35025 Brocklebank Line

35025 Brocklebank Line in Woodham's scrapyard at Barry - 1975.jpg

I am indebted to Brian Seddon, the Chairman of the 35025 Brocklebank Line Association, for much of the following.

35025 was one of the final ten of the class to be built at Eastleigh and entering service with British railways at Bournemouth shed in 1948 in malachite green livery. It was officially named Brocklebank Line at Waterloo by the chairman of Brocklebank Line Shipping Company in 1949 by which time it painted in British Railways express blue livery.

BR motive power depot allocations since 1948.

Date ArrivedDepot
January 1948Bournemouth
March 1950Stewarts Lane
March 1952Exmouth Junction
June 1954Nine Elms
May 1956Bournemouth
March 1960Exmouth Junction

During 1952 whilst  allocated to Exmouth Junction 35025 received its final livery of BR Brunswick green.

Beginning in 1956 the whole class was rebuilt by BR to facilitate easier maintenance and to eliminate problems with the original valve gear. Thus it was whilst allocated to Bournemouth in December 1956 35025 gained three sets of Walschaerts valve gear and lost the air smoothed casing.

Although one of the last ten of the thirty strong class to be built Brocklebank Line was one of the first six to go being withdrawn from Exmouth Junction shed in September 1964 at the end of the summer timetable. Later that year it was sold to Woodham Brothers at Barry for scrap and moved there the following year.

The story of Woodhams yard has passed into railway history. Cutting up a steam locomotive required a careful technique in order to retrieve the material safely and economically and so, because it was simpler to cut up the vast number of surplus wagons first.

Dai Woodham left his fleet of around 250 locomotives intact to slowly corrode away in the salt laden sea air on the side of the old docks. In 1980 Dai Woodham announced he would cut up all locomotives without reservations on them, 35025 being one such. In July 1980 the flow of scrap wagons and track panels had dried up and three locomotives were earmarked for scrapping including 35025.

The first two (92085 and 4156) were duly dispatched, then the workforce stopped for their two week summer holiday. By the time the workers returned more wagons had arrived and 35025 was reprieved for a second time. The threat however of further disposals focused the minds of all involved in attempting to rescue the locomotives in the yard.

By 1985 the Southern 8P Preservation Group (forerunner of the 35025 Brocklebank Line Association) had raised enough money to enable the locomotive to be purchased for £8,500. Before the locomotive could be moved a professional asbestos de-contamination firm had to be engaged at a cost of £910.

In 1986 travelled to Quorn and Woodhouse Station on the Great Central Railway.

After twenty one years unprotected in the dock land scrap yard (it only ran on BR for sixteen years) 35025 was in a sorry state. The smoke-box door had been buckled in a scrap yard shunting accident, most of the cab, running plate and other sheet metalwork was totally corroded away and most the valve and running gear had been legally removed prior to purchase by other preservation groups for their locomotives. Only the boiler, frames and wheels remained.

Work then started on restoring the locomotive.

The board of the Great Central Railway issued a notice to quit the site in early 2005. By this time the with no funds avaialable discussions were entered into with a view to selling 35022. This was avoided by selling various items including a parcels and luggage van and the locomotive was moved Sellindge in Kent in 2007. The cost of the relocation was in the region of £15,000.

Prior to the move someone had burgled the 35025 parts store at Loughborough and the thieves stole the valuable gunmetal, bronze, brass and copper fittings and material which had taken years and a great deal of money to collect. Loughborough police recovered some minor brass parts from a local scrap dealer and an individual was eventually convicted of handling stolen goods but the bulk was never recovered.

Once at Sellindge the locomotive was sheeted over against the weather to await the restart of active restoration.

In 2016 discussions to sell the locomotive were again considered with a view to 35025 going to the Churnet Valley Railway with the Operating Manager there (Greg Wilson) making another attempt to buy the pacific. The owner declined to sell the locomotive which by early 2017 had been partially restored at Sellindge.

By the start of 2019 the boiler remained separated from the locomotive. Like the cab which was newly built whilst the locomotive was at the Great Central Railway, the boiler and frames were half covered by bushes. The future for the locomotive remains very uncertain.

In April 2020 it was reported that the owners had contacted Southern Locomotives Ltd (SLL), who own a number of Bullied pacifics, during 2019 to discuss the future of the locomotive. It was thought that agreement between the two parties would lead to SLL organising the storage of the locomotive and components. There are currently no plans to restore the locomotive.  

By July 2021 the Southern Locomotive Ltd team at Sellindge had lifted the frames. This was so that they could be grit blasted when that work is also undertaken on West Country locomotive 34010 Sidmouth which is under the same ownership as Brocklebank Line. Work continues to progress on restoring 35025 in line with the availability of funds and work on other locomotives owned by Southern Locomotive Ltd.

By April 2022 work had progressed to a stage where the cab was being refurbished at the Swanage Railway whilst at Sellindge effort was being devoted to cleaning the boiler ready for painting.

Home BaseCurrent StatusOwner
Hope Farm, Sellindge, KentUnder restorationSouthern Locomotive Ltd
35025 Brocklebank Line at Basingstoke – May 1961
35025 Brocklebank Line on Nine Elms shed – April 1965
35025 Brocklebank Line in Woodham's scrapyard at Barry - 1975
35025 Brocklebank Line in Woodham’s scrapyard at Barry – 1975
35025 Brocklebank Line in woodham’s scrapyard at Barry – c1978
35025 Brocklebank Line in woodham’s scrapyard at Barry – c1982
35025 at Hope Farm - August 2017.jpg
35025 at Hope Farm – August 2017

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