21C128 Eddystone was built at Brighton Works by the Southern Railway in 1946 and went straight into traffic from Ramsgate where it took up regular duties on the Kent Coast services to Victoria and Cannon Street. Following the nationalisation of the railways in 1948, Eddystone was re-allocated to Exmouth Junction in 1948, and renumbered 34028 at the end of that year. It soon appeared on that depot’s top-link duties such as the Atlantic Coast Express and the Devon Belle which it worked as far as Salisbury where it was based from January 1951. After a few months it returned to Exmouth Junction in March 1951.
Eddystone was one of the first Bulleid light pacifics to be rebuilt in August 1958 and was then transferred to Bournemouth in February 1959 where it worked services over the main line between Weymouth and Waterloo. It was also a regular performer on the Somerset and Dorset route to Bath. During this period it was often photographed on the most famous of the S & D trains, the Pines Express. In September 1962 it was transferred to Eastleigh and in the following year it worked a Southampton FA Cup special through to Birmingham Snow Hill. In May 1964 Eddystone had the dubious honour of being the first rebuilt Bulleid Light Pacific to be withdrawn after covering 851,549 miles.
In November 1964 it was sent to Woodham’s scrapyard at Barry where it awaited its fate for the next 22 years. It was purchased by the Southern Pacific Rescue group and in April 1986 it was moved to a base at Sellindge near Ashford.
Like many other restoration projects, the Southern Pacific Rescue Group was born out of an individual’s desire to restore a steam locomotive. A meeting of the Barry Steam Locomotive Action Group in 1981, for people interested in rescuing the remaining locomotives at Barry. This was followed up by a visit to Barry and a meeting with Dai Woodham.
A report on Eddystone listed defects such as cracked frames, wasted firebox, shot bearings, pitted boiler barrel, bent axles, asbestos contamination, etc., and of course it had no tender. However, in true pioneering style a reservation was made on the locomotive and the Southern Pacific Rescue Group was born. A second visit to Barry was made by the embryo group, now numbering four, to carry out some preliminary tasks to prevent further deterioration such as oiling the axle boxes, cylinders and the motion.
The next problem was fund raising, i.e. persuading unsuspecting individuals to part with money for a pile of rusting metal. Adverts in the Railway press and local papers swelled the membership ranks but funds were still considerably less than the £6,500 that was the asking price for a Light Pacific.
The fund raising problem was resolved by the adoption of the method of part-ownership capitalization, similar to that used to finance Port Line. Their bank was approached for a loan and this was agreed provided there were sufficient standing orders to cover the loan repayment.
A new problem arose in 1984 when the reservation was challenged by another railway. The price of scrap metal had continued to fall and £6,000 was now the price for a Bulleid Light Pacific. A hasty trip to the bank was met with the response by the manager that with the reduction in the asking price, only one more standing order was needed. The bank manager then pushed across the desk a standing order form which he had completed on his own behalf.
A cheque was sent to Woodham Bros. to complete the first stage of the project.
Eddystone arrived at Sellindge from Barry in 1986, minus a lot of parts and no tender.
A number of new or used parts were procured as funds became available. These included steam injectors, cylinder drain cocks, lubricators and a number of motion parts including the weighshaft, outside radius rods and return cranks. Other acquisitions included water gauges, speedometer, the vacuum brake ejector and most of the sanding gear. A surprise acquisition was the arrival by post of one of the drop links, sent by someone with a conscience who had removed the part from the locomotive at Barry.
The locomotive was completely stripped down, allowing the frames to be grit blasted and painted. No major repairs were necessary apart from the need to replace the dragbox. This item was fabricated at Bitton and eventually fitted to the frames.
The locomotive was fully inspected by BR and a report received detailing work to be undertaken before a main line ticket would be granted. It appeared that the locomotive was in a much better condition than many other former inhabitants of Barry, in particular the boiler, which only required the replacement of a few stays and some remedial firebox work.
The lack of a tender was not overlooked and the group purchased a snowplough from Rail Track. Surplus tenders were converted to snowploughs by BR and, although the frames are not the correct type for a Bulleid tender, it provided a source of axle-boxes and hornguides.
The wheelsets were sent to Swindon for machining and tyre turning and the axle-boxes were re-metalled and machined in preparation for the re-wheeling of the frames.
Work was also carried out on the lubrication system prior to re-wheeling involving the installation of seemingly endless lengths of copper pipework and associated lubricators.
1997 saw Eddystone pass its first restoration milestone with the re-wheeling of the frames. A large crane had been hired for the day and a large workforce turned out to assist and watch. Another major milestone was reached the following year when its boiler was lifted back onto the frames.
During the spring of 1999, Eddystone became a 4-6-2 locomotive once more. Most of the work carried out has been to prepare the locomotive for its journey to Swanage where the final stages of the restoration were to take place.
In 1999, 34028 was hauled from Swanage to Norden by a diesel shunter. There, it was transferred to the low-loader and taken by road to Herston Works.
On 29th September 2003, after 4 years work, Eddystone left Herston works for final completion, testing and running in on the Swanage Railway.
The boiler certificate for 34028 Eddystone expired in 2014 and is now being overhauled. The boiler was sent to the South Devon Railway Engineering at Buckfastleigh and the bottom end to Tyseley.
Southern Locomotives Ltd expect the bottom end of the locomotive to be returned to Herston works by mid-July 2017.
Due to being fast tracked and the and because a lot of work was done on the steel firebox when the engine was restored it is hoped that the locomotive will be operational again by 2018.
The new tender was delivered in June 2017 and the boiler is expected to be returned from the South Devon railway during 2018.
By October 2017 the locomotive had been re-wheeled at Tyseley Locomotive Works where the bottom end was under contract overhaul.
By the end of 2017 the bottom half of the locomotive had been returned to Herston following its overhaul at Tyseley. The boiler overhaul was nearing completion at the South Devon Railway.
It had been expected that the locomotive would return to traffic on the Swanage Railway during 2018 but in November Southern Locomotives Limited was forecasting a that it would be in the second half of 2019.
In January 2019 the boiler underwent its first hydraulic tests at Buckfastleigh. Work on the bottom half at this time was continuing to be undertaken by Bryn Engineering at Herston Works.
In September 2019 it was reported that the owners hoped to have the locomotive back in operation in 2020. This was later amended to a completion date of spring 2021.
In February 2021 it was reported that the locomotive had undergone a successful hydraulic test at Herston.
In April 2021 the locomotive was transported back to the Swanage Railway where it was returned to steam in the following month. The overhaul of Eddystone, which had last steamed in 2014, cost of the order of £350,000.
|Home Base||Current Status||Owner|
|Swanage Railway||Operational||Southern Locomotives Ltd|
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