The S.D. Holden F7 2-4-2T Locomotives

S.D. Holden F7 2-4-2T, GER Class Y65

S.D. Holden designed these small 2-4-2T locomotives in 1909 to replace the J65 0-6-0T tank engines which were in use for light passenger services. They were never a great success, and only twelve F7s were built. The J65s were actually more popular for this light branchline work. Relative to their size, the F7s had large cabs, and hence acquired the name of "Crystal Palace Tanks".

All twelve engines were fitted with Westinghouse brakes. In October 1914, No. 1311 was fitted for auto-train working using compressed air, and required a second Westinghouse pump. Nos. 1304-5, and 1309 were also converted before Grouping in 1923. In 1924, No. 8307 was fitted for mechanical auto-train working.

The F7s were used for lightweight branchline work in East Anglia, and were initially based at Saffron Walden, Ramsey, St. Ives, Stoke Ferry, Aldeburgh, Haldeigh, Braintree, and Maldon. During LNER ownership, they moved further afield and three even moved to Scotland in the early 1930s.

Although they were never very popular, the F7s were capable of hard work when required. At least one account exists of an F7 pulling a ten-coach train into Liverpool Street, after the original locomotive had failed.

Withdrawals started in 1931, but the last two survived just into Nationalisation and were withdrawn in November 1948.

Technical Details

Cylinders (x2): 15x22in.
Motion: Stephenson slide valves
Boiler: Max. Diameter: 3ft 11.5in
Pressure: 160psi
Diagram No.: 42
Heating Surface: Total: 872.9 sq.ft.
Firebox: 75.7 sq.ft.
Tubes: 797.2 sq.ft. (199x 1.625in)
Grate Area: 12.2 sq.ft.
Wheels: Leading: 3ft 6in
Coupled: 4ft 10in
Trailing: 3ft 6in
Tractive Effort: 11,607lb (@ 85% boiler pressure)
Total Wheelbase: 19ft 6in
Engine Weight: 45 tons 14cwt (full)
Max. Axle Load: 14 tons 3cwt
Coal Capacity: 2 tons 0cwt
Water Capacity: 1000 gallons


The last F7s were withdrawn in 1948, and none survived into preservation.


Finney and Smith produce a 3mm scale kit of the F7.

Alan Gibson sells a 4mm scale kit of the F7.

Connoisseur Models sell a kit of the F7 for 7mm scale (O gauge).