For enthusiasts and researchers of the Great Eastern Railway

‘No. 1 Class’ 2-4-0 1867-1872

1-3, 26, 28, 29, 32, 35, 43, 44, 46, 47, 48, 49, 33, 34, 36, 42, 45, 50, 112, 113, 110, 114, 115, 31, 100, 104-106, 107, 160, 161, 173, 176, 119, 118, 5, 6, 7

700 0298

© LCGB Ken Nunn Collection 252

These forty engines were the first to Johnson's design for the GER. They were inside cylinder 2-4-0s similar to the ‘No. 125 Class’, but with smaller driving wheels 5-ft. 7-ins. diameter for mixed traffic work. They were of typical Johnson appearance, with built up rimmed chimneys and open-topped domes with Salter safety valves. Thirty were built by Sharp, Stewart & Co. in 1867-1871, being known as ‘Little Sharpies’ as a result. Two batches of five were also built at Stratford Works in 1869-70, and 1871-72. The list above shows the engine numbers in order of building, and it appears that Johnson used them to 'mop up' some of the blank numbers in the locomotive list. As delivered, they were thus numbered 1 3/5/6/10, 26/8/9/31-6/42-50, 100/4-7/10/2-5/8/9, 160/1, and 173/6. Several locomotives were renumbered in later years so that, ultimately, the class occupied the slightly-tidier group of numbers 1-6, 27-36, 42-50, 103-108, 110/2-5/7/8 and 160/1.

All engines were equipped with Westinghouse brakes in the early 1880s, and in 1889-1893 the whole class were rebuilt with new, larger boilers of the same type as used on the Holden T18 class 0-6-0Ts. Withdrawal began in 1901, but at the same time, fourteen engines were rebuilt a second time, the new boilers being identical in size to those fitted previously, but with the increased working pressure of 160 lbs. psi. The ‘Little Sharpies’ were very popular with the enginemen, and by the early 1900s the survivors were increasingly concentrated around the Norwich area. The last engine to be scrapped in 1913 was co-incidentally the prototype, by then numbered 01.

7005 281LPC 2382/GERSHC 7005/281
‘No. 1 Class’ 2-4-0 No. 160 as built in 1871 and in Johnson green livery. Note the bell for the Harrison communication cord apparatus on the side of the tender, and also the side lamps. Just as the white side lamps on the brake vans of unfitted goods trains enabled the engine crew to check that the brake van was still attached, in the days before continuous automatic brakes on passenger trains the engine side lamps enabled the guard to check that he still had an engine! 

7026 358H. Dixon-Hewitt/GERSHC 7026 358

Illustrating the ‘No. 1’ class in their final condition is No. 114 on a passenger train at Thetford Junction in July 1909. It was one of the ten engines built at Stratford, and at its second reboilering in 1902 had received a 160 lb. boiler. This particular locomotive was withdrawn in February 1911.