The restrictions on locomotive weight and length were keenly felt by the Great Eastern Railway and whilst James Holden’s S46, D56 and H88 Claud Hamilton 4-4-0 designs were not unduly restricted, when he came to consider a 4-6-0 design for high performance express work, the inside cylinder was his only real option. To gain power, Holden was quick to embrace the idea of superheating and so in 1911, the first order was placed for his S69 class locomotive.
Under the GER, seventy one S69 engines were built, fifty one at Stratford and twenty at Wm Beardmore & Co. in Glasgow. The large enclosed cab with side windows and an extended roof were a noticeable feature of Holden’s design which, allied to the large Belpaire firebox, decorative valance over the driving wheels and short 3,700 gallon tender, gave the impression of the locomotive being bigger than it actually was.
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