Passenger Traffic


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

Services

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.

Preservation

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.

Sources:

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Services

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

Modelling the R24Rs

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

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

References

  • Great Eastern Locomotives Past & Present 1862-1945 – C Langley Aldrich RCTS Locomotives of the LNER Part 8A
  • Locomotives Illustrated #116
  • Yeadon’s Register Volume 48
  • The Locomotive Magazine
  • The Great Eastern Society Special #3 ‘All Stations to Liverpool Street’
  • Lyn Brooks of the GERS
  • John Gardner of the GERS
  • Suburban set composition SX11702 – NRM
  • Model Railway Constructor Annual 1984 – article by John Lewis on Dean’s GWR stock.

In 1890 James Holden introduced a new development of his T18 class which had originally been designed for shunting and trip goods turns, but fortuitously turned out to be very good on the burgeoning suburban passenger services too.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Services

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

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

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

Modelling the R24s

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

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

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

Photograph ©2012 Adrian Marks

Photograph ©2012 Adrian Marks

References

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Services

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

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

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

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

Model

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

Source Material

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

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

The only surviving Metropolitan Jubilee Carriage, number 353, which is currently stored at Acton in ‘as found’ condition, is to be restored to full working order in 2013 to mark the 150th anniversary of the London Underground.

This is excellent news, but look out for reports about it being built for Circle services when in fact it was one of a batch of 32 carriages built for the Extension services to Chesham and Aylesbury, and therefore exhibited a number of detail differences from those carriages built for running on the Inner Circle. Therefore anticipate the usual media hyperbole when it is once again released to traffic!

More info about the £422,000 grant from the heritage Lottery Fund here

Last April (was it really a year ago?) I remarked that there was a dearth of information for GNR close-coupled 4-wheel suburban coaching stock suitable for Basilica Fields. Despite my recent lack of updates to the blog due to ongoing events, progress on Basilica Fields continues to be made – albeit (mostly) not by me!

Late last year I made a couple of contacts through the GNR Society, and my subsequent bombardment of questions led to an interesting flurry of emails, and, although the situation is still not totally clear at present, it looks as though a big step has been made towards eventually facilitating the building of necessary stock required for those services, and the acquisition of some drawings.

Graham Beare has also been hard at work scouring accident reports instigated by the Board of Trade, and sending me relevant information, the best of which, so far, divulges the classification and running numbers of a twelve carriage close-coupled set running between Potters Bar and Kings Cross in 1898.

So, for the record, hauled by 120 Class No.515, the train in question consisted of :

Brake 3rd no.248, 3rd no.1636, 2nd no.1512, 2nd no.1511, 2nd no.1508, 1st no.1534, 1st no.1443, 2nd no.319, 2nd no.1323, 3rd no.1499, 3rd no.1505, Brake 3rd no.399.

Sounds very useful, but not for the first time while delving into the archives for Basilica Fields has an official document contradicted generally approved history; I understand (I’m no GNR historian) that it is usually accepted that the GNR quickly followed the Midland Railway’s lead in the mid 1870s by abolishing 2nd class. However, not only here, both other BoT reports clearly list second class carriages involved in accidents in the London suburban area. No doubt there is a rational explanation…

The photo is of a third class suburban close-coupled ‘Metropolitan’ carriage, no.903, designed by Howlden and built in 1900. These ‘Metropolitan’ carriages were 9′ wide (to cram the hapless commuter in), with half-height compartments and 3″ recessed doors to maintain the lading gauge. Sister carriage no.902, as part of a Muswell Hill – Kings Cross train was involved in a collision at Finsbury Park in 1907.

Of course it’s entirely possible the carriages listed in the 1898 accident are not of the Metropolitan type, and are therefore a red herring. Further updates on these will appear as and when more information comes to light.

Nine months ago I waffled on about the Metropolitan Jubilee 4-wheel coaching stock needed for Basilica Fields, and revealed that I had my mitts on a test etch, drawn on TurboCad by John Birch. Unfortunately circumstances have meant that I have had little time for modelling since then – a situation soon to be resolved – nevertheless, things have been chuntering on in the background, and progress has been made, while I’ve only had time to write electronic reams of a history which “didn’t quite happen like that…”

Discussion between John and Ken de Groome resulted in the artwork being redrawn and added to by John, and once etched they were married to castings from Ken’s range so that now the full series of Metropolitan Jubilee carriages – a first, a second, a third, a brake second and a brake third carriage, along with alternative parts for those sold the the Mid Suffolk Light Railway in 1905 (seven were also sold the Weston Clevedon & Portishead in 1907), are now a part his range of Metropolitan Railway kits. Ken’s first test build, a brake third which he built and painted, is illustrated above.

The first two of nine carriages (the brake second and a third on one fret, and two underframes on another, plus a bag of castings) arrived here yesterday, but will have to get packed away in one of the bulging stock cupboards for a couple of months while I catch up on commissions. And jolly nice they look too!

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