GWR 0-6-0 PT 1369 History
It seems that the 1366 class can be linked back over 60 years to the principles of a design credited to Francis Trevithick in 1873.
The Cornwall Mineral Railway had 18 small 6 coupled engines, designed by Trevithick, the retired Locomotive Superintendent of the Northern Division of the London of North Western Railway at Crewe. Following Crewe practice they were fitted with Allan straight-link motion.
The locos were built by Sharp Stewart & Co. in 1873/4 and were intended to work back to back in pairs. They had high side tanks on top of which was the coal space.
The Great Western Railway took over the working of the CMR in 1877 and ownership in 1896
They retained 9 of the engines which were rebuilt in 1883/84 with saddle tanks and extended frames so that a rear bunker could be included.
When another batch of engines were required for working around sharp curves when working in dock areas, the result was the 1361 class of 1910 designed by G J Churchward fitted with short saddle tanks not covering the smokebox. The sloping outside cylinders design of the CMR engines was repeated along with the Allan straight link motion.
The 1366 class built in 1933/4 to a design by C B Collett perpetuated the 1910 design except that the class was given Belpaire Fireboxes and the inevitable pannier tanks something that, by this time, few small Swindon built tank engines seemingly could do without.
Again the outside sloping cylinders design and the Allan straight link was retained for the class officially built to replace the CMR, engines and did so as they emerged from the shops.
Rarely did the GWR retain and perpetuate basic features of engines that came from an absorbed company in this way. Churchward and Collett allowed the principles of Trevithick's design to continue. It is believed that the 1910 and 1934 batches were the only engines built at Swindon this century with the Allan straight link motion. The short wheelbase of the class allowed the engines to cope with restricted curves and spaces found in the various docks and yards.
|Weight:||35 tons 15 cwt|
|Boiler Pressure:||165 lbs/sq. in|
|Cylinders (2):||16" x 20"|
|Driving Wheels:||3' 8"|
|GWR Power Class:||Unclassified|
|Tractive Effort:||16,320 lbs|
|BR Power Class:||1F|
|Water Capacity:||830 gallons|
|Valve Gear:||Allan straight link|
Nos. 1366-70 were originally allocated to Swindon whereas 1371 went to the Swansea area
Work on 1369 commenced in December 1933 and on 17 February 1934 it was allocated to Swindon running shed where it remained for 26 years until March 1960. Its duties at Swindon were primarily shunting around the carriage works and sawmills where sharp curves and severe weight restrictions existed. 1369 also spent some time in the wagon works. Steam heating had been fitted by 1950 and the engine is believed to have spent a short period on loan to Reading shed in July 1957.
A bell was attached to the left hand pannier tank before its transfer to Weymouth in April 1960. Shortly after moving to Weymouth 1369 received the boiler from 1370 which had been withdrawn from service earlier in the year. It was the only member of the class to undergo a boiler change during its working life.
At Weymouth the little Panniers hauled goods trains and boat trains between Weymouth Town Station and the Quay for Channel Island traffic Some of these trains were extremely heavy, loading at times to 13 coaches.
In November 1961, 1369 was known to be at Bath shed although details of its duties are not known, and then in 1962 with two others of the class 1367 and 1368 it was transferred to Wadebridge shed in Cornwall to replace the Beattie well tanks on the Wenford bridge freight only branch which left the Bodmin and Wadebridge line at Dunmere junction and followed the River Camel to the terminus. The usual freight on the line was china clay but on 26 April 1963, 1369 pulled the RCTS Camel Valleyman consisting of a rake of brake vans. 1369 was withdrawn from Wadebridge shed in November 1964.
From January 1963 all lines west of Exeter were under Western Regional control and the Motive Power Department had inherited some very ancient machines of 1874 vintage in the form of three Beattie Well Tanks based at that most westerly output of the ex-Southern Region at Wadebridge. Consequently 1367/8/9 were transferred to Wadebridge after 1368 was tested on the Wenford line in May 1962. The Beatties left Wadebridge for Eastleigh during August and September, the pannier tanks having taken over from them in the summer of 1962. The last to leave was 30587 after working on Enthusiasts brake vans special to Wenford in early September. The duties at Wadebridge for the ex G.W. Locos were those of the Beatties, that is, one to Wenford, one goods yard shunting, one spare - dead in shed. 1369 was the best of the trio mechanically and was the regular Wenford engine whilst 1368 was the yard pilot. 1367 was in a rather poor condition and saw little, or any, use; no photograph seems to exist of the loco working. Whilst Wadebridge shed, 72F, had a lad cleaner the panniers were always given an oil cloth rub-over weekly with 1369 seemingly receiving priority with the white painted buffers, hoses and lamps for the last Wenford brake van specials. Saturday, 19th September 1964, saw a brake van special with headboard "Wenford Special - Farewell to Steam" over the line. 1369 had already been replaced on the regular daily mineral working by a 204 H.P. Drewry, but was retained for a short while as spare standby loco pending withdrawal. The train carried around 160 or so, and whilst standing at the Clay Dries at Wenford an appeal was made by the late Jack Trounson of Redruth - a great steam man and steam roller owner - speaking from the footplate for preservation of the loco and this can quite readily be put down to the late Arthur Brown, the last Shedmaster at Wadebridge who accompanied the special, for his presentation of the loco on this particular day. pledges of loans from the participants - many were regulars on all Devon and Cornwall Rail Specials including many Cornish road locomen - were made in sufficient numbers to enable an approach to be made to B.R. for purchase, or at least to obtain an insight into the likely price. A letter was sent to the British Railways Board, Chief Supplies and Contracts Officer at Euston, London, on 29th November 1964, and a reply received on 2nd December (quick reply!) stating that the locomotive would be offered for sale at £690 and if purchase was to be made this was to be completed within one month. One condition of sale was that a written assurance was required that the locomotive would be stored and maintained in a condition which could not bring any disrepute to British Railways and storage and running on British Railways lines would not be permitted under any circumstances. Quick action was required as 1369 was intended for immediate withdrawal after working one final brake van special over the Wenford line on 31st October 1964. An account was opened at National Westminster Bank, Royal Parade, Plymouth, to enable purchase (who said you want to what?) and a cheque forwarded to British Railways Board at Euston. Confirmation of purchase was accepted, and as the loco was the last steam engine still remaining in Cornwall they eventually were prepared, with due newspaper publicity, to deliver to the desired location at Totnes for access to the Ashburton Branch at an extra cost. 1369 was actually delivered to the Cattle Dock Siding, Totnes Quay line, which was a base of the Great Western Society in those days, and who were holding an "open day" on the particular day. Right from the early days of the spoken appeal from the footplate at Wenford Dries it was intended that the 1369 should be housed on the Ashburton Branch for future use on that line.
A letter from British Railways, W.R. Divisional Manager, Plymouth, dated 18th February 1965, and received on the 19th, stated the loco would be moved on Saturday, the 20th February, from Wadebridge to Totnes, actual confirmation with less than 48 hours notice, although this date had been requested to tie in with the Open Day at Totnes Quay Siding. Departure from Wadebridge shed, chimney leading, was at 9.30 a.m. with Senior Wadebridge Driver, Norman Wills, at the regulator and D. Connell firing accompanied by Loco Inspector R.Carrivick of St. Blazey. Many Wadebridge railwaymen and locals observed the dignified departure, a pause at the East Box for photography before setting off for Bodmin and on approaching the advance starting signal Driver Wills gave three blasts on the whistle as a final salute to steam at Wadebridge which went back to 1834. At Bodmin, 1369 moved onto the siding beside the engine shed to allow the 10.10 a.m. ex-Bodmin Road to Wadebridge to arrive and depart. Whilst standing on the siding more photographs were taken with the crew posing in front of the buffer beam. Departure, now bunker first after reversal at Bodmin, was at 10.35 for Bodmin Road. At Bodmin Road there was a crew change with Lair crew of Driver D. Eddy and Fireman L. Mann taking over together with that doyen of Loco Inspectors Harold Cooke of Laira, complete with uniform black homburg hat, who prior to the loco movement had to specifically check the limited clearance of the check rails on the Glynn Valley viaducts and 1369's motion bearing in mind the small wheels. The 13xx's, of course, arrived at Wadebridge via Okehampton and the North Cornwall Line. Water was taken from the downside water tower at Bodmin Road, the upside had already been taken out of use, departure was shortly after 11.00 a.m., 20 minutes had been spent in running from Branch to down main for water and back to up main. A further 24 minutes was spent on the up refuge siding at Liskeard, again taking water, this time rather slowly from a hose pipe connected to a tap in the cattle dock pens. Plymouth arrival was 12.45 and departure 1.28 p.m.; a toad brake van was collected from the up carriage sidings for conveying special guests who had contributed financially to enable the loco to be purchased. Another 22 minutes elapsed taking water at Brent with arrival at Totnes at 2.50 p.m. 1369 arrived in great style in front of TV cameras and local press.
Mr P A Lemar, the GWS local representative, formally received the engine from Mr W H Needle, the Totnes Station Master and the scene was punctuated with the mellow whistle of 1363 which was in steam alongside. 1369 had the distinction of being the last steam engine to run in Cornwall under BR auspices.
After a short stay of a few weeks at Totnes Quay Siding, 1369 was taken to Buckfastleigh hauling BCK7372 and the two Collett SO's with driver Jack Arscott.
Incidentally, it may be of interest that the shed plate on 1369 upon withdrawal, and carried on the last trip up through Cornwall to Totnes, was 84E, as was the other two `1367/8, and neither ever carried the more familiar 72F code. Towards the end of steam in the early sixties. Newton Abbot shed was closed and the Devon and Cornwall shed took on a 84 code replacing the long running 83 code. The Southern shed code for Wadebridge was 72F but after the demise of the two 02's, and the three Beatties, no replacement locos carried the code as the ex-Southern lines West of Exeter were now transferred to Western Region.
1369 was initially purchased with the aid of a private fund supervised by a quorum of joint DVRA/GWS members and was handed over to the GWS on the Quay line in Totnes. On 9 October 1969 it was in steam coupled to the auto coach and gave rides to the public during one of the successful GWS open days.
It moved from the Quay line to Buckfastleigh on 2 April 1966 to make way for 6998 Burton Agnes Hall on the Quay line and stayed at Buckfastleigh on the subsequent removal of other GWS stock in December 1967. In Spring 1966 it was still in BR black and was in steam at Buckfastleigh coupled to a toad brakevan, but by 1967 it was in blue grey undercoat.
It had become clear that the DVRA and GWS were to develop in their own distinctive ways and the two principal fund raisers, fearing the locomotive would move out of the West Country, negotiated its transfer to the DVLR Company, the two remaining custodians, not wishing to create animosity, did not oppose the move. This was approved by the Management Council of the GWS following which any GWS member wishing to sell out his shares to the Company, could do so.
DVRA newsletter No.11 of June 1968, reported that arrangements had been made to transfer ownership to the Company in exchange for shares which were to be held by the Trustees and would increase the Association's voting power. Thanks were given to Alan Weary who had set up the fund to save the loco and pleasure expressed that the rather tangled question of ownership and location had been resolved to the satisfaction of all parties.
By August 1968 the loco was again in full working order. It had been partially stripped with the injectors stored but when the time came to look for them they were missing. Fortunately through the generosity of a few individuals, it was possible to obtain replacements and the locomotive was steamed again. By May 1969 it had been placed in the goods shed road to allow work to commence on the final coat of paint.
The engine was turned out in green with Great Western on the pannier tanks just in time for an appearance in Ashburton station as part of the town's carnival celebrations on 12 July 1969.
Indeed the number was still being painted on the bufferbeam when the engine was lit up. It steamed into Ashburton pulling two empty auto coaches at about 6:30 pm. When the crowds dispersed, 1369 made its way back to Buckfastleigh.
On 13 September 1969 there was a ceremony to rename 9111 King George then the Association's club room. Dom Placid Hooper, the Abbot of Buckfast performed the renaming. 1369 propelled a special train including 9111 into the platform after the departure of the 3:00 pm service train. Later, 1369 made a special run hauling Pullman coach Ibis, 9111 and the two Collett open thirds Nos. 1285 and 1295 to Totnes.
6412 was attached at the rear and hauled the train back to Buckfastleigh with 1369 at the rear. 1369's mileage for the year was reported at 30.
On 23 September 1969 Peckett 2031 (now named Ashley) arrived by road from Exeter Gas Works to Ashburton. 1369 ran from Buckfastleigh and towed the Peckett back to Buckfastleigh.
On 11 July 1970 the day of the Ashburton carnival, 1369 and 4555 were in steam at Ashburton and 1369 gave footplate rides to the Portreeve and other dignitaries from the station to the engine shed. Its mileage for the year was reported as 20 and 1970 turned out to be the last time it steamed.
It was hoped to have 1369 in steam for Easter 1971 but an inspection had revealed a faulty pipe in the smokebox that needed replacement before the engine could be brought into use.
On 20 March 1972, No. 1072 Western Glory hauled 6412,1369 and 6430 from Totnes to Newton Abbot shed for winter storage, since the Company had lost most of its covered accommodation due to the A38 improvement. It was later moved to open storage at Staverton and by May 1974 was awaiting a boiler overhaul. As the boiler had been found to be fairly sound and did not require much work, the necessary work was to be programmed to put it in working order which would include work on remetalling the motion and side rods.
(Author's note: It seems that 1369 must have deteriorated during its time out of use since with each report there seemed to be more work needed.)
During 1974 work had begun on bringing 1369 into service, the Bristol group providing the labour, and it was hoped that without too much difficulty and expense 1369 could be brought into traffic thereby pleasing a lot of people who had bemoaned the fact that she bad sat idle for so long.
Following the removal of fire tubes and a visual inspection by the boiler inspector in late 1975, the engine was to have all its tubes renewed. The removal was to take place in 1976 by the Company staff out of hours, largely financed by the Bristol group.
By August 1976,1369 was reported to be moving speedily towards a steaming date with second-hand tubes from 5239 being prepared and bushes etc. being remetalled but by October 1976,1369 was said to be awaiting an extensive internal boiler examination and then at the end of the year 1369 was awaiting its turn for boiler repairs. With steam rallies in mind for the 1977 season, time was being sought to attend to the retubing and hopefully this was to be done, but no promises made, by June. The "workshop report" continued that a lot of people would like to see this engine in use but its a bit too small for normal traffic and that is the real reason why it has always found itself at the bottom of the list. Now that the Bristol group have done so much to the engine on the mechanical side, it should not prove too difficult for the Company staff to attend to the boiler work.
Work at Buckfastleigh in early 1977 was said to be concentrated on the two Pecketts and 1369 but the next news was in late 1980 when the Company agreed in principle to the transfer of ownership to the Association, but the transfer did not actually take place until early 1982. Conditions of the transfer included a restriction to the Dart Valley lines and resale to the Company at a fixed price if disposal is ever necessary.
During Winter 1982/3,1369 was in the '80064' shed with restoration yet to start due to awaiting an extension to the shed but it was to be the subject of the next volunteer locomotive restoration project with the Management Committee planning to launch an appeal to raise funds.
Bulliver 81 of Summer 1983 carried full details of the appeal, commenting that the repairs may well cost up to £7,000. In return for a £15 contribution, members were offered a copy of a signed print of a specially commissioned painting by Nicolas Trudgian, a copy of a limited edition booklet to be produced about 1369, a certificate to show they bad contributed and a ticket for two people on the inaugural train hauled by 1369.
It seemed at long last that after a period of around 13 years of little progress, the Association were making a big effort. The appeal started well with £1,000 raised by July 1983 while initial work on the loco was to be concentrated on the removal of the cab and side tanks to enable the boiler to be lifted out.
By late 1983 the fund had grown to £1,600 but it was reported that the boiler was lagged with asbestos which would have to be removed by contractors and would therefore be very expensive but even so, 1985 was the planned completion date.
By Spring 1984, the dismantling of 1369 had begun, the various fittings above the running plate and inside the cab were being removed e.g. injectors tank supports lubricators etc. and all the necessary bolts taken out to allow the cab and tanks to be lifted, a long and arduous job demanding plenty of patience. Contributions to the fund had reached £4,300 whereas it was then considered necessary to raise at least £7,000 to fund the necessary repairs which were mainly needed to the boiler.
Plans to have an inauguration day of 1369 on the DVR in 1985 in connection with Great Western 150 were made in 1984. 1985 was quoted as still a realistic completion date if financial and physical support continued. The fund had topped £5,500 by mid 1984 but bad news followed. The Company's Boiler Inspector was to be called in to examine the boiler which was found to be badly pitted and thin in places.
The Inspector, while noting the good overall condition of the smokebox and firebox, condemned the boiler barrel after which the boiler expert, Roger Pridham, was called in to assess the boiler and the cost of the repairs. On receipt of his report it was anticipated that a decision would be made as to whether the Association could afford to return the engine to steam.
In the meantime, working weekends in Autumn 1984 concentrated on the frames which resided in the PLOG shed.
By Winter 1984 it was realised that the target return to steam in 1985 would not be possible while the appeal fund trustees had been investigating ways of funding the repair to the boiler.
While volunteers could do the necessary work on the frames, cab and tanks, an outside contractor would be needed to undertake the boiler work. An initial quote suggested the cost could be as much as £15,000 but a second was between £5,500 and £6,000. As a result the appeal fund target was increased to £12,000.
It was hoped in early 1985, to send the boiler away for repair, but another £2,000 was needed to fund the work. A review group was then set up to look at the whole question of the proposed overhaul and future use of 1369 and no work was done for some time, no doubt caused by the general uncertainty, The Management Committee were conscious of the money that had already been submitted towards restoration, which was being kept in a separate fund pending a formal resolution on the future of the locomotive.
Such resolution was to come from the AGM of the Association on 2 May 1987 since the Management Committee intended to submit a motion to the meeting, for consideration by the members, on a series of options for the future of 1369.
This topic evoked the most discussion of the evening. The meeting expressed general disappointment that the loco had not yet been restored although appreciating that a sum, estimated at £20,000, was required to fund the work, a sum well in excess of the total income of the Association in 1986.
On a show of hands the majority were in favour of 1369 going elsewhere to be restored, but with ownership remaining with the Association. The Chairman remarked that the comments made and views expressed would be taken into account by the Management Committee in all future deliberations.
By Autumn 1987, the Management Committee had resolved that the review group committee should inform all subscribers to the restoration, of the options that seem to be open for 1369's future and to seek their views on the options which were stated to be:
- restore as static exhibit;
- restore at Buckfastleigh to working order to a plan received from Dumbleton Hall Locomotive Limited;
- send to Didcot for restoration, although this would probably have meant relinquishing ownership; and
- send to another site for restoration and a period of use.
This consultation was completed and the results made known to the AGM in 1988, which passed a motion requiring the Management Committee to:
- request DVLR plc to confirm that they had no use for 1369 and that it may be transferred to the Great Western Society;
- enter into meaningful negotiations with the GWS with the intention of transferring 1369 to them on terms to be agreed;
- depending on the outcome of the above, to contact donors to the appeal to ascertain whether each individual wishes his/her donation to be transferred to the GWS specifically for use on 1369 or whether he/she requires its return and act accordingly.
It seemed that the wheel was about to turn full circle with the engine passing back to the GWS and negotiations with the GWS proceeded.
However, the conscience of some members was pricked by a rather forceful article in Bulliver 104. It claimed that 1369 was a lovely little engine and looked just that when it came to the Dart Valley but had been subsequently wrecked for which the Association must share some of the blame as 1369 had been left out in the weather like a Barry hulk with rain soaking into the boiler lagging accelerating the corrosion of the boiler barrel.
In fact until 1982 the Association was not the owner of 1369 and had little control of events before then, but the sentiment of the article was clear. It was reported that the GWS representative who inspected 1369 said "its a crying shame that you let her deteriorate like that".
For the third AGM running, this time 29 April 1989, 1369 was again the subject of discussions.
This time a motion was passed that if the negotiations for the engine's loan to the GWS proved unsuccessful, the engine would be restored in Devon. This had re-emerged as an option following an offer from Dumbleton Hall Locomotive Ltd to restore the loco after finishing 4920 Dumbleton Hall
By Autumn 1989, the Management Committee had considered matters at length with the majority opinion that many members would prefer the engine to remain at Buckfastleigh, if a scheme could be decided upon to restore the engine. The Management Committee resolved therefore to investigate the DHL Ltd suggestion in more detail and in the meantime to put the negotiations with the GWS on ice. Eventually the Management Committee agreed that the DHL Ltd offer be taken up and a lease of the loco was agreed for a period of 20 years.
At that time a 2 year restoration programme was envisaged, but this subsequently proved impossible when Dumbleton Hall Locomotive Ltd took over the Buckfastleigh line, changing its name to the South Devon Railway Trust and quite understandably, had other priorities.
Dumbleton Hall was completed at the end of 1991, after which work was due to switch to 1369.
A joint DHL Ltd and DVRA appeal was launched in 1989 seeking at least 50 subscribers to a Deed of Covenant scheme, when the boiler work could then be put in hand.
By late 1989 work had been undertaken on cleaning and painting the frames and generally tidying up the engine. A fair amount of work had been done during the 1983 restoration attempt and this work had not been wasted.
Time was also spent locating the smaller parts and placing them under cover and marked as to what they were and arrangements were in hand to move the chassis into the running shed.
By Spring 1990 the appeal had reached £23,000 and an order was placed with Roger Pridham for a new boiler barrel to be rolled and fitted The refitting of the tubes etc. was delayed until the boiler was ready to be put back into the chassis as boiler certification runs from assembly day.
By Winter 1991, it was reported that the Trust would progress work when Errol Lonsdale was finished 1369 was by then on blocks in the shed with the wheels removed for reprofiling.
Various dates were given as to when 1369 might steam but all proved optimistic in the light of other Trust priorities.
It should be remembered that DHL Ltd had moved from an organisation restoring 4920, 3803 and 7027 to running a 7 mile branch line and virtually started from scratch as regards locomotives and stock to operate the branch. Its priority was to maintain a service on the line in 1991 and move away from the situation where all locomotives were hired in and this resulted in the work on Errol Lonsdale being done first.
By Autumn 1993, the wheels of 1369 had been turned with the axleboxes due to receive attention next.
With Dumbleton Hall finished, the "Sunday gang" of volunteers had turned their attention to 1369 and were making progress steadily.
The Trust were considering continuing to process 1369 by way of the volunteer gang because since the restoration had restarted, other options for using the full time staff had come along.
By October 1993, the old bunker had been sent away to act as a pattern for the new bunker to be fabricated and activity was centred on preparing the locomotive for the arrival back of its boiler which was being retubed at Roger Pridham's works during November, whereas by mid January 1994 work was well in hand with the machining of the axleboxes which were quickly remetalled when the new blacksmith's shop was ready. The new bunker had been fabricated by Philips Shipyard at Kingswear, using steel supplied free of charge by Armada Steel and Tube.
All the fittings from the old bunker were removed and transferred to the new one which is of all welded constructed but Philips added double rows of rivets in the right places so that the appearance is not compromised. A new ashpan had also been made and awaited fitting to the boiler which itself was virtually complete and only awaited a final hydraulic and steam test before being returned to Buckfastleigh.
Progress was accelerating since by Summer 1994, the boiler was finished and the engine was back on its newly reprofiled wheels and overhauled axleboxes, the new bunker had been fitted as had the new smokebox base which only needed the fitted bolts to fix it to the frames.
Sandboxes had been repaired painted and refitted and the springs had come back from Springline and had also been fitted. The slidebars had been reground and fitted using the time honoured piano wire system to ensure they were exactly parallel with the cylinders and equidistant from the cylinder centre line. Drawbars had also been fitted and buffers put back on.
The chassis of the locomotive was virtually complete by Autumn 1994 with only the side rods and outside motion requiring fitting. New piston rings had been received while the boiler had been successfully steamed and was ready to go back in the frames.
Time to be spent on the engine by the full time Trust staff had been delayed again owing to work on Joseph (now renamed Sapper).
Winter 1994 heralded some worrying news. The boiler had arrived back at Buckfastleigh but what should have been seen as entering the home straight of the restoration was anything but, since the boiler insurance company's new Inspector had cast doubts on the method of repair used for the boiler. This centred on the welded construction of the new boiler barrel
This story made the pages of Steam Railway which reported on the difficulties that were being encountered over the certification of the repaired boiler.
Included in the repair of the boiler was the provision of a brand new barrel When the boiler was ordered, it was thought that everything had been agreed in the way of designs and procedures, but this was not in fact the case. There was a letter to Pridhams confirming DHL Ltd were happy to accept an all welded design for the new barrel but subject to the design being approved by the insurers. That letter was written by the former Engineering Director, the late Eric Burton. After that nothing could be traced in writing, but the work continued and was inspected at various stages by the then Boiler Inspector who had since retired.
The actual boiler barrel itself had been provided by another sub-contractor, who manufactures high quality welded seam tube. This was rolled and subsequently welded using the most modern machine operated submerged arc-welding techniques and finally subjected to a thorough X-ray examination, for which all the appropriate certification was held-
However, when the insurance company's new Inspector examined the boiler, it was the first time he had seen the boiler and there were no records held by the insurance company of any previous Inspector's visits to see it at the boiler works. The Inspector therefore had no evidence that the boiler had been manufactured in accordance with any of the appropriate BS specifications and was unable to issue a certificate to cover the boiler. Speculation was rife that the £24,000 spent on the boiler bad been a waste of money!
Thankfully the boiler insurance company were extremely helpful in sorting out the difficulties.
Roger Pridham supplied them with all the certificates relating to the welded seam and also all design details of the completed boiler and the various modifications resulting from the repairs.
Certain additional testing procedures were then required to satisfy the BS specification and the certificate was then issued to show that the boiler was accepted as fully satisfactory and complied with all the current safety standards relating to boiler construction.
In the meantime work on the chassis had proceeded with the side rods fitted, crossheads machined and fitted and connecting rods put on. With the boiler back on, the boiler cladding could be made and fitted which was a tricky job, but all the awkward firebox corner pieces were to hand which otherwise would have been expensive and time consuming to produce. The pannier tanks were at Philips Shipyard at Kingswear and were to be delivered back to Buckfastleigh to coincide with the completion of the fitting of the boiler cladding.
Work on the cladding was held up pending repairs to the steel rolling machine which had been acquired second-hand in 1994. The first job for the machine was on the strengthening plates for the smokebox sides.
All the steel strips and sheets for the boiler cladding had been delivered by Summer 1995.
Previously boilers were lagged with asbestos and this alone was sufficient to support the boiler cladding. Nowadays boilers are lagged with the safer fibreglass but this is nowhere near as compact as asbestos so the cladding has to be supported on steel bands around the boiler set at the right spacing away from the barrel
Problems on Sapper during 1995 meant that the full time staff were unable to devote much time to 1369 but the efforts of the fortnightly Sunday gang had led to the smokebox end of the boiler being firmly fitted to the frames and work to complete the internal fittings inside the smokebox. Autumn saw much work on the boiler cladding and at the time of completing this article at the end of November 1995 it was reported that only a couple of days more work were needed to complete the restoration. The engine will initially be turned out in BR black livery and later it will revert to GW green.
At various times there has been speculation as to whether the engine will prove suitable for the line.
This would seem to stem from the fear that due to its small driving wheels the locomotive may run out of steam on a run back from Totnes to Buckfastleigh.
Certainly there is no problem as regards the tractive effort of the engine at 16,320 lb which exceeds that of the 14 XX class at 13,900 lb. The class had been seen hauling long rakes of coaching stock around Swindon and as noted earlier, pulled the Channel Island boat train through the streets of Weymouth.
However, these were low speed tasks unlike the requirements of the SDR. However, perhaps it should be remembered that 69023 Joem which was on loan to the SDR with a tractive effort of 16,760 lb and driving wheels of 4'1;" diameter and 17" x 24" cylinders, proved capable enough when driven carefully. Further it would seem that when 1369 was previously used it was far from in its best condition and any judgements made on the basis of the very few miles ran in DVR service, must be unreliable.
No one expects 1369 to cope with the 6 train service with 10 minute turn round times. What has been envisaged is use up to and including the 4 train service perhaps using high density stock and allowing 15 minutes at Totnes
1996 saw the engine's triumphant return to traffic. The moment when it first saw steam through its cylinders after 24 years was a momentous one. Some initial excitement was caused by the valves taking a minute or two to seat properly whilst the engine disappeared in a cloud of steam. Then all was well and the engine made its first tentative movements. A test run was planned for the next weekend and a brake van was attached to the engine for the volunteers to enjoy the test run. Initially all went well but loose paint from the side tanks was found to be blocking the injector water feeds and the engine had to be abandoned at Staverton until the supply of water could be sorted out. This only took a day and the engine went back on test. All went well and the members and subscribers special was soon arranged and a great day had by all.
Next was to try the engine on a four train service with a three coach train. This was programmed for a quiet day in April. All went well for a while but the driver, who was keeping a careful eye on things detected an axlebox running hot. In fact it became so hot that the engine had to be failed and investigations made. This showed that all the axle box keeps were so badly worn that the gap between the keep and the axle was so much that the felt lubricating pads were being literally torn out of their slots. Disappointment!
All wheels had to come out again whilst repairs were effected. This was done and the engine was able to make a return to traffic just in time to make a date with the Plymouth Railway Circle for a brake van special down the line at the end of June. This was a very special occasion which brought memories flooding back for those PRC members who had taken part in the special with 1369 on the Wenford line back in 1964.
Mechanically the evening went like clockwork as did subsequent tests with the service train.
1369's first season back in traffic proved most interesting. As well as the occasional forays down the branch on the quieter days service trains and the PRC special already mentioned 1369 also starred in some photographic charters. Two groups used the engine on its home territory. It was not unnaturally run with some china clay wagons which had, of course, been its staple diet on the Wenford line. Some really classic shots resulted some of which have made it into this publication. The engine also went on a 'grand tour' which included a visit to its old stamping ground at Bodmin where it was used on a special to mark the reopening of the line to Boscarne Junction. Again more good photographs and a splendid evening train for SDR members. After Bodmin next stop was the Dean Forest where the engine was able to recreate some real Wenfordbridge magic with a rake of clay covered wagons through the wooded and overgrown section to Parkend. The next delight was a few days at the Bristol Harbour Railway. This was a chance to relive its Weymouth days working along the dockside and again a whole host of splendid pictures resulted from the photo charter fans.
Back at Buckfastleigh the engine has proved a favourite at open days giving brake van rides and running demonstration freights. With its axle-box problems sorted it has proved exceedingly capable of running the four train service with a three coach load. The engine is never short of steam, uses only a modicum of coal and is very economical on water. In fact a driver and fireman's dream!
Railway World January 1984
The Ashburton Branch by Anthony Kingdom
Dart Valley Railway Stockbook (4th Edition)
Those of the class allocated to Weymouth (82F) worked the Weymouth Tramway connecting Weymouth Quay from which B.R. operated passenger and freight services to connect with ferry services to and from the Channel Islands. Special instructions were laid down covering the operation of the mile of track that passed along the public highway. Every train or engine had to be accompanied by two shunters. One, the shunter-in-charge, was provided with a guards whistle, a hand-lamp and a set of flags. He had to see that the running line was clear in front of the engine or train and give warning of its approach by red flag, lamp or verbally. He had to walk 30 - 50 yards in front of every passenger train throughout the tramway. Engines working over the route were fitted with a bell which the fireman rang continuously while the train was in motion. At all street crossings the driver had to stop until the shunter-in-charge halted all road traffic and pedestrians by flag or lamp and signalled the driver to proceed.
The 1366 Class at Weymouth were used almost exclusively on the Wenfordbridge China Clay trains. Unlike their venerable predecessors the Beattie Well tanks, they had no passenger workings to vary their routine. China Clay traffic ran on Mondays to Fridays only on the 11 miles 63 chains branch. One train a day ran roughly following the following timetable. On Friday a stop was made at Nanscarrow distant signal to change the lamps.