What’s in the Shops: LBSCR Class H2 ‘Brighton Atlantic’ breaks cover

Bachmann’s new OO-gauge ‘Brighton Atlantic’ locomotive has arrived at last – and what a lovely job it is, writes Nigel Burkin.

The long-awaited Bachmann OO-gauge London Brighton & South Coast Railway Class H2 4-4-2, or ‘Brighton Atlantic’, has finally broken cover with a late 2018 release date to the shops.

It’s a complex locomotive to model, with very closely spaced driving wheels and front bogie located between the cylinders, which had to be designed to run on second radius curves without fouling the inside surface of the cylinders themselves.

On first examination, the model is a lovely replica of the full-sized locomotive, and one that must have challenged the designers at Bachmann. Sadly, none of the full-size ‘Brighton Atlantics’ was saved for preservation, in common with sister locomotives the LBSCR Class H1 4-4-2 Atlantics.

The class has its roots deep in Great Northern Railway territory. Designed by Douglas Earle Marsh, the Class H1 and H2 locomotives closely resemble the Great Northern Railway Class C1 Atlantic locomotives designed by Henry Ivatt, the then chief mechanical engineer of the GNR, and introduced between 1902 and 1910.

D E Marsh was the deputy to H Ivatt before being appointed in 1905 as locomotive superintendent at Brighton, where the need for motive power for heavy Brighton line passenger expresses was acute. Drawings were acquired from Doncaster, and with a few modifications, five Class H1 Atlantic locomotives were introduced between 1905 and 1906, built by Kitson’s of Leeds.

The LBSCR Class H2 ‘Brighton Atlantic’ (31-920) has been beautifully created in model form, but also to be run on most modellers’ layouts. It will appeal to the collector, too, so don’t expect them to last long in the shops!

The design was an immediate success, resulting in authorisation for a further six locomotives to the same basic design.

Built at the LBSCR Brighton works in 1911 and 1912, the H2 ‘Brighton Atlantics’ were superheated, unlike the Class H1s, and together, the shapely 4-4-2s took over all Brighton line expresses, including Pullman services, until the introduction of the ‘King Arthur’ class in 1925 and 1926.

Apart from during the war years, both Class H1 and H2 Atlantics continued to work express passenger trains including boat trains. Eventually they were inherited by British Railways and lasted in regular use until withdrawals began in 1956, with one example lasting until 1958. No. 32423 The Needles, however, was withdrawn in 1949.

The H2 ‘Brighton Atlantics’ retained their base numbers throughout their working lives, starting as LBSCR Nos 421-426. The Southern Railway then added a ‘two’ to the numbers (2421-2426), and upon Nationalisation, BR added a ‘three’ to the SR numbering (32421-32426).

For the full article and to view more images, see the September edition of Modelling – available now!

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