The LB&SCR D3 class was a 0-4-4T tank locomotive design, by Robert J. Billinton, built for the London Brighton and South Coast Railway (LB&SCR) between 1892 and 1896. They were built for working passenger trains along country and main lines. They were initially known as D Bogies or Bogie Tanks
Before working for the LB&SCR, Billinton worked for the Midland Railway's locomotive department, hence he had got used to 0-4-4T designs which that company used for similar work which the D3's were built for. The design centred on the idea of being a 'improved' version of William Stroudley's D1 tanks, the D3 intending to be replace the D1s on certain duties. The design shared spare parts with Billinton's other designs, the cylinder's design being shared with the C2 goods engines, the boilers with the E4 radial tanks.
With the return to Brighton in February 1890 of Robert John Billinton from his position as Chief Draughtsman at Derby (having previously held the same position at Brighton in the early Stroudley years) it was hardly surprising that Stroudley’s designs were followed by something of a more “Midland” flavour - with bogies. With the exception of two Craven 4-4-0s and one 0-4-4T there had not previously been a class of engine on the LB&SCR with a bogie.
His first task was to complete the building of Stroudley’s E class with the final six, which were the first of the E1 class. Having got those out of the way he embarked on his first design, the ‘D Bogie’ 0-4-4 tank, which emerged in May 1892.
The D Bogie, which was designed for working country and semi-fast trains, soon became the D3 class, but presumably not until the withdrawal of the six Stroudley D3 0-4-2 express tender locomotives was completed in 1904. The dome and cab had similarities with the Stroudley style, but that was where all visible similarities stopped, though the front tubeplate was the one used in the B1 “Gladstones”. The trademark Stroudley toolbox behind the bunker all but disappeared with the bunker extending almost to the edge of the buffer beam. One of the class, No. 387 Steyning was briefly converted to oil burning during 1903 but this was obviously not a success as it quickly reverted to coal burning. Sir Julian Goldsmid, a director of the railway, had the first of the class named after him and then insisted on having the outline of the engine reproduced as a copper badge for the loco crews’ caps. In the event the other directors of the railway considered an unassuming 0-4-4 tank of insufficient importance to carry Sir Julian’s name, so the name was transferred to B2 No. 316 in 1895 and No. 387 was renamed Havant, though Sir Julian much admired the little D3.
The D3 first employment was services radiating around Tunbridge Wells and outer-suburban work into London. One locomotive, number 363, was named after the company's chairman, Sir Julian Goldsmid, who was so fond of the engine he had an image of the locomotive used on the railway's cap badges. Another locomotive, No. 375 Glynde, was used to haul an armoured train for the 1st Sussex Volunteers for two years from 1896.
In 1909 No. 396 and No. 397 were rebuilt by Marsh with the large pattern boiler he used for his I2 class, new cylinders and a circular smokebox mounted on a saddle. He increased the working pressure from 160 to 170 lb sq in but reduced the heating area through using fewer but larger tubes. These two locomotives were re-classified as class D3x but the remainder continued as class D3 after being re-boilered with boilers similar to the originals, though at least one engine, No. 2364, still carried the original Billinton boiler in the middle 1930s. They were not particularly successful locos and no further rebuildings took place.
The class, along with other Billinton and Stroudley engines, were reboilered. Two were rebuilt as class D3x with larger boilers, but this proved to be ineffective, and smaller boilers were used on the rest, which remained as class D3. After the First World War, the class were increasing more at the countryside end of the system in their operating scope.
The locomotives passed to the Southern Railway (SR) in 1923. They were soon seeing new changes, as 10 members of the class were moved to Londbridge to act as carriage shunters, while from 1931 the repairs and overhauls of the class were undertaken at Ashford works rather than at Brighton, after the latter works was mothballed.
Electrification and the transfer of locomotives from other areas were the first real threats towards the class's survival, some spending time in store, and the first withdrawals taking place from 1933. However, they were fitted for working motor trains (otherwise known as Push-pull trains) by the SR during the 1930s to replace D1 tanks, although the D3 were considered rougher riding.
During World War II, one engine, number 2365, was working through the Romney Marshes when she was attacked by a German enemy plane. The plane attacked the engine, causing the boiler to burst, but no railway staff or passengers were hurt. Either the sudden rush of steam from the boiler, or the plane coming into contact with the dome, supposedly caused the plane to crash, killing the airman. The engine was repaired after a new boiler was fitted and survived the war.
Giving good service from the 1890s until the early 1950s, the D3s were usually to be found on odrinary passenger trains, both on the main line and branches, particularly the LB&SCR’s Kent and Sussex routes with some, such as No. 378 Horsted Keynes, hardly ever venturing up to London. They were also to be found, in Southern Railway days, working lines such as Hastings-Ashford and it was in this area that one, No. 2365, entered the history books when credited with causing the downfall of an enemy aeroplane that attacked it whilst working a local service across Romney Marsh. Apparently a part of the low-flying aircraft came into contact with a part of the engine - it is claimed to have been the dome - causing the plane to crash into the marsh close to the railway line. The boiler burst without causing too much damage to the locomotive, or injury to the crew (who reputedly gave a brief war-dance in celebration of the event). The boiler barrel was damaged on the top and its plates were knocked off the lefthand tank, the steampipe and regulator were bent and the chimney dislodged. A new boiler was fitted and No. 2365 returned to traffic.
When the Southern Railway began phasing out the Stroudley D1 class it started fitting the D3s for motor train working and eventually converted almost all the class.
Other members of the class which had been stored before the war found themselves being pressed back into service; when fears for an invasion were at their worst, this led to some being moved away to other places, including Salisbury.
Twenty-eight locomotives passed to British Railways in 1948, and they were numbered 32364-32398 (with gaps). Although still working motor trains successfully, the class in general were becoming worn out. The D3s were replaced by former South Eastern H class and London & South Western M7 class tanks engines during the early 1950s. Most were withdrawn by 1953, but one, 32390, remained in traffic for two more years until being cut up at Brighton Works in 1955. During those two years she was used to cover for failing M7s from Tunbridge Wells, or for special railtours. Her last days were spent working from Brighton on services to Horsham.
The first two locos withdrawn were 32370 and 32377 in September 1948 from Tonbridge and Eastbourne sheds respectively.
The last loco withdrawn was 32390 in September 1955 from Brighton shed.
None of the engines has survived into preservation.
Power type : Steam
Designer : Robert J. Billinton
Builder : Brighton Works
Introduced : 1892
Build date ; 1892–1896
Total produced : 36 - Total to BR 28
Configuration : 0-4-4T
Gauge 4 ft 8½ in (1,435 mm)
Driver wheel diameter : 5 ft 6 in (1.676 m)
Locomotive weight : 52 tons 0 cwt (116,500 lb/52.8 t)
Fuel type : Coal
Boiler pressure : 170lb/sq in NS (1.17 MPa)
Cylinders : Two (inside)
Cylinder size : 17½ in × 26 in (445 mm × 660 mm)
Valve Gear : Stephenson (slide valves)
Tractive effort : 17,435 lbf (77.6 kN)
Withdrawn : 1933–1955
Disposition : All scrapped
Fitted with push-pull control apparatus from 1934.