For enthusiasts and researchers of the Great Eastern Railway

G15 Class 0-4-0T 1883-1897

LNER Class Y-6

125-134

7061 14GERS Collection 7061/14

The Wisbech & Upwell tramway was constructed by the GER under the terms of the 1870 Tramways Act, which was intended to encourage the building of railways in rural areas by relaxing some of the more expensive regulations regarding the provision of fencing, signalling and so on. The Act somewhat backfired, for many miles of urban street tramways were built, but very few rural lines – the Wantage Tramway being about the only other well-known example on the standard gauge. To comply with the regulations that required locomotives to have cow-catchers and all moving parts enclosed, speed regulators, warning bells and much else, Worsdell produced the G15 class tram engines in 1883. As can be seen, they had cabs at either end and wooden bodies that have often been described as making engines look like runaway guards vans! These engines were inside-cylinder 0-4-0 tanks of otherwise conventional design, and were so successful that ten were eventually constructed down to 1897, and – right from the start – a use was found for them at several other locations on the GER system where running over public roads was required, such as Ipswich Docks, Lowestoft Harbour, Hythe Quay at Colchester and so on. These engines were of course the inspiration for the Rev. W. Awdry’s “Toby the Tram Engine” in his famous series of children’s books. Although the first of the G15 class was scrapped as early as 1907 after the slightly larger C53 class six-coupled engines appeared (q.v), two survived to become British Railways Nos. 68082/3, being finally withdrawn in 1951/2.

7026 360H.C. Casserley 54561/GERSHC 7026/360

This photograph shows one of the 0-4-0 tram engines ‘in the nude’, so as to speak! No. 68082 (formerly GER No. 133) at Stratford Works with the body removed. The low water tanks were slung along the outside of the frames, forming the ‘floor’ of the engine.