- Delivered ready-to-run
- Shell test boiler certificate
- British made pressure gauge
- 12 months warranty
Standard Class 4MT
- Silver soldered, copper boiler
- Water gauge with blow down valve
- Automatic cylinder drain cocks
- Stainless steel motion (Walschaerts)
- Etched brass body
- Choice of black, or green, livery
- Reverser in cab
- Axle pump and hand pump
- Sprung axles
- Boiler blow down valve
- Two working safety valves
- Fully painted and lined
Available in black and green liveries.
Taking a Closer Look at the British Railways Standard Class Four 2-6-4T Engines
Great Britain’s railway system dates back as far as the 1500s according to many historical accounts, placing it among the oldest in the world. Though past tales indicate those first transports were made by horse-drawn wagons, by the mid-1800s, it had evolved to more closely resemble the railroad industry we’ve come to know today. Over the years, numerous small-scale companies in the sector came together to form the Big Four, consisting of the Great Western Railway; the London and North Eastern Railway; the London, Midland and Scottish Railway and the Southern Railway.
During the earlier days, there wasn’t a great deal of standardisation among the industry. Once the Big Four merged to become British Railways in 1948, things began to take on a more structured form. British Railways decided to adopt the 2-6-4T design first introduced to the nation in 1904, and this became their baseline for trains carrying passengers back and forth between the city centre and more outlying areas.
History of the BR Standard Class Four Tank
British Railways Standard class 4 tanks fall among a wide range of classes commissioned during the 1950s following the nationalisation of the Big Four. Designed by England-born engineer, Robert A. Riddles, who entered the locomotive realm as an apprentice at the age of 17, this model closely followed the layout of Class 4 tanks developed a few decades earlier.
Delving a bit deeper, the 2-6-4T label pertains to the engines’ wheel arrangements with two leading wheels, six coupled driving ones and four trailing. Their categorisation comes from the Whyte notation, a standardised system for classifying steam locomotives created by Frederick Whyte some 100 years prior to the building of the BR Standard Class 4s. This layout is often referred to as the Adriatic arrangement.
Not long after the formation of British Railways, passengers in the London Midland Region were rumbling along in numerous 2-6-4Ts. Since they served their purposes so well, British Railways went ahead with plans to expand their fleet. An entirely new line-up of this particular model was born, propelling the company into the future.
Design and Construction of the Class Four 2-6-4T
British Railway’s custom-built series of class four engines was based on those previously in use by the ex-London, Midland and Scottish Railway. Despite a wide range of similarities, a few changes had to be made to the overall design in order for them to fulfil their intended roles in the industry.
First and foremost, those upcoming models needed to be slimmer and more streamlined to comply with the increasingly common L1 loading gauge of the time. Internally, they were equipped with smaller cylinders and designed to generate higher levels of boiler pressure. On the outside, their tanks and cabs took on a more rounded shape than that of their predecessors.
According to reports from the era, a total of 155 class 4 2-6-4Ts were manufactured with 130 of those being built at Brighton. This is also where the first member of the new fleet was completed in 1951. From 1951 through 1956, another 15 came into play from Derby Works and 10 from Doncaster Works. The project was managed by R.A. Riddles who, at this point, had amassed considerable experience in the locomotive design and engineering world.
Though another 20 were set to be built during 1957, 15 of those were cancelled early on in the production phase. Diesel had begun to make a name for itself in the railway industry, threatening to render steam engines a thing of the past. Certain variations of this design did remain in production for quite some time, though.
Service Extent of the Class Four 2-6-4T
British Railways’ bespoke 2-6-4T design made its way to virtually all areas serviced by the transport network with one exception being the western lines. Even this region saw members of this class keeping the rails warm in 1962 and beyond after their original routes were derailed by the onset of electrification. Many models in this line-up also served the Scottish region where previously implemented 2-6-2T Large Prairie locomotives proved somewhat inefficient.
Until 1962, passengers of the London, Tilbury and Southend Lines took advantage of all the advantages the class 4 2-6-4Ts had to offer. Kent and East Sussex were likewise permeated with these models before more updated ones came into play. By 1967, all but one of the class 4s had been taken out of commission along with most other steam engines. Based on the latest accounts, only one member of the original fleet remains in service as a reminder of the industry’s heritage.