LBSCR ‘E4’ 0-6-2T
Before the war: Robert Billinton had already designed an 0-6-2T for the London, Brighton & South Coast Railway but decided that a version with 5ft-diameter driving wheels rather than
4ft 6in could be a useful mixed traffic machine. He was right, and 75 were built from 1897 to 1903. Initially used on London suburban services, they spread throughout the LBSCR as electrification took hold.
Call-up: The LBSCR couldn’t supply any tender locomotives owing to the amount of war work, but it offered 12 ‘E4s’. Nos. 470/481/498, 504/506/ 516/518/562/563/564/565/ 580 were dispatched in 1917.
Theatre of operations: The ‘E4s’ were used to shunt supply and ammunition depots around Audruicq, near Calais, but were later used to work gun spurs around Arras. Demobilisation: After the Armistice was signed in November 1918, the ‘E4s’ were used to haul local passenger trains around Arras until they were shipped back to Britain in the spring and summer of 1919.
The first ‘E4’ was withdrawn in 1944, BR receiving the remaining 74 in 1948. Largescale withdrawals started later that year, progressing through the 1950s until No. 32479 was the last one left, being withdrawn in June 1963. The final ex-ROD machines, Nos. 32470 and 32580, were withdrawn in 1962.
Survivors: Birch Grove is preserved, but didn’t go to war.
‘E4’ No. 32470 at Midhurst in March 1962. It was employed shunting gun spurs in the Third Army area around Gombremetz.