LMR 3F 0-6-0 fitted with single-line tablet catcher




Early numerical ranges, R.O.D. locos, numbering at 1948, wartime loans, duplicate numbers

General background

Each of the pre-Nationalisation companies adopted different schemes for the numbering of their locomotives. The schemes were inherited from or were largely dictated by the systems used by the old pregrouping companies. Attempts to rationalise these diverse schemes were complicated by the need to accommodate newly constructed locomotives within the numbering lists and the unpredictable future requirements of the traffic departments.

The G.W.R. reorganised its numbering system prior to the grouping but, instead of allocating the locomotives absorbed at the grouping to a distinct block, it placed most of these locomotives in vacant 'slots' below number 2199. Others of original G.W.R. parentage were allocated numbers in the appropriate batches. In later years a system of batch numbering evolved for newly constructed engines, so that the second numeral of the locomotive number related to a particular wheel arrangement. Few complications of renumbering arose from rebuilding or modification of existing locomotives.

The S.R. in 1931 adopted the simple expedient of adding a numerical prefix to the locomotives absorbed from two of the three major pregrouping companies: L.S.W.R. (-), S.E.C.R. (1) and L.B.S.C.R (2). Previously prefixes E, A and B (Eastleigh, Ashford and Brighton, respectively) were applied. Various locomotives within the L.S.W.R. duplicate list (with the prefix '0') received the prefix '3' in 1931. No attempt was made to rationalise the cumbersome systems inherited from the earlier companies. New locomotives were placed in vacant batches within the L.S.W.R. and S.E.C.R. blocks. Latterly a new alphanumerical scheme, based on axle arrangement, was used by Bulleid for his new constructions.

The L.M.S. inherited the largest number of locomotives at the grouping and consequently the new numbering system was subject to many changes when new locomotives were accommodated into the list. The M.R. locomotives retained their old numbers whereas all of the other engines were allocated entirely new numbers within the the M.R. series (S.M.J., S.D.J., N.S., L.T.S.) or in subsequent large blocks, 5000-17997, as follows:

L.N.W.R., N.L. and Wirral R. (5000-9999)

L.Y.R., F.R., M. & C., G. & K.E.R. and C. & W.J. (100000-12999)

G. & S.W.R., C.R., H.R., G. & P.R., Solway J. R. (14000-17997)

Within these blocks there was a broad numerical subdivision according to locomotive type.

New construction caused a number of older locomotives to be displaced into a 20000 series (i.e. with a prefix '2') during the 1930s. L.T.S. engines were renumbered on a number of occasions within the 2000 series as a result of new construction and the desire to rationalise the numerical list.

The L.N.E.R. in 1923 used a system similar to that of the S.R. to renumber the locomotives of the pregrouping companies. The existing numbers were amended as follows to give the blocks shown in brackets:

N.E.R. not altered (1-2404)

H. & B.R. renumbered (2405-2542)

G.N. increased by 3000 (3001-4770)

G.C. increased by 5000 (5001-6252)

G.N.S.R increased by 6800 (6801-6915)

G.E.R. increased by 7000 (7001-8900)

N.B.R. increased by 9000 (9001-10481)

Various locomotives in these companies' duplicate lists (not all included above) were renumbered in 1923-4 but few survived long. In the case of the N.B.R. engines, this renumbering compressed the block numbers down to 10023, in terms of numbers actually carried.

Newly constructed locomotives were placed in vacant batches and it was not until 1946 that the entire stock was renumbered according to wheel arrangement. Subsequent new building caused some minor renumbering in later years.

At Nationalisation in 1948 the locomotives of the last three major companies received new numbers by the addition of 30000, 40000 and 60000 respectively (see B.R. numbering); some minor internal renumbering also took place.

Format of lists

It is not possible to provide a consistent format for the various lists because of the different renumbering schemes employed. Some pregrouping companies, notably the S.E.C.R., L.N.W.R. and the N.E.R., had no systematic method of numbering and consequently space does not always permit a format which details each locomotive. In these cases non-consecutive numbers are shown thus: 782--825. For further guidance in the cases of the locomotives of some L.N.E.R. classes (pre-1946), the numbers of engines in the class at 1923 are shown in square brackets thus: [37].

Where a particular number was allocated to more than one locomotive in a company, the number is repeated in the list in a chronological sense where possible. The layout of each list is detailed at the beginning of each section where appropriate.

The lists that follow the first provide information on the following:

R.O.D. locomotives

Numbering at 1948

Wartime loans

Duplicate numbers, prefixes and suffixes



The following list provides an indication of the numerical ranges of the locomotives of the pregrouping companies. Note that not all of the numbers shown were necessarily allocated in 1923.

G.W.R. 1-7319

M.R. 1-4026

L.N.W.R. 1-2969 and 5000 (with duplicate series: 3001-3776)

N.E.R. 1-2404 (see also H. & B.R.)

G.E.R. 1-1900

G.N. 1-1770

L.Y.R 1-1674

G.C. 1-1252

C.R. 1-959 (with duplicate series: 1013-1781)

N.B.R. 1-926 (with duplicate series: 1011-1481)

S.E.C.R. 1-825

L.S.W.R. 1-773

G. & S.W.R. 1-735

L.B.S.C.R. 1-699

T.V.R. 1-416

N.S. 1-174

H. & B.R. 13-161 (became N.E.R. nos 3013-3161)

H.R. 1-149

Barry R. 1-148

F.R. 1-133

N.L. 1-127 (renumbered by the L.N.W.R.)

R.R. 1-121

G.N.S.R. 1-115

Met. R. 1-110 (111-116 introduced after 1923)

Cam. R. 1-102

M. & G.N. 1- 99

S.D.J. 1- 90 (101, 102 introduced after 1923)

L.T.S. 1- 82 (as absorbed by M.R. in 1912)

B. & M.R. 1- 50

P.T.R. 3- 37

A.D.R. 1- 37

R. & S.B.R. 1- 37

Car. R. 1- 36

M.S.W.J.R. 1- 31

M. & C. 1- 30

S.M.J. 2- 18

S.H.T. 3- 18

Wirral R. 1- 17

N. & B.R. 1- 16

B.P. & G.V.R. 1- 15

P. & M. 3- 14

C.W.J. 6- 10

S.W.M.R. 1- 7

G.V.R. 1- 2

G. & P.R. 1- 2

The locomotives of the C.M.D.P.R., G. & K.E.R. and L. & M.M.R. were named but not numbered.


In 1919-21, surplus R.O.D. Robinson (L.N.E.R. Class O4) 2-8-0s were loaned to the C.R., G.C., G.E.R., G.W.R., L.Y.R., L.N.W.R., L.S.W.R. N.E.R and S.E.C.R.. The G.W.R. and L.N.W.R. gave theirs temporary numbers but other companies retained the R.O.D. numbers. The number groups of all of this type of locomotive, built for the war effort, were 1601--1749 and 1787--2167. In 1919-27 examples were sold to the G.C.R., G.W.R., L.N.W.R., L.M.S. and L.N.E.R.


The following list provides later ranges of locomotive numbering around 1948 (excluding some S.R. electric and diesel types).

G.W.R. (at Nationalisation) 2-9799

S.R. (before Nationalisation) 1-3744 and C1-40, 21C1-20, 21C101-170, W1-34

S.R. (after Nationalisation) 30001-35020 and W1-34

L.M.S. (before Nationalisation) 1-28622

L.M.S. (after Nationalisation) 40001-58937

L.N.E.R.(pre-1946 renumbering) 1-10102

L.N.E.R.(before Nationalisation) 1-10000

L.N.E.R.(after Nationalisation) 60001-69999

ex-W.D. (after Nationalisation) 90000-90774


During the war years, some W.D. and American locomotives were loaned to the four railway companies. For full original numerical ranges of the former Riddles W.D. locomotives which were later acquired by British Railways, please see 90000-90732 and 90750-90774 in another section. The W.D. Stanier 8F 2-8-0 locomotives (mentioned below) loaned to the companies mainly ran with L.M.S. numbers (8000 series) but a few such as WD 549-51/3/5-71 and 623 (later 8264-85) were used (by the L.M.S.). The 398 American Class S160 2-8-0 locomotives loaned in 1942-5 had numbers in the series 1601--2450. Additionally 24 U.S.A.T.C. 0-6-0Ts were also loaned to the G.W.R. briefly in 1944 (numbered 1307, 1945--1987 and 4381--4401). The S.R. bought similar examples from surplus in 1947 (S.R. 61-74).

Steam locomotives requisitioned from the main companies for overseas service in wartime totalled 298. These included 108 G.W.R. Class 2301 0-6-0s, 92 L.N.E.R. O1/O4 2-8-0s, 51 L.M.S.R. 8F 2-8-0s and 8 L.M.S.R. 3F 0-6-0Ts. The L.M.S.R. gave up 31 0-6-0 diesel locomotives. There were also loans to the W.D for home use including armoured trains. The Ministry of Supply and Railway Executive Committee commissioned a further 353 examples of the 8F 2-8-0s. Other locomotives built for the war effort included 935 Riddles Class 8F 2-8-0s and 150 WD 2-10-0s mentioned above, as well as 377 0-6-0STs (later L.N.E.R. Class J94).



Some railway companies introduced duplicate number series for those locomotives which were coming to the end of their useful lives and were effectively displaced by newly built stock. One such commonly used system was to add the suffix 'A' to the locomotive number. The companies which employed this method included:

C.R (in the 1890s), F.R., G.N., G.N.S.R., G. & S.W.R. (prior to 1919), H.R., L.S.W.R. (but see below), M. & G.N., M.R., N.L. (before absorption by L.N.W.R.), N.S. and S.D.J.

The suffix 'B' was used by the H.R. (in addition to the above) and the G.C.

The L.S.W.R favoured the system of prefixing the existing number with a zero and this persisted, for that company's stock, in S.R. days until 1931; this scheme was also used by the G.E.R. and the R.R. After the grouping the L.N.E.R. perpetuated the G.E.R. and G.N. numbering methods (with the addition of 7000 and 3000, respectively, to give for example, 07125 and 3134A). The L.N.E.R. also prefixed the M. & G.N. stock with a zero, when it took over in 1936.

Other companies placed their duplicate locomotives in new numerical series: see C.R., L.N.W.R. and N.B.R. above.

Other prefixes and suffixes

Immediately after the grouping the L.N.E.R applied the following suffixes to the absorbed stock, as a temporary measure:

B (N.B.R.), C (G.C.), D: for Darlington (N.E.R.), E (G.E.R.), N (G.N.) and S (G.N.S.R.).

The suffix 'S' was used by the Southern Railway for its departmental stock.

Other prefixes employed in locomotive numbering were as follows:

A (for Ashford): S.E.C.R. stock from 1923-31

B (for Brighton): L.B.S.C.R. stock from 1923-31

BEL: battery electric locomotive (L.M.S./L.M.R)

CD: Carriage Dept locomotive (L.M.R.)

D: diesel locomotive (B.R.)

DS: Departmental Service locomotive (Southern Region)

E (for Eastleigh): L.S.W.R. stock from 1923-31

ED: Engineers' Dept locomotive (L.M.R.)

L: London Transport (ex-Met. R.) locomotive

M.P.U.: mobile power unit (L.M.S.)

P.W.M.: permanent way maintenance locomotive (B.R.)

R: M. & C. duplicate stock

W: Isle of Wight stock after 1923

ZM: narrow gauge locomotive (L.M.R.)

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