SR USA class

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Southern Railway USA class
SR USA 0-6-0T 30073 Eastleigh MPD 70D, August 1966 (9969640295).jpg
USA class locomotive No. 30073 at Eastleigh MPD in August 1966.
Type and origin
Power typeSteam
DesignerCol. Howard G. Hill.
Build date1942-43
 • Whyte0-6-0T
 • UICC n2t
Gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Driver dia.55.2 in (1.402 m)
Wheelbase10 ft 0 in (3.05 m)
Length29 ft 8 in (9.04 m)
Loco weight41 short tons 9 cwt (37.6 t; 37.0 long tons)
Fuel typeCoal
Fuel capacity17.8 short hundredweight (0.81 t; 0.79 long tons)
Water cap1,000 imp gal (4,500 l; 1,200 US gal)
Boiler pressure210 psi (1.45 MPa)
CylindersTwo, outside
Cylinder size16 12 in × 24 in (419 mm × 610 mm)
Valve gearWalschaerts
Valve type8 in (203 mm) piston valves
Performance figures
Tractive effort21,630 lbf (96.22 kN)
ClassSR: USA
Power classBR: 3F
Number in class14 (plus one bought for spares)
Nicknames"Yank Tanks"
Preserved30064, 30065, 30070, 30072, others of base S100 class
DispositionFour preserved, remainder scrapped
Sources: [1][page needed] and [2]

The SR USA class were ex-United States Army Transportation Corps S100 Class steam locomotives purchased and adapted by the Southern Railway (SR) after the end of the Second World War to replace the LSWR B4 class then working in Southampton Docks. SR staff nicknamed them "Yank Tanks".[3]


The United States Army Transportation Corps built 382 S100 Class 0-6-0 tank engine for use in the Second World War. They were shipped to the British War Department in 1943, and stored awaiting the invasion of Mainland Europe. Most went overseas but some remained in store.[2]

By 1946 the SR needed either to renew or replace the ageing B4, D1 and E1 class tanks used in Southampton Docks, but Eastleigh Works was not in a position to do so in a timely manner or at an economic price. The replacement locomotives would need to have a short wheelbase to negotiate the tight curves found in the dockyard, but be able to haul heavy goods trains as well as full-length passenger trains in the harbour area.[1][page needed] The railway’s Chief mechanical engineer, Oliver Bulleid therefore inspected the surplus War Department tank locomotives. The Hunslet Austerity 0-6-0ST locomotives stored at the Longmoor Military Railway proved to be unsuitable for dock work because of their 11 ft 0 in (3.35 m) wheelbase and inside cylinders, and also many of the survivors were in poor condition.[2] However, the S100s stored at Newbury Racecourse had a 10 ft 0 in (3.05 m) wheelbase, outside cylinders and had hardly been used. Those available for sale had been built by the Vulcan Iron Works of Wilkes-Barre Pennsylvania and H. K. Porter, Inc, of Pittsburgh.

Bulleid therefore took one Vulcan locomotive on approval in May 1946 and tested it thoroughly over the next few months. When it was found to be suitable, this locomotive and a further thirteen were purchased in 1947. Six of these had been built by Porter and the remainder by Vulcan. However, when it was discovered that there were differences in dimensions between the locomotives from different builders the SR exchanged its Porter built locomotives for Vulcans, but could only to do so with five examples. The railway therefore accepted one Porter locomotive at a reduced price and purchased another to provide spare parts.[2]. Thus, the thirteen further locomotives entered traffic between April and November 1947 as soon as they had been adapted.

Construction and adaptation[edit]

Original drawings for the S100, dated 29 November 1941.

Following purchase, members of the class were fitted with steam heating, vacuum ejectors, sliding cab windows, additional lamp irons and new cylinder drain cocks.[4][1][page needed] Further modifications became necessary once the locomotives started to enter traffic, including large roof-top ventilators, British-style regulators (as built they had US-style pull-out ones), three rectangular cab-front lookout windows, extended coal bunkers, separate steam and vacuum brake controls and wooden tip-up seats. This meant that it took until November 1947 for the entire class to be ready for work.[5][6] Radio-telephones were later installed on the footplate to improve communication on the vast network of sidings at Southampton.[6]

The class was allocated the British Railways (BR) power classification 3F following nationalisation in 1948


The original locomotive carried the War Department number 4326, and the subsequent purchase were numbered between 1264 and 1284 and between 1952 and 1973. Thirteen of the locomotives were re-numbered in a single sequence from 61–73 by SR but 4326 retained its War Department number. The locomotive used for spares was not numbered. After 1948 they were renumbered 30061–30074 by BR. Six examples were transferred to departmental (non-revenue earning) use in 1962/3 and renumbered DS233–DS238.


During the Second World War they were painted USATC black with white numbering and lettering 'Transportation Dept.' on the tank sides. Prior to nationalisation, the locomotives were painted in Southern black livery with 'Southern' in "Sunshine Yellow" lettering. The lettering on the tank sides was changed to 'British Railways' during 1948 as a transitional measure. Finally, the class was painted in BR Departmental Malachite livery, with BR crests on the water tank sides and numbers on the cab sides.

Operational details[edit]

30069 at Eastleigh Works in 1966

For fifteen years the entire class was used for shunting and carriage and van heating in Southampton Docks. They performed well and were popular with the footplatemen, but the limited bunker capacity often necessitated the provision of relief engines for some of the longer duties. Two examples were fitted with extended bunkers to address this problem in 1959 and 1960, but a more ambitious plan to extend the frames and build larger bunkers was abandoned in 1960 due to the imminent dieselization of the docks.[7] They also often suffered from overheated axleboxes which was less of a problem when shunting but prevented them from being used on longer journeys.[6]

A more serious issue was the condition of the steel fireboxes originally fitted to the class which rusted and fatigued quickly. This was partly due to their construction under conditions of austerity, and the hard water present in the docks. This came to a head in 1951 when several had to be laid aside until new fireboxes could be constructed.[6][1][page needed] Thereafter there were no further problems.

The class were replaced from their shunting duties at Southampton from 1962 by British Rail Class 07 diesel-electric shunters, when the first member of the class was withdrawn, but the remainder were still in fairly good condition. The survivors were used for informal departmental purposes such as providing steam heating at Southampton or shunting at Eastleigh Motive Power Depot, before withdrawal. One became the pilot locomotive at Guildford Motive Power Depot. Six examples were officially transferred to ‘departmental’ duties and renumbered. These went to Redbridge Sleeper Depot (DS233), Meldon Quarry (DS234), Lancing Carriage Works (DS235 and DS236), and Ashford wagon works (DS237 and DS238; where they were named Maunsell and Wainwright)[8].

Nine examples remained in service until March 1967[9] and five of these survived until the end of steam on the Southern Region four months later.[1][page needed]

Stock list[edit]

USATC No. SR No. BR No. Dept No. Builder Year Withdrawn Notes
1264 61 30061 DS 233 Porter 7420 1942 03.1967
1277 62 30062 DS 234 Vulcan 4375 1942 03.1967
1284 63 30063 Vulcan 4382 1942 05.1962 withdrawn due to collision damage
1959 64 30064 Vulcan 4432 1943 07.1967 Preserved
1968 65 30065 DS 237 Vulcan 4441 1943 08.1965 Preserved
1279 66 30066 DS 235 Vulcan 4377 1942 08.1965
1282 67 30067 Vulcan 4380 1942 07.1967
1971 68 30068 Vulcan 4444 1943 06.1964
1952 69 30069 Vulcan 4425 1943 07.1967
1960 70 30070 DS 238 Vulcan 4433 1943 10.1962 Preserved
1966 71 30071 Vulcan 4439 1943 07.1967
1973 72 30072 Vulcan 4446 1943 07.1967 Preserved
1974 73 30073 Vulcan 4437 1943 12.1966


Former 30070 in preservation with Longmoor Military Railway livery

Four British examples of the USA class have been preserved:

Two locomotives built by the former Yugoslavian Railways to JŽ Class 62 design have been acquired for use at the Shillingstone Railway Project and given British liveries. There are minor technical differences.

  • *30075 (formerly 62-669 built 1960- (Undergoing overhaul)[10]
  • *30076 (formerly 62-521 built 1954- Stored)[10].

In fiction[edit]

An engine of this class appears in the Thomas & Friends TV series as Rosie.[11]


  1. ^ a b c d e Longworth 2005.
  2. ^ a b c d Bradley 1975, p. 66.
  3. ^ "USA 0-6-0T". Southern Railway E-Group. Retrieved 3 November 2018.
  4. ^ Tourret 1995, pp. 213–214.
  5. ^ Tourret 1995, p. 214.
  6. ^ a b c d Bradley 1975, p. 67.
  7. ^ Bradley 1975, p. 68.
  8. ^ Kidner 1993, p. 61.
  9. ^ Bradley 1975, p. 70.
  10. ^ a b "Home". Project 62. Archived from the original on 7 July 2013. Retrieved 24 May 2016.
  11. ^ "Rosie - Character Profile & Bio". Thomas & Friends - Official Website. Retrieved 26 August 2017.
  • Bradley, D.L. (1975). Locomotives of the Southern Railway: Part 1. London: Railway Correspondence and Travel Society. ISBN 0-86093-593-0.
  • Kidner, R.W. (1993). Service Stock of the Southern Railway. Headington, Oxford: The Oakwood Press. ISBN 0-85361-429-6.
  • Longworth, Hugh (2005). British Railway Steam Locomotives: 1948-1968. Oxford: Oxford Publishing Company. ISBN 0-86093-593-0.
  • Tourret, R. (1995). Allied Military Locomotives of the Second Works War. Abingdon, Oxon: Tourret Publishing. ISBN 0-905878-06-X.

Further reading[edit]

  • Sprenger, J. Howard; Robertson, K.J.; Sprenger, C.C. (23 July 2004). The Story of the Southern USA Tanks. Southampton: KRB Publications. ISBN 978-0-9544859-3-1.
  • Ian Allan ABC of British Railways Locomotives. Winter 1959–1960.

External links[edit]