LB&SCR Class E2
300px-LB&SCR E2 class with short side tanks
The first built E2 with short side tanks

Years built



Lawson B. Billinton
Brighton Works, Brighton, East Sussex

Number Produced


Years in Operation

1913 - 1963

Fleet Numbers

LBSC 100-109, SR 2100-2109, BR 32100-32109



Number Preserved


Number Scrapped

10, 1961-63

(l × w × h)

Length: 30 ft 1 in (9.17 m)


4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)

Maximum speed


V - E - T - D

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. These engines were very much built with a sealed fate; the Southern Railway brought in the USA ex-army tank engines, and the E2's faced a bleak future. The USA army tanks had better coal consumption and a tighter wheel base that enabled easy access round the tight bends of the cramped conditions in Southampton Harbor.

Additionally, 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 to cope with many 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 to cope. 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 have been built to replace the Stroudley A1's and E1's, as well as Robert Billinton's E3's, the A1's (most having been rebuilt to A1x's) have outlasted them. Ten of the so-called 'Terriers' have been preserved, plus one E1.

Popular Culture

The LBSCR E2 is the basis of Thomas the Tank Engine, from the popular Railway Series of Children's books by the Rev. W. Awdry, and it's TV Series Adaptation, Thomas & Friends. However, Thomas bears several differences compared to his basis, including being shorter in length, the lack of a Westinghouse Air Compressor, among various other things.


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