Pickersgill G class 4-4-0

After the formation of the South Eastern and Chatham Railways Management Committee in 1899 it shortly became apparent that there was a serious lack of passenger locomotives that would be capable of running over the lightly laid lines, particularly, of the former London Chatham and Dover Railway.

Meanwhile in October 1898, William Pickersgill, the Locomotive, Carriage and Wagon Superintendent of the Great North of Scotland Railway had arranged for an order to be placed with Neilson Reid & Co for ten locomotives similar to their earlier Class T locomotives.

Five were delivered in 1899 but the GNSR were forced to cancel the remainder of the order due to financial difficulties and falling traffic.

As a result, the remaining five locomotives came onto the market, and in October 1899, since the South Eastern and Chatham Railway had recently placed an order with Neilsons, they were able to offer these five locomotives to the SE&CR who were pleased to get them.


Class G loco 677 taken in 1900 probably when new

photograph: Peter Smart collection


It seems that the SE&CR paid a premium for these engines at 3,300 each, compared to GNSR's 2,975. In fact the SE&CR generously offered to buy the balance of the original order from the GNSR for 3,325 each. The GNSR declined the offer.

The cost to the SE&CR had partly increased by a further 57 per engine and tender after Harry Wainwright, the SE&CR Locomotive Superintendent, requested modifications including the fitting of vacuum brake equipment.

Nº676, photographed at Beckenham Junction also in 1900.

photograph: Peter Smart collection

On the SE&CR they were introduced as class G, and entered service during January and February 1900. They were generally welcomed by the crews who, as a result of the cab having been designed forn the rigors of the weather in the North of Scotland, promptly christened them "Glass Houses". Note that in the later photographs it appears that the rearmost glazed lights in the cab seem to have been removed.

The numbering was 676 - 680 and when they passed to the Southern Railway in 1923 they became A676 - A680 with the excepton of N⩝ 678

678 Nº678, photographed at Sydenham Hill c 1905.

photograph: Peter Smart collection

The SE&CR found their performance to be rather indifferent and although the intention had been to put them on express work in the event they were relegated to slower trains. Nº 676 and Nº 679 were rebuilt in 1914 with secondhand boilers purchased secondhand from the GNSR. They were all withdrawn between 1924 and 1927.
Nº679 at Longhedge on 8th August 1922.

photograph: Peter Smart collection


Technical Details

  • Designer: William Pickersgill
  • Builder: Neilson, Reid & Co
  • Build date: 1898 - 1900
  • Introduced on SE&CR: 1900
  • Driving Wheel: 6 ft 1 ins
  • Bogie Wheel: 3 ft 9 ½ ins
  • Locomotive Weight: 46 tons 7 cwt
  • Cylinders: 18 in x 26 in
  • Valve gear: Stephensons - slide valves
  • Boiler Pressure: 165 lb sq in
  • Tractive Effort: 16,185 lb

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