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Well, I think it derives from the story of the 'Ugly Duckling' who turned out to be a smart swan - as in Hans Christian Anderson. They are ugly looking but do the job very well - I think they had the highest TE of any 0-6-0 in the country. I cannot recall where I first heard the term, but I was train-spotting on the SR of BR from around 1956/7 onwards.
Regards,
John Webb
 
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