The U class locomotives were designed by Richard Maunsell for passenger duties on the Southern Railway (SR). Maunsell had been Chief Mechanical Eengineer (CME) of the SECR from 1913 until the 1923 Grouping then becam CME of the Southern Railway until 1937. The Us were designed in the mid-1920s to replace obsolete 4-4-0 locomotives and were derived from Maunsell's earlier SECR K (“River”) class 2-6-4 tank locomotives. The first 20 members of the U class were in fact rebuilds of the Ks, one of which had been involved in the Sevenoaks railway accident which confirmed the decision to replace them. A further 20 new Us were built in 1928 to fill the gap in cross-country and semi-fast express passenger services after the withdrawal of the K class. The design also continued the standardisation of the Southern Railway locomotive fleet by using parts designed to be interchangeable with other Maunsell-designed classes. A total of 50 locomotives were built over three batches between 1928 and 1931, and the design formed the basis for the 3-cylinder U1 class of 1928. They were able to operate over most of the Southern Railway network, gaining the nickname "U-boats"
PLEASE NOTE All images in the archive (with ARCHIVE suffix to their reference number) have received basic restoration but in some cases need further adjustment. If you order from the Archive, be assured we will carry out complete restoration if needed before dispatching your order.