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Robert Urie

Robert W. Urie was, like Dugald Drummond, was a Scot, born in 1854 and educated at Ardeer and Glasgow. He joined the Caledonian Railway as a draughtsman, and after becoming chief draughtsman under Drummond, followed him south and was appointed Works Manager at Nine Elms in 1897. He was an able "second", and on his chief's death in November, 1912, he was a natural choice for the post of Locomotive Superintendent to the South Western, and during the ten years he was at Eastleigh he filled the position with credit and popularity. After his retirement he returned to his native country, and enjoyed his leisure at Largs, in Ayrshire, where eventually he passed away at the age of 83.

He was Locomotive Superintendent of the London & South Western Railway (L&SWR) from towards the end of 1912 to the end of 1922, which accounts for there being only 58 of his engines in the Southern Railway's 1945 stock, compared with nearly 300 of his predecessor Dugald Drummond. The 1914-18 war put the brake on locomotive development and as on most railways, it was a case of patching and mending instead of building afresh.

Urie will, in fact, be remembered equally for the work he did in bringing the engines of Drummond up to date with superheaters and other improvements as for his own few but effective locomotives.

Urie introduced only five new types of engines. He reversed the Drummond tendency by putting the cylinders outside again, and no more four-coupled engines appeared. All his engines have high footplates, exposing the running gear, and all of them were made largely interchangeable as to parts. His first engines were 4-6-0's with 6ft. driving wheels, which appeared in 1914. They were followed by twenty more, with 6ft. 7in. drivers, built from 1918-23, which proved to be some of the finest express engines on the S.R., and were afterwards used as the basis for the 'King Arthur' class, developed extensively by Maunsell. Two impressive types of tank engines, a 4-6-2 with 5ft. 7in. wheels and weighing 96 tons 8cwt., and a 4-8-0 with 5ft 1in. drivers, weight 95 tons 2cwt., are also to his credit, the latter used at Feltham marshalling yards, ("Hump" engines). A design or Urie's extensively used was the Eastleigh superheater, fitted to over a hundred L&SWR engines. All Urie's engines were still at work in 1945:

4-6-0 (Class H15), 11 engines, Nos. 482 to 191, also So. 335 rebuilt from Drummond 4 cylinder engine.

4-8-0 tank (Class G16), 3 "Hump" engines, Nos. 492 to 495.

4-6-0 (Class S15), 20 heavy goods engines, Nos. 496 to 515.

4-6-2 tank (Class H16), 5 engines, Nos. 516 to 520.

4-6-0 (Class N15), "Urie Arthurs", 20 engines, Nos. 736 to 755.

Last Updated : Friday 14th April 2006 05:49

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