For enthusiasts and researchers of the Great Eastern Railway

‘No. 134 Class’ 0-4-4T 1872-1873

134-139, 162-170, 185-199

To work the suburban services over the 'Metropolitan Extensions' associated with the opening of Liverpool Street, Johnson produced thirty 0-4-4 tank engines in 1872-1873. These are notable for being the first side tank engines of this wheel arrangement - in Britain at least - all previous locomotives of this type having been back tanks. Construction of the thirty engines was divided equally between Neilson & Co. and the Avonside Engine Co.

Like all of Johnson's tank engines, they originally only had a weatherboard for forward running, but half cabs and other modifications were made to the engines during the Adams/Bromley period, whilst Westinghouse brakes were added in the early 1880s. No. 189 is notable for having been the first GER locomotive to carry blue livery, in 1882. Between 1885 and 1892 all thirty engines were reboilered, whilst from around 1890 the cabs were fully-enclosed. Sixteen engines were reboilered a second time, with boilers working at 140 lbs. psi. instead of 160 lbs., between 1896 and 1902. From around 1900 the class were displaced from suburban work, and they migrated to the country districts, particularly around Lowestoft. Withdrawal took place between 1902 and 1912.

7002 21
GERS Collection 7002 21

 This appears to be No. 197 upon delivery from the Avonside Engine Company in July 1873 at Stratford Works. Like his 0-6-0 goods engines, Johnson built many more basically-similar 0-4-4Ts when he later moved to the Midland Railway.

 7061 09
GERS Collection 7061 09 

The thirty members of the ‘No. 134 Class’ were progressively modified over the following years. They were quickly provided with half-cabs under William Adams, and larger leading sand-boxes were fitted. Other modifications included the replacement of the original wooden brake blocks with iron ones, the fitting of Westinghouse brakes, etc. All were rebuilt with new boilers under James Holden, just over half later being reboilered a second time with a higher working pressure. Rear weatherboards were also added in this period, completely enclosing the cabs. The photograph shows No. 135, originally built by Nielson & Co. in its final condition in the mid-1890s. It was withdrawn in October 1903, and the last-surviving engine was scrapped at the end of 1912.

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