The Britannia class has proven one of the most popular to model. It can be found in all gauges, and it is a rare exhibition where one is not present. This example in 3.5” gauge is by Gerard Veenhuizen, and displayed at the Guildford Rally in 2013. The particular engine chosen was the Flying Dutchman No 70018. It was one of 55 built in the early 1950s and was used on many express routes.

On the very same day, February 1, 1950, that the Britannia class was introduced, LBSC started his articles on building a 3.5” gauge version. This was possible because Curly got on well with Riddles, and he managed to get hold of works drawings for what was a ‘secret’ project. For his great scoop, the publishers of Model Engineer magazine awarded him double pay for this serial.

The Britannia class was designed by Riddles to represent the best in British steam locomotive design. The idea was that it would take the best design elements from all of the pre-nationalization companies and include them in an all-purpose engine that would also be easy to maintain and of light weight construction that would enable a Pacific type locomotive to be used widely. All were withdrawn at the end of steam. Only two survived into preservation.

The basic design owed much to LMS building practices, unsurprising when considering Riddles' earlier career there. The boiler and trailing wheel arrangement were inspired by the Merchant Navy class from the Southern Railway and weight was restricted to the Bullied light Pacific level. The firebox had a rocking grate, which allowed the fire to be rebuilt without stopping the locomotive, removing both ash and clinker on the move. A self-cleaning smokebox enabled ash to flow into the atmosphere and, unusually for a Pacific, a single chimney was employed, made possible with use of a blast pipe designed by S.O. Ell at Swindon.

The Britannias  had 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m) driving wheels, large enough for sustained fast running with heavy passenger trains, but small enough to allow them to be used to haul freight. Walschaerts valve gear was used with the largest cylinders possible with the British loading gauge.

Gerard Veenhuizen’s

BRITANNIA CLASS

FLYING DUTCHMAN