34092 was constructed at Brighton Works in 1949 and later that year it was named Wells which was changed to City of Wells in 1950. It was initially allocated to Stewarts Lane where it worked out of Victoria to the Kent coast.
After the electrification of the Kent lines the locomotive was moved to Salisbury in May 1961 from where it operated over the main line between Exeter and Waterloo. In its late service it was attached to 4,500 gallon tender rather than the initial 5,500 gallon tender which it was originally fitted with. The replacement tender had previously been attached to 34051 Winston Churchill.
In November 1964 it was withdrawn from service and sent to Woodham Brothers at Barry for scrap where it arrived in March 1965. It remained there until October 1971 when a group from the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway (KWVR) bought it. It was moved by road to Ingrow. Following restoration work it entered service on the KWVR in 1979.
In service it ran on the main line as well as being a regular performer on the KWVR.
Because of the problems with insufficient lifting of the exhaust smoke by this class of locomotive British Railways had fitted 34064 Fighter Command with a Giesl ejector chimney in 1962 on the grounds that a desired spark arrestor would suffocate an ordinary blastpipe. The ejector improved smoke deflection and fuel consumption, allowing it to steam well with low-grade coal. In 1986 the owners of City of Wells had a similar fitment made which resulted in the locomotive having improved fuel economy, better lifting of the exhaust and more power output.
In 1989 City of Wells was taken out of service for overhaul following its boiler certificate expiring which took 25 years to complete to enable it to steam again in 2014.
In May 2015 the locomotive was being transported by road from the KWVR to the Gloucester Warwickshire Railway when the low-loader was stopped at junction 30 on the M62 when a weighbridge check identified that the vehicle was over the permitted axle-loading. This was because 34092 had not been emptied of water before the journey – in fact it was full and the total weight was 86 tons whilst the maximum permitted load was 72 tons. After emptying the boiler 34092 continued to the Gloucester Warwickshire Railway.
This incident resulted in Bradford Metropolitan District Council imposing a ban on abnormal loads ( vehicles over 44 tons) using a bridge just outside Ingrow West station. As this bridge would be used by any locomotive moved to or from the KWVR, as Ingrow West is where they are loaded or unloaded, it effectively means that 34092 cannot be returned to the railway by road.
Due to the ban on returning the locomotive by road to Haworth 34092 it remained at the East Lancs Railway.
Richard Greenwood told me some time later that when Bradford Metropolitan District Council eventually got round to examining the river bridge at Ingrow it was found to be in excellent condition and the weight restriction was removed.
The locomotive was owned for many years by Graham Bentley, Guy Henderson and Richard Greenwood. Following the retirement from the partnership of Guy Henderson his place was taken after a number of years later by John Adams around 2009.
In 2017 agreement was reached between the long term owners and the East Lancashire Railway for the railway to buy the locomotive by the end of 2018 provided that the necessary cash could be raised. The purchase by the East Lancs Railway was completed in March 2019.
The locomotive will be taken out of service for an overhaul at the start of January 2023.
|Home Base||Current Status||Owner|
|East Lancs Railway||Operational||East Lancs Railway|
- 34007 Wadebridge (SR 21C107, BR s21C107 & BR 34007)
- 34010 Sidmouth (SR 21C2110, BR s21C110 & BR 34010)
- 34016 Bodmin (SR 21C2116, BR sc1C116 & BR 34016)
- 34023 Blackmoor Vale (SR 21C123 & BR 34023)
- 34027 Taw Valley (SR 21C127 & BR 34027)
- 34028 Eddystone (SR 21C128 & BR 34028)
- 34039 Boscastle (SR 21C139 & BR 34039)
- 34046 Braunton (SR 21C146, BR s21C146 & BR 34046)
- 34051 Winston Churchill (SR 21C151 & BR 34051)
- 34053 Sir Keith Park (SR 21C153 & BR 34053)
- 34058 Sir Frederick Pile (SR 21C158, BR s21C158 & BR 34058)
- 34059 Sir Archibald Sinclair (SR 21C159, BR s21C159 & BR 34059)
- 34067 Tangmere (SR 21C167, BR s21C167 & BR 34067)
- 34070 Manston (SR 21C170, BR s21C170 & BR 34070)
- 34072 257 Squadron
- 34073 249 Squadron
- 34081 92 Squadron
- 34101 Hartland
- 34105 Swanage