LBSCR Class E2
300px-LB&SCR E2 class with short side tanks
The first built E2 with short side tanks

Years built



Lawson B. Billinton
Brighton Works, Brighton, East Sussex

Number Produced


Years in Operation


Fleet Numbers




Number Preserved


Number Scrapped


l x w x h)

Length: 30 ft 1 in (9.17 m)


4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)

V - E - T - D

The LBSCR (London, Brighton, and South Coast railway) Class E2 was a type of 0-6-0T side-tank steam locomotive built from 1913 to 1916. They were mainly used for shunting duties around the goods yards, piers and for the various Ocean Terminals around Southampton. These engines were very much built with a sealed fate; the Southern Railway brought in the USA ex- army tank engines, the E2's faced a bleak future. The USA army tanks had better coal consumption and a tighter wheel base, that enabled easy access round the tight bends of the cramped conditions in Southampton harbour.

Although the LB&SCR E2 tank engines traveled very short distances, their coal bunkers always were a massive problem. The bunkers were simply just too small to cope with many of the day to day situations of a shunting engine. The USA tank engines, for one, could work on branch lines easily. However, much as two E2's were tested on a push-pull branch line service, they were withdrawn, due to the coal capacity being too low to cope. The most iconic feature, these engines have had, was the extended side tanks on the side. This was the famous design that had the top half of the side tank's front extended further. This is the prototype that  Rev. W. Awdry's "Thomas The Tank Engine", is based upon.

Thomas has many differences to the E2. He is noticeably shorter in length, and has wheel arches, unlike his basis. He also has no dip at the back. This caused problems while pulling trains, as the buffers were uneven. To put an end to this, the Rev. W. Awdry created the story, "Thomas Comes to Breakfast". After Percy's incident, Thomas returned with his front dip removed. In later stories, however, Thomas has his front dip back. In the television series, Thomas has always had this front dip, even set his accident. Thomas is also number 1, while the E2's were numbered 100-109. Also in the television series, it was revealed that Thomas was originally number 70, a reference to 2015 being the 70th anniversary of the Railway series.

Only 10 of these tank engines were ever produced, none have been preserved, due to their incredibly low coal capacity. 

Various preservation societies have been in the process of planning to restore or rebuild a Class E2 using surviving and refurbished parts from various steam locomotives as well as scrapped E2's.


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