34059 Sir Archibald Sinclair (SR 21C159, BR s21C159 & BR 34059)


21C159 was outshopped from Brighton works in 1947 and allocated to Nine Elms depot for working out of Waterloo. It was named Sir Archibald Sinclair (Sir Archibald Sinclair was the wartime Secretary of State for Air from 1940) the following year.

It was renumbered 34059 on the nationalisation of the railways in 1948.

It later saw service on the Eastern Region lines from Liverpool Street as part of the locomotive exchange trials in 1949 but soon returned to Nine Elms. It moved on to Exmouth Junction in March 1951 and then on to Salisbury in October 1955.

It was withdrawn from service in May 1966 and sold to Woodham Brothers at Barry for scrap and entered the scrapyard at Barry in October 1966. Like many other locomotives there the tender was sold to a local steelworks for use as an ingot carrier. Thus when the locomotive was purchased for £7,250 by a group based on the Bluebell Railway it was minus a tender. It arrived on the Bluebell Railway in October 1979 after a three day road journey.

A tender underframe was salvaged from a steel-works, the original intention being to use this in conjunction with a new body. However this underframe was in poor condition, and in the end only some fittings from it were used, so an order was placed with Shipyard Services of Essex to build a new 5,250 gallon tender.

The tender is the first 5,250 gallon tender to be built in preservation. The design of this tender, with the twin rear ladders and single rectangular filler, was that which superseded the 5,250 gallon re-bodied tenders in service, but because of the withdrawal of steam were never built.

Restoration work started in 1980 but was a slow process involving sourcing many components and work on other locomotives taking higher priority in the workshop facilities at Sheffield Park on the Bluebell Railway. This remained the position until about 2006 when space in the workshops became available.

In 2008 a successful boiler insurance hydraulic examination was undertaken with 100psi being achieved with few problems and later that year the boiler was fitted to the frames.

In 2009 saw a major milestone achieved when a successful boiler insurance test at 250 psi was completed and the locomotive moved under its own steam for the first time since being withdrawn in 1966. This was followed by successful test runs

34059 Sir Archibald Sinclair was formally launched into service on the Bluebell Railway, as the first rebuilt Battle of Britain to steam in preservation in April 2009.

Sir Archibald Sinclair was stopped during October 2011 because of a stay which was leaking badly, the surrounding platework was showing signs of star-fracturing, and a crack was evident in the uppermost part of the right thermic siphon. Investigation of the thermic siphon crack was inconclusive; after grinding out the suspected location and dye penetrant inspection, use of the camera on a stick did not show anything useful. It would have been possible to do quick-fixes to both of these problems, but it would be likely that further similar failure would occur soon. So with this in mind the rear parts of the tops of both thermic siphons were cut out, which revealed multiple fractures in the right side showing the material is life-expired. The holes thus made allow a better view inside, and as a result of this it is now obvious that significant replacement of old platework is required in order to obtain reliable service.

34059 is owned by the Bluebell Railway and is out of service and the locomotive has been dismantled for firebox repairs. In order to speed up the repairs the boiler has been sent away to the South Devon Railway for the work to be undertaken and is expected to be completed in 2017.

By early 2018 a new inner firebox had been completed at the South Devon Railway Engineering and had been trial fitted to the outer wrapper of the firebox.

Home Base Current Status Owner
Bluebell Railway Under overhaul The Bullied Society
34059 Sir Archibald Sinclair heads under the flyover at Worting Junction on a train to Salisbury - September 1964.jpg 34059 Sir Archibald Sinclair heads under the flyover at Worting Junction on a train to Salisbury – September 1964
34059 Sir Archidald Sinclair in front of 34101 Hartland and 35022 Holland America Line in Woodham's scrapyard at Barry - July 1968.jpg 34059 Sir Archidald Sinclair in front of 34101 Hartland and 35022 Holland America Line in Woodham’s scrapyard at Barry – July 1968
34059 at Sheffield Park-2012.jpg 34059 Sir Archibald Sinclair at Sheffield Park on the Bluebell Railway-2012

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