48773 (WD 307, LMS 8233, Iranian State Rly 41.109, WD70307, WD 500 & BR 48773)


The locomotive was built by North British at the Hyde Park Works in Glasgow in 1940 (with works number 24607). It was part of the War Department order for use in France, for which it was numbered WD 307. France fell to Germany before the locomotive could be exported, so it was loaned back to the LMS and numbered 8233. Under the LMS 8233 and was based out of Toton, Holbeck and Westhouses sheds.

Following Russia’s entry into the War, the locomotive was requisitioned and sent to Iran (then called Persia) as Iranian State Railways No 41.109. There it worked on the Trans-Iranian Railway, hauling double-headed 700 ton trains of supplies intended for Russia up steep gradients in the searing desert heat. On 9th August 1942, the locomotive was famously derailed after colliding with a camel, and later in 1944 was converted to oil-burning.

In 1946 the locomotive was sent to the British Army’s Middle East Forces (MEF) in Egypt where, numbered WD 70307, it worked in the Suez Canal zone. For a while the locomotive was loaned to Egyptian State Railways, but by 1948 was in need of a new firebox and scheduled to be scrapped.

Fortunately, the locomotive was not scrapped but repatriated to the UK and overhauled at Derby between 1952 and 1954. The locomotive then adopted yet another identity as WD 500 at the Longmoor Military Railway.

In 1957 the locomotive was bought by British Railways and entered service as 48773 after at first being allocated number 90733 (following the WD Austerities, with which it was confused), but quickly altered to 48773 at the end of the LMS 8F class.

In 1957 it was absorbed into BR stock.

BR motive power depot allocations.

Date Arrived Depot
September 1957 Polmadie
November 1963 Carlisle Kingmoor
January 1964 Stockport Edgeley
June 1964 Buxton
September 1964 Bolton
July 1968 Rose Grove

Whilst under BR ownership it has been withdrawn from service three times and reinstated twice. Its first withdrawal was in December 1962 but it was reinstated in February 1963 only to be withdrawn again in June 1963. It was then reinstated in November 1963 and finally ending BR service based at Rose Grove in July 1968 when it participated in the ‘grand finale of steam’ over the trans-Pennine route via Copy Pit summit. It also worked the LCGB ‘Farewell to Steam’ on 4 August 1968.

The Stanier 8F Locomotive Society was formed as the 8F Preservation Society at the end of steam on British Railways in 1968 to preserve one of the Stanier 8F 2-8-0 locomotives.

48773 arrived on the Severn Valley Railway (SVR) in January 1969 in working order direct from BR. During the early years it ran under its LMS number as 8733. Since then it has achieved the greatest mileage in preservation of any of the SVR locomotives, logging 151,805 miles (including a few main line excursions) and going through a set of tyres in the process.

In 1974  it was taken out of service for a motion overhaul but was back in service in early 1975 before travelling over the main line to the Stockton and Darlington Railway 150th Anniversary celebrations.

On 27 September 1986 a service took place at Highley in which 48773 was dedicated as a memorial to British military railway personnel who lost their lives on active service during the Second World War. The event was marked by a flypast of an Air Atlantique Douglas DC3 and the last working de Havilland Mosquito. The locomotive carries a plaque commemorating the dedication service.

The boiler certificate expired in 2008 and 48773 was placed on display in The Engine House awaiting overhaul.

Home Base Current Status Owner
Severn Valley Railway On static display in the Engine House at Highley Stanier 8F Locomotive Society
48773 Kingmoor August 1967.jpg 48773 on Carlisle Kingmoor shed-August 1967.
48773 at Carlisle September 1967.jpg 48773 at Carlisle-September 1967
48773 Highley 2010.jpg 48773 on static display in the Engine House at Highley on the Severn Valley Railway

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