592 was built in 1902 at the London, Chatham and Dover Railway Longhedge Works at Battersea.
At the Nationalisation of the railways on 1 January 1948, Southern Region 1592 could be found shedded at Ramsgate, where it remained in service with British Railways (being renumbered 31592 in December 1948) until transferred for a brief period to Nine Elms in May 1959. In January 1960, 31592 returned to the South Eastern Division and was shedded at Tonbridge. The locomotive was transferred to Ashford in October 1961 where it remained until withdrawal from revenue service in July 1963 when it was renumbered DS239 and used at Ashford Works. In the harsh winter of 1962/63 it was one of two of the class kept at Ashford for snowploughing duties. It was finally withdrawn from service in December 1966.
With the last three surviving in departmental service at Ashford, The Wainwright ‘C’ Preservation Society was formed in 1962, and in December 1966 was able to buy 592 (as DS239) for £1,420. Kept initially in the old running shed at Ashford where restoration work was undertaken before moving to the Bluebell Railway on long term loan in August 1970.
A trial steaming and a test run was undertaken shortly after the locomotive arrived on the Bluebell Railway but an overheating axlebox prevented the engine entering traffic. When the engine was lifted extensive damage was found on the axle journal. The repair of this damage was beyond the scope of the Bluebell Railway workshop and the opportunity was taken to send the locomotive wheels and axle boxes away for a complete overhaul. Considerable delay was experienced with the repair and when the components were returned damage had occurred in transit and further remedial work was required. The repaired wheels and axleboxs were refitted to 31592 in 1974 and with the completion of the routine boiler work and other minor repairs the engine entered traffic in May 1975.
The 1994 overhaul at the hands of volunteers saw it returned to service with a spare tender. The spare tender had been obtained from Folkestone, where it had been used as a mobile water tank. In 2006-7 the spare boiler, which had been a stationary boiler at Ashford, was fitted since the firebox of the existing boiler was deemed beyond repair. It returned to service on 8th October 2007.
At that time it was thought likely to require a new cylinder block at a subsequent overhaul, but advances in cylinder lining techniques pioneered with the Atlantic, 178 and B473 at the Bluebell Railway has led to similar work being undertaken on this locomotive, and so the cylinder block was removed and re-lined in late 2012, and with further work on the valves, has now enabled a much stronger locomotive to re-enter service. The current boiler certificate expires in May 2017.
In September 2014 the locomotive was generously gifted to The Bluebell Railway Trust by the Wainwright ‘C’ Preservation Society, who said they were getting too old to look after the engine. The donors stipulated that the locomotive is to remain normally on the Bluebell Railway, and should usually be painted in SECR Wainwright livery.
This locomotive featured as “The Green Dragon” in the Carlton TV film of The Railway Children and in 2016 appeared at Kings Cross station for other filming duties.
Following completion of an overhaul 592 was operational again on the Bluebell Railway until May 2017 when its boiler certificate expired.
At its next overhaul it will require a new cylinder block, new tyres and a new copper firebox.
|Home Base||Current Status||Owner|
|Bluebell Railway||Awaiting overhaul||Bluebell Railway Trust|