73082 Camelot

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73082 was built at Derby in July 1955 and entered service at Stewarts Lane between June and September 1955.

Along with the other nine BR Standards class 5 locomotives was put to work on the Kent Coast line and on Dover and Folkestone boat trains. They continued on this work until the Kent Coast electrification scheme was completed in 1959, when they were transferred to Nine Elms. This had been the first depot to which the second batch of Southern Standard Fives, 73110-19, had been allocated when new.

At this time a Staff Suggestion put forward the idea of transferring the names from withdrawn Urie King Arthur class 4-6-0s 30736-55 to the newer engines. 73082 duly received the name Camelot, formerly carried by 30742, in August 1959.

On Christmas Eve 1964 the locomotive achieved a speed of 107mph through Andover

With the onset of dieselisation and the Bournemouth electrification these locomotives were reallocated around the South Western Division, Camelot moving to Guildford in 1965 and withdrawal from there followed in June 1966. After storage at Eastleigh, Camelot was bought by Woodham Brothers and moved to the Barry scrapyard in November 1966.

Motive power depot allocations.

Date ArrivedDepot
July 1955Stewarts Lane
May 1959Nine Elms
May 1965Guildford

Following a visit to the scrapyard in Barry the 73082 Camelot Locomotive Society was formed in March 1974 with the aim of buying Camelot and restoring the locomotive to working order

After several years, and several price increases, the money was raised and Camelot was bought in January 1979 for £8,100.

The Bluebell Railway was chosen as Camelot’s future home as they had already helped to obtain a suitable tender chassis from a South Wales steelworks as there were no Standard tenders remaining at Barry. Camelot was moved from Barry to the Bluebell Railway in October 1979.

It was clear that the first task had to be the overhaul of the tender chassis, together with the construction of a new BR1B-pattern tender tank, this being the type of tender originally provided for Camelot when new. The chassis was duly overhauled, straightened and re-railed in August 1984. Construction of the tender tank was contracted out to Shipyard Services of Brightlingsea and the new tank was delivered in February 1985 and lifted straight onto the restored chassis. The total cost of these two essential steps in the restoration programme was in excess of £10,000.

In 1985 work started on the locomotive itself with the first task being to prepare the boiler for lifting, which took place in November of that year. During 1986 work was concentrated on the boiler and by the end of the year the outside had been needle-gunned and painted and all the small tubes replaced with new. It was subsequently decided to replace the large superheater flue tubes as well.

In March 1987 the final stage of dismantling was reached when the frames were lifted off the driving wheels and bogie. The frames and wheels were cleaned and painted, the tyres re-profiled and the axlebox guide liners ground and re-shimmed to give the correct clearances.

Once the frames had been re-wheeled pipework for the sanding system, cylinder lubrication, cylinder drain cocks and steam chest drain valves was fabricated and fitted into place. Work in 1993 concentrated on refitting the boiler to the chassis; this was achieved in May. The boiler cladding was then completed and a new cab constructed.

In March 1994 Camelot entered the Bluebell’s Locomotive Workshop for the final stages of the restoration programme and it entered traffic in October 1995, exactly 16 years since Camelot arrived at Sheffield Park from Barry.

73082 Camelot was part of the Bluebell’s motive power fleet, hauling scheduled and special heritage passenger trains, as well as demonstration goods trains between Sheffield Park and Kingscote; until withdrawal in June 2005. The locomotive proved to be very reliable in service on the Bluebell and Camelot completed the highest mileage of the locomotives on the Bluebell in 1996 and 1997 and continued to cover several thousand miles each year whilst in service.

British boiler and insurance regulations demand that locomotives are dismantled and inspected after ten years’ operation. In June 2005 it was decided to withdraw Camelot from service so that a ten-year inspection and overhaul could begin. Regular working parties by Society members commenced at Sheffield Park and the locomotive and it was expected at that time that the engine would be back in service by 2015.

The first priority in after being withdrawn from service in 2005 was to remove small parts for safe keeping, initiate a regular schedule of oiling and empty and inspect the tender coal space and tank. By the end of 2006 the coal space had been repainted and underneath, the tank cleaned and painted where required. The tender brake gear was dismantled, overhauled and refitted.

In the following year the brake gear was dismantled, overhauled and stored, the boiler tubes and superheaters were removed and scrapped because of their poor condition. The sanding pipework was removed, cleaned, painted and stored. Smokebox fittings were removed to allow the boiler lift to take place.

In November 2007 the boiler was lifted out of the frames and then the cladding was removed and an assessment made of the work required on the boiler. At this point it was noted that a new smokebox was needed.

During 2008 much of the time was spent stripping and dismantling the many fittings and fixtures from the locomotive, both below the frames and in the cab. Work also started on the boiler under the direction of the Bluebell Railway’s Workshop Manager. The boiler which had originally been fitted to 73088 Joyous Gard was subsequently found to be in a good condition.

After removing the chimney, it was found that it had several cracks in it but it proved possible to use advanced welding technology to repair it. The repair work was completed by Slinden Services in 2009.

The original ejector exhaust ring was found to be beyond repair. Luckily the society had another one, which, although needing specialist welding, like the chimney; was judged to be in better condition.

One major task was removing the smokebox and front tube plate. The smokebox was found to be beyond repair and an order was placed to roll a new one, by a firm of Devon shipbuilders. The front smokebox ring and door were found to be reusable.

The frame was lifted off the wheels in May 2009 and the cleaning of the frames started a few days later. The wheelsets were water-jet cleaned to remove grease, prior to been sent to the South Devon Railway for fitting of new tyres and profiling the following year. The bogie was dismantled with the wheelsets and compensation beams being removed in early July. The cab was removed from the frames and placed on timbers to be worked on more easily.

By the end of 2011 the South Devon Railway workshop had completed the work on the wheelsets which were then repainted.

During 2012 a new front tubeplate was pressed on contract by the South Devon Railway. The South Devon also constructed a new firebox backhead. A new rear dragbox was constructed by workshop staff, using a water jet cutting method that saved significant costs.

At the end of 2012 it was decided that the Bluebell Railway would fund boiler repairs with the result that a contract was let in the following year to London and North Western Railway and the boiler was sent off to Crewe. By December 2014 LNWR Crewe were ready to conduct the hydraulic and live steam tests which were conducted before the boiler was delivered back to Sheffield Park and reunited with the frames in January 2015.

After much assembly work Camelot was steamed for the first time since 2005 on 28 September 2015. and the locomotive moved under its own power into the yard. The following day the locomotive was steamed again for the boiler inspector and was given a new 10 year certificate.

Camelot made a light engine run to Horsted Keynes on 19 October 2015 and a number of loaded test runs the following day after which a fault with the little end bush on the right side connecting rod was rectified.

On the 25 October Camelot hauled the Society’s AGM Special and returned to hauling regular trains on the Bluebell Railway on 31 October 2015.

In early 2017 the locomotive was out of service whilst the tender wheelset was sent to the South Devon Railway for new tyres. The locomotive was back in service for the main 2017 service on the Bluebell Railway.

In April 2018 the locomotive failed whilst hauling a passenger train on the Bluebell Railway. Subsequent examination identified that both right and left front cylinder covers were cracked and the left-hand piston head was broken. It was hoped that the locomotive would be back in service in two to three months but it was August before it entered service again.

At the end of 2020 the locomotive was taken out of service to carry out some remedial work as a problem had arisen with leaks at the foundation ring rivets. To allow the work to be undertaken the boiler was lifted off the frames. Some additional tasks were undertaken where necessary which included a partial retubing which has enabled a new 10 year boiler certificate to be obtained.

The locomotive returned to traffic again in September 2021.

Home BaseCurrent StatusOwner
Bluebell RailwayOperational73082 Camelot Locomotive Society
73082 thought to be in the Sittingbourne area on the North Kent Main Line – Late 1950s
73082 Camelot on Nine Elms shed – 1962
73082 approaching Vauxhall station – June 1964
73082 in Woodhams scrapyard at Barry – August 1967
73082 Camelot in Woodham's scrapyard at Barry - 1975.jpg
73082 Camelot in Woodham’s scrapyard at Barry – 1975
73082 in Woodhams scrapyard at Barry – 1975
73082 Camelot under restoration at Sheffield Park on the Bluebell Railway – 1980
73082 on the Bluebell Railway – 1995
73082 at Sheffield Park on the Bluebell Railway – March 2003
73082 on the Bluebell Railway – 2005 or earlier
73082 at Horsted Keynes on the Bluebell Railway – November 2015
73082 Camelot at Sheffield Park on the Bluebell Railway – June 2017
73082 at Horsted Keynes on the Bluebell Railway – July 2017
73082 At Horsted Keynes on the Bluebell Railway – October 2017
73082 Camelot on the Bluebell Railway – December 2018
73082 climbing towards Horsted Keynes on the Bluebell Railway – October 2019
73082 on the Bluebell Railway – August 2020
73082 on the Bluebell Railway – September 2022

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