The Worsdell Class B13 (NER Class S) 4-6-0s

Worsdell Class B13 No. 761 (M.Peirson)

By the late 1890s, the "Race to the North" had died down, and the emphasis moved more to comfort rather than speed. This led to an increase in express train weights, and a need for more powerful passenger locomotives that were not necessarily as fast. To meet this need, Wilson Worsdell designed the Class R (LNER D20) 4-4-0 and the Class S (LNER B13) 4-6-0 in 1899 for the North Eastern Railway (NER). The D20 was a natural progression from the pre-existing Class Q1 (LNER D17/2) with a larger boiler. The B13 was based on the D20 with further enlargement. The boiler and firebox were both lengthened, and a third driving axle was added. They were the first passenger 4-6-0 locomotives of British design.

Seven of the first batch of ten B13s were built with slide valves. Later engines were built with piston valves, and the earlier locomotives were later converted to piston valves. The first three locomotives were also built with a deliberately short wheelbase of only 48ft 4in, so that they could be turned on existing 50ft turntables. This resulted in a short tender and a short cab that proved more impractical than the need to use large turntables or triangle tracks. The first three locomotives had conventional cabs fitted in 1901.

The B13s did not prove to be as free running as would have been expected from their dimensions. This was in contrast to the smaller D20s which stole the limelight of the larger engines. This led to the B13s only being used for main express services for a few years before they were displaced by the NER Class S1 (LNER B14) in 1900 and the NER Class V (LNER C6) in 1903. Despite their shortcomings, the B13s proved to be successful on less demanding services. Between 1905 and 1909, thirty further engines were built to meet a need for locomotives to haul recently introduced fast goods trains.

The fitting of Schmidt superheaters started in 1913. Twenty six of the thirty B13s were superheated by Grouping in 1923. The LNER finished the process by 1925. As with the B14s, the saturated B13s had short smokeboxes that were lengthened with the fitting of superheaters.

By the time the last B13s were built, they had found a place hauling fast, perishable freight services and excursion trains. By Grouping (1923), they were allocated to Tweedmouth, Heaton, Neville Hill, Blaydon, and Dairycoates. During the 1920s they were used throughout the main line network between Edinburgh and Doncaster. By this time they were also hauling parcel services, passenger stopping trains, and the occasional mineral train. Over time they were displaced by the B14s, B15s, B16s, and K3 2-6-0s.

With the Depression in the late 1920s and early 1930s, traffic declined and withdrawals started in 1928. The last B13 was withdrawn in 1938. No. 761 was withdrawn in September 1934 and transferred to Service Stock. The superheater was removed, and it was used as a counter pressure locomotive for road testing of other locomotives. During this time, it was kept in the Paint Shop at Darlington North Road Works, and used infrequently. In October 1946, it was renumbered 1699 in the Thompson renumbering scheme. After Nationalisation in 1948, it was moved to the new Rugby Testing Plant before being scrapped in May 1951 at Crewe Works.

Technical Details

Cylinders: (2x outside) 20x26in.
Motion: Gear: Stephenson
Valves: 8.75in piston
Boiler: Max. Diameter: 4ft 9in
Pressure: 160psi
Diagram No.: 54
Heating Surface: Total: 1659 sq.ft.
Firebox: 120 sq.ft.
Tubes: 884 sq.ft. (126x 1.75in dia)
Superheater: 276 sq.ft. (18x 1.1in dia)
Flues: 379 sq.ft. (18x 5.25in dia)
Grate Area: 23 sq.ft.
Wheels: Leading: 3ft 7.25in
Coupled: 6ft 1.25in
Tender: 3ft 9.25in
Tractive Effort: (@ 85%) 19,309lb
Wheelbase: Total: 50ft 8.25in
Engine: 26ft 0.5in
Tender: 12ft 8in
Weight (full): Total: 107 tons 16cwt
Engine: 64 tons 6cwt
Tender: 43 tons 10cwt
Max. Axle Load: 19 tons 14cwt


The last B13 was scrapped in 1951, and none of the B13s survived into preservation.


I am not aware of any models of the B13s in any scale.


Thank you to the Malcolm Peirson for the above photograph of B13 No. 761.