Manufacturer catalogue image
Era 3 (1923 to 1947) The Big Four (LNER, LMS, GWR and SR)
WD Austerity 2-8-0 77003 LNER Plain Black
Built: 1943 – 1945
Built for: War Department (later used by LNER / BR)
Designed by: Robert A. Riddles
• Excellent haulage capacity
• Detailed accessory pack
• Adjustable tender draw-bar length
• Sprung buffers
June 6, 1944 witnessed the Allied invasion of Occupied Europe – code named Operation Overlord, this major event in World War 2 history, placed a great strain on the railway companies. The logistics of this massive military operation called for the shipping of steam locomotives to Europe, for use on munitions and troop trains, to replace continental engines devastated by bombardment or sabotage.
As a chronic shortage of suitable locomotives existed, R. A. Riddles, then Director of Transportation at the Ministry of Supply, realized that vast numbers of purpose-built heavy freight locomotives would have to be constructed quickly. A ‘value engineering’ analysis was undertaken for a new heavy locomotive specification based on Stanier’s 8F 2-8-0, with the capability of handling 1000 ton trains at 40mph. The simplicity of its construction reduced the labour content by around 20%.
In total, 935 locomotives were built, making this the most-produced British class of steam locomotives. Despite their original purpose, a considerable number never saw wartime service and the LNER absorbed many, which became designated Class 07.
* Class names often change over the lifespan of a locomotive, so this is not necessarily the class name used by the operator in the period modelled.