In 1899, Johnson unveiled the first of what would become a class of 60 new goods tank locos, the 2441 class. Descendants of the 1102 class and antecedents of Fowler’s 3F ‘Jinties’, the first thirty of the class had condensing equipment from new for working the sub-surface lines in London between the various goods depots, and carried various detail differences which separated them from their normally aspirated sisters. To counter the side tanks from being blistered from the very hot water passing through the condensing pipes – a problem encountered on other lines, for example the Great Eastern – an outer skin was fitted to the tank sides with a small airspace between. This arrangement produced a squared front corner to the tanks with pairs of cooling slots on the front edge, whereas the normally aspirated locos without the outer panel had rounded tank corners.

Those allocated to London were initially painted and lined in the highly decorative ‘London style’ of crimson lake with almost everything above and below the footplate lined out. No. 2444 is seen here on 6th June 1903 at Cricklewood in just such a livery, and despite appearing at first glance to be in ex-works condition (a misused phrase so beloved of authors of books and magazines), it instead bears the marks of hard work on the Widened Lines; traffic dust and grime haze over the wheels, underframe, valence, bunker and tank sides – the numbers have had attention from the tallow cloth to make them appear clearer, and there are signs of a hot smokebox and chimney too. It’s worth noting the slightly shorter boiler fittings, especially the chimney and dome, and especially the arrangement of the Salter valves, with the pillars attached to the sides of the tank rather than the top of the boiler.