In 1882, to support the ever increasing London suburban traffic on the London South Western Railway, William Adams, the Locomotive Superintendent, ordered 71 new Class 415 4-4-2T engines.
Developed from the earlier rebuilt LSWR 46 class, the 415 Class locomotives were all constructed away from the LSWR workshops at Nine Elms, which were at full capacity, being built by R. Stephenson, Neilson & Co, Beyer Peacock and Dübs & Co between 1882 and 1885.
All constructed to the same basic design, those leaving the works after 1884 had slightly larger side water tanks and deeper fireboxes, whilst later modifications saw the trademark Adams stove pipe chimney being replaced by a lipped version, the addition of coal rails to the bunker and the fitting of double slide bars and crossheads in place of the original, single bars.
The introduction of the Drummond M7 led to the Class 415s being shifted to rural branch traffic and by Grouping in 1923, only 30 locomotives made it on to the Southern Railway’s stock book. By 1927, only two engines remained, although in 1946 they were joined by a further locomotive, purchased from the East Kent Railway. All three were finally withdrawn from service in 1961.
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