Southern Way Special Issue No. 17: The Southern Railway Oil-Burning Engines: 1946-1951
In 1946 the railway companies were requested by Government to explore alternatives to burning coal in order to save stocks which was desperately need for export in order to accumulate foreign currency that could then be used in turn to acquire other essential items in short supply.
The intention was to replace coal with oil in the fireboxes of steam locomotives. The requested timescale was totally impractical. The instruction had only been issued to the railway companies in August 1946 yet implementation was requested by January 1947. They were given a matter of months to change the way locomotives had been powered since the beginning of the railway age in the 1830s and 40s. Only two companies managed to comply in anything like the time suggested, the GWR and the Southern.
This is the story of the Southern Railway conversions, the installations required, details of the engines converted to oil burning and how this was done and the duties they performed. This in-depth study of those days reveals much new information for the first time. Heavily illustrated throughout and including details of locomotive duty rosters and accounts from railwaymen involved in the episode, this is fascinating account of a short-lived but ultimately unsuccessful experiment.
96 pages, over 170 black & white and colour illustrations
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Updated: 29 December 2021