34070 Manston (SR 21C170, BR s21C170 & BR 34070)

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Manston was the last light Pacific to be numbered using Bulleid’s unusual system and it emerged from Brighton Works in November 1947 as 21C170. It was the last locomotive to be built by the Southern Railway before Nationalisation.

It was initially allocated to Ramsgate for duty on the main line services to London and on 31st May 1948 it had the distinction of working the inaugural Thanet Belle Pullman train between Ramsgate and Victoria. In common with the other Bulleid numbered engines, it was given a conventional BR number, 34070, and in November 1949 it was transferred to Stewarts Lane shed for work on the important Eastern Section services to Folkestone and Dover as well as the Central Section services to Brighton. In June 1955 it was moved to Dover where it was used on the Continental boat trains including the Night Ferry.

The completion of the Kent Coast electrification in 1961 meant that there was no longer any suitable work at Dover and it was transferred to Ashford in May 1961, and soon after in October 1961 to its last shed, Exmouth Junction. In common with the other Exmouth Junction based locomotives it worked over the Southern’s extensive system in Devon and North Cornwall as well as the main line between Exeter and Salisbury. It was withdrawn in the August 1964 and sent for scrap to Woodham’s at Barry where it arrived in December of that year.

It remained at Barry for 18 years before being purchased by the Manston Locomotive Preservation Society and in June 1983 was taken to some sidings at Richborough Power Station in Kent for restoration.

Restoration work and fund-raising progressed slowly but steadily over the next 12 years. However, the impending closure of the power station meant that the group was requested to vacate the site at Richborough and found a home on the Great Central Railway at Loughborough.

Following the decision to join Southern Locomotives, the engine was moved to Sellindge in Kent in September 1998 where it joined a number of other Bulleid pacifics in various stages of overhaul.

Work commenced on preparing the locomotive so that the boiler and frames could be lifted from the wheels. In 2001 a crane was hired to do the necessary lifting of the boiler and the frames and the locomotive became a kit of parts.

2002 and 2003 saw the frames grit-blasted and painted and the superheater elements and tubes were removed from the boiler. The driving wheels were sent to Swindon for turning. The bogie and pony truck were sent to Herston works for overhaul together with the cab and numerous small fittings.

In 2004 the overhauled bogie and pony truck were returned to Sellindge and fitted to the newly overhauled frames so that they could be moved by low-loader to Herston works to complete the restoration. The boiler, together with that from Sir Keith Park was sent to Crewe for overhaul.

Manston, in common with most Bulleid pacifics rescued from Barry, did not have a tender so the team at Herston made a new one. Steel plate for the frames had to be specially rolled as imperial thicknesses are no longer produced. The cost of the production with other Bulleid owners who also need tenders and enough plate was produced to make six tender frames.

34070 Manston entered service on the Swanage Railway in 2008 when it double headed a service train with 34028 Eddystone. It is now in regular service on that railway but has visited many heritage railways.

The locomotive passed its final 14 month boiler certificate in 2017 which enables it to rub until July 2018.

In July 2017 34070 was in a head on collision with 80104 during shunting operations between the engine shed and signal box at Swanage.

The locomotive was moved to Tyseley Locomotive Works in the autumn of 2018 for the bottom end overhaul and repairs following the collision in July 2017.

In September 2019 it was reported that the owners hoped to have the locomotive back in operation in 2020.

In August 2020 the owners reported that Tyseley had been given the go-ahead to overhaul the locomotive which is hoped will see the locomotive back in operation in 2021.

In June 2021it was reported that the locomotive would be returning to the Swanage Railway the following month following the completion of the overhaul at Tyseley. The returned was delayed until December 2021 due in part to a shortage of boiler lagging material.

The locomotive returned to the Swanage Railway towards the end of December 2021 and it is expected to remain at Herston Works for three months whilst its overhaul is completed.

In October 2022 it was reported that the overhaul had been delayed due to the discovery of slopped white metal in one of the trailing truck axleboxes. This necessitated the whole locomotive being lifted in order to roll the truck out. This revealed that the truck’s frames had considerable wastage requiring replacement of some of the platework. It was hoped that by the end of October the locomotive would be able to start running in.    

 The locomotive was steamed again in November 2022 prior to undertaking loaded test runs.

Home BaseCurrent StatusOwner
Swanage RailwayOperationalSouthern Locomotives Limited
34070 Manston at Bricklayers Arms in its days as Souther Railway 21C170
34070 Manston on shed.jpg
34070 Manston on shed
34070 Manston passes through Ashford – 1960
34070 Manston standing on the left whilst 34081 92 Squadron arrives at Barnstable Junction – 1962
34070 Manston in Woodham's scrapyard at Barry - July 1968.jpg
34070 Manston in Woodham’s scrapyard at Barry – July 1968
34070 Manston in Woodhams scrapyard at Barry – August 1975
34070 Manston at Swanage – September 2008
34070 Manston at Eastleigh Works Open Day - May 2009.jpg
34070 Manston at Eastleigh Works Open Day – May 2009
34070 Manston at Swanage – June 2012
34070 Manston at Leicester North on the Great Central Railway – October 2013
34070 Manston nears Harmans Cross on the Swanage Railway – April 2015
34070 Manston at Swanage. Note the damaged buffers which don’t point in the right direction after being hit by 80104 – August 2017
34070 Manston undergoing overhaul at Tyseley – September 2019

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