31263 was completed at Ashford in 1905.
BR motive power depot allocations since 1948.
|January 1948||Stewarts Lane|
|June 1962||Three Bridges|
|September 1962||Tunbridge Wells West|
|September 1963||Three Bridges|
The final member of the class in service, SECR No. 263 (SR 1263, BR 31263), was withdrawn from Three Bridges on 4 January 1964 after being employed working on the push-pull services on the Three Bridges to East Grinstead line right up to its closure.
It remained in store at the locomotive depot until the following November, when it was purchased by the H-Class Trust and moved to Robertsbridge.
Later it was preserved at the South Eastern Steam Centre at Ashford, but in 1975 the Trustees decided that the locomotive would have more scope for running if based on the Bluebell Railway in Sussex. In 2008 ownership was transferred to the Bluebell Railway Trust, which funded an overhaul which started in March 2009. It returned to service in July 2012.
This particular locomotive ended up on the line between East Grinstead and Three Bridges and were withdrawn in January 1964. It is estimated to have run 1,849,668 miles over its 59-year main-line career.
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 the locomotive returning to service in July 2012 for the third time in preservation.
After undergoing an intermediate overhaul the locomotive returned to traffic on the Bluebell Railway in September 2020.
The boiler certificate expired in February 2022. It is planned that a rapid turn round around in view of the generally good condition of the boiler, and recent significant mechanical work. A boiler lift will be required and the fitting of new crown girders and tubes, tyres and springs. The work is to be funded by a grant from the Bluebell Railway Trust, in part thanks to a bequest left by Ray Tanner specifically for work on this locomotive.
In September 2022 it was anticipated that the boiler would be lifted off the frames in the following month.
|Home Base||Current Status||Owner|
|Bluebell Railway||Awaiting overhaul|| Bluebell Railway Trust |