ACE Trains E/34 4-6-0 King Arthur Class BR/SR
The King Arthur class had a long history stretching from LSWR days until the early 1960s when the class was eventually withdrawn. Whilst importantly providing steam traction to the west on the busy Waterloo-Exeter and Waterloo-Weymouth lines, they were also associated with boat train traffic. Heavy loadings on Portsmouth, Southampton and Weymouth boat trains prior to WW1 impacted greatly on the LSWR’s passenger capacity. The response was to produce a modern, standard passenger express class spread over three sub-classes over eight years of construction into Southern Railway days from 1918 to 1927. LSWR’s first batch – the N15 class – designed by Urie. In 1926 coinciding with the launch of the Atlantic Coast Express service the class were conferred with their ‘Arthurian’ legend and subsequent production batches were ultimately colloquially known as Eastleigh or Scotch ‘Arthurs’.
The King Arthurs underwent a succession of improvements. Maunsell and Clayton initially modified steam and valve gear arrangements with the class becoming the first to have smoke deflectors added altering the appearance of the locomotive with the second Eastleigh and third Scottish batch of locomotive building. Bulleid as new CME later altered exhaust arrangements. As a result, the E/34s have an option of two chimneys of which there are three types. The A1 has an Urie/Maunsell option and should be factory fitted with a Urie chimney. A2, A3, B1, B2 and B3 have a Urie/Maunsell option and should be factory fitted with a Maunsell chimney. C1, C2, D1, E1, E2 and E3 have a Maunsell/Le Maitre option and should be factory fitted with a Maunsell chimney. This model has been incredibly popular.