Extended Widened Lines

In 1863 Craven introduced suburban carriages to the LB&SC, but instead of being new builds, these were a mixed bag of simple conversions from his main line stock with modified seating and the arm rests removed, increasing the capacity of compartments from six to eight.

It wasn’t until Stroudley took office that new suburban stock began to appear. As his  standardisation policy extended to rolling stock, his lightweight suburban 4-wheelers appeared in 1872 and continued in production for twenty nine years.

These new carriages were all constructed mahogany with teak framing, and were 26′ long by 8′ wide on a standard underframe made from Moulmein teak, and nine types were introduced:

  • A four-compartment first.
  • A five compartment second with a four compartment second appearing later.
  • Two thirds;  early versions having long side windows with no partitions to the compartments and later versions with full partitions and separate quarterlights.
  • Two brake-thirds, the passenger compartments as above.
  • Two four-compartment first/second composites with unequal compartment lengths, later batches having equal length compartments for both classes.

These suburban carriages were close-coupled in semi-permanent sets by a central buffing fixture with side chains, and standard buffers were only fitted to the brake end of brake-thirds. Initially train braking was hand operated by the guard, with wooden blocks bearing on the wheels of the brake-third carriages only. In 1875, Stroudley puruaded the Board to release funds to convert to the automatic Westinghouse brake, thus becoming one of the earliest proponents of the system, long before automatic train braking became law.

The carriages were originally built with oil lamps, but many were converted to gas. Although Stroudley was innovative and introduced the first electrically lit train in 1881, I’ve found no evidence to suggest any of his suburban stock was so converted.

Externally the carriages were varnished and gilt-lined under both Stroudley and Billinton, but once the mahogany had deteriorated to the point that further revarnishing ceased to give a satisfactory finish, they were painted in a mahogany colour. During 1903 a new livery was unveiled, cream with umber from the waist down. Just how quickly this new livery took to percolate down to the humble suburban carriages I’m not sure, but I suspect it was at least three years, possibly longer, and I welcome informed discussion on this. Roofs were white and the ends of brake-thirds vermilion.

Internal colour schemes remained fairly constant through both the Stroudley and Billinton periods, though I’d also welcome debate on just how much of the refinery seen on the main line stock was incorporated in the suburban sets.

  • First class – blue colour scheme, plush cushions with blue buffalo hide in smoking compartments. Paintwork, carpets and  blinds also in blue.
  • Second class – brown colour scheme.
  • Third class – bare wooden seats, oak grained paintwork.

For Basilica Fields I’m fortunate that Roxey Mouldings can supply all the necessary kits to build a contemporary rake.  Speaking of which, attempting to discover what might constitute a typical East London Railway set proved to be an interesting diversion, however Cheam’s accident on the ELR in 1897 generated a Board of Trade report which lists the six carriages of the train the loco was pulling, so I’m confident that building a rake consisting of a brake-third, third, first, second, third and brake-third will satisfy the historic demand.

Withdrawal of the earliest of Stroudley’s carriages commenced at the turn of the 20th century, and most, but not all had gone by Grouping.

Prior to Stroudley’s appointment, the LB&SCR under Craven had few locomotives designed for shunting and trip work, these jobs usually going to locos awaiting repair or withdrawal. In the winter of 1874/5 Stroudley put an end to this unsatisfactory arrangement when the first six of his E tanks was released to traffic. The successful design was based very much along the lines of his A and D tanks, and construction continued, albeit with detail differences, beyond Stroudley’s death in 1889. The class eventually totalled 78 examples, with the final six released to traffic under Billinton in 1891 .

The locos were painted in the goods dark olive green with black lining and borders, and in contrast to Stroudley’s C class 0-6-0 goods locos, the class received names – most with a Continental flavour which caused some confusion among the Company’s signwriters judging by some of the reported spelling errors!

As a temporary measure due to the acute shortage of suburban passenger locos in the early 1880s, twenty new builds and nine existing members of the class were fitted with the Westinghouse brake, new balance weights, and Krupps long-life tyres on the leading wheels before being painted in the famous Stroudley passenger livery of yellow ochre. Although very successful on goods workings, the E1 tanks proved unpopular with passengers due to their penchant for surging and rough riding at passenger speeds. These duties were also unpopular with the crews who found it difficult enough to keep to their feet, let alone fire at speed. Nevertheless, no alterations were made to address these issues as another batch of D tanks was soon delivered in 1881-2. The twenty nine Westinghouse fitted E1s kept their brake equipment, but quickly returned to their goods and shunting duties. The yellow ochre livery on these locos was generally left untouched until the next visit to the Works, but many of the New Cross locos were repainted olive green long before overhaul.

Further examples of the class were fitted with the Westinghouse brake between 1890-3 for fitted goods workings, at which time both they and the earlier Westinghouse fitted tanks received a fine red line to their dark green either side of the broad black band. Despite their earlier problems on passenger turns, photographic evidence shows the class wasn’t exempt from such work even into the 1920s.

The LB&SCR had no part in goods workings over the East London Line via Wapping and Rotherhithe; those services were entirely under the jurisdiction of the Great Eastern which ran trains from and to the exchange sidings at New Cross. With the opening of the New Tunnel and a couple of small LB&SCR depots north of the river, E1 tanks ran limited goods services via that route on to the Extended Widened Lines.

New Cross had an allocation of twenty nine E1 tanks in the mid-1890s, and the one representing the class on Basilica Fields will be No.132 of 1878, which carried the wonderfully exotic name Epernay. The loco is seen here before the early 1890s when she was fitted with the Westinghouse brake, and the model will be built from an Albion Models kit.

This post concludes the précis of LB&SCR locos for Basilica Fields.

Kirtley’s A2 class satisfied requirements for suburban tanks on the Chatham during the 1880s, but increased demand at the end of the decade meant that in August 1890 Kirtley sent the A2 class specifications out to prospective manufacturers inviting them to tender on eighteen new builds. Sharp Stewart won the contract, but within a month Kirtley had changed his mind and sent considerably revised specifications labelled ‘A3 Class’. By November, with the withdrawal of the final member of the Ruby Class, the title of the plans for the new locos was amended to ‘R Class’.

The new locos, delivered from September 1891, had a slightly smaller boiler, both in terms of length and diameter, with a greater firebox heating surface and higher working pressure. The driving wheels were 1″ smaller than the A2s, and other differences included a smaller coupled wheelbase, and smaller square-topped side tanks with an additional well at the base of the bunker. The condensing pipes left the smokebox from the upper part of the smokebox into a point midway along the tops of the tanks, in the style of Johnson’s Midland 0-4-4Ts, and the increased steam travel in these longer exposed pipes assisted condensation.

On inner suburban working, the new R Class were found to be as good as, if not better than any loco of the period working in Town; the powerful tanks were capable of good acceleration, and were free from slipping, which was used to good advantage on the steeply graded lines. Their Achilles heel proved to be the longer outer suburban services with the attendant faster runs and longer distances to which they were not particularly well suited – an unfortunate revelation, as it was the 0-4-2WT ‘Scotchmen’ employed on these duties which Kirtley had hoped the new class would replace.

All eighteen members of the class were initially sent to Battersea, though a couple of locos were soon migrated to another local shed.As with most LC&DR locos and stock, these locos will need to be scratchbuilt. Number 199 stands at Longhedge, apparently soon after entering service. The handsome LC&DR paint livery was gloss black with a broad blue-grey band edged with fine vermilion on the outside and a fine yellow line on the inside.

This concludes the précis of LD&CR locos on Basilica Fields in the 1890-98 period.

London in the 1870s was a period of great expansion for the suburban railway. Most of the LB&SCR suburban services were first worked by ancient Craven tender engines which were highly unsuitable and caused severe congestion at the London termini as they queued to be turned. Their replacements, Stroudley’s A class tanks, had proved to be successful on inner suburban services on both the South London and East London Railways, but they only had the capacity to carry half a ton of coal and 500 gallons water, and were therefore of limited use on outer suburban duties. Stroudley’s D class 0-4-2 tanks with 5′ 6″ driving wheels, introduced in 1873, were perfect for the task; they were more powerful than their 0-6-0T cousins, had greater coal and water capacities, were shown to be very economical in use and were very free running. Their success resulted the building of 125 examples down the years to 1887, thirty one of which in the 1890s were based at New Cross for servicing trains north across the river via the ELR and SLR lines.

As suburban traffic continued to increase in capacity and weight, so the D1s began to take over even the inner suburban turns traditionally associated with the Terriers, which by the mid 1890s were rapidly being stripped of their condensing equipment and rusticated. The introduction of Billinton’s radial and bogie tanks in the 1890s had no more than a little effect on the class in the London district, but further introductions in the early 1900s prompted their rapid decline on outer suburban services and heralded the first withdrawals. The D1s remained in use on services over the East London Railway until electrification in 1913, and on the East London Railway Extension until 1915.

The D1 0-4-2Ts are one of my favourite designs, and a couple of examples from Albion Models kits will share turns with a Terrier on LB&SCR services through Basilica Fields via the East London Railway Extension and Extended Widened Lines. Number 299 New Cross, of that shed, is a likely candidate and is seen here on a south London suburban service c1900. Due to the frequency of trains over the ELR and ELRE, it would make sense to incorporate at least another one of the 31 members of the class allocated to New Cross during the mid 1890s, and I’d really like to build number 281 Aldgate, but unfortunately it appears the loco was wedded to Battersea for the duration, and is therefore very unlikely to have serviced the ELR/ELRE. There were no other D1s at New Cross with suitable local names, so I’m currently undecided as to the identity of the second loco, though Ditchling is a possibility, and would be a bit of a doff of the cap in the direction of Gordon & Maggie Gravett who produce some fabulous models.

The reason for my interest in No.281? It was a painting of a Metropolitan 4-4-0T and Great Western Metro tank at Aldgate station which was the catalyst for the entire Basilica Fields project.

With the opening of Victoria in 1860, the Chatham was able to offer a comprehensive passenger service in and about London, but it would be another fourteen years before the trains were fully patronised, which in turn led to a demand for longer trains and a faster service. This upsurge in suburban travel coincided with the appointment of William Kirtley, nephew of Matthew Kirtley, who had died in harness at the Midland the previous year; William had been Matthew’s Works Manager at Derby for a decade. On his appointment, Kirtley found Longhedge drawing office preparing plans for an enlarged ‘Large Scotchman‘ to tackle the increasingly heavy suburban duties, but the new man had other ideas and began preparing drawings for a modern 0-4-4 with side tanks, not unlike Johnson’s latest design on the Midland, though the round-topped tanks were a definite doff of the cap in the direction of Stroudley’s contemporary designs on the rival LB&SCR. With the design approved, tenders were sought, culminating with both Neilson and Vulcan providing nine examples each.

The new locos were all based at Battersea, and immediately ousted the smaller Scotchmen class from through services to the GNR and Midland, as well as taking charge of Victoria to Moorgate Street services. Reaction from the crews was mixed; drivers appreciated the power of the A class, especially on heavy gradients, but firemen were less enthralled with the heat generated in the enclosed cabs, especially when working in the Widened Lines tunnels, nor were they keen on their greater demand on both coal and water. The build up of heat in the cabs was resolved by the fitting of opening look-out windows at the first general repair.

The success of the 1875 batch led to a new batch four years later. Kitson tendered and won the contract for twelve locos which had the driving wheel diameter increased by 4″ to 5’ 7″ and a host of minor detail differences, including raising the height of the condensing pipes exiting the smokebox up to the boiler centre line, and incorporating the front sandboxes in the leading driving wheel splashers. These twelve locos, classed A1, also went to Battersea, sharing duties with the earlier A class, and were also utilised on services terminating at Hendon and Wood Green. The new locos proved to be free-steaming and the crews preferred them to the original locos as they were easier to fire, and the cabs better ventilated.

Kirtley’s A series was completed in 1883-4 with the introduction of six locos classed A2. These were almost identical to the A1 batch, but again with some minor differences, and were built by Robert Stephenson & Co. Again, all six were sent to Battersea, working on all suburban services alongside the A and A1s as well as Martley’s 0-4-2Ts, but by the 1890s they were more likely to be seen on services to Wood Green.

All three classes were fitted with the Westinghouse brake between 1888-91 at which time steam sanding was incorporated. Coal bars on their bunkers were added in the 1890s

It’s very unlikely that I’ll build an example of all three in LC&DR livery – the Chatham service over the EWL isn’t going to be that intensive(!), and I think it likely that No.112, the final example from the Vulcan-built batch of 1875 (Class A) is the likely candidate.

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