The Southern Railway’s ‘Light Pacifics’ were designed by O. V. S. Bulleid in 1945 and were a lighter version of the earlier ‘Merchant Navy’ class. Incorporating a number of new developments in British steam locomotive technology, the ‘Light Pacifics’ were amongst the first British designs to utilise welding in the construction process, and to use steel fireboxes which meant that components could be more easily constructed
during the wartime austerity and post-war economy.
Being lighter than the ‘Merchant Navy’ class permitted them to run on a wider variety of routes, including those in the South-west of England and the Kent coast. They were a mixed-traffic design, being equally adept at hauling passenger and goods
trains and were used on all types of services, frequently far below their capabilities.
A total of 110 locomotives were constructed between 1945 and 1950. For publicity reasons the locomotives were split into two classes: The ‘West Country’ class, named after West Country resorts, and the ‘Battle Of Britain’ class, named after subjects associated with the Battle Of Britain.
It’s a baking hot summer Saturday. The Pines express has just failed in the platforms at Bath Green Park station. You are tasked with changing the engine, and driving as far as Templecombe.
Western Bulleid Park 1
It’s a crisp, chilly winter’s morning. In Southall depot, in West London, Bullied light pacific Tangmere awaits duty: Today’s Paddington-Bristol steam special. Take the engine light to Paddington, backwards, and couple up to the excursion stock.
Western Bulleid Park 2
Part two: Start at Paddington and drive Tangmere as far as Didcot Parkway in the snow.
Routes Featuring the Light Pacific
Oxford to Paddington
Bath Green Park to Templecoombe