British Railways 'Standard' Steam Locomotives

From 1951, British Railways started to build steam locomotives to its own 'standard' designs, which were largely based on LMS practice but incorporating ideas and modifications from the other constituent companies, and America.

Characteristic features were taper boilers, high running plates, two cylinders and streamlined cabs.

Although more were ordered, 999 BR 'Standards' were constructed: the last, 92220 Evening Star, was built and released to traffic in March 1960. Most never achieved their potential service life and were withdrawn in working order.

Initially, BR decided upon a blue livery for the largest passenger types, with GWR-style Brunswick green for passenger locomotives, and LNWR-style lined black for mixed-traffic locomotives. The blue however was quickly dropped and passenger livery for all locomotive classes reverted to green. Towards the end locomotives tended to be painted in lesser liveries, and often this was covered in a layer of grime.

Two logos (or crests) were used during the period. The first logo (1948 to 1956) was the "Lion and Wheel" (sometimes nicknamed the "Cycling Lion"), showing a lion standing over a spoked wheel upon which the words "British Railways" were displayed. The second logo (1956 to 1965) featured a lion holding a wheel (which gave rise to the nickname "ferret and dartboard"), sitting in a crown, with the words "British" and "Railways" to left and right.

The 1955 Modernisation Plan called for the phasing out of steam traction. Major withdrawals occurred during the period 1962 to 1966, and steam traction ended in early August 1968, coinciding with the Beeching Axe.

Withdrawn locomotives were sent for scrap to the various railway workshops but the level of withdrawal demanded external assistance and scrap metal merchants around the country were approved to bid on the scrapping contracts. Most locomotives from the former Great Western Railway were either scrapped at Swindon railway works, backed up by Woodham Brothers scrapyard in Barry, Vale of Glamorgan, South Wales. Interestingly, Woodhams stopped scrapping locomotives in 1965 which lead the way to the yard becoming a centre for the railway preservation movement.

Former main line locomotives, along with various smaller industrial shunters, form the backbone of steam motive power for heritage railways. Main line running on charter trains is possible and they run under TOPS code as Class 98.

BR Standard Classes

Class Running Numbers Power Classification Wheel Arrangement Number Built Date Built Number Preserved On Mainline
7 (Britannia) 70000-54 7P6F 4-6-2 55 1951-54 2 2
8 71000 8P 4-6-2 1 1954 1 0
6 (Clan) 72000-9 6P5F 4-6-2 10 1952 0 New Build
5 73000-171 5MT 4-6-0 172 1951-57 5 0
4 (4-6-0) 75000-79 4MT 4-6-0 80 1951-57 6 0
4 (2-6-0) 76000-114 4MT 2-6-0 115 1952-57 4 2
3 77000-19 3MT 2-6-0 20 1952 0 New Build
2 78000-64 2MT 2-6-0 20 1952-56 4 0
4 Tank 80000-154 4MT 2-6-4T 155 1951-57 15 0
3 Tank 82000-44 3MT 2-6-2T 45 1951-53 0 New Build
2 Tank 84000-29 2MT 2-6-2T 30 1953-57 0 New Build
9F 92000-250 9F 2-10-0 251 1954-60 9 0
Totals 999 46 4

Notes:

  • Preservation information obtained from Wikipedia.
  • Main line information from UKSteam.info.
  • Standard 4 2-6-0 76079 runs to Whitby on Network Rail (TPWS only - 'Main Line Light')
  • Standard 4 2-6-0 76084 has TPWSfour, OTMR and GSM-R fitted and now has full main line derogation at a cost of approximately £100k.
  • The listing does not include any other BR Standard loco that has previously run on the main line but does not do so now (November 2016).

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