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R.J. Billinton E4 & E4x classes 0-6-2T


photograph by Keith Harwood

E4 class Nº473 Birch Grove is seen here on the Bluebell Railway in the early 1960s. Nº473 is the only example of a Robert Billinton designed locomotive that has survived to run in preservation.

Birch Grove In the dying days of the Southern Railway a shortage of locomotive power on the Isle of Wight led to a proposal to use some ex-LBSC E4s, and Nº2510 was sent over for trials during 1947, but was found to be too large so the plan was abandoned and the loco returned to the mainland. In 1999 there was a "what might have been" fortnight when the Bluebell's E4 Birch Grove went to the Island to work trains there, some as sole train engine but several double-heading with the IoWSR's locomotives. This picture shows Birch Grove arriving at Wootton on Saturday, 21st August 1999 working the 2:02 p.m. from Smallbrook Junction.

photograph by Peter Richards

Below left: Birch Grove prepares to return with the 2:27 p.m. service to Smallbrook Junc., having run round her train. She was a very tight fit on the turnout at the east end of Wootton loop!
Below right: Birch Grove is piloted by the IoW's Nº8 Freshwater to head the 4:02pm service from Smallbrook Junc. to Wootton.
More details of this visit to the Isle of Wight may be found on the Bluebell Railway's web site here.
Birch Grove Birch Grove
Birch Grove Birch Grove
Above left: Birch Grove and Freshwater arriving at Smallbrook Junc.
Above right: Having run round Freshwater is now the pilot engine as they set off for Haven Street once more.

photographs by Peter Richards

Birch Grove was earning her living on a cold and wet 21st March 1999 when she was at the head of the Bluebell Railway's Golden Arrow Pullman dining train. Pictured here at Kingscote, this particular weekend was also a "Friends of Thomas the Tank Engine" event - hence the smiling face that is most certainly not an original E4 feature!

photograph by Colin Duff

Birch Grove
Birch Grove Again working for her living, this time  on 21st July 2001 on one of Clive Groome's Footplate Days & Ways courses at Horsted Keynes.

photograph by Colin Duff

473 basks in the sunshine at Sheffield Park loco on 20th June 2003 awaiting her next duty.

photograph by Colin Duff

Birch Grove

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This page was last updated 26 May 2003

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