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British Railway Steam Locomotive

Please read this statement on the accuracy of the data shown below

Note: To Obtain Consistency in the Steam System, Shed Codes used are those Registered at Nationalisation on 1st January 1948
2nd Grouping Number
1st Grouping Numbersr 1132
2nd Pre Grouping Numbersec 132
1st Pre Grouping Numberse 132
Works/Lot Number
Class CodeB-1
DesignerStirling J
BuilderAshford Works (SR/British Railways)
1948 Shed73A Stewarts Lane
Last Shed73A Stewarts Lane
Disposal detailsEastleigh Works (B.R.)
DisposalCut Up
Disposal Date31/05/1936
NotesRebuilt from Class B 1912

Class Information

The Wainwright B1 4-4-0s were rebuilds of SER Stirling 4-4-0s and lasted a long time, a number of them seeing service with British Railways, although only one, 1446/31446 was given a BR number to wear. They were nicknamed Flying Bedsteads

The SECR B1 class was a class of 4-4-0 steam tender locomotive for express passenger service on the South Eastern and Chatham Railway. These engines were originally designed by James Stirling for the South Eastern Railway (SER) in 1898 and designated B class. The SER was merged into the SECR in 1899 and, between 1910 and 1927 the B class engines were rebuilt with new boilers by Harry Wainwright to become B1 class.

Shortly prior to his retirement from the SER at the end of 1898 James Stirling produced his "B Class" 4-4-0 express engine which was not only a far more successful design than anything he had produced previously but also exhibited marked differences of appearance above the footplate when compared with his previous engines. There was a larger boiler, a squarer cab affording the crew better weather protection and a polished brass casting over the safety valve seating. The tender now had its springs under the footplate and was fitted with a larger, 3,000 gal, water tank.

Twenty B Class engines were built by Neilson, Reid and Company and numbered 440-459. A further 9 were built at the South Eastern Railway's Ashford railway works and given a jumble of numbers: 217, 13, 21, 101, 34, 17, 132, 186, 189. They kept these numbers under the SECR. When the Southern Railway took over in 1923 they initially gave the numbers an "A" prefix and later added 1000 to them. For example, 440 became A440 and then 1440 and 13 became A13 and then 1013. A few passed into British Railways ownership in 1948 and had 30000 added to their numbers but it is believed that only 31446 actually carried its number. All had been withdrawn by the end of 1951 and none remain.

Two engines, 454 and 459, were fitted with Holden's oil burning system in 1901. Although this conversion was a success it was deemed to be too expensive to be adopted generally and the equipment was removed in 1904.

As excellent as these engines were, as time passed by they needed work and in 1910 Wainwright fitted new domed boilers which had a slightly smaller diameter than the Stirling boilers but had a 2 inch longer firebox. The boiler pressure was increased to 170psi and the heating surface increased. The modified locos were now classified as "B1 Class" and were to all intents and purposes identical to the "F1 Class" of 1903 and were capable of handling all but the heaviest of main line duties. The only way to tell them apart was from their tenders, the F1s having prominent outside springs. When Maunsell took over from Wainwright he increased the size of the smokeboxes and started to reduce the cylinders from 19" diameter to 18" diameter. Two of the class, however, kept their domeless Stirling boilers until withdrawal. In their final incantation they were remarkably handsome engines. A class of some 29 locomotives, the first twenty were built by Neilson Reid and the last 9 at Ashford. The first twenty locomotives started life with standard SER numberplates but with the addition of the maker's name, number and date. When changed for those of SECR pattern, these last details were left off.

In June 1919 No. 34 was fitted with Maunsell's top feed apparatus. Then in 1920 the boiler was transferred to Nš13 which then carried it for a couple of years before it was discarded. During WWII several of the class were turned into make-shift air raid shelters! 1101, 1440, 1450, 1453, 1455, 1457 and 1459 were positioned over pits, immobilised and surrounded with sand bags. It is not known if they were actually needed, nor if they were successful if they were.

Between 1923 and 1928 SR numbers were the SECR numbers with the added prefix 'A'

Withdrawals commenced in 1933 but were interrupted during the war years.

Designer : James Stirling (rebuilt by Wainwright)
Builder : Neilson, Reid and Company (440-459)
Ashford railway works : remainder
Build date : 1898-1899, rebuilt 1910-1927
Total produced : 28
Configuration : 4-4-0
Gauge : standard gauge
Driver Wheel diameter : 7' 0"
Locomotive weight : 45 tons 2 cwt
Tender weight : 34 tons 2 cwt
Boiler pressure : 170 psi (1,200 kPa)
Cylinder size : Two 18" x 26" (inside)
Valve Gear : Stephenson (slide valves)
Tractive effort : 14,490 lb

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