Mon 22 Jan 2018 00:36:17


British Railway Steam Locomotive

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Note: To Obtain Consistency in the Steam System, Shed Codes used are those Registered at Nationalisation on 1st January 1948
2nd Grouping Number
1st Grouping Numbersr 1159
2nd Pre Grouping Number
1st Pre Grouping Numbersec 159
Works/Lot Number
Class CodeE
DesignerWainwright H
BuilderAshford Works (SR/British Railways)
1948 Shed73B Bricklayers Arms
Last Shed73C Hither Green
Disposal detailsEastleigh Works (B.R.)
DisposalCut Up
Disposal Datec1952

Class Information

The SECR E class was a class of 4-4-0 tender locomotives designed by Harry Wainwright for express passenger trains on the South Eastern and Chatham Railway. It was a larger version of the D class incorporating a Belpaire firebox. In all some 26 E class were built between 1905 and 1909

Following the success of his D class 4-4-0 design, Wainwright obtained authority to build a further five similar locomotives incorporating a Belpaire firebox to provide additional power. These were built at Ashford railway works during the last few months of 1905 and entered traffic early in 1906. Easily distinguishable from the D Class by their Belpaire firebox and smooth-sided splashers, they had a 6" longer wheelbase, 2" smaller wheels and marginally larger cylinders. Once the design had proved to be successful, further orders were placed until 26 had been constructed at Ashford by April 1909. In 1911 and 1912 two examples of the class received boilers with superheaters, which significantly improved their fuel efficiency, but unfortunately the additional weight prevented them from working over the lines of the former London Chatham and Dover Railway (LCDR) and so no further examples were so treated. Nn 1912, numbers 26 and 275 were altered. These two locomotives' boiler pressure was reduced from 180 to 160lb. per sq. in. with No. 26 receiving a Robinson superheater and No. 275 a Schmidt superheater, whilst both were fitted with larger cylinders. Other members of the class were subsequently fitted with the Maunsell pattern of superheater.

From 1908 the locomotives were fitted with extended smokeboxes. No. 516 was exhibited at the Franco-British Exhibition held in 1908 and was also used frequently on royal train duties. In 1919 No. 165 was fitted for oil-burning, using the "Mexican Trough" system. From 10th August 1910 No. 19 had the chimney lowered by 4" to 13' 0" for working over the East London line. The dome casing and whistle were also lowered.

In the years immediately following the grouping of the SECR with other railways to form the Southern Railway (UK) in 1923 the E class locomotives continued with their existing duties, but in 1931 three examples were transferred to the Central Section to assist with expresses on the Brighton Main Line, followed by further examples. During the Second World War they were also regularly employed on the line between Redhill and Reading.

In 1919 Maunsell decided to rebuild one, No. 179, and quite changed the whole look of the engine. The footplate over the driving wheels was raised and the Wainwright cab was replaced with one of the "standard" Maunsell variety. The technical changes involved fitting a new, larger, firebox, replacing slide valves with 10" piston valves and reducing slightly the total heating surface in the boiler and firebox. No. 179 hadn't yet been superheated so this was done at the same time, fitting a Maunsell-style header. This, the first E1, was rebuilt at Ashford and proved to be such an improvement on the E class that it was decided to rebuild ten more, which was done during 1920 by Beyer, Peacock & Co.

Following the rebuilding of eleven the E class into the E1 class, 21 of the 51 D class engines were rebuilt as D1 class between 1921 and 1927. These D1 locomotives were, to all intents and purposes, the same as the E1 class. Four of the E1s were converted to oil burnring during the 1926 strike, but they didn't remain in this condition for long and were converted back to coal firing.

Originally employed on express passenger trains on the Chatham section, the locos ended their days under BR(S) on secondary lines and stopping passenger duties, although the occasional express service would take them back onto the main line.

The majority of the remaining E class locomotives were withdrawn during 1951 but one lasted until May 1955. The E1 rebuilds were withdrawn over a far longer period between May 1949 and November 1961, with three examples lasting until the 1960s. No examples have been preserved.

The first loco withdrawn was 31547 in January 1951 from Bricklayers Arms (London) shed.
The last loco 31166 was withdrawn in May 1955 from Tonbridge shed.

Technical Details

Power type : Steam
Designer : Harry Wainwright
Builder : Ashford Works
Build date : 19061908
Total produced : 26
Total Rebuilt : 11 to Class E1
Total Class E to BR : 15
Configuration : 4-4-0
Gauge : 4 ft 8 in (1,435 mm)
Leading wheel diameter : 3 ft 6 in (1.067 m)
Driver wheel diameter : 6 ft 6 in (1.981 m)
Length : 55 ft 3 in (16.840 m)
Locomotive weight : 52 tons 5 cwt ; 53 tons 10 cwt (a)
Tender weight : 39 tons 2 cwt
Fuel type : Coal
Coal Capacity : 4 ton 10 cwt
Water Capacity : 3,300 gals
Boiler pressure : 180 lb sq in ; 36 & 275 reduced to 160 lb sq in on superheating in 1912 (a)
Cylinders : Two, inside
Cylinder size : 19 in x 26 in ; 36 & 275 increased to 20 in x 26 in on superheating in 1912 (a)
Valve Gear : Stephenson (slide valves)
Tractive Effort : 18,410 lb ; 36 & 275 increased to 19,050 lb superheating in 1912 (a)
Career : South Eastern and Chatham Railway, Southern Railway, British Railways
Class code : E
Power Classification : 3-P
Retired : 19441956
Disposition : 11 rebuilt to E1 class
all scrapped
none preserved

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