London Brighton & South Coast Railway


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!).

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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.

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.

By 1870 the LB&SCR was operating an increasingly intensive suburban service over lightly laid lines with shoddy sleepers, shallow gravel ballast and formidable gradients, and worked by unsuitable (and often ancient) tender locomotives built by Craven. On his appointment to office, William Stroudley immediately set about reorganising Brighton Works and began to tackle the even more urgent need for new locomotives in the express passenger and goods links. Although his first drawings for a suburban tank appeared in the middle of 1870, it wasn’t until two major revisions had occurred that the first half dozen were released to traffic in 1872.

The class proved to be a phenomenal success; fifty examples were built down to 1880, and all bar half a dozen of these were shedded in the London area at New Cross or Battersea for working predominantly the East London and South London lines. Eschewing injectors, Stroudley introduced his feedwater heating system with the Terriers (which was perpetuated with his D and E class tanks), whereby the water in the tanks was pre-heated by exhaust steam from the blast pipe operated by a crank via a rod from the cab. This crank cut off most of the exhaust steam from being directed up the chimney, instead sending it back into the left hand tank via a copper condensing pipe where the steam circulated, heating the water before penetrating the right hand tank. Any remaining uncondensed steam then travelled back to the smokebox via the right hand condensing pipe.

Until the Great Eastern, South Eastern, Metropolitan and Metropolitan & District railways commenced services over the ELR in the mid-1880s, New Cross was home to twenty three members of the class, but by this time suburban trains were becoming heavier, and Stroudley’s 0-4-2T D class began to oust the Terriers from many of their traditional services. In consequence, a number of London based Terriers were rusticated, so that by 1887 only fourteen remained at New Cross, some of which participated in the LB&SCR’s 36 trains each way over ELR every weekday. The opening of the New Thames Tunnel on the East London Railway Extension and the Extended Widened Lines did nothing to halt their slide from inner suburban workings, and from 1892, as the class began to enter Works for replacement cylinders, Billinton called time on almost all the Terrier’s activities over the ELR and ELRE by removing their feedwater pumps and condensing equipment. By 1895 only two examples of condenser fitted Terriers remained at New Cross – No.52 Surrey and No.59 Cheam, but the former was in such poor mechanical condition that it was relegated to shed pilot duties only.

Surprisingly Cheam continued to work on ELR and ELRE duties alongside the more powerful D1 tanks, and was involved in an accident at New Cross on a mid-afternoon service from Shoreditch in 1897, whereby it lost its bunker and a side tank in a collision with a Gladstone 0-4-2 Samuel Laing, which suffered even greater damage. Even more surprising is the fact that the loco was repaired and resumed its duties with it’s condensing equipment intact.

However, by the mid-1900s, the class that had been so for so long linked with the East London Railway and the Extension, no longer ran trains on those lines. Sale or scrapping awaited several members in the early years of the 1900s, until Billinton’s successor, D.E. Marsh, gave many a new lease of life on push-pull services in his new and handsome livery of umber.

There are currently only two kit options in 7mm for Terriers (leaving aside the scratchbuilt route, complicated somewhat by the Stroudley roof), viz; a whitemetal offering from Roxey, and a brass effort from Ace, neither of which fills me with great confidence that a satisfactory model can be built without recourse to a bin some changes. I suspect the Ace kit will be the way I choose to go (n.b. order those calming pills now), if only because whitemetal loco bodies in 7mm are a bit of an anathema. As to which loco it’ll be – I’m not too sure. Cheam (see previous post) is an ideal candidate, not only as she spent most of her life, except for a few years in the mid-1880s, at New Cross, but also due to the longevity of her condensing gear and ELR/ELRE duties. However, I wouldn’t mind one with a local name more appropriate to Basilica Fields such as Bishopsgate, Whitechapel, or Shoreditch, all of which were unfortunately denuded of their condensing gear in the early 1890s.

No.51 Rotherhithe, a New Cross engine from release to traffic in 1876 until the mid-1890s, is another candidate; she retained her condensers until withdrawal, but was transferred to Brighton in the mid-90s. In 1898 she was added to the surplus list, but didn’t receive the ‘6’ prefix that many of hers sisters were given, and was withdrawn in February 1901.

The London, Brighton & South Coast Railway was the first company to operate over the East London Railway, services commencing 7th December 1869 between Wapping and New Cross.

The company had sprung from the merger of the London & Croydon and the London and Brighton Railway companies in 1846, which had opened their lines in 1839 and 1841 respectively. The London & Croydon shared the route at the London end with the London & Greenwich, which itself became part of the SER in 1845 – both companies providing their own stations at New Cross, and both of which later became the terminating stations for many ELR trains. With the opening of the South London Line from 1866, Old Kent Road and later Peckham Rye would also become terminating stations for some LB&SCR hauled ELR trains.

Extending the line northwards under London Docks proved to be an herculean task, but LB&SCR trains eventually ran into Liverpool Street from 1876. With the formation of the East London Railway Joint Committee (ELRJC) in 1882, which comprised the Metropolitan, Metropolitan & District, South Eastern Railway, London Chatham and Dover, the Great Eastern (from 1885) and the LB&SCR, the latter took responsibility for maintenance until handing over to the SER in 1885 (which had itself withdrawn trains over the line the previous year). From 1886, with the advent of GER services over the ELR, LB&SCR trains were cut back from Liverpool Street to Shoreditch, and the GER then took over LB&SCR services to Croydon.

With the opening of the ELR Extension (ELRE) and the New Tunnel, the LB&SCR provided passenger services over the Extended Widened Lines (EWL) through Basilica Fields to Bishopsgate (Liverpool Street), and for the first time provided a limited goods service to its recently opened small depots on the EWL.

By 1902, the LB&SCR was providing 64 of the 276 passenger trains every weekday over the ELR, but because the ELRJC initially failed to back the electrification plans for the Circle extending over the ELR, the Metropolitan and Metropolitan & District withdrew services over the line from the end of 1906, the upshot of which was that within five years the LB&SCR was providing over 100 trains daily to Shoreditch and back. The ELR was finally electrified in 1913.

By the early 1900s, passenger receipts over the EWL/ELRE were falling fast due to competition from the roads. Electric trams along Mile End Road, Burdett Road and Commercial Road had duplicated much of the EWL route, and electrification was deemed too great a financial risk, even for the determined Metropolitan Railway. The LB&SCR along with other members of the ELRJC therefore continued to provide steam-hauled services until the line was closed during the Great War.

Three classes of loco will be represented on Basilica Fields, all designed by William Stroudley, and will be explored in detail later. His A class tank No.59 Cheam stands at Shoreditch on the East London Railway, probably c1876, shortly after the Wapping – Liverpool Street extension was completed. No.59 was one of only two New Cross Terriers to retain their condensing equipment beyond 1894 which enabled them to be utilised on ELR services. A further exploration of this class and its successors will follow.

It isn’t usually like this: new kits and bits arriving here seemingly every other day, but as I couldn’t make it to the Gauge 0 Guild’s trade show at Kettering over the weekend, Kettering had to come to me! In the parcel with the NSR 3-plank wagons were two other limited edition kits from Meteor – LB&SCR Stroudley cattle wagons. These have resin-cast sides and ends, a brass roof and white metal running gear. It’ll be interesting to see how they match up with my solitary white metal example from Roxey, which is, I believe, a Billinton design.

The Brighton harboured plans to extend it’s influence into the East End north of the river, which may have given rise to the names given to some of their A-Class tanks, viz: Fenchurch, Bishopsgate, Leadenhall, etc. A junction off the East London Railway, under the Great Eastern’s massive Whitechapel coal drops was let in, but the line truncated after a couple of hundred yards,  the intention had been to form a junction with the GER at Cambridge Heath, however these plans came to naught.

In 1876 the London and Brighton did reach as far as Liverpool Street via the ELR though from1886 this service was cut back to Shoreditch, the GER taking control of services into the terminus, that company also having taken control of all goods services through the Thames Tunnel from about 1880.

With the Extended Widened Lines feeding the New Thames Tunnel there was an increase in cross-river goods services, the LB&SCR, LC&DR and SER all contributing and feeding into the north shore docklands and markets.