30506 (LSWR 506, SR E506, SR 506 & BR 30506)

30506 was one of a batch of five ordered in March 1917, but not completed at Eastleigh until October 1920. Once run in, holly green liveried 506 went to Nine Elms along with 497-505, although it was to move to Strawberry Hill in 1922 and then on to Feltham in 1923, when the new marshalling yard was opened. It remained there until withdrawn from service in January 1964. By the time the locomotive was withdrawn it had covered 1,227,897 miles whilst in service.

The S15’s went about their duties on heavy goods, and on summer weekends were regularly rostered on relief passenger and seaside excursion trains. The Southern Railway painted the S15’s in lined goods black when the E prefix was applied, but from 1928, the locomotives were painted in Maunsell lined green at their next overhaul. E506 received its lined black livery at its second heavy overhaul in 1924, and did not return to a green livery until 1930. Later it received the new smoke deflectors and in 1932, it lost the E-prefix to become 506 once again.

When the LBSCR 4-6-4 tank engines were rebuilt to the class N15X 4-6-0’s in 1934-36, 30506 was one of a number of Urie S15’s that donated their tenders to the new locomotives. In return for tender No. 3210, 30506 received a Drummond eight-wheel 4,000 gallon watercart tender No. 221 of 1902 vintage from a class C8 4-4-0 that was being scrapped.

The next changes were the introduction of Bulleid’s unlined dark green livery in 1939 and wartime plain black livery in 1942. This was followed by the replacement of the Urie stovepipe chimney with a Maunsell class U1 pattern chimney in 1945. With the nationalisation of the railways, 506 received number 30506 and British Railways goods black in August 1949.

During 1956, the Drummond watercart was replaced by an Urie double bogie tender No. 859 from a withdrawn King Arthur Class locomotive. It then ran with this until withdrawal on 5th January 1964 having accumulated 1,227,897 miles whilst in service.

A group of four S15s (30499, 30841, 30847 and 30506) were purchased by Woodham Brothers, and 506 was selected to haul the group on their final journey to the scrapyard in June 1964. Unfortunately, 506 failed at Staines with a blown superheater element and did not arrive at the Barry scrapyard until August that year.

The Urie Locomotive Society was formed in April 1972 with its primary goal of saving a Urie S15. This was achieved when 30506 was purchased in March 1973 for £4,000, just before VAT was to come into place, saving a further £400. A location for the engine and raising of the transportation costs meant that 30506 did not move to the Mid-Hants Railway until April 1976, which was arranged following a vote amongst its membership. Whilst undergoing restoration, the boiler on 30506 (No. 451) was examined on several occasions, but state-of-the-art metallurgical tests in 1979 determined that the cracking at the top of the firebox was not repairable. The group returned to Barry in 1980 and by agreement with Woodham Brothers purchased a second boiler (from classmate 30825) and this was eventually lifted into 30506 in February 1981.

The restoration of 506 was side lined for some years whilst the group administered the move from York and overhaul of LSWR class T9 4-4-0 120 on behalf of the National Railway Museum for use on the Mid-Hants Railway. This resulted in 506 eventually returning to steam in 1987 and running on the Mid-Hants Railway for a full fourteen years before coming out of service in 2001. After completing a new operating agreement with the railway, a full overhaul is underway which has seen the boiler go into the new boiler workshop at Ropley where extensive repairs have been completed. Society members have de-stayed the boiler where required including the complicated areas in the roof of the firebox.

By August 2016 the front end of the frame had been replaced as it was cracked and a new buffer beam cast. At that time it was hoped that the locomotive would return to service during 2017.

By the end of 2017 the front end had been completely rebuilt – this included replacing nine feet of the frames. The boiler overhaul was nearing completion at this time with only the superheater elements still to fit. The driving wheels were returned to Ropley in November 2017 having the tyres and journals turned at the South Devon Railway.

By April 2018 the overhaul of the boiler was almost complete at Ropley. Work on the bottom half of the locomotive was also well advanced with the driving wheelsets having had their tyres turned by the South Devon Railway Engineering.

The locomotive is anticipated to be returned to steam in 2019.

Home Base Current Status Owner
Mid Hants Railway Under overhaul The Urie Locomotive Society
30506 at Ropley-2011.jpg 30506 at Ropley on the Mid Hants Railway-2011

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