G14 Class 2-4-0 1882-1883
T.W. Wordell’s first new locomotive design was the G14 class 2-4-0, the first of which appeared in December 1882, within a few months of Worsdell taking up the position of GER Locomotive Superintendent. He was very much an ex-LNWR man, with extensive experience in the USA as well. However, apart from the use of Joy valve gear and using a radial leading axle, the G14s showed little Crewe or American influence externally. Indeed, it is not generally appreciated that – in these engines – Worsdell set new standards in British locomotive aesthetics that were widely-copied by other engineers. Indeed, the appearance of the first G14 – No. 562 – caused something of a minor sensation at Stratford. It was also on these engines that the standard GER blue livery was first seen, complete with brass numberplates and GER initials on the tender. Worsdell had first used blue on the ‘No. 134 Class’ 0-4-4T No. 189 when it hauled Queen Victoria’s train to Chingford earlier in 1882. However this engine was in a plainer finish, basically a blue version of the Bromley black livery, with no GER initials and cast-iron numberplates. Twenty engines of the G14 class were built, and No. 644 was one of the second batch, seen here as running in the mid-1880s.
James Holden used two of Worsdell’s G14 class as a test-bed for his own ideas. The locomotive shown in the photograph is No. 562, which in 1886 was rebuilt with Y14-pattern cylinders and Stephenson motion, and received separate driving wheel splashers at the same time. Two years later, No. 569 had its leading radial axle replaced by the double-framed arrangement as used on the T19 class (q.v.). Eleven of the G14 class were given new boilers of similar design to the originals, and they were withdrawn between 1895 and 1900.