Swanage Railway News Gallery - Page 106
Ivatt Tank Locomotive No. 41312 returns to Swanage after 35 years
News item - dated 10th September 2001 -
Photographs are copyright to Andrew P.M. Wright
The intensive steam gala timetable saw trains running every 35 minutes between Swanage and Norden park and ride with demonstration freights being run, as well as a two carriages and a parcels van/brake branch line train running between Swanage and Harman's Cross.
The first trains departed Swanage and Norden at 8.05 am on the two days - running into the early hours of Sunday thanks to a special blues music train that included the line's Wessex Belle bar car and did not get back to Swanage for the final time until almost dawn. On the Sunday, the last train left Swanage just after 6 pm.
As a stirring finale, 7.30pm on the Sunday saw an historic dusk departure from Swanage bound for Corfe Castle by the gala's six steam locomotives in not so much a double-header light engine movement as a six-header light engine movement! The dramatic entourage left Corfe Castle just after 8pm for the return to Swanage.
Swanage Railway's passenger services manager David Green said that it was the combination of a steam gala and vintage vehicle weekend that caused 4,500 people to ride on the steam trains - and 6,000 people go through the gates of the vintage vehicle showground close to Harman's Cross station.
"It was an absolutely stupendous event - this event just exploded. It has been the most successful steam gala that we ever run. Our staff and volunteers at Harman's Cross worked very hard. We sold out of all refreshments and food," explained Mr Green.
No. 41312 arrived at the Swanage Railway’s road and rail interchange at Norden station, just north of Corfe Castle, on Tuesday, September 4th, 2001. After the last service train at about 8pm, No. 41312 was towed to Swanage by Southern Locomotives Ltd’s Brighton-built Standard Class 4 Tank No. 80104 of 1955. The crew of No. 80104 was driver Nigel Clark of Corfe Mullen and the fireman Peter Frost of Corfe Castle. The guard was Peter Catt of Swanage.
For Peter Frost - a 43-year-old publican’s son who grew up in Corfe Castle - it was the first time that he had been on the footplate of No. 41312 since the summer of 1966; the last time that the BR branch enginemen gave the then eight year old rides on No. 41312’s footplate between Wareham, Corfe Castle and Swanage.
On reaching Swanage station on the evening of Tuesday, September 4th, 2001, No. 41312 made a piece of railway history when it was stabled on the turntable outside the Victorian engine shed - the first time that No. 41312 had sat there since the summer of 1966.
After working on Saturday and Sunday, September 8th and 9th, 2001, No. 41312 is due to return home to the Mid-Hants Railway via road on Tuesday, September 11th, 2001.
One of the 130-strong class of H.G.Ivatt-designed Class 2 tank locomotives, No. 41312 emerged from Crewe Works on 10th, May 1952, at a cost of £9,637. Although built after Nationalisation in 1948, construction was a straight continuation of the original ten engines built at Crewe in 1946 and was pure LMS in design.
Here we see Ivatt Tank Locomotive No. 41312 photographed by John Scrace at Wareham and Corfe Castle in 1964, and by Tony Trood at Swanage in 1966.
No. 41312’s tractive effort was 18,510 lbs while the maximum boiler working pressure was 200 lbs per square inch. With a water tank capacity of 1,350 gallons and a three-ton coal bunker, No. 41312 weighed in at 63 tons 5 cwts in full working order. With a maximum axle loading of 13 ton 5 cwts, No. 41312 had a very high route availability and there were few places on the British Railways system that they could not travel.
No. 41312 is making the short week-long visit to the Swanage Railway while en route to its base on the Mid-Hants Watercress Line in Hampshire after starring in the Bodmin and Wenford Railway’s steam gala in Cornwall.
One of the 130-strong class of H.G.Ivatt-designed Class 2 tank locomotives, No. 41312 emerged from Crewe Works on 10th, May 1952, at a cost of £9,637. Although built after Nationalisation in 1948, construction was a straight continuation of the original ten engines built at Crewe in 1946 and was pure LMS in design. There were some detailed alterations from the original batch, with a number being fitted with vacuum control gear for push-pull working mounted on the right-hand side of the smokebox. No. 41312 was never fitted with this equipment but, from 41300 onwards, the tall wide diameter chimney was fitted and was subsequently carried by most of the class. Other less obvious alterations were to the cab roof profile where it joined the cab sides and a different shape top feed cover. From No. 41290 onwards, the tractive effort was raised from 17,400 lbs to 18,510 lbs by increasing the cylinder diameter. The maximum boiler working pressure was 200 lbs per square inch and - with a tank capacity of 1,350 gallons and 3 ton coal bunker - weighed in at 63 tons 5 cwts in full working order. With a maximum axle loading of 13 ton 5 cwts, the engines had a very high route availability and there were few places on the system that they could not travel.
No. 41312 was sent new to Faversham shed (73E) in May, 1952, and was destined to remain on the Southern Region of British Railways all its working life. The next allocation was to Ashford (73F) from May, 1959, to January, 1960, followed by a move to Barnstaple Junction shed (72E) where it remained until March, 1963. During its stay here it was regularly to be seen on the former LSWR lines in the area, including the line through Torrington. From March, 1963, to May, 1964, No. 41312 was allocated to Brighton (75A) and subsequently moved to Bournemouth.
It was whilst allocated to Bournemouth that No. 41312 became a regular engine on the Swanage branch, and also on the Lymington Branch. Indeed, it was on the Lymington branch, on 2nd April, 1967, that No. 41312 worked the last scheduled steam-hauled branch line passenger train on British Railways. Immediately after this duty, it was sent light engine to Nine Elms shed (70A) in London which was destined to be its final allocation. The primary duty here was to work empty stock between Clapham Junction and Waterloo, but No. 41312 was often used on the Clapham Junction to Kensington Olympia commuter working, known as the ‘Kenny Belle’.
On 8th July, 1967 - the penultimate day of steam operation on the Southern Region - No. 41312 was sent light engine to Salisbury for storage prior to disposal for scrap. It remained here until January, 1968, when it was moved to Woodham’s Brothers yard in Barry, South Wales, for scrapping. No. 41312, together with classmate No. 41313, languished amidst the rows of other engines awaiting their fate until in November, 1972, when it was privately purchased and towed by rail in August, 1974, to its new home at the Caerphilly Railway Society.
Restoration work commenced soon after arrival and the engine was quickly reduced to its component parts. Various missing parts were acquired, and the wheels and axleboxes were sent to Swindon Works (then still active under British Rail ownership) for turning and remetalling, together with the main driving springs which were reconditioned. However, in 1978, the owner, Mr John Mynors, died and funding of the work dried up. Coupled with this, a number of key people on the project moved away from the area and work more or less came to a halt. The engine remained in a completely dismantled state for almost a further 15 years until purchased from Mr Mynors’ son by John Jones in August, 1993.
In 1994, the frames and components were moved to the new owner’s private workshop facilities at Carmarthen in West Wales where a full assessment of the condition and extent of completeness was undertaken. Some restoration had commenced when an arrangement for the engine’s overhaul at Ropley Works on the Mid-Hants Railway was agreed and on 26th October 1995, No. 41312 was on its travels yet again.
Once at Ropley, a serious start was made on restoration to MT276 standard and mainline certification. This culminated in completion and movement under its own power on 30th December, 1998 - just over three years after arriving. The only departure from restoring No. 41312 back to ex-BR condition was the fitting of a speedometer and associated drive in order to comply with requirements to operate on the Railtrack main line. As far as is known, no members of the class were so fitted in BR days. For an ex-Barry engine in the late 1990s, No. 41312 was comparatively complete - with a full set of original motion except for a combination lever which had been obtained from a classmate. Some cab fittings survived but most were manufactured from new. The boiler was found to be in excellent condition and it was only necessary to change some foundation ring rivets. The monel firebox side stays were all sound, as were the crown stays, and only required new stay nuts. The boiler carried by No. 41312 is unusual in that the records show it was donated by a 2-6-0 Tender Mogul, No. 46493. It was not at all usual to swap boilers between the two classes. This was carried out during a general overhaul at Crewe Works between 28th March and 3rd May, 1963. It is believed that No. 41312 ended up at Crewe rather than Eastleigh Works for repairs due to no spare boiler availability at the latter.
No. 41312 was released to traffic on 1st January, 1999, and became a mainstay engine for the Mid-Hants Railway, covering around 10,000 miles in the first year of operation. It soon acquired a reputation for smooth riding and capable of a gutsy performance on the arduous gradients of the Mid-Hants line. It is referred to as the "old man’s engine” on account of its ease of preparation with extensive use of mechanical and grease lubrication - all controls being well within the reach of the driver in a seated position - and good visibility in either direction of travel. The enclosed cab gives good protection from bad weather whilst a large opening roof ventilator, sliding cabside windows and opening front and rear spectacle glass takes care of the other extremes. A self-cleaning smokebox, rocking grate and hopper ashpan make for easy work during preparation and disposal. The Ivatt tanks were always held in high regard by BR crews and thanks to No. 41312 it is easy to see why this was.
Mainline workings have been limited because of engine shortage on the Mid-Hants, but No. 41312 undertook its loaded test run on the 18th May, 1999, working out from Alton with a support coach to Clapham Junction and returning with the support coach and five vehicles of the Queen of Scots luxury train set. These were moving to the Mid-Hants for works attention and provided the requisite six coach test load. This was successfully completed and No. 41312 was certified for 50 mph in either direction with a six coach maximum loading.
The next sortie onto the mainline was on 26th March, 2000 - its first and, to date, only rail tour - from Alton to Windsor & Eton Riverside station and return, with a shuttle trip from Windsor to Staines fitted in-between. The limited water capacity means that it is difficult to plan suitable tours, the engine being ideally suited for shuttle workings rather than long haul trips.
Mainline working with a difference occurred when No. 41312 took part in the May 2000 Steam On The Met operation. This afforded two days of private charter working as well as the five days of the main event. This was an unexpected opportunity, deputising for Mid-Hants based U Class 2-6-0 No. 31625. It is hoped to undertake suitable mainline work in the not too distant future and various formats are being examined.
Up until the end of 2000, Mid-Hants engine requirements allowed little spare time for visits to other Heritage railways, although brief appearances were made at the West Somerset Railway, Severn Valley and Quainton Road. The position in 2001 has eased and 41312 has already spent time this year at the Gwili, Gloucestershire Warwickshire, Bodmin & Wenford and Swanage railways. It is planned to visit the Great Central Railway in October this year.