March 2014


In the previous entry we left the London Suburban traffic growing at an exponential rate prompting the building of the final two batches of R24s with new boilers pressed to 160lbs per square inch, and the handing over to the running Department of the last of the class, no.169 on 6th December 1901.

However, even by the time no.169 had entered service, both the Chingford and Enfield lines had reached saturation point, and severe overcrowding was rife on the fifteen-carriage close-coupled 4-wheel sets during peak hours.

R24R no.372, rebuilt in January 1905, prepares to leave platform 10 at Liverpool Street with an ECS working to Temple Mills. No.372 was from the N33 batch of 1894 with integral condensing chambers, and the new widened chambers extending to the tank sides can be seen. Photograph © Public Domain.

R24R no.372, rebuilt in late 1904 but not released back to traffic until early 1905, prepares to leave platform 10 at Liverpool Street with an ECS working to Temple Mills. No.372 was from the N33 batch of 1894 with high side sheets covering the integral condensing chambers on the tank tops. The new widened chambers extending to the tank sides can be seen here. Four-column safety valves in the forward position on the back ring of the boiler. Not looking particularly clean is it? Also note the express in the background still has a 6-wheeled brake van; the GER was very slow to introduce bogie brakes, even to top link services. Photograph © Public Domain.

Holden’s answer was to design a 12″ wider set of four-wheeled carriages which could seat twelve passengers in each third-class compartment, and collectively these became known as the ‘six-a-side stock’.  At 9ft wide, the carriages, still only 27 feet long,  pushed the limits of the loading gauge and the doors had to be recessed 1¾” into the body to keep the handles from exceeding gauge. As before, each set consisted of 15 close-coupled carriages with a convenient break-point where the two carriages involved had standard buffing and draw-gear fitted so the set could be divided for slack-hour services. The sets were made up thus:

Brake 3rd / 3rd / 3rd / 2nd / 2nd / 2nd  – break point – 2nd / 2nd/ 1st / 1st / 1st / 3rd / 3rd / 3rd / Brake 3rd

The design was a success, and between 1898 and 1903 a total of 531 carriages entered service. Although none were built in 1904, a further 70 were built in 1905 bringing the total to 601 examples.

Poor quality postcard (I'm on the lookout for a replacement) but very appropriate subject matter. Number 386 was the last of the F36 series built in 1895, and the first of the class to receive the extra wide 5" tank extensions in early 1904 (see text below).  The photograph was taken within a year of rebuilding and is seen at Hackney Downs on an Up train from enfield Town to Liverpool Street. A new wide suburban sets of 1898 is in the down platform and the recessed doors are clearly visible. The round tops to the doors reflect the practice on not only the Metropolitan Railway, but the Great Western, where Holden was not only Chief Assistant to William Dean, but at the forefront of converting broad gauge carriage stock to standard gauge.  Photograph © Public Domain.

Poor quality postcard (I’m on the lookout for a replacement) but very appropriate subject matter. Number 386 was the last of the F36 series built in 1895, and the first of the class to receive the extra wide 5″ tank extensions in early 1904 (see text below). The photograph was taken within a year of rebuilding and is seen at Hackney Downs on an Up train from Enfield Town to Liverpool Street. A new wide suburban carriage set of 1898 is in the down platform and the recessed doors are clearly visible. The round tops to the doors reflect the practice on not only the Metropolitan Railway, but the Great Western, where Holden was Chief Assistant to William Dean and at the forefront of converting broad gauge carriage stock to standard gauge. And yes, some of the passengers have been inked in with Ye Olde Photoshoppe! Photograph © Public Domain.

Concurrently an unique suburban train was designed and built for the Enfield line comprising of six 12-wheeled 54ft bogie carriages bookended with a pair of eight-wheeled 46ft bogie brake thirds. Although the comparatively luxurious ride was a tremendous success with passengers, it was far heavier than a 15-carriage set of four-wheelers, and although (to the delight of the travelling public) it remained employed on the Enfield line for the next 48 years, the experiment was not repeated.

Holden instead turned his attention to the existing 8ft wide suburban stock built between 1882 and 1898, and rather ingeniously split the carriages down the middle and spliced in a 12″ wide insert. These widened carriages had the same capacity as the new six-a-side sets, but to the delight of the Directors of the Board, the exercise required only a very modest expenditure of £30 per carriage, effectively postponing the introduction of new suburban stock beyond the demand met by the new six-a-side carriages for many years to come. Cigars and champagne all round!  In consequence a total of  710 suburban four-wheel carriages were widened between 1902 and 1904.

No.358 of the R29 series built in 1892 was given 5" tanks at its second rebuild towards the end of 1904. The separate narrow condensing chambers are prominent on the tank tops and there's considerable blistering of paint from the tank side from scalding water and steam.  The location is Palace Gates and the destination is Liverpool Street. Not quite the regulation number of crew on the footplate...

No.358 of the R29 series built in 1892 was given 5″ tanks during its second rebuild towards the end of 1904. The separate narrow condensing chambers are prominent on the tank tops and there’s a considerable blistering of paint on the tank side from scalding water and steam. The location is Palace Gates and the destination is Liverpool Street. Ghostly faces peering through the spectacles show there’s not quite the regulation number of crew on the footplate…Photograph © Public Domain.

The new, heavier trains tested the R24 Buckjumpers to their limit on the steeply-graded, tightly timed suburban services. Although they shared the boiler type with the T18s, it was by fortune rather than design that the 6″ longer trailing wheelbase of the R24s could be exploited to fit a new boiler with a longer firebox and pressed to 180lbs per square inch.

In July 1902, no. 332 of the original R24 batch was passing through the Works and chosen as test subject for the new boiler. The longer firebox extended into the cab by an extra 8 inches, giving a corresponding  increase in the grate area by 2 square feet and increasing the tractive effort of the locos from 16,970lbs to 19,019lbs.  Four column Ramsbottom safety valves within a rectangular casing were fitted instead of the usual two-column valves in the usual position over the firebox.

The success of no.332, classed in the Great Eastern Loco Register as R24 Rblt or R24R was soon evident and in September three more locos, numbers 329, 341 and 342 passed through the Works and were similarly dealt with.

Following trials it was decided that an increase in the water capacity was desirable. In February 1903 no.334 was fitted with the new boiler and at the same time the side tanks widened by four inches, increasing the water capacity from 1000 to 1140 gallons. Down to January 1904 a further ten locos (some sources erroneously suggest nine) had their tanks widened thus, and all except no.379 were from the earliest batches, originally built without condensing apparatus. When rebuilt these locos retained the square-topped shape to their side tanks and the original narrow condensing chambers on top. No.379 of Order F36 had side sheets which extended upwards with an integral condensing chamber, and when rebuilt the chambers were also widened to the full width of the tanks.

From the original R24 series of 1890, no. 335 was one of the 1903 rebuilds with 4" tank extensions and the new four-column Ramsbotton safety valves still on the firebox. The condensing chambers are the ones it was fitted with in 1893 and are in the same position, so now lie inboard of the tank edge. The Macallen blastpipe and condensing cranks and operating rods are clearly seen on the smokebox, and the loco retains the separate handrails. The square diamonded board on the nearest lampiron indicates the loco is not to be moved. photo © Public Domain.

From the original R24 series of 1890, no. 335 was one of the 1903 rebuilds with 4″ tank extensions and the new four-column Ramsbottom safety valves still on the firebox. The condensing chambers are the ones it was fitted with in 1893 and are in the same position, so now lie inboard of the tank edge. The Macallen blastpipe and condensing cranks and operating rods are clearly seen on the smokebox, and the loco retains the separate handrails. The square diamonded board on the nearest lamp iron indicates the loco is not to be moved. Steam entering the tanks via the condensing pipes has distressed the paintwork and caused it to blister. With so many engines fitted with the apparatus it’s surprising that the GER didn’t fit a protective side sheet to the tanks as the Midland did to its own condensing locomotives. Photograph © Public Domain.

At least the first half-dozen or so rebuilds, and possibly all of those rebuilt in 1903 had their four-column safety valves fitted in the usual position over the firebox, but thereafter it was decided the firebox crown needed to be comprehensively stayed, and the valves were moved forward onto the back ring of the boiler. Later, as the R24Rs with valves over the firebox were rebuilt for a second time, the valves were moved to the forward position.  When the four-column valves were moved forward, a small kink was set into the condenser pipe linking the two chambers to clear the valve seat.

We're rather fortunate to have two shots of No.335 taken on the same day at Enfield and this one clearly shows the effect of the 4" tank extensions and how the livery was altered to accommodate them. The bunker is rather neatly stacked to capacity and you can bet that in practice there simply wasn't time between trains for such precision, coal being poured in from wicker baskets pre-filled on the timber coaling stages at either end of the line.  new brass plates were cast

We’re rather fortunate to have two shots of No.335 taken on the same day at Enfield, and this rear three-quarter aspect clearly shows the effect of the 4″ tank extensions and how the livery was altered to take them into account. The bunker is rather neatly stacked to capacity and I’ll wager a jar of jellied eels that in practice there simply wasn’t time between trains for such precision, coal being poured in from wicker baskets pre-filled on the timber coaling stages at either end of the line. How frequently did they have to replace the spectacle glass? Great Eastern practice was to cast new brass number plates each time a locomotive was rebuilt (i.e. fitted with a new boiler), and the plate on No.335 clearly states that it was rebuilt at Stratford Works in 1903. Photograph © Public Domain.

From February 1904 and starting with no.386, all R24s entering Works for rebuilding had their water capacity increased to 1180 gallons by receiving five inch tank extensions. None of those fitted with four inch tank extensions in 1903 ever received the larger 1180 gallon tanks, but the first four rebuilds from 1902 which still had their original 1000 gallon tanks were eventually given the five inch extensions.

The year 1904 turned out to be the most prolific year for rebuilding the R24 class with twenty four examples passing through Works. By the end of the period covered by Basilica Fields one half of the passenger R24s had been rebuilt, and by 1921 a final total of 95 out of 100 locos had been converted.

No 382 was in for Works at the same time as no.372 (above), between late 1904 and early 1905, but in this case the number plate records 1905 as the date.  It makes a nice comparrison with no.377 in the previous entry. Photograph © Public Domain.

No 382 was in the Works at the same time as no.372 (top), between late 1904 and early 1905, but in this case the number plate records 1905 as the rebuild date. The profile makes a nice comparison with no.377 in the previous entry. Suddenly the Bucks look like they mean business! Photograph © Public Domain.

Services

The rebuilding process didn’t alter the fact that a high proportion of the locos were only required during peak hours, and so the process of minor maintenance and goods trip/shunting duties during the slack hours and overnight continued as before.

Modelling the R24Rs

Although it might seem natural to follow the example of the Great Eastern and convert the Connoisseur J67 kits to R24Rs,  in fact that involves a considerable amount of work as not only will new parts be needed for the boiler, tank sides, fronts and tops of the tanks, wider condensing chambers (on the later builds) but a new, wider running plate/footplate too.

Far easier then to utilise the excellent Connoisseur J68 kit (Great Eastern class C72 which appeared too late for Basilica Fields) which has the correct boiler, running plate and condensing chamber, and simply use new milled tanks from Colin Dowling’s range of parts. I have sufficient kits and bits here to produce two examples, one with square-topped tanks and four-inch wide extensions and the four column safety valves over the firebox, and one with the higher tank side sheets, integral condensing chambers, five-inch wide tank extensions and the safety valves in the forward position over the rear ring of the boiler.

References

  • Great Eastern Locomotives Past & Present 1862-1945 – C Langley Aldrich RCTS Locomotives of the LNER Part 8A
  • Locomotives Illustrated #116
  • Yeadon’s Register Volume 48
  • The Locomotive Magazine
  • The Great Eastern Society Special #3 ‘All Stations to Liverpool Street’
  • Lyn Brooks of the GERS
  • John Gardner of the GERS
  • Suburban set composition SX11702 – NRM
  • Model Railway Constructor Annual 1984 – article by John Lewis on Dean’s GWR stock.
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In 1890 James Holden introduced a new development of his T18 class which had originally been designed for shunting and trip goods turns, but fortuitously turned out to be very good on the burgeoning suburban passenger services too.

When the need arose for further suburban tanks, Holden improved the design to suit intensive passenger work by providing a more steady-riding engine. This was achieved by increasing the trailing coupled wheelbase by six inches and reducing the length of the frames at the rear by one foot. In addition the tanks were repositioned further forward and the length of the cab shortened.  Peripheral changes included moving the front steps from just ahead of the side tanks to in front of  the sandboxes, and, as on the E22 class, positioning the spectacles higher on the weatherboards just under the eaves.

The ten locos were fitted for passenger work with Westinghouse brakes, screw reverse, screw couplings, destination board brackets on the smokebox door and bunker, and steel 10-spoke balanced wheels with a 10″ crank throw and straight brake pull rods.

As usual the new locos were classified by the initial batch order number and designated R24. They were numbered 327 to 336, numerically following on from the last of the T18 class. The R24s were released to traffic between 18th March and 18th April and sent to relieve the final batch of T18s working passenger duties on the Enfield and Chingford lines. The T18s were demoted to shunting duties and stripped of their Westinghouse brake equipment which was immediately fitted to the second batch of ten R24s (Order S24 numbered 337 to 346), already close to completion and originally intended for shunting duties. This second batch of passenger locos were handed over to the Running Department between 28th April and 14th May.

With the loss of the S24 order to the passenger side, it fell to the next two batches to make up the required number of shunting and trip goods locomotives; as intimated above, Holden had already decided not to revisit the T18 design, and the R24 class became his new standard for both passenger and shunting tanks. Twenty new locos were ordered in two consecutive batches to order numbers A26 and B26 and given running numbers 397 to 416. These were virtually identical to the R24 and S24 passenger locos with 7′ 9 ¾” wide tanks, cabs and bunker, but in common with the T18 class were fitted with handbrakes, lever reverse, and unbalanced 15-spoke cast iron wheels with  an 11″ crank throw necessitating a reversion back to the 1½” drop sections in the brake rods underneath the path of the crankpin.

Following on from his steel firebox experiments with the E22 class, Holden fitted the ten locos to order A26 with copper inner fireboxes and those to order B26 with steel inner fireboxes from new, and the two batches provided a useful comparison. The twenty locos were released to traffic between 18th November 1890 and 24th January 1891 and  nos. 407 to 416 retained their steel fireboxes until rebuilt between November 1901 and June 1907, when the fireboxes were scrapped and replaced by newly constructed copper ones.

Contrary to what has been published about these early steel fireboxes to date (and that includes both Yeadon’s Register, the RCTS ‘Green Bible’ and articles in the GER Society Journal), I can state with absolute certainty that these locos had their safety valves in the same position over the steel firebox as locos with copper fireboxes, and not over the rear ring of the boiler as previously believed. That particular modification came much later.

No.407 from Order B26 of 1890 was ex-Works on 26 November 1890 and released to traffic on 15 December. As seen here it represents Holden’s improved shunting loco, based on the T18 with the changes noted in the text above. Here at last is proof that the early experiments with steel inner fireboxes didn’t force the safety valves off the firebox onto the back ring of the boiler – the details on the number plate proves the loco hasn’t been rebuilt and the shrouded Ramsbottom valves are firmly seated in their original position. The Worsdell blower has the operating rod separate to the handrail, passing over the top of the tank, and the 15 spoke unbalanced wheels with an 11” crank throw require the same 1½” drop sections in the brake pull rods as the T18 class. Worsdell’s parallel buffer casings of 1882 are fitted. The toolbox has been moved to the drivers side, and looks pretty filthy, and there’s a conical re-railing jack up on the tank top – de rigueur for shunters as some of the permanent way in the GER sidings could be ‘interesting’.  A nice mix of buffed paintwork and working grime. Photo © Public Domain.

No.407 from Order B26 of 1890 was ex-Works on 26 November 1890 and released to traffic on 15 December. As seen here it represents Holden’s improved shunting loco, based on the T18 with the changes noted in the text above. Here at last is proof that the early experiments with steel inner fireboxes didn’t force the safety valves off the firebox onto the back ring of the boiler – the details on the number plate proves the loco hasn’t yet been rebuilt and the shrouded Ramsbottom valves are firmly seated in their original position. The Worsdell blower has the operating rod separate to the handrail, passing over the top of the tank, and the 15 spoke unbalanced wheels with an 11” crank throw require the same 1½” drop sections in the brake pull rods as the T18 class. Worsdell’s parallel buffer casings of 1882 are fitted. The toolbox has been moved to the drivers side, and looks pretty filthy, and there’s a conical re-railing jack up on the tank top – de rigueur for shunters as some of the permanent way in the GER sidings could be ‘interesting’. A nice mix of buffed paintwork and working grime. Photo © Public Domain.

A further twenty passenger tanks numbered 347 to 366  to orders P29 and R29 were released to traffic between 25th February and 18th May 1892. Whereas previous batches had had Worsdell’s pattern of spherical blower mounted on the smokebox above the separate boiler handrail with the operating rod passing along the top of the tank to a handwheel the cab, those in batch R29 (and possibly P29) had the blower mounted at the end of the handrail with the operating rod inside, passing through the tank to a handle in the cab.

From 1892 all new builds and replacement smokeboxes were of the flanged design with radiused edges, as described in the entry on the T18 class.

In 1893 all forty passenger tanks of the R24 design were fitted with condensing apparatus. Visually this consisted of a 6″ deep rectangular chamber fixed on top of each tank stretching from the cab to just behind the filler lid. A  U-shaped pipe was bolted to the top of the left-hand chamber with a transverse pipe linking the two chambers across the top of the boiler, and venting pipes positioned behind on either side.  An operating crank on the rear of the left-hand side of the smokebox was linked by a rod to the cab.

All of the passenger and shunting R24s up to this time were fitted with separate boiler and smokebox handrails and Roscoe displacement lubricators fixed to the side of their smokeboxes.

No.359 of Order R29 was ex-Works on 15 March 1892 and released to traffic on the 11 April.  The similarities with the T18 design are obvious, but the relatively minor changes make it ‘just so’.  The maximum date range for the photograph is 1893-1904 between the fitting of the condensing apparatus and its first rebuild. It has all the usual accoutrements of the early passenger R24s; early square-corner smokebox from built-up angle iron, the Worsdell blower attached to the end of the separate handrail, destination brackets on the smokebox door (and bunker), Holden’s tank filler lids with leather seals, the condensing chamber on the tank top along with the U-shaped tapered casting, copper connecting and vent pipes, and no coal rails on the bunker. The crew have moved the toolbox forward of the condensing pipes. The passenger rated tanks had 10-spoke balanced wheels with a 10” crank throw which led to straight brake pull rods, the Westinghouse pump in the tank front exhausting into the smokebox, brake hoses and screw couplings, and finally the passenger livery of ultramarine blue, lined vermilion and bordered black.  Photo © Public Domain.

No.359 of Order R29 was ex-Works on 15 March 1892 and released to traffic on the 11 April. The similarities with the T18 design are obvious, but the relatively minor changes make it ‘just so’. The maximum date range for the photograph is 1893-1904 between the fitting of the condensing apparatus and its first rebuild. It has all the usual accoutrements of the early passenger R24s; early square-corner smokebox from built-up angle iron, the Worsdell blower attached to the end of the separate handrail, destination brackets on the smokebox door (and bunker), Holden’s tank filler lids with leather seals, the condensing chamber on the tank top along with the U-shaped tapered casting, copper connecting and vent pipes, and no coal rails on the bunker. The crew have moved the toolbox forward of the condensing pipes. Holden’s tapered buffer casings are fitted. The passenger rated tanks had 10-spoke balanced wheels with a 10” crank throw which led to straight brake pull rods, the Westinghouse pump in the tank front exhausting into the smokebox, brake hoses and screw couplings, and finally the passenger livery of ultramarine blue, lined vermilion and bordered black. Photo © Public Domain.

As a result of an exponential growth in suburban passenger traffic in the 1890s, between 1894 and 1896 the number of passenger rated R24s doubled; orders N33, F36, Y36 and C37, consisting of ten engines a-piece, were given running numbers 367 to 376, 377 to 386, 387 to 396 and 265 to 274, and these new batches exhibited visible modifications to the previous forty passenger locos, viz:

The condensing chambers were now built into the tank tops and the side sheets were extended upwards from the cab for about three quarters of the length of the tank to cover them, the design incorporated a sultry characteristic curve downwards at the front end by the filler lid.  Batch C37 received boilers with steel inner fireboxes from new, and as with the earlier B26 order retained safety valves on the firebox, but were the last to do so – all future experiments with steel fireboxes would incorporate the safety valves on the back ring of the boiler. Numbers 265 to 374 retained these experimental fireboxes until they were rebuilt which took place between January 1908 and June 1912, long after the period covered by Basilica Fields.

The locomotives to order N33 of 1894 were the first of the type to receive continuous handrails from new, and over an extended period of time, some (but by no means all) of the previous sixty examples had their separate handrails replaced.  The N33s were also the first to have Macallan blastpipes fitted from new, and all the earlier locos had them fitted as they came into Works. Sight-feed lubricators were another new modification and were fixed on the inner side sheet of the cab on the fireman’s side replacing the Roscoe displacement lubricators fitted to the smokebox. Again, earlier locos had them fitted as they passed through the Works.

The final modification made to the N33 batch was the fitting of Holden’s first design of blower valve, operated through a rod in the continuous handrail. The handrail was broken at the smokebox centreline and a crank attached to both the rod and a plunger which operated the side valve blower within the smokebox itself. Within a year Holden developed a new pattern of rotary blower which again was operated via a push-pull rod within the handrail attached. As before the rod was attached to a crank, but this time instead of a break in the handrail there was a slot in the back where the rod and crank joined. The rotary blower was first fitted to No.377 of Order F36 in 1895 and all subsequent engines.

Not the best of photographs, No.377 the first loco from Order F36 was ex-Works on 10 October 1895. The photo was almost certainly taken just prior to its release to traffic on 11 November of that year.  The loco represents the pinnacle of the passenger R24 design before rebuilding began. The new-style flanged smokebox, continuous handrails and rotary blower, condensing chambers built into the tank tops with side-sheets extending to the top (and that curve down to the filler lid), and three coal rails on the bunker. The toolbox has been lined out (and on the original it’s numbered). Photo © Public Domain.

Not the best of photographs, No.377 the first loco from Order F36 was ex-Works on 10 October 1895. The photo was almost certainly taken just prior to its release to traffic on 11 November of that year. The loco represents the pinnacle of the passenger R24 design before rebuilding began. The new-style flanged smokebox, continuous handrails and rotary blower, condensing chambers built into the tank tops with side-sheets extending to the top (and that curve down to the filler lid), and three coal rails on the bunker. Holden’s tapered buffer casings are fitted. The toolbox on the driver’s side has been lined out (and on the original photo you can see it’s been numbered). Photo © Public Domain.

Some of the earlier locos which eventually received continuous handrails were also fitted with the rotary blower, others gained continuous handrails but retained the earlier Worsdell blower. Of course many locos kept both the separate handrails and Worsdell’s spherical blower and there were even a handful of examples which retained the separate handrails but were fitted with the intermediate design of side valve blower in place of the Worsdell blower mounted above the handrail. So much for standardisation!

Between 1895 and 1899 the twenty shunting tanks from batches A26 and B26 passed through the Works to be fitted with the steam brake.  Coal rails were also fitted to the bunkers of most, but not all of the locos at this time.

Two more batches of shunting tanks were delivered between 1899 and 1900; numbers 255 to 264 and 199 to 208 formed orders H45 and G47 and were given boilers of a new design with two telescopic rings pressed to 160psi instead of the previous butt-jointed two ring boilers with a working pressure of 140psi. From here on, all new and replacement boilers would conform to this latest standard. These twenty shunters were fitted with the steam brake from new.

Photo: No.201 of Order G47 represents the final form of the R24 shunters. Ex-Works on 8 December 1899 and released to traffic ten days later it’s seen here in mid-1921 having been rebuilt in 1915, but in almost the same condition as when first built with continuous handrails, flat-topped tanks (no condensing apparatus) and the McAllan variable blastpipe crank and operating rod on the smokebox. The only ‘out-of-period’ differences being the heavy smokebox door (fitted 1915) and the bars over the rear spectacles (fitted from c1910). The livery is post-War grey with Train Control numbers on the tank sides. Who said pre-Group locos were all shiny? Photo © Public Domain.

Photo: No.201 of Order G47 represents the final form of the R24 shunters in the GE period. Ex-Works on 8 December 1899 and released to traffic ten days later it’s seen here in mid-1921 having been rebuilt in 1915, but in almost the same condition as when first built with continuous handrails, flat-topped tanks (no condensing apparatus) and the MacAllan variable blastpipe crank and operating rod on the smokebox. Worsdell’s parallel buffer casings are fitted. The only ‘out-of-period’ differences being the heavy smokebox door (fitted 1915) and the bars over the rear spectacles (fitted from c1910). The livery is post-War grey with Train Control numbers on the tank sides. Who said pre-Group locos were all shiny? Photo © Public Domain.

The final twenty passenger-rated R24s, nos.199 to 208 and 160 to 169 to orders S48 and R50 were identical to the four batches introduced between 1894-6 and were released to traffic between 1900 and 1901, the last entering service on 6th September 1901.

A total of one hundred and forty locos to the R24 design had entered traffic in the space of eleven years. Although no more locos were built to this particular classification it was far from the end, and most of the passenger locos were on the cusp of a very significant change.

Services

The majority of the frenetic London suburban services hauled by the R24s out of Liverpool Street were allocated to the three principal branch lines of Chingford, Enfield and Palace Gates (which in 1920 would collectively form the famous ‘Jazz’ service) and routed north at Bethnal Green Junction via the 1872 route to Hackney Downs avoiding  the Basilica Fields area which was situated about a mile east of the junction. In 1905 an astonishing twenty one trains an hour left Liverpool Street during the evening peak for these three branches alone, ten of which were diagrammed for the Chingford line. In contrast, during the period covered by this project there were always about a dozen or so trains in both directions each day to Chingford calling at Globe Road (Devonshire Street), Coborn Road and Basilica Fields on the Colchester line before turning north at Stratford, stopping at Lea Bridge before diverting onto the branch.

Many other suburban services on GER lines relied on the diminutive tanks and these included some interesting gems such as the three Woolwich services to Palace Gates, Chingford and Fenchurch Street – the latter running via either Stratford or exercising running rights over the Tilbury line via Bromley (-by-Bow). Other delights included Gospel Oak on the Tottenham & Hampstead Joint to both Chingford and Woolwich, and the East London Line services from Liverpool Street to the exotic destinations of New Cross and New Croydon on the Brighton Line via the Thames Tunnel and the East London Railway. Unfortunately none of these trains came within a mile or so of Basilica Fields, but there were a few services of interest which will be replicated including those from Liverpool Street to Woolwich, Gallions and the V&A Docks via Stratford Market. In addition the R24s occasionally took the slow outer suburban Hertford service via Stratford and Lea Bridge.

Although a number of locos were retained for passenger off-peak services (and night trains on the Chingford line for the artisan citizens of suburbia), many of the passenger-rated R24s were only required for the relentless morning and evening peak services. This meant that minor maintenance could be carried out during the day, freeing the locos up for night-time deployment on shunting turns and the vast number of trip goods workings serving the suburban goods yards between the hours of 10pm and 6am.

Modelling the R24s

The LNER J67 was one of Jim McGeown’s earliest Connoisseur Models kits, from c1991, and represent what later became of the GER shunting R24s. The kit has been unavailable as a stock item for many years and in modern terms it’s fairly basic, but is pretty good in all the essential dimensions,  builds well and is an excellent foundation for a decent model. I have nine of the breed in the pile ready for assembly and conversion back to Great Eastern condition which involves scratchbuilding the cab interior and roof, and making several changes to the platework and castings.

As the passenger variety was also used on goods turns I’ve decided to build four shunting and five passenger examples, and in time will write separate journal entries on each.

Here’s one of the B26 batch of shunting engines I built to commission a couple of years ago.

Photograph ©2012 Adrian Marks

Photograph ©2012 Adrian Marks

References

  • Great Eastern Locomotives Past & Present 1862-1945 – C Langley Aldrich RCTS Locomotives of the LNER Part 8A
  • Locomotives Illustrated #116
  • Yeadon’s Register Volume 48
  • The Locomotive Magazine
  • The Great Eastern Society Special #3 ‘All Stations to Liverpool Street’
  • Lyn Brooks of the GERS
  • John Gardner of the GERS

By the late 1880s there was an urgent need to replace not only the surviving ECR and early GER tanks pottering up and down lightly laid rustic branch lines, but also the aged locomotives in charge of the quarter-hourly service on the Fenchurch Street – Blackwall line.

George England’s indigenous London & Blackwall 2-4-0Ts had been withdrawn from the line in 1882, and the positively ancient Jones & Potts 2-2-2WTs became extinct a year later. At that time, examples of Robert Sinclair’s V class 2-4-2WTs, the ‘Scotchmen’ had been allocated the services, but these were gradually withdrawn throughout the decade as their boilers expired, and a steady succession of Adams, Bromley and Worsdell tank engines temporarily took charge.

Classified under Stratford’s Letter Account as E22, nine of the first batch of ten 0-6-0Ts nos. 150 – 158 were delivered to the Running Department between 5th Feb and 18th March 1889 with no.159 following on June 24th. About half were immediately rusticated to various branch lines and the rest allocated to Millwall Junction, a sub-shed of Stratford, for working out of Fenchurch Street to Blackwall and North Woolwich.

The E22s were a development  of the T18 class but of lighter construction. Their butt-jointed boilers pressed to 140 psi were shared with the T18 class and the wheelbase was identical, but the side tanks and cab were smaller and the frames 1ft shorter at the rear to help steady the ride at passenger speeds. The cylinders were smaller than the T18’s at 14″ diameter with a 20″ stroke, and the crank axles, crossheads, slidebars and connecting rods were also lighter than those used on the earlier class.

E22 no. 151 at Braintree during the period 1889-1894 in 'as built' condition with separate handrails, without the Macallen blastpipe, no coal rails on the bunker and running as a 2-4-0T with the front coupling rods removed. Photograph ©Public Domain.

Beautiful! E22 no. 151 at Braintree during the period 1889-1894 in ‘as built’ condition with the original flat-faced smokebox built up from angle iron, separate handrails, Roscoe lubricator on the smokebox, no  coal rails on the bunker and without the Macallen blastpipe lever to the smokebox. In typical E22 fashion it’s running as a 2-4-0T with the front coupling rods removed. For such an early shot there’s already a considerable amount of heat distress to both the smokebox and chimney, and despite not appearing in the scan, the original photograph clearly shows patterns of traffic grime on the side tanks and sooty grime deposits on the boiler. Photograph ©Public Domain.

Instead of fitting the same cast iron 15-spoke unbalanced wheels as the T18s, Holden gave the E22s new 10-spoke balanced wheels with a 10″ crank throw which meant the outside brake pull rods didn’t require the characteristic 1½” drop sections in the path of the crankpin as did their predecessor. As a consequence of the lightly constructed motion and short cylinder stoke the E22s only required small balance weights; on the leading and trailing driving wheels the weights were formed by filling the adjacent spokes to the crankpin, and the inner wheels had half-width weights on the same side as the crankpin but extending over into the space between the adjoining spokes.

By the late 1880s most of the rest of the world was using steel for inner fireboxes, but in Great Britain copper was the preferred medium. Numbers 150 – 158 were released to traffic with the usual copper fireboxes, but no.159 was given an experimental steel one, and it’s almost certain that the delay in its release to traffic was due to comprehensive testing. No.159 kept the steel firebox until a General overhaul lasting between September 1909 and January 1910 when it was rebuilt with a new telescopic boiler (fitted to all the E22 rebuilds) and a conventional copper firebox. As with the T18 class, the clack boxes on the original boilers were positioned on the centre line of the dome.

The E22s were regaled with all the contemporary standard GER fittings; including a Worsdell pattern stovepipe, dome and shrouded twin Ramsbottom safety valves with the whistle seated on the raised valve base, the Westinghouse brake and screw reverse for passenger duties. The engines were finished in ultramarine which in the late 1880s was still applied to all new and rebuilt locomotives.

As built, boiler handrails were in three separate sections and the one on the driver’s side incorporated the Worsdell pattern spherical blower operated by a rod inside the rail. The tank filler lids were the same cast iron hinged type which had been fitted to the T18s. The tanks themselves extended into the cabs, and as with the T18s ended inside with a curved top. Due to the short cab  the front plate of the bunker was flush with the cab door, and the brake standard was completely enclosed within the bunker with a long vertical slot in the plate for maintenance access. As released to traffic the E22s were fitted with Worsdell’s parallel buffer housings.

From 1892 all new and replacement Great Eastern smokeboxes were of a flanged construction with a radiused leading edge, replacing the previous smokebox design constructed from built-up angle iron, and the E22 class would have been fitted with them from the mid-late 1890s as their original ones wore out and further repair deemed not viable.

Number 151 again, but this time in the period 1895 - 1901 before its first rebuilding. it has a new flanged smokebox and new (or reconditioned) chimney, the Worsdell spherical blower at the end of the handrail is prominent,  the other pipe lower down on the smokebox is the Westinghouse pump exhaust. The loco is still running as a 2-4-0T but four coal rails have been fitted to the bunker.  Again, in the original patterns of traffic grime can be discerned on the side tanks and bunker.

Number 151 again, but this time in the period 1895 – 1901 before its first rebuilding. It has a new flanged smokebox and new (or reconditioned) chimney, the Worsdell spherical blower at the end of the handrail is prominent, and the other pipe lower down on the smokebox is the Westinghouse pump exhaust (the pump is fitted to the tank front). The loco is still running as a 2-4-0T but four coal rails have been fitted to the bunker. Again, in the original photograph, patterns of traffic grime can be discerned on the side tanks and bunker. Photograph ©Public Domain.

Between 20th February and 10th April 1893 ten more E22s to Letter Account B32 were released to traffic.  Numbered 245 – 254, they were given slightly lower but wider tanks than the first batch, increasing the water capacity from 600 to 650 gallons, and the cabs and bunkers were widened to match. As with no.159,  the ten B32 locos were given steel fireboxes and kept them until all were rebuilt between December 1908 and September 1912. Contrary to what has been published elsewhere and regurgitated ad infinitum, none of these eleven locos fitted with steel fireboxes had the safety valves moved from the firebox to the rear ring of the boiler – more on this in the next entry. As with the E22 batch, about half were sent to work on the Fenchurch Street line where they monopolised services, while the rest were sent to outlying districts.

Unlike the original batch, the ten B32 locos appear to have been fitted with an 8-bolt tapered buffer housing from new. Later, during overhaul, these would be swapped with whatever was to hand, some of the E22s receiving tapered housings and some B32s the parallel type.

Like the E22s, the B32s were all finished in the ultramarine blue livery which, by the early 1890s was only applied to passenger-rated Westinghouse-fitted locomotives.

All twenty locos were built with Roscoe displacement lubricators on the fireman’s side of the smokebox, but from 1894 they were gradually replaced with sight feed lubricators located in the cab.

E22 no.155 heads a lineup including T18 no. 318 and an unidentified M15 built after 1905. Both the E22 and T18 have been rebuilt (no.155 in 1905 and no.318 in 1904) - with 160psi telescopic boilers and the clack valves seated forward. The Nacallen blaspipe operating lever is prominent on the smokebox,  and the Roscoe lubricator has been removed. No.155 was a regular on the Blackwall line for many years and is running as a 2-4-0T.  The locos are all pretty grimy and there's considerable heat distress to the E22s smokebox and chimney. Photograph ©Public Domain.

E22 no.155 heads a line-up including T18 no. 318 and an unidentified M15 built after 1905. Both the E22 and T18 have been rebuilt (no.155 in 1905 and no.318 in 1904) – with 160psi telescopic boilers and the clack valves seated further forward. The Macallen blastpipe operating lever is prominent on the smokebox, and the Roscoe lubricator has been removed. No.155 was a regular on the Blackwall line for many years and is still running as a 2-4-0T. The locos are all pretty grimy and there’s considerable heat distress to the E22s smokebox and chimney. Photograph ©Public Domain.

From about 1894 (though the B32s may have had them from new) the locos were fitted with Macallen’s patent blastpipe, and from about the same date some of the class were given continuous handrails. Some of those with continuous handrails were also fitted with Holden’s Rotary pattern blower valve operated via a crank attached to a push-pull rod inside the handrail. Others received the handrail but retained the Worsdell blower but now fitted higher on the smokebox – the operating rod clearing the top of the tank. Some may even have been fitted with Holden’s short-lived slide-valve blower, but I’ve not yet seen any photographic evidence.

From 1895 the twenty locos were gradually fitted with coal rails as they passed through the Works, some gaining three rails, others four.

Between 1899 and 1912 the whole class was reboilered with 160psi telescopic boilers and copper fireboxes which were interchangeable with the T18 and R24 classes. These new boilers had the clack valves positioned closer to the smokebox.

Services

Given their allocations and duties it would seem that the E22s are barely relevant to Basilica Fields. However, from 1901 the last Sunday Up train from Buntingford ran through to Liverpool Street. It’s possible that this working via Broxbourne, Lea Bridge and Stratford may occasionally (say, in the event of a failure on the Hertford branch) have  been hauled by one of the resident Buntingford locos, which from 1889 to the mid-1890s were numbers 158 and 159. Tenuous, I know, but I’m going to stick my head in the sand and run with it! Other members of the class were allocated to Buntingford from about 1905.

Many examples of the class ran as 2-4-0Ts with the leading section of the coupling rods removed, all engines working the Blackwell line were altered in this way, as were a number of those allocated to country depots such as Braintree. No official reason for this has been given, though over the years suggestions have varied from enabling the locos to traverse sharper curves, to protecting both the flanges and rails. Neither explanation rings true as the practice generally ceased under the LNER except on the tight curves of Ipswich docks with no discernible difference. Whatever the reason their low tractive effort of 11,100lbs and high axle weight over the leading and trailing wheels would have made the locos quite free-running four-coupled machines, and with their relatively light loads of four to five four-wheeled coaches, were unlikely to experience the embarrassment of slipping. Under Fredrick V. Russell – James Holden’s brilliant young protégé – trials were also undertaken with the locos running as 0-4-2Ts, but the results must have proved less satisfactory as they stopped early on.

No.248 from the B32 batch of 1893 hauls a train of five six-wheel carriages passes Haydon Square Junction on the 1.35pm Blackwall - Fenchurch Street service on 12th July 1913, and is running as a 2-4-0T. Their long history with the line earned the tanks the soubriquet 'Blackwall Tanks'. Photograph ©Public Domain.

No.248 from the B32 batch of 1893, running as a 2-4-0T, hauls a train of five six-wheel carriages past Haydon Square Junction on the 1.35pm Blackwall – Fenchurch Street service on 12th July 1913. Their long history with the line earned the tanks the soubriquet ‘Blackwall Tanks’. Photograph ©Public Domain.

Model

A couple of years ago I scratchbuilt an example in an LNER/British Railways transitional livery here, but have in my Basilica Fields pile of brass of one of the long-discontinued and much-missed J65 kits from Connoisseur Models, and will be using this as the basis for building one of the Buntingford locos, probably no.158, for the through service to Liverpool Street.

Source Material

It’s perhaps not surprising that most of the sources for this article are the same as for the T18 class.

  • Great Eastern Locomotives Past & Present 1862-1945 – C Langley Aldrich RCTS Locomotives of the LNER Part 8A
  • Locomotives Illustrated #116
  • Yeadon’s Register Volume 48
  • Lyn Brooks of the GERS
  • John Gardner of the GERS

James Holden took the job of Locomotive Superintendent of the Great Eastern in 1885 during a period of great urgency for both new express passenger engines and shunting/light goods locos.  The company had recently exploited the opportunities presented by the direct link to the industrial heartland of Yorkshire with the opening of the GN&GE Joint line in 1882, and the growth of heavy long-distance coal trains resulted in a massive expansion of the marshalling yards at March and Temple Mills. With hindsight it may seem surprising that there were only eighteen 0-6-0T shunting engines on the company’s books in 1885, but at that time many of these duties were performed by ageing 0-4-4T and 0-6-0 tender classes.

Holden was an unusual man, almost unique as a Locomotive Engineer insofar as he didn’t seek to stamp his identity on new locomotives designed during his tenure. Instead, where he saw good in the work of his predecessors he was content to put it to use – and this included the locomotive aesthetics introduced by Worsdell – concentrating on improving upon and standardising the mechanical aspects.

Less than five months after talking office, Holden’s answer to the shunting problem was solved by the design of what became the T18 class; essentially a simple locomotive amalgamating the best of what had gone before. The new locos were 28′ 2½” long over the buffers and had a 6′ 4″ + 7′ 0″ wheelbase. They could carry 2¼ tons of coal and 1000 gallons of water, and had a tractive effort of 16,970lbs.

T18 no.275 - the first of a very long line of Buckjumpers - sitting outside Stratford Works in 1886 sometime between 15th May when it was ex-Works and 7th June when it was released to traffic.  It's finished in the photographic French grey livery with slate grey borders and white lining - and no GER transfers.  There are some interesting details in the background including the Eastern Counties Railway tender on the left, the design of which dates from 1859, to the boiler on the Service Department 3-plank dropside wagon on the right. I have another photograph taken at the same time which shows three bowler-hatted gents (possibly from the Drawing Office) posing on the running plate.  Photograph ©Public Domain.

T18 no.275; the first of a very long line of Buckjumpers was photographed sitting outside Stratford Works possibly on 15th May 1886 the day it was ex-Works – the loco was eventually released to traffic on 7th June. No.275 is finished in the photographic French grey livery with slate grey borders and white lining, but is lacking the 6″ high GER transfers on the tank sides. There are some interesting details in the background including the Eastern Counties Railway tender on the left, the design of which dates from 1859, to the boiler on the Service Department 3-plank dropside wagon on the right. I have another photograph taken at the same time which shows three bowler-hatted gents (possibly from the Drawing Office) posing on the running plate. Photograph ©Public Domain.

Mechanically the new locos leaned heavily on William Adams’ K9 0-4-2T design with a two-ring butt-jointed boiler barrel 9′ 1″ long and 4ft 1in in diameter (4′ 2″ over the clothing) pressed to 140p.s.i.  Stephenson’s Link motion was employed, being almost identical to the 0-4-2Ts , but the 16″x 24″ cylinders and the arrangement of the motion actually went back even further to S.W. Johnson’s 204 class of 1868 – the eccentrics being different by fractions on an inch. The 4′ 0″ diameter 15 spoke unbalanced iron wheels with an 11″ crank throw (which resulted in three characteristic drop sections each side on the outside brake pull rods) were also a throwback to the same class. William Adams had introduced a single slidebar design which become standard on GER  locomotives built with Stevenson’s Link motion, and Holden carried on the tradition. The smokebox tube plate was interchangeable with Worsdell’s  M15 2-4-2T class, and the body styling imitated the M15 design, incorporating Worsdell’s stovepipe chimney, steam dome, twin Ramsbottom safety valves in a shrouded casing,  cab and bunker. Holden also continued Worsdell’s ultramarine livery with black borders and vermilion lining, finished off with elliptical brass number plates and a vermilion background, though by 1886 he had increased the GER tankside transfers from 4″ to 6″ high.

Ten locos (nos. 275-84) were ordered in December 1885 and released to traffic between May and July 1886. They immediately proved themselves to be a powerful design with excellent steaming qualities so a second batch was ordered, this time for 20 locos (Order K19, nos. 285-304), which were released to the Running Department between March and October 1887.  No.  296 was held back from traffic for almost six months, retained by Stratford Works to provide power for the Wheel Shop.

During September 1886, three months after its release to traffic, No.281 was the first locomotive to be fitted with an experimental version of Holden’s patent oil burning apparatus (the reasons for oil firing will be discussed in a future post).  A solitary burner was fitted beneath the firehole, 18 inches above the grate on which was placed a coal fire measuring 12 inches deep. Several test runs between Stratford and Broxbourne were made and the performance proved satisfactory if the loco wasn’t forced. However, an uneven distribution of the oil spray caused unequal heating within the firebox plates when any attempt was made to increase the steaming rate and it wasn’t long before the equipment was removed.

The prominent and GER historian and employee C. Langley Aldrich described the T18s as 'Cinderella’s' as they were worked hard, received no glory, and were rarely cleaned. Indeed, it’s rather difficult to find photographs of the class much before Grouping even in the lists of those contemporary photographers who managed to capture even the most mundane of Great Eastern subjects. I have managed to collect a handful of images, but compared to most other classes they are poorly represented. No.299 ex-Works in photographic French grey with white lining and slate grey borders standing outside the Polygon at Stratford Works on 20th July 1887. The loco was released to traffic on 1st September and led an uneventful life in the Stratford District under the ownership of the GER. What is even more interesting about this photo is the presence of the Class 209 'Coffee Pot' in its original cabless form under the Polygon signal box, in full ultramarine livery. Photograph ©Public Domain.

The prominent and GER historian and employee C. Langley Aldrich described the T18s as ‘Cinderella’s’ as they were worked hard, received no glory, and were rarely cleaned. Indeed, it’s rather difficult to find photographs of the class much before Grouping even in the lists of those contemporary photographers who managed to capture even the most mundane of the Great Eastern Railway’s subjects. I have managed to collect a handful of images, but compared to most other classes they are poorly represented.
No.299 ex-Works in photographic French grey with white lining and slate grey borders standing outside the Polygon at Stratford Works on 20th July 1887. I have to admit to being a bit sceptical about the GER transfers on the tank sides – looking at the original photograph I’m convinced the initials were added afterwards (Ye Olde Victorian Photoshoppe!). The loco was released to traffic on 1st September and led an uneventful life in the Stratford District under the ownership of the GER.
What is even more interesting about this photo is the presence of the Class 209 ‘Coffee Pot’ in its original cabless form under the Polygon signal box, in full ultramarine livery.
Photograph ©Public Domain.

By 1887, the four-coupled tank engines used on the Enfield and Chingford lines were struggling to cope with the increasingly heavy trains on both branches, so in July of that year,  an experiment was undertaken and no. 294 of the K19 batch was fitted with the Westinghouse brake, screw reverse, and screw couplings, and began a series of passenger trials on the Enfield line using new carriage stock. In the meantime an order for a further ten shunting locos was put in (Order H21, nos. 307-316), which were delivered between June and August 1888.

The Enfield trials proved to be a success, and it was decide that a final batch of T18s should be built as passenger engines with all the modifications of no.294, but with an increase in their coal capacity. To facilitate an extended bunker without altering the length of the frames, Holden shortened the cab by six inches. These passenger locos (Order T21 nos. 317-26) were delivered during November and December 1888 and immediately sent to work on the Enfield line.

In 1889 the eleven locos adapted for passenger duties received 10 spoke cast steel with crescent balance weights and a 10″ crank throw, but although the eleven locos had shown the 0-6-0T design was capable of handling intensive suburban work, Holden had already decided there was room for some improvement and set about designing the next step in the evolution of the type.

In 1890 a modified design for passenger and shunting work under a new classification R24 was released to traffic (also the subject of a future post), and sent to work the Enfield line, cascading the entire T21 batch of T18 locos, nos. 317-26, down to shunting duties. The ten locos were stripped of their Westinghouse brakes which were immediately fitted to the second batch of the R24 class (Order S24) already under construction. Only no. 294 was unaffected and remained a passenger engine.

From 1890 only those locos fitted with the Westinghouse brake were painted in the ultramarine livery as they came into Works for overhaul, and locomotives fitted with steam or hand brakes only were painted in a plain black livery with vermilion bufferbeams and side rods.  Some post-War railway historians have mentioned the presence of vermilion lining on black-painted goods and shunting locos, but primary evidence seems to contradict this – only the lowly 0-4-0ST Coffeepots having their black livery offset by lining in the blue livery style . By the turn of the century only no.294 of the class remained in blue.

Smokeboxes on the Great Eastern had an average life expectancy of about a decade, which included two or three major repairs. From 1892 a new style smokebox of flanged construction with a radiused front edge was introduced for all the company’s locos, replacing the earlier design built up with angle iron, and by the middle of the Edwardian period most of the T18 class were so fitted. At about the same time a new design of continuous handrail was introduced for new-build locomotives, and some, but by no means all of the existing loco stock had their separate handrails replaced.  It appears that most of the T18s retained the separate handrails.

No. 281 in the guise of the Stratford Works shunter, and an interesting photo for all sorts of reasons. The date is no earlier than November 1893 when the loco was refitted with Holden’s patent oil burning apparatus – the fuel tank can be seen in the bunker, and the date can be no later than 14th June 1894 when E10 class no.239 was withdrawn from service (here it's still in steam and in service with a Stratford destination board which were drawn daily from the stores).  No.281 has already been fitted with the cut-down stovepipe chimney and still sports a Roscoe lubricator on the side of the smokebox. Although it appears to be freshly painted in the black goods livery, in the original photograph there is enough definition to clearly see  the ultramarine blue and black borders. The unidentifiable Y14 on the right hasn’t yet been fitted with the Macallen blast pipe. The roof of the Polygon can be seen in the background.  Photograph ©Public Domain.

No. 281 in the guise of the Stratford Works shunter, and an interesting photo for all sorts of reasons. The date is no earlier than November 1893 when the loco was refitted with Holden’s patent oil burning apparatus – the fuel tank can be seen in the bunker, and the date can be no later than 14th June 1894 when E10 class no.239 was withdrawn from service (here it’s still in steam and in service with a Stratford destination board which were drawn daily from the stores). No.281 has already been fitted with the cut-down stovepipe chimney and still sports a Roscoe lubricator on the side of the smokebox. Although it appears to be freshly painted in the black goods livery, in the original photograph there is enough definition to clearly see the ultramarine blue and black borders. The unidentifiable Y14 on the right hasn’t yet been fitted with the Macallen blast pipe. The roof of the Polygon can be seen in the background.
Photograph ©Public Domain.

In 1893, no. 281 was transferred to Service Stock at Stratford Works where (for the next 69 years) it was one of the Works’ shunting locos. It  was soon fitted with a cut-down chimney the same height as the steam dome, probably due to one of its duties being in an area of restricted height. In November of that year no.281 was again fitted with oil firing apparatus, but this time with the now standard arrangement of twin burners. There is no record of when this was removed for a second time, but was almost certainly circa 1905 during wholesale removal of the equipment from the company’s locos.

From 1894 Macallan blast pipes (designed and patented by one of the company’s employees) were fitted to all the class as they came into Works. From this date a new style of blower valve was also introduced on the GER, replacing Worsdell’s spherical type mounted above the handrail, the new ones only fitted to locos with continuous handrails as the operating rod ran inside them. However, it appears that few, if any T18s were retro-fitted with the new blower valves, even those fitted with continuous handrails appear to have retained the separate valve mounted above.

Three coal rails were fitted to the bunkers of all the T18s except no. 281 (which never received them) between 1895 and 1899 when they passed through works, and at the same time all except Westinghouse-fitted no.294 and one example of the class already so fitted in 1893 received the steam brake, having previously been fitted with hand brakes only.

In 1896 the ten ex-passenger locos of the T21 batch were altered from screw to lever reverse and fitted with cast iron 15 spoke unbalanced wheels to bring them in line with the rest of the class.

The final changes made to the T18s in the period covered by Basilica Fields was the class-wide rebuilding which took place between 1898 and 1908. All fifty locos were given new two-ring boilers pressed to 160psi to the same pattern used by the E22 and R24 class tanks.

Modelling the T18 class

For Basilica Fields the T18 class will be represented by one of the forty from the first three batches with the original cab and short bunkers.  It’s been quite difficult to ascertain with certainty exactly which T18s were allocated to the Stratford District for shunting in the 1890s/early 1900s, but I believe I may now have a contender though it does need a little more research. There have never been any kits for the T18 class in any scale and was resigning myself to a scratchbuild, when discussions with my good friend and master modelmaker Colin Dowling revealed he needs a handful of the beasts for his embryonic Bow Creek Wharf layout and was prepared to cut the platework on his milling machine.  So in the absence of surviving General Arrangement drawings (quite a rare omission for GE locos and rolling stock) we collated as much information as possible, consulted the contemporary and very good HT Buckle drawing from his series in the Locomotive Magazine published between 1901 and 1913 (Buckle was at one time employed in the Drawing office at Stratford), and scoured various photographs.  Both Colin and I came up with a series of dimensions, most of which tallied, after which Colin went away and produced a definitive drawing from which the masters can now be cut.  Colin has already produced a master for the 4′ 0″ 15-spoke wheel which will also be useful for the R24 shunting Buckjumpers. But more of that anon.

An unidentified T18 doing what the class did best; shunting and trip goods workings.  The date is 12th May 1915, the location is Ipswich goods yard, and the train is a consignment of G.S. wagons for the British Army.

An unidentified T18 doing what the class did best; shunting and trip goods workings. The date is 12th May 1915, the location is Ipswich goods yard, and the train is a consignment of G.S. wagons for the British Army. Photograph ©Public Domain.

The T18s deserve a little more prominence in the history of the GER and are too often overlooked – Aldrich’s observation was spot on – so I’m grateful to all those who have ploughed this lonely furrow long before my efforts.  This entry would have been so much poorer in content without information from the following:

  • Great Eastern Locomotives Past & Present 1862-1945 – C Langley Aldrich RCTS Locomotives of the LNER Part 8A
  • Locomotives Illustrated #116
  • Yeadon’s Register Volume 48
  • The Locomotive Magazine
  • The Great Eastern Society Special #3 ‘All Stations to Liverpool Street’
  • Lyn Brooks of the GERS
  • John Gardner of the GERS

OK, so I had an unexpected break from the blog in the last half of 2013 – sorry about that, but real life got in the way again. Actually it’s still in the way thanks to having the house flooded in the storms last month; half the house and the contents therein, along with my workshop and everything in it have all been written off by contaminated water. But while I’m waiting for the house to dry, the restoration team to rebuild (could be autumn I’ve been told) and the insurance to cough up, I’m at last in a position to publish a few more posts, the bones of which I’ve been plotting for some time.

Of course this means the Angel Yard segment won’t be ready for the ScaleSeven Challenge 33 finale in October, but I’m not too worried – happiness is the the road, not the destination. So here we go again…