LB&SCR E2 class

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LB&SCR E2 class
LB&SCR E2 class with short side tanks.jpg
First series E2 with short side tanks, 1913
Type and origin
Power typeSteam
DesignerL. B. Billinton
BuilderBrighton works
Build dateJune 1913–October 1916
Total produced10
 • Whyte0-6-0T
Gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Driver dia.4 ft 6 in (1.372 m)
Length33 ft 3 in (10.13 m)
Loco weight52 long tons 15 cwt (118,200 lb or 53.6 t) (118,200 lb or 53,600 kg)
Fuel typeCoal
Fuel capacity2.5 long tons (2.5 t; 2.8 short tons)
Water cap1,090 imp gal (5,000 l; 1,310 US gal) or 1,256 imp gal (5,710 l; 1,508 US gal)
Boiler pressure170 psi (1.2 MPa)
CylindersTwo inside
Cylinder size17.5 in × 26 in (444 mm × 660 mm)
Performance figures
Tractive effort21,307 lbf (94.78 kN)
Power classBR: 3F
WithdrawnNovember 1961–April 1963
DispositionAll scrapped

The London, Brighton and South Coast Railway (LB&SCR) E2 Class was a class of 0-6-0T steam locomotives designed by Lawson Billinton, intended for shunting and short distance freight trains. Ten examples were built between 1913 and 1916, and all were withdrawn from service and scrapped between 1961 and 1963. None were preserved.

This class of locomotive is famous for being the basis of Thomas The Tank Engine.


By 1910 many of the Stroudley E1 class locomotives were worn out or inadequate for the heavier duties required of them. D. E. Marsh intended to rebuild some examples with a larger boiler, but only one E1X rebuild had been completed by the time of his unexpected retirement. Marsh's successor Billinton reversed this policy and instead ordered five new, more powerful locomotives from Brighton works;[1] the new class included several features found on other LB&SCR classes including an I2 class boiler. They were delivered between June 1913 and January 1914.

The second series E2 with extended side tanks, 1915

Second Series[edit]

The new design was judged to be successful, except that they were found to have inadequate water supply, thus when a further order for five locomotives was placed they were given extended side tanks. The second batch were delayed by the onset of the war but were eventually delivered between June 1915 and October 1916.


The E2 class locomotives were mainly used for the heavier shunting and short distance freight duties in the London area and on the south coast, as their small coal bunkers made them unsuitable for long trips; these included empty stock workings at Victoria and London Bridge Stations.

Two were tried in 1914 as passenger locomotives on push-pull duties with the locomotives in the middle of a rake of six coaches, but the experiment was abandoned during the same year as they had insufficient coal capacity.[2]

Following the electrification of the Brighton line in 1936 the class was used as replacements for the former London Chatham and Dover Railway T class at the Herne Hill marshalling yard, around Victoria station and at Dover harbour. During the Second World War they also replaced the SR Z class at Hither Green marshalling yard.

In the mid-1950s the class were tried out as shunters at Southampton Docks and found to be useful. Six examples were retained for this purpose until their replacement by British Rail Class 07 diesel shunters in 1962.[3]

Withdrawal of the class took place between February 1961 and April 1963 and were all scrapped. None have survived to preservation.

Locomotive summary[edit]

Thomas the Tank Engine[edit]

In 1946, Reginald Payne used the later series of E2 locomotives as the basis for the character Thomas the Tank Engine in the second book of The Railway Series by the Reverend W. Awdry.[4][5] According to some sources and early sketches by Awdry Thomas was originally going to be modelled on one of the LNER Class J50 tank classes,[citation needed] although Awdry's original model of Thomas was a Tri-ang LMS 'Jinty'. This was later replaced with a Tri-ang E2 which represented engines 100–104, the original five engines.

In the television series from 1984, Thomas appears to have some subtle differences to the original E2 class and to the original Thomas from The Railway Series, he is noticeably shorter than the E2 class, and has a set of splashers over his leading driving wheels, which the original engines never had. His water tanks appear closer to the later batch of engines, although they are more squared in shape than the originals. Thomas' rear buffer beam is also higher than on the original engines; this caused some concern about Thomas being unable to pull any trains, and this was amended by the story "Thomas Comes to Breakfast".

In later years, Thomas' rear buffer beam has returned to the original higher position, although it is deeper to allow the buffers, coupling hook, and vacuum brake hoses to be in the correct position. Thomas also carries an electric light on the right-hand side of his front buffer beam and a red tail light mounted on the centre of his bunker, whereas the originals had removable kerosene lamps mounted on lamp irons, which Thomas incidentally has, although they are not used but instead included for continuity with the other engines.

00 Gauge models[edit]

Trix produced a model of the first series Class E2 in 1961, it was designed for the Trix Twin 3-rail system, but could be converted to 2-rail using the optional 2-rail pick up included with the locomotive.

Hornby produced the locomotive in its earliest form as a 00 gauge model. Production lasted from 1979 to 1985 in three distinct variants with four reference numbers.[6] In 1985 the tooling was retired and after some alterations, was instead used as the basis for the Thomas the Tank Engine model.

Bachmann have also produced several different-coloured E2-based models in their Junior Range, based on their Thomas model; these are considerably smaller than the Hornby variant, as Bachmann's models were based on the engines of the TV series instead of the "real" locomotive. Bachmann also produces a Thomas model with moving eyes, which is closer in design to Thomas's as illustrated by Reginald Payne rather than the E2 type as for the Hornby model.


  1. ^ Bradley, (1974) p.128
  2. ^
  3. ^ Bradley, (1974) pp.129–131
  4. ^ Sibley 1995, p. 123
  5. ^ Wisbech Adviser, Thomas E2 model for Awdry,
  6. ^
  • Bradley, D.L. (September 1974). Locomotives of the London Brighton and South Coast Railway: Part 3. London: Railway Correspondence and Travel Society.
  • Sibley, Brian (1995). The Thomas the Tank Engine Man. London: Heinemann. ISBN 0-434-96909-5.

External links[edit]