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RJ Billinton D3 /D3x class 0-4-4T

With the return to Brighton in February 1890 of Robert John Billinton from his position as Chief Draughtsman at Derby (having previously held the same position at Brighton in the early Stroudley years) it was hardly surprising that Stroudley’s designs were followed by something of a more “Midland” flavour - with bogies. With the exception of two Craven 4-4-0s and one 0-4-4T there had not previously been a class of engine on the LB&SCR with a bogie.

His first task was to complete the building of Stroudley’s E class with the final six, which were the first of the E1 class. Having got those out of the way he embarked on his first design, the ‘D Bogie’ 0-4-4 tank, which emerged in May 1892.

 
Neither this loco nor the location have positive identification, though the loco is believed to be Nº32390 and the location is thought to be near Beeding, with its cement works showing on the left.

photograph: Mike Morant collection

D3
 
The D Bogie, which was designed for working country and semi-fast trains, soon became the D3 class, but presumably not until the withdrawal of the six Stroudley D3 0-4-2 express tender locomotives was completed in 1904! The dome and cab had similarities with the Stroudley style, but that was where all visible similarities stopped, though the front tubeplate was the one used in the B1 “Gladstones”. The trademark Stroudley toolbox behind the bunker all but disappeared with the bunker extending almost to the edge of the buffer beam. One of the class, Nº387 Steyning was briefly converted to oil burning during 1903 but this was obviously not a success as it quickly reverted to coal burning. Sir Julian Goldsmid, a director of the railway, had the first of the class named after him and then insisted on having the outline of the engine reproduced as a copper badge for the loco crews’ caps. In the event the other directors of the railway considered an unassuming 0-4-4 tank of insufficient importance to carry Sir Julian’s name, so the name was transferred to B2 Nº316 in 1895 and Nº387 was renamed Havant, though Sir Julian much admired the little D3.
 
220 Another unidentified D3 photographed during LB&SCR days, this time the location is near Ham Bridge Halt, which was between Lancing and Worthing.

photograph: Mike Morant collection

 
In 1909 Nº396 and Nº397 were rebuilt by Marsh with the boiler he used for his I2 class, new cylinders and a circular smokebox mounted on a saddle. He increased the working pressure from 160 to 170 lb sq in but reduced the heating area through using fewer but larger tubes. These two locomotives were re-classified as class D3x but the remainder continued as class D3 after being re-boilered with boilers similar to the originals, though at least one engine, Nº2364, still carried the original Billinton boiler in the middle 1930s.
 
Yet another unidentified D3 working a short train near Petersfield during 1933

photograph: Mike Morant collection

2252
 
Giving good service from the 1890s until the early 1950s, the D3s were usually to be found on odrinary passenger trains, both on the main line and branches, particularly the LB&SCR’s Kent and Sussex routes with some, such as Nº378 Horsted Keynes, hardly ever venturing up to London. They were also to be found, in Southern Railway days, working lines such as Hastings-Ashford and it was in this area that one, Nº2365, entered the history books when credited with causing the downfall of an enemy aeroplane that attacked it whilst working a local service across Romney Marsh. Apparently a part of the low-flying aircraft came into contact with a part of the engine - it is claimed to have been the dome - causing the plane to crash into the marsh close to the railway line. The boiler burst without causing too much damage to the locomotive, or injury to the crew (who reputedly gave a brief war-dance in celebration of the event). The boiler barrel was damaged on the top and its plates were knocked off the lefthand tank, the steampipe and regulator were bent and the chimney dislodged. A new boiler was fitted and Nº2365 returned to traffic.

When the Southern Railway began phasing out the Stroudley D1 class it started fitting the D3s for motor train working and eventually converted almost all the class.

 
32365 Newly-numbered 32365 in early British Railways days still has SOUTHERN on her side tanks. This photograph would appear to have been taken at Ashford and the unidentified locomotive behind is a Stirling O1.

photograph: Mike Morant collection

 
Several years later 32365 was captured at Brighton, shortly before withdrawal. This was the locomotive mentioned above that was credited with bringing down a German aircraft on 28 November 1942.

photograph: Mike Morant collection

32365

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This page was last updated 16 May 2004

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