73050 was completed at Derby Works in April 1954, and was chosen to represent the class at the International Railway Congress held at Willesden in May of that year. After the exhibition, 73050 moved to its home shed of Bath Green Park to take up duties on the Somerset and Dorset (S&D) line from Bath to Bournemouth. These duties included sometimes piloting the famous Pines Express.
73050 was one of only three BR Standard Fives (73050 to 73052) to be built with the larger BR1G tender for working over this route. The only other locomotives to use these tenders were the large 9F 2-10-0s.
Motive power depot allocations.
|June 1954||Bath Green Park|
|July 1962||Gloucester Barnwood|
|November 1962||Bath Green Park|
|April 1964||Withdrawn and put in store|
Withdrawn June 1968 having completed 825,000 miles whilst in service with BR.
In 1968, a railway enthusiast, the Reverend Richard Paten bought 73050, for its scrap value of £3,000, with the intention of having placed on a plinth outside the technical college in Peterborough, as a memento of the area’s railway heritage.
It was purchased a month after the steam ban on BR and BR initially insisted that the locomotive should be moved by road but later allowed it to run from Manchester via the Hope Valley Line to New England shed (Peterborough) which it did on the night of 20th September 1968.
However, when the locomotive was examined, it was found that it was in far too good condition to be reduced to retired status, so the Peterborough Locomotive Society was formed in 1970, with the intention of restoring 73050 to steaming condition. The creation of the Peterborough Locomotive Society led directly to the establishment of the Nene Valley Railway (NVR) some years later.
A start was made on restoring the locomotive beside the East Coast Main Line at Baker Perkins but in 1971, the engine was moved to the sidings of the British Sugar Corporation’s Peterborough Works at Woodston.
In 1972 it was steamed for the first time in preservation, being named City of Peterborough by the Mayor of Peterborough in August 1972. Richard Paten then donated the locomotive to the City Council in 1973, who in turn leased it to the NVR for 99 years.
73050 continued to be steamed at various open days at the sugar factory and also steam days at Wansford until 1975, when an overhaul was required. During 1977 the locomotive was moved to the city-based factory of Peter Brotherhood Limited, where a major overhaul was undertaken as an apprenticeship project over the following three years, returning to the NVR on 16 July 1980 now carrying the BR Brunswick Green livery carried by some of its classmates that had been overhauled at Swindon.
In June 1986, 73050 was driven by HRH Prince Edward when he opened the extension from Orton Mere to Peterborough Nene Valley.
By 1987 the locomotive required another overhaul, which was started in the early 1990s. This was a very heavy, thorough, and time-consuming overhaul which involved dismantling the entire locomotive. New manganese steel was fitted to the axlebox horns, the paint on the frames was found to peel off easily; all parts were painstakingly stripped back to bare metal and re-painted. Much of the old firebox had begun to develop cracks which required rectifying. Large patches of the outer firebox had to be cut out, along the bottom of each side, and up the corners at the rear. New patches were cut, shaped and welded in. A new smoke box was fitted by the NVR fitters, new boiler cladding and a new cab fabricated from laser-cut parts and hot-riveted together. During the restoration, most of the original copper pipework was stolen and all this had to be painstakingly made again from scratch.
The engine’s air brakes, fitted in 1979, were modified so that the engine’s brakes work in conjunction with the air brakes when hauling a train. Every valve and component was dismantled and overhauled, with the intention of making the engine as reliable as possible for the future. The engine was returned to traffic in July 2005, before aesthetic completion.
The locomotive has appeared in the television adaptations of Agatha Christie’s The Mystery of the Blue Train and Murder on the Orient Express, disguised to appear as a continental locomotive, and featured in the music video for Big Country’s Fields of Fire.
In September 2014 it was taken out of traffic for another major overhaul, with no scheduled date for a return to service.
The locomotive was stored out of service until work on overhauling it on the Nene Valley Railway commenced in late 2017. The overhaul is expected to take four to five years to complete. The boiler repairs are being contracted out. The overhaul is going ahead as a result of funding from Peterborough City Council (who own the locomotive) and a bequest from the estate of a former supporter.
By April 2018 non-destructive testing of the boiler had confirmed that most of it needed to be replaced. Only the steel outer firebox backhead and throatplate and the copper inner firebox were fit for reuse.
Quotes are being sought for a contract overhaul which will be partly funded by £150,000 from Peterborough City Council.
The aim is to have the locomotive back in steam in 2021 or 2022.
|Home Base||Current Status||Owner|
|Nene Valley Railway||Under overhaul||Peterborough City Council who leased it to Nene Valley Railway|