Pre-Grouping Southern Steam in the 1950s
The steam locomotive - unlike many of man's mechanical creations - has proved to be capable of remarkable longevity and many of the most successful classes continued in service for a length of time that would be impossible today.
The reasons for this durability are. as one might expect, varied. Essentially sturdy beasts. steam locomotives-proved consistently adapt-able and it was often easier to rebuild, renovate or improve them rather than start afresh on new designs. On the Southern there were also other factors at work. Whereas the LMS. LNER and GWR continued to bring into service powerful new classes of engine. most of the financial resources of the SR were ploughed into the Southern Electrics to cater for the special requirements of providing an efficient transport system for London and the South Coast commuter belts. When the company did begin to work on new steam classes, the recession and World War 2 slowed up its plans and left countless engines of pre-Grouping vintage in use on cross-country lines and goods workings.
Annoying as this might have been to the management, to the steam enthusiast of the 1950s it provided an almost unique chance to see veterans of days long gone. Peter Hay was one such enthusiast, and Pre-Grouping Southern Steam in the 1950s is the result of his camerawork in the years immediately after nationalisation. Grouped into families of loco-motives, the photographs provide a remarkable portrait of this aspect of the decade and show LBSCR. LSWR and SECR types in British Railways colours, doing the job for which they were built over 30 years before.
Hardback with dust jacket, 112 pages, black & white photographs
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Updated: 1 June 2020