Wikipedia:Today's featured article/March 8, 2013

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Battle of Britain class No. 34067 Tangmere

The SR West Country and Battle of Britain classes, collectively known as Light Pacifics or informally as "Spam Cans", are classes of air-smoothed 4-6-2 Pacific steam locomotive designed for the Southern Railway by its Chief Mechanical Engineer Oliver Bulleid. A total of 110 locomotives were constructed between 1945 and 1950, named after West Country resorts or Royal Air Force and other subjects associated with the Battle of Britain. Incorporating new developments in British steam locomotive technology, both classes were amongst the first British designs to utilise welding in the construction process, and to use steel fireboxes, which meant that components could be more easily constructed during the wartime austerity and post-war economy. They were designed to be lighter in weight than their sister locomotives, the Merchant Navy class, to permit use on a wider variety of routes. They were a mixed-traffic design, equally adept at hauling passenger and freight trains. The classes operated until July 1967, when the last steam locomotives on the Southern Region were withdrawn from service. Although most were scrapped, 20 locomotives found new homes on British heritage railways. (Full article...)

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