Erin, Triumph, Vanguard, Powerful
ROD 2-8-0 (GCR 8K)
The first locos of this class were among those drafted in by the ROD to operate the newly-formed NWR during WW1. Upon cessation of hostilities, masses of these heavy goods locos were surplus to requirements and put up for sale.
The embryonic company, faced with the withdrawal of government support, recognised that goods travelling via Tidmouth would be the lifeblood of its survival. It sought to purchase several of the ex-ROD locos then on the market. Of these, 4 made it past the grouping, the others were scrapped for their tenders or in the case of two, stripped of their vital components which were used in the Beyer-Garratt ‘Revenge’.
The best of the bunch were overhauled and given side-window cabs. They were named after great warships built by Vickers at Barrow-in Furness (the NWR clearly wanted to keep one of its biggest clients on-side).
In 1926, one of the group was rebuilt into a 2-8-4 tank loco at Crovan’s Gate. Train weights were increasing and delays in getting outbound trains up the sharply-inclined harbour line were worsening. No.700 ‘Erin’ was thus allocated solely as Tidmouth Docks banker and spent most of its life on these duties.
These brutes were the mainstay of NWR goods locos until the 1930s, when a purchase was made of several LMS designs, including several brand-new Stanier 8Fs.
As the ROD boilers, which retained their steel fireboxes, came up for overhaul, they were rebuilt using new LMS type 3C boilers built under licence. This enabled standardisation of several components with the new locos.
In this form they lived out the rest of their lives.
One modification of note was the fitting of a Giesl Ejector to No.703 ‘Powerful’ in the mid-1950s. This was an experiment to reduce fuel consumption. In the event, it was not fitted to any other members of the class although 703 retained the unusual chimney until withdrawal.
More children of Hattons’ ‘sale of the century’, I had long wanted to add some RODs to the fleet but this was a chance to acquire a few at bargain prices. The models are built from a mix of ex-GWR RODs and ex-LNER O4s, the GWR examples being rebuilt using second hand Hornby 8F bodies from the 1990s.
The 2-8-4T uses another Hornby Fowler 4P body, Peters’ Spares was selling a few new old stock plain bodies which have come in very handy. Between these and the cabs for the tender locos I am hoping to establish a ‘house style’ much like the neighbouring LMS. The extended tanks match the Woolworth 2-6-2Ts and No.301 quite nicely.