Beattie well tanks

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The Beattie well tanks were a series of 111 steam locomotives of seven different designs produced for the London and South Western Railway (LSWR) between 1852 and 1875. All carried the water supply in well tanks, set low down between the frames. All had six wheels; the first three designs were of the 2-2-2WT wheel arrangement, the last four being 2-4-0WT. Most were designed by Joseph Hamilton Beattie, the LSWR Mechanical Engineer, but the last few locomotives built to the seventh design incorporated modifications made by his son and successor, William George Beattie. Most were intended for the LSWR's suburban services, but were later used elsewhere on the LSWR system before withdrawal. Apart from three locomotives which lasted until 1962, withdrawal occurred between 1871 and 1899.


The LSWR developed an extensive network of suburban lines in south-west London between the 1840s and the 1880s. Initially, these services were operated using tender locomotives. mainly 2-2-2s, designed by John Viret Gooch, the LSWR Locomotive Superintendent.

In 1850, the LSWR decided that the London suburban passenger services should be operated using small tank locomotives. To determine the most suitable type, Gooch's successor Joseph Hamilton Beattie, the LSWR Mechanical Engineer, prepared a series of designs for six-wheeled well tank locomotives, each of which incorporated one or more differences from the previous class. A small quantity of each was produced: between 1852 and 1859, 26 were built, to six different designs, followed by a seventh design built in much larger numbers.

2-2-2 well tanksEdit

The LSWR suburban system as at December 1850

Tartar classEdit

Six locomotives (nos. 2, 12, 13, 17, 18, 33) built by Sharp Brothers (works numbers 689–694) and delivered in May–July 1852. These were of the 2-2-2WT wheel arrangement, having a wheelbase of 14 ft 9 in (4.50 m), driving wheels of 6 ft 0+12 in (1.842 m) diameter, leading and trailing wheels of 3 ft 8 in (1.12 m) diameter, and cylinders measuring 14+14 in × 20 in (360 mm × 510 mm) mounted outside the frames. The main frames were positioned inside the wheels, but an additional set of outside frames supported the trailing axle, and the leading axle also had outside bearings attached to springs below the slide bars. The boiler had a grate area of 9.2 sq ft (0.85 m2), a heating surface totalling 781 sq ft (72.6 m2) and worked at a pressure of 120 lbf/in2 (830 kPa). The well tanks held 478 imp gal (2,170 L) of water, and the bunker held 10 long cwt (510 kg) of coke. The weight was 26.4 long tons (26.8 t) in working order.[1]

When new, they were used on the London suburban services, but by mid-1860 had moved west – three were used in the Exeter area, two on the Seaton branch line, and one on the Chard branch line. Later on, some were used on the Lymington branch line, but by the end of 1867 all were on the Exmouth branch. No. 18 was withdrawn in 1871, and the others followed at intervals unlil the last one, no. 17, was withdrawn in 1874.[2]

Sussex classEdit

Eight locomotives (nos. 1, 4, 6, 14, 15, 19, 20, 36) built by the LSWR at Nine Elms in May–December 1852. They differed from the Tartar class in several ways, primarily in using smaller driving wheels of 5 ft 6 in (1.68 m) diameter. Other differences included the grate area of 8.9 sq ft (0.83 m2), heating surface totalling 750 sq ft (70 m2), water capacity 550 imp gal (2,500 L) and the weight was 27.1 long tons (27.5 t) in working order. There were variations within the class: the leading and trailing wheels were 3 ft 6 in (1.07 m) for five locomotives, but nos. 1, 14 and 15 were 3 ft 0 in (0.91 m); the cylinder bore of the first five was 14 in (360 mm), that of the last three was 14+12 in (370 mm).[3]

As with the Tartar class, they were originally used in the London area, but later moved elsewhere – three were operating in the Southampton area by 1864, and others were used in the Exmouth, Poole and Yeovil areas. Between 1870 and 1872 they were transferred to the duplicate list, the numbers being prefixed with a zero in the records – for example, no. 1 became no. 01 in July 1870. This was done in order to release their old numbers for new locomotives, including no. 36 of the 298 class. Withdrawal occurred between 1871 and 1877.[4]

Chaplin classEdit

Three locomotives (nos. 9, 10, 34) built at Nine Elms in July–August 1856, they differed from the Sussex class in having 3 ft 1 in (0.94 m) trailing wheels, water capacity 485 imp gal (2,200 L) and coke capacity 15 long cwt (760 kg).[4]

After use in the London area, they moved to Bishopstoke or Salisbury, and were later used at Stokes Bay, Dorchester and Bournemouth. They were transferred to the duplicate list in 1870–74 (no. 9 becoming no. 09, etc.) and were withdrawn in 1876–77.[4]

Earlier 2-4-0 well tanksEdit

Minerva classEdit

Three locomotives (nos. 11, 16, 39) built at Nine Elms in May–July 1856. Generally larger than the preceding designs, they were of the 2-4-0WT wheel arrangement, having coupled wheels of 5 ft 6 in (1.68 m) diameter, leading wheels of 3 ft 6 in (1.07 m) diameter, and cylinders measuring 14 in × 21 in (360 mm × 530 mm) mounted outside the frames. The boiler had a grate area of 9 sq ft (0.84 m2), a heating surface totalling 764 sq ft (71.0 m2) and worked at a pressure of 120 lbf/in2 (830 kPa). The well tanks held 435 imp gal (1,980 L) of water, and the bunker held 15 long cwt (760 kg) of coke. The weight was 28.35 long tons (28.80 t) in working order.[5]

Originally used around London, two moved to Woking by 1866 and the other one to Guildford. Later they were used at Salisbury, and one was eventually at Bournemouth. They were transferred to the duplicate list in 1872–74 (no. 11 becoming no. 011, etc.), and were withdrawn in 1874–83.[6]

Nelson classEdit

Three locomotives (nos. 143–145) built at Nine Elms in July–August 1858. Differences from the Minerva class were in the coupled wheels, which were 5 ft 0 in (1.52 m) diameter, the cylinders, which measured 15+12 in × 20 in (390 mm × 510 mm), and the water capacity which was increased to 550 imp gal (2,500 L). The leading axle had no outside bearings.[5]

The names were all of former admirals in the Royal Navy: 143 Nelson, 144 Howe and 145 Hood. These were intended for the Lymington branch, but only one was sent there initially – the other two went to London. All three had moved to Exeter by 1867, later on, they were used in other areas such as Ash, Weymouth and Yeovil. Transfer to the duplicate list occurred in 1880–81 (the three becoming nos. 0143–0145), followed by withdrawal in 1882–85.[5]

Nile classEdit

Three locomotives (nos. 154–156) built at Nine Elms in April–May 1859. Based on the Minerva class, several changes were made to the dimensions. The wheelbase was 12 ft 3 in (3.73 m), the coupled wheels 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m) diameter, and the cylinders had a bore of 14+12 in (370 mm). The boiler had a grate area of 14 sq ft (1.3 m2), a heating surface totalling 779.5 sq ft (72.42 m2) and worked at a pressure of 130 lbf/in2 (900 kPa). The well tanks held 485 imp gal (2,200 L) of water. The weight was 29.15 long tons (29.62 t) in working order.[7]

The names were all of historic battles: 154 Nile, 155 Cressy and 156 Hogue. After use in London, they moved to other places like Dorchester, Exeter, Gosport, Guildford or Weymouth. They were withdrawn in 1882.[7]

Standard 2-4-0 well tanks: 298 classEdit

Having chosen the most suitable characteristics, Beattie prepared a standard design of 2-4-0WT with 5-foot-6-inch (1.676 m) driving wheels and cylinders 15 by 20 in (381 by 508 mm), bore by stroke; and the LSWR began to take delivery of these in 1863.[8] The new design eventually totalled 85 locomotives; most came from the Manchester firm of Beyer, Peacock and Company between 1863 and 1875, but three were built in the LSWR workshops at Nine Elms during 1872.[9] Their numbers were 33, 34, 36, 44, 76, 177–220, 243–270, 298, 299, 314 and 325–329.[10]

Locomotive namesEdit

All of the earlier locomotives were named, together with five of the 298 class. The names were as follows:

List of names[11]
Number Name Class Built
1 Sussex Sussex September 1852
2 Tartar Tartar May 1852
4 Locke Sussex August 1852
6 Cossack Sussex September 1852
9 Chaplin Chaplin July 1856
10 Aurora Chaplin July 1856
11 Minerva Minerva May 1856
12 Jupiter Tartar June 1852
13 Orion Tartar June 1852
14 Mercury Sussex May 1852
15 Mars Sussex May 1852
16 Salisbury Minerva June 1856
17 Queen Tartar July 1852
18 Albert Tartar July 1852
19 Briton Sussex December 1852
20 Princess Sussex December 1852
33 Phoenix Tartar July 1852
33 Phoenix 298 February 1872
34 Osprey Chaplin August 1856
34 Osprey 298 May 1874
36 Comet Sussex June 1852
36 Comet 298 February 1872
39 Wizard Minerva July 1856
44 Pluto 298 October 1875
76 Firefly 298 February 1872
143 Nelson Nelson July 1858
144 Howe Nelson August 1858
145 Hood Nelson August 1858
154 Nile Nile April 1859
155 Cressy Nile May 1859
156 Hogue Nile May 1859

Locomotives numbered between 1 and 76 were built as replacements for older locomotives, and used both the number and name of the locomotive being replaced.[12]


  1. ^ Bradley 1965, pp. 101–2.
  2. ^ Bradley 1965, p. 102.
  3. ^ Bradley 1965, pp. 103–4.
  4. ^ a b c Bradley 1965, p. 104.
  5. ^ a b c Bradley 1965, p. 106.
  6. ^ Bradley 1965, pp. 105–6.
  7. ^ a b Bradley 1965, p. 107.
  8. ^ Bradley 1965, p. 108.
  9. ^ Bradley 1965, pp. 107–8.
  10. ^ Bradley 1965, pp. 113–4.
  11. ^ Bradley 1965, pp. 102, 104, 106, 107, 113.
  12. ^ Dendy Marshall & Kidner 1963, p. 163.


  • Bradley, D.L. (1965). Locomotives of the L.S.W.R.: Part 1. Kenilworth: RCTS. ISBN 0-901115-08-8.
  • Dendy Marshall, C.F.; Kidner, Roger W. (1963) [1937]. History of the Southern Railway (2nd ed.). Shepperton: Ian Allan. ISBN 0-7110-0059-X.