For those of you who want more information about the Somerset and Dorset Joint Railway there is a link to the trust below. They are currently restoring a Class 7F 2-8-0 loco. There are also a few pictures of model layouts that are based on sections of the line:-
It always seemed strange to me that, having designed these hugely successful and long lived locomotives for the S&D in 1914, Fowler did not order a large batch for the Midland or for the LMS for that matter. Instead in 1929 he designed the very mediocre Austin 7 0-8-0s and carried on building 4Fs. It was not until 1935 that the LMS started building 2-8-0s, the Stanier 8F class.
I suppose it was all down to the engrained Midland Railway small engine policy. What a pity.
The LMS did trial the S&D 7F 2-8-0 on the Toton-Brent coal trains in 1926/27 against the LNWR 0-8-0 which led to Fowler designing his 0-8-0. Hot axle boxes plagued both the triallists - the LMS seemed "glued" to using the 4F axleboxes for some reason. In 1931 a further trial took place. Once again hot axleboxes were a persistent problem, So the LMS designed the Garratts for the coal trains. These in turn inherited the 4F axleboxes. Why the drawing office at Derby were so marrried to the axleboxes I don't think has ever been explained. It was not as if Derby were that short-sighted in terms of engineering design (some may dispute this) for they put long-travel valves on the Fowler 0-8-0 and the Garratts.
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