The reference for locomotives and railcars


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London, Brighton & South Coast classes B2, B2s and B3
Great Britain | 1895 | 25 produced
Drawing of the enlarged B3 “Bessemer”
Drawing of the enlarged B3 “Bessemer”
F Moore

The London, Brighton & South Coast Railway had relatively light express trains on the London to Portsmouth line, which were still pulled by Singles in the early 1890s. Since these had reached their limits, Robert Billinton developed the first LB&SCR locomotives with a leading bogie. Between 1895 and 1898 25 were built in Brighton, designated class B2.

The nickname “Grasshopper” is probably a reference to unsteady running characteristics. Since their power was described as too low for their tasks, Billinton had the B3 “Bessemer” built in 1897 with a larger boiler. There were initially no modifications to the existing locomotives und also the ones built until 1898 got the original boiler.

It was only Marsh who had all B2 and B3 rebuilt from 1906 onwards with the same boiler as the class C3 freight locomotives, which became class B2x. This boiler was heavier, but had a smaller heating surface and still achieved greater output. The B2x was phased out with the electrification of the line to Portsmouth between 1929 and 1933.

VariantB2rebuilt B2xB3
Axle config4-4-0 (American) 
Gauge4 ft 8 1/2 in (Standard gauge)
Dimensions and Weights
Wheelbase17 ft 6 1/2 in
Fixed wheelbase8 ft 9 in
Service weight95,872 lbs104,832 lbs100,128 lbs
Adhesive weight64,512 lbs68,992 lbs68,320 lbs
Total weight155,680 lbs164,640 lbs159,936 lbs
Axle load34,496 lbs37,632 lbs15,840 lbs
Water capacity3,122 us gal
Fuel capacity8,960 lbs (coal)
Power sourcesteam
Estimated power650 hp (485 kW)675 hp (503 kW)725 hp (541 kW)
Optimal speed28 mph29 mph31 mph
Starting effort15,028 lbf
Power Plant
Driver diameter81 in
Boiler pressure170 psi
Expansion typesimple
Cylinderstwo, 18 x 26 in
Grate area18.7 sq ft18.6 sq ft20.6 sq ft
Firebox area114.7 sq ft101.3 sq ft110.4 sq ft
Tube heating area1,227.3 sq ft1,183.7 sq ft1,349.7 sq ft
Evaporative heating area1,342 sq ft1,285 sq ft1,460 sq ft
Total heating area1,342 sq ft1,285 sq ft1,460 sq ft
Calculated Values
steam locomotive
Robert John Billinton
last changed: 01/2024

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