London, Brighton & South Coast Railway No.329, (Stephenson Fact File 8 of 8)
LB&SCR ‘Brighton Baltic’ No.329, Stephenson was built at Brighton Works in 1921. By that time the exuberant livery of the line had given way to a sober, umber colour and the naming of engines had largely been abandoned. The SLS, well connected with the Brighton ‘Establishment’, requested that one of the new 4-6-4T express locomotives, designed for the London-Brighton run, be named after ‘The Father of the Modern Locomotive’, in the words of J N Maskelyne, SLS President at the time.
The company’s locomotive engineer, Lawson Billinton (later an SLS Vice-President) passed the request on the LB&SCR board of directors, it seems with favourable comments, since they agreed. Strictly speaking No.329 was named Stephenson. since the Brighton Line occasionally employed the full stop after titles.
Stephenson was soon at work on crack expresses and took the very last London Victoria-Brighton steam-hauled express just before electrification in 1933. Shortly after this, Stephenson was the first of the Baltics to be converted to a 4-6-0 of SR’s class N15X, in which form (still named Stephenson) it lasted until July 1956. Amongst its last duties was hauling an SLS Special, London-Bridge to Brighton in 60 minutes, 23 June 1956. There was one last tour, 8 July 1956 when Stephenson took the RCTS ‘Wessex Wyvern’ railtour from Andover to Waterloo, but so swiftly that at 80mph near Hampton Court Junction, Stephenson shed the RCTS headboard.
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