Wainwright D class 4-4-0

When the South Eastern & Chatham Railway was created at the end of the nineteenth century, one of the first problems to be addressed was that of locomotives. Upon the appointment of Harry Wainwright as Locomotive and Carriage Superintendent steps were taken to replace the small and ageing locos of the LC&DR and the SER with more powerful ones. From the team of draughtsmen drawn primarily from the LC&DR works at Longhedge came plans for 3 designs of locomotives: the D class 4-4-0s for express passenger work, the R1 rebuilds of the R class 0-4-4Ts for local passenger, and the C class 0-6-0s for goods work. In all some fifty-one of these locomotives were built and a large number, because of their robust construction, survived well into the 1950s.

Nº31488, formerly Nº488 of 1902, en route to the carriage sidings at Clapham Junction in the mid 1950s.

photograph by Mike Morant

The first locomotive was delivered from the builder, Sharp, Stewart & Co., in 1901 and in appearance and detail was a radical departure from anything seen previously on either the SER or the LCDR. Finished in brilliant green, with a copper chimney cap and brass boiler mountings, splasher beads and cabside numbers they were real eye-turners! One of the class, Nº735, was exhibited at the Glasgow exhibition of 1901.

In 1907 an experimental extended smokebox was fitted to Nº247 which, having proved to be a success, was subsequently fitted to the rest of the class. When Maunsell took over from Wainwright he proceeded to rebuild some of the class into class D1 and, at the same time, painted over the brasswork thus stripping the engines of some of their aesthetic glory!

1057 Nº1057 photographed at Ashford in Southern days.

photograph: Mike Morant collection

S1493 photographed in very early British Railways days with the legend 'British Railways' on the tender.

photograph: Mike Morant collection

Their reputation was mainly associated with the boat trains to Dover and Folkestone where the combination of the engines and new carriages led to these services being acknowledged as some of the most elegantly finished trains in the country.
31477 31477, still sporting a 'Southern' tender at Ashford on 10th August 1950.

photograph: Mike Morant collection

Colloquially known as "Coppertops" these engines were at the forefront of the Managing Committee's efforts to raise the public profile of the two railways, which had sunk to an all-time low. Their striking livery, above all, made them stand out from the crowd!
Nº31737 at Ashford, paired with E Class Nº31166 on 12th September 1954. Nº31737 had worked the R.C.T.S. (London Branch) "Invicta Special" from Blackheath to Rainham, then from Kearnsey to Ashford and has now joined Nº31166 for a double-headed run from Ashford to Blackfriars. Nº31737 was subsequently preserved as part of the National Collection.

photograph: Mike Morant collection

31577 31577 in later British Railways livery, date and location unknown. This loco and 31075 were the last to be withdrawn, in December 1956.

photograph: Mike Morant collection

Nº31733 photographed at Tonbridge.

photograph: Mike Morant collection


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This page was last updated 10 November 2011

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