GER Classes S46, D56 and H88

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GER S46, D56 and H88
“Claud Hamilton”
LNER Class D14/D15/D16
March Peterborough East to Cambridge stopping train geograph-2322148-by-Ben-Brooksbank.jpg
D16/3 'Super Claud' 4-4-0 No. 62530 departs March in August 1958.
Type and origin
Power type Steam
Build date 1900-1923
Configuration 4-4-0
Gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Driver diameter 7 ft (2.1 m)
Length 53 ft 4 34 in (16.275 m)
Locomotive weight 52.2–55.9 long tons (53.0–56.8 t)
Fuel type coal
Boiler pressure 180 psi (1,200 kPa)
Firegrate area 21.3 sq ft (1.98 m2)
Cylinders two inside
Cylinder size 19 in × 26 in (480 mm × 660 mm)
Performance figures
Tractive effort 17,095 lbf (76,040 N)
Power class BR: 2P
Disposition All scrapped

The GER Classes S46, D56 and H88 (classified Classes D14, D15, and D16 by the London and North Eastern Railway) were three classes of similar 4-4-0 steam locomotive designed by James Holden (S46 and D56) and A. J. Hill (H88) for the Great Eastern Railway. They were given the nickname Claud Hamilton after the first engine of the class, named after Lord Claud Hamilton (1843–1925) the chairman of the Great Eastern Railway. None of these locomotives survived to preservation.


Allen (1961[full citation needed]) noted that

"Of all the locomotive designs that emerged from Stratford Works during the reign of James Holden, the one destined to achieve the greatest fame, beyond question, was his Claud Hamilton type 4-4-0, of which the pioneer example, No. 1900 Claud Hamilton, took the rails in 1900"

He devotes a whole chapter to it. It is widely considered one of the classic locomotive designs, and three later Great Eastern Railway classes and three LNER classes were descended from it.[1] F.V. Russell (Holden's Chief Designer) is generally accepted as the Claud Hamiltons' actual designer. Ellis notes:[2]

"Mr Holden, by then a valetudinarian was making a long recuperative stay in Egypt".

This was related to Ellis by Russell.

Accidents and incidents[edit]

  • On 1 January 1915, locomotive No. 1813 was hauling an express passenger train that overran signals and collided with a local passenger train at Ilford, Essex. Ten people were killed and more than 500 were injured.[3]
  • On 12 February 1927, locomotive No. 8808 was hauling an express passenger train that was in collision with a lorry on a level crossing at Tottenham, London. Due to foggy conditions, the train was not travelling at a high speed.[4]
  • On 17 January 1931, locomotive No. 8781 was running light engine at Great Holland, Essex when it was in a head-on collision with a newspaper train. Two people were killed and two were seriously injured. The newspaper train had departed from Thorpe-le-Soken station against signals.[5]
  • In November 1934, a Class D16/2 8783 locomotive was derailed at Wormley, Hertfordshire when it collided with a lorry on a level crossing. both engine crew were killed.[6]
  • On 1 June 1939, locomotive No. 8783 was hauling a passenger train that collided with a lorry on an occupation crossing at Hilgay, Norfolk and was derailed. [7]


Class D15 No. 62503 at Cambridge Shed in August 1949. Note the cut-out splashers and small 'water-cart' tender.
D16/2 'Super-Claud' nO.8813 at March Locomotive Depot 14 July 1946.

The classification of the Claud Hamiltons is complex but is summarised here:

  • GER Class S46 (LNER Class D14), 4 ft 9 in diameter boiler, round-top firebox[8]
  • GER Class D56 (LNER Class D15), 4 ft 9 in diameter boiler, Belpaire firebox[8]
    • LNER Class D15/1, D15 as built with short smokebox, some with superheater
    • LNER Class D15/2, D15 with superheater and long smokebox
  • GER Class H88 (LNER Class D16), "Super Claud" with superheater, larger boiler (5 ft 1 18 in diameter) and Belpaire firebox[8]
    • LNER Class D16/1, D16 as built (with short smokebox)
    • LNER Class D16/2, as D16/1 but with extended smokebox
    • LNER Class D16/3, Gresley rebuild of D15 and D16 with round-top firebox, some with piston valves


The S46 boiler had 1,630 sq ft (151 m2) of heating surface, with a 21.3 sq ft (1.98 m2) grate. The cylinders were 19 x 26 in. with flat valves placed below, operated by Stephenson's motion. The coupled wheels were 7 ft (2.1 m) in diameter.


(Allen 1961) reports Claud Hamiltons in their original state were capable of taking around 350 tons from Liverpool Street to North Walsham in under the booked time. No. 1882 with round-top boiler ran the 130.2 miles (209.5 km) in 156 min 60 sec. Even heavier trains were managed in the up direction: No. 1809 (Belpaire boiler) took 400 tons up in 157 min 24 sec.


Model of the locomotive as built in GER blue livery, to 1:160 scale

The Royal blue of the Great Eastern livery, with its scarlet lining, was embellished with a copper chimney cap, and brass beadings round the rim of the safety valve casing, the front and side cab windows, the top and bottom of both cylinders of the Westinghouse brake compressor, the coupled wheel splashers, and the four openings that had been cut in subsidiary coupling rod splashers — in London and North Western Railway style — to give access to the coupling rod pins when the rods were up. In contrast with the blue livery was the vermilion in which the buffer beam and coupling rods were painted. Another feature of great distinction, begun by James Holden with the Claud Hamiltons, was the broad steel ring, polished bright, that encircled the smokebox door, and made it possible to dispense with the usual straps across the door. Before very long, the painted representation of the GER coat-of-arms on the driving splashers was replaced by a replica cast in relief and picked out in colour.[9] The tenders were replaced with standard GER ones when oil firing came to and end. The cab windows were round.[9]

Later in LNER days the locos were painted apple green with LNER on the tender and cab numbers. Side rods were polished steel. The appearance was altered when a larger boiler and belpaire firebox was fitted, meaning a change in the cab window shape as well. 8783 and 8787 were kept in immaculate condition as the dedicated Royal locos hauling the Royal trains from Kings Cross to Wolferton for Sandringham. 8783 also had a copper capped chimney. Later some locos carried numbers and London & North Eastern Railway on the tender. Most were repainted into NE black for the war.

In British Railway days 8783 carried apple green with British Railways on the tender just like Tornado. The others carried black with British Railways on the tender. Later on they carried both lined and unlined black with early crest and lined and unlined black with late crest. Many of the steel rings were retained into the last days except on Gresly rebuilds where a larger boiler required a new smokebox.. Much of the decorative valancing was removed in later years as well, though the locos still retained their distinctive character.

In fiction[edit]

The design was the basis of the character Molly in the children's TV series. 8783 also featured as a character in Toby and the Old Engine story.Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends.


  1. ^ Fry et al. 1981, pp. 1, 3, 18–21
  2. ^ Ellis 1965, p. 61
  3. ^ Earnshaw 1991, p. 16.
  4. ^ Earnshaw 1990, p. 16.
  5. ^ Vaughan 1989, pp. 69-73.
  6. ^ Trevena 1980, pp. 36-37.
  7. ^ Earnshaw 1990, p. 21.
  8. ^ a b c Fry et al. 1981, p. 20.
  9. ^ a b Ellis [clarification needed] p. 61


  • Earnshaw, Alan (1990). Trains in Trouble: Vol. 6. Penryn: Atlantic Books. ISBN 0-906899-37-0. 
  • Earnshaw, Alan (1991). Trains in Trouble: Vol. 7. Penryn: Atlantic Books. ISBN 0-906899-50-8. 
  • Fry, E.V.; Hoole, Ken; Manners, F.; Neve, E.; Proud, P.; Yeadon, W.B. (August 1981). Fry, E.V., ed. Locomotives of the LNER. Part 3C. Tender engines—classes D13 to D24. Kenilworth: Railway Correspondence & Travel Society. ISBN 0-901115-52-5. 
  • Ellis, C.H. (1942). "Famous locomotive engineers: No. 20 James Holden". Locomotive Carriage and Wagon Review 47: 110–115. 
  • Ellis, C.H. (1949). Some classic locomotives. London: George Allen & Unwin. 
  • Ellis, C.H. (1965). The splendour of steam. London: George Allen & Unwin. ISBN 0-04-385016-2. 
  • Trevena, Arthur (1980). Trains in Trouble. Vol. 1. Redruth: Atlantic Books. ISBN 0-906899-01-X. 
  • Vaughan, Adrian (1989). Obstruction Danger. Wellingborough: Patrick Stephens Limited. ISBN 1-85260-055-1. 

External links[edit]