David Aitken’s



This fine model in 7.25” gauge is by David Aitken and was one of the highlights of the 2014 Midlands Exhibition.

The D Class locomotive of the South Eastern and Chatham Railway is one of the many British 4-4-0 engines that include most of the most attractive ever built. With its flowing lines the D Class comes near to the top of that wonderful list.

The class was designed by Harry Wainwright at the fin de siècle. Wainwright was responsible for the overall look of the engine and detail work was undertaken by Robert Surtees, chief draughtsman at Ashford works. Good looks were accompanied by good performance and hard work.

Twenty engines were built originally by Ashford works and Sharp, Stewart and Company. The first of the class entered service in 1901 and by 1907 had been joined by 50 more.

Initially, the D class was set to work on the Kent coast and Hastings services. By the 1930s they had been demoted to secondary duties, by then carrying the livery of the Southern Railway. At the outbreak of World War II in 1939 some of the D class were placed into storage, in 1941 others were transferred to Nine Elms depot. In 1948 British Railways inherited 28 of the class. Their final years saw them concentrated at Guildford in Surrey and the last of the D class, No 31075, was withdrawn in 1956.

One engine, No.31737, has been preserved and is in its original livery at the National Railway Museum in York.