Yesterday at a Bachmann Collectors Club event at the Bluebell Railway, Bachmann announced their intention to produce a model of an ex-LBSCR Brighton Atlantic steam locomotive. This is a significant development in the Model Railway industry, showing an increased interest in pre-grouping types of steam locomotive.The firm’s press release was as follows:
Bachmann Europe Plc has today announced that it is to produce an OO Scale Brighton Atlantic locomotive introduced by the London, Brighton & South Coast Railway (LB&SCR) between June 1911 and January 1912. These 4-4-2 locomotives were officially designated as Class H2.
The Atlantics were built to haul express trains between London and Brighton including the prestigious Pullman trains before completion of the electrification scheme on 1st January 1933.
They were designed by D.E. Marsh, who had been deputy to the Chief Mechanical Engineer of the Great Northern Railway, H.A. Ivatt, for 10 years until he was promoted to the top job at Brighton in January 1905. Such was the urgency for express motive power on the Brighton line that Marsh, with the full support of his former chief, borrowed a set of Doncaster drawings and made a few amendments. The result was five H1 Class locomotives which were built by Kitson’s of Leeds between December 1905 and February 1906.
The second batch (Class H2) although to Marsh design was modified by his deputy L. Billinton. Billinton was Acting Chief Mechanical Engineer due to Marsh being absent on extended sick leave. In 1912 Billinton took over permanently when Marsh resigned, holding the position until Grouping in 1923.
Six H2 Class locomotives were built at Brighton Works and remained on front line Brighton express work until the arrival of the King Arthur Class 4-6-0s in 1925. They were named after geographical features on the South Coast. The Atlantics then continued to operate other express trains and also boat trains to the ferries at Newhaven (for Dieppe, France) until the outbreak of World War 2 in 1939 brought the duties to a premature end.
The class continued to work secondary services after the war but there was less work for them and some were put into store. The first H2 Class withdrawal was No. 32423 ‘The Needles’ which took place in May 1949. The last to survive was No. 32424 ‘Beachy Head’ which was scrapped at Eastleigh following withdrawal on 24th April 1958.
Sadly railway preservation was still in its infancy and ‘Beachy Head’ was scrapped before the formation of the Bluebell Railway in March 1959. This locomotive had worked part of the Locomotive Club of Great Britain Southern Counties Limited Rail tour on 24th February 1957 from Horsted Keynes to Brighton.
In 2000, the Bluebell Railway Atlantic Group was formed to build a replica of ‘Beachy Head’ for use on the extended Bluebell Railway between Sheffield Park and East Grinstead. Since then the group has acquired many parts including a GNR ‘Atlantic’ boiler, tender frames and wheel sets. Other items are being manufactured and the project has now reached an advanced stage.
The Bachmann Branchline OO scale model will be released in 2015. Two versions are planned initially which are;
31-920 H2 Class Atlantic 4-4-2 No. 2426 ‘St. Alban’s Head’ in Southern Railway olive green livery
31-921 H2 Class Atlantic 4-4-2 No. 32424 ‘Beachy Head’ in BR black livery with early emblem.
Models will incorporate a DCC socket. Prices will be advised in due course.
David Haarhaus, Bachmann’s European Sales & Marketing Manager said “We believe that the H2 Class locomotive will be popular with modellers and the emergence of the replica at Sheffield Park over the coming years will introduce the class to new generations of railway enthusiasts and modellers. We are working closely with the Bluebell Railway Atlantic Group and thank them for assisting us with this project”.
It was also announced that Model Rail’s 00 scale model of a USA dock-tank will now be produced by Bachmann rather than Dapol. These announced types coupled with the forthcoming LBSCR E4 class and ex-SECR birdcage coaches show that there is plenty look forward to of Southern interest in model railways!
The video at the top of this blog post was taken from Southern Railway Films – a YouTube channel well worth subscribing to! Thanks for reading folks 🙂