The London, Brighton and South Coast Railway E3 Class were 0-6-2T side tank steam locomotives. Seventeen were built and they were designed by R. J. Billinton. This was the first 0-6-2 Tank built by Billinton for the LBSCR. Known as "Small Radials" they were based on Stroudley's solitary radial tank built in 1891. Although designed for light goods service, Westinghouse air brakes were fitted to enable them to work secondary passenger services in place of the Class D1 D-tanks.
In the summer of 1889 Stroudley designed a class 0-6-2 radial tanks to replace his earlier E1 class 0-6-0T for short-distance goods and shunting duties. However, only one locomotive was under construction at the time of Stroudley's death. R. J. Billinton order further work to be delayed whilst he made detailed modifications. This locomotive, No. 158 West Brighton appeared in traffic in 1891, and was originally classified as F class, but later re-classified as E3.
The first of the E3 class was originally classified as E Class Special and was designed by Stroudley, but not finished until after his untimely death in Paris on 20 December 1889. Numbered 158 and named West Brighton (a previous name for what today is called Hove station) this 0-6-2T entered traffic in December 1891 and was the first of some 134 0-6-2 radial tanks to be built for the LB&SCR. The locomotive was pure Stroudley in all aspects bar one - Billinton gave her his own, tapered, cast iron chimney. This was, however, replaced ten years later with a Stroudley chimney. Designed as a goods locomotive, West Brighton was originally allocated to Fratton to work goods traffic along the coast line.
West Brighton proved to be such a success that in 1894, once the original teething troubles had been rectified, R J Billinton brought out sixteen more, virtually the same, locomotives and classified all seventeen of them as Class E3. Originally fitted with boilers of 160 lb pressure, these were changed in later years for a Marsh boiler with the smokebox on a saddle and 170 lb pressure. These entered traffic between November 1894 and December 1895. They were virtually all named after Sussex villages although No. 453 Broadbridge was erroneously given the name Charles C Macrae in later years, a mistake that lasted just long enough for the official photograph to be taken. The negative of this photograph, however, was destroyed in 1924. All of the class, designed as goods engines, performed so well that they were frequently to be found on passenger services which led to Billinton designing the E4 class, an almost identical locomotive but with larger, 5' diameter, driving wheels.
All were rebuilt with new boilers and extended smokeboxes from 1918 and some had increased boiler pressure. Cylinder diameter was reduced from 18 to 17½ inches (457 to 445 mm) by the Southern Railway.
The prototype No. 158 was withdrawn in 1934, but the remainder all entered British Railways service in 1948 and were numbered 32165–32170 and 32453–32462. During the mid 1950s, fifteen of the locos were still in service.
The first loco withdrawn by BR was 32457 in May 1949 from Tonbridge shed.
The last loco withdrawn was 32165 in November 1959 from Norwood Junction shed.
None survived into preservation
Power type : Steam
Designer : R. J. Billinton
Builder : Brighton Works
Build date : 1891 and 1894–1895
Total produced : 17
Configuration : 0-6-2T
Gauge : 4 ft 8½ in (1,435 mm)
Driver wheel diameter : 4 ft 6 in (1.372 m)
Trailing wheel diameter : 4 ft 0 in (1.219 m)
Locomotive weight : 56 tons 15 cwt (127,100 lb/57.7 t)
Fuel type : Coal
Boiler pressure : 158: 150 psi (1.03 MPa), 453–462: 160 psi (1.10 MPa), 165–170: 170 psi (1.17 MPa) (a)
Cylinders : Two (inside)
Cylinder size : 18 in × 26 in (457 mm × 660 mm), later 17½ in × 26 in (445 mm × 660 mm)
Valve Gear : Stephenson (slide valves)
Tractive effort : 453–462: 20,055 lb, 165–170: 21,305 lb (a)
Career : LBSC, SR, BR
Number : LBSC: 158, 453–462, 165–170, BR 32165-32170, 32453-32462.
Withdrawn : 1934, 1949–1959
Disposition : All scrapped
(a) 32453-32462 Locos with increased boiler pressure.