Few steam locomotives create as much debate amongst railway enthusiasts as does Bulleid’s Q1 class. The quirky looks are considered ugly by many, whilst others admire the type for daring to be different and see beauty in it’s outline and performance. Whatever your opinion of the most powerful 0-6-0 built in the UK, it is well worth having a good look at it if you visit the National Railway Museum. You never know, you may even fall in love with it!
The Q1 class owes it’s distinctive look to the highly innovative thinking of OVS Bulleid during a time of wartime Austerity measures. To reduce weight, the class had no running plate or splashers and a simple box-shape. The innovations lead to a reduction of 18 tons in weight than an equivalent locomotive.
Built in Brighton works in 1942; C1 was the first member of the 40 Q1 class locomotives to be completed. The class were only built to last until the end of the second world war, but they proved to be so efficient, reliable and powerful that they lasted to the end of steam.
The prototype had one failing – its brakes were poor when hauling unfitted goods trains, but then an “austerity” design was never going to be perfect.
Due to the class being so unique and distinctive it was felt necessary to preserve one in the National Collection. As C1 was the first Q1 class; it was selected and became the only survivor of it’s type.
C1 has not spent all it’s preserved life on display and ran on the Bluebell Railway in the 1990’s.
To read about other exhibits to be found in the National Railway Museum during this visit in 2013, please click here.
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