The strains of maintaining rail services during the Second World War had taken its toll on Britain’s steam locomotive fleet. On 1 January 1948, the British Transport Commission was formed, which placed all existing railway companies under the control of one government organization. This would go on to spawn British Railways.
The railway infrastructure had suffered badly during the war years and most of the steam locomotives were ‘tired’ and badly maintained. Although the management of British Railways was already planning to replace steam power with diesel and electric engines, they still took the decision to build more steam locomotives as a stop gap. Cometh the hour, cometh the man! That man was Robert Arthur Riddles; he had more than proved his worth during the war years overseeing the rapid creation of War Department locomotives. Some 999 Standard locomotives were built in twelve classes ranging from super powerful express and freight engines to suburban tank locomotives. The locomotives were mainly in good order when the order came in 1968 to end steam, with some locomotives being only eight years old.
There still exists a fleet of forty-six preserved Standards, of which seventy-five percent are still in working order around the UK's preserved railways. A further three new build Standard locomotives are proposed.
This comprehensive publication details all the BR Standards and three Austerity type engine classes associated with Riddles. The locomotive specifications are illustrated and presented in a manner that will appeal equally to enthusiasts, model makers and railway historians.