Locomotives


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George England’s indigenous London & Blackwall 2-4-0Ts had been withdrawn from the line in 1882, and the positively ancient Jones & Potts 2-2-2WTs became extinct a year later.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of Robert Sinclair’s V class 2-4-2WTs, the ‘Scotchmen’ had been allocated the services, but these were gradually withdrawn throughout the decade as their boilers expired, and a steady succession of Adams, Bromley and Worsdell tank engines temporarily took charge.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

Until the advent of James Holden to the chair of Locomotive Superintendent in 1885 the Great Eastern Railway was always short of shunting locos.  William Adams ordered a pair of  Neilson & Co’s standard 12″  mineral 0-4-0STs  in 1874 for shunting depots, wharfs and other places where other locos couldn’t operate due to weight restrictions or  small radius curves.

The first to arrive later that year was numbered 209, from which the class received its designation,  and was painted in (Adams’ predecessor) S.W. Johnson’s mid-green – a colour he took to Derby. Buffer beams were green and the frames chocolate, and the loco finished off with black bands lined white. A brass number plate sported a blue background.

Number 209 at Stratford Works as delivered from Neilson in 1874, wearing the S.W. Johnson mid-green livery.

Number 209 at Stratford Works as delivered from Neilson in 1874, wearing the S.W. Johnson mid-green livery with sprung buffers.

The second loco, number 210, was delivered in 1875 and was almost certainly painted in Adams’ new livery of black fine-lined in red.  The cast iron number plates were red with yellow numbers. Both locos had open cabs and were delivered with sprung buffers which were promptly replaced by wooden dumb-buffers.

Two more locos to the same design were ordered by Adams in November 1875 and on delivery the following year were immediately set to work as station pilots at the new Liverpool Street terminus. Numbered 228 and 229, it has been recorded that they were ‘precisely similar’ [sic] to the first pair, but in fact there were some detail changes which included the shape of the frames, the position of the brake standard, the position of the front sandboxes, and the position of the clacks and injectors. As traffic increased in weight at the terminus both were redeployed to Stratford Works as shunters.

In 1894-5 Holden rebuilt all four locos  with new boilers and enclosed cabs, but they remained handbrake-only. All four received new front sandb0xes, but those fitted to the original two locos were of a larger design.  For the rebuild the original cast iron wheels were retained, as were their wooden brake blocks, and the split brass cottered coupling rods. The opportunity to increase 10cwt coal capacity by extending the height of the bunkers was not taken, and  instead three coal rails were added.  Ramsbottom safety valves with GER style shrouds were fitted as well as a standard tank filler lid flush with the tank top, and the the space around the steam dome between the bunkers was boxed in.

Under Worsdell, and for the first five years of Holden’s tenure,  all locos – goods as well as passenger – were painted in the original vermilion-lined ultramarine blue livery, and there is a photo of a a brand new ex-Works T18 class 0-6-0T with one of the four 0-4-0STs in the background painted so.  From 1890 all goods and shunting locos were painted plain black, though somewhat perversely the four 209 class engines were given vermilion lining in the same style as the passenger classes.

In 1897 Holden needed two more locos  but this time had them built at Stratford to order number G40,  and they were released to traffic in June 1897.  Numbers 226 and 227 were basically the same as the 1894 rebuilds of the Neilson engines but with larger sandboxes and cast steel wheels, and although the big ends retained split brasses and cotters, the little ends were plain bushed.  In about 1903 they were fitted with a steam brake and a lower standard brake column fitted to clear the cylinder beneath. At about the same time spark arrestors were fitted to the top of the tall chimneys.

No.227 had a short life; built in 1897 and scrapped in December 1911, it's seen here at one of its regular haunts the Devonshire Street goods depot (later Mile End) sometime after 1903.  The GER utilised an incredibly complex lights and discs system  which at this time ran to 217 codes. 227 displays Ordinary & Special Day Code 41 - white over the coupling hook and green with white rim over the right buffer which signified the loco had worked a train into the Up Reception siding at Devonshire Street.  A note in the Appendix to the Working Timetable notes that the code must only be put on at the last stopping station and not carried beyond the depot. The coaling scene with the high timber coaling stage very much resembles what I have in mind for Angel Lane.

No.227 had a short life; built in 1897 and scrapped in December 1911, it’s seen here at one of its regular haunts the Devonshire Street goods depot (later Mile End) sometime after spark arrestors were fitted in 1903. The GER utilised an incredibly complex lights and discs system which at this time ran to 217 codes. 227 displays Ordinary & Special Day Code 41 – white over the coupling hook and green with white rim over the right buffer which signified the loco had worked a train into the Up Reception siding at Devonshire Street. A note in the Appendix to the Working Timetable notes that the code must only be put on at the last stopping station and not carried beyond the depot. The scene with the high timber coaling stage very much resembles what I have in mind for Angel Yard.

In April 1903 two new locos to order R55 with running numbers 230 and 231 were released to traffic with all the modifications inflicted upon the previous six locos, including steam brakes. Holden made a minor alteration to the method of  fastening  the slide bars to the motion plate which also resulted in the earlier locos being retrofitted when renewal was necessary.

Beyond the time frame of Basilica Fields the eight locos had a varied life, the history of which is recorded in several of the sources below, and fortunately one was preserved and spent many years as a static exhibit at North Woolwich station museum. At the time of writing it has been removed to Gloucestershire for a full rebuild into working order.

In modelling terms there are two kits for the 7mm modeller; one from Ace Products and a soon-to-be-released highly detailed offering from Andy Beaton at Ragstone Models.  Andy has shown me  the test etchings and the brass investment castings which look super, as well as his final test build and it’s going to be a smashing kit.  The loco for Basilica will  either be one from the second Neilson batch after the 1894 rebuilding, or one of the 1897 Stratford batch before steam brakes and spark arrestors were fitted in 1903.

  • Great Eastern Locomotives Past and Present 1862 – 1945 (Victory Edition) – C. Langley Aldrich
  • Great Eastern Society Locomotive Drawings – John Gardner
  • Great Eastern Railway Society website

With this entry the Basilica Fields journal is one hundred posts old. Not only that, but in the last week it passed the 30,000 views mark. I am all astonishment; twenty one months of waffle, a little progress and lots of fantastic feedback. All in what is, to be honest, a very niche subject.

I wanted to mark this milestone with something a little bit special so I looked up all the possible prototype locos of the various companies which might have worked the Basilica Fields lines with a running number of 100. Two locos presented themselves, both Great Eastern tanks, and they ran consecutively – although there was, strictly speaking, a few months of overlap. The earliest of the two, an E10 class 0-4-4T, worked throughout the whole period covered by this project, whereas the latter, an M15 2-4-2T, appeared right at the end of the timeframe, therefore I’ve no expectation of it appearing on the layout.

Shortly after Massey Bromley took the post of Locomotive Superintendent at Stratford the E10 0-4-4T class appeared. The design was obviously that of his predecessor William Adams, essentially being an elongated version of his K9 class and very closely related to his 61 class. Sixty of the new locos were built between 1878 and 1883, the final twenty being fitted with the Westinghouse brake from new and the rest of the class fitted retrospectively shortly after.

© Public Domain

Number 100 was the eighty-third locomotive to be built at Stratford Works, and was constructed under Order R10. The loco was ex-works on the 18th June 1879 and released to traffic two days later in the then standard Great Eastern livery of black, lined red – the class being the first to benefit from Bromley’s widened lining style compared to that applied by Adams. It had 8″ yellow numerals hand-painted on the buffer beams, and was fitted with a pair of Bromley’s new-style cast iron elliptical number plates on the side tanks.

In November 1894 No.100 was rebuilt with a new boiler pressed to 140psi, fitted with larger diameter cylinders and standard Holden-pattern boiler fittings. New round-spectacle front weather boards replaced the Adams-style square window type, and for the first time a matching rear weatherboard was fitted, finally enclosing the cab. It was painted in the then standard ultramarine blue livery (probably for the second time) with Holden’s enlarged ‘GER’ transfers on the side tanks, and fitted with Worsdell-style brass number plates cast with the legend ‘Rebuilt 1894’ on the bunker sides.

In July 1905 it was one of nine E10 tanks placed on the duplicate list to make way for two new batches of Holden’s version of Worsdell’s M15 2-4-2 double-ended radial tanks destined to take the 91-110 number series, the new No.100 appearing in October of that year. On the duplicate list the E10 received a 0 prefix and a new set of cast brass numberplates were fitted to ring the changes. However, the sands of time were running out for the locomotive and No.0100 was withdrawn from service in January 1906. Thirty nine of the class remained in service, their numbers dwindling over the next six years, and the last of the class, No.097, was withdrawn from service in November 1912 rendering them extinct.

The photograph is precious old, as Mr. Jonas would have it; no earlier than 1882 from the early-style low-slung Westinghouse brake pipe, but no later than c1885/6 from the early-style spoon-shaped lamp irons which were rapidly phased out upon Mr. Holden’s appointment as Locomotive Superintendent. Also fitted are early style clack valves and steam cocks on the boiler, along with the old sanding apparatus looking not unlike scaffolding climbing up the smokebox sides. I don’t think anyone could say that the Adams stovepipe was a thing of beauty; ‘characterful’ is probably as generous an adjective as one could muster.

The location had me stymied for a while, and even though I found an untouched version of this photograph in an early GERS Journal, the background is too indistinct to help. Given that the loco was working out of Fenchurch Street when the photograph was taken, I couldn’t correlate that with the design of any engine sheds on the routes out of the terminus. Initially I posted that I thought it was Epping goods shed, but Colin Dowling (Eastsidepilot) sent a photo of Millwall and it’s patently obvious he’s hit the nail on the head. The photo is reproduced here.

So there we have it, No.100 at Millwall in the early 1880s. The loco may well make it onto the layout too – it’ll have to be scratchbuilt, but will make a perfect partner for No.101 which was fitted with condensing apparatus for working the East London Line, but that’s a tale for another time…and no, not for the 101st post either…

Edited for correction; location now identified.

Ref: LB&SC Locos Pt.2: D1 Tanks

It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted to the Journal – a case of life getting very much in the way of model making, even of the armchair (I should be so lucky) variety. Fortunately Graham has kept you all rapt with his track making exploits, the results of which are stunning.

Something else stunning tumbled through the letterbox this morning; an exquisite set of etched number plates for No.299 New Cross. The model will be based on the Albion Models kit, so the plates are now safely stashed away with the etchings and castings for one fine day.

The plates are from Chris Watford’s Severnmill Models range, and there are quite a few LB&SC number plates in his catalogue, each priced £10. Other Brighton number plates not currently in the range cost £20 for the design and supply of one pair, and in the next few weeks Chris expects to be producing his last batch of etchings, so now is a very good time to stop procrastinating and order what you need (or might need if a modelling whim takes you!).

Francis Webb’s 4′ 6″ 2-4-2T radial tanks were a natural development of his famous 2-4-0T ‘Chopper’ tanks with an additional trailing radial axle supporting a larger capacity bunker. Indeed in the final order for 2-4-0Ts, a single 2-4-2T was built, and eventually 40 out of the 50 Chopper tanks were ‘renewed’ by being given an extended bunker with a trailing radial axle, and absorbed into the 2-4-2T class.

As with the Chopper Tanks, some batches of the 2-4-2Ts were fitted with condensing gear for work in the suburban districts of both Birmingham and London. Batch numbers E110, E33 and E36 of 1882, 1889 and 1890 respectively were chosen, and thus the locos working in the London area on the Outer Circle from Broad Street to Mansion House were quickly bestowed with their soubriquet.

Locos from batch E110 were fitted with full condensing equipment, but batches E33 and E36 were given a modified form of gear in what can be loosely described as semi-condensing, whereby exhaust steam was diverted from the blast pipe by a valve in the usual manner through a pipe on the side of the smokebox (although in this case pipes either side of the smokebox) into tops of the side tanks above the water level. Any steam remaining, rather than being fed to the opposite tank and then back to the smokebox as usual, passed through pipes inside the cab front weatherboard, along the eaves of the roof, down the outside of the rear weatherboard and into the U shaped water tank in the bunker, where what little remained was exhausted via a tall, thin breather pipe at the rear.

I’ll be using the recently introduced Mercian kit as the basis of the model, but have not yet decided which member of the class to build. I’ve only been able to locate three photos of the condensing tanks in the London area, numbers 781 and 785 of batch E33, and number 663 of batch E36, all of which are very atmospheric, but not particularly useful when attempting to create an accurate model.

Above, No.785 calls at Addison Road c1905. I’ve been told on several occasions that the LNWR took great pride and care over the condition of all its locos, and how white cotton-gloved shed foremen regularly checked their cleanliness, even between the frames – a view I’ve long held as deluded or erroneous at best, the product of rose-tinted hand-me down stories. No small degree of satisfaction on my part then to find No.785 looking not a little work-stained around the gills…

The origins of the London & North Western Railway’s involvement on the Circle are somewhat complex, extremely fascinating but ultimately beyond the scope of the history of Basilica Fields. However, a précis is desirable in order to explain the presence of Webb’s tanks in the East End!

The general public were slow to embrace train travel across town, largely preferring to walk, until the introduction of cheap workmen’s fares in the mid-1860s on the Metropolitan and Chatham lines popularised suburban rail journeys among the working classes. By the time of the Cheap Trains Act of 1883 it had become well established, with the horse-drawn tram demoted to second best except in the west and north-west tram-less districts where the horse drawn omnibus still held sway on the roads. Although the tram companies also offered cheap workmen’s return tickets, the ‘bus companies made little, and often no attempt to provide services before half past eight in the morning, and it was in this scenario, in the decades before direct electrified underground services across town, that steam-hauled ‘long way round’ suburban services flourished in a network of meandering connecting links and radial routes, some of which had lain dormant since the 1830s.

One such route was the West London Railway (WLR); initially promoted as the Birmingham, Bristol & Thames Junction Railway, it was authorised to run between Willisden Junction and Kensington Canal in 1836, but floundered as construction was beset by engineering problems. In 1840 it took up the title of the WLR, and for three years half a mile of the line was leased to the promoters of the atmospheric railway, and trials were undertaken to demonstrate the potential of that system.

In May 1844 the WLR was finally opened utilising conventional steam power, but suffered from a lack of patronage, and six months later services were withdrawn and the line closed. The following year the line was jointly leased by the Great Western and London & Birmingham Railways (the latter would become the dominant constituent of the London & North Western in 1846) and for eighteen years passenger services remained dormant while the line used for mineral traffic only.

Iin 1859 an Act granted the Great Western, London & North Western, London Brighton & South Coast and the London & South Western Railways power to double the line and construct an extension to cross the Thames to connect with the LB&SC and LSWR south of the river at a point close to Clapham Junction. The International Exhibition at Kensington in 1862 proved to be a good reason to introduce services from Harrow, and the following March full services over the line and the extension began in earnest.

In 1869 the Met & District (MDR) began construction of a spur off its line through Earls Court to join with the West London Railway at Kensington, and passenger services running from Broad Street (North London Railway) to Mansion House (MDR) and promoted by the LNWR as the Outer Circle, commenced in February 1872. With the opening of the Extended Circle and Extended Widened Lines in the late 1880s, the LNWR introduced a limited service of one train an hour beyond Mansion House to the Extended Circle via the junction at Mark Lane. This service initially terminated at Basilica Fields, but by 1892 was extended to Bishopsgate (Liverpool Street), the journey effectively, if not physically, completing a full circle. When the Outer Circle trains were electrified in December 1905, the LNWR negotiated to maintain the steam hauled service to Bishopsgate via Basilica Fields for three years, until the end of December 1908.

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