Yes, it may have been predictable, but nonetheless a most suitable illustration for the first issue in the last year of the century and millennium (oh yes it is!). LNER class D3 4-4-0 was formerly GNR class D2 No. 1075, Doncaster works number 727, built in June 1897, and rebuilt to class D3 in August 1916. Becoming LNER No. 4075, it was taken into Doncaster works in September 1944 for routine general repair, but while there was selected to haul Officers’ special trains.

It was fitted with the side window cab and a brass capped chimney, as can be seen in the illustration. This was later either painted over or replaced by a plain chimney. It was originally to be renumbered as No.1, in effect exchanging running numbers with the ex-NER electric locomotive. The 4-4-0 left Doncaster on 14th October 1944 and ran trials as No. 1, but was then re-numbered again, this time to 2000, on 22nd October.

The J25 which currently bore that number was renumbered to 2050. The 4-4-0 returned to works on 27th October for repainting in full green livery, with NE and hand-painted coats of arms on the tender, and emerged on 20th November. In October 1947 the tender was re-lettered LNER. In January 1950 the engine received its BR number 62000, retaining the green livery, but with the early BR emblem on the tender, and a numberplate on the smokebox door. It was withdrawn in October 1951.

A 2000 Mystery

Allan Sibley, from information supplied by B H Deer

When planning this issue I decided that the most appropriate illustrations were two LNER engines, one bearing running number 2000 and the other Doncaster works number 2000 (LNER No. 500 Edward Thompson). Then I discovered a slight discrepancy regarding Mr Thompson’s machine, in that although it bore Doncaster works number 2000 on the worksplates, it may not have actually been the 2,000th engine to be built there. RCTS LNER vol.2A relates that there was some ‘creative re-allocation’ involving a batch of 8F 2-8-0s to ensure that (a) No. 500 bore those plates and (b) a significant milestone in Doncaster’s history was not consigned to an LMS engine. Thus, in all innocence, I consulted BHD to establish the true identity of the 2,000th locomotive. Oh, were it so simple! The following ‘spanners in the works (numbers)’ make accurate identification virtually impossible.

  1. Four of the earliest engines of the ‘Sharp’ class, Nos. 10, 20, 42 and 43, were given Doncaster works numbers when rebuilt (103, 139, 142 and 101 respectively), whereas other rebuilds of the same class were not.
  2. At the grouping ten works numbers – 1554-1563 – were not used.
  3. Gresley 2-8-0s Nos. 477 to 486 were erected by the North British Locomotive Company in Glasgow and received NB works numbers, but the materials were manufactured and supplied by the GNR from Doncaster.
  4. In April 1938 No. 2744 Grand Parade was damaged beyond repair in the Castlecary accident. The LNER erected a brand new replacement engine and transferred the works and name plates to it. This was done for book-keeping purposes, i.e., charged as a repair (to revenue account) rather than a new build (capital account), but the post-1938 No. 2744 was definitely an additional product of Doncaster.
  5. In 1944 four diesel-electric shunters were built at Doncaster, with power units supplied by English Electric, and given running numbers 8000 to 8003 (later BR 15000 – 15003). They were given Doncaster works numbers 1960/63/73/78. Frames for a fifth engine were laid down, but the finished product, No. 15004,  emerged from Doncaster in May 1947 with the power unit supplied by Brush. This engine did not receive a Doncaster works number.
  6. In 1945/6 ten class O6 (LMS 8F) 2-8-0s were built at Doncaster and received LNER running numbers3148-57 but were not given Doncaster works numbers.

Taking all the plusses and minuses into account and assuming the O6 engines were built in the order of their running numbers, I reckon that the ‘2,000th locomotive product’ of Doncaster works was in fact ‘8F’ No. 3159. This became 3559 in February 1947, went to the LMS as 8764 in September 1947, and was withdrawn as BR 48764 in December 1967. Thanks to my colleague John Jennison I am able to illustrate this locomotive on the rear cover.

PS – Lest anyone should be tempted to throw the ‘American’ moguls into the fray, may I just remind you that they were given appropriate Baldwin works numbers, being assembled in the UK from what were in effect kits of parts. Also, of course, they were dealt with at Ardsley, not Doncaster.

PPS – BHD recommended that I ought not to publish a ‘full’ photograph of No. 500, lest it cause apoplexy and/or mass resignations among those who consider Thompson’s rebuild of No. 4470 Great Northern to be the crime of the century!

From the GNN
January 2000, by Allan Sibley