By Leslie Freeman
My recollections of the Urie S15 go back around 40 years or so to school days when they worked heavy goods trains to and from Feltham to Nine Elms, through Hounslow and Barnes. Loads could be 50 or 60 loose coupled wagons and were frequently tender first workings, since presumably it was not possible to turn the engines at Nine Elms without going to the inaccessable turntable at the shed.
The one incident I clearly remember was on 20/3/51 when 30506 became partially derailed at Barnes. 700 class 30697 was shunting the yard and it appears our SI5 attempted to enter the yard to pick up some wagons. As she set back, the leading coupled wheels came off, leaving the engine still fouling the down fast line. Being on the four track section, all down trains now had to use the slow line, but this caused no great delays. However, it was some time before the re-railing experts arrived to put 30506 back on the rails. It was the only occasion I saw an Sl5 try to use the yard; 700 was normally the largest engine the track had to support, and I doubt if one tried again!
Summer Saturdays was the time one found the Uries on passenger workings, and I was fortunate enough to ride one such afternoon on July 1957 behind 30506. It was a typical summer weekend at Waterloo. 30506 came up from Nine Elms coupled to 35027 Port Line but it took the two engines 15 minutes to get in, coming from Vauxhall. Port Line then coupled on to the 1.30 p.m. to Bournemouth, while 30506 came on to the 1:24 p.m. to Basingstoke which eventually got away 10 minutes late. Meanwhile down the Windsor line NI5 30786 Sir Lionel was waiting to get into our platform with an up train, behind which Urie NI5 30748 Vivien and 35023 Holland Afrika Line were queuing with other arrivals!
Between these trains 30506 managed to make her way on to the main line but took 9½ minutes to pass Clapham Junction and with an eight coach train our progress is best described as ‘sedate’, at least as far as New Malden, and we took almost 23 minutes to pass Surbiton (12 miles). By then the crew had apparently decided that the Urie was not as bad as they thought, and the 12.4 miles on to the stop at Woking were covered in a more respectable 16¼ minutes with a top speed of 55 m.p.h through West Weybridge. Although I rode behind other Urie S15’s none ever bettered that speed.
Summer Saturdays apart, Urie S15’s were not often seen in Waterloo. From 1958 I travelled regularly into the terminus and the only regular working for them seemed to be the 7:02 p.m. parcels to Bournemouth. Other classes appeared but a Urie S15 seemed the preferred engine until they were withdrawn. Over the years I noted nearly all the series on it, including both our locomotives. 30499 on 17/7/61 and 30/S/62 and 30506 on three occasions, 9/6/59, 8/11/61 and 5/4/62.
Taken from the Spring 1990 Urie Newsletter.