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LBSCR E4 /E4x Class

photograph: Mike Morant collection.

E4 class NºB479 is seen here at an unknown location during early Southern Railway days.

One of RJ Billinton's early tasks during his tenure as Chief Locomotive Engineer was to finish the construction of Stroudley's "E Class Special" West Brighton 0-6-2T Goods, the first of 134 Brighton Radial Tanks, which led to sixteen more similar locomotives, all seventeen of which were designated Class E3. So successful were these locomotives when assigned to passenger duties rather than the goods duties for which they were intended that Billinton decided to build another version expressly for passenger train work. These, the E4 Class, started entering traffic in 1897 and were virtually the same as the earlier E3 Class but with driving wheels enlarged from 4' 6" to 5' and higher pitched 160lb pressure boilers.

Initially named and painted in Stroudley Goods Green, from loco Nº487 onwards they were turned out named and painted in Stroudley's Improved Engine Green, a yellow colour, with some of the older, green, locos subsequently being re-painted yellow, until 1906 when Marsh repainted them in dark umber and removed their names. Why they were at first painted in the Goods colour when they were expressly designed for passenger work is uncertain. One of the early locos, Nº469, was named "Beachy Head" and was the only one not to be named after a village or small town. This name was, of course, to be made famous in later years when applied by the Southern Railway to one of Marsh's H2 Class Atlantics.

As time progressed and the locos came in for heavy overhaul they were fitted with 17½ in. cylinders in place of the original 18 in one. Then, in 1909, Marsh rebuilt three locos with new higher-pitched I2 pattern boilers of 170lb pressure, restored the 18 in cylinders (though not for long) and replacement smokeboxes mounted on a new saddle, to produce the E4x Class, with a fourth being so treated in 1911. Many other E4s were reboilered, as well as having other modifications, during their lives but not to the full E4x specification, which remained as a sub-class of just four.
Originally sent to work the London suburban passenger trains, they found themselves relocated to country areas when displaced by the new electric services. Their last days were spent mainly on shunting duties until they were replaced by the inevitable diesels. All E4x locos were withdrawn by January 1959 whilst the E4s worked on in continually diminishing numbers until the last, Nº32479, was withdrawn in June 1963.

A number of these locos travelled over the water, twelve saw service in France between 1917 and 1919 whilst one, Nº 2510, was sent to the Isle of Wight in 1947 but was found to be too big for the island lines so was repatriated to the mainland. Then in August 1999 the Bluebell Railway's Nº473, "Birch Grove", paid a summer visit to the Isle of Wight Steam Railway.

A very successful class (some members of which strayed away from the Brighton section to places such as Eastleigh, Waterloo and Tonbridge) of which all bar one (2483, scrapped in July 1944) survived into British Railways service. Under BR they were mainly painted plain black, although a few (such as all three BR-liveried locos on this page) received the lined black livery. One loco, 32473, continues to this day working on the Bluebell Railway as 473 "Birch Grove", wearing the Marsh umber livery and carrying her name on each side tank - a condition she was never seen in during her LBSC days when the umber liveried locos carried the letters 'L B S C' where previously there had been names.

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  • 2517
    Tunbridge Wells
    Nº2517 photographed at Tunbridge Wells West during the 1930s.
    Photograph: Mike Morant collection.
  • 32517
    Redhill
    A grubby Nº2517 captured on shed at Redhill on 24th February 1951.
    Photograph by Les Darbyshire.
  • 32498
    Nine Elms
    This wonderfully evocative photograph of Nº32498 was taken at Nine Elms on 25th October 1961.
    Photograph by Alan Robinson.
  • 32472
    Nine Elms
    Unlike the previous locomotive Nº32472 was in steam and working at Nine Elms on 25th October 1961.
    Photograph by Alan Robinson.
  • 32503
    Eastleigh
    Yet another Class E4 away from its home Brighton metals, Nº32503 was at Eastleigh on 16th April 1963.
    Photograph by Alan Robinson.
  • 473 Birch Grove
    Bluebell Rly
    E4 class Nº473 Birch Grove is seen here on the Bluebell Railway in the early 1960s. Nº473 is the only example of a Robert Billinton designed locomotive that has survived to run in preservation.
    Photograph by Keith Harwood.
  • 473 Birch Grove
    Wooton
    In the dying days of the Southern Railway a shortage of locomotive power on the Isle of Wight led to a proposal to use some ex-LBSC E4s, and Nº2510 was sent over for trials during 1947, but was found to be too large so the plan was abandoned and the loco returned to the mainland. In 1999 there was a "what might have been" fortnight when the Bluebell's E4 Birch Grove went to the Island to work trains there, some as sole train engine but several double-heading with the IoWSR's locomotives. This picture shows Birch Grove arriving at Wootton on Saturday, 21st August 1999 working the 2:02 p.m. from Smallbrook Junction.
    Photograph by Peter Richards.
  • 473 Birch Grove
    Wooton
    Birch Grove prepares to return with the 2:27 p.m. service to Smallbrook Junc., having run round her train. She was a very tight fit on the turnout at the east end of Wootton loop!
    Below right: Birch Grove is piloting the IoW's Nº8 Freshwater heading the 4:02pm service from Smallbrook Junc. to Wootton.
    More details of this visit to the Isle of Wight may be found on the Bluebell Railway's web site here.
    Photograph by Peter Richards.
  • 473 Birch Grove
    Horsted Keynes
    Here Birch Grove' working for her living on one of Clive Groome's Footplate Days & Ways courses at Horsted Keynes.
    .
    Photograph by Colin Duff.

Technical Details

 

Introduced:
Driving Wheel:
Weight:
Cylinders (2):
Boiler Pressure:
Tractive Effort:
BR Power Classification:

E4

1897
5 ft
58 tons (Approx)
* 18 (17½) in x 26 in
160 lb sq in
* 19,090 (18,045) lbs
2-P/2-F

E4x

1909
5 ft
58 tons (Approx)
* 18 (17½) in x 26 in
170 lb sq in
* 20,285 (19,175) lbs
2-P/2-F
* Initially 18 in x 26 in cylinders, later replaced with 17½ in x 26 in.

Data

LBSC Nº SR Nº # BR Nº Name (Until 1906) Built Rebuilt as E4x Withdrawn
463
464
465
466
467
468
469
470 *
471
472
473
474
475
476
477
478
479
480
481*
482
483
484
485
486
487
488
489
490
491
492
493
494
495
496
497
498*
499
500
501
502
503
504*
505
506*
507
508
509
510
511
512
513
514
515
516*
517
518*
519
520
556
557
558
559
560
561
562*
563*
564*
565*
566
577
578
579
580*
581
582
2463
2464
2465
2466
2467
2468
2469
2470
2471
2472
2473
2474
2475
2476
2477
2478
2479
2480
2481
2482
2483
2484
2485
2486
2487
2488
2489
2490
2491
2492
2493
2494
2495
2496
2497
2498
2499
2500
2501
2502
2503
2504
2505
2506
2507
2508
2509
2510 *
2511
2512
2513
2514
2515
2516
2517
2518
2519
2520
2556
2557
2558
2559
2560
2561
2562
2563
2564
2565
2566
2577
2578
2579
2580
2581
2582
32463
32464
32465
32466
32467
32468
32469
32470
32471
32472
32473
32474
32475
32476
32477
32478
32479
32480
32481
32482
-
32484
32485
32486
32487
32488
32489
32490
32491
32492
32493
32494
32495
32496
32497
32498
32499
32500
32501
32502
32503
32504
32505
32506
32507
32508
32509
32510
32511
32512
32513
32514
32515
32516
32517
32518
32519
32520
32556
32557
32558
32559
32560
32561
32562
32563
32564
32565
32566
32577
32578
32579
32580
32581
32582
Wivelsfield
Woodmancote
Hurst Green
Honor Oak
Berwick
Midhurst
Beachy Head
East Hoathly
Forest Hill
Fay Gate
Birch Grove
Bletchingly
Partridge Green
Beeding
Poynings
Newick
Bevendean
Fletching
Itchingfold
Newtimber
Hellingly
Hackbridge
Ashington
Godalming
Fishergate
Oakwood
Boxgrove
Bohemia
Hangleton
Jevington
Telscombe
Woodgate
Chessington
Chiddingfold
Dennington *
Strettington
Woodendean
Puttenham
Stoat's Nest
Ridgewood
Buckland
Chilworth
Annington
Catherington
Horley
Bognor
Southover
Twineham
Lingfield
Kingswood
Densworth
Barcombe
Swanmore
Rustington
Limpsfield
Porchester
Portfield
Westbourne
Tadworth
Northlands
Chiltington
Framfield
Pembury
Walberton
Laughton
Wineham
Nettlestone
Littleton
Durrington
Blackstone
Horsebridge
Roehampton
Shermanbury
Warningcamp
Horndean
Dec 1897
Dec 1897
Apr 1898
Apr 1898
May 1898
May 1898
Jun 1898
Jun 1898
Jun 1898
Jun 1898
Jun 1898
Aug 1898
Oct 1898
Oct 1898
Oct 1898
Nov 1898
Dec 1898
Dec 1898
Dec 1898
Dec 1898
Mar 1899
Apr 1899
May 1899
May 1899
Jun 1899
Jun 1899
Jun 1899
Jun 1899
Sep 1899
Oct 1899
Nov 1899
Nov 1899
Nov 1899
Dec 1899
May 1900
May 1900
Jun 1900
Jun 1900
Jun 1900
Jun 1900
Aug 1900
Sep 1900
Oct 1900
Oct 1900
Dec 1900
Dec 1900
Dec 1900
Dec 1900
Feb 1901
Feb 1901
Mar 1901
Mar 1901
Apr 1901
Apr 1901
Jun 1901
Jun 1901
Jun 1901
Jun 1901
Aug 1901
Sep 1901
Oct 1901
Oct 1901
Nov 1901
Nov 1901
Dec 1901
Dec 1901
Dec 1901
May 1902
Jun 1902
Jun 1903
Jun 1903
Jul 1903
Jul 1903
Sep 1903
Sep 1903
 
 
 
Feb 1909
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Apr 1911
May 1909
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
May 1909
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Oct 1959
Jun 1956
Mar 1955
Dec 1958
Apr 1958
Jan 1963
Oct 1961
Jun 1962
Sep 1959
Jun 1962
Oct 1962 *
May 1963
Jun 1961
Apr 1957
Jan 1959
Jun 1956
Jun 1963
Apr 1959
Apr 1958
Oct 1955
Jul 1944
Sep 1960
Dec 1957
Jan 1959
Dec 1962
Jun 1957
May 1955
Dec 1955
Jan 1961
May 1957
Feb 1948
Sep 1959
Sep 1960
Oct 1955
Nov 1959
Nov 1961
Jun 1957
Jan 1962
Jul 1955
Feb 1958
Apr 1963
Nov 1961
Mar 1961
Jun 1961
May 1959
Jan 1960
Mar 1962
Sep 1962
Sep 1956
May 1961
Jan 1956
Sep 1956
May 1961
Oct 1955
Jun 1959
Jun 1955
Sep 1959
Jan 1957
Oct 1961
Dec 1962
Dec 1956
Jun 1960
Aug 1958
Apr 1956
Aug 1960
Jun 1961
Sep 1961
Jun 1961
Apr 1959
Oct 1959
Apr 1961
Nov 1959
Apr 1962
Apr 1962
Sep 1956
# Between 1923 and 1928 SR numbers were the LBSC numbers with the added prefix 'B'
* Incorrectly spelled! Name corrected to Donnington in February 1905.
* Preserved on the Bluebell Railway. Worked LE from Nine Elms shed to Horsted Keynes 16 October 1962.
* Operated with ROD in France between 1917 and 1919.
* Sent to the Isle of Wight for brief period during 1947.

This page was created 26 May 2003

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