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Designed at Derby and built at Crewe, with sections designed at Brighton, Doncaster and Swindon, the basic ethos was simplicity in construction, lower coal consumption, and longer mileage between classified repairs.The naming of steam locomotives is a fascinating subject both historically and in the general sense, since it tells us a great deal about changing attitudes; this is especially the case when you consider the diversity of the names selected today.
In Derek's case, the task of recording the individual histories of the 'Britannia' class locomotives has been a mammoth undertaking, and there have been times when the pair of us - just two bungling old geezers with a mutual love for trains and railways - were on our arthritic knees by the sheer size of it all.Nevertheless there are many more photos of these later builds, primarily because enthusiasts began to realise that extinction was on the horizon, so perhaps the additional photos will remedy the imbalance.Upon nationalisation of the 'Big Four' railway companies in 1948, the Railway Executive of the British Transport Commission (BTC) announced its preference for developing future steam motive power rather than dabbling with unproven diesel traction.Continuing with Derek's step-by-step account of all 55 locomotives in the class, this page deals with the 1st batch: 70000-70024, constructed between January and October, 1951.The 2nd batch Nos 70025-70044 and the 3rd batch Nos 70045-70054 are dealt with on the next page British Railways poster - 'Forging Ahead - The First British Railways Standard Express Locomotive' - was painted by Terence Cuneo in 1951, and depicts BR Standard Class 7MT No 70000 'Britannia' leaving London Paddington station with an express train.Also the flexible hoses were formed of nylon-reinforced rubber section protected by coiled wire.
The vacuum ejectors were steam operated and the reservoir tank was situated under the cabin floor.
This led to the Locomotive Interchange Trials of 1948, supervised by RA Riddles, then member of the BTC's Railway Executive, who, along with ES Cox was responsible for the design and construction of twelve new classes to be numbered in the 70-80,000s and 92,000s in the fleet.
In 1951, the 'Britannia' Class 7MT Pacific became the first of twelve new British Railways Standard types to appear.
His research has taken him more than 3 years, and I was pleased he agreed to pass on his findings here However, Derek's main reservation was that, whilst the first group of Britannias are indeed very interesting, and in some cases diverse, the third batch of engines are somewhat mundane by comparison, and so whilst he felt confident of filling a page with information on say, Nos 70000-70024, it would be tricky to give the same result with 70045 to 70054.
This is because the list of modifications diminished as they were put into the building programme and only half of these changes were required on later batches.
Both historical nameplates (above and below) went under the hammer for £6,500 each at a Great Western Railwayana Auction in May 2014.