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LSWR Adams B4 dock tank class 0-4-0T

photograph: Mike Morant collection

B4 Class N°99 at photographed at Bournemouth M.P.D, date unknown.

The B4 Dock Tanks introduced by Adams at the end of his superintendency in 1891 were initially required by the expansion of traffic in the many small yards of the LSWR, particularly around the Plymouth area. Prior to the use of the B4 tanks, some of these yards had even been using horses for their shunting needs, a situation which could not be sustained. The first order was for twenty engines to be built at Nine Elms Works, in two lots of ten, and was completed by December 1892. The twenty locomotives were spread fairly evenly around the system, and although they had a cramped and dirty footplate, with limited coal supplies, the little locos were powerful and became popular with their crews.

The LSWR gained control of the Southampton Docks in 1892 and within a year, 3 of the B4 tanks were transferred to the docks. By 1900 a further 10 had been transferred to the Southampton docks. They were all painted in a dark green livery and given names generally associated with ports on the Continent with which the LSWR had connections.

In 1907, further locomotives were required by the Docks Department and Drummond built his own version of the class the following year, numbering five locomotives, with differing cab roofs, the Drummond chimney and lack of toolboxes on the tank tops being the obvious differences. These five were nominally class K14, but were grouped with the B4s. Upon delivery, also from Nine Elms, not all were needed at Southampton and three went to Eastleigh for duties.

One curious feature was the lack of any power braking on the B4s when built. Most, maybe all, were fitted with vacuum brake ejectors though the earlier emgines transferred to Southampton Docks had these ejectors removed and relied purely on the hand brake for stopping! In later years the vacuum control was restored.

All passed to Southern Railway control in 1923. The fourteen that had been retained by the Docks Department were painted dark chocolate with red lining, while the remaining 11 received the standard SR lined goods black livery. After 1938, plain black became the standard livery for all members of the class. For most of their pre-war life they were confined to LSWR metals although for a brief period two of them worked the LBSCR Deptford Wharf branch. In 1941, 2 of the class were loaned to the GWR for six months for service in Pembroke Dock, but by 1945 14 of the class were at work in the Southampton Docks.

Because the cost of heavy overhauls was considered by Bulleid to be unjustifiable, he decided to purchase redundant USA Army tank engines for Southampton duties and three B4s were scrapped in 1948 and eleven sold to outside purchasers around the country. For all these 11, their days ended by being cut up on these far-off sites by 1961.

The remaining 11 passed into BR ownership and received several general repairs. Transfers to locations into ex-SEC territory occurred, but all except 30096 and 30102 were scrapped by 1964. These two were sold, the first, N°96 to a subsidiary of Corralls at Southampton to become Corrall Queen. From there, N°96 was sold to the Bulleid Preservation Society in 1972 and was sent to the Bluebell Railway, where to this day it performs invaluable service. No. 102 was sold to Butlins in 1964 to be 'stuffed and mounted' at the holiday camp at Ayr, but it was rescued in 1971 and sent to Bressingham for preservation.

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  • 87
    B4 Class 0-4-0 N°87 at Southampton Docks.
    Note the enclosed cab with small round spectacles that was fitted during the war years to reduce the risk of her fire drawing the attention of an enemy aircraft. The smokebox door is a little unusual and quite different from that fitted to N°96 below, which also has toolboxes mounted on the top of the water tanks, unlike N°87 in this view.
    Photograph: Mike Morant collection.
  • 30093
    Hamworthy Goods

    30093 Originally namedSt Malo and with square spectacle plates photographed in 1956 at "Hamworthy Goods" the original station built to serve Poole.
    See the August 1953 Railway Magazine article By Rail to Bournemouth.
    Photograph by Alec Jacobs.
  • 30096
    Corrall Queen
    N°30096 as Corrall Queen out of steam in Southampton Docks. The engine had been sold by BR to Corralls but still featured its BR number and 71A (Eastleigh) shedplate.
    Note that this enclosed cab has small square spectacles rather than the round ones above. After final sale to the Bluebell Railway her cab was returned to its "cutaway" shape which gives a far better view when shunting.
    Photograph by Keith Harwood.
  • Normandy
    Woking 150
    B4 N°96 Normandy on display at the Woking 150 event on 30 May 1988.
    Photograph by Colin Duff.
  • Normandy
    Sheffield Park
    Normandy in the locomotive shed at Sheffield Park on 21st July 2001.
    Photograph by Colin Duff.

Technical Details


Driving Wheel:
Cylinders (2):
Boiler Pressure:
Water Capacity:
Coal capacity:
Tractive Effort:
BR Power Classification:

Adams B4

3 ft 10 ins
24 ft 10½ in
33 tons 9 cwt
16 in x 22 in
140 lb sq in
500 gals
1 ton
14,650 lbs

Drummond K14/ B4

3 ft 10 ins
24 ft 11½ in
32 tons 18 cwt
16 in x 22 in
140 lb sq in
500 gals
1 ton
14,650 lbs
Locomotives listed in order of build.
LSWR/Southern# N° Name Designer Built BR N° Withdrawn
85 Alderney Adams Oct 1891 30085 Jan 1949 *
86 Havre Adams Dec 1891 30086 Feb 1959
87 - Adams Dec 1891 30087 Dec 1958
88 - Adams Oct 1892 30088 Jul 1959
89 Trouville Adams Nov 1892 30089 Mar 1963
90 Caen Adams Nov 1892 30090 May 1948 *
91 - Adams Nov 1892 30091 Aug 1948 *
92 - Adams Dec 1892 30092 Apr 1949 *
93 St Malo Adams Dec 1892 30093 Apr 1960
94 - Adams Dec 1892 30094 Mar 1957
176 Guernsey Adams Oct 1893 30176 Jun 1949 *
81 Jersey Adams Nov 1893 30081 Feb 1949 *
95 Honfleur Adams Nov 1893 30095 Apr 1949 *
96 Normandy Adams Nov 1893 30096 Oct 1963 §
97 Brittany Adams Nov 1893 30097 Feb 1949 *
98 Cherbourg Adams Nov 1893 30098 Feb 1949 *
99 - Adams Dec 1893 30099 Feb 1949 *
100 - Adams Dec 1893 30100 Feb 1949 *
102 Granville Adams Dec 1893 30102 Sep 1963 §
103 - Adams Dec 1893 30103 May 1949 *
101 Dinan Drummond Apr 1908 30101 Nov 1948 *
147 Dinard Drummond Apr 1908 30147 Feb 1949 *
82 - Drummond Jun 1908 30082 Jun 1957
83 - Drummond Jun 1908 30083 Nov 1959
84 - Drummond Jun 1908 30084 Aug 1959
# Between 1923 and 1928 SR numbers were the LSWR numbers with the added prefix 'E', although the new number may not have been applied until some time later.
* Highly unlikely that these locos ever carried their BR number.
§ Preserved at the Bluebell Railway.
§ Preserved at Bressingham.

This page was last updated 15 January 2017

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