The Hill Y4 (GER B74) 0-4-0 Shunters

GER Y4 0-6-0T, Deparmental No. 33 (PH Groom)

A.J.Hill built the first example of this class for the GER in 1913 for use at Canning Town to replace the smaller "209" (Y5) saddle-tanks. This engine was particularly powerful for its size at the time. Four further locomotives were built over the next ten years. These latter four were to a cut-down size for working in the Bethnal Green area. In 1931 the first locomotive was also cut down in size to be uniform with the other class members. All five members of the class spent their working lives in the Stratford area: Canning Town, Devonshire Street, Mile End Yard, etc.

The locomotives were numbered 7226, 7227, 7228, and 7229; with 7210 listed as service stock. These were renumbered in 1946 as 8125, 8126, 8127, 8128, and 8129 respectively. All five received BR numbers with the '6' prefix. No. 68129 (originally Serivce No. 7210) was renumbered as Departmental No. 33 in September 1952. All five were withdrawn between 1955 and 1963.

Instead of a rear bunker, coal was stored at the rear of the left side tank. Often coal was also piled on the top of the firebox casing. BR fitted coal rails to boost the coal capacity. 7226 followed GER practice with a tool box on each tank, whilst the other members only had one tool box on the left-hand running plate.

When driven too fast, the Y4s had a tendency to "plunge". This was accentuated by the poor quality track which they ran over. This "plunging" was very uncomfortable for the crew, but more seriously, could damage the drain cocks. The Works fitter "strongly disliked" the constant refitting of new drain cocks to the Y4s!

Technical Details

Cylinders (x2): 17x20in.
Boiler: Diameter: 4ft 2in
Length: 9ft 1in
Heating Surface: Total: 980.5 sq.ft.
Firebox: 75.1 sq.ft.
Tubes: 905.4 sq.ft.
Grate Area: 13.9 sq.ft.
Wheels: 3ft 10in
Total Wheelbase: 6ft
Tractive Effort: 19,224 lb
Length: 24ft 1.5in
Weight: (full) 38t 1cwt
Water Capacity: 750 gallons
Coal Capacity: 15cwt


The last Y4 was withdrawn in 1963. No Y4s survive.


5in gauge plans and castings for a live steam Y4 are available from Doug Hewson (Models). R.J. Bray has also produced drawings for a 5in gauge live steam Y4. The current availability of parts and plans is unknown.


Thank you to the P.H. Groom collection for permission to use the above photograph of Departmental No. 33.