The London, Midland and Scottish Railway Fowler Class 7F was a class of 0-8-0 steam locomotives. They were a Midlandised version of the London and North Western Railway (LNWR) Class G2 and Class G2A 0-8-0s. They were also classified as Class G3 under the former LNWR system. The class were sometimes known as Baby Austins, or Austin 7s, after a motor car that was becoming popular at the time.
It featured a Belpaire firebox and increased boiler pressure over its predecessor but had the same power rating of 7F. Unfortunately the design had been done at the old Midlands Railway's Derby Works and the drawing office staff insisted on using Midland practice. Among other things this meant that the axle bearings were too small for the loads they had to carry. E.S Cox, writing in a series of articles in Trains Illustrated c. 1957, suggests that they had a sufficiently modern and effective front end that, for steady slogging, some drivers preferred them to an LMS Stanier Class 8F. However, this also meant that, with bearings comparable to an LMS Fowler Class 4F and already inadequate for the lower powered engine, the bearings broke up rapidly.
They all survived to pass into British Railways ownership but 122 had been withdrawn by the end of 1951; fifty were withdrawn without receiving their BR number. They had a fairly short life and were all withdrawn between 1949 and 1962, some time before the G2s which lasted until 1964.
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