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LSWR M7 Tank Locomotive

Image of IAN GARNHAMIAN GARNHAM looks back at this tank locomotive.


The LSWR tank locomotives were built around the end of the 1890s into the first part of the 20th century - 1911 to be exact. They were designed by Dugald Drummond and built at the LSWR Loco Works at Nine Elms for use on the suburban routes around inner London and beyond, a task they were ideally suited to.

During their life, there were many modifications made to the M7. One of which was from around 1912 when they were fitted with push-pull equipment which made them ideal for branch line workings. This allowed the driver to operate the train from either the locomotive, or the driving trailer at the other end; in this instance the fireman remained on the footplate of the locomotive. This eliminated the need to run round the train.

The preserved M7 at Corfe Castle station on the Swanage Railway.

As newer locomotives were developed, the M7's days were numbered and the began to just be used on empty coach stock workings. Two have been preserved, with one part of the NRM Collection and one that was repatriated from Canada, which now lives on the Swanage Railway in Dorset.

Models of the M7

In the early 1960s, Tri-ang released an M7 with an opening smoke box door and, later, with firebox glow. This was produced in Southern livery as well as BR Black and fitted with Magnatraction.

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We next jump to the Nineties when Hornby produced a super-detailed version in LSWR, Southern and BR Black liveries. Later, this model was part of a train pack with two Maunsell push-pull coaches.

In N Scale, Dapol released the long frame push-pull version some time ago in the various liveries, and shortly to appear will be their retooled version with improvements to the chassis and body. It will be available as DCC ‘friendly’ and will look particularly good in front of their Maunsell coaches. A good stable mate for the recent Terrier and, with the forthcoming Battle of Britain and West Countries, make it excellent time to model the Southern in N Scale.

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