Numbers 5 and 6

With the recommencement of passenger services between Stratford and Blisworth in 1884, the EWJR found itself in need of suitable locomotives to haul the trains. It turned again to Beyer, Peacock who just happened to have two tank locomotives immediately available! The Swindon, Marlborough and Andover Railway had ordered three 2-4-0T tanks locomotives to be numbered 8-10, but could only afford one of them: 9 and 10 remained in Manchester, but not before “number 10” was the subject of a maker’s photograph, which has led to much historical confusion!

Number 5 at Stratford with a typical train of the 1890s

Let’s be clear and honest about these locomotives: they were not ideal for the railway, having a large overhang at the rear which made them unsteady when running in reverse on the indifferent E&WJR permanent way. More tender locos would probably have been preferable. BP twice (1894 and 1906) drew up plans for converting them to 2-4-2 tank locomotives, a scheme which was never followed but sounds interesting. However they gave steady service for nearly 30 years. As it was, bunker first running was only permitted in an emergency, and not at all between Broom and Stratford!

Apart from the numbers, the locos were identical – which is pretty much a record on the EWJR prior to 1895 – having 5’6″ drivers and cylinders matching those in numbers 2-4, of 17″ bore and 24″ stroke.

As delivered they had large spectacles on the cab front and an ornate dome, looking rather attractive to my admittedly biased eye, but in the early 1900s, a new cab spectacle plate was fitted with smaller windows, but the dome and safety valves were retained.

Number 5 with new cab fitted, Stratford 1900-1907: note the E&W and Number plates, plus buffer beam number, and maker’s plate moved to leading axle from bunker side

When new boilers were required in 1907 after an unsuccessful attempt to sell the pair and to replace them with new stock, the safety valves were changed and a plain dome was fitted.

EWJR no. 5 on the new turntable at Stratford, 1907-1908

In this condition they entered into SMJR stock.

Number 5, final condition under SMJR Aegis

Number 5, final condition under SMJR Aegis

Eventually, the pair were sold to the War Department in 1916 (despite being listed as withdrawn in 1917 and 1913 respectively!) and went to Catterick Camp as Military Camp Railway number 94 (number 5) and Longmoor Camp as MCR number 95 (number 6). The latter was listed as for sale as late as 1921, but apart from a rumour that one of them ended up in China (!) there is no record of their final fate.

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