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Locomotive Wiki

The LBSCR (London, Brighton, and South Coast railway) Class E2 was a type of 0-6-0T side-tank steam locomotive built from 1913 to 1916. They were mainly used for shunting duties around the goods yards, piers and for the various Ocean Terminals around Southampton.


The origins of the E2's go back to when D. E. Marsh planed to rebuild the aging E1 fleet to a new bigger E1x. One was made before his unexpected retirement no more were made. His successor Lawson B. Billinton wanted to make a brand new class of locomotive, and later in 1913 five E2's were made for a test run they ended up being successful but they were found to have inadequate water supply's. Which lead to five more E2's made with improvements.

the SR's chief mechanical engineer, Richard Maunsell, designed a tank engine similar to the E2's, which would eventually become the three-cylindered Z class 0-8-0. But due to the Z's high water consumption and the E2's being easy to maintain and drive, the three-cylindered tank engines did not replace them entirely.

Although the LB&SCR E2 tank engines traveled very short distances, their coal bunkers always were a massive problem. The bunkers were simply just too small for more time consuming work of the day to day situations of a shunting engine. The USA tank engines, for one, could work on branch lines easily. However, after two E2's were unsuccessfully tested on push-pull branch line services, they were sent elsewhere, due to the coal capacity being too low for passenger work. The most iconic feature, these engines have had, was the extended side tanks on the side. This was the famous design that had the top half of the side tank's front extended further.

Only 10 of these tank engines were ever produced, and none have been preserved, due to their incredibly low coal capacity. 

Ironically, even though they were built to replace the Stroudley A1's and E1's. The A1's (most having been rebuilt to A1x's) have outlasted them. Ten of the A1 'Terriers' have been preserved, plus one E1.

Popular Culture

The LB&SCR E2's are best known as being the basis for the character, Thomas the Tank Engine, from the Railway Series of children's books by the Rev. W. Awdry, and it's television series adaptation, Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends.