Schools Class V
Class: Schools Class V
Designer: Richard Maunsell
Weight: 114 tons (including tender)
Purpose: Regional Passenger
Information: Designed and built under the direction of Richard Maunsell by the Southern Railway (SR) for intermediate passenger services. The Schools Class became the last locomotives built in Britain to use a 4-4-0 wheel arrangement. The Class earned the distinction of being the largest and most powerful locomotives to ever operate in Europe using this wheel arrangement.
Details: The SR Class V locomotive, familiarly known as the Schools Class eventually numbered 40-locomotives all named after public schools, primarily located in areas served by the SR. The three cylinder Schools Class were designed to provide high power in a compact package using components previously proven on larger Lord Nelson and N15 King Arthur designs. Although they had high axle loading, their over-all profile permitted route availability over the heavily restricted Hastings Line. Locomotives were constructed at Eastleigh Locomotive Works, entering revenue service between 1930 and 1935.
In traffic the Schools performed well and not subject to many modifications or changes. Outwardly, the biggest change was addition of smoke deflectors, which were added after the first ten were already in service. Experimentations with firing made to 20-locomotives offered little improvement over the original design.
During their careers the Schools were subjected to many livery variations. Olive Green gave way to Malachite Green and Wartime Black, all while the class was operated on the Southern Railway. Later in their careers, under British Railways ownership they were painted lined black Mixed Traffic livery in accordance with an edict in which locomotives of Class 5, or less were not to be painted in full passenger livery. This rule was later relaxed, as the Schools Class was still seen by many as a front line passenger locomotive. Consequently they were ultimately repainted in lined Brunswick Green.
Later in their working careers, electrification was destined to take the place of steam locomotion on many routes to which the Schools were allocated. As more modern steam motive power was readily available, the Schools Class was quickly retired. Between 1961 and 1962 the entire class was gone. Three locomotives were destined for preservation. Currently, only locomotive number (30)926 “Repton” remains operational. Exported to Steamtown USA in 1966 in fully operational condition, “Repton” spent the next twenty-five years operating excursion services in the United States and Canada. She was repatriated to Britain, through efforts of the North Yorkshire Moors Railway in 1990. Work to restore (30)925 “Cheltenham” to operational status are currently being undertaken at Eastleigh Locomotive Works, sponsored by the National Railway Museum.