For enthusiasts and researchers of the Great Eastern Railway

The James Holden Era

T18 Class 0-6-0T 1886-1888

LNER Class J-66

275-304, 307-326

The T18 class 0-6-0 tank engines were the first of several similar classes that were developed from it. They were produced as a matter of urgency in 1886 to provide shunting engines, due to the growth of mineral traffic following the opening of the GN&GE Joint Line, and the resulting expansion of marshalling sidings such as March, Temple Mills and so on. The T18s were a simple design with 16 x 24-in. cylinders and 4-ft. 0-ins. diameter driving wheels. The boilers were derived from that used on Adams' K9 class 0-4-2Ts. Stylistically, they were a scaled-down version of the M15 2-4-2Ts.

They proved to be a useful and powerful design, and in 1887 it was decided to try one of them on the London suburban services. Accordingly, No. 294 was fitted with Westinghouse brakes, screw reverse, balanced cast steel wheels and screw couplings, and the experiment was a great success. Thus, the last ten engines of the class turned out in 1888 were similarly-equipped, with the addition of having longer bunkers and correspondingly shorter cabs.

In 1890 further 0-6-0Ts were required - both for suburban work as well as shunting. Experience with the passenger T18s showed that there was room for improvement to suit what was essentially a shunting engine for passenger work, and so the design was revised as the R24 class. The ten passenger T18s were then converted to shunters, although the initial experimental engine No. 294 remained a passenger engine until the 1930s.

From 1899, when the engines were reboilered the new boilers had the higher working pressure of 140 lbs. psi., whilst steam brakes were added from the mid-1890s onwards.

At the 1923 Grouping, the T18 class became LNER class J-66. Withdrawal commenced in 1936, and only nineteen remained within four years. However, nine of these were sold for industrial use, some continuing at work into the 1950s. One of these was sold to the Mersey Railway, which was still an independent concern. However, in 1948 it was nationalised, and thus the engine became BR property, but was withdrawn in 1950. Probably from its date of building No. 281 - by then BR No. 68370 - had been a Stratford Works shunter. It was notable as having been the first GER oil burning locomotive in 1886. In 1952 it became 'Departmental 32' and was joined by two others of the class. The engines remaining in capital stock were all scrapped by 1955, and the two 1952 additions to service stock followed in 1959, leaving the original in service until the end of steam on the GE section in September 1962.

T19 Class 2-4-0 1886-1897
T19R Class 2-4-0, 4-4-0, Rebuilt 1902-1904, 1905-1908

LNER Class D-13 (4-4-0 rebuilds)

710-769, 700-709, 781-790, 1010-1039

The T19 class 2-4-0 was James Holden's second design for the GER, and formed the basis for all of the larger locomotives introduced for the next fourteen years. In leading dimensions they were identical to Worsdell's G14 2-4-0s, having 18 x 24-ins. cylinders, 7-ft. 0-ins. driving wheels and 140 lbs. psi. working pressure. However, Holden decided to use Worsdell's Y14 class boiler, which had a slightly shorter barrel, but which was larger in diameter than that of the G14s. The cylinders had valves driven by Stephenson's link motion, instead of Joy's, and the valves were unusually placed beneath the cylinders. The radial leading axle was replaced by one having both inside and outside bearings, with uncontrolled side-play. Externally, they were similar in appearance to the G14s, apart from the outside frames for the leading axle, and in having separate driving wheel splashers.

A number of detail alterations were made to the design over the period of building, 110 being constructed down to 1897. The first fifty, 710-759, had three-ring boilers, with the dome on the middle ring. The following ten, 760-769, had cylinders of a modified design, with improvements to the steam passages, and spring pads added to the spring hangers. The boilers also had sloping instead of level grates.

The remaining engines had two ring boilers with the dome on the front ring, and revised centre-pull equalised brake rigging. On the last ten, Nos. 1030-1039, the boiler pressure was raised to 160 lbs. psi., and the tenders were fitted with water scoops.

The modified cylinder design was fitted to the earlier engines as their original cylinders came due to replacement, and all but one of the locomotives with three ring boilers were ultimately rebuilt with the 2-ring type. Some of the earlier engines also gained spring rubbers and the later brake arrangement.

In 1889, No. 759 was fitted with oil burning gear and, two years later, No. 760 was similarly-equipped and named Petrolea. Nos. 712 and 761 followed in 1893, and in 1895 Nos. 763-767 were also equipped for oil burning, and water scoops added to their tenders.

From 1900, the T19s were displaced from the principal main line duties by the new, larger S46 Claud Hamilton 4-4-0s. In 1902 it was decided that all future reboilerings of the T19s would be with a larger Belpaire firebox boiler, with a working pressure of 180 lbs. psi. This boiler was the same as that fitted to F48 class 0-6-0 No. 1189 (and which was later to be fitted to the Clauds), but with a shorter barrel. Thus, the firebox was one foot longer than the round-topped boiler used on the T19s, so the boiler had to be pitched higher in order that the rear of the firebox could clear the trailing coupled axle. This entailed the fitting of new, wider cabs, which had high, arched roofs, and a single side window. The boilers had the dome on the front boiler ring, giving the resultant rebuilds a front-heavy appearance, and led to them being known as ‘Humpty Dumpties’, although officially they were designated class T19R.

Twenty-one T19s were thus rebuilt between 1902 and 1904, when it was determined that subsequent rebuilds would additionally have the front end frames lengthened and bogies added in place of the leading axle, converting them to 4-4-0s. These rebuilds were otherwise identical to the ‘Humpty Dumpties’, except that the dome was placed on the back ring of the boiler, giving a more pleasing appearance. A total of 60 T19R 4-4-0 rebuilds were carried out down to 1908, whereupon the remaining un-rebuilt locomotives were scrapped as their boilers wore out, a process that was completed by 1913. Scrapping of the 2-4-0 rebuilds commenced immediately, and all were withdrawn by 1920.

Meanwhile, in 1913 a start was made in fitting the 4-4-0 rebuilds with superheaters. The first twenty to be dealt with down to June 1915 had superheaters of the Schmidtt pattern, and the first twelve of these were additionally fitted with piston tail rods, the front end frames being altered to the stepped pattern, as used on the Claud Hamilton 4-4-0s. Subsequent superheated locomotives had the Robinson type.

Following on from the withdrawal of all of the 2-4-0 rebuilds, a start was made on withdrawing the saturated 4-4-0s in December 1922, on the very eve of the Grouping. Thus, 48 superheated and 10 saturated T19R 4-4-0s became LNER property, and were reclassified as D-13. Another four engines were fitted with superheaters down to 1928, and the last of the saturated engines was scrapped in 1930. Scrapping of the superheated engines began the year previously, and the last two were withdrawn in 1944.

‘No. 127 Class’ 0-6-0 1887


This engine was a 2-cylinder compound version of the Y14 class 0-6-0, and constructed under James Holden in 1887. It is possible that this was, in fact, a project inherited from Worsdell, and may explain why the unusual total of nineteen Y14s was ordered from Sharp, Stewart & Co. instead of the usual twenty. Whatever the reason, although the engine worked on the Worsdell-von Borries system, the motion was Stephenson's link, rather than Joy's radial gear. It was otherwise similar to the standard Y14s, except that the boiler was pitched higher, because of the higher position of the cylinders in the frames, which were arranged with the valves on top.

The engine underwent extensive testing, and at one point it would appear that the building of further examples was seriously contemplated. For some reason, the engine was provided with a new boiler in 1890 - only three years after it was built. In the following year it was renumbered 935 in the normal Y14 series and then, in 1895, it was rebuilt as a simple expansion machine. By this time, the N31 class was - albeit temporarily - the standard goods engine type, and so No. 935 was provided with N31 type cylinders and motion. As the new cylinders were spaced at the same 2-ft. centres as the originals, this saved the expense of a new crank axle. Upon rebuilding, it was thus regarded as an N31 class engine, although in most other features it was always a Y14 in exile. It was reboilered a second time in 1901 with the then-current 2-ring telescopic boiler and 160 lbs. pressure, and was withdrawn in 1913.

D27 Class 2-2-2 1888-1893

789, 770-779, 1000-1009

Following experiments in which one or two of the T19 class 2-4-0s ran without their coupling rods, Holden decided to build a 2-2-2 version. One engine was constructed in 1888 and numbered 789. It was built to a 'Locomotive Machinery' account, rather than the usual 'Letter Account', as it was regarded as an experimental machine, principally in that it was fitted with rubber pads to the spring hangers. In all other respects it was identical to the T19s except that it had a carrying axle at the rear end, with inside bearings only.

Nos. 770-779 were constructed in 1891 to order D27, which then became the class designation. These were similar in detail to the contemporary T19s in having two-ring boilers with sloping grates, equalised brake rigging, revised cylinders etc. They also had larger sandboxes allied to the driving wheel splashers. The final ten, Nos. 1000-1009 were built in 1893, and these had 160 lbs. psi. boilers.

In 1896 Nos. 1004-1009 were altered to oil burning and had water scoops added to the tenders. Between 1899 and 1902 eleven engines were reboilered with 160 lbs. boilers, but the days of the 'single' were numbered, and the class was withdrawn in 1901-1907.

E22 Class 0-6-0T 1889, 1892

LNER Class J-65

150-159, 245-254

The E22 0-6-0Ts were a development of the T18 shunting engines for light branch line work, having lower tanks holding 600 gallons, shorter frames at the rear, smaller cylinders and Westinghouse brakes. Ten - Nos. 150-159 - were built in 1889 and another ten - Nos. 245-254 - in 1892. Although superficially similar, they were slightly wider over the tanks, cab and bunker, and the tanks were slightly lower, holding 650 gallons. Like the other 0-6-0Ts, when new boilers were required, these were of 160 lbs. psi. working pressure in place of the original 140 lbs. Besides working on branch lines, they also monopolised the historic Fenchurch Street and Blackwall services. On these and other duties, the engines often ran as 2-4-0Ts, with the leading section of the coupling rods removed.

Under the LNER they became class J-65, and withdrawal commenced in 1930, only four surviving Nationalisation. One engine outlasted the others by some three years, until 1956.

R24, R24R, S56 and C72 Classes 0-6-0T

LNER Classes J-67, J-69 and J-68

R24/R24R: 1890-1901

160-169, 189-208, 255-274, 327-406

S56: 1904

51-60, 81-90

C72: 1912-1923

21-30, 31E-40E, 41-50

The history of the Holden 0-6-0 tank engines is so inter-linked that it is best to consider these three classes at the same time. In 1890 further 0-6-0Ts were required - both for suburban work as well as shunting. Experience with the passenger-fitted T18 class showed that there was room for improvement to suit what was essentially a shunting engine for passenger work, and so the design was revised as the R24 class. In these, the tanks were moved forward, the frames shortened by a foot at the rear, and the trailing coupled wheelbase lengthened by six inches. In total, 140 of the new R24 class were built down to 1901, comprising 100 passenger engines and forty for shunting work.

Several changes were made to the design over this period of building. From 1894, new passenger engines were built with condensing gear, and this was added to the existing locomotives at the same time. Apart from the associated pipe-work etc., this entailed the addition of a rectangular condensing chamber on top of the side tanks. On the engines built new with condensers, this was screened by a stepped, upward extension of the side sheets of the tanks. On the existing locomotives, the chamber was exposed. The boiler pressure was raised to 160 lbs. psi. on new engines from 1899, and boilers of the same type were used to reboiler the existing R24, T18 and E22 locomotives as they came due for replacement. From around the same period, the shunting engines were fitted with steam brakes.

The 1890s saw rapid growth of the London suburban traffic on the Chingford and Enfield lines in particular, and by 1900 these had reached saturation point. In an attempt to alleviate the overcrowding, the four-wheeled suburban carriages used on these lines were widened so as to seat six-a-side in the 3rd class compartments. To enable the R24 class 0-6-0Ts to cope with the additional load, it was decided to further increase the boiler pressure to 180 lbs. psi. on subsequent reboilered engines. In addition, these higher-pressure boilers had a longer firebox, exploiting the longer rear wheelbase of the R24s as compared with the T18 class. At the same time that the engines were reboilered, the side tanks were widened ahead of the cab, increasing their capacity to 1180 gallons (1140 gallons in the initial rebuilds).

The rebuilt engines were reclassified R24R, and a total of 95 of the 100 passenger engines were thus rebuilt between 1902 and 1921. When additional new passenger 0-6-0Ts were required, the basic R24 design was modified to incorporate the new boiler and larger tanks as the S56 class, twenty of which were built in 1904. These were identical to the R24Rs in having the 180 lbs. boiler, but the cabs and bunkers were as wide as the tanks, which held 1200 gallons. As the firebox of the higher pressure boiler extended further into the cab, the doorway cut-out was altered to a symmetrical 'keyhole' shape.

The next development came in 1912 when ten more shunting 0-6-0Ts were required. By this time, Stephen Holden had succeeded his father as Locomotive Superintendent, and the S56 design was further modified by 'cosmetic' alterations in that the cabs had side windows and high, arched roofs, and built-up rimmed chimneys were fitted in place of the traditional stovepipe. It was reasoned that it made sense to build the new locomotives as passenger engines, and thus the ten oldest passenger R24s, Nos. 327-336, were converted to shunters. Apart from having steam brakes in place of Westinghouse, the existing R24 shunters also had cast iron unbalanced 15-spoke wheels, lever reverse and three-link couplings, whereas the passenger engines had 10-spoke balanced cast steel wheels, screw reverse and screw couplings. These modifications were thus made to the ten R24s concerned. Although the condensers were removed, the locomotives retained the condensing chambers. Furthermore, eight of the ten had previously been rebuilt as R24Rs, and these were either fitted with 160 lb. boilers, or had the pressure of their existing 180 lbs. boilers reduced accordingly.

The new engines, meanwhile, were known as class C72, and ten more were built in 1913. These, however, were built as shunters for, by this time, A.J. Hill had replaced Stephen Holden, and design work was in hand for a new 0-6-2T locomotive for suburban work. A final ten C72 shunters were built in 1923, immediately after the Grouping.

At the 1923 Grouping, the LNER authorities seem to have become somewhat confused when it came to reclassifying these 0-6-0Ts. Broadly speaking, these comprised the following:

  • The R24 class, with small tanks and 160 lbs. boilers
  • The R24R rebuilds, with 180 lb. boilers and larger tanks, but retaining the original width cab and bunker
  • The S56 class - as the R24Rs, but with wider cabs and bunkers
  • The C72 class - as the S56s, but with side window cabs and rimmed chimneys.

The LNER decided that the 160 lb engines would be class J-67, thus comprising the GER R24 class. The J-69 class would consist of the 180 lb engines of both classes R24R and S56, whilst the C72 class - which were practically identical to the S56s - were put in a class of their own as J-68.

The subsequent history of these engines that became LNER classes J-67 and J-69 was very complicated. In line with LNER policy, a start was made on fitting the passenger engines with vacuum ejectors. However, from 1925 they were quickly displaced from the suburban work by the new LNER N-7 class 0-6-2Ts. As a result, it was decided to convert most of the passenger engines to shunting. This was done in a similar manner to the 1912 shunting conversions, except that the balanced wheels were generally retained, as were the 180 lb. boilers. Some 53 engines were dealt with down to 1933. Those already fitted with vacuum ejectors retained them, although steam brakes were substituted for the Westinghouse brakes, and they retained their screw couplings. The engines that were Westinghouse-only became steam brake only, but some of these gained vacuum ejectors in addition.

From the 1930s onwards the J-67 and J-69 classes were in a constant state of flux, for various engines had vacuum ejectors added or removed, whilst the condensers were removed from most of the remaining passenger-fitted engines, and subsequently re-fitted to some. A number of 160 lbs. engines gained 180 lb. boilers and were re-classified J-69, whilst other 180 lbs. locomotives similarly became J 67s. This mainly seems to have occurred when engines were in Stratford Works and no boiler of the same type was immediately available. Just to confuse matters further, one of the J-68 class gained a 160 lb. boiler for the duration of the Second World War, and was re-classified as a J-67!

In 1927-8 a total of eighteen J-69s were transferred to Scotland, although in 1944 two of them were exchanged for a pair of J-67s. Seven of the J-69s returned south in 1951-2. Whilst in Scotland they acquired some Scottish area fittings, such as shunters' footboards, whilst escaping modifications made to the chimneys and cab roofs made to their English brethren. The first J-69 to be scrapped was in 1931, as a result of a collision and fire, and general withdrawal began six years later, beginning with the ex-GER R24s. Twelve more R24s went prior to the outbreak of War, when another eight were disposed of to the War Department. Thereafter, no further scrappings took place until 1953, and the final eight were withdrawn in September 1962.

The S56 class all became LNER class J-69, and their subsequent history was similar to that of the R24s and R24Rs. Many were converted to shunting in the late 1920s, and two were transferred to Scotland, returning south in 1951-2. Two engines gained 160 lbs. boilers in 1938/40, and were reclassified J-67, but one of these reverted to a 180 lbs. boiler subsequently. Five were disposed of to the War Department in 1940, leaving fifteen to become BR stock in 1948. General withdrawal commenced in 1958, and two still survived at 9th September 1962.

The C72 class, which became LNER class J-68, had a slightly-less eventful history. The ten passenger engines remained as such, although six were given lever reversers to suit them better for carriage shunting, and most had their condensers removed. These, and seventeen of the existing shunting engines were fitted with vacuum ejectors. One of the passenger engines gained a 160 lbs. boiler for a time and was reclassified J-67, as noted above. One engine was disposed of to the WD in 1940, and the remaining 29 passed to British Railways in due course. Scrapping commenced in 1958, and the last was withdrawn in 1961.

One of the S56 class - No. 87 - was preserved and restored to GER condition, and is part of the National Collection.

T26 Class 2-4-0 1891-1902

LNER Class E-4

417-506, 1250-1259

The T26 class were a version of the T19 2-4-0s with driving wheels of 5-ft. 8 ins. diameter for mixed traffic or 'intermediate' duties. Ninety were constructed between 1891 and 1896, with a further ten in 1902. The cylinders were of 17½-ins. diameter, although on some of the earlier batches they were only 17-ins. initially. All had two-ring boilers, and the pressure was raised from 140 to 160 lbs. psi on those engines reboilered from 1898 onwards, the final 1902 batch of engines naturally having this pressure from new.

More than half of the class were additionally fitted with vacuum ejectors, to enable them to haul through excursion and special trains from 'foreign' railways. This type of traffic became their speciality, and they became the GER's most widely-travelled class, especially on horse box trains to and from Newmarket. In the pre-grouping period the T26s regularly travelled all over England.

The T26 class became LNER class E-4 in 1923, but withdrawal commenced three years later as the recession eroded traffic, and 'cascading' of other locomotive types took over some of their duties. However, in 1936 six engines were transferred to the former NER area, where they were fitted with side window cabs for duties over the exposed Pennines to Penrith. Only eighteen E-4s survived at the outbreak of the Second World War, when scrapping ceased. The growth of military traffic in East Anglia, much of which passed over the GER's lightly-laid branch and cross-country lines forced the return of the six engines from the north east in 1942.

All eighteen were taken over by British Railways in 1948, and scrapping did not re-commence until 1954. By the following year they were the last working 2-4-0s in Britain, and the last engine was not withdrawn until 1959, when it was preserved as part of the National Collection. By the BR period the E-4s had carved a niche for themselves, for their light weight made them indispensable for working the long cross-country lines. Although the J-15 0-6-0s could also carry out these duties, most of these turns involved a certain amount of main line running - Colchester to Cambridge, for example - and the E-4s could run faster, and avoid delaying other trains. Nor was it any great hardship to keep them in traffic, as their boilers were standard with the J-15s. Indeed, it was not until the advent of the diesel multiple units that anything light enough, and fast enough, was available to replace them.

N31 Class 0-6-0 1891-1898

LNER Class J-14

542-551, 562-571, 602-608, 935, 946-999

The N31 Class 0-6-0s were James Holden's attempt to 'standardise' the Worsdell Y14 design by using the standard T19-type cylinder arrangement and valve gear as used on his other large locomotives. In leading dimensions - cylinder size, driving wheel diameter and working pressure - they were identical to the Y14s, the only external differences being that the frames were shortened by three inches at the front, and lengthened by the same amount at the rear, and that the boiler was pitched higher, at 7-ft. 6-ins. above rail level, as on the other large locomotive types.

Although 81 were built between 1891 and 1898, they were troublesome in service, having a reputation for poor steaming, priming, and sluggishness, so much so that the enginemen sarcastically dubbed them 'Swifts' or 'Waterburies' - a reference to their tendency to 'prime'.

The trouble undoubtedly lay in the design of the cylinders and valve chests. The previous large standard types had a leading carrying axle which was naturally lower in the frames than the driving axle, and the piston and valve rods passed immediately above it. This arrangement in the case of the N31s would have resulted in steeply-inclined cylinders, because the leading coupled axle was the same height as the driving axle. The piston rod therefore passed above the leading axle, and the valve rod beneath. The conventional solution in this situation was to arrange for the valve rods to effectively pass through the leading axle, by providing bridging couplers in them, but there was insufficient room with the standard motion design.

To accomplish this, the motion would have had to be re-designed, with the cylinders moved further forwards. This, in turn, would have involved lengthening the leading frames, and probably lengthening the boiler barrel as well, all of which would have defeated the object. It really was a case of a 'standardisation too far', for the steam passages between valves and cylinders were too long, and the valve chest was very low down, only inches above rail level.

It is perhaps surprising that so many were built but, in 1899, Holden went back to constructing the faithful old Y14 class. Nevertheless, from 1900 reboilering of the N31s commenced with the latest pattern 160 lbs. boilers, and a total of 31 engines were so treated down to 1908, including the additional N31 No. 935, rebuilt from the erstwhile compound No. 127. By this time all of the pre-Worsdell goods tender engines had been scrapped, and next in line for replacement should have been the earlier Y14s. However, reboilering and modernising of the Y14s continued, and the N31s were withdrawn instead.

By the end of 1914 only 29 of the 82 engines remained, but the outbreak of the Great War saw a reprieve. The GER were not stupid however, and they generously loaned a number of N31s to the London & North Western Railway during this difficult period! The GCR-design ROD 2-8-0s that the GER received on loan were a more than adequate replacement. Three more N31s were reboilered during the war, and another two withdrawn. Scrapping began again in earnest from 1920, and only twelve were taken over by the LNER in 1923 as class J-14, and all were withdrawn within two years without being renumbered.

C32 Class 2-4-2T 1893-1902

LNER Class F-3

1040-1049, 1060-1099

The C32 Class 2-4-2Ts were a tank engine version of the T26 class 2-4-0 for heavy passenger and outer suburban work. The trailing carrying axle was similar to the leading axle in having outside frames, giving the engines a massive and distinctive appearance. The first forty engines had 140 lbs. psi. boilers, whilst the last ten had the pressure raised to 160 lbs. The earlier engines were later reboilered with the higher pressure in due course.

Under the LNER the C32 class became class F-3. Withdrawal commenced in 1936, and thirteen were scrapped by the beginning of the Second World War. No more were withdrawn until 1946, but only fifteen survived at Nationalisation. Only one engine remained at the end of 1950, and it lasted until 1953. Although the F-3s were the tank engine equivalent of the E-4 2-4-0s, they were naturally much heavier, and their sphere of operation was restricted as a result.

P43 Class 4-2-2 1898


The ten P43 class 4-2-2s were the GER's contribution to the 'Indian Summer' of the single-wheeler, following the perfection of steam sanding apparatus. Their design was largely due to Frederick Russell, who became Head of the Locomotive Design Section of the Stratford Drawing Office in 1898. The design was totally non-standard, and clearly based upon the 4-2-2s of the Midland and the Great Western Railways, with double frames for the driving and carrying axles. The engines were oil burners, and the first to have the well-known 'watercart' type tenders.

The P43s did not last long on front-line express work, being displaced in 1901 by the new Claud Hamilton 4-4-0s. They were converted to coal burning, and their tenders exchanged with standard S23 tenders on ten of the T19 class 2-4-0s. They were then 'put out to grass' on the GN&GE Joint Line, and scrapped in 1907-1910.


S44 Class 0-4-4T 1898-1901

LNER Class G-4


These forty 0-4-4 tank engines were built in 1898-1901 for the suburban services, principally on the Chingford and Enfield lines. Considering that construction of the N31 class 0-6-0s had ceased in the previous year it is somewhat surprising that the S44 class were in fact a tank engine version of the N31s, although the cylinder diameter was reduced by half an inch. The boiler, also, was of smaller diameter, with a shorter firebox, being a Holden standard type that had hitherto only been used for rebuilding the Johnson and Adams 0-4-4Ts and several other pre-Worsdell locomotive types.

The slightly-smaller cylinders, and the fact that the engines were used on passenger work, with the opportunity to 'notch up' the reverser, meant that they performed somewhat better than the N31s. However, they were not particularly well-liked by the crews, for similar reasons. This was particularly true on the Enfield line, which had closer-spaced station stops, where their sluggishness in pulling away told against them.

By the end of the First World War a few engines had migrated to country area lines, but all were back in the London area for the inauguration of the 'Jazz' suburban services of 1920, and all forty became class G-4 under the LNER. By this time, all of the earlier locomotives that employed the S44 boiler had been withdrawn, and it is therefore not surprising that the S44s were themselves withdrawn from 1929 onwards. They were largely displaced from the suburban work by the new LNER N 7 class 0-6-2Ts from the mid-1920s, and the last was withdrawn from service in 1938.

F48 Class 0-6-0 1900-1903


G58 Class 0-6-0 1905-1911


LNER Classes J-16 and J-17

The F48 and G58 classes were the 0-6-0 goods engine equivalent of the Claud Hamilton 4 4-0s, having the same boiler, cylinders and motion, the first of which was also constructed in 1900. The combination of 180 lbs. boiler pressure, 19 x 28 ins. cylinders and the standard 4-ft 11-ins. diameter driving wheels made these engines nominally the most powerful 0-6-0s in Britain at the time. Unlike the N31 class 0-6-0s, the more-spacious motion arrangement allowed the use of bridging couplers in the valve rods, enabling the cylinders and valve chest to be kept close together. Thus, their steaming capabilities were every bit as good as the Clauds.

The first twenty - nos. 1150-1169 - had the same narrow cabs with low roofs as the contemporary 4-4-0s, but the remainder had the wider pattern with higher, arched roof. In 1902, A Belpaire firebox version of the Claud/F48 boiler was built as an experiment. It was originally intended to fit it to one of the 4-4-0s, but this could not be done without revision of the frame design, so instead it was fitted to new F48 class 0-6-0 No. 1189, as this could be done without any alteration. The trial was a success, and the Belpaire boiler became standard on the new 4-4-0s from 1903, and on the 0-6-0s when further engines were built from 1905. These later engines were known as class G58, and thirty were built down to 1911.

The original engines had sanding for forward travel to the leading wheels only, as on the earlier 0-6-0 types. However, their greater tractive effort meant that they more prone to suffer from slipping when railhead conditions were poor, and additional sandboxes and sanders to the centre driving wheels were added to new and existing engines from 1904. Later on, from about 1910, the F48s and G58s came to work coal trains over the LD&ECR line via Bolsover Tunnel, which was notoriously damp, and caused further adhesion problems. Thus, rear sanding was added to the last ten G58s built in 1911, and again fitted retrospectively to the existing engines.

From 1915 the G58s were reboilered with superheated boilers, and the process was completed in 1932. From 1921, the F48s were reboilered with superheated Belpaire boilers. Other details were brought up to date, and the rebuilds then became indistinguishable from the original G58s. Under the LNER the F48 and G58 classes became J-16 and J-17 respectively. The last J-16 engine was rebuilt to J-17 in 1932. This was No. 8200 (ex-1200), which achieved double notoriety when in became the first engine of the class to be scrapped when it was involved in a German V2 rocket explosion at Stratford, in 1944.

The F48 and G58 classes were originally steam brake only, but in 1942 seventeen were fitted with vacuum ejectors and steam heating gear for duties on the M&GN line.

The class were renumbered 5500-5589 under the 1946 scheme, and general withdrawal commenced in 1954, and three remained to be withdrawn in September 1962. No. 1217 is preserved as part of the National Collection and restored to early LNER condition.

S46 Class 4-4-0 1900-1903


D56 Class 4-4-0 1903-1911 (plus rebuilds)


H88 Class 4-4-0 1923 (plus rebuilds)


LNER Classes D-14, D-15 and D-16

These were the well-known Claud Hamilton 4-4-0 express passenger engines, so-named after the class prototype, itself named after the Chairman of the GER. The locomotive was built in 1900, and shown at the exhibition held in Paris to celebrate the new century, where it was awarded the Gold Medal.

Like the P43 4-2-2s before them, the design was totally new, and mainly the product of F.V. Russell. Most of the new features - rimmed chimney, cab side windows and so on - were to become standard fittings on other classes almost immediately. The first 41 engines were class S46, all were oil burners, and there were detail differences between each batch of ten, mainly in the cab design.

The design was revised in 1903 to carry a Belpaire boiler, and these engines were designated class D56 and known as Belpaire Clauds. The first ten were built as oil burners, although the equipment was removed almost immediately, as it was from the existing S46 class locomotives. Four of the last ten D56s built in 1911 were fitted with superheaters, two with the Schmidtt pattern, and two with the GWR type. General superheating of the D56 class began in 1915, but with the Robinson superheater.

Between 1908 and 1916 the original S46 locomotives were reboilered with boilers of the original round-topped pattern, albeit with steeper grates. However, from 1916 onwards the class was reboilered with the superheated Belpaire boiler. Other details were altered as necessary, and the rebuilt engines were externally indistinguishable from the D56 class, and were regarded as part of it.

The final GER development of the design came in 1923. Due to some up-grading of the track and bridges on the main lines in the meantime, it was possible to use a larger diameter superheated boiler on the Clauds, and ten new engines were built as class H88 - the Super Clauds. At the same time, a start was made in fitting the same boiler to the D56 class as they came due for reboilering. However, this could only be done on the engines originally built as D56 - the frames of those rebuilt from S46 had been altered in the process, and they could not be modified further to accept the larger boiler.

At the 1923 Grouping, there were thus 21 remaining round-top boilered S46 class, which became LNER class D-14, whilst the D56 Belpaire engines became class D 15. The ten new 'Super Clauds' and the rebuilds from D-15 became class D-16 in due course.

During the late 1920s/early 1930s the D-15s and D-16s were modified with extended smokeboxes. Meanwhile, rebuilding of the D-14s to D-15 was completed in 1931. Rebuilding of the D-15s to D-16 resulted in 30 such conversions by 1933.

From 1933 a process began of rebuilding the engines with LNER round-topped boilers of similar size to those of the D-16s, and modifying the valve gear to give longer valve travel. This rebuilding applied equally to the D-15s that had originally been built as D-14s. These locomotives had their frames further modified and were initially designated class D-14/2. (It will be noted that the classification D-14 had effectively been abolished two years previously, when the last engine was rebuilt as a D-15). However, the D-14/2 were later reclassified D-16/3, the same as the rebuilds from the original D-15s, and the D-16 class.

Many of the earlier D-14/2 and D-16/3 rebuilds were also fitted with new piston valve cylinders, if the original cylinders were due for replacement. However, it was found that the piston valve rebuilds were a little too powerful, and frame fractures resulted. Later rebuilds therefore retained slide valves regardless, and the piston valve engines were ultimately among the first engines to be withdrawn. Those engines rebuilt from the D-16 class retained their original GER pattern cabs and slotted valances, but the rebuilds from D-15 were given LNER design cabs, and had the slotted valancing removed.

In 1942 the LNER initiated a temporary renumbering scheme so as to clear blocks of numbers for the new B-1 class 4-6-0s, and the Clauds were intended to be renumbered as 7650-7770. However, only twelve were actually dealt with, and two of these reverted to their previous numbers. Under the general 1946 renumbering the class became 2500-2620, although one engine had already been withdrawn by this time. The class prototype - No. 2500 Claud Hamilton was itself withdrawn in 1947, and its nameplates were transferred to No. 2546 (ex-8855).

A total of 104 conversions to class D-16/3 were carried out down to 1949, although several of the early D-16/3s had already been withdrawn by this time. Four D-16s remained un-rebuilt, as did thirteen D-15s, and the last engines of both classes were scrapped in 1952. The D-16/3s lasted until 1960.

A55 Class 0-10-0WT 1903; 0-8-0 1906



This engine was the famous 'Decapod' - still one of the least understood of GER locomotives. As is mentioned when dealing with the other suburban locomotives, Parliament imposed cheap workmen's fares on the Walthamstow and Enfield line services when the extension to Liverpool Street was opened in 1875. The result was the explosion of population in these areas by the higher paid artisans and clerks who exploited the cheap fares, causing the GER's suburban services to be seriously overcrowded and the subject of much complaint.

In all fairness, the GER could not have tried harder to improve the services - the trains were composed of as many carriages as possible, the carriages seated as many passengers as possible, and the trains ran as frequently as the signalling system would allow. Nevertheless, by the turn of the century the suburban services were only just covering their costs. Despite several attempts, Parliament would not relax the onerous cheap fares legislation. The obvious solution was electrification, but the cost involved made this out of the question.

Following the success of the City and South London and Central London 'tube' lines, there was an explosion of proposals for new tube railways in London, two of which would have cut across the GER's suburban area. Such were the number of new proposals that a Royal Commission was set up to determine the merits of the various schemes.

The GER could not afford to lose what small income that it made from its suburban services, and James Holden was charged with proving that steam motive power could equal the claims of the promoters of the electric railways, that is, to accelerate a 300 ton train to 30 mph in 30 seconds from rest. By doing so, they hoped to defeat the rival tube railway proposals. Holden, in turn, delegated F.V. Russell to the task.

The design was most carefully worked out by Russell, and took the shape of a ten-coupled well tank engine with what was then the largest locomotive boiler to be built in Britain, and one of the first two British examples with a wide firebox. Three cylinders were required to provide the required tractive effort, but they had to be kept horizontal to maintain maximum adhesion. To achieve this, Russell and Holden patented a new pattern of inside connecting rod that surrounded the leading axle. Many of the dimensional statistics of the engine set new British and World records, and it also incorporated a number of ground-breaking and innovative details.

The engine was ex-works early in 1903 and made its trial trip from Stratford to Romford and back. Meanwhile, a section of the up 'Through' line near Chadwell Heath was prepared with electric sensors to record the acceleration. The acceleration trials took place on Sundays, when main line traffic could be diverted over the 'Local' lines. The test runs were made with a train of suburban carriages loaded with pig iron to the required weight. Following several initial runs, the engine was returned to Stratford Works for modifications, and then on April 26th, 1903 the required rate of acceleration was achieved.

The engine returned victorious to Stratford Works. However, it can not be said that is made a great deal of an impression on the tube railway proposals. In the short time that it had taken to design, build and test the engine, the situation had changed somewhat. The London County Council had begun electrifying the tramways, and this had the effect of reducing the GER's inner London suburban traffic somewhat, whilst the rival railway proposals were turned down by the Royal Commission.

Having spent a great deal of money on the 'Decapod', the company wasted no time in issuing orders for it to be turned into something useful. However, it was not until 1906 that the engine re-appeared, transformed into arguably the most ungainly 0 8 0 tender engine to run in Britain. Even then, the 'rebuilding' was mainly a book-keeping exercise, for the only major parts to be re-used were the front buffer-beam, two of the three cylinders, and eight of the wheels, heavily modified. All of the motion was new, although deliberately shaped so as to resemble that of the original! The boiler was entirely new, being a slightly 'stretched' Claud Hamilton' Belpaire boiler. The engine was put to work on the Cambridge line coal trains, and quietly scrapped in 1913 when the boiler needed major repair.

Even today, many people believe that the 'Decapod' actually performed on the suburban services, but this is not the case. For one thing, the engine was not formally 'handed over' to the Running Department until rebuilt as an 0-8-0. Its coal and water capacities - two tons and 1400 gallons respectively - would have meant that it would have been hard-pressed to complete even one trip on the Chingford or Enfield lines! The contemporary 0-6-0 tanks used on these services had capacities of 2¼-tons and 1200 gallons, with boilers a third of the size. Furthermore, many of the underbridges would have needed to be strengthened to support its great weight of eighty tons, whilst its long wheelbase would prohibit it from passing over many of the points and crossings, particularly at Liverpool Street. It was not even painted in the blue livery - it was turned out in 'photographic grey' for the official portraits, and ran the trials in this condition. Indeed, during the trials, it ran with sections of the footplating removed so that various recording instruments could be fitted. Photographs of the engine taken at Stratford in June 1903, on the occasion of the visit to Stratford by the Institution of Civil Engineers, show that the engine was dumped on a siding, still with the parts missing.

C53 Class 0-6-0T 1903-1921

LNER Class J-70

125-131, 135-139

The GER 0-4-0T tram engines of class G15 were by no means confined to the Wisbech & Upwell tramway, and they were found useful at a number of other locations on the system. When further examples were required in 1903, James Holden produced a more powerful version, the C53 class. The boiler, although of similar dimensions to that of the G15s, was of heavier construction and pressed to 180 lbs. psi. instead of 140, and the tank capacity was raised to 650 gallons. The increase in weight necessitated an 0-6-0 layout, but the wheelbase was only two inches longer than that of the 0-4-0Ts, and the frames and body only eight inches longer overall. With the bodywork and side skirts fitted it was difficult to tell the two classes apart.

The compact 0-6-0T layout meant that both the cylinders and valves had to be placed outside the frames, and Walschaerts motion was employed, these humble tram engines being only the second locomotive type in the country to have what was to become the standard modern British locomotive layout of outside cylinders and valves, with the Walschaerts gear.

A total of twelve engines were built in odd batches of one, two or three between 1903 and 1921, and they became LNER class J-70. One engine was scrapped in 1942, and the remaining eleven were taken over by BR, but all were withdrawn by 1955.