One of the jewels in the crown of the magnificent National Collection is the only remaining LBSCR tender locomotive – 214 Gladstone.Built in 1882, Gladstone was the first member of the express passenger B class 0-4-2 locomotive’s (that would later be designated as a B1 class). It was one of thirty six and the final express passenger locomotive produced by William Stroudley.
Although the class lasted into Southern Railway days, they were withdrawn soon after between 1926 and 1933. Unlike Stroudley’s terrier tank, the B1 class did not find new roles throughout the ages. After 1899, Billington’s B4 class relegated the B1’s to secondary passenger duties and then later with the electrification of much of the Southern Railway they were simply surplus to requirements.
Fortunately, the Stephenson Locomotive Society (a society formed in 1909 for the study of rail transport and locomotives that still exists today) saved Gladstone in 1927. The society restored the locomotive back to it’s original condition for the cost of £140.
To read about other exhibits to be found in the National Railway Museum during this visit in 2013, please click here.