A U boat

On a recent trip to Swanage we parked at Norden and took the steam train down to the seaside town. Our loco was a kind sometimes known as a U Boat. That’s because officially they were class U. She has a 2-6-0 wheel arrangement and locos with that pattern of wheels are all called Moguls.

She faced Norden which makes it hard to get a photo of her at the head of the train at Swanage but we were at Norden in time to see her arrive and get that shot.


This is quite a rare ex Southern Railway engine for me. I never saw her in my train spotting days which were 55 years ago, or more. But I saw and was hauled by her class mates which, of course, look just the same. These were workhorse rather than star engines. They were well suited to rural passenger trains.

But originally this engine had looked quite different and had really been designed for fast main line trains. She was then a big tank engine, carrying her water in tanks next to the boiler. When one of her classmates derailed with dreadful consequences it was suggested that the water in those tanks might have made her unstable. Anyway, the entire class of twenty engines was rebuilt as tender engines as we see her today.

This engine was built in August 1926 so when we travelled in August 2016 she was 90 years old. She was rebuilt into present form in 1928 and served the Southern Railway and then British Railways until January 1964. She became one of the locos that languished, but survived, at Dai Woodham’s yard on Barry Island. She was purchased for preservation in 1976 and entered service on the Mid Hants Railway in 1981.

She moved to Swanage in 2014. And here she is running around her train at Norden at the end of our return journey.



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One Response to “A U boat”

  1. sed30 Says:

    Reblogged this on sed30's Blog.

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