In 1870, the London, Brighton & South Coast Railway (LB&SCR) was struggling to cope with its increasing share of the London suburban traffic, with a plethora of different locomotives designed by Craven. Refusing to compromise on standardisation, Craven resigned on January 31, 1870, to be replaced by William Stroudley.
Much of the line south of London was of poor quality and subject to challenging gradients and a locomotive with a lighter axle loading and a shorter wheelbase than the existing fleet was urgently required. Stroudley’s answer was the light six-coupled tank design and so his iconic Terrier class of 0-6-0T was born.
Built in December 1875, No.53 Ashtead was allocated to New Cross and was still there at the beginning of the 20th century. It escaped the LB&SCR’s withdrawal program in 1905-6 by being equipped for Pull-Push work in 1908 and was still rostered on the Crystal Palace motor-train service in December 1916, having been reboilered to A1X class in May 1912. In April 1937, now numbered 2653 and working the wharves at Littlehampton, Ashtead was sold to Colonel Stevens for use on the Weston Clevedon & Portishead Light Railway as Engine No.4 and just three years later, on May 18, 1940, hauled the last train to run on that railway.
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