In the 1890s, the Midland passenger services on the Widened Lines were mostly in the capable hands of Johnson 0-4-4Ts, though several of Kirtley’s fascinating double-framed 0-4-4BTs had avoided being displaced, and were still available for passenger turns. Kirtley’s 780 class were unusual in that they had a ‘Back Tank’, the water being carried in a tank in the bunker. The class of twenty, built in 1870, was the Dübs & Co. version of the Beyer, Peacock 690 Class built the year previously, but due to differences in the type of brake fitted, the 690 class spent its early life on goods duties, whereas the 780 class were used on passenger services. All members of the class received wrap-over roof, and apart from the fitting of the automatic vacuum brake in 1889, and an earlier change from green paint to lined Crimson Lake, the external appearance remained very much unchanged over the years, and into the period covered by Basilica Fields.

The photo shows Number 786 sometime after 1889 and displays the crimson lake livery with elaborate ‘London lining’ – absolutely gorgeous to look at, but a challenge for my Laurie Griffin kit.

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