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A web-site by Rob Speare


Building Bulleid's Locomotives - Intro

O. V. S. Bulleid - was Chief Mechanical Engineer of the Southern Railway from the early years of World War II, through to the nationalisation of Britain's Railways.

He presided over the modernisation of the Southern Railway infrastructure through the turbulent War years, an event placing huge demands on this normally suburban railway.  But emerging from this, there was expansion of the third rail electric, and the introduction of new experimental diesel and electric locomotives; which were modern, often amazing, and certainly ground breaking in their time.

Passing the     75th  Anniversary     of the first Buleid design...

Bringing his former L.N.E.R. skills to the Southern, Bulleid injected new thinking and technologies; but it is his bold, original designs for steam locomotives for which he is particularly remembered.  Certainly these captured the imagination of the public; they were revolutionary, often complex, though not always entirely successful.

Bulleid's locomotives burst onto the railway over 75 years ago, with the official naming of 'Channel Packet' on 10th March 1941 - pulling off that feat in the middle of War.

Part way through their working lives, many of the fleet of Bulleid pacifics were rebuilt by British Railways, giving them a completely different appearance, many running until the end of mail-line steam in 1968.

And it is over 60 years since the rebuilding of 'Clan Line', last of the original Southern Merchant Navy class to be rebuilt by B.R.

Remarkably, many Bulleid designed 'pacifics' still exist, either preserved privately, or as part of the National collection, though in various states of repair.  Some have only returned to steam in recent years, rescued from scrapyards, then painstakingly restored from rusting hulks; others are still awaiting their chance to be returned to a working condition.

Whilst looking at most of Mr Bulleid's full size locomotive designs, this collection of pages particularly focuses on miniature working versions constructed by model engineers.

Many of the featured builders have gone to extraordinary lengths in pursuit of their creation of a Bulleid locomotive, often including having to research and design it.  How they went about this is hopefully reflected in their own stories of achievement.

It is over 10 years since the seed of this web-site was started.  A small number of builders' personal stories first aired in 2006, and through the contributions of more it has grown into this series of articles, reflecting most of Bulleid's designs. 

Some models have progressed to completion in the ten years since the site was launched, while others remain in construction - mine included - as these are not generally 'quick' projects.

Sadly some of my original contributors are no longer with us, but they are not forgotten; three of my contributors passed away last year at frighteningly young ages, not being able to enjoy the fruits of their work.  However their locos are with others who will take their creation forwards in the way intended.

I am not aware of another collection of articles quite like this; and I hope you find the unique content of this site of interest.    Rob.


Please explore the menu categories list on the left.  Hover your cursor over article photos for more info - but please do not copy the pictures without permission.

Details of further Bulleid inspired models or related stories are welcomed.

Web site engineered by Rob Speare