The London, Brighton and South Coast Railway C2 class was a class of 0-6-0 steam locomotives, intended for heavy freight trains. All Fifty-five were built by the Vulcan Foundry between 1893 and 1902 to the design of Robert J. Billinton (which led to them being known as "Vulcans") sharing the same cylinders and motion as his earlier D3 (originally called D Bogie) 0-4-4 passenger tanks. The C2 was RJ Billinton's first main-line 0-6-0 goods locomotive for the LB&SCR. Forty-five of these were later rebuilt between 1908 and 1940, with a larger boiler as the C2X class.
In January 1891 Robert Billinton was given authority to build ten new 0-6-0 freight locomotives, to supplement Stroudley's C1 class of 1882-7. However, at the time, Brighton works was fully committed building Billinton's various classes of radial tanks and so tenders were sought from outside contractors. Ultimately the Vulcan Foundry agreed to construct these ten locomotives, and further orders were received at intervals until 55 had been purchased by February 1902. The class were therefore nicknamed 'Vulcans'.
The new class were not as powerful as their predecessors but were found to be both reliable and also capable of running at speed, thereby enabling them to be used on secondary passenger and excursion duties. As a result, a further ten were ordered from Vulcan Foundry, which were delivered 1893-4, and twenty five delivered 1900-1902.
During the first decade of the twentieth century the railway experienced a rapid growth in freight traffic and by 1905 their locomotives were no longer capable of hauling the heaviest trains without loss of time. Douglas Earle Marsh's initial response was to introduce his C3 class with a larger boiler in 1906, but the performance of these also proved to be disappointing.
The C2s had larger fireboxes (giving a total heating surface of 1,211.69 sq. ft. with 19.32 sq. ft. grate area) with 160lb boilers and smaller, 5ft, driving wheels. Initially fitted with 18 in diameter cylinders, these were later reduced to 17½ in (as were those on the D3s). Their tenders had outside frames, bearings and springs and carried 2,420 gallons of water and four tons of coal. Built in the Stroudly fashion without coal rails, these were added at a later date. Although designed as a goods engines, the C2s had Westinghouse air brakes so that they could work excursion trains and, although initially turned out in goods green, in later LBSC life some were painted in passenger umber.
However, in 1908 Marsh rebuilt one C2 with a larger diameter C3 steel boiler and an extended smokebox. In doing so he created an excellent powerful freight locomotive that was classified "C2X", and nicknamed 'Large Vulcans.' The modification was so successful that twenty-nine out of the original fifty-five members of the class were similarly rebuilt by the end of 1912. Some had two ring boilers which were easy to recognize from the remainder of the class as they had two domes and their safety valves located over the firebox. They were long-lasting locomotives, working well into the British Railways era, with the last withdrawal not until February 1962. By this time the class were beginning to struggle to keep time when hauling the heaviest freight trains and began to be superseded on these by the K class 2-6-0 in 1913/14, but were nevertheless kept very busy during the First World War on military supply and munitions trains, and three further C2’s had been rebuilt by the end of 1922.
Following Billinton's death in office on 7th November 1904, the post of Locomotive Superintendent went to DE Marsh who had worked under Dean at Swindon and Ivatt at Doncaster. Apart from his "Brighton Atlantics" (very much a copy of the GN Atlantics) and I3 tanks, Marsh-designed locomotives were very poor performers but his rebuilds were something else! In 1908 the first three of class C2x were outshopped, being rebuilds of C2s Nos 545, 547 and 553, with a 5ft diameter boiler giving 1,300 sq. ft. of heating surface, working pressure increased to 170lb and a reduced grate area. As such, the C2x was a very useful engine for both the intended goods workings and the occasional passenger ones. Another, 551, was rebuilt in 1909 and a further 27 between then and 1922. The Southern Railway then rebuilt a further ten in 1924/5, two in 1939 and two in 1940, these last four being rebuilt at Ashford rather than Brighton. With seven locos withdrawn between 1927 and 1937, there were just three original C2s left, Nos 32435, 32436 and 32533, to be taken into British Railways stock in 1948.
After the First World War Lawson Billinton acquired ten spare boilers for the class incorporating his own top feed apparatus. These were clearly visible when fitted because of the presence of a second dome.
All of the C2 and C2X locomotives passed to the Southern Railway in 1923, and nine further examples were rebuilt during 1924-5, as the original boilers be came due for replacement. However, the trade recession of the early 1930s caused a decline in freight traffic resulting in the withdrawal of seven of the remaining locomotives C2 by the end of 1937. The advent of the Second World War meant that four other survivors were rebuilt in 1939 and 1940 and that the remaining three unrebuilt C2 locomotives remained in service until after the nationalisation of the railways to British Railways in 1948. The remaining were all withdrawn between 1948 and 1950.
The C2X locomotives remained in regular use on secondary freight trains for a further decade and most had completed very impressive mileages for freight locomotives before they were all withdrawn between 1957 and February 1962. The last few examples were centred around Three Bridges.
Visually there were obvious differences between the original and rebuilt locos. For the C2x Marsh fitted an extended smokebox, resting on a saddle and pitched considerably higher than the original and, as mentioned previously, some were fitted with a second dome. From 1924 onwards all C2s and C2xs had their domes and chimneys reduced in height to fit in with the smaller Southern Railway loading gauge.
All were scrapped at Ashford Works between March 1957 and February 1962.
The first loco withdrawal was 32434 in March 1957 from Brighton shed.
The last locos withdrawn were 32523 and 32535 in February 1962 from Three Bridges shed.
No examples have been preserved.
Power type : Steam
Designer : R. J. Billinton - rebuilt by D. E. Marsh
Builder : Vulcan Foundry
Serial number : 1375–1386, 1412–1419, 1699–1718, 1813–1827
Build date : 1893–1902
Total produced : 55
Rebuild date : 1908–1940
Configuration : 0-6-0
Gauge : 4 ft 8½ in (1,435 mm)
Driver Wheel diameter : 5 ft 0 in (1.524 m)
Wheelbase : 16 ft 0 in (4.877 m)
Locomotive weight : C2 class 38 tons 0 cwt - C2X class 45 tons 5 cwt
Fuel type : Coal
Coal Capacity : 4 tons
Water capacity : 2,420 imp gallons (11,001.538 l)
Boiler pressure : C2 class 160 psi (1.10 MPa) - C2X class 170 psi (1.17 MPa)
Cylinders : Two, inside
Cylinder size : C2 class 18 in x 26 in - C2X 17½ in × 26 in (445 mm × 660 mm)
Tractive effort : C2 class 19,094 Modified C2 class 18,048 lbf (80.3 kN) - C2X class 19,175 lbf (85.3 kN)
Power class : 2F
Withdrawn : C2 class 1935–1950 - C2X class 1957-1962
Disposition - All scrapped