For enthusiasts, researchers and modellers of the Great Eastern Railway

B74 Class 0-4-0T 1913


B77 Class 0-4-0T 1914-1921

210, 226, 228, 229

LNER Class Y-4

7018 096H.G.W. Household/GERSHC 7018/096

The GER had a number of locations at docks and wharves where small short-wheelbase shunting locomotives had to be used. Traditionally, these had been worked by the small ‘No. 209 Class’ 0-4-0 saddle tanks, and the 0-4-0 tram engines. However, in 1913 A.J. Hill produced a new 0-4-0T design that represented a ‘quantum leap’ from what had gone before, for they were one of the most powerful engines of the type to run in Britain. It had outside cylinders with Walschaerts valve gear and a compact Belpaire boiler pressed to 180 lbs. psi, all on a wheelbase of only 6-ft. 6-ins. The engine was built to Letter Account B74 and numbered 227. It is seen here in the early LNER period as class Y-4 No. 7227, shunting at Canning Town Wharf, one of the regular locations for this engine and those that followed. 

7005 049GERS Collection 7005/049

A further four of these small 0-4-0Ts were built. However, as it was intended that they these should be capable of working at Devonshire Street at Mile End these had lower cabs, chimneys and domes to enable them to pass beneath the low bridge under the Through Lines at this location. They were accordingly known as the B77 class, and two – Nos. 226 and 228 were built in 1914, and a further two numbered 229 and 210 in 1921. The latter is shown in the photograph, and this particular engine was built as part of the Stratford Works fleet to replace the elderly 0-4-0 saddle tank ‘A’, formerly No. 200 The Chairman (q.v.) at the ‘Old Works’. Under the LNER the five engines were all class Y-4, and they were always stationed at Stratford for use at Mile End and Canning Town, apart from 7210, which was attached to Stratford Works. In 1931 the inevitable occurred one Sunday night when a fault was discovered on the engine that was being prepared for duty at Mile End the following morning. The only spare engine was No. 7227 with the taller cab and boiler mountings, so the night foreman sent a ‘raiding party’ over to the Works to fire up No. 7210. Needless to say, the Works Department were not happy when they discovered that their engine was missing! As a result, No. 7227 was hastily altered in height to conform to the others. As with the older 0‑4‑0 saddle tanks, the Y-4s always had wooden dumb buffers, as their wide faces avoided buffer-locking on the tight radius curves to be found at their usual places of employment.

7005 143GERS Collection 7005/143

All five engines were renumbered 8125-8129 under the 1946 LNER scheme. In 1955 the works engine – by then numbered 8129 – became ‘Departmental No. 33’. The others were withdrawn between 1955 and 1957 as they were replaced by small diesel-mechanical shunters, but Departmental No. 33 survived beyond the wholesale withdrawal of the remaining ex-GER locomotives in September 1962, as it was employed in the decommissioning of the Old Works at Stratford. It was finally withdrawn at the end of 1963 and towed off to a scrapyard at Blackwall. The engine is seen here in the 1950s. Note the chassis from an old 0-6-0 locomotive to the left – a number of these were used to transport boilers between the various workshops.