E4 Class 0-6-2T No B473
Class Introduced: 1897
Designer: Mr RJ Billinton
Built: 1898 - Brighton Works, London Brighton and South Coast Railway (LB&SCR)
Total Number Built: 75 (plus 59 in similar classes)
Numbers Carried: 473, B473, 2473, S2473, 32473
British Railways (BR) Power Classification: 2P2F
At at time when the last survivors of several historic classes were still in British Railways (BR) service, there were very few parties (beyond the National Collection) that were concerning themselves with methodical preservation. In the early 1960s however the Nuthatch Line Preservation Society (NLPS) had sought to change this by publishing a list of locomotives which they deemed strong candidates for preservation - this included the E4 Class, having been considered one of the most versatile and reliable to emerge from the 'Brighton'.
An inspection team was despatched to Nine Elms in the summer of 1962 and of a small band of survivors No 32473 was identified as being in the best condition (having received a general overhaul as recently as 1960). Fortuitously, she was also found to have originally carried the name Birch Grove, a neighbouring estate in West Sussex and home of then Prime Minister, Mr HJ Macmillan. As with A1X Class No 32655, No 32473 was purchased direct from BR, and arrived on the Nuthatch Line in October 1962.
Following a spell in Marsh umber brown, the locomotive has since been restored to Southern Railway (SR) green as No B473.