Period II (c1899 – c1907)


Brown Trains. Nothing to do with the standard of service!

In 1890 – 1891 the London & North Western Railway built ten new trains of eight 4-wheel carriages in two batches of five for its Broad Street to Mansion House services. These eighty 28′ coaches were built as renewals of much older stock which had been used on the line since 1872, and in 1897 ten new Thirds with a 1′ shorter wheelbase were built on the capital account to strengthen the trains.

As built, the Mansion House sets were formed from Diagram 120 Firsts, Diagram 300 Seconds, Diagram 300 Thirds, Diagram 395 Brake Seconds and Diagram 395 Brake Thirds, and I intend to build Set No.7 in the pre-1897 eight carriage format. The photograph above shows Set No.7 c1904 with the additional Third.

The formation and running numbers of Set No.7 are all known:

Brake Second #96, Second #187, Second #165, First #266, First #118, Third #439, Third #825, Brake Third #272. These carriages were all gas lit and built on 18′ 0″ wheelbase steel channel underframes. In 1897, Third #2236 was added to the set and marshalled next to Brake Third #272.

Both the Brake Thirds and Brake Seconds had three compartments, and throughout the train there were only two compartment sizes; 6′ 10″ wide for Firsts, and 5′ 5″ for inferior classes. this explains the duplicate Diagram numbers for the Brake Seconds & Brake Thirds and the duplicate Diagram numbers for the Second & Third class carriages – to all intents and purposes they were identical, with the exception that in the all-Thirds, the compartment partitions were only to shoulder height.

These carriages were not painted in the famous L&NWR plum & spilt milk livery, but instead finished in varnished Burma teak which was considered by the company a better finish than paint to resist the continuous sulphurous atmosphere of the sub-surface lines. The stock was unlined and class designations were in the form of a large gilt numeral on the lower panel of the doors. The appearance of these sets soon earned them the soubriquet ‘The Brown Trains’.

16′ long roof boards were carried by the carriages, a little narrower than the 8″ wide roof boards carried by main line stock, and these carried the legend:

BROAD STREET, WILLESDEN, KENSINGTON & MANSION HOUSE. CHANGE AT WILLESDEN FOR MAIN LINE.

Trains destined for Bishospgate carried these boards on the 1st, 3rd, 5th & 7th carriages in the sets whereas the 2nd, 4th, 6th & 8th carriages carried boards lettered:

MANSION HOUSE, WAPPING, BASILICA FIELDS & BISHOPSGATE for BROAD STREET.

All the carriages had small 3′ boards on the sides above the windows lettered LONDON & NORTH WESTERN TRAIN in black on white.

The sets were gas lit as built, but in 1902 were converted to Stone’s electric lighting, each carriage was then fitted with dynamos and twin cell boxes. The lower footboards under the guard’s doors were removed at the same time as the conversions, but steam heating was never fitted.

With the electrification of the District Line in 1905, the majority of trains were hauled by the District Railway’s electric locomotives, with the exception of those few continuing on to the Extended Circle and Bishopsgate via Basilica Fields, until cessation of service in 1908.

At this time there are no kits for the Brown trains available commercially in 7mm. London Road Models have brass kits in 4mm, but I’m seriously considering producing artwork for etching as an aid to building them.

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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.

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…

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.

I thought that this class, the final type of Great Western condensing locomotives to operate on the Metropolitan lines (until the introduction of the 97xx class in the 1930s), and therefore Basilica Fields, was going to be an easy one to deal with, after all, the books and articles I’ve seen detailing the GWR’s presence on the Metropolitan line write frugally, but broadly in agreement, upon their role on the goods service from Acton to Smithfield…but scratch the surface, and the reality is not quite so clear cut.

Built at Wolverhampton between November 1871 and April 1872, this class of twelve 0-6-0Ts were always Southern Division locos, and over the years some of the class were fitted with condensing equipment to work the Metropolitan lines.

What follows is a précis of the information in print:

They were the first six-coupled engines to be accepted for the Widened Lines, some twenty years in advance of the much larger and heavier Great Northern saddle tanks. Steam on the Widened Lines Vol.2 p.10. Geoff Goslin.

This implies the 633 were used on the Widened Lines from 1872 as the GNR 921 Series of saddle tanks were released to traffic in 1892. However, RCTS disagrees, and in its segment on the 2-4-0T Metro class, states:

The name of this class [the 2-4-0T Metro tanks] is derived from the engines’ association with the Metropolitan Railway, over which so many of them worked, they being the only GWR engines to do so during the latter part of the nineteenth century. RCTS The Locomotives of the Great Western Railway Part Six, p.F29.

With the absence of primary sources, if I had to choose between the two I’d plump for RCTS, although the Society’s publications are not infallible. However things now begin to get murky as RCTS also states:

Those with condensers were stationed in the London area for working over the Metropolitan line, whilst the non-condensing engines were mostly in South Wales, in the Neath Division. RCTS The Locomotives of the Great Western Railway Part Five, p.E34.

Condensing apparatus was fitted to 643/4 as built, but was removed from the latter in September 1884. RCTS The Locomotives of the Great Western Railway Part Five, p.E34.

There are discrepancies in the accounts of those fitted with condensers at this period, but it is fairly certain that Nos.633/4/41/42/43 were so fitted when rebuilt or shortly afterwards and remained so. RCTS The Locomotives of the Great Western Railway Part Five, p.E34.

The condensing engines remained without cabs until withdrawn in 1933-4. RCTS The Locomotives of the Great Western Railway Part Five, p.E34.

643 had always been a condensing engine. RCTS The Locomotives of the Great Western Railway Part Five, p.E34.

The implication of these quotes being that those fitted with condensers were allocated to the London Division only, all such locos being cabless for working through the Metropolitan tunnels, and those allocated to South Wales were fitted with cabs and did not carry condensers. However…

Surviving GWR Loco Allocation Registers only go back as far as 1902 (it has been suggested that possibly the 1902 one was the first such Register), and at the beginning of that year it is recorded that not one of the 633 class was allocated to the London Division, and (it would appear, if the RCTS opinion on the matter is to be believed) several of those in Wales were condenser fitted! Graham Beare saved me from too munching my way though too much paracetamol by sending the information in the following table (sorry for the slightly blurry image, please click for a clearer version), which collates info from both RCTS and the Register, followed by a suggestion as to which locos would be appropriate for Basilica Fields, post-1902:

N.B. * period of allocation indeterminate.

Graham writes:

In this instance, London Area means that an engine has been recorded as allocated to a shed within the London Division, examples noted include:- Paddington, Southall, Staines, Slough, Henley-on-Thames, Aylesbury, Watlington…. as far as I can see, there was no allocation to Reading, Didcot, Oxford. From this information, I suggest that the most likely candidates for your needs are 641, 642 and 643 which were Southall engines for most of the period from 1902 to 1906 and the most likely to be in charge of services over the widened lines.

The Registers are in the National Archive, and the 1902 Register can be found at RAIL 254 / 60. I’d like to thank John Lewis at this point for supplying digital copies of the relevant pages via Graham.

The photo of 642 is irresistible, and places it in London in pre-1906 livery, so spot on for the later period of Basilica Fields.

I’ve an old Mega (ex-Gateneal) kit of the 633 class, but I suspect that most of it will be binned – not necessarily because of any fault in the kit itself (though it is verybasic compared to modern offerings), but because it represents a much later version of the locos with different side tanks and enclosed cabs, and scratchbuilding looks increasingly likely.

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