Steam Locomotives of a More Leisurely Era
1901 – Wainwright 4-4-0
South Eastern & Chatham Railway
H.S.Wainwright’s first express engines for the newly formed SECR. The first forty came out in 1901-3, numbered 726-50 and with scattered numbers earlier in the South Eastern list replacing older engines which had been scrapped. Another eleven of the class were built in 1906-7, bringing the total to 51. These engines were known as Class D. Class E, consisting of twenty engines, was built between 1906 and 1908, and they were generally similar but had Belpaire fireboxes and less ornamental splashers. Later the E class received extended smokeboxes and two of them were superheated.
In 1919 No. 179 was completely rebuilt by Maunsell with superheater, increased grate area and larger diameter piston valves. The frames were also cut away to clear the coupling rods in Midland fashion, and this in fact was not the only Derby characteristic in the rebuilt engine. The reconstruction was achieved with practically no increase in weight, a necessary provision in view of the severe restrictions then in force over the Chatham main line. Between 1920 and 1927 ten more engines of Class E and twenty of the Ds were similarly rebuilt and, although distinguished by the classifications D1 and E1, they became virtually the same class and were almost indistinguishable in appearance. They did an immense amount of tremendously hard work over the difficult Chatham road with its heavy holiday traffic, for many years being the heaviest engines allowed on that line.All the rebuilds passed into BR hands in 1948. Under SR ownership their numbers had been increased by 1000 and now were similarly renumbered into the 31000s. Withdrawal began in 1950, but in 1959 there were still over a dozen in service.
Ex South Eastern and Chatham Railway (SECR) Class D 4-4-0 locomotive 737 (SR A737-1737, BR 31737 numbers) built at Ashford locomotive works in 1901 to a design by Wainright SECR design © Copyright Ashley Dace and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
The remaining engines of Class D and E were never rebuilt, and all had been taken out of service by 1956. No. 31737, however, has been preserved for restoration to its original SECR colours. With their elaborate livery and abundance of brasswork coupled with their well-proportioned outline these were amongst the most handsome engines ever designed.
Class D – Driving wheels – 6’ 8”, Cylinders – 19”x 26”, Pressure – 175 lb., Tractive effort – 17453 lb., Weight – 50 tons, BR classification – 2P
Class E – Driving wheels – 6’ 6”, Cylinders – 19”x 26”*, Pressure – 180 lb., Tractive effort – 18411 lb., Weight – 52 tons 5 cwt, – BR classification – 2P
Class D1 – Driving wheels – 6’ 8”, Cylinders – 19”x 26”, Pressure – 180 lb., Tractive effort – 17950 lb., Weight – 52 tons 4 cwt, BR classification – 3P
Class E1 – Driving wheels – 6’ 6”, Cylinders – 19”x 26”, Pressure – 180 lb., Tractive effort – 18411 lb., Weight – 53 tons 9 cwt, BR classification – 3P
Class E1 –The two superheated engines, Nos. 36 and 275, had 20½”x 26” cylinders and increased tractive effort.