44422 (LMS 4422 & BR 44422)

4422 was completed in 1927 at Derby at a book cost of £3,217 plus tender at £1,000. It is the only left hand drive member of the class which has been preserved.

It was first allocated to Leicester shed but was subsequent transfer to Wigston, near Leicester in 1929.

Moving to Bristol in 1940 and then Bath (Green Park) in 1948, 4422 spent the rest of its working life in South West England.

BR motive power depot allocations since 1948.

Date Arrived Depot
January 1948 Bath Green Park
December 1959 Bristol Barrow Road
February 1960 Templecombe
November 1964 Bristol Barrow Road
January 1964 Gloucester

The locomotive became a British Railways (BR) asset after nationalisation in 1948 and was subsequently renumbered during June 1950 and thus became 44422. While in the South West 44422 found frequent work on the Somerset and Dorset lines and is depicted in many photographic collections piloting West Country pacifics or Standard class 9’s across the Mendip Hills on holiday special duties.

Surviving the steam cull of the 1960’s, this is one of four 4F engines in preservation but is unique in being the sole left hand drive example. Tablet gear was fitted during its life on the Somerset and Dorset lines.

In Spring of 1952 44422 was taken to Horwich Works for what was to be its final overhaul in BR ownership and, after some running in work in the North, it returned to its South Western home. It was from Gloucester shed that 44422 was finally withdrawn from service in June 1965 and quickly moved to Woodham Brothers scrapyard at Barry Island where it arrived in August 1965.

Here it languished until 1977 before a team of preservationists from the (then) North Staffordshire Railway Society (subsequently becoming the 44422 Locomotive Company Limited) raised £4,860 to buy it for restoration at Cheddleton to run again on the Churnet Valley Railway. A suitable tender had already been obtained from Bescot Locomotive Depot for the sum of £1,000, exactly the same amount as a similar tender had cost some 48 years previously. The 4F was transferred by road to Cheddleton in April 1977 and the long haul to restoration began, steaming taking place during September 1990 and its restoration was completed in 1992 with the locomotive adopting the LMS black livery and number 4422. It was the first resident steam locomotive on the Churnet Valley Railway.

It later visited other many heritage railways before being fully overhauled and being outshopped in 2004 in BR livery as 44422. It was then hired out to a number of heritage railways.

In June 2009 the engine failed and it was sent to the Crewe LNWR works for repair. Following this 44422 transferred to Wansford on the Nene Valley Railway later that year. After being withdrawn from service in 2013 with worn out crown stays, it was moved for storage to the Peak Rail at Rowsley.

During 2014 the Company have been looking into ways of either finding funding to complete the 10 year boiler overhaul or finding a partner with whom they could work with to get the locomotive back into working order.

This resulted in 44422 being hired to the West Somerset Railway as from December 2014 on a longer term (25 year) basis with the aim of having the locomotive back in operation in time for the 50th anniversary of the closure of the Somerset & Dorset Railway in 2016.

Work started on 44422 at Crewe in March 2015 which covered-

  • Renewal of all crown stays, all sling stays and many side stays
  • Removal, repair and refitting the firebox foundation ring
  • Renewal of the lower portions of the firebox outer wrapper sheet
  • Repairs to the copper inner firebox sheet at the corners and at the lap joints
  • Reinforced patches fitted to washout plugs and mudhole door frames
  • New set of small and flue tubes
  • Renewal of the blast pipe base
  • Renewal of axle box lubricator hoses
  • Chimney liner fitted as chimney is due for renewal
  • New brass handles for gauge frame drain cocks

While all the boiler work was completed by the LNWR Boilershop staff, work on other components was carried out by both LNWR Heritage and also at the West Somerset Railway where 44422 is based.

Final assembly was completed in early February, however after a first running test a minor steam leak was identified around the superheater header which required the removal of all the superheater elements and the header and their subsequent re- installation and testing.

After becoming the final locomotive to leave the LNWR site at Crewe Heritage Centre, 44422 made its debut steaming at the West Somerset Railway in February 2016. It is now coupled with a tender which was previously attached to LMS 2-6-0 Crab 2763.

By April 2018 the locomotive was undergoing a bottom end overhaul at the West Somerset Railway. The overhaul includes the optical alignment of the axlebox horn guides, new big end brasses and repairs to the brake hangers.

The wheels were sent to Riley & Son (E) Ltd for tyre turning and whilst they were there cracks were found in all six wheels. It is planned to repair the wheels by welding but the wheelset is currently in store at Riley’s works. The locomotive is on a 25 year contract to the west Somerset Railway who will be paying for the repairs.

Home Base Current Status Owner
West Somerset Railway Under overhaul 44422 Locomotive Company Limited

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