32640 (LBSCR 40 Brighton, IoW W11 Newport, SR 2640 & BR 32640)

32640 as W11 at Havenstreet on the Isle of Wight Steam Railway - July 1975.jpg

32640 was built at Brighton in 1878 as 40 Brighton and rebuilt as a class A1X in 1918.

Shortly after construction, 40 Brighton was chosen by William Stroudley to represent the LB&SCR at the Paris Exhibition of 1878, and won a gold medal for workmanship. On a run from Dieppe to Paris, arranged to persuade the Chemins de Fer de l’Ouest that the company’s boat trains that met the LB&SCR ferries from Newhaven could make better time to the capital, Brighton maintained a speed of nearly fifty mph, previously unheard of on that line.

It spent her early working life in the London area, based at Battersea Shed, followed in 1901 by a spell assisting with sea defence works at Newhaven. In 1901, having been declared surplus to requirements, it was purchased by the Isle of Wight Central Railway (IWCR) for £600. As part of the deal it was overhauled at Brighton Works, repainted in IWCR livery and given the number 11. It was transferred to the Island in 1902, arriving at Medham, near Cowes. Passing into the ownership of the Southern Railway in 1923 it was renumbered as W11 and in 1930 was given the name Newport.

In April 1946 it was taken out of use and stored, being shipped back to the mainland in 1947, for overhaul at Eastleigh Works. Ownership changed again in 1948 to British Railways and it continued to be active along the South Coast working the Hayling Island branch, the Kent and East Sussex Railway and spells at Brighton, St Leonard’s and Newhaven.

BR motive power depot allocations.

Date ArrivedDepot
January 1948Fratton
July 1948Ashford
May 1951Newhaven
May 1952Fratton
July 1952St Leonards
September 1952Newhaven
July 1954Fratton
October 1955Brighton
May 1956Fratton
November 1959Eastleigh
May 1963Brighton
  • Fratton depot closed in November 1959 resulting in the transfer to Eastleigh.

32640 was withdrawn in 1963, after completing over 1.1 million miles, and sold to Butlin’s and initially displayed at Pwellheli in North Wales after been cosmetically restored at Eastleigh. It was loaned to the Isle of Wight Locomotive Society in 1973.

It had been hoped that it would be restored at Ryde under the auspices of British Railways but problems arose and two years later, on it was moved to the base of the Isle of Wight Steam Railway at Havenstreet.

Cosmetic restoration as Isle of Wight Central Railway No 11 was soon complete and it remained on static display until its purchase from Butlins for £3,500 was completed in 1976, when the long task of restoring it to full working order was started. Work was painfully slow, proceeding as fast as manpower, finance and workshop facilities would permit. Return to service was finally achieved in 1989 and it proved to be a powerful, economical locomotive more than capable of hauling heavily loaded trains on the steeply graded Isle of Wight Steam Railway.

Following periods in British Railways livery as 32640 and Southern Railway black livery as W11 Newport it was withdrawn from service for overhaul in 2002.

In November 2007 the Isle of Wight Steam Railway announced that a new boiler for W11 had been ordered from boilermaker Israel Newton at a cost of approximately £70K. The new boiler will be almost identical to that built for the IWSR by Israel Newton in the mid-nineties, which was fitted on classmate W8 Freshwater.

The new boiler was delivered to Havenstreet in September 2010 and after further work on the locomotive it was successfully steam tested in March 2014.

Home BaseCurrent StatusOwner
Isle of Wight Steam RailwayOperationalIsle of Wight Steam Railway
32640 whilst running as W11 on the Isle of Wight – Circa 1920
32640 on Brighton shed in front of 32424 Beach Head which was withdrawn the month after this photograph was taken. 80154 entered service in March 1957 – April 1958
32640 – date and location unknown
32640 on Brighton shed - 1963.jpg
32640 on Brighton shed – 1963
32640 in the yard at Pwellheli on its way to the Btlin's Holiday Camp at Penychain - August 1964.jpg
32640 in the yard at Pwellheli on its way to the Btlin’s Holiday Camp at Penychain – August 1964
32640 as W11 at Havenstreet on the Isle of Wight Steam Railway - July 1975.jpg
32640 as W11 at Havenstreet on the Isle of Wight Steam Railway – July 1975
32640 at Smallbrook Junction on the Isle of Wight Railway – July 1993
32640 at Sheffield Park on the Bluebell Railway – November 2006
32640 at Havenstreet at the Isle of Wight Steam Railway – June 2016
32640 at Havenstreet on the IoW Steam Railway – September 2019
32640‌ in the Isle of Wight Steam Railway museum at Havenstreet – September 2021

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