April 2014

I hadn’t intended to include this entry here, but after a request for more information on the class (about which there really is precious little to say!) I’ve dredged it up from the bulging draft folder and packaged it up as the prequel to the series on the Buckjumpers.

As recounted in the entry on the T18s, when Holden took office at Stratford in 1885 there were, perhaps unusually for the period, only eighteen 0-6-0 tank engines on the Register of the Great Eastern Railway, all of the shunting variety. Most shunting duties were undertaken by older 0-4-4T types and unsuitable, ancient life-expired tender locomotives close to withdrawal. Ten of these eighteen tanks were of a type introduced by Bromley in 1881 and classed M12 under the Stratford alpha-numeric Letter Account system.

Unless a student of the Great Eastern Railway, one might be forgiven for never having heard the name Massey Bromley. Despite holding a BA from Oxford, Bromley, born in 1847, was a keen engineer and a Great Eastern man, having apprenticed himself to SW Johnson in 1869, rising to the post of Running Shed manager in 1871 (during which time he also found time to complete his MA), Works Manager in 1874 and finally in 1878 Locomotive Superintendent following the departure of William Adams for Nine Elms on the L&SWR.

The ten engines of the M12 Class were the fourth and penultimate class of locomotive introduced during Bromley’s tenure, an 0-6-0T version of the E10 0-4-4T class which had been designed and ordered by Adams, but built after Bromley took office.


M12 no 548 was the seventh member of the class to be built, ex-Works and released to traffic on the same day – 12th July 1881, and after a short an uneventful sixteen years of shunting was withdrawn on 17th September 1898. One of only two photographs of the class I’m aware of,  wherever the photograph was taken – I have no details of class allocations, and I doubt any survive – the date is no later than c1886 as the early lamp hangers are extant. Snap-head rivets were a feature of the three classes built at Stratford under Bromley – the outside contractors continued to fit flush rivets in the period, and Stratford reverted to them after Bromley’s departure. Photograph © Public Domain.


The M12 class is one of three Stratford-built engines of the period for which there is no known GA drawing (the others being the very similar Adams K9 and the Adams/Bromley E10), but a GA for Bromley’s contractor-built 140 class (built by Hawthorn & Co.), which was essentially a shortened E10 with larger diameter driving wheels does exist, and many details can be extrapolated from it and applied to the M12. There are also two contemporary side-elevations  available, drawn by HT Buckle and published in The Locomotive Magazine in 1911,  and these may be considered accurate as Buckle at that time worked in the drawing office at Brighton Works and had previously held a similar position at Stratford.

So to details; released to traffic between 21st March and 1th August 1881 and measuring 27ft 4in over buffers with a 14ft 5in wheelbase, the ten engines had 1000 gallon tanks with unfastened filler lids, weighed 40T 5cwt, had 16-spoke 5ft 2in wheels (Aldrich erroneously states 4ft 10in) and 16 x 22in cylinders. Stephenson’s Link motion was fitted, the configuration was the same as fitted to the T18 Bucks which can be traced all the way back to Johnson’s 204 class in the 1860s.  The slidebars were almost certainly single-bar which would become standard on the GER. The coupling rods had square-finished end with a vertical pin through to prevent the bush turning in the boss.

The three-ring butt-jointed boiler was pressed to 140psi with the steam dome seated on the middle ring, and was the same pattern as those fitted to the K9 0-4-2Ts, ‘140’ Class 0-4-4Ts, E10 0-4-4Ts and the rebuilt  Johnson ‘204’ Class 0-6-0Ts.  A large wooden toolbox was placed between the dome and twin uncased Ramsbottom safety valves. These were spaced 2ft 6in from the cab weatherboard with the whistle mounted on the valve seat on the driver’s side.

An early pattern blower valve sat on the top of the first ring of the boiler and was operated by crank from a rod running inside the handrail on the driver’s side, the blower pipe entering the base of the deep-skirted chimney. Injectors were mounted in front of the side tanks with the steam cocks on the boiler next to the dome. Displacement lubricators were fitted to the side of, and fed directly into the smokebox with two more lubricators on the front of the cylinders.

The operation of the leading sands is worthy of comment; introduced by Adams on his 61 class 0-4-4T and fitted to his K9 0-4-2T, Bromley perpetuated the design on the E10, 140, and M12 tank engine designs. A horizontal shaft passed across the front of the boiler backplate with a vertical operating lever in the middle.  Bell cranks, arranged at each end, connected to pull-rods which in turn passed through the front weatherboard, running down both sides of the boiler. Passing through bearings bracketed to the smokebox sides, vertical spindles surmounted by bell cranks connected to the pull-rods and passed down to the bottom of the sandboxes where they operated a rotary ‘hit and miss’ valve. When the operating lever was pulled, the pull-rods moved backwards, turning the spindles and opening the sanders. Whether this arrangement was implemented to enable the driver to operate the sands from either side of the cab, or for the fireman to operate them is open to debate.

The cab was open at the rear, and the spectacles in the front weatherboard were of the rectangular Adams pattern. The reversing rod was operated by lever, and as-built the locos were hand-braked only. Rear sands were filled through pipes fitted inside bunker.

Bromley continued Adams’ black livery but increased the width of the vermilion lining and added incurved corners. Coupling rods and bufferbeams were vermilion on which the engine running number was hand painted in 8″ yellow letters in an Egyptian block serif style in the form No. [hook] 548.

Bromley introduced the elliptical numberplate to the GER, replacing Adams’ rectangular plate. Cast in iron these may have been painted black or vermilion (it’s not recorded) with the numerals painted white. The plates had axis of 24 and fifteen inches and a raised semi-circular beading 7/8in wide by 3/8in deep. The serif running number was placed on the horizontal centre line, 6 inches high and 3/16in deep with GER sans serif horizontally above and STRATFORD 1881 horizontally beneath. Mounted centrally on the tank sides they were surrounded by a vermilion line.


Bit of a fortuitous find this one; sold as something quite different it doubles the number of photographs of the class I know to be in existence. No. 549 (not the highest numbered, but the final one released to traffic) in original condition (and very grubby…what…dirt in the 1880s?!), the date is no later than c1886 as the original lamp irons are still in place. Many of the features of the class are clearer in this photo than the one at the top of the entry, particularly the complex arrangement of rods and fittings to the blower, leading sands and injectors. Many of the 29 cattle wagons in the train appear to be the elusive diagram 3, the smallest of the GER cattle wagons classed as the ‘Medium’ type, 16ft 0in over headstocks and built between 1881 and 1893, with the longer 19ft 0in diagram 6 ‘Large’ cattle wagons mixed in. All the cattle wagons are sheeted which suggests a military train; except for officers’ cavalry and artillery horses which always travelled in horseboxes, the British Army regularly transported large numbers of horses in sheeted cattle wagons. The location is unknown to me (read that as I’ve not yet had the opportunity to find out!) but shows the typical condition of the Great Eastern Railway’s deep-ballasted permanent way of the period, and of course the simply glorious sky-arm bracket signal which appears to be of MacKenzie & Holland design with three stop boards and a fish-tailed auxiliary (distant) board below. The GER didn’t adopt the Coligny-Welch lamps on it’s distant signals until 1906, and of course they were painted the same red as the stop signals until much later. Pity the signalman who had to climb that to replace the lamps in a gale! Photograph ©Public Domain.

By the end of 1886 Holden’s new spike lamp irons had replaced the early ‘socket and swan-necked spoon’ type and rebuilding began the following year with numbers 542 and 543, and no. 544 in 1888.  These were fitted with new 140psi two-ring boilers with the dome on the front ring and the safety valves on the firebox moved back six and a half inches towards the cab. Other fittings included Worsdell’s stovepipe chimney, a Roscoe pattern displacement lubricator with a visible pipe feeding backwards directly to the steam chest.

The two rebuilt engines (and any other members of the class requiring repainting in the period 1883-1890) would have been finished in Worsdell’s original ultramarine livery for non-new locos.  The difference between this and the later Standard blue livery was that as older locos they were not given the GER lettering on the tank sides and nor did they receive Worsdell’s brass elliptical number plates, but retained their cast iron plates centrally mounted on the tank sides, the background painted vermilion and the raised portions scoured bright.

In 1890 Holden standardised the livery to only Westinghouse-fitted engines being painted in ultramarine, so all unfitted goods and shunting engines including the M12s requiring painting were turned out in plain unlined black. However, to offset this, all engines were now given the 6in high GER lettering on the tank sides and the Bromley numberplates were  moved to the bunker sides.

In 1895 the first of the class, no.547 was withdrawn from traffic and a further (but final) two of the class rebuilt – nos. 545 and 546. The specifications of the rebuilding was the same as the earlier three members of the class but with the addition of steam brakes, an enclosed cab – a flat rear weatherboard linking the bunker front and the cab roof – and three coal rails added to the top of the bunker. It’s not known for certain, but is likely that the rear weatherboards had spectacles of the by now standard round pattern, and it’s probable that the front weatherboards were fitted with them too.  Photographs show that the early E10 rebuilds in the 1880s retained their square windows, but, the rebuilds of the 1890s were given round spectacles fore and aft. Until a definitive photograph emerges, however, it’s pure speculation. As with any engine rebuilt by Holden they were also fitted with Worsdell pattern brass numberplates with a vermilion background which bore the rebuild date.

In 1896 the original three rebuilt locos nos. 542, 543 and 544 were withdrawn, followed by no.551 in 1897, no.548 in 1898, 549 and 550 in 1899 and the recently rebuilt no.545 in 1900. The class became extinct with the withdrawal of rebuilt no 546 on 22 February 1902.


I haven’t a clue! If the location of the two photographs above can be ascertained then that will help. I’d suggest that some of the ten were in the London District, and the rest sent to the larger centres in the country districts, such as Cambridge, Ipswich, Norwich, etc.

Modelling the M12 class

Obviously no commercial kits exist for such a niche engine, and so if I do – and I might! – then it will be a scratchbuild using the limited information given above.


I think that’s it for GER 0-6-0 tanks for Basilica Fields – I don’t believe the remaining eight engines of various classes at the time of Holden’s taking office are applicable to this project.

Considering the dearth of information on the M12s which doesn’t amount to more than three or four sentences in all the references, I’m rather pleased that I’ve managed to squeeze out 2000 words on them (who at the back said ‘waffle’?) – not bad for an ugly duckling which Rice poetically called ‘The be-riveted Drudge’!


  • Great Eastern Locomotives Past & Present 1862-1945 – C Langley Aldrich
  • Great Eastern Railway Journal
  • Model Railway Journal preview issue – The be-rivetted Drudge, Iain Rice
  • A Background to GER Locomotive Policy 1856-1923, GER Society Journal no.14 – Lyn Brooks & A. C. Sandwell
  • Massey Bromley: Locomotive Superintendent 1878-1881, GER Society Journal no.27 – Roger Farrant
  • The Locomotive Magazine 1911
  • John Gardner of the GERS

By the beginning of the Edwardian period the Great Eastern Railway was handling the largest number of individual passenger journeys in the world, yet the demand for increased suburban services continued unabated, and before long the close-coupled 15-carriage 4-wheeled suburban sets were bolstered by the addition of an extra carriage, catering for 108 extra seated and standing passengers.

During the morning peak, in the space of one hour, twenty four trains pulled into Liverpool Street’s West Side suburban platforms 1 – 4 made up of eight from Enfield, two from Chingford, ten from Walthamstow (on the Chingford Line) and two from Edmonton Lower Level by way of Angel Road (fast services via Clapton, and slow services via Lea Bridge and Stratford).

This is what it's all about! Buckjumpers at Bethnal Green from the Liverpool Street end of the station, Basilica Fields about a mile down the line away from the camera. Stage left an R24R in the Up platform of the 1872 suburban lines and stage right an S56 standing in the Up platform of the Local lines (ex-Main of 1840).  Curving round the back on the far right are the Thro' lines of 1891 and carriage sidings. The tall Type 8 West Junction signal box controls the forest of typical GE sky-arm LQ boards which are comprehensively stayed. the second box on the Up Local platform is in fact the Timekeeper's box.  The two trains are probably carrying about 2400 passenger between them. Photograph © Public Domain.

This is what it’s all about! Buckjumpers at Bethnal Green from the Liverpool Street end of the station, Basilica Fields is situated about a mile down the line away from the camera. Stage left an R24R in the Up platform of the 1872 Suburban lines and stage right an S56 standing in the Up platform of the Local lines (ex-Main line of 1840). Curving round the back on the far right are the Through lines of 1891 and carriage sidings. The tall Type 8 West Junction signal box controls the forest of typical GE sky-arm LQ boards which are comprehensively stayed. The second box on the Up Local platform is in fact the Timekeeper’s box. The two trains are probably carrying about 2400 passenger between them, all from the Chingford line. Photograph © Public Domain.

The 16-carriage trains were designed to carry 848 seated passengers (20,352 per hour), plus an extra six standing in each compartment  bringing the total weight of the train to around 280 tons gross. The little Holden 0-6-0 tanks, weighing just 40 tons, not only had to negotiate the 1 in 70 Bethnal Green bank outside the terminus but the tightly-timed and steeply-graded lines on the north flank of the Thames Valley. One contemporary writer recorded peak trains disgorging 1200 seated and standing passengers, and by the end of the Edwardian period the company was carrying over 200,000 suburban passengers a day – 73 million a year, a figure which eventually rose to over 107.5 million during ‘The Jazz’ in the 1920s.

When the rebuilding of the R24 class was at its peak in 1904, additional new passenger Bucks were required by the Running Department, so Holden took the R24R design and increased the coal capacity by 5cwt to 2 tons 10 cwt by widening the bunker and cab to match the 5 inch wide tank extensions. Mindful of the 180 lbs per square inch boiler extending a considerable distance into the cab he also altered the doorway to a symmetrical keyhole shape.

The locos were built in two batches to Orders S56 and P57, the former giving the engines their classification. The first batch were given the running numbers 51-60 and were handed over to the Running Department between 30 May and 30 June 1904, and the second batch numbered 81-90,  entering service between 2 September and 28 October of that year.

By the time the S56s were introduced most of the peripheral improvements had been made to the Bucks and in the couple of years to the end of the Basilica Fields timeframe there were no alterations of note to the class.

No. 85 from the P57 batch was released to traffic on 16 September 1904. The disc headcode on the bunker reveals the loco has recently brought a Down empty coaching stock (ECS) movement from Liverpool Street to the Stratford Carriage Sidings. Yet another filthy loco, though there's been a half-hearted attempt to buff up the shiny y bits.

No. 85 from the P57 batch was released to traffic on 16 September 1904. The disc headcode on the bunker reveals the loco has recently brought a Down empty coaching stock (ECS) movement from Liverpool Street to the Stratford Carriage Sidings. Oh dear, it’s yet another filthy loco; looks like I’m slowly bursting the mythical bubble modellers like to inhabit in which all pre-Grouping locos were pristine chocolate-box clean… Photograph © Public Domain


The new engines featured prominently on  the peak suburban services, but as before, during the slack hours they were utilised in the goods and shunting links as well as on empty carriage stock movements out of Liverpool Street.

Modelling the S56 class

At one time there was a Connoisseur Models kit of the LNER J69, but the closely related  J68 (GER C72) kit introduced several years later is a huge improvement in terms of fidelity and detail. I’ll be building two S56 class locos by converting the J68 kit by means of milled tank, cab and bunker parts from Colin Dowling’s range.


The only Buckjumper to survive is no.87 from the P57 series of the S56 class. It has been kept in GER lined blue livery since withdrawal in 1962 and is currently on display at Bressingham Steam Museum in Norfolk.  Here it is during its stay at the NRM.

Afterword: Beyond the S56 class

The twenty locos of the S56 class didn’t mark the end of the Buckjumper development and in 1912, under James Holden’s son Stephen Dewar who had, somewhat controversially, taken the position of Locomotive Superintendent in 1907, ten more shunting locos were required for increased traffic.  It made economic sense to build ten new passenger locos and demote the original R24 batch of passenger locos to shunting duties, stripping them of their 10-spoke balanced wheels, Westinghouse brakes, screw reverser, screw couplings and condensing apparatus (though they retained the condensing chambers and vent pipes), and their boilers were replaced or reduced to 160psi.

Too late for Basilica Fields, a passenger Buck of the C72 variety of 1912, with all the mod-cons.  Still couldn't keep the old girls clean... Photograph © Public Domain.

Too late for Basilica Fields; a passenger Buck of the C72 variety built in 1912 with all the mod-cons, and even Goliath would have trouble banging his head on the raised arc roof. Still couldn’t keep the old girls clean though… 10-spoke wheels, Westinghouse brakes, condensing gear (albeit new full-width chambers) and screw reverser are second-hand courtesy of the R24 batch of 1890! Photograph © Public Domain.

The new locos, classed C72 were virtually identical  to the S56 engines, albeit with cosmetic modifications to bring them in line with the then new GER image, so incorporated built-up rimmed chimneys, arched windows in not only the front and rear weatherboards but also the cab side-sheets, and a high single-arc roof.  The following year under new Locomotive Superintendent Alfred Hill, ten more engines to the shunting specification were built, and just before Grouping one further batch of the shunting series was ordered which were released to traffic at the end of the first year of the LNER, bringing to an end 37 years of development and a total of 260 Buckjumper tanks.

G75 no24_spitalfields

Standing outside the small engine shed at Spitalfields, the final development of the Buckjumper shunters, class C72 to Order G75, no.24 was released to traffic on 9th January 1914. It has all the latest mod-cons of the passenger design mixed with the typical flat-topped tanks, three-link couplings, 15-spoke unbalanced wheels and outside brake pull rods (by now anachronistic on new builds) with dropped sections in the path of the 11″ throw crank pins. The loco is finished in the goods and shunting plain black livery and sports the grime and stains of working hard in the East End. The final batch built under the LNER in 1923 were the penultimate  locos to be built at Stratford Works. Photo ©Public Domain.


Document SX11702 – NRM, York.  Composition of wide suburban sets.

The Great Eastern 0-6-0Ts – Railway Observer 1954 & RCTS

Locomotives of the LNER Pt. 8A – RCTS

Yeadon’s Register Vol. 48 – Booklaw

Locomotives Illustrated 116 – The Great Eastern Railway ‘Jazz’ engines.

The Great Eastern Railway Society Journal Special no.3 – All Stations to Liverpool Street (articles by Lyn Brooks and Geoff Pember)

In Search of Buckjumpers – Iain Rice, Model Railway Journal issues 35 & 36.

Bradshaw Timetables 1889 and 1905

GER Appendices to the Working Timetables of 1891 and 1906.