SR Leader Class

This post was inspired by a Facebook post (HeritageRailway Magazine) showing the photo of a rather strange looking ‘diesel’.


Its not until you do a little research that you find that this, in fact, an experimental steam locomotive. It even has a Wikipedia entry

The Leader was a class of experimental 0-6-6-0articulated steam locomotive, produced in the United Kingdom to the design of the innovative engineer Oliver Bulleid. The Leader was an attempt to extend the life of steam traction by eliminating many of the operational drawbacks associated with existing steam locomotives. It was intended as a replacement for the ageing fleet of M7 class tank engines still in operation on the Southern Railway (SR). Design work began in 1946 and development continued after the nationalisation of the railways in 1948, under the auspices of British Railways (BR)

A quick search of Google also reveals a couple of scratch built models and a possible Dapol locomotive. What is fascinating is that such a loco was built and that 5 were initially planned as a prrof of concept. Sadly the whole thing failed and all production models were scrapped. What is most striking for me is the driver sitting up at the front and somewhere in the middle is the fireman, this must have felt like the beginning of the end for them.

Other articles: Southern E-Group

The madness of HS2

No decision on HS2 until Jan 2012 according to reports today.

Not that this would ever happen, but if they started the line from Leeds going to Edinburgh via Newcastle even trains on the East coast main line would see benefits long before London to Birmingham completes. The mad idea goes as follows, I am using Leeds as a start point because this is where they want HS2 to end up, and Newcastle because this is where the East coast main line would connect:

  • Leeds to Newcastle – High speed line approx 157 km. Average speed along this line 200km/h (at least, without setting the bar too high). Journey time, around 55 mins
  • Newcastle to Edinburgh – High speed line approx 102 km. Average speed along this line 200km/h. Journey time, approx 40 mins.

From Kings cross to Edinburgh you cut almost an hour off the journey, at least, and benefit from just one short section. Leeds to Newcastle would benefit from at least 30 minutes saving. The upshot to all this is that whilst the South argues, the North benefits, and so would travellers from London; plus if you employ contractors from the North you stimulate the economy in that part of the world.

Mad idea, approx times, approx distances, it will never happen, but you get the point.