Never did get a go on an ‘Arthur’ but, I did get more than one on the ‘goods Arthurs’ – the S15 4-6-0s, which were still in service in 1963, when I arrived on the Southern. Based on the S15, designed by Robert Urie, the REL Maunsell version gained a few refinements and lost a stove pipe chimney. Built at Eastleigh, the first batch of fifteen engines entered service between 1927 & 8, they continued in traffic until almost the end of steam on the Southern, a handful still being active in 1965.
Maunsell, like Urie, favoured designs offering easy maintenance a feature which extended to the footplate, Spartan utility pretty much sums them up. There may have been a certain sparseness about the cab, but they steamed well enough, and that’s what really counts. It’s a good few years back now, but I seem to recall a night goods turn where we worked down to Basingstoke yard and then worked back with the first commuter service the following morning. This turn was usually one of Maunsell’s engines, if not an S15, then a U or N class 2-6-0. The ‘up’ commuter working was usually a WC / B-o-B 4-6-2, sometimes a BR class 5 Standard – aka ‘Standard Arthurs’ owing to a number of them being given the names from scrapped members of the original N15 ‘King Arthur’ class.
The photo shows the NRM’s N15 King Arthur Class 4-6-0 No.777 Sir Lamiel, oozing steam in true 1960s fashion, if not livery, with a ‘demo’ goods train during the GCR’s Autumn gala.
If you have enjoyed my blogs – I have written a book about my 60 years involvement with railways, from trainspotter, via steam age footplateman, to railway author and photographer, this is a link to it:
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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