performer on the Bluebell line. It benefits from being powerful and economical with a decent rate of acceleration that helps in keeping to busy tourist season schedules. They seem fairly popular with their crews too; overall they’re a decent Southern locomotive for the heritage lines and long may they continue!
Post thread continues, click here to read about the ex-LBSCR E4 0-6-2 Tank engine.