It wasn’t just the Caley that wore blue!
The Great Eastern is probably my favourite English company after North Eastern and the Midland and this is a really interesting potted history of those useful little six-coupled tank locos of theirs; some of them even reached Scotland after the grouping, so useful were they!
James Holden took the job of Locomotive Superintendent of the Great Eastern in 1885 during a period of great urgency for both new express passenger engines and shunting/light goods locos. The company had recently exploited the opportunities presented by the direct link to the industrial heartland of Yorkshire with the opening of the GN&GE Joint line in 1882, and the growth of heavy long-distance coal trains resulted in a massive expansion of the marshalling yards at March and Temple Mills. With hindsight it may seem surprising that there were only eighteen 0-6-0T shunting engines on the company’s books in 1885, but at that time many of these duties were performed by ageing 0-4-4T and 0-6-0 tender classes.
Holden was an unusual man, almost unique as a Locomotive Engineer insofar as he didn’t seek to stamp his identity on new locomotives designed during his tenure. Instead, where he saw good in…
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