Today’s model of the week is one of three Southern liveried M7 tank engine’s to be found at Locoyard and is seen running with classmate 42 above.
Built from 1897 to 1911, LSWR’s M7 class were a very successful type. The origins of this 0-4-4 tank engine can be traced back to the North British Railway’s 157 class of 1877. 357 was built in 1900 at Nine Elms and was a short-framed type – note the short distance between the bufferbeam and smokebox.
357 was also one of a small batch that had its’ sandboxes located within the smokebox. If you compare it to 42 in the picture above, you will notice the difference in the shape of the splasher above the front wheels.
Short framed M7 tank engine’s such as 357 were built for light passenger work but were not fitted with pull-push equipment. The picture below shows 357 next to long-framed 51 – note that 357 does not have the push-pull equipment that 51 has above the front splasher.
This locomotive passed into Southern Railway ownership and eventually into BR service. It lasted until 1961, when it was scrapped at its’ home-shed; Eastleigh.
357; as with its’ other Locoyard classmates is an ideal model for the layout, being big enough to be interesting, but not too big to be out of place. Unfortunately the model is not as powerful as the prototype (these were rated 2P by BR), but are happy with a couple of Maunsell carriages in tow (click here for the Hornby M7 review).