32670 (LBSCR 70 Poplar, Rother Valley Railway 3 Bodian & BR 32670)

32670 at Tenterden - August 2015.jpg

32670 was built at Brighton in 1872 as 70 Poplar and despite being the second oldest of the A1 class was the last of the class to be rebuilt and reclassified as A1X in 1943.

It was sold to the Rother Valley Railway with 664,108 miles on the clock for £650 in 1901. It became number 3 and was given the name Bodian after one of the places on the railway and was painted in the blue livery of the railway at Brighton Works where it was also fitted with vacuum brakes.

The Rother Valley Railway was opened in 1900 became the Kent & East Sussex Railway in 1904 when the name of the railway was changed. As number 3 it stayed there but lost its name around 1935. In 1931 it was withdrawn from service and languished rusting on a grassy sidings at Rolvenden until in 1932/33 when another Terrier (71 Wapping then running as 5 Rolvenden) was cannibalised for parts to restore Bodian to service but without the nameplate.

In 1943 the boiler was condemned and one of the A1X pattern was bought from the Southern Region for £725 and was fitted to 3 (32670) at Sothern Railways St Leonards depot.

When the railways were nationalized in 1948 it was returned to the “Southern” fold, as part of the Southern Region of British Railways but had never been owned by the Southern Railway, in the correct number sequence as 32670, although it continued to work on the former Kent & East Sussex Railway lines until it was closed in 1954.

After the closure of the K&ESR to passenger services, 32670 travelled quite widely, seeing much service on the Havant to Hayling Island branch, where Terriers were the only engines permitted due to severe weight restrictions on Langstone Bridge. At the ripe old age of 88, it received a general overhaul in 1960, but closure of the branch in 1963 brought its final withdrawal from BR services.

BR motive power depot allocations.

Date ArrivedDepot
January 1948Rolvenden
October 1948Ashford
August 1954At Leonards
December 1967Brighton
May 1963Eastleigh

At this time, moves were afoot to re-open the K&ESR as a preserved railway, and in 1964 Bodiam returned to its old home in the ownership of the Wheels brothers of Brighton. It ran under its own steam from Eastleigh to Robertsbridge in 1964 and was steamed occasionally in the 1960s and early 1970s.

It re-entered revenue earning service in 1974 and but was withdrawn in 1977 because of a wasted tube plate. It remained on static display until 1983 when it was stripped down and the boiler removed for repairs. After extensive work it re-entered service in 1984. Previously it had relied on its vacuum and hand brakes but a steam brake, fitted during overhaul and with the cylinder unobstrusively placed beneath the cab, much improved its stopping power.

The boiler was removed in 1986 for the foundation ring rivets to be renewed but its condition was found to be worse than anticipated, and the locomotive was again withdrawn from service.

After standing derelict at Rolvenden for a decade, the Tenterden Railway Company, owners of the K&ESR, and the newly formed Terrier Trust bought the engine in 1995 and entered into an agreement to finance an overhaul. This involved Tenterten Railway Company paying for the new boiler and the Trust taking on chassis repairs, which were carried out by Ian Riley of Bury. An order for two Terrier boilers was placed jointly by the K&ESR and the Isle of Wight Steam Railway with Israel Newton Ltd of Bradford.

It returned to service in 2006 and remains in service until December 2016 when the boiler certificate expired.

In early 2018 a new hire agreement (covering 32670 & 32678) was signed by the owner and the K&ESR. The agreement provides for the locomotives to be based on the railway for an initial 20 year period with an automatic renewal every ten years. The break clause has also been extended to ten years instead of one year. The agreement provides stability for the K&ESR with the aim of always having one in service as well as enabling them to visit other railways.

The overhaul of the locomotive is likely to be carried out off site as there is a desire to have it back in steam in 2022 when it will be 150 years old.

Home BaseCurrent StatusOwner
Kent & East Sussex RailwayStored at Rolvenden awaiting overhaulTenterden Railway Company and The Terrier Trust
32670 at St Leonards - Probably dating from 1957.jpg
32670 at St Leonards – Probably dating from 1957
32670 at Rolvenden on the Kent & East Sussex Railway - September 1968.jpg
32670 at Rolvenden on the Kent & East Sussex Railway – September 1968
32670 on the Kent & East Sussex Railway - July 1970.jpg
32670 on the Kent & East Sussex Railway – July 1970
32670 in store at Rolvenden on the Kent & East Sussex Railway - July 1980.jpg
32670 in store at Rolvenden on the Kent & East Sussex Railway – July 1980
32670 at Tenterden - August 2015.jpg
32670 at Tenterden on the Kent & East Sussex Railway – August 2015

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