1948 Locomotive Exchange Trials

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SR Merchant Navy class 35017 Belgian Marine participating in the trials

The 1948 Locomotive Exchange Trials were organised by the newly nationalised British Railways (BR). Locomotives from the former "Big Four" constituent companies (GWR, LMS, LNER, SR) were transferred to and worked on other regions. Officially, these comparisons were to identify the best qualities of the four different schools of thought of locomotive design so that they could be used in the new BR standard designs. However, the testing had little scientific rigour, and political influence meant that LMS practice was largely followed by the new standard designs regardless. However, the trials were useful publicity for BR to show the unity of the new British Railways.

LMS engines operated over the Southern Region where there were no water troughs were paired with four-axled ex-WD tenders with larger water tanks. These were specially given LMS lettering for the occasion. Similarly, ex-Southern types used elsewhere were paired with ex-LMS tenders with water scoops.

Locomotives used were as follows (NB numbers given should be the ones carried at the time, so this is a somewhat curious mixture of old pre-nationalisation numbers, prefixed numbers, and new BR numbers):

Express passenger locomotives[edit]

Freight locomotives[edit]

Preserved 1948 Exchange Trial participants[edit]


  • Allen, Cecil J. (1949). The Locomotive Exchanges 1870 - 1948. Ian Allan Ltd.  A comprehensive book on locomotive exchanges, giving details of each trial and the locomotives involved.

External links[edit]