SURVIVING SNOW, SLEET AND SHRAPNEL - A TRUE SCOTTISH WORKHORSE
In 1887, Matthew Holmes, Locomotive Superintendent of the North British Railway, decided to stop building goods locomotives with 17” cylinders and replace them with a larger class than the previous Drummonds. Utilising the same wheelbase and firebox as the Drummond 17” but with a new standard boiler, the first six NBR Class C locomotives were introduced in 1888 and such was their success that by 1900, 168 locomotives had been built.
Built mainly at the Cowlairs Works, when W.P Reid replaced Holmes as Locomotive Superintendent, he began a rebuilding programme of the company’s locomotives; the first Class C being rebuilt in August 1913 and by 1920, 108 engines had been rebuilt. By Grouping, 160 had been completed, with the final eight being finished by the LNER. Twenty five of these early rebuilds were sent to France for operation by the Railway Operating Division of the Royal Engineers (ROD) on the Western Front, in 1917. On their
return in 1919, all received names, being famous battles of WWI, Allied Commanders and even a fictional character created during 1914–15 by cartoonist Bruce Bairnsfather, ‘Ole Bill’.
Three types of brake arrangement were fitted to the Class; those fitted with Westinghouse were suitable for passenger traffic, while the others found themselves on goods services. As well as working across the NBR’s region in Scotland, the class found work on the Highland Railway, as well as on the NER region, working from Blayden and in North Yorkshire. One engine was withdrawn due to accident damage in 1921 but the class survived intact through to 1931. Despite some withdrawals before 1939, 123 locomotives made it into British Railways service in 1948. Six of the class survived in Scotland up to 1966, with the final two being withdrawn in 1967 and one locomotive, No. 673 ‘Maude’, surviving into preservation.
J36 Engineering Prototype, images courtesy of Hornby Magazine