The Bluebell Railway's Locomotives
Operational LocomotivesThe Loco Roster provides details of which locomotives are expected to be running on which days.
SER Stirling 0-6-0 No.65
Built at Ashford as an "O" class locomotive, it received a rebuild to class "O1" in 1908, and ran on until finally withdrawn in 1961. In 1963 it was obtained by the late Mr Lewis-Evans and kept at Ashford Steam Centre until its closure. Thereafter its location was something of a mystery until it was brought to the Bluebell Railway for overhaul, and was returned to steam for the centenary of the amalgamation of the SER and the LCDR in August 1999.
0-6-0s were the commonest locomotives in this country, and the Bluebell now hosts a sequence of three unique survivors of this type, demonstrating their development through the first half of the 20th century, from the O1 through the SECR C-class to Maunsell's Q-class built by the Southern Railway.
The Bluebell's spare O1/H boiler was overhauled at The Flour Mill workshop, and has now been fitted in place of its previous boiler during the recent overhaul, which took place at Sheffield Park.
BR Standard, No.73082 "Camelot"
Last major overhaul completed: 25 October 2015
Previously operational: 28 October 1995- June 2005
"Camelot" was one of the Southern Region's allocation of Standard 5s, and when the King Arthur class, which they replaced, were being withdrawn, a staff suggestion led to the names being transferred to the new engines. Modern engines with roller bearings, highly capable and easy to maintain, they were withdrawn long before they were worn out thanks to BR's rush to get rid of steam in the 1960s.
A survivor of Barry Scrapyard, "Camelot" is the only remaining one of these named Standard 5s. It was returned to working order thanks to the dedication of the Camelot Society, which carried out fund-raising and engineering work. The latter included the construction of a brand-new tender body, fitted to frames recovered from a South Wales Ironworks, since, like so many Barry locos, it had lost its tender. It was a core member of the Bluebell's loco fleet for the decade after it returned to traffic in 1995.
In preparation for its recent overhaul, the Camelot Locomotive Society prepared the loco for the boiler lift, major work has been undertaken on the wheelsets and the roller-bearings, the boiler has received heavy repairs off-site, and the overhaul and painting was completed in October 2015.
To mark 60 years since 73082 was constructed at Derby in 1955, although relaunched complete with its nameplates at the Giants of Steam weekend in 2015, it ran for the following year without nameplates, to mark this anniversary. Camelot received its nameplates at Eastleigh works in August 1959, whilst still carrying the early BR tender emblem, and now carries them.
SR Maunsell Q-class No.30541
Built as a basic goods engine to replace life-expired pre-grouping locomotives, this was Maunsell's final design as Chief Mechanical Engineer of the Southern Railway. It could be described as a competent though not outstanding engine. Bulleid, Maunsell's successor, improved the draughting arrangements with a multiple blast-pipe arrangement and new chimney, and it was in this condition that 541 was withdrawn from service in 1964. Sent to Barry scrapyard, like many other locos there it escaped the cutter's torch and was bought by preservationists.
In 1973 it was moved to Ashchurch in Gloucestershire and moved on in 1978 to the Bluebell, where its owning group merged with those of U-class No.1618 and S15 No.847 to form the Maunsell Locomotive Society. The blast pipe and chimney arrangement have been further modified using BR Class 4 components, in the same way as BR had done to some of the class. This has the advantage of returning the locomotive visually to very close to its original form. Major restoration work saw it return to steam in 1983, operating for the following decade in Maunsell livery as No.541.
An overhaul started in July 2011, and the Loco Works Working Group, who started by overhauling the tender, have also assisted with work on the loco itself. It returned to service on 28 April 2015, carrying BR livery as No.30541, and received a major valve and piston exam in 2017.
SR Maunsell S15-class No.847
Numbers carried: 847, 30847
Last major overhaul completed: 11 Dec 2013
Previously operational: 13 Nov 1992 - 6 Oct 1997
Owner: Maunsell Locomotive Society
Audio Recording of No.847 in action
Photos and Web Page
This class of locomotives, of which this was the final locomotive to be built, were essentially a goods version of the King Arthur class of express passenger locos (N15). The S15s thus became known as Goods Arthurs, and like the N15s, their origins went back to the LSWR designs of Robert Urie. Coming to the Bluebell from Barry scrapyard in 1978, its restoration was not started until the Maunsell Society had completed the restoration of their Q-class locomotive in 1983.
The boiler received its hydraulic test in 1988, and although it did not enter service at that time, regulations retrospectively applied mean that the boiler certificate, valid for ten years, started ticking from that test. Hence after a relatively short spell (under 5 years) in traffic it was withdrawn for overhaul. The Maunsell Locomotive Society then carried out as much preparatory work for the boiler lift as is possible, whilst maintaining the loco in a presentable condition for display.
The overhaul commenced in earnest in October 2006, with some of funds to finance the overhaul (in the Bluebell's own workshop) already available. The boiler overhaul, which was a major part of the project involving replacing many of the stays including the complex crown stays, was returned to the overhauled frames on 9 August 2013, and it re-entered service on 11 December that year.
South Eastern & Chatham Railway No.263
Built as the standard loco for the SECR's suburban services, the H-class
were a popular loco in later years for services on rural branch lines in
Sussex, especially after the withdrawal of the LBSCR D3 tanks. This
particular locomotive ended up working the line between East Grinstead and
Three Bridges and was withdrawn when that line was closed in January 1964.
Purchased from BR by the H-Class Trust, it was initially located at
Robertsbridge, but soon found a home at the South Eastern Steam Centre at
Ashford, where the engine appeared at various open days. However, in 1975
the Trustees decided that the locomotive would have much more scope for
running if based on the Bluebell. Since then it has had two periods in
steam. In 2008 ownership was transferred to the Bluebell Railway Trust, which funded an overhaul which started in March 2009, with a return to service, again in full Edwardian SECR livery, in July 2012. In 2017 it received a full repaint in preparation for exhibition at the Warley model railway show.
SECR Wainwright P-class, No.323 "Bluebell"
Owned by the Bluebell Railway
The P-class tank locomotives were, in design terms, an updated copy of the LBSCR Terriers, but, with only eight of them built, made rather less of a name for themselves. However, with four of the eight surviving into preservation, they have blossomed, and are now much more favourably regarded as highly capable little locomotives. Their greater water capacity and larger cabs give them a slight advantage over the considerably older Terriers.
An appeal to raise the funds for the overhaul was started towards the end of 2003. The locomotive was partially dismantled, but the overhaul was suspended whilst the workshops concentrated on larger locomotives. Then in September 2009 the loco entered the works and was lifted from its wheels, signifying the re-starting of its overhaul, with the aim of completing to overhaul for the 50th anniversary celebrations in August 2010. This was thwarted by the discovery of the need for additional boiler repairs, and after this additional work, the loco returned to service just in time to put in an appearance at the Branch Line weekend in March 2011, painted in a more elaborate version of "Bluebell Blue" than formerly, as seen above.
SECR Wainwright P-class, No.178
The last of the four P-class tank locomotives to have steamed in preservation, 178 came to the Bluebell in 1969 after industrial service at Bowaters Paper Mill, where it carried the name "Pioneer II".
Its best chance of restoration was seen to be outside the Bluebell Railway's direct ownership, due to the railway already having two other Ps, and so it was sold to Southern Locomotives Ltd, who commenced its overhaul, at Sheffield Park. However, with the shift in emphasis of that group to become major providers of motive power to the Swanage Railway, it was decided more appropriate to transfer ownership of this 'P' class loco back to the Bluebell. This was achieved in mid 2006, thanks to funding made available by the Bluebell Railway Trust.
The overhaul was undertaken by the Loco Workshop working group, and the loco now runs in full SECR lined green, after just a few weeks initially operating in its industrial guise as "Pioneer II".
Sadly now having a cracked cylinder, the locomotive is capable of little more than light work until it can have replacement cylinders fitted. It is however ideal for light duties such as brake van rides, a role it fulfilled in 2017 on loan to the NRM in York.
Howard Petrol-engined locomotive
Although nominally operational, at the present time more work is required to complete the restoration of the locomotive.
The 09 class of diesel-electric shunters were a Southern Region version of the ubiquitous 08 class, geared for slightly higher speeds. D4106 was built at British Railways' Horwich Works on 13 November 1961. It was renumbered as 09018 on 31 December 1973. On the Bluebell it initially retained HNRC orange and grey livery, with the lettering removed, since the priority was the acquisition of a pool of spare parts.
Tony Sullivan's photo shows it on 8 June 2017, soon after being repainted the previous month into its original BR Green livery with wasp stripes, numbered as D4106.
Sentinel/Rolls-Royce/Thomas Hill 4-w Diesel-Hydraulic loco No.10241
Acquired by the Bluebell Railway's C&W department mainly for shunting work around the carriage yard, this loco arrived on 7th May 2010, in working order.
A Sentinel designed loco, this one was built after the company became known as Rolls-Royce and is their No. 10241 of 1966. However, the loco was rebuilt by Thomas Hill (Rotherham) in 1973 (who had by then acquired the Sentinel/Rolls-Royce locomotive business), becoming their No.247V.
The Loco Roster indicates which locos should be working our trains on what days.
Note: Boiler Certificates. Steam locomotive boilers are certificated by the Insurance Company's inspector, initially for seven years from the date of pressure testing after overhaul. The dates given above assume that a mid-term boiler examination/test allows an extension to a full ten-year term. At the end of this period, unless a futher short extension is granted, the locos must be taken out of service for a boiler overhaul including a complete re-tube, and it is also usual at this time to undertake a full mechanical overhaul.
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Last updated 16 October 2018 by Richard Salmon.
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