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With increasing traffic at the beginning of the 20th Century, the Great Eastern Railway (GER) found it needed a series of locomotives which more powerful than the existing Claud Hamilton 4-4-0s, but with a light axle loading and a short wheelbase suitable for the GER lines. These latter restrictions resulted in S.D. Holden's design being notably smaller than most British 4-6-0s. Officially designated Class S69 by the GER, they quickly became known as the "1500" Class after the first locomotive built. The LNER would give them the classification of B12, and would find the combination of low axle loading and short wheelbase very useful attributes.
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