For enthusiasts, researchers and modellers of the Great Eastern Railway

‘No. 209 Class’ 0-4-0ST 1874-76, 1897, 1903

LNER Class Y-5

209, 210, 226-231

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The GER had two important goods yards in the London area that had small-radius curves, and height and weight restrictions – Devonshire Street at Mile End, and the Pepper Warehouses at Blackwall, accessed from Canning Town. For shunting at these depots William Adams purchased two small standard Neilson & Co. 0-4-0 saddle tanks in 1874-5, which were numbered 209 and 210. Two more followed in 1876 for station pilot work at the newly-opened Liverpool Street terminus. These engines were to one of the contractor's standard designs, and were of low overall height with low framing, low pitched boilers and open cabs, although their tall chimneys belied this fact. In 1894-5, under James Holden, these four engines were rebuilt with new boilers, steam brakes and other modifications, including covered cabs.

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Having successfully rebuilt the four 0-4-0STs of the ‘No. 209 Class’, by 1897 there was a need for further small shunters and Holden took the unusual step of building two new ‘clones’ of the rebuilt Nielson engines at Stratford, followed by another two in 1903. They were exactly the same as the rebuilds, except that the sides of the bunkers beside the firebox were higher. The locomotive shown, No. 231, was one of the 1903 engines and is seen equipped with cow-catchers, side skirts, warning bell and spark arrestor for shunting at Hythe Quay, Colchester. Following the building of new and more powerful tram engines, the two 1897-built engines were withdrawn in 1911.

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The ‘No. 209 Class’ were naturally useful for shunting around the ‘Old Works’ complex at Stratford Works. Around 1914, No. 229 was fitted with a Westinghouse pump and vacuum ejector so that it could be used for brake testing new and overhauled carriages at the Works. During the First World War the engine was sold to the National Shipyard at Chepstow, and the brake testing gear was transferred to No. 230. It was joined in 1919 by number 228, which was similarly-equipped for a few years. However, No. 230 – or No. 7230 as it became under the LNER – continued at Stratford Works, and became something of a celebrity. It appeared at most of the exhibitions of LNER locomotives and rolling stock held around the London area in the 1930s, usually in company with a restored Eastern Counties Railway carriage. As can be seen in the photograph, this engine also had conventional buffers, as befits its status shunting carriages. The brake testing gear was removed during the Second World War, and although the engine survived to become British Railways property in 1948, it was scrapped four months later.

However, the engine sold out of service - No. 229 - continued at work at Chepstow until the late 1950s at least, having passed through several owners at the site. It was finally privately-purchased for preservation in 1983 and externally restored. Currently, restoration to working order is being planned.

229northwNo 229 while at North Woolwich