Scottish Railway Preservation Society Collections Factsheet

0-6-0 North British Railway Class C No.673 Maude (LNER J36 Class) (BR No.65243)

Maude carried NBR lined goods black livery from 1919 until 1923.
Maude in NBR goods black livery, carried from 1919 until 1923.

No.673 was built in Glasgow in 1891 for the North British Railway Company. This was a very successful design. Between 1888 and 1900, 168 locomotives of this type were built and put into traffic on long distance freight trains. The design is at once massive and basic, economical yet fit for its purpose. These were reliable and hard worked locomotives.

Rebuilding of the class became necessary after about 20 years of service. This was carried out at the railway’s own Cowlairs Works in Glasgow, and the basic design required little improvement. Boiler size was increased slightly and helical springs were fitted on the rear driving axle. The original scanty cab was replaced by a more effective weather-shield, but even this was effective only when running chimney first. This class of locomotive seldom operated on lines equipped with turntables, and so for roughly half of its time ran tender-first, conditions in which the cab offered no protection at all from the weather.

No.673 was rebuilt in 1915. Just two years later the Government, looking for useful engines to work supply trains behind the Western Front in France, commandeered no.673 and twenty four other rebuilt members of the class. All returned safely in 1919, and were named to commemorate their war service, taking the names of locations such as Ypres and Somme, or of military leaders, such as Lieutenant General Sir Fredrick Stanley Maude.

Most of these locomotives had working lives of between 60 and 75 years. Although by the 1920s they were displaced from long distance trains to local trip working, their long trouble free service repaid the cost of their construction many times over. Maude remained in traffic until withdrawn from Bathgate Shed in July 1966. By then the locomotive was the target of an appeal by the Scottish Railway Preservation Society. The appeal was hard won, and this “old iron” was reluctantly sold by British Railways for £1,250. They had held out for £1,900, on the pretence that others would pay £2,000, but no other locomotive of this class was preserved and Maude was only saved by the intervention of the Association of Railway Preservation Societies.

Maude arrived at the SRPS Depot at Falkirk in 1967. In 1980 the locomotive returned to the main line when it steamed to Liverpool and back, taking part in the celebrations of the 150th anniversary of the Liverpool & Manchester Railway. The locomotive operated mainline railtours in the 1980s, including a series of very successful Santa Specials on the Edinburgh suburban line. Maude arrived at Bo’ness for a heavy overhaul in 1988, and resumed its role of workhorse, operating regularly on the Bo’ness & Kinneil Railway. The locomotive is now awaiting a further overhaul.

Victorian goods trains travelled slowly and had no continuous brake, and so when built no.673 was provided with only a handbrake and a steam brake which worked on the wheels of the locomotive. When additional braking power was needed, the driver might whistle for the guard, in the brake van at the far end of the train, to apply his handbrake. Lack of a continuous brake limited no.673 to working goods trains. However some locomotives of the class were fitted with continuous brake equipment, and after SRPS bought the locomotive they acquired a full set of vacuum brake equipment from a classmate. As a result Maude since preservation has been able to operate passenger trains.

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