In the years following grouping in the 1920s, the Southern Railway languished as a poor relation to the Great Western. Their trains were frequently late and usually dirty - a group of passengers who registered a complaint were told that the state of the trains was due to the filthy habits of the passengers! Clearly "something had to be done" and Sir Herbert Walker, chairman of the railway, decided on a publicity drive in an attempt to wrest some of the media spotlight from the GWR.
Mindful of the Great Western's success with the rakish styling and inspired naming of the Star and Castle class 4-6-0s, the board decided on a new class of express locomotives named after Knights of the Round Table of Arthurian legend. Delighted with the idea, the company told their chief mechanical engineer, the dour Maunsell, of the plan, to which he replied "tell Sir Herbert that I have no objection, but I warn you it won't make any difference to the running of the engine". Ah, the endless antipathy between engineers and suits!
Maunsell produced a locomotive based on his predecessor Urie's N15 class. A twin cylinder locomotive, weighing a little over 80 tons, with 20 1/2 x 28 cylinders, it proved immensely successful turning in power and efficiency figures comparable to the Castles.
This is a kit-build model, originally by Winson with the latter kits supplied by Modelworks, largely assembled with all parts to complete. There is a complete set of documentation includings parts list, assembly drawings, boiler certificate and livery sheets from Phoenix Precision.
Superheated copper boiler, silver-soldered throughout. Initial hydraulic test certificate to 160psi for 80 psi working pressure. Feed by twin injectors, axle pump and auxiliary hand pump. Twin cylinders with piston valves actuated by Walschaerts gear. Eight wheel bogie tender.
Overall the engine has been put together quite well, although
the firebox cladding has been knocked about somewhat - this could either be
straightened out or replaced.
Locomotive 41 inches
Tender 29 inches