Today we feature one of three Southern liveried M7 tank engine’s to be found at Locoyard. So let’s look at this 0-4-4 Tank Engine!
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.
51 was built in 1905 at Nine Elms and was a long-framed type – note the longer distance between the bufferbeam and smokebox (51 sits between two-short framed M7’s in the picture below).
As was common with long-frame class mates, 51 was fitted with pull-push equipment for working pull-push services, which dispensed with the need for locomotives to run around their trains when reversing direction.
This locomotive passed into Southern Railway ownership and eventually into BR service, at which time it was based at Bournemouth.
It lasted in service until 1962, when it was withdrawn from it’s home shed in Nine Elms and scrapped at Eastleigh.
Two M7 tank’s survived into preservation – short framed LSWR 245 in the National Collection and long-framed Southern 53 at the Swanage Railway.
51; 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).