73096 at Alresford on the Mid Hants Railway - July 2006.jpg

73096 was built at Derby in November 1955.

Motive power depot allocations.

Date ArrivedDepot
November 1955Patricroft
September 1958Shrewsbury
June 1962Gloucester Barnwood
April 1964Gloucester
November 1964Oxley
March 1965Nuneaton
June 1965Croes Newydd
July 1965Patricroft

After being withdrawn from service in November 1967 it was sold to Woodham Brothers scrapyard at Barry where it arrived in February 1968 and remained until July 1985. It was then rescued by a member of the Mid Hants Railway.

73096 underwent restoration at Ropley and was completed in October 1993. A new tender) was constructed on an ex-LMS Stanier 4-6-0 tender chassis which had been attached to Jubilee 45593 Kolhapur. This resulted in the tender being several inches shorter than the tender 73096 was attached to in BR service.

Originally restored as 73080 Merlin and painted in BR lined black livery the locomotive was subsequently renumbered to 73096 and the name removed. The locomotive was also repainted in BR lined green, a livery that was first applied when the engine was allocated to Shrewsbury in 1958. It was normal practice for a class 5 locomotive, allocated to the Western Region, to wear the green passenger livery instead of the normal lined black.

73096 was for a time a regular performer on the mainline hauling railtours from London to such destinations as Salisbury, Exeter, Yeovil and Canterbury. In 2005 the Mid-Hants Railway decided to withdraw the locomotive from mainline duties and it is unlikely to be seen on the mainline again for the foreseeable future.

In March 2009 the engine suffered over £200,000 worth of damages whilst running on the Mid Hants Railway. The damage to the to its left-hand (driver’s-side) cylinder is thought to have been due to a piston coreplug working loose and causing much damage to the cylinder covers, cylinder, piston and piston-rod plus other equipment in the area. No damage was done to the track or signalling but 73096 blocked the line for some time as parts of the steam locomotive’s ‘motion’ (connecting rod, valve gear linkages etc.) on the driver’s side had to be removed to allow the locomotive to be moved. A replacement cylinder casting was required, necessitating a new pattern made which enabled the locomotive to return to steam in August 2010.

In September 2011, the boiler certificate expired and 73096 was consequently withdrawn from service.

In November 2014 73096 was moved to the Southall Railway Centre where it was stored.

In late 2017 locomotive was bought from John Bunch by Mid Hants Railway plc and it was delivered to Ropley in November 2017. This is the first to be owned by Mid Hants Railway plc as other locomotives are owned by Mid Hants Railway Preservation Society.

It is now in the queue for a heavy overhaul.

In 2018 it was suggested that the locomotive could return to steam in 2025.

Home BaseCurrent StatusOwner
Mid Hants RailwayAwaiting overhaulMid Hants Railway plc
73096 at Derby – June 1957
73096 passing Barrow Road shed as it leaves Bristol – June 1963
73096 at Crewe Works – September 1963
73096 in Woodham's scrapyard at Barry - 1975.jpg
73096 in Woodham’s scrapyard at Barry – 1975
73096 in Woodhams scrapyard at Barry – May 1976
73096 in Woodham’s scrapyard at Barry – c1983
73096 at Gloucester Central – March 2004
73096 at Medstead on the Mid Hants Railway – September 2004
73096 at Alresford on the Mid Hants Railway - July 2006.jpg
73096 at Alresford on the Mid Hants Railway – July 2006
73096 arriving at Medstead and Four Marks on the Mid Hanrs Railway – March 2011
73096 & 45379 at Ropley on the Mid Hants Railway-2011
73096 & 45379 at Ropley on the Mid Hants Railway-2012
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 73096-stored-at-ropley-on-the-mid-hants-railway-awaiting-an-overhaul-november-2012.jpg
73096 stored at Ropley on the Mid Hants Railway awaiting an overhaul – November 2012
73096 at Ropley on the Mid Hants Railway – October 2013
73096 at Ropley on the Mid Hants Railway – January 2018

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