D 4-4-0 SECR Wainwright Various between 31057 – 31750


Power Classification 1P
Introduced 1901 – 1907
Designer Wainwright
Company SECR
Weight – Loco 50t 0cwt
               Tender 39t 2cwt
Driving Wheels 6ft 8ins
Boiler Pressure 175psi
Cylinders Inside – 19in x 26in
Tractive Effort 17,450lbf
Valve Gear Stephenson (slide valve)

The D class is a superb example of late Victorian/Edwardian locomotive engineering.  The sweeping brass edged splashers with oiling holes also featured on 4-4-0s built for the Midland, Great Central/MS&LR, Lancashire & Yorkshire etc, and can be traced back to Charles Beyer, originally of Sharp Stewart & Co. and later cofounder of Beyer Peacock & Co.  In fact, if the green livery and copper-capped chimney are ignored the engines of this class bear a particularly close resemblance to Johnson Midland Railway 4-4-0s, even down to the cut brass digits on the cab side.  Harry Wainwright, who was primarily a carriage man, had undergone his training on the Midland.  The splashers on the D were actually designed by James Clayton, a former Beyer Peacock apprentice, who later moved to Derby before returning to Ashford in 1914 as Chief Draughtsman

 MR 4-4-0 MR 4-4-0 introduced by Johnson in 1882
 d SECR D class 4-4-0 introduced by Wainwright in 1901

The D class was a Harry Wainwright design and he was responsible for the overall look of the engine. The detail work was undertaken by Robert Surtees, the former London, Chatham and Dover Railway Chief Draftsman, and by then his chief draughtsman at Ashford works. Underneath the flowing curves and symmetry of the exterior lay a sure-footed machine that responded well to hard work. These were among some of the most elegant locomotives in the country and, when built, they were beautifully finished with burnished brass dome covers and they were known as “Coppertops”.  Interestingly the whilst the livery for the SECR was different from the London, Chatham and Dover Railway the style replicated that of the latter.

Since their emergence from Ashford in 1901, the Wainwright Class D 4-4-0 locomotives had been the primary motive power on Kent Coast services, being the South Eastern & Chatham Railway’s first true express passenger design since its formation in 1899. Engine developments such as this came at a time when the South Eastern and Chatham Railway was regarded among the public poorly, a reputation generated during the bitter years of its previous constituent companies, thus deployments of D class were joined by the launch of a new, elaborate and striking livery to win back favour from passengers. This livery programme began to win the SE&CR praise and locomotive applications in this colour were perpetuated, only to be curtailed in 1914 by the beginning of World War I. Thereafter, stock was required to appear in less conspicuous colours, dull grey or a plain shade of green soon appearing on motive power, with plain brown being applied to passenger rolling stock.

The D class was one of Wainwrights three standard classes (the others being the C and H classes).

 d D class introduced in 1901 by Wainwright.
 C C class introduced in 1900 by Wainwright

H class introduced in 1904 by Wainwright


The construction of the initial 20 engines was shared between Ashford Railway Works and the Glasgow builder, Sharp, Stewart and Company. The first of the class to enter service, in 1901, was a Glasgow product and by 1907 fifty-one were in traffic. Of these twenty-one were Ashford built (including the initial 10) while the rest were supplied by outside contractors (Dubs & Co 10, Stephenson & Co 5, Vulcan Foundry 5).

In 1907 an experimental extended smokebox was fitted to 247 which, having proved to be a success, was subsequently fitted to the rest of the class.

Twenty-one of these were rebuilt into D1 class locomotives in 1921-1927. The initial ten selected D Classes were moved to Beyer, Peacock & Co‘s manufacturing plant in Gorton, East Manchester for the work to be done (the South Eastern and Chatham Railway had enlisted the services of this company for locomotive building in the past). Ashford Works lacked the required space at the time, although the second batch of eleven locomotives were completed here by 1927.

 d D class
 D1 D1 class. Twenty one D class locomotives were rebuilt between 1921 and 1927 as D1 class.

Initially the D class was put to work on the Kent coast and Hastings services out of London. By the 1930s the largest allocation of D class 4-4-0s was at Gillingham depot in Kent but they had by now been reduced to secondary train duties and were now carrying the livery of the Southern Railway. At the outbreak of World War II in 1939 some of the D class were placed into storage. Then in 1941 others were transferred to Nine Elms depot. A handful were based at Redhill on the Reading-Tonbridge cross-country line.

The first one of the un-rebuilt engines (1742) was withdrawn in1944, one other (1726) in 1947 and the other twenty-eight came into British Railways stock in 1948.

Their final years saw them concentrated at Guildford in Surrey and the last of the D class, 31075, was withdrawn from there in 1956.

Number in Service.

Built Withdrawals No. in Service
BR Numbers Quantity
1901 31728-34,31737-38,31740



1902 31057,31488,31490



1903 31075,31092,31493,31501,31744,



1906 31549,31577



1907 31477,31496,31574,31586,31591


























  • 31075,31092,31493 and 31501 were built by Dübs & Co.
  • 31728-34 were built by Sharp Stewart & Co.
  • 31744 was built by Robert Stephenson & Co Ltd.
  • 31747, 31748 and 3170 were built by Vulcan Foundary Ltd.
  • All of the other locomotives were built at Ashford.
  • The last six engines (31075, 31488, 31549, 31574, 31577 and 31737) in service were all withdrawn from service at Guildford in 1956.

Allocation of locomotives in service as at 1st of January 1948.

Depot Quantity
Ashford   5
Faversham   3
Gillingham   3
Horsham   1
Redhill   2
St Leonards   5
Stewarts Lane
Tonbridge   9


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