The SR Merchant Navy Class was a class of air-smoothed 4-6-2 Pacific
steam locomotive designed for the Southern Railway by Oliver Bulleid.
The Pacific design was chosen in preference to several others proposed
by Bulleid. The first members of the class were constructed during the
Second World War, and the last of the 30 locomotives in 1949.
Incorporating a number of new developments in British steam locomotive
technology, the design of the Packets was among the first to use
welding in the construction process; this enabled easier fabrication
of components during the austerity of the war and post-war economies.
The locomotives featured thermic syphons and Bulleid's controversial,
innovative chain-driven valve gear. The class members were named after
the Merchant Navy shipping lines involved in the Battle of the
Atlantic, and latterly those which used Southampton Docks, an astute
publicity masterstroke by the Southern Railway, which operated
Southampton Docks during the period. Due to problems with some of the
more novel features of Bulleid's design, all members of the class were
rebuilt by British Railways during the late 1950s, losing their
air-smoothed casings in the process. The Packets operated until the
end of Southern steam in July 1967. A third of the class have survived
and can be seen on heritage railways throughout Great Britain.
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Today's selected anniversaries:
Conquistador Francisco Pizarro founded Ciudad de los Reyes,
present-day Lima, Peru, as the capital of the lands he conquered for
the Spanish Crown.
English explorer James Cook became the first known European to reach
the Sandwich Islands, now known as the Hawaiian Islands.
Unification of Germany: A number of independent German states
unified into the German Empire, with King Wilhelm I of Prussia being
proclaimed as its first Emperor.
The mysterious Legionnaires' disease was found to be caused by a
novel bacterium now known as Legionella.
The 2003 Canberra bushfires: Bushfires burning out of control began
blazing through residential areas of Canberra, Australia, eventually
killing four people, and damaging or destroying more than 500 homes.
Wiktionary's Word of the day:
peripatetic: One who walks about; a pedestrian; an itinerant.
Wikiquote of the day:
The success of most things depends upon knowing how long it will take
to succeed. -- Charles de Montesquieu