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The line was originally worked by Beattie 2-2-2 Well Tanks, followed by O2 and T1 Class 0-4-4Ts, occasionally supported by an Adams radial 4-4-2Ts.

From 1930 onwards auto train operation began on the branch, with M7 0-4-4 tank engines dominating the service; an M7 can be seen on the right occupying the curved branch line platform; the platform was created by the Southern Railway after it took over the LSWR at Grouping.

Bulleid's contribution greatly transformed the 'Nelson's' (Above-Below) No 850 Lord Nelson departs from Waterloo with the 5pm West of England express in May 1936; the loco is about to pass beneath the overhead signal box, which closed in October 1936 as part of the Waterloo approaches re-signalling and commissioning of Wimbledon Flyover.

(Below) The absence of smoke deflectors dates this photo of 'Lord Nelson' class No 861 Lord Anson receiving attention from the driver at Wokingham station in November 1929.

An additional order was placed for ten locos to be fitted with 4,000 gallon 6-wheeled tenders suitable for the Continental ports, but it was later decided to equip half of the class with 5,000 gallon 8-wheeled tenders necessary for the longer West of England routes.

Exmouth Junction was for many years the location of the LSWR's largest engine shed and the company's concrete casting factory.

A second batch of ten N15s was built between June 1922 and March 1923 to cope with the intensified timetable to the West Country.

Following Grouping in January 1923, the LSWR became part of the new Southern Railway, and the Chief Mechanical Engineer, REL Maunsell, rebuilt the former Drummond G14 and P14 4-6-0s to Maunsell's N15 specification.

As it turned out the performance of the 'Lord Nelson's' was marred by poor steaming resulting in Maunsell embarking upon a number of experiments.

This included the fitting of smoke deflectors which benefitted the class, but it wasn't until Oliver Bulleid became CME of the Southern Railway in 1938 and fitted larger diameter chimneys and Lemaître multiple jet blastpipes that the problem was ultimately solved.

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