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


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 It was withdrawn in the August 1964 and sent for scrap to Woodham’s at Barry where it arrived in December of that year.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 will go to Tyseley Locomotive Works for the bottom end overhaul and repairs following the collision in July 2017.


Home Base Current Status Owner
Swanage Railway Operational Southern Locomotives Limited
34070 at Swanage-2012.jpg 34070 Manston at Swanage-2012

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