Holland America Line

One of 30 'Merchant Navy' class locomotives, Holland America Line was built to haul the fastest express passenger trains on the Southern Railway. They were somewhat unique locomotives, featuring chain driven valve gear inside the frames, giving their wheels a clean outside appearance.

18 Years
service
69 Years
of age
75 Miles
Per Hour
95 Tons of
engine

Merchant Navy Class

Pride of the Southern Railway

One of 30 'Merchant Navy' class locomotives, Holland America Line was built to haul the fastest express passenger trains on the Southern Railway. They were somewhat unique locomotives, featuring chain driven valve gear inside the frames, giving their wheels a clean outside appearance.

Designed by Oliver Bullied, she looked somewhat different when built to the way she does now! In the 1930's streamlining was all the rage and the Merchant Navy's featured an 'air-smoothed' casing which gave them a streamlined look and also allowed them to go through carriage washers!

In 1952 Holland America Line was sent by British Railways to a test facility at Rugby, to try and find ways of improving the class. As part of her visit to the north she travelled over the Settle & Carlisle railway and visited other parts of the country where a Merchant Navy would never normally have been seen!

In June 1956 Holland America Line was rebuilt by British Railways as a result of this testing. She emerged looking very different, with traditional Walschaerts valve gear on the outside and without 'air-smoothed' casing.

She was retired in May 1966, as British Railways withdrew steam from service, and was moved to Barry Scrapyard in South Wales, where she remained until 1983. The Southern Steam Trust purchased the engine and moved her to Swanage, however restoration was never started.

Photography courtesy Andrew Shapland.