An M7 tank

Guess what? An M7 tank is a railway locomotive. My knowledge of and interest in them stems back to early days. Indeed I have a record that says the first number I ever collected as a train spotter was number 30051 which was an M7 tank.

Look at that! I became a train spotter on 13th April 1960 and there’s the first number I recorded.


The M7s were designed at the end of the 19th century and originally they were built to haul suburban passenger trains in and out of Waterloo station. But they proved useful, later on, on rural branch lines and many of these engines survived into the 1960s. Sadly, very few survived after the 60s but one remains and runs on the Swanage Railway. Sadly, the day I visited recently it was out of use and parked over an inspection pit. Maybe some fault had developed that needed attention.

The old girl still looks fine, though. She’s parked up with a couple of diesels both of which are in there 50s as far as age is concerned.


At the moment 30053 is in the livery I remember as a train spotter. She looks just wonderful to me.

This photo dates from August 4th 2014. Locos in service that day carried a wreath marking the 100th anniversary of Britain’s declaration of war – the First World War.


Aha, that’s the single line token that gave the driver permission to travel from Harman’s Cross being passed to the outstretched arm of the signal man.

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