The SECR F1 class was a class of 4-4-0 steam locomotives of the South Eastern and Chatham Railway. The class was rebuilt from older Stirling SER F class locomotives by Harry Wainwright between 1903 and 1919.
The bitter rivalry between the SECR and the LCDR was pushed one stage further in the early 1880s with the LCDR setting the pace on both the lucrative Continental traffic and the bread-and-butter Kent Cost traffic where loadings were only going one way - up! The SER fought back in 1883 with the first of Stirling's "Mails". These graceful 7' bogie 4-4-0 express locomotives performed superbly despite poor fuel and a wheel diameter that ought to have been too large for the harder sections of the line. In all, some 88 of these class F locomotives were built.
Forward to 1903 and the SECR with Wainwright in charge. Wainwright set out to rebuild the "F Class" and thereby prolong their useful life and did such a good job that some would see service into early BR days. The "F Class" boilers had no dome over the safety valves, nor much of a cab to protect the crew in inclement weather. Between 1903 and 1920 Stiling built eighty-eight Class F engines for the SER. They were all built at Ashford and had inside cylinders and 7' 0" coupled driving wheels.The rebuilt "F1 Class" had both a domed boiler whose centre was raised from the F's 7' 5" to 7' 10" (with Ramsbottom safety valves fitted on the firebox) and increased pressure which was up from 160 lb per sq in to 170. A larger cab was provided which was, in fact, similar to that fitted to Stirling's B Class engines. Minor modification to the smokebox front left the engines looking identical to the subsequent B1 Class of 1910, in fact the only way to tell the two classes apart is from looking at their tenders, the F1s having prominent outside springs! In all, some 76 of the 88 "F Class" were rebuilt as class F1.
When Maunsell assumed the mantle of Locomotive Superintendent he, too, tinkered with the F1s, giving longer smokeboxes (5' 11" as against 5' 9") to all except one engine, Nş20, which was scrapped after a collision in 1919. By 1925 all seventy-five engines had been fitted with extended smokeboxes.
Seventy-six locomotives were rebuilt and 75 survived into Southern Railway (SR) ownership on 1st January 1923 with random numbers between 2 and 250.
The final twist in the F1 story came during WWII when nine of the class were lent to the LMS, where they were classified as 2P. This arrangement lasted from 1941 until the last was returned in mid-September 1944.
Nine locomotives survived into British Railways (BR) ownership in 1948. Of the nine locos taken over by BR only 31151 survived to carry its BR number.
The first loco withdrawn was No. 20 in 1920 from ??? shed.
The first BR loco withdrawn was 31042 in January 1948 from Reading South Shed.
The last loco withdrawn was 31231 in March 1949 also from Reading South Shed.
None are preserved.
Power type : Steam
Designer : Harry Wainwright
Introduced : 1903
Build date : Rebuilt 1903-1919
Builder : Ashford Works
Total produced Rebuilt, 76 - total to to BR 8
Configuration : 4-4-0
Gauge : 4 ft 8½ in (1,435 mm)
Driver wheel diameter : 7 ft 0 in (2.134 m)
Bogie Wheel : 3 ft 9 ins
Locomotive weight : 45 tons 2 cwt (45.8 t)
Tender weight : 30 tons 10 cwt
Fuel type : Coal
Coal Capacity : 3 ton 0 cwt
Water Capacity : 2,650 gals
Boiler pressure : 170 psi (1.17 MPa)
Cylinders : Two (inside)
Valve Gear : Stephenson (slide valves)
Cylinder size : 18 in × 26 in (457 mm × 660 mm)
Tractive effort : 14,490 lb (64.5 kN)
Career : SECR ; SR
Class : F1
Number in class : 1 January 1923: 75
Nicknames : Jumbo
Withdrawn : 1920-1949
Disposition : All scrapped