BR Standard Class 7

Class of 55 two-cylinder 4-6-2 locomotives

The BR Standard Class 7, otherwise known as the Britannia Class, is a class of 4-6-2 Pacific steam locomotive designed under Robert Riddles for use by British Railways for mixed traffic duties. 55 were constructed between 1951 and 1954. The design employed results from the 1948 locomotive exchanges undertaken in advance of further locomotive classes being constructed. Three batches were constructed at Crewe Works, before the publication of the 1955 Modernisation Plan.

The Britannia Class design was based on best practice from the pre-nationalisation railway companies in terms of operating efficiency and lower maintenance costs; various weight-saving measures also increased the route availability of a Pacific-type locomotive on the British Railways network. The Britannias received a positive reception from their crews, with those regularly operating the locomotives giving them favourable reports as regards performance. However, operation in some areas of the British Railway network returned negative feedback, primarily due to indifferent operation of the locomotive, with its effects on adhering to timetables. They were capable of reaching speeds of up to 90:mph (145:km/h).

The Britannias took their names from great Britons, former Star class locomotives, and Scottish firths. The class remained in service until the last was withdrawn in 1968. Two survived into preservation, the first-of-class, number 70000 Britannia, and 70013 Oliver Cromwell. Number 70000 has hauled mainline excursions and 70013, after a period of display following limited steaming, returned to mainline steam in 2008 for the first time since leaving British Railways ownership. 70000 was returned to the main line in 2011.

Contents

Background

Locomotive exchanges were commissioned by the fledgling British Railways (BR) during 1948, to compare pre-nationalisation locomotive design across the Big Four railway companies....read more

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