While assembling data on fitting of vac break (sic), both simple and automatic, to these engines in the 1880s, I noticed some curious delays between "built" and "into service" dates for some of these engines. The first 10 of 1880/82 seem to be unremarkable, and it is orders E24 and E29 that seemed odd to me.
E24 was for 10 engines in 1887, Crewe Nos. 2926-35. The first four were built in Feb and Mar 1887, ad seem to have been brought into service without delay. The last six (34, 532, 598, 1026, 1022, 1025) were built in April and May but the D.O. lists (LOCO009/1 at the Study Centre) have a handwritten note "Not yet in stock Dec 1887" followed by "In stock June 1888". Baxter is silent on this, and shows only the April and May dates.
E29 was for a further 10 engines, Crewe Nos. 3002-11. The first four (1027/8/9/30) were built in November 1887 and have the two handwritten notes as for the last 6 engines of E24. Baxter shows "date" as 6/1888, but with a note "built 11/1887".
The last six of the same batch (930, 822, 831, 836, 722, 726) were built in Dec 1887 and have handwritten notes in LOCO009/1 and /2:
"Not yet in stock Dec 1887"
"Not yet in stock June 1889"
"Not yet in stock Dec 1889"
but no such notes for June & Dec 1890 in LOCO009/3.
Baxter shows "date" as Feb 1890, but with a note "built 12/1887".
To summarise, 30 engines had been built by the end of 1887, but only 14 of them were taken into stock. 24 were in stock from June 1888, and all 30 from Feb 1890.
So the dates seem clear, although the details in Baxter could be clearer and more consistent. The "what" and "when" is not in dispute. But my difficulty is with "Why?" What prevented these engines being taken into stock for over two years in the most extreme case? Was there a problem with some vital part? Was there a surplus of goods engines at that time? Or was it just some administrative, financial or accounting restriction? Apologies if the reasons are explained in some published work, but I do not read "loco" books!
The next batch, Crewe Nos. 3272-81 (running nos. 1260-9), was not built until 1892.