TS20: Britannia Brilliance
British Railways’ standard line of steam locomotives sought to bring the best of the Big Four’s successes into a common range of designs, spanning all duties but keeping a lid on complexity. In contrast, Just Trains go all out on complexity when it comes to their steam locos, and you can find out all about it as their BR Standard Class 7 has arrived on the Steam and Dovetail Games stores!
When the Big Four (LNER, LMS, GWR, SR) were nationalised in 1948 to form British Railways, a review was conducted on what existing locomotives were in need of replacement, and which proved to be the best basis for a brand new fleet that would cover until dieselisation.
On the whole, designers favoured many features from the LMS locomotives, and as such, examples such as the BR Standard Class 4 and 5 heavily resembled the likes of Stanier’s famed Black 5. However, when a request was put in for a Pacific locomotive that was capable of express passenger duties, as well as hauling freight, designers turned to the Southern Railway for inspiration.
The main influence was a combination of the SR’s Merchant Navy boiler and trailing wheels, combined with practices that kept weight in check, much like the Light Pacifics. Other, finer details were still brought in from the best of other locomotives, resulting in the BR Standard Class 7 – a Stanier/Bulleid-like locomotive that was ready for mixed traffic work across multiple regions.
Between 1951 and 1954, a total of 55 BR Standard Class 7s were built at Crewe Works. They were dubbed the “Britannia Class”, numbered 70000-70054 and named after notable Britons, as well as inheriting names from GWR’s Star Class locomotives and also from Scottish firths. This diverse naming range reflected their cross-nation presence, as they were put to work on the Eastern, Midland, Western, Scottish and Southern regions of BR, and would remain in service until 1968.
With the steam era being over, most of the fleet was swiftly scrapped, however two managed to survive into preservation; 70000 Britannia and 70013 Oliver Cromwell. Both have seen use in preservation, including on the main line, and continue to be shining examples of the locomotives of days past.
Thanks to the efforts of Just Trains, the “Britannia” comes to authentic life in Train Simulator, and it can be yours to experience as the BR Standard Class 7 is out now on the Steam and Dovetail Games stores.
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TS20: Britannia Brilliance