A locomotive for a new world

When Richard Maunsell became Chief Mechanical Engineer of the newly created Southern Railway (SR) in 1923 he realised that it lacked locomotives powerful enough to haul heavy boat trains at speed between London and the south’s ports – Southampton, Folkestone and Dover.

Photo: Ian Harrison

Lord Nelson hauling the support coach and a rake of preserved Pullman carriages across Folkestone Harbour bridge having just left Folkestone Harbour Pier station on 28 July 2007.

He therefore set out to design an innovative locomotive that could handle the hilly terrain: the prototype was completed in 1926 and named “Lord Nelson”. With a big boiler and very long firebox the locomotive had ample power whe