Period II (c1899 – c1907)


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.

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

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.

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…

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